Direct Mail that Gets Attention

by David Frey

Recently I heard another marketer say that "attention" is the most valuable commodity you can buy in marketing.

It's true.

If you don't have someone's attention, you'll never be able to deliver your message.

Capturing the attention of your prospect is the first challenge of advertising.

That's Why I Always Get Questions Like These...

...from small business owners.

  • Do I send them a simple 4" x 6" postcard?

  • Should I send a letter in an 8.5" x 11" enveloped?

  • How about sending a letter with a "grabber" attached to it...like a little magnifying glass or something?

  • What if I sent my letter in a tube or a FedEx box?

These are all valid questions, but they all go back to main question, which is, "Just how much attention do you want to capture and how much are you willing to pay for it?"

Actually, the question should be, "How much are you able to pay for capturing your prospect's attention?"



If you have a high dollar product that has a big margin or you're selling a continuity product or service, then most likely, the lifetime value of your customer is relatively high, which will allow you to spend more to capture your prospect's attention.

I Was Reminded of This Recently When I Received a Direct Mail Letter from a Local Auto Dealership

Auto dealerships spend a LOT of money on advertising.

In fact, I don't have the statistics to prove it but I would venture to say that the auto industry spends more on advertising than any other industry in the world.

Auto manufacturers and local dealerships alike spend a lot of money on advertising.

I was reminded of this the other day when I received a direct mail package from a local dealership.

It came in a very official looking envelope.

And by the way, the two types of envelopes that get opened the most are....

1. A personal white envelope with no teaser copy.

and....

2. Official looking envelopes.

Well, this mailer came with an official looking envelope, but inside was a flyer / letter / brochure (I'm not sure what to call it) that blew me away.

It was HUGE and it had extremely bright colors and words using massive fonts.

Here's what it looked like:

This photo doesn't really do it justice.

It was very attention getting. You couldn't help but take time to read it. If I had been in the market for an automobile I would have read it over and over again.

And Here's Another Example of a Mailer That Captured My Full Attention...

You marketers out there know that every year the "Caples Award" is given out to the top direct marketing creatives.

So if you were in charge of the Caples Awards, what would you send to your market?

It would have to be very good, considering that you're running the Caples Awards.

Well, being the President of a marketing company, each year I get an invitation to solicit advertising to the Caples Awards competition.

So this year they sent me a letter that did not disappoint.

It DID INDEED get my attention.

Here's a photo of the letter...

Look at how huge it is.

Look at how large the headline is.

It was truly Caples Award worthy...it really captured my attention.

But Is the Incremental Cost of Sending a Huge Poster / Letter Worth It?

Well, that's a good question. It still goes back to the question of the lifetime value of your customer.

The higher the value of your customer, the more you can spend to get a new customer.

In many cases, you've already paid the heavy cost of postage, so why not put something in there that you know for a fact will get their attention?

With that said, don't forget who you're writing to and what they respond to.

Auto dealerships are known for "in-your-face" marketing and so it's expected.

Your market might be different.

About the Author:
David Frey is President of Marketing Best Practices Inc., a small business marketing consulting firm and the editor of the Marketing Best Practices Newsletter. 
 
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