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Many think direct mail is dead, but the truth is that it still holds relevance in today’s digital world. In fact, direct mail is the best-performing direct response channel, bringing in results “10 to 30 times better than email” according to Sumo.

And, let’s be honest, there’s a certain amount of excitement that comes with opening a physical letter or package addressed to you and not knowing what’s inside. Evidence of this is the fact that 47% of millennials check their physical mailbox each day and consider going through their direct mail a leisurely activity, according to USPS.

Additionally, USPS found that 69% of people think direct mail is more personal than the internet. This makes sense when you think about the fact that we’re bombarded with generic, automated emails every day. Receiving something by mail isn’t as common and requires more effort. This makes it a unique way to reach prospects and customers.

So, whether you’re thinking about creating a direct mail campaign or you’ve tried it before and didn’t achieve your intended results, we’re offering you some ideas and strategies to help you boost your direct mail response rate.

1. Make your design stand out

We’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But when it comes to direct mail, that’s exactly what your audience will be doing. Design is vital because it’s what will grab your viewer’s attention and make them want to read more. Instead of a flat piece of paper in a plain envelope, try a 3-dimensional design. Dimensional mailers include boxes, containers, tubes, and bags. People likely won’t throw out a package without at least seeing what’s inside first, evidence being that dimensional mailers have a nearly 100% open rate.

2. Personalize content

If you work in marketing, you know it never hurts to personalize content. It’s a great way to make your marketing messages feel more like one-on-one communication. Not to mention, when it comes to direct mail, people are more likely to read something that’s addressed directly to them. But, rather than simply showing your prospect that you know their name, try something more creative. For example, PURLs are website addresses that are personalized for each of your prospects. You can use them to take each prospect to a personalized landing page with a special offer. They are also the easiest way to track responses. According to the DMA, the top response rate tracking methods are PURLs (61%), followed by call center or telephone (53%), and code or coupon (42%).

3. Add human elements

Just like email marketing campaigns, direct mail campaigns are made better by human elements such as pictures, quotes, testimonials, and videos. Give people a feel for your brand’s personality through design and copywriting elements like font, color, tone, and writing style. In addition, real stories about your product and how it solved a problem for someone can be powerful, especially when you include a photo of that person. People may be able to relate to that person’s struggle and feel inclined to learn more.

4. Create urgency

When it comes to direct mail, you want to encourage your prospects to act fast. If they don’t, odds are your direct mail will end up in the trash. It helps to use language like “limited time,” “one time only,” “last chance,” or “before it’s gone.” No one wants to miss out on a great deal so it’s important to do all you can to inspire them to take action. Also, it’s important to note that it’s been proven that warmer colors create more urgency and drive action. For this reason, it’s best to opt for a red CTA rather than a green one. You can also create urgency through social proof, such as pointing out the number of customers who have seen success with your product or service.

5. Offer a free gift

While free gifts are always great, you want to ensure you’re providing prospects with something they will actually find valuable. According to HubSpot, Heinz Marketing sent their top prospects empty iPad boxes with a note that promised to give them the iPad if they were willing to sit down and have a conversation with them. Matt Heinz said “we’ve done this with a few companies, and we generate twice as many appointments as we give away iPads.” Although this strategy is expensive, the results were impressive and they received a considerable return on their investment. Moral of the story: don’t hesitate to get creative when it comes to offering a free gift.

6. Focus on benefits, not features

Rather than focusing on the specific features of your product, you’ll want to emphasize the benefits. For example, a prospect will care less about the fact that you offer automation software and more about the fact that you can help them streamline their work. According to Jay Levinson and Al Lautenslager of Guerrilla Marketing, “the most compelling benefits are those that provide emotional or financial return.” An emotional return could be increasing customer satisfaction, while a financial return will likely be related to increasing revenue. Above all, be sure to communicate the value you’re offering customers in a short, concise way. If you do feel inclined to mention features, you should only do so as a means of proof as to how you’re able to provide certain benefits.

7. Make it easy to get in touch

Whether it’s visiting a website, calling a number, or using a discount code, you’ll want to include a clear call-to-action, making it as easy as possible for a prospect to take the next step. You should include your CTA several times throughout the letter since not every prospect will read your mailer from beginning to end. Also, by using a vanity number, you can make it easier for people to remember (1-800-DIRECT-MAIL). Since the CTA is what leads to a response from your direct mail recipients, it’s highly important that you make it bold and enticing. In addition, be sure you have a process in place for following up with prospects who click on the CTA.

As with any marketing tactic, direct mail cannot be a siloed channel and should always be used as one tactic in a broader campaign. If you’re looking to use direct mail in an upcoming campaign and need a marketing partner to help you get things up and running, contact us.