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Increase Direct Mail Read Rates & Responses Will Follow

By Fred Hernandez, Director of Marketing, Modern Postcard

Customers often ask us, “How do I increase my response rate?” While there are a number of factors to consider that are unique to each customer such as messaging, offer and targeting, one thing that we can recommend across the board is to increase your read rate and your responses will also increase as a result. What do we mean by that?

It’s simple, really. For someone to respond to your direct mail piece, they have to read it first. Miss that simple yet crucial element, and well, let’s just say there’s not much we can do for you.

Most people sort their mail into two distinct piles before they get down the business of actually reading. There’s the read pile and the recycle immediately pile. Guess which pile you’re shooting for? Here are a few tips to get your mailer into the right pile:

Size matters. We tout our larger Deluxe and Sumo Size postcards because of the added real estate they give you for more information and graphics. Another key benefit to going with the bigger cards is that they stand out in a pile of mail. Think about what would get your attention when sorting through a stack of basic white, letter-sized envelopes. Obviously the information on the card needs to connect with the recipient, but don’t underestimate the power of the initial impression an oversized postcard makes right out of the mailbox. The same can be said for folded pieces with additional panels; the more impact your initial presentation has, the more likely it will make it to the read pile.

Familiarity and relevance create a personal connection. Direct mail with a personal touch has the ability to connect with recipients on an emotional level. Research studies show that personalization, using digital variable data printing to include a recipient’s name, business name or relevant data on each piece, increases engagement and response. Why? Because people naturally like seeing their name in print. Another cool element that adds a personal touch is using handwriting fonts in your creative to make the piece appear less formal and more like personal communication.

Don’t forget about your brand. Every year, USPS research shows that the people most likely to respond to your direct mail are those that have done business with you before or are familiar with your brand. Don’t minimize your brand; leverage your brand power by ensuring consistent branding on all your direct mail pieces – colors, fonts, logo placement, etc. Every piece you send should look like it came from the same company. When someone receives your card, they should instantly recognize your brand.

Utilize both sides of your mailer. Some tend to think of mailers as having two distinct sides: the front where the message goes and the back where the address goes. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can’t do more with the address side. One thing that is always true about postcards and self-mailers is that they arrive flat and you don’t know which side will be read first – or if the other side will be read at all. Repeat the most compelling parts of your message and offer on both sides. One of the key tenets of good direct marketing is redundancy. Reinforcing a strong message is never a bad thing, especially when it protects against a recipient only reading one side and never getting to the “good stuff.”

Fred Hernandez, Director of Marketing, has over 15 years of experience leading the marketing efforts of companies in the retail, hospitality, high-tech and manufacturing industries. An avid marketer, Fred often lends his expertise to clients, assisting in the development and creation of their own marketing programs.

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Modern Postcard’s project submission and tracking tools, staff responsiveness and quality of the final product all exceeded our expectations. And the timeline was significantly shorter than if we had kept the project in-house.
Dilpreet Jammu
CEO, Convergent Communication Technologies