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How to Write Direct Mail Copy To Get Your Consumers to Act

It’s perfect – the right photograph of your star product, a great discount and even an incentive for those who call right away – so why isn’t your phone ringing yet? Creating a compelling direct mail piece is a start, but if you are not including a firm call to action on each piece you produce you’re missing out. Without direction, your prospect may simply file your mailer away in a drawer to act on later, or worse, throw it away entirely.

A call to action comes at the end of your sales spiel and is designed to ask  your prospect to take the next step in the sales process. It could be to buy, visit your website or call to speak with a sales rep. Including a direct mail call to action can help improve your response rates, provided you write a compelling version and make your piece easy to read and understand.

How can you make sure that you’re giving the prospect clear directions on what to do next? Learning more about creating a strong call to action can help you make a connection and improve your response rate as well.

Every Piece gets a Direct Mail Call to Action

Each and every piece you send out needs to have a call to action – a request for the reader or prospect to actually do something. You see subtle calls to action every day, whether you know it or not; every time you visit a website or read a blog and are prompted to click through to another piece, a product or a fresh page, you’re following a clearly laid out course of action.

A call to action works the same way in a direct mail piece; you need to tell the reader specifically what you want them to do next:

  • Call us for a free consultation
  • Click here for a free sample
  • Scan this code for a coupon
  • Stop by for a free trial
  • Present this coupon for a free slice of pizza
  • Buy one, get one free this week (with card)

Having a clear call to action in every piece helps direct readers; your prospects won’t know or care enough about your business to take the time to figure out what to do next. You can’t just include your number, site or email on your direct mail piece; you need to actually direct the reader to “call us”, “visit us” “order now” or “email us” to truly be effective. Active, strong verbs make it easy to get your point across in only a few words.

Make your Direct Mail Call to Action Clear and Simple

You have multiple product lines, lots of promotions and plenty of incentives, but piling them all on a single piece is just confusing. Your prospect may not take the time to figure out what they should do if you overwhelm them with options. One clear call to action with a specific request makes it easy for your prospect to understand what to do next and increases the likelihood that they’ll take the action you want. Limiting choices is actually a good thing; prospects are more likely to buy when they don’t have to work overly hard to do so. Overwhelm them, confuse them or simply fail to direct them and you’ll miss out.

How much will users save if they call you now or use your coupon? For most people, seeing those savings spelled out in actual dollars will help them take the next step. You may use percentages, but some customers will not be able to readily figure out the actual savings. Even people who are poor with math can figure out what something will cost at 50% off, but start using complex percentages like 17% off or 23% off of two items and you’ll confuse the reader and make it less likely that they’ll follow through.

Limit your Offer

No matter how much we like a product, if there is no urgency to buy, your prospects won’t be in a hurry to respond. If they think they are going to miss out, though, then you’ll be more likely to see a response to your CTA. Language that presents your offer as time sensitive can help bring about a sense of urgency and ensure that your prospects respond in a timely manner:

  • Offer good through (DATE)
  • Limited time only
  • First come, first serve
  • Quantities limited
  • Only XX units left!
  • Act now; once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Make it Scannable

Every piece you send needs to be easy to read and completely scannable; most of us just glance down a page and gather the key elements. Using bullet points, short, to the point paragraphs and spelling out what you’re offering in a clean and easy to understand way makes it easy for your prospect to understand and to take action. If your piece is a coupon or postcard, you won’t have a whole lot of room to relay your message, include your contact details and provide a firm call to action; simple clear language will help you get your point across swiftly.

Don’t Bury the Best Part of Your Offer

Are you offering a substantial discount, a freebie or other incentive to those who respond to your direct mail piece? Don’t bury this information in the middle, make sure it is accessible to someone reading. Call out important information by placing it in a prominent place, using specialty ink or fonts or using enticing graphics to get extra attention.

Drop the Lingo and Jargon

You may be an expert in your field, but your customer may not be all that familiar with your industry or product. Opt for consumer friendly language that doesn’t confuse readers or leave them perplexed about what you’re actually selling. Your customers need to understand what you are selling if you expect them to buy.

What do I get?

What’s in it for me? You want me to call, make an appointment or place an order, but why should I? Clearly outlining any incentives you have makes it easy for your prospect to follow your lead and take action right away. Do they get a special perk for responding to this particular piece of mail? Make sure they know about it and they’ll be more likely to respond.

Pique their Curiosity

Take advantage of your prospect’s natural curiosity by including interactive elements or using tempting language on an envelope. A plain envelope might get overlooked, but one with directions to peek inside might be too tough to resist. Scratch off elements and other interactive options ensure that your prospects uses and interacts with the piece enough to get a good sense of what it’s about.

Simply including a call to action is a good start – but fine-tuning it and ensuring that you are making your direct mail call to action easy to find and easy to act on ensures you get a return you’ll be happy with. Not sure what to do next or how to take your calls to action to the next level? We can help; contact us to learn more about optimizing your CTAs and making the most of your direct mail investment.

P.S. Did you look down here? Most people scan until they see a postscript like this one and take the time to read it – consider including one on your next piece to boost your response rates, too.