The direct mail innovation was a significant leap that transformed human communication throughout history. While we have made remarkable strides since, like the development of smartphones and online messaging, direct mail still remains relevant.
Today, direct mail marketing is experiencing a renaissance among businesses. Countless business owners are revisiting direct mail postcards for their lead gen endeavors.
Because there are direct mail advantages that modern-day emails and other marketing means never could achieve. Despite the relatively high direct mail cost, the pay-off can be tremendous, and the benefits unrivaled.
Of course, the content of the mail plays a considerable part in its success. That's why if you're looking into direct mail marketing, you need the right words to make your letters worth reading. In this article, Wizard of Ads™ shares the 10 magical words to use in direct mail.
Where Did Direct Mail First Appear?
Before looking at the magical direct mail marketing words, you should use, let's first have a brief history lesson. What can we learn from the first direct mail ever made?
According to Central Mailing U.K., the earliest record of direct mail came from 1,000 B.C.
On a piece of papyrus, an Egyptian landowner wrote an advertising message to offer gold to people who could return his runaway slave. Experts recovered the letter in Thebes, which has been preserved and displayed in the British museum.
Indeed, Egyptians were just some of the ones innovative enough to figure out the advertising potential of the papyrus before. Even Babylonian merchants advertised "on-print" at the time. However, they utilized stone tablets to list their products when visiting foreign towns.
In fact, catalog mailing and direct mail predate the formation of the United States (sorry, J. Peterman). Direct mail skyrocketed in popularity from papyrus and stone tablets when inventor Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440. Pair that with another innovator, William Caxton, who printed pamphlets in Westminster Abbey in 1480.
But here's what you have to keep in mind:
Whatever material was used — papyrus, stone tablets, or print — these are merely channels, not the message. Any form of advertising will work as long as the news comes across, despite the channel utilized.
"The media is not the message. The message is the message."
— Roy H. Williams
Your message still heavily outweighs the media you select. That said, whether you use direct mail or not, you need the right words to print on the page. Otherwise, the marketing or advertising strategy will fail to hit the mark.
Wizard of Ads® has helped countless residential home service businesses become successful in their advertising endeavors. We can do the same for you. We're the guys to hire if you're looking for advertising experts to craft your perfect direct mail campaign.
All it takes is booking a free call.
With all that's said, here are the magical words to give your direct mail marketing campaign a dose of abracadabra.
The Magical Words in the Kingdom of Direct Mails
Whichever way you use direct mail, it's an effective communication tool. However, there are magic words you can use to spruce up your direct mail marketing endeavors. I call them magical because they dramatically increase the enthusiasm, excitement, and anticipation of reading the content of your letter.
Let's look at the 10 most powerful words in direct mail.
Freebie/No Extra Charge
Do you remember how exhilarating it is to see a big "FREE" plastered on food samples at the grocery store? Or how excited do you feel when you hear about a new product that's available for free?
People have a natural affinity for free things. That is precisely why writing "freebie," "free," or "no extra charge" in your direct mail elicits the same buzz among readers.
Freebies and no extra charge are two of the most powerful words/phrases in direct mail marketing. They tap into the innate desire for people to get something for free. These words can instantly pique the interest of potential customers and encourage them to open up and read your mail.
A few direct mail examples that feature freebies or no-cost offers include coupons, discounts, special offers, or giveaways. Consider this example:
Say you have the offer to waive the HVAC diagnostic fee for your services. Capitalize on this in direct mail marketing by highlighting the FREE diagnostic fee first. Don’t add weasel words, conditions, or any other disclaimers. Just be free.
More often than not, the free aspect will keep homeowners' eyes fixated on the document and considering taking the offer.
Including freebies builds positive associations with your brand and makes customers more likely to engage with your business. It shows you're not afraid to give your customers more if they choose your solutions over the Sea of Sameness.
New and Improved
At the core of every successful direct mail marketing campaign lies the power of the phrase "new and improved." New and improved implies top-quality, freshness, updated, or better. The smell of a car straight out of a dealership. I'm trying to say that anything new and improved gets attention, like a dog with a bone.
In today's business landscape, having the term new in your marketing is more important than ever. People are bombarded daily with marketing messages from countless brands vying for their attention and dollars. As such, you want to offer customers a never-before-heard value that cuts through the noise and stands 600 ft above the competition.
That's where new and improved comes in.
You can use new for three things:
- Adding a completely new (and improved) product among your offerings
- Offering a new and improved world-class service to people that is improved over the previous service
- Highlighting an existing solution with a new and improved promotion
Whichever it is, using the phrase "new and improved" in direct mail is highly effective in capturing customers' attention and building excitement. However, "new and improved" is a double-edged sword. New implies freshness and uniqueness, so the offer must be both new, and improved. Otherwise, you're putting your company's reputation at risk.
It's best to cook up a genuinely unique offer before branding your direct mail marketing with "new and improved."
Whether you're a small business just starting or a well-established brand, picking the right words is key to direct mail marketing success. Another magical word that brings wonders to businesses is "backed."
Other businesses may have used this in their messaging: expert-backed, backed with research, etc.
With this simple word, you are signaling your customers that your product or service has proven to work and deliver results. Like every other customer, people want assurance that they are making the right choice in choosing you. "Backed" is the word that conveys confidence and trustworthiness through your messaging.
Moreover, the term implies authority — a valuable quality people look for in businesses. All buyers respect authority, especially when you substantiate it with research and studies. Using backed gives credence to your arguments and credibility that you're speaking from a position of power.
But there's a caveat.
Like the term "new and improved," you can't just go around using the "backed" without concrete proof. If so, pragmatic and educated buyers will see through your deception and discredit you. That may lead to negative word-of-mouth, which ultimately tarnishes your reputation.
The term "no obligation" is not quite as powerful as "free" but still possesses direct mail advantages.
Unlike the other magical words listed, "no obligation" speaks of your company's character. It displays that you are not after your customer's money but want them to genuinely see the value in your solutions. Allow me to explain.
For instance, imagine you have a new air-conditioning unit that allows customers to use it free for 30 days. They have no obligation regarding the installation fees and disassembly. If customers like the unit, they pay for it; otherwise, you'll remove the system with no questions asked.
The "no obligation" attached to the offer tells customers that you trust their judgment. Offering no obligation reassures buyers that you won't pressure them into buying something they don't want or need. More importantly, it builds confidence among your potential customers because you believe in the quality of your solutions. You are willing to offer them without any strings attached.
Successfully incorporating this phrase into direct mail marketing campaigns entails a hyper-focus on providing customers with high-quality products or services. You must also communicate clearly about what you are offering. This establishes trust among potential customers from the start and encourages them to take advantage of your no-obligation offers.
One of the unspoken direct mail advantages over other channels is its element of physicality. After all, opening and reading direct mail postcards is more exciting than clicking emails. You can be as crafty as you want in presenting your direct mail, like adding an element of surprise. The term "see inside" perfectly pairs with any tantalizing presentation.
The phrase "see inside" conveys a sense of exclusivity and encourages customers to look more closely at your offer. It's a subtle testament that underneath your "see inside" invitation lies a value that customers will want to read. Using it can help attract more attention from potential customers and create excitement to “discover” your offer.
To effectively leverage the power of this phrase, you need to consider two things:
- Your opening statement
- Your complete offer
Like email headlines, your opening statements should be catchy enough to pique readers' interest to look inside. Tailor your opening statement to your customers' pleasure points, pain points, and underlying felt needs to make it effective. Doing so exhibits your awareness of your customer's situation, which makes you an authoritative leader in their eyes. More importantly, it increases their anticipation to know your solution.
Finally, your complete offer must satisfy the craving they're looking for. Otherwise, all those excitement and anticipation will have been for nothing. That's why it's important to focus on creating high-quality products or services that are truly valuable. Because when your complete offer falls short of satisfying them, customers will cease to trust you.
It's no secret that people can be a little selfish, and it's not only in terms of physical appearance. As Denzel Washington once said, “people like to be first to know the latest craze or to hear the most significant buzz.”
Using announcement words in your direct mail, like "announcing" or "at last," satisfies their desire to be first. It shows that you entrusted them with complete information regarding your business. As a result, they feel good about themselves and your brand. Moreover, these terms also convey excitement and anticipation.
You can leverage your announcement by creating a sense of urgency to encourage recipients to take immediate action. This increases the likelihood of engaging with your brand and being the first few to get a hold of your offer.
Your goal in direct mail marketing is to be personal with your customers. Nothing beats being personal than writing the name of your target customer in your letter. Your customer's name is one of the most influential works in establishing a meaningful connection with them.
You immediately catch their attention by including other personalized details and addressing recipients directly. More importantly, you build credibility as a service provider that understands your audience's preferences and interests, increasing engagement and conversion rates.
Just don't make the mistake of mixing up addresses, or you lose that personal quality and may even insult the recipient.
Direct mail marketing relies heavily on the power of words and with good reason. The right combination of words can capture attention, build credibility, and engage recipients. But knowing which words work and which don't require a bit of psychology. For example, the term "simple" is always a fan favorite among recipients.
Because the human brain is hard-wired to avoid complicated things, we tend to dislike anything complex and too much for our brains to comprehend. On top of using simple language and clear messaging, mentioning the word "simple" gives off this easy-to-digest effect.
Customers feel repulsive of solutions that challenge their intellect. Whereas customers from all walks of life love simple, easy-to-use, and straightforward explanations.
Other terms that give the same flair as "simple" include:
What can we say? Humans love simplicity.
Adding to the previous point, "hassle-free" is another powerful term in direct mail marketing. For one, it conveys a sense of ease and convenience — something customers always look for in products and services. Additionally, by emphasizing this key benefit, you instantly ease the mind of your target audience.
At its core, "hassle-free" removes barriers and makes things as painless as possible. Moreover, a hassle-free experience improves the buying journey, convincing buyers to choose your solution over others. Whether it's a streamlined purchase process or easy access to customer support, brands that offer hassle-free experiences outperform their competitors. Just be sure to deliver on your promise.
The two key drivers of consumer behavior are scarcity and urgency. When you use "limited supply," you create a sense of urgency and highlight scarcity in your offer. This encourages potential customers to act quickly before the opportunity passes them by. Here's the thing: this strategy works.
Think about it.
How often have you forced yourself to buy when seeing a limited-time offer announcement in your favorite store? Exactly. A psychological trigger gets people to spend their money but only IF your offer is worth buying. Plus, this phrase communicates to your audience that there is a risk associated with waiting too long.
There's just one problem: using urgency may work once or twice, but it loses its appeal over time. As such, using a "limited-time offer" in your direct mail campaigns works by putting pressure on potential customers to make decisions fast. Unless it is actually true, and really believable, most people will think your just a flim-flam artist, however. So be warned. While inventories deplete, time keeps marching on. Sell the thing that is most believable and compelling to act. No one likes feeling pressure, let alone fake pressure.
5 Most Common Types of Direct Mail
Knowing the right words is one thing, but understanding what media you could use for direct mail campaigns is another. Here are the five most common types of direct mail that businesses use:
Postcards are a popular choice for many businesses regarding their direct mail campaigns. Whether you're looking to promote new solutions or announce a special offer, postcards are a personalized way. With their simple yet eye-catching designs, postcards are an effective way to get your message across quickly and effectively.
- Sales Letters
Letters are the traditional forms of direct mail, but they are the go-to options to look sophisticated and professional. You can use sales letters to announce important business updates or offer customers new and improved solutions. You can still make sales letters highly personalized and creative despite their formality.
- Mailing Lists
While not a form of direct mail, the success of direct mail campaign lies in the accuracy of your mailing list. Make sure to keep names and personal details up-to-date to ensure the success of your marketing and advertising.
Catalogs are the best documents to showcase your array of products and services. The success of catalogs relies on the creativity of your presentation. Aim to enthrall audiences during the viewing experience and then lure them to your exclusive offers.
Brochures and leaflets fall into self-mailers category because they don't require extensive packaging. As such, self-mailers are great options for introducing new products, services or offers to customers. Add in some colors and fancy designs, and you have an appealing document that leaves customers fixated on your mail.
While direct mail marketing seems old-school in today's business landscape, it is not simple. In order to make the most of direct mail campaigns, you must accomplish three things:
- Create a killer campaign strategy that ensures a high ROI
- Utilize the magical words that get people hooked
- Find the suitable media to deliver your message
That is not easy, but it's possible with the right people to help you out. Wizard of Ads® can help you craft the perfect direct mail campaign strategy that gets results. Interested? Book a call with Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads™ to learn more.