The other day a piece of mail with a stamp featuring a once very important business tool caught my eye…
The stamp, which featured a typewriter (remember those?) is one in a new series of commemorative stamps that focus on designers of Machine Age products, a style that emerged during the Depression.
The “Machine Age style” attracted customers with its futuristic materials such as aluminum, chrome and Bakelite (one of the first plastics made from synthetic components.)
Because it was meant for mass manufacturing, the designers opted for a more streamlined style instead of the then popular Art Deco style.
This made me think about how many businesses have been wooed by Internet marketing over direct mail marketing during recent years, much like consumers were wooed by the Machine Age products.
The thing is, unlike decorating styles where choosing multiple styles and using them together doesn’t often work well, using multiple “styles” when it comes to marketing actually works better.
Businesses that use only the Internet to promote their business lose out on marketing to consumers in a way that hits them in a more relaxed atmosphere and with much less competition.
You see as I’m sure you know, with Internet marketing you only have a few seconds to grab your prospect’s attention before they move onto something else. With direct mail, once your prospect starts reading your letter there are generally less distractions. Potential buyers are able to focus squarely on your marketing message at their own leisurely pace.
Plus with most companies no longer using direct mail, there is less competition for your prospect’s time and your letter is more likely to stand out and be read.
To increase your sales even more, here are eight tips you can use that can make a big difference in your results when using direct mail:
1) Put a stamp on it. Using a traditional stamp instead of the bulk indicia is proven to bump response. If you’re not convinced, do your own test. The next time you send out a mailing, send half out using stamps and the other half using the indicia. “Yes” it takes a little more time, but if it bumps up your open rate even half a percentage, it’s well worth it.
2) Make your stamp stand out. Use unique stamps such as the commemorative stamps or special issue stamps. It doesn’t cost you any more to use them and makes your mail look more personal. This has also shown to increase response. Again, you can do your own test using half first class stamps and half special issue stamps to see the difference for yourself.
3) Use bulk rate stamps vs. First Class stamps. If you mail bulk rate, use bulk rate stamps. It’s often difficult to tell the difference between a regular first class mail and bulk rate mail when it has a stamp on it. Plus, the post office sometimes confuses bulk rate stamps with first class stamps and delivers your mail as first class. This can help you save money while retaining a similar bump in response.
4) Include handwritten notes. Use handwriting on your envelope and in the margins of your letter. Handwritten notes give a personal feeling and help you draw attention to important points in your copy.
Some examples of short phrases and words that will work well include “free gift”, “save now”, and “limited-time special”.
5) Make your handwriting consistent. Make sure you use the same color pen, same handwriting, and same thickness of the pen when doing handwritten notes. This maintains consistency, making your message more believable and therefore increases your credibility.
6) Include a photo in your letter. Pictures consistently draw the attention of readers. Especially if it’s an interesting photo. Pictures are a great opportunity to draw attention to something you want your reader to know.
7) Caption every photo. Never include a photo without a caption. You want to capitalize on the fact that most everyone will look at your picture by including a caption that tells your reader important information, a benefit to using your product or service or a call to action. Be sure to include a caption even if it’s a picture you think your reader will recognize. For example, let’s say the picture is of you. You could include your name along with your offer by saying something like, “To celebrate the opening of his second location, Chef Tom Dorn is offering a free entre with the purchase of a second entre from now through September 7, 2012.”
8) Liberally use subheads. Subheads break up copy and make it easier for the reader to consume your message. Sometimes the reader will first scan your subheads to determine if they are going to read your letter. Treat them like mini-headlines and you will bump up the number of people who read your letter from start to finish.
If you’re not currently using mail in your marketing line-up, trying going “retro” and pull out the postage stamp for your next campaign. Using these eight tips will make a big difference and help you increase your marketing reach and boost your sales.
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