4 powerful tips for direct mail 2023

1.      The packaging should stand out

You could have a beautifully crafted message in your direct mail letters, but if it’s not going to be opened, then it won’t be seen. You must make the recipient want to open the letter or package.

Some ideas:

  • Handwrite the address so they can feel it’s not “automated”
  • Use a different color envelope than white (I like to use bright green or pink)
  • The envelope could have testimonials on it
  • The offer could be stated on the envelope (I get offers from banks all the time and I know if I should open it or not before I do. It’ll say “$300 bonus for new checking account”)
  •  The envelope could have a different texture than standard envelopes
  • The envelope could have a clear part, showing them part of the letter (or maybe just the headline)
  • Stickers or fridge magnets on the front they could take for free (using the psychological rule of reciprocity– increasing the chances of them opening)

2.      Stroke the recipient’s ego

We all want to be told we’re good-looking, smart, and witty. That we’re one-of-a-kind.

If you’re targeting single women, maybe you could say something like:

Dear. Ms. Smith,

You deserve a partner that is as ambitious as you. You shouldn’t settle…

If you’re targeting boomers who are soon-to-retire, maybe you could say:

Dear. Mr. Jones,

You’ve worked so hard to get to this point. It’s only the smart people who are able to retire before 65…

3.      Tell a story

Storytelling is the most underrated tool in marketing. When starting with a story, people can’t help but want to know what happens next.

Reservation Animal Rescue once sent me a letter (with a picture of the dog):

“Ralphie was a very sick puppy when he was brought to my vet clinic…”

I want to know more about that poor puppy. They hooked me.

4.      Give yourself authority & make it personal

For B2B direct mail campaigns, when the recipient sees the letter is coming from the “President” (Or “CEO” “Director” “Vice President”) of the company, they’re more likely to read it. People like dealing directly with the person in charge. And people feel special when it’s from someone important.

Examples you may have seen before:

  • Personal message from the President
  • Dear Kyle: I value your opinion as our customer. As President of…
  • I’m writing to you personally, Martha…

Even for larger corporations, direct mail is often signed at the bottom, by the CEO.

I always receive emails from Delta Airlines and most of them feel like the CEO is writing to me directly.

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