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Haptic direct mail from promotional products pros: 10 tips for creating high-response mail campaigns

30.05.2018 15:59 Uhr PSI
Haptic direct mail from promotional products pros: 10 tips for creating high-response mail campaigns | Haptic direct mail from promotional products pros: 10 tips for creating high-response mail campaigns

Haptic direct mail from promotional products pros: 10 tips for creating high-response mail campaigns

The GDPR is both a curse and a blessing. A curse because we’ll have to delete many of our customers from the online distribution lists we use for our e-mail and newsletter campaigns. A blessing because we’re finally forced to use our creativity and our haptic know-how to win back lost customers and gain brand-new ones. And best of all: pretty much everyone feels the same pressure to act. Additional stimulus for our haptic core expertise!

The European General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR, for short – is quite a blessing also for another group: the people who receive e-mails from us and thousands of others.

“We just need your consent ...”

Especially in the last few days before the 25 May 2018 deadline, the flood of contact and consent seekers dramatically swelled up again: “Keep in touch with Team XY? Gladly. But only with your consent ...”, “So we don’t miss you and you don’t miss us” etc.

The prospect of winning something is always popular, of course: “Have you entered the drawing yet? Only two days left! This could be your prize. All you have to do is consent to continue receiving my newsletter with unique campaigns and offers ...”

info@mails: Sending messages into the void ...

Now, it goes without saying that we’ve never ordered the vast majority of these constant clog-everything-up e-mails. The most nonsensical of all are info@mails. Sending messages into the void ... Which brings us straight to the actual topic: sending haptic direct mail.

We should become aware of the fact that mail delivery services benefit from the GDPR, as well, since the idea of reactivating the good old direct mail channel won’t unfortunately remain the exclusive domain of a small and exclusive circle of users. Instead, virtually everyone will jump on the bandwagon. Which means we once again are tasked with standing out from the glut of attention-hogging vampires competing with us in the mailbox.

10 tips for creating a high-response mail campaign

For that, we as promotional-products and advertising-media specialists have more skills than unexperienced providers who will dash at punches and off-the-shelf products. So, let’s get started: the first rule for direct mail is directly inspired by those idiotic info@mails:

1.) Only personalised recipients!

When we use direct mail, we’re engaging in one-to-one marketing. A huge opportunity. Non-personalised mail almost certainly will disappear in the waste paper bin. Unopened, unread – a waste of materials and money, and a negligently botched response. In that case, it would be better not to mail anything at all.

2.) The look: A relevant benefit the recipient recognises at first sight!

A clear hook that serves as a leitmotif or guiding theme for the mail piece, a balanced picture-to-text ratio, accurate image selection and a concise language. Whatever you do, avoid information overkill! The next tip might also help you with that:

3.) Small target groups instead of bulk mail!

The age of bulk mail is over. Target groups have gotten smaller and more sharply defined. Each target group faces its own challenges and special market characteristics. As a marketer, you should know them, and as a service provider you should seize upon them. Your mail piece signals relevance and opens doors.

4.) Format: Use unusual formats and mail modules!

Together, the format and type of the mail piece chosen serve as the bridge between the look and the feel of the piece – its optics and its haptics. Whether in an envelope or as a flyer, a postcard (possibly with an integrated animated picture), a fold-out card, a folded leaflet, a 3-D mail piece, or any other format, a lot is growing in the creativity garden of mail pieces to design and dispatch. Be sure to use a real stamp! It’ll do wonders in the jungle of black-and-white bar codes …

Ideally, a mail piece motivates the recipient beyond its visual design (attention level 1) through playful elements to touch and accept (attention level 2).

The sense of touch is the sense of psychological truth. Almost automatically, I touch goods or products that appeal to me visually with my hands: the sense of touch serves as the sense of verification. The object has to feel as good as it looks. That’s how it works with haptic mail pieces, too. Once recipients reach this point, they’ll also interact with the content and the message.

5.) Haptics and the sensation of feeling: Enhancing my value proposition!

That’s exactly why the feel of a mail piece is immensely important, as well. Our sense of touch continually deciphers haptic codes that we’ve been learning since our earliest childhood and that unconsciously control us.

Paper – both the material itself and the way it’s processed – is particularly well-suited for symbolically conveying product characteristics and corporate values. Paper can be heavy or light, rough or smooth, soft or hard, flexible or rigid ... the list goes on. Individual designs and finishing techniques used in targeted ways further increase the haptic effect.
Moreover, as a promotional products consultant, I can contribute my core expertise – in the form of haptic products added to enhance mail campaigns. The same applies to those: they convey haptic codes. Naturally, they, too, must serve to enhance the value proposition. Which brings us to the next tip:

6.) Turning products and services into an experience for additional senses

Direct mail, as well as the pieces added to make an even bigger impact, provide the additional opportunity to integrate other senses beyond visuality and haptics (for the mail piece itself through, e.g., thermal molecules that effect colour changes or release odorant molecules, or through sound modules, ripping sounds etc.).

So-called multisensory enhancement offers enormous potential, which is reflected in the response rate. One scientifically proven insight says that every additionally and congruently addressed sense boosts the recipient’s brain activity (= attention & memory) by 1,000 per cent!

7.) Language: Concise & metaphorical

Use figures of speech, because the brain loves images and thus language that’s metaphorical. Plus, it’s a good idea to put in a “PS” at the end. Such postscripts almost always get read. Accordingly, that line must be right on target, e.g. by driving home the core message or a call to action:

8.) Response elements & interaction

Because that’s the whole purpose of every haptic direct mail campaign: moving the recipient to interact, to reply, to engage in a dialogue. Needless to say, the corresponding elements are at the heart of a postal mail campaign. This is the place where a matching promotional product used to enhance the mail piece can unfold its full potential as a communication intensifier. However, digital communication channels remain indispensable, too:

9.) Crosslink the haptic mail piece with the digital channels

You can do so by using USB sticks as added mail enhancers or through targeted incentives to navigate to the website of the sender or its social channels for additional contact-triggering and contact-receiving information.

10.) Follow-up: The next step in the customer dialogue

Whether it’s new customers or (reactivated) existing ones: enduring success in one-to-one marketing hinges on the follow-up actions taken to gain the customer for the company long-term or to win back the customer. Without strategic follow-up efforts, everything will be in vain and even the most sophisticated direct postal mail campaigns amount to nothing more than pearls before swine.

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