AMiable Solution #357: Keeping Your Work Out of the “Circular File”
What’s the difference between direct mail and junk mail?
Is it the amount of money a company puts into the piece?
Nope. You can spend your entire monthly budget on a fancy shmancy high-gloss, custom-cut, image-rich brochure that still ends up unread and thrown away.
Is it the quality of the images or text?
While both of those things are important, they’re not the first thing a prospective reader will notice.
Is it the nature of the mailing: solicited versus unsolicited?
You’re getting closer now, but no. Just because someone didn’t request a piece of mail—a catalog, an event announcement, a free trial offer, etc.—doesn’t automatically qualify that marketing piece as “junk.” Plenty of businesses and organizations, including most likely yours, have grown tremendously thanks to responses from their unsolicited marketing efforts.
Is it the relevance of the subject?
Ahh, now we’re talking. The main factor that separates direct mail from junk mail is the topic of the mailing. If it doesn’t directly appeal to your recipient’s needs or interests, or if it isn’t something your recipient would even consider using, donating to, or buying, then what you’re sending is useless. It’s junk.
What separates “direct mail” from “junk mail” is targeting. Targeting your offer to the right people with the right spending habits.
This applies not only to rented lists but also to your house list. Although it is true that existing customers are more likely to buy from you, you still need to send the right messages to the right people. Even “loyal” customers will get annoyed if you continue to send them irrelevant offers.
Of course, you always want to send the “nicest,” “shiniest” promotion appropriate and possible, and you want it to be error-free and professional, but you also want it to be welcomed. Useful. Relevant.
You want it to get opened, not trashed.