Most direct mail these days stinks. Yes, that means the stuff your company is sending me. Generally it lacks:
- A strong offer
- Good merge/purge
I get too much mail in blank white envelopes without anything interesting on the outside. Does the sender think I’ll be so intrigued by standard rate mail with my name misspelled that I’ll be compelled to open it? (Not a trick question. I won’t–and I’ve tested it.)
How about the offers for charities I’ve never given to, nor care about? Maybe my name comes up because of my relationship with a couple of select non-profits, but a quick screen by Target Analytics or DonorDynamics would quickly show what I’m interested and not, and eliminate me from the mailing.
My biggest beef is bad merge/purge. The ability to run a proper merge seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird, even at mailers who should know better, like American Express. Tell me, AmEx, what’s the chances you’ll get two gold card applications from two different LLCs from a SFDU, where you already have a cardholder? How do you not catch that in the merge?
But sometimes my faith in direct marketing is restored.
Here’s a good example from Academy Sealers. This arrived a couple of weeks ago and got my attention with the “Your Custom Quote” line and arrow.
$65 to get my driveway sealed? By a reputable, local firm? I got all that information from the front, in less than two seconds.
The back told me exactly how to order and what I’d get for my $65. It provided photographic evidence of the type of service performed and featured a two year guarantee.
I called that day and my driveway was sealed four days later. It would have cost me $40 in sealer, an hour of my time and a pair of shoes and pants. It would have been a bargain at $99.
This offer worked because it had exactly what much direct mail lacks today: A strong offer, with the right target customer and timing.
Could the mailing have been better? Sure. I’d call out that price with a burst, not print KO green on black and pump up that guarantee, among other things. But the bottom line is that even with substandard design, it got me to respond and paid off with exactly the service promised.
Congratulations to Academy Sealers. You get today’s gold star for creating direct mail that actually works.
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