“Nobody reads direct mail!”

Direct Mail

We love direct mail. It’s cheap, easy to target and fast – qualities that are normally highly valued by budget-wise clients. However, we continue to hear – from both clients and prospects – that direct mail has no place in advertising and marketing programs.

The reasoning is almost always the same: “I don’t read direct mail and neither does anyone else!” Of course, this is partially true. Many people don’t read direct mail. But that is not the same as saying all people don’t read direct mail. A small percentage of the target audience does read – and respond to – direct mail. This is the gold you mine with direct mail.

Think about it. Your mailbox is jammed with direct mail because it works. No company spends on direct mail because they like spending on direct mail. They spend on direct mail because it produces results.

But wait. The battle with opponents of direct mail is not over. They may agree to do a letter, but they still cling to the “people don’t read direct mail” complaint. “Make the letter short,” they declare. “Don’t dare go past a single page.” Why? “Because nobody reads direct mail!”

At this point, we introduce a few facts. Longer letters pull more response than shorter letters. We know this from our own experience – and from the research done on direct mail. This does not mean your goal is to write long letters. Your goal is to gain a response by offering every good reason to respond. It’s crazy to delete reasons just because you want to keep a letter to one page.

Moreover, there are plenty of tricks that eliminate the need to read the entire letter. You can – and should – make your entire case in the first few paragraphs. You can put “call outs” in the middle of the letter to draw attention to your key selling point. Or you can drop in a graphic and put the key selling point in the caption (research shows captions get very high readership). And don’t forget about the old PS trick. Readers can’t resist reading the PS. Some will even read the PS first. That’s why we give careful attention to the message in the PS.

Do yourself a favor. Let the pros do your direct mail. The results can be spectacular, especially in business-to-business mailings, where a single mailing, produced at a cost of a single 48 cent stamp, can open the way for a $100,000 order.

Or… you can produce a glossy $100,000 brochure that generates no response. Sounds like a simple decision, but the sad truth is that many companies choose the $100,000 brochure.

Read Wolfgang's latest marketing blog.

Wolfgang Franke is President & Creative Director of Words at Work Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company established in 1988. Our growing list of valued clients are found throughout our local market, Markham and the Greater Toronto area, across Canada in cities such as London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and an expanding list of international locations ranging from The Big Apple in New York to Kanturk, Ireland.

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19 Lockridge Avenue, Unionville, Ontario, Canada L3R 7S6
Telephone: 905-940-6610     Toll-Free Outside Toronto: 1-877-940-6610

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