How to use scarcity and reciprocity to increase your direct mail sales

Credit: Pixabay by Megan_Rexazin

In part 1 of this series, we discussed how to use emotion in direct mail to drive results. In part 2 we discussed using loss aversion to drive sales. Now we will discuss how to use scarcity and reciprocity to increase your direct mail sales. As well as exclusivity. By using these human behaviors, you can gain a competitive advantage and increase sales.

Behavioral scientists have discovered that scarcity increases desirability. That is why you see so many direct mail pieces with an offer that expires quickly or there are only a limited number left for purchase. Many marketers are currently using this to drive response.

Instead of just adding an expiration date consider using exclusivity too. People enjoy having access to perks, savings and experiences that other people do not. When you are able to make people feel that they are part of a select group they are more likely to purchase.

Ways to add exclusivity to your direct mail:

  • Provide a VIP code to them and ask them not to share it with anyone else.
  • Offer them access to specific web pages that not everyone can access.
  • Give them special discounts or free gifts.

By using both scarcity and exclusivity you drive up your response rates. You can also add reciprocity to pack an even bigger punch. People like to get things for free, and when they receive them, they feel indebted to whom they received the gift from. People do not like to owe other people. They must find a way to pay it back. Which means they will feel inclined to purchase from you.

The best part about this is that the gift item does not have to be large or expensive. You do want to make sure that it is useful, personal or enjoyable. They will be more inclined to do business with you because they have already benefited from the relationship. Some ideas to send are guides, reports, candy, calendars, door hangers, magnets, bookmarks, stickers and so on.

When sending the gift use a box or padded envelope. They are excited to see what is inside and will open packages first. You want to surprise them since this feeling intensifies our emotions by 400%! Do not use a large box if you are sending a small item. Once opened it will not meet the expectations the box size created, and your target will be disappointed.

Ways to add reciprocity to your direct mail:

  • Include special tips and tricks targeted to your audience.
  • Send them a newsletter with helpful information.
  • Provide them access to special helpful content on your website.
  • Send reminders so that they do not miss deadlines.
  • Offer free samples, trials, or gifts.

Use the give to get motto before you send your scarcity and exclusivity direct mail. You want to prime them for your offer by first sending them a gift. If you want to differentiate your company from your competition, use phrases like unlike other companies, not typically available or difficult to obtain.

Remember that add all three of these elements to your direct mail will prompt a quick response to your offer. Your goal is to make people feel they owe you; they are time pressed and special. In our next article, we will discuss social proof and storytelling behaviors to driver higher direct mail results.