Direct Mail Must Say ‘What’s In It for Me?’

Direct mail testAs much as direct mail marketers hear the point hammered home that their messages always need to be relevant to their audiences, some are still not listening, according to USPS Direct Marketing Specialist Leslie Goldstein.

Goldstein emails out a newsletter that’s at times irreverent, but always informative, about what he’s observing in the mail stream. For “Marketing Tips Issue No. 145 – WIIFM?” the tone is no different.

“Why should I care what one is sending to me — whether it’s via mail, email or SMO (social media optimization) marketing?” he asks. “What are you addressing that will make one’s life: Better — Faster — Easier? Solve a problem? Save money? Provide more time? Make more money? Give special status? Etc.?”

If marketers in any channel can’t answer that question, they’ve got a problem, he says in the newsletter that he also posted on LinkedIn.

“Place yourself in your prospect’s/customer’s shoes,” he suggests. “Think about what’s in it for them. What need of theirs are you satisfying? Why would someone want to do business with you? ‘We’ve been in business since 1898!’ SO WHAT?!

‘We offer the best customer service!’ REALLY? ‘We have the best prices!’ I SHOULD HOPE SO! ‘We’ve earned more awards than any of our competitors!’ BIG DEAL!

“The list could go on endlessly,” he continues. “Nowhere is a WIIFM addressed.”

Stop navel-gazing, Goldstein says. Where are the benefits?

Case-in-point, the real estate vertical.

“I’m sure you’ve received those wonderful mailings that always show a picture of the agent (I’m still not sure why that’s there but that’s fodder for another time) with listings of homes that have been recently placed on the market for sale or that have been recently sold,” he says. “My comment – BIG DEAL – SO WHAT – I SHOULD HOPE SO. Nowhere is the WIIFM addressed.”

[Author’s note: While I do get these mailings, I also have colleagues who regularly get pieces that ask them when they’re going to sell their homes, too.]

Goldstein says a benefit real estate professionals could list in their direct mail is how home sellers can get the most money from buyers. What’s in it for the Realtor? Offer a free seminar on the topic, which brings prospective sellers in the door.

“Now take a look at your own company’s marketing materials,” he says. “What do you think: Big Deal, So What, I Should Hope So. Or does it address WIIFM?”

What do you think, marketers? Does your direct mail measure up?

Please respond in the comments section below.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.
Publish date: June 3, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT