How to use social proof and storytelling to drive direct mail results

Credit: Pixabay by Pexels

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. In part 3 we discussed how to use scarcity and reciprocity to increase your direct mail sales. As well as exclusivity. Now we will discuss social proof and storytelling behaviors to driver higher direct mail results. By using these human behaviors, you can gain a competitive advantage and increase sales.

Did you know that when your prospects or customers are faced with a decision that they aren’t sure how to make, they will look to people like them to see what they have done? So, you want to show them that many other customers have already made a purchase and are happy. They don’t want to make the wrong choice, by choosing what others have done they make the safe choice. When you provide social proof, you reassure them that they are making the right choice.

Social proof is very powerful and is a hardwired human behavior. When people are uncertain, they assume that others know more than they do. As a result, it seems like a smart move to make the same choices others do. They don’t want to make the wrong choice.

How to add social proof to your direct mail:

  • Feature a customer testimonial. The best ones admit to being skeptical before the purchase, but extremely happy after.
  • Provide case studies.
  • Highlight the large number of customers you have.
  • Use words like: popular choice, best-selling, expected to sell out, most requested, or fastest-growing.
  • Encourage referrals.

Now, let’s look at storytelling. Stories are not only engaging, but they are processed in the brain differently than facts. People understand them better and remember more information when in a story format. Direct mail is a great way to tell a story. Your story should contain a human struggle that ends in Triumph. Stories work really well with skeptical people because people rarely argue with their own conclusions. Your story can drive them to conclude that purchasing from you is best.

As your prospects and customers are engaged with the emotions in your story, their brain is releasing dopamine and other hormones that provide pleasure, focus attention and promote trust. That is why stories work so well. Did you know that a fact wrapped in a story is 22 times more memorable? So how can you construct your story?

  • Start by grabbing attention.
  • Choose a subject that is interesting and compelling.
  • Be relatable and build connections.
  • Choose nouns and verbs that are powerful and help readers envision the action.
  • Write in an active voice.

There are many story options for direct mail. Here are a few suggestions on types of stories you can use.

  • A story to broach a difficult or delicate topic.
  • A story about the origin of your company.
  • A story about corporate responsibility.
  • A story about the use of your product or service.
  • A customer hero story where they used your product or service.
  • A differentiator story to beat the competition.
  • A story about your extraordinary customer service.

As you can see, social proof and story telling are powerful motivators of direct mail response. Use one or both in your next direct mail campaign to increase your direct mail results. In our next article, we will discuss how autonomy bias and the consistency principle can be used in direct mail to increase results.