According to a recent article by marketing expert Lois Geller on Forbes.com, “straight direct mail letters are working very well with young males [in the] 30-50 group.”
This is exciting news! Just consider, for a moment, the sheer IN-expense of sending a letter to prospects. It’s a letter – not a glossy postcard or key mailer or packet – a letter. That’s just a piece of paper – perhaps with a little something attached, like a coupon – and an envelope.
But, why is the direct mail letter so useful as a marketing tool? For starters, there’s been quite a bit of marketing research on the power of the personalized letter itself. Prospects tend to enjoy receiving something that’s addressed to them directly – but that holds just as true for direct mail letters as postcards and other pieces of mailbox marketing swag.
Of course, the real magic of automotive direct mail letters isn’t in the paper and the envelope – it’s in the words printed on them. Creating a letter that strikes a chord with the recipient is that magical “in” that can translate into dollar signs for you down the road.
So, how do you craft an automotive direct mail letter that resonates? Here are a few pointers:
1. Make the language personal to the prospect. It’s not as simple as the old hat form letter with the requisite Dear [First Name]. With some effective marketing research, you can create a form letter that speaks to the reader’s needs, interests and current situation.
2. Focus on the writing. Read it out loud. Read it out loud to a room full of people – particularly salespeople – who are especially attuned to the craft that is relating to customers.
3. Write to the prospect as a human being and not as a corporation and steer away from big business buzzwords – keep it real.
4. Be humble. Make sure your language leaves open the possibility of rejection. By this we mean, well, don’t be too pushy! Use words like “if”, “hopefully”, “maybe” strategically throughout the text – just be careful not to overdo it, because then you run the risk of sounding wishy washy.
5. Use a real stamp. Many prospects won’t notice it – but those that do might just think a real human being with a real interest in whether or not they open the letter made the extra effort (which, just so happens to be true!).
6. Provide a clear call to action. Why are you writing to them? This needs to be explicitly stated at the very top – ideally in the first sentence.
7. Give clear instructions on how to redeem an offer, contact you or take the next step. In fact, since many readers scan automotive direct mail letters instead of reading them with rapt attention, make sure those instructions stand out with a bigger, bolder font or with color or that they’re mentioned more than once within the content.
8. Try different letters with different aims from different departments across the entirety of your enterprise. Finance can have a letter. Service can too. Sales, most definitely. And, so on.