Did you know that direct mail is considered by recipients to be the most trustworthy of all marketing channels? How honest are you? It is extremely important to create copy, calls to action and offers with complete honesty and transparency. This is not the time for a bait and switch or a poorly worded offer that is interpreted wrong. Direct mail is about respect; not only the recipient’s intelligence but also their time. Creating targeted offers they want to receive not only gets you better results, but also makes your prospects and customers happy. I like the quote by James E. Faust “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living and truth loving”. Can your customers and prospects count on your direct mail pieces to be honest with them?
Over the last 28 years I have seen a lot of bad direct mail. Many times it is poorly written ambiguous copy. Long winded and confusing information does not make good direct mail. Short and concise is the key. Albert Einstein said “If you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, you don’t understand it yourself”. We can apply that quote to direct mail copy.
Direct mail copy should be:
- Simple: KISS is the best way to get your message across.
- Direct: Tell them what you want them to do, don’t beat around the bush.
- Honest: Use language that is accurate and up front.
- Concise: Find a way to say what you mean with as little words as possible.
Your brand is everything. Make sure that your direct mail is not conflicting with your brand, either by design or copy. This creates confusion and mistrust for recipients. When your customers and prospects can clearly understand and see the value of your targeted offer you increase your ROI as well as continue to build trust.
In order to create an honest and trustworthy image with your direct mail, there are some words you should avoid using as they can be seen as not entirely true. Companies that put misleading language on their direct mail may get away with it for a little while, but customers and prospects will soon figure it out.
Here are a couple of examples of misleading words:
- Virtually: This word is just telling people that it is not really true.
- Fortified: Stick to what is real, do not embellish with words like this.
Embellishment for the sake of marketing is a really bad idea. Stay away from the grey areas and focus instead on a few of the really great things about your product or service. Testimonials are great! However, be aware of testimonials that are vague or overstate the benefits too much. Misleading recipients with bad testimonials still fails to support your brand. Make the right choices on who should be included on your direct mail pieces.
When you truly respect the people you are mailing to, they know it. Providing them with quality offers that interest them is the only way your direct mail provides you with long term ROI. Direct mail is building relationships with people. Therefore, treat your customers and prospects like the people they are, not a number on an ROI chart. Sometimes we forget what we are truly doing with direct mail as we get bogged down in the day to day numbers. People are not numbers, when you start treating them as though they are, you lose. Take a look at your last few direct mail campaigns with a fresh lens. Are you ready to get started?
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