Today’s discussion is something that is literally on fire at this moment – direct mail.
If you think about the nature of direct mail, it is one of those up and down tactics that can be seasonal—whether it’s depending on just the times in general, either it’s got really low response rates or better rates. I’ve been saying for the last six months that direct mail, in general, has been improving as a tactic. What I’ve been looking at recently, is just analyzing the behaviors of people that are literally stuck at home with the only thing to do is to really work and be with their family. That’s not really a bad thing, so to speak.
But, if they have nothing else to do, what are they going to do?
If they’re not going out, not visiting friends or relatives, or doing errands, those little things like going and getting the mail become so much more impactful that they’re kind of like a micro-moment, so to speak. Since people are so bored, they’re literally going through and almost digesting everything that’s in front of them. If you now know that you have a lot more of their attention at this very moment in time, this is the perfect time for you to look at deploying a direct mail campaign. I’ll be more than happy to share with you some of the campaigns I have recently seen or some I have completely missed. The reason why they are missed is because of languaging methods and market sentiment.
I have posted an episode about the market sentiment a few days ago, so make sure you listen to that if you haven’t already. If the message that you’re sending is the same thing that you did last year, it’s not going to fit at this very moment in time, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if you have 10,000 flyers that are leftover from last year—save them for next year. Your messaging has to be on point—something relatable.
So step one, before you listen to the rest of this, make sure you listen to the market sentiment episode. And you get clear that your messaging has to be on point, otherwise, you might as well just burn the direct mail before you send it.
Once you’ve got your message down, and I’ll tell you one message that I thought was spot-on perfect. I have a couple of those pillows you’ve probably seen some of those infomercials—the pillow that supposedly never goes flat and you can adjust it. And because I bought them, they send probably every other month, essentially the same postcard, which is the right thing to do. You don’t want to keep changing the message and they stay up with their frequency, even if I haven’t purchased anything lately.
However, the messaging that came in yesterday was vastly different. The message said something to the extent of “it’s a healthy pillow. You can sanitize it as much as you want. You can put it in the washer, you can put it in the dryer, what other pillows can you do that with?” They completely pivoted their message and they didn’t call out the crisis or the Coronavirus. They have pivoted their message, which actually got me to take action because I’ve been thinking of buying another one.
Now, that’s just me, obviously, but if they know that people are going to be looking at their mail now more than ever, why would you not want to turn up the heat.
So if you have a business that has something that you can offer that doesn’t necessarily have to be a sale, at least it’s some kind of a first step. I would encourage you to look at what type of direct mail you could do. Now, the beautiful thing is that in the past, I’ve always suggested lumpy mail, which is basically sending out mail that has a tchotchke in it, a key chain, a pen, or any type of memorabilia. It’s not necessarily that you’re giving away a key chain, but rather the piece of mail has a little bit of noise to it. It sparks curiosity as people think, “what the heck is this?”
You can even get away doing some postcards with using a company like Postcard Mania. I’m a huge fan of literally just using regular envelopes, or one-page letters, for example. But if you nail the messaging, and you give them some kind of next step, next action, but here’s the key. Here’s the biggest thing to all of this. After you nail the market sentiment and that offer piece is you need to have some kind of risk reversal. You need to have some way that they have an out.
For example, in some states landscapers are essential or non-essential—it basically varies state by state or county by county.
Let’s go over both scenarios:
If I was considered essential, my direct mail piece would probably look something like, “Let us take one of the hassles away from you during this crisis. Normally we do 10% but we’re doing 20% off this year, and we’re giving you your first month of free cuts or something like that.” Basically you offer an extra bonus and something that ties into the sentiment.
The second one is if you’re deemed non-essential, what I would do is put out something similar. But, you’d have a section about, “we wanted your spring cleanup and if you put a deposit down, but we can’t get out there because you are still closed, we will actually refund it, plus an extra 5% or we’ll refund it plus we’ll give you a month of XYZ.”
People are very, very nervous to spend money right now—not because they don’t have it, but because there’s so much uncertainty at the moment. Should they go buy the car now or probably buy it later? Should they do their own landscaping or hire a company that they’ve been working with for the last 10 years? People are very cautious to spend anything right now.But if you do a complete risk reversal, or if you find a way to do something now, which is kind of that down-sell the upsell episode that I did a few days ago. You’re able to take whatever they spend now, and then reinvest that so to speak into future products or services.
You might say when thinking about risk reversal tactics: I know that you haven’t done a spring cleanup with us. But if you do a spring cleanup for $400, we’ll come and trim all your trees, pull all your weeds, we’re going to save you that stress because you have enough right now. And we’ll take $200 off and we’re going to apply it to cut your lawn which is essentially going to give you the first month free.
Like those kinds of things, the risk reversal, you got to show how you’re stepping up and helping. You’ve got to show how you’re doing that. So my message for you today is what kind of direct mail can you execute? Quickly, not in three months, but like in the next week or two? Get something out there. Get your message out there. stay top of mind.
Get out there, make change, and take some action.