We’ve come to the final three (of nine) questions that every direct mail producer should ask before, during, and after you create a direct mail package. Reminder: these questions come courtesy of Paul McQuillan, who turned his experience at a marketing seminar into a piece for Target Marketing. His article appeared a few years ago. But the questions are as relevant today as ever.
The questions matter because they go to best practices. Yes, that’s a tired phrase. So call it by another term: “the right way to do things.” What we all need to remember is that without some truly solid guiding principles for creating a direct mail package, we’re rudderless. And the result can be (and often is) direct mail packages that fail on a number of levels to accomplish their putative purpose.
Every piece of direct mail you create needs to be able to clearly answer the following questions (in addition to the preceding six, which can be found here and here). And if following these guidelines makes consistent winners out of your direct mail packages, then I’d say you’re being amply rewarded for investing some time in these articles. And now, on to questions seven, eight and nine.
Question Seven: Why would (a prospect) say no?
Ah, objections. Your direct mail package may stand or fall on the strength of your ability to anticipate objections your audience might raise. Some examples: The price is too high. Doesn’t sound believable. Not sure I trust you.. The more objections you can overcome up front, the better your chances of getting a response, and maybe even closing a sale.
Question Eight: What is the goal of my ad (or direct mail package)?
Be clearheaded about this, above all. It will guide your persuasive argument, your selling points, and your call to action. Your direct mail package may have a number of purposes: educate, entertain, alert, inform, sell. Maybe you have an interim goal, e.g. creating a sales funnel where prospects opt in to a monthly email or newsletter. In any case, test drive your direct mail package with other (knowledgeable) people in your organization to see if you have succeeded in making clear your purpose.
Question Nine: How do you want people to take action?
Regular readers will not be surprised at this question. We’ve discussed calls to action in previous blogs. The simple premise is you don’t go to all the hard work of answering the Nine Questions and then forget to tell your reader what you want them to do.
And yet. Time and again, I see direct mail packages that hide, bury or omit a call to action (which should be repeated at least twice in a “you can’t miss it” place). So, although I’m repeating myself, remember to tell your audience to call, visit a website, submit an email address, connect, scan, etc. If you can add a deadline or urgency message, so much the better. And, if you can connect your CTA to a possible loss of something (missing your chance to get better, stronger, richer, smarter), you might even get nominated for some obscure industry award. Count to nine and don’t let it go to your head.
Want to get better at direct mail faster? Consult the pros at IWCO Direct
We’ve been polishing our direct mail skills for years. So if you can’t wait to raise 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, and be sure to click here to get your copy of this Nine-Point Direct Mail Checklist.
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