5 Tips to Grab Attention with Direct Mail

June 12, 2018
Rachel Wedlund

Direct mail continues to outperform just about every digital channel combined, but that doesn’t mean you can just throw a quick postcard together and expect results. The harsh reality is that much of the direct mail sent today qualifies as “junk mail,” spending more time in recycling bins than in front of consumer’s eyes.
The upside: the median return on investment for direct mail is 29%. And we’ve seen our clients at Inkit beat that with the right marketing knowledge and tools. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for direct mail tips that will help your campaign bring in results. Here are 5 smart tactics for sending direct mail that grabs attention.

5 Direct Mail Tips to Make Marketing Postcards Stick

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1. Use graphics. The human brain processes graphics much more quickly than text, and you’ve only got about 8 seconds to grab your reader’s attention. Make use of that time by conveying your message through images. When choosing imagery, stick with graphics that allow a consistent brand experience offline and off, and spark curiosity. Pro tip: Stock images are boring and overused, and savvy consumers may tune them out entirely. Get creative with unique images, but avoid overwhelming your customer. Strive for no more than two to three images per postcard. Click here for additional tips on designing modern postcards.

2. Personalize direct mail pieces. Are you more likely to read a postcard that says “Dear Current Resident” or “Hey [your name]”? Probably the latter. Personalization creates a sense of familiarity and thus increases a customer’s inclination to read your mail. And when it comes to personalizing postcards, you can do a lot more than just insert a customer’s name. The sky is truly the limit as long as you’ve got the data. For example, NatureBox personalized postcards with each customer’s unique rewards’ balance.

Sailthru postcard personalization

3. Keep it relevant. My household just received a postcard from Saint Paul College advertising degree programs. It’s a great postcard. Bold text. Eye-catching photos. Beautiful layout. There’s just one problem: my household consists of two college-degree holders and a baby. We’re not the right audience—at least not for another 18 years. (While direct mail has staying power, it’s not quite that much). Saint Paul College wasted this postcard on us. Mailing a poorly defined segment can significantly reduce your ROI. Use your CRM to create and target specific audiences based on demographics and behaviors before mailing postcards. If you use Inkit alongside one of our CRM integrations, you can even automate direct mail by adding postcard triggers to your workflows.

4. Consider the medium. Here at Inkit, we specialize in digitally-driven postcard marketing, so we’re obviously fans of postcards vs. direct mail delivered in envelopes. Postcards remove friction, getting your message in front of the customer even if only for an instant while they’re bringing in the mail. (Some envelopes are torn in half, still unopened, the moment a recipient suspects “junk mail”. You never even had a chance!) The Direct Marketing Association backs us up on this, reporting that postcards garner an average response rate of 5.7% while letters come in at 4.3%. However, you should consider all direct mail formats when deciding which is the best fit for your campaign.

5. Use color wisely. While your postcard headlines and body copy matter, the colors you choose matter even more. Many consumers will subconsciously scan your postcard as soon as they grab it from the mailbox, before choosing whether to read it. A good general design rule is to choose one or two main colors (often matching your branding, but not always), and one or two supporting colors based on the feelings they elicit. For example, red has long been said to inspire hunger while orange calls attention, making it a great choice for calls to action.
What other direct mail tips have you tried to grab attention? Let us know in the comments.

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