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The Perfect Union - Direct Mail and Social Media

Seventy percent of people who receive a letter that is postmarked with their home address on the front consider it a more personal form of communication than online messaging. Although it is free to email message a prospect on line, direct mail letters will often see a significantly higher return than an email letter. The percentage of people who have read their direct mail right away has increased over the years. And, the purpose of direct mail has evolved over the same period of time. Direct mail can be an effective touch point for prospects that prompts them to respond quicker and become repeat customers more often. Direct mail can build a personal relationship with your customers, drive traffic to other marketing channels such as websites, social media and storefronts and it can create multiple calls to action in just one mail piece.

Direct mail is a great tool to connect your company with customers through multiple channels at the same time. The more interactions a customer has with your company across multiple channels, the greater their awareness and trust becomes. Branding of your company and products is extremely important and can play a major role in making your direct mail effective. And the branding starts with the envelope. A well branded envelope can make people open it right at the mailbox. A coordinated email arriving at the inbox on the same day as the paper letter can become an extension and a reinforcement of your brand. Each piece of direct mail that you send out should have a similar and well coordinated look and feel to the design of your website, emails, and social media pages. The subject line of your email should be the introductory door to the body of the mail just as the envelope is the welcoming door of the letter. Add a phrase and logo to the envelope and the subject line that calls the reader to open the letter for a specific reason. People are more likely to open your direct mail if you use color and graphics on the exterior.

Once an email or a letter has been opened, you need to grab their attention, and you need to do it quickly or both will find themselves in the trash. An often used “hook” to get people to open both of these types of mailers is to give them something that is shocking, a fact, a statistic, an offer. Hook the reader into your letter by starting with a startling fact or statistic. Start the letter, both email and paper, with a punch line instead of a standard introductory line. Start with an action move such as a question, a story or a compliment. Then, go right into the subject of the letter, the main purpose. The background information of your business and the details can wait for later in the body of the letter.

Keep in mind in both email letters and paper letters that people have a tendency to skim what they read first. They will save the in depth reading for later. Use visual elements such as data rich information and put them into small blocks of text to catch the eye. You will have a higher chance of getting your message across this way, by presenting the information in digestible snippets. Another trick is to write a postscript at the bottom of the letter that has the headline and the main point of the letter in one statement. The P.S. is the most read part of a direct mail letter! Remember to add the call to action in both an email and paper letter.

Connecting your paper letter with your email letter or your online marketing efforts can be done by starting a story in your direct mail that you follow up with online. Continue a story online in your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Pinterest social media pages. You can even do this on your website. Show the readers how to get to these other places so that they can read more and find out what happens next. Give an example of someone buying your product or service and having great success. Connect the reader to the possibilities of their own success if they will buy. Introduce the story in your paper letter and finish it online on social media pages and your website.

An exclusive offer is another way to provide recipients with value in your letter. Exclusives can be many things in a prospecting letter or email. Offer certain perks that drive online engagement such as the opportunity for personal training or to receive special news and updates. Offer an Ecalendar for certain services and for promotions and special events.

Testing you direct mail whether online or in paper, needs to be tested to see if it working. After you send your direct mail piece, test and track what works in order to learn from each type of letter. Test the effectiveness of certain copy and headlines by creating two pieces of direct mail that are identical except for the element you are testing. Distribute the two different pieces of mail to your sample groups and see how well the each performs against each other. Keep track of the response rate, the return to sender rate and the return on investment costs.