As we all adapt to a new normal, working from home or with only limited time in the office, how we communicate has become increasingly important. Clients and customers will be even more bombarded by messaging over the internet. It could be that the specific way of catching and holding the attention of your audience is with a traditional type of post. As with any communication, every choice you make adds to your brand. Here we offer a guide to how to perfect your mailing strategy to make the most of the post.
The reason to choose the paper mail
What used to be old school has now become something of a novelty. Sending an email to a client has many benefits, not lease pinging in her pocket or on her screen instantly. However, now we are limited in our face to face contact and screen time has become something of a bind, you need to find a new route through.
The use of snail mail may be slow, but it has the impact of delivery. Your client will need to actively interact with the messaging – and if you get the labelling on the envelope right – from the moment they pick it up from the mat. You can never be as sure of delivery of your message with an email, as you can with the use of a postal service.
It is also a tangible connection with another person and shows that you have taken time and effort to communicate. Everyone knows sending an email is cost-effective and quick – but it is the difference between a drive-thru burger and sitting down to dine on a steak.
Five steps to perfecting your strategy
There are some essential steps to ensuring your mailing strategy is perfect. Get this right, and you will find your use of direct mail will offer a fantastic return on the investment.
Know your recipient
Any form of marketing and direct communication begins by defining your audience. The mail you send to a client with formal and maybe even legal documentation will be different from those sent to invite the beginnings of a relationship.
As with you email campaigns, be sure to segment your audience and to have a clearly defined strategy for each. The recipient will affect your choice of headed paper, your choice of an envelope, down to how you choose to write the address on the envelope. Some customers will value discretion and confidentiality – so your envelope will be mooted and will not give much away about the content. Some clients need instant communication of the sender – so a more branded design is appropriate.
Brand your letterhead and envelope
Although few people will be using mail now and your messaging will be a novelty, you may still need to stand out on a desk. You want the design of your envelope and address label to catch the attention of the reader. You should be creative with your designs – and consider different shapes, sizes, layouts – for different messaging and campaigns. A simple design with a plain envelope, a logo and private and confidential printed might be one end of your spectrum. At the other end, a full colour, photographic image of your essential product or service right there on the envelope. There may never be a need for the reader to open the letter to get some messaging from your company.
One of the significant justifications for using mail is the personal touch. This is a letter from you directly to your client. It is 1:1 communication. Therefore, you need to make that message bespoke. You should use the client’s name – and not just in the salutation. You might also want to personalise the message based on purchase history and where they are in the country.
As with any marketing communication, you need to use persuasive language. As with emails, you need an emotive subject line, a compelling story, and then a definite and clear call to action. You have a little more time in a letter to go into detail about your product and service. However, think about the psychological effect on the customer of going onto a second page. Dense paragraphs could also be daunting.
Consequently, make good use of bullet points and get straight to the point. You want to use clear English, free of jargon and overly complicated and technical points. You should consider highlighting key messages that can capture the essence of the letter without the need for close reading. Give your reader the option of skim reading – and your letter will be a success even if not fully digested.
The reader will rightly perceive that a letter constitutes special messaging. In other words, there is a specific reason why mail is the right messaging tool. If all you are doing is advertising a service, you could be perceived as spam. Therefore, your reason for writing needs to come with added value – is there a deal, discount or voucher you need to share? Is the letter an invitation to a future event and will act as proof of the special status of the client?
What you choose to offer to add this value will depend on your audience segmentation and your purpose for writing. Be aware that you need to protect your reputation and credibility with your reader by using mail at the right time, with the right message – making it worth their time and attention.
Writing a letter might feel like a throwback to another time – but we are at a unique moment where people are looking for reassurance and new modes of connecting. Although no marketing strategy should be taken in isolation, sending out letters should be a part of yours. It could easily complement your email communication or your social media campaigns. Plus, with the right envelope and labelling, you can land on the mat of your customer and into their consciousness.
Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has previous experience as a website editor and writer. She currently works with Loadzalabels.