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An Essential Direct Mail Checklist. Does Your Direct Mail Check the Boxes?—Rules 4-6

Marcus Johnson

Continuing our review of the nine questions that should guide every direct mail user— courtesy of Paul McQuillan and an unnamed marketing seminar speaker. Paul turned that seminar encounter into a helpful direct mail checklist and wrote a piece for  Target Marketing a few years ago. Let’s move on to questions four through six.

All nine questions fall under the heading of “direct mail best practices.” You may be a little tired of hearing that term. But until a better one comes along, it remains the guiding light for those of us in the direct mail business who daily encounter direct marketing packages that don’t come close to that standard. And the reason we apply best practices to direct mail especially is because they typically improve performance, sometimes in multiple categories.

As a reminder, every piece of direct mail you create needs to be able to satisfactorily answer every one of the questions we are addressing. If you missed the first installment of this series, it can be found here. At a minimum, these questions will help you elevate your direct mail game; and they could even make consistent winners out of your direct mail campaigns.

Question Four: Who are my ideal customers?

You may already have this information supplied to you in some audience analysis. (That’s the case here at IWCO Direct where our direct mail is data-driven.) In fact, you may have several audiences, requiring multiple versions of a letter to address discrete interests and/or needs. The key is to talk to that audience about their particular wants, needs, or concerns—and be specific. That’s why direct mail is such a powerful marketing tool; it’s personal and enables you to move away from a broadcast message and into “here’s what’s in it for you, Jane Doe.”

Question Five: Why trust me?

If you’re fortunate enough to be well-known with a strong brand and wide name recognition, your job here might be a little easier. But whether you’re well-established or the new kid on the block, you still have to make the case. What’s your experience? What are your credentials? What makes you an expert or why should you be chosen over others? For an extra shot of credibility, another direct mail best practice is to use testimonials from customers whenever possible.

Question Six: Who are my competitors and how am I different from them?

In this case, different equals better. Cite (chapter and verse, if it helps you make your case) the advantages of choosing your product or service: lower price, better value, guaranteed results, length of time in business, above-and-beyond service, certifications or endorsements from respected regulators or past customers, etc., etc.

Want to get better at direct mail faster? Consult the pros at IWCO Direct

Come back next Wednesday when we’ll share the final three direct mail best practices. We’ll also include a downloadable version of the checklist with all nine questions.

We’ve been polishing our direct mail skills for years. So if you can’t wait to elevate your direct mail game, come to the pros. IWCO Direct can get you on the fast track to smart, data-driven, performance-tested direct mail. Contact us.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2020/07/17/essential-direct-mail-best-practices/
Marcus Johnson


Marcus Johnson

Marcus is a Senior Writer who blends creative writing and idea generation to bring copy to life for leading financial services organizations, professional sports teams, healthcare, and outdoor brands. The question this University of Minnesota graduate and former winner of the Best in Show from the National AgriMarketing Association loves to ask is, “How can I help?” When he’s not pounding out copy, he loves doing yard work, especially leaf blowing. In sports, Marcus cheers for the Humboldt Broncos, the Canadian hockey team that lost 10 players in a 2017 bus crash.

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