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MARKETING
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ow that businesspersons and consumers direct mail, because Internet scams often use the Third: The “dynamo” is up to you. With a vi-
alike are comfortable going to the Internet lower cost method of email versus preparing solid, able list and a solid offer, you now need ways to • Tell the reader what to do. Call now. Order
for their news and information, what’s become of physical direct mail pieces. In short, don’t expect cut through the clutter that bombards your read- today. Complete and return the attached re-
true direct mail? Should companies still send it? direct mail to become museum relics any time ers every day. Here are some tried-and-true ways ply card. Or, if you’ll be following up the mail-
Do people still read it? Are companies who use it soon. to do that: ing yourself, tell the reader to expect the fol-
as part of their marketing campaigns viewed as low-up and when to look for it.
savvy marketers or out-of-step dinosaurs? Direct email is gaining in acceptance. Email • Get your reader’s attention. Headlines and
campaigns are no longer automatically deleted lead paragraphs in your email, card, or bro- • Provide enough information for your call
Alternatively, are direct email campaigns an ac- by spam filters or subjected manually to the “recy- chure should immediately convey informa- to action. If you want the reader to place
ceptable form of marketing or are they quickly de- cle bin.” Executives, managers, and owners are be- tion that will interest the reader: sell its use, an order, your copy must be clear and com-
leted as spam? coming accustomed to being contacted this way. value, and benefits, benefits, benefits. plete. If you want them to request a demo,
While some still see it as an unwelcome intrusion, your message can be incomplete and intrigu-
Direct mail is alive and well. Nothing can re- even the hardcore deleters are coming around. • Tell readers what’s in it for them. What will ing, as long as they understand how to re-
place being able to hold a direct mail piece in your For speed, ease of preparation, quick updates, they gain by replying? More time, more mon- quest the demo. Return the reply card? Call
hands, to touch it, tack it up on a board, pull it and the relatively low cost for its wide reach, email ey, peace of mind, and solutions are hot but- by a certain date? Be one of the first 100 to
down and look at it again. Done well, direct mail marketing is hard to beat. tons they want to hear about. What will they respond? Make it clear what you want them
gives recipients the impression of a solid company lose by not replying? Time, money, peace to do, and make it easy for them to do it.
with the financial footing to invest in a sophisticat- First: The List. What has long been true for di- of mind, and the opportunity to solve their
ed advertising piece or, hopefully, a full campaign. rect mail also holds true for direct email: The list problems. • Results are all that really count. Creativity
To a certain degree, there is a negative percep- you mail or email to is the most important and vi- may pull them in. But in the end, if it doesn’t
tion of direct email, especially when compared to tal part of your campaign. If your target audience • Help them visualize your message. In di- sell, who cares if it was creative? The purpose
list is inaccurate or outdated, no offer or amount rect mail, you can more easily show them of your mailing/emailing is to sell your prod-
of creativity will sell your product or service. what you want to convey. If you’re selling in- uct or service. If your materials aren’t creating
Book publishers don’t need playground swings tangibles (e.g., time or peace of mind), it’s a sales for you, find out why. Is your list accu-
any more than plumbers’ associations need golf little trickier. This is where your creative team rate and right for what you’re selling? Is your
carts. So invest in obtaining a viable list of con- will be invaluable to you. They should have offer good enough to get people to take ac-
tacts. the expertise to create your visual impression tion? Then examine your message. No matter
without being corny or trite. For example, an how creative it is, if it’s not bringing in sales,
Second: The Offer. Next in importance is hourglass is a universally understood image it’s not the right message for you.
what you’re giving away. What incentive does representing time, but it’s been overused and
your reader have to take action now? What will seems out-of-date. Your message should sur-
Robyn Sachs is the president of RMR Associates, a full-ser-
vice advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based
they get “free,” or “for a 30 day trial,” or “for a prise your reader with the unexpected, while
in the Washington metropolitan area. She can be reached at
limited time only”? still being easily understood and memorable.
rsachs@rmr.com
1 ThinkBusiness April 2009 1
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