You Had Me at Headline

My cell phone keeps ringing.

I’ve got eight new emails.

I haven’t had a second to scan today’s headlines.

What’s up on Twitter?

This industry report is due tomorrow morning.

I’m late for dinner…again!

Every day your customers have a host of distractions, priorities, and other persuasive requests for their time and attention. This is why every marketing message has to hook someone in less than three seconds-or it’s gone forever.

Every word used in a direct mail piece, from postcard to self-mailer, has to be honed so that it accurately conveys the right message, purpose, and perception. When copy is used effectively, it can prompt a prospect to call, check out your website, or purchase a product or service right away. But when copy is used ineffectively, the prospect won’t read anything beyond the first line.

Get the best response from direct mail by tailoring your message to your unique target audience. How you describe your products or services offer and action steps is crucial.

What would your business messaging say?

More importantly, what should it impart to your prospects?

Elevate Your Marketing Results
Tri-Win provides the tools, expertise, and industry know-how to deliver effective direct mail solutions designed to boost your response rate.

Who are your next customers?
Our team of data analysts uncovers trends within your current client list to help you find more people just like them.

From our door to theirs–on budget
The more money you spend on direct mail marketing, the less you get to keep for your business. From printing to postage, we have the expertise to help you keep your costs low and quality high.

Follow that mail truck
The mail goes out. The calls come in. We can help you develop simple tracking techniques designed to measure ROI.

1) Increased response, increased money
If we did the job right, the headline we used caught your attention. If we didn’t do the job right, we just practiced our typing skills. On average, you have 3 seconds to peak your prospect’s interest. Miss that window and you’ve already lost them. The headline needs to be engaging, draw-in the reader, speak directly to a person that the writer doesn’t know, and do it all faster than they can say, “No.” This is done by speaking to something the reader values. Some choose to offer help, others to ask a provocative question; the technique you choose matters since your headline needs to speak to what your client values.

2)  Persuade me, scare me, flatter me, love me
Buying decisions are often more emotional than logical. This means that no matter how compelling the information provided to a prospective client, if they don’t care they don’t convert. Emotion can run broad and fickle while logic is a focused “common sense” concept. So, how do we use that knowledge?

In the structured world of direct mail, effective copy focuses on 7 key emotional drivers: Fear, Greed, Guilt, Anger, Exclusivity and Flattery. Emphasizing a single driver and excluding all others is one way to increase your success.

This principle works because it is a logical way to appeal to the emotion of purchasing decisions. Emphasizing a single motivator geared toward bringing your product into a positive light is more likely to succeed instead of just informing them. A wide array of emotional triggers is likely to confuse or offend the reader, so sticking to a single emotional driver is often your best approach. If your mailer doesn’t speak to one of the seven drivers, consider starting over.

3) Direct Mail is not a tool for communication
It’s a tool for persuasion. Your direct mail marketing efforts should persuade people that they need your product or service for a reason that makes something in their life better, easier, stronger, safer, etc. Consider an exit sign on a wall in your office. The sign tells you that the doorway leads outside but you may or may not have a particular reason to use the door. However, if someone yells, “Fire!” your interest in locating and using the exit door changes considerably.

 4) What’s in it for me?
Everyone wants the answer to this single question: What’s in it for me?

This means that you need to tell them exactly why they should care about your product or service and how it delivers benefits. A common mistake in direct mail content is focusing on a feature—how great it is, how efficient it is, etc.—without identifying the benefits.

For instance, imagine selling a lawn mower, which has a 5.0 horsepower engine. Telling someone to buy a specific lawn mower because it has a 5.0 horsepower engine isn’t necessarily going to persuade a potential customer to buy it. However, explain that the engine is so powerful it can cut the tallest grass in record time and without stalling, and you’re speaking the buyers’ language: benefits. Horsepower is a nice feature, but saving time and effort is what resonates.

 5) Don’t confuse the reader
Confusing or illogical copy is a common, yet avoidable mistake often found in direct mail content. Confusion within messaging creates annoyance that leads to dismissal and inevitably lands your mailer in the recycle bin. Effective direct mail quickly and concisely makes the case in simple terms for the short time it’s in the hands of the recipient. Whether you’re selling a product or service, or seeking financial support for a worthy cause, state your business, include your benefits, and define next steps for the recipient. The return on clear, concise, well developed direct mail is consistently better than a convoluted mailer that reads poorly, if it’s read at all.

 6) Make it worth the reader’s time
Now the prospect has received your mailer, the headline caught their attention, the intro sustained it, they have been intrigued and persuaded by the benefits of your product, and now they are interested… So what’s next? Make a compelling offer!

Everyone likes a deal. The offer certainly needs to be something of value, but it can be in the form of a direct discount, free shipping for ordering now, or a discount code for simply visiting your website. Whatever the offer is, it needs to carry enough weight to entice the prospect to take action right away—not tomorrow or next week.

 7) Tell them how to take action
Another mistake found in direct mail content development is leaving a reader without a clear path to respond to your offer. A compelling offer is great, but only if the reader understands how to take you up on it. There’s no room for ambiguity here, provide a crystal clear call to action or the effectiveness of your mailing is in jeopardy. Congratulations! You’ve got your customer all the way to the finish line; just tell them how to cross it!