An announcement shares news – an equipment purchase, an award won, maybe a new CEO or a move to a bigger facility. These are typical examples of news you’d cover in a release. They also fit nicely into a newsletter or can be sent in an email that identifies the content as news.
A direct mail piece intended to help market a service or product can’t be just a news item. You can’t simply excerpt bits of a news release, package it as a postcard or brochure, and mail it to prospects with the expectation you’ll get business from it. The copy has to change.
Ideally, an effective direct marketing piece gets inside the head of a potential customer before the copy’s written. Its message addresses one key point from the recipient’s perspective: why should I care?
Numerous times a year I receive colorful postcards from a local trade printer – Braintree Printing in Braintree, MA. Sometimes they send a 5 x 8” postcard. Sometimes, it’s 6 x 9”. Always, the postcard is interesting and fun. And they’re never selling equipment; they’re giving me an answer to a problem or a need I have or may one day have.
My favorite so far is the card that said, “MARGIE, TRY AND TEAR ME!!” The copy explains that with a certain sheet of paper (Mohawk Synthetic, Premium Polyester), I could get things printed that are totally tear resistant. What did I do immediately? I tried to tear it. I couldn’t.
It’s a great example of a direct mail piece from a printer. I look forward to receiving these postcards.
Another postcard from Braintree Printing was printed on 24 pt board, and that’s what they were trumpeting – or promoting – on this piece, the fact that they can print jobs for me using this paper. It worked well because it put a sample of the sturdy stock in my hands. The copy gave a short list of perfect applications, including signage, packaging, and POP, so that I could relate.
I save all of their postcards so I can follow the marketing trail and learn from them. I also like that these pieces are all personalized and use my first name in the design.
Compare that approach – addressing an issue, desire, or problem your market may have – with a direct mail piece from a printer that features a new press. Using a photo of the press is a mistake if you’re trying to impress a print customer. There’s nothing clever or interesting about it. And listing the features, straight from the manufacturer, doesn’t speak to my needs as a customer.
It is an example of an announcement that thinks it’s a marketing piece. It is not.
Unless the mail piece tells me immediately what the new press can do for my print jobs that I care about, it’s not working.
Bottom line? When creating a direct mail campaign for your print customers, always put yourself in a customer’s shoes and focus on answering this question: Why does this matter to me and how might it help my company?
Don’t confuse an announcement with a marketing campaign.
The first one says, “Look at us!” A good marketing piece says, “Here’s looking at you.”
©2014 Margie Dana. All rights reserved.