How many times have I heard from business owners that “direct mail doesn’t work.” Of course what I know is that most business owners don’t know how to move a prospect to take action. They simply look at the mail they have received, recreate a watered down version of an already poor ad, and mail it out with no success. The fault of the piece not working has nothing to do with the medium and everything to do with the message and market.
More than any other type of mail I send, I send “lumpy” mail. Mail that has a unique property to it as to get it opened and read. Bank bags mailed with address and stamp on the outside and message on the inside; pill bottles with message inside and stamps on the outside; giant plastic balls with message written on the back and stamp and recipient written on the front… All cost more than a postcard. All make me more than a postcard. (I live by the creed that I never skimp on advertising. Never.)
While searching out another great marketing piece to swipe and add to my own collection, I came across a mail piece with a horrible message, but a great idea.
To promote Sweden’s Zombie Film Festival, a mail piece was sent out with holes drilled through the envelope and fold out poster. When opened the poster has a picture of a zombie with the headline “Don’t Panic. Aim For The Head.” (There were no holes in the head.)
If you received an envelope with holes through it, you are going to open it and see what it is all about. That isn’t the type of mail piece you are going to throw away without opening
The fatal flaw with this mail piece is that there is no call to action. There is no urgency to go online or call and purchase tickets to the festival. The mail piece succeeds in getting opened, but does not finish the task which is to bring in a profit. (Also, there is no way for this mail piece to be tracked to see if it was profitable.)
It is a great concept that I plan to swipe and use in other industries. An example is to take the idea of a mail piece with holes through it and write a message that points out your current retirement plan has holes through it and is leaking. Time to plug the holes with ________ (fill in the blank: an annuity, a mutual fund from xyz, a financial plan from abc, etc.) My client that sells plans for do-it-yourself boat builders could use this concept showing that plans other than theirs can have holes (implying that you will then also have holes in your boat.) Way cool!
Point is, direct mail can be a powerful tool—when it is used correctly!