Do you remember the last direct mailer you received? Perhaps not, but there will be some direct mail campaigns you do remember well. Have you ever thought about why you can recall them with ease? Creating direct mail campaigns that stand out is usually a big step towards success. Here are some of the approaches and strategies you could use to make sure your campaign makes an impact.
Innovative Direct Mail Design
Perhaps one of the most obvious places to start is the design of your direct mail. But it can take a lot of creativity to make your direct mail design stand out from the crowd. Coming up with new and innovative direct mail design ideas isn’t easy.
The Kit Kat chunky campaign from 2011 demonstrated the ideal example of a creative direct mail design. We’ve talked about this one before, but it’s just that good! It wasn’t the most beautiful design in the world; in fact it was very simple. The mailer was designed to look just like the card Royal Mail leave to let people know that they couldn’t deliver their parcel. Immediately they had their audience’s attention as parcels tend to be exciting mail that people are either waiting for or intrigued about receiving. Upon reading the card, it explained that the Kit Kat was too chunky to fit through their letterbox. To avoid disappointment, the mailer offered a free Kit Kat chunky which could be collected from a store using the card. You can read more about the Kit Kat chunky campaign here.
This just goes to show that the best direct mail design doesn’t have to be the most stunning. Getting the design right for your campaign takes creative thinking and great execution. You might come across a fantastic idea yourself but if not, don’t panic. You can always work with a creative agency who will help to generate ideas. Agency professionals will have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t, as well as using some processes that help interesting ideas to flow.
Sensory Direct Mail
When working on direct mail, the primary focus tends to be on what the recipient will see. What will our mailer look like, what will the recipients read or view? By considering other senses, you might just create something that sets your direct mail apart. Why not think about touch, smell or sound? Something really tactile could leave a lasting impression, as could something that takes people by surprise with a smell or a sound.
A scent was used effectively by Canadian company Bulk Cat Litter Warehouse to promote their product…to cats! Their mailer was infused with catnip so when it fell through the letterbox, cats went crazy! This drew the attention of their owners and was sure to get the mailer noticed. A very clever way to get the campaign to stand out. You can read more about this campaign here and even see some reactions from the cats themselves. Go on, we know you can’t resist taking a look!
Another clever use of sensory direct mail came from high-end German cookbook publisher Gerstenberg. They mailed a cookbook made from fresh pasta sheets which was embossed with a recipe. This campaign incorporated taste, sight, smell and touch to really make an impact to bookstore purchasers. Read more about the campaign here.
Emotional Direct Mail
The messaging you use in your direct mail piece is important. It can be persuasive, exciting or fun. But one of the most powerful ways to make your direct mail messaging count is to make it emotional. Copywriting that appeals to the emotions immediately produces a response in people which forces them to engage with your mailer immediately. It’s also more likely to evoke a physical response and to be memorable. Powerful images can work in a similar way.
A US-based medical start-up company called Heal used very happy and comforting imagery to evoke pleasant emotions about the idea of a doctor visiting at home and helping us feel better. When feeling under the weather and needing a pick-me-up, this imagery is likely to be recalled, leading the prospect to consider using the service. Read more about the campaign here.
On the flip side, the Dog’s Trust played on emotions to encourage donations by sending out a Valentine’s card that encouraged prospects to emotionally connect with a lonely dog. The card called for someone to be his ‘Valentine’ as he had been left without a home when his owner died. This emotional hook really put the plight of these dogs into perspective and encouraged responses to the campaign. You can read more about it here.
Lumpy Direct Mail
Another simple yet effective way to get your direct mail campaign noticed is to use a lumpy mail strategy. Lumpy mail is essentially anything that is a size or shape that stands out and cannot be missed. For example, a box, package or large card. This is perhaps the most literal translation of making your mail stand out, as it will look different to run of the mill letters or mailers and will therefore command attention.
This approach is very effective but is best used for smaller, more selective mailing campaigns (it can be expensive!). If you mail something really thoughtful, fun or useful then your lumpy mail will make a good impression. But this relies on effective targeting and smart use of budget.
On the premise of making an impact to a small, select group of prospects, Land Rover sent 100 customers a helium balloon in a box to celebrate (and draw attention to) the opening of their new dealership in Liverpool. Details were attached to the balloon, so they popped out when the box was opened. This was an idea that certainly couldn’t be ignored! Read more about the campaign here.
So How Should I Choose My Approach?
The ideas above can be used in a whole variety of ways to add impact to your campaign. However, certain options do lend themselves to certain circumstances.
If you’re working with a limited budget, using innovative design tweaks and emotional copy might be the answer. Where your audience is limited, or your budget is large, sensory or lumpy mail could be the winner. Sensory approaches might sit well with your brand if you sell food, drink or tactile products. Emotional direct mail often works well for charities, whereas innovative design would lend itself to quirky products or services. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your next direct mail campaign stands out from the crowd.