When it comes to creating great direct mail, content is crucial. And direct mail content planning involves more than just design and copy. The most successful direct mail is designed to facilitate a cross-channel marketing journey that makes your brand the clear choice.
In this post, we’ll review the five essential elements of modern direct mail content. Let’s get to it.
How to Create Compelling Direct Mail Content
With your direct mail audience and campaign goals defined, it’s time to work on direct mail content and design. Keep the goal of your piece in mind as you decide how to incorporate the following elements into your direct mail content.
- Cohesive branding. You probably already know that your print marketing should reflect the same tone and style of anything you’re doing online. To build a strong brand, and reap the benefits of everything that goes along with it, you need to be consistent across channels. But, make sure not to take this too far. We’ve seen some brands simply copy-and-paste their email promotions into a postcard builder. While this will save time and keep brand elements matching up, what works in digital doesn’t always translate to print. When designing a marketing postcard, you’ll want to include your logo and on-brand images and colors, but the overall effect of a postcard should be different than that of a digital ad. See our next tip for more on postcard design.
- Utilize white space. Postcards are not the right medium for extensive lists of benefits and detailed FAQs. Save your more verbose marketing copy for emails, landing pages and your blog. When designing and writing marketing postcards, you’ve got to think like social. You only have 8 seconds to grab someone’s attention, after all, so shoot for punchy copy and eye-catching design that will cause someone to pause. Do this by using white space to your advantage as your organize your direct mail content. (Keep in mind that “white space” refers to any blank space on your postcard, not the color white). Ensuring you incorporate enough white space means your postcard won’t look cluttered or overwhelming.
This postcard example from Petco uses white space very effectively. The retailer utilized a tri-fold postcard, which allowed for additional content within the mailer.
- Include a can’t-refuse offer. The vast majority of people who receive your postcard are going to look at it; you just can’t say that about email. About 70-80% of Americans read their direct mail— most of them immediately. So, direct mail content isn’t the place for barely-there offers.
If you’re going to pay for postage and printing, and reach out to your customers in their own homes, you better make it count—like Boden did with this 50% off sale announcement. You need to give your customers something worth reading. You can do this by repurposing your best email offers for print; i.e., look at the performance data of previous online campaigns, and edit the best ones to test offline. Another winning strategy is to add a postcard as a closer to an email sequence, such as a cross-channel cart abandonment campaign where the marketing continues to get harder to refuse with each message.
- Write a cross-channel CTA. While the goal of direct response marketing is to send consumers targeted messages seeking specific responses (buy a product, subscribe now, etc.), your task is not that straightforward with modern direct mail. At Inkit, we find direct mail is an amazing offline tool to reinvigorate your online sales funnel. (In fact, direct mail and email work best together, according to a study by Go Inspire Group). In e-commerce, think of direct mail postcards as a means to connect with your online customers in the real world. Keep this in mind as one of your goals when you write your CTA. Craft a postcard call-to-action that drives consumers to take action on another channel, thus re-engaging with your brand and triggering additional online touchpoints. For example, you might send a postcard alerting customers of new loyalty points, driving them online to activate/redeem their new balance.
- Be smart about tracking. With direct mail automation, you can measure and track postcard marketing almost the same as what you’re doing online. Simply integrate Inkit’s direct mail software with your CRM, include smart tracking on your postcard, and watch the performance data funnel in. You have a variety of options to track postcard performance, depending on the nature of your direct mail content. If you’re marketing a promotion, the easiest way to isolate and track postcard performance is usually a distinct coupon code. But if your postcard isn’t aiming to convert sales, the CTA might use a QR code or direct customers to a special landing page or trackable URL. Or, your CTA might use an SMS code to request or view more information, like discounts or to opt into a contest or RSVP for an event.
Don’t Forget to Proof Your Marketing Postcard Content
If you’ve added the above 5 elements to your marketing postcards, there’s still one thing to do before you implement postcard triggers. Always, always, proof your postcards. Always. We recommend mailing yourself a copy of each piece so you can proof the direct mail content before sending it to anyone else. Start by looking for obvious mistakes in copy and reviewing imagery to make sure the print resolution looks good. Next, ask yourself:
- Does the overall flow of the direct mail content make sense? Is it easy to follow and quick to understand?
- Are there any design or copy elements that are confusing or unclear?
Finally, verify that the tracking works.
Once you feel good about the direct mail content, ask a colleague or another person to review it with a fresh set of eyes. They should be able to:
- Quickly identify the main point of the direct mail content.
- Answer whether the ad is appealing.
- Provide candid feedback.
Direct Mail Content is Never Perfect
So, now you’ve put your postcard together, proofed it and maybe even mailed it out. Hopefully you’ll meet or exceed your campaign goals. But, remember with direct mail automation, nothing is ever final. You should always strive for ongoing improvement, just like with your digital efforts. As data begins to flow in, look for ways to boost results even more. Consider testing design or copy elements to find better and better iterations of your direct mail content. Keep in mind that these a/b postcard tests will be viewed by real customers, so all versions should remain on-brand and cohesive with your online messaging.
If you’re ready to learn more about growing your business with modern direct mail marketing, sign up for a free demo now.