Direct mail is a fantastic tool for promoting long-form content like application notes.
Sadly, it’s also an underused tactic in scientific industries, as online methods such as email and social media dominate.
But this is great news for you, because if you use this uncrowded medium in the right way, not only will you stand out, but you’ll boost response rates and get more people reading your application notes.
And as I’ve said in past issues in this series, more prospects reading your application notes means more sales in the long run.
Of course… there is a downside (isn’t there always?).
Just like emails and landing pages, you need to adopt certain principles when using direct mail. Otherwise your campaigns wont be effective. In fact, not using these tactics can actually lower your response.
No worries though, because I’ve done the work for you. Well, kind of. You still need to write, design and post your letters. But the points listed below should get you off to a flying start.
So let’s get into it, shall we?
9 proven ideas for boosting response with direct mail
1. List selection. Make sure the list you’re mailing to is the right one. Sounds obvious but list selection is the most important aspect of direct mail.
A poorly written letter sent to a great list will do better than a great letter mailed to a poor list. For promoting an application note, the ideal list is comprised of those prospects most likely to be interested in the topic discussed.
One way to do this is to make a list of prospects who have responded to ads about the app note, corresponding product or topic within the past 6 months.
2. Inject some personality.Direct mail works best when your letters are personalized. Consider including the individual names of your mailing list in the piece you’re sending out.
3. Use VIP seminars.Have a smaller list of key prospects you want to contact. When they download your application note, you can send them special invitations to attend executive briefings, presentations of papers that highlight key findings in scientific research (related to the topic of the app note) or to visit your booth at the next tradeshow exhibit.
4. Add urgency.Direct marketing is a tactic that aims to get a response right away. To do this, you need to give your reader a reason to act now, not later.
You could encourage your readers to download your application note by offering a free webinar (based on the app note) to the first 100 people who download the content.
5. Avoid a one-hit-wonder. You can get a better response by mailing more than once. A printed direct mail piece that invites potential buyers to download your application note can be sent a second and third time to those who didn’t respond the first time around.
Even better, you could For instance, you could start with a postcard and then send the full invitation package.
6. Use a headline above the salutation. Once again, the headline is critical. Put a headline above the salutation and follow the advice given in previous posts about headlines. Namely, write a benefit headline and consider starting it with the words “Now”, “How to”, “Why”, “Finally”, “Discover”, “Introducing” or “Announcing”.
7. Follow up with a great lead. After the headline, make sure the opening paragraph (the lead) is enthusiastic and mentions the application note along with what the reader will get from reading it.
And it goes without saying, but don’t be boring here. The lead is not the place for dry technical features or scientific data.
8. Use the right tone.In general, a friendly conversational tone is best when writing a direct mail letter.
Even when you’re targeting scientists, try and refrain from using a stiff, formal tone. This makes the letter sound more personal and your reader is more likely to read all the copy and download your application note.
9. Be sure to add a P.S. This is an effective way of throwing in another call-to-action in your letter. Postscripts get very high readership. In many cases, readers will skip the rest of the letter and jump down to the P.S. So get the important information in there.
Obviously the above list is not exhaustive. There are hundreds of direct response principles that can be used to boost response rates and I’ve made no attempt to list them all here.
Because if I did, the keyboard on my Macbook Pro would be worn down so much, I’d have to call up Apple support. I’d also need to have my fingers bandaged.
But these 9 points are among the most important and are a great place to start.
Know them, internalise them and most importantly, use them.