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6 Direct Mail Messaging Strategies That Work

Direct mail messaging strategies work when they're simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and filled with emotion and stories. Here's how to create them.

The best direct mail marketing is able to communicate your message in a way that is understood, remembered and acted upon. Are your direct mail results as good as you expect them to be? In many cases they are not; and your direct mail messaging strategy could be the problem. So, how can you improve your message to increase your results?


1) Simple: This is not to say use the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" method, but to refine your headline message even more. To create a sentence that is both simple and profound. You want your headline to grab people and require them to read more.

2) Unexpected: Do the unexpected in your messaging. The message needs to generate interest and curiosity in order to resonate and drive response.

3) Concrete: Many times, direct mail messaging is ambiguous; this leads to poor response rates. You need clear concrete language to ensure that your message means the same thing to everyone.

4) Credible: Your brand can help with your credibility, but so can enlisting customers to create testimonials that you can use in your marketing messaging. In order for people to respond to your mail pieces, they need to trust you and the product or service they are buying. Money-back guarantees or free trials work well, too.

5) Emotion: In order to get people to respond you need to draw on their emotions. Nonprofits are great at this, but most other businesses could use some help. Humans are wired to feel for other people; when you can harness this effectively, you increase responses. There are many emotions you can tap into: anger, empathy and happiness are the most common emotions businesses try to elicit.

6) Stories: People are drawn to stories. The best messaging is captured within stories. Are you currently formulating your messaging around stories, or are you just listing the facts and statistics on why people should buy from you? No one buys facts. They buy benefits that are communicated well through stories.

These six ideas in combination can help you create a strategy for better direct mail messaging to increase your response rates. One common messaging problem that organizations run into is that they have much more knowledge about their product or service than the people they are trying to sell to. This perspective can make it difficult to communicate effectively with prospects. You do not know what they know.

To combat this problem, you can use people outside of your organization to see what they think of your messaging. This can come in the form of an advisory group, an organization or a few select customers and prospects that you use as a focus group. There is a ton of knowledge that can be gained by doing this. In many cases, you will find that what you thought was a great message did not resonate or confused people. It’s better to learn that before you mail, than after the fact.

Your messaging strategy is extremely important; it can make or break your direct mail campaigns. Spend at least as much time on constructing your messaging as you spend on design. In many cases, effective message creation takes longer than design. Are you ready to create direct mail messaging that is understood, remembered and acted upon?

By Summer Gould

A blog about Direct Mail Marketing, tips, tricks and what not to do. Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 27 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. You can find her at Eye/Comm Inc’s website:, email:, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.

Credit: Pixabay by TeroVesalainen

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