With all the emphasis on great design and visuals in direct mail, it’s easy to forget about the golden oldies. Great direct mail letters are as effective as ever, and here’s how to write one.
Humans are visual creatures, but that doesn’t mean direct mail letters should be relegated to the archival wing at the proverbial museum of marketing. In fact, they’re just as effective as they’ve ever been, when prepared with an expert eye.
Key Word: Great
Like we said above, great direct mail letters are as effective as ever. There’s an entire world of difference between one that merely “suffices” and one that’s great. It’s like comparing the beach painting you did in Painting 101 with a Van Gogh.
So how do you make yours great?
One of the biggest problems in writing direct mail letters is that very often, the person writing or approving the letter is not part of the target audience… not by a long shot.
How to Make Your Direct Mail Letters Resonate
To secure that all-important connection to your reader, it’s important to send a letter that’s direct, simple, and personal-sounding. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
- Make the letter sound as if it were written by a real human being – a friend, even. Use a casual tone that’s friendly and conversational.
- Find common ground with the reader by using phrases like “If you’re like me…”
- Use a real stamp to make the letter seem even more personal.
- Offer something in the letter they can’t get online, to make them feel special.
- Include a simple, clear call-to-action. That could be “call us” or “send us this postcard” or “visit this web page”.
The Call to Action
Unless you’re very tight with your web developer, you might not be familiar with the term “call to action” (“CTA” in website lingo). On a website, it’s usually a button to click… Add to Cart, for example.
Call to Actions in the first person typically work better than second person. For example, changing your call to action from “enroll in your free course now” to the first person, “enroll in my free course now” tends to work best.
Why does the first person work so well? Because it presents the action from the point of view of the user.
It’s basically an easy way for your target audience to act upon the clues you’ve given them. What are you asking for? What action do you want your reader to take? It can be any number of desirable actions:
- make a phone call
- send in a postcard
- visit a web page
- vote for someone
The mistake newbies often make with their direct mail letters is to focus on the persuasion part and forget about the CTA. It’s fairly obvious on a website how to make a good CTA: a big, colorful, well-placed button to click usually does the trick.
But in direct mail letters, that’s impossible. Usually the best way to make it easy and fast for your reader to respond the way you want them to is to use larger font, consider color, and place the CTA in a strategic location in the letter- once at the beginning and once at the end is a common formula.
And don’t forget: Las Vegas Color Graphics is here to help with tips like these and more. Call us at 702.619.9000 with questions about direct mail letters…as well as any other printing or business collateral questions!