Direct mail is a very powerful marketing channel. Your response rates can accelerate when your direct mail strategy focuses on the brain of your prospects and customers. We can break the brain into three parts; New – processes data rationally, Middle – processes emotions; and Old – decides. Since the old brain makes the decisions, we want to focus our attention on that area. Your direct mail needs to reach the old brain to promote your desired decision to buy your product or service.
So, what is the old brain?
- Self-centered: it has no patience or empathy for anything that doesn’t immediately concern the wellbeing or survival. Your focus needs to be on what’s in your offer that benefits them.
- Contrast: easy decisions such as before/after, risky/safe, with/without or slow/fast. There is no confusion when there is contrast. Your focus needs to highlight how good it is with your product or service compared to not having it.
- Tangible: looks for the familiar and friendly, simple easy to grasp concrete ideas like more money, unbreakable, 24 hour turnaround, satisfaction guaranteed. Keep your message and offer simple.
- Beginning and end: short attention span means that the most important messages should be first and repeated last. This goes for letter copy as well as bullet points. Repeat the most important thing.
- Visual: the optical nerve is connected to the old brain and is 25 times faster than the auditory nerve. Visual is fast and effective, when we see a snake, we react right away. Use the power of direct mail with eye catching color, images, and copy.
- Emotion: emotion triggers a strong response in the old brain, they impact the way we process and memorize information. Just as nonprofits tug at heartstrings with stories of need, your direct mail needs to compel emotion.
When we are able to reach the old brain quickly with the right message, we are able to increase direct mail response rates. There is no hemming and hawing about the decision, it is made quickly and acted upon. The trick is to focus on the old brain as described above with our whole direct mail piece not just the copy. The color, layout, images and format all combined with the copy and offer must speak to the old brain. You do not want the logical new brain to start analyzing facts.
When you know your customers pain points, you can craft a message that concretely demonstrates how you can cure their pain. They may not even realize they have this pain until you show them how much better their life is with your product or service. Remember to provide an easy-to-understand contrast between life before your product or service and after.
If you are unsure of what pain to focus on you need to find out. There are generally three sources of pain:
- Financial – economics, easy to diagnose and measure
- Strategic – processes, not easy to find or measure
- Personal – emotions, hard to find and measure
Based on this you can talk to current customers about what they like about your product or service, how it has made their life better and what life was like before. You should find a general theme among them that you can use to extrapolate the actual driving purchase pain. Then you are ready to plan your direct mail strategy around that pain. Making purchase decisions easy is a great way to increase your direct mail response rates and drive sales. Are you ready to get started?