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. In part 4 we discussed social proof and storytelling behaviors to driver higher direct mail results. In part 5 we discussed how autonomy bias and the consistency principle can be used in direct mail to increase results. Now we will look at how information gap theory and authority principle can be used to increase direct mail response. By using these human behaviors, you can gain a competitive advantage and increase sales.
The information gap theory prompts people to take action through curiosity and a need to know. Marketers can use this theory to drive direct mail response. Basically, if there is a gap between what people know and what they want to know they will take action to close that gap. Did you know that when people satisfy their curiosity, their brain’s reward center is activated?
One thing to watch out for when using curiosity and the information gap is to provide what you promised. You don’t want to anger your prospects and customers by not giving them what they expected. Since humans crave the new and novel, you can add this to build extra curiosity in your direct mail. The word new immediately lets someone know that they need more information. This can make your product or service desirable.
How to add these elements to your direct mail:
- Start your headlines and teaser copy with the words who, what, where, when, why or how.
- Use superlatives such as worst, last, only, etc. Studies have found that using the negative ones work better.
- Use ellipses in your headline.
- Start off your copy with what is new.
- Use the word new.
- Create a quiz the gets people to test their knowledge
Now let’s look at the authority principle. People are conditioned to respect and respond to authority. Using this in your direct mail marketing can prompt automatic action. When the source of the information you are providing has authority, it is readily embraced and not questioned. Keep in mind that your authority figure, does not have to be a household name. Someone can be considered an authority based on where they work or the experience they have.
How to add authority to your direct mail:
- Use an authority figure in your industry to provide information on why people need to buy your product or service.
- Use images that imply authority.
- Use important titles in your return address.
- If your product or service has been featured in publications, make sure people know it.
- Awards and certifications should be mentioned also.
- Create copy that establishes you as an expert that they need to do business with.
- Use words such as expert, world-renowned, proven, time-tested, etc.
As you can see adding in both information gap curiosity and authority can really help to drive response to your direct mail campaigns. There are many ways to do this beyond the ones mentioned above. Get creative and have some fun with your direct mail. In our next article, we will discuss status quo bias and framing to get people to take the action you want them to.