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DM Best Practices
 DM Best Practices

 DM Best Practices

Creative and Production

Designing and writing your Direct Mail piece

Now we come to the interesting part — preparing your own Direct Mail programme. Before you begin, please take into account the following important points:
The proposition
Analyze the market.
Find out what your competitors are doing. That way, you can be sure that you'll be saying something fresh and different.
2. The message
The message is the most important element in your Direct Mail promotion. It will significantly influence your customers’ responses. It is absolutely essential to create the right message for your Direct Mail campaign.
Work out your objective.
Work out what you want to say. Visualize your audience and determine how your product or service matches their needs.
Work out what the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your product or service is. Example: Are you selling a knife that can cut through steel, or glue that can pull a freight train? And if there isn't a USP, invent one — add a guarantee, or a service, or a product update, etc.
Make it conversational. And, keep it simple, short and friendly.
Stress the consumer benefits rather than the features of your product.
Focus on the recipient: use “you” more than “me”.
Don’t forget to create a compelling “call-to-action” so more customers will respond.
Make sure that you tell your customers how to order (accept your offer) and how to reply.
Keep it legal and honest.
3. Pricing and Offers
If your campaign is based on price, make sure it's an attractive one.
If you have a good offer, e.g. free gifts upon purchase, make it prominent.
If it's an exclusive offer, use phrases such as "One-time" or "Limited offer”.

What goes into a mailer?

Now let's discuss what a Direct Mail pack consists of. Basically, there are a few core elements. Let's take a look at them individually and see how we can make them work effectively.

Use standard-size, ready-made envelopes for cost efficiency.
Personalize your envelope - either a sticker on the front or a window where the name and address on the letter can be seen.
Allow mail-opening incentives shown through front and/or back windows.
Use a teaser line when you have a compelling offer. A teaser line has these advantages:
  1. It encourages the reader to find out more.
  2. It gives a hint of what's to come.
  3. It arouses interest.

Teaser Line Examples:

"10 ways to make more money."
"How to earn up to 10% interest for your time deposit."
"Exclusive privileges you deserve."
"The information you requested has arrived."
“You could have already won $1,000,000…”
"Imagine what would happen to your family if you were no longer able to work.” "The secrets to profitability - explained."

2. Letters
LETTERS SELL. The letter is the "heart" of the mailing. It does most of the "selling" and "persuading".
Make sure they are personalized. Personalized letters seem more special and get more attention. Remember, Direct Mail is all about being personal with your customers.
Select the right kind of paper. Cheap paper may look like a saving, but it's the kind of thing that people notice, and it can adversely affect their response.
Make it friendly and conversational - in most cases, except in an official corporate letter, letters should be written as if you are talking to a friend.
Use the right tone and manner for each different target group. Example: If your letter addresses students or teenagers, use a tone that is casual, friendly and employs simple words. If you are writing to a CEO or Managing Director, use a more formal tone and be professional without losing the friendliness.
Use highlights, e.g. headings, indents, bold and underlining.
Don’t forget to include a compelling “call-to-action” with time-sensitive reply incentives, so more customers will respond and reply more promptly.
Always use a P. S. at the end of the letter. The P.S. sums up the gist of your proposal and it is what most busy people will read first.
3. Brochures
BROCHURES TELL. A brochure gives you a chance to put in ALL the details of your products or services. An effective brochure should incorporate the following features:
Information must be organized in an easy-to-read structure.
Keep it concise and relevant.
Make sure the brochure is talking in the right way to the target market.
Emphasize the benefits to the customer.
Keep it simple. Don't confuse your message or bore your audience.
Always include a Hotline number. It will encourage your potential customers to make enquiries.
Make sure that the most important USP is presented in the front panel of the brochure. This is the first message to be presented to your customer when they open your mail and read the brochure.
4. Response Form
A return pre-paid envelope or postcard will increase response. It is a cheap and easy way to reply, and conveys an image of your organization as being customer friendly.
You may want to pre-print (personalize) your customer's name on the reply device, making it even easier for them to fill in and simpler for you to process their response.
To make it more convenient for your customer to respond, you could also consider using Hongkong Post Response Services. Options include Freepost, Business Reply Services and International Business Reply Service.
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