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6 Tips for Creating an Effective Internet Direct Mail Campaign

In his book The Direct Mail Solution, direct marketing expert and entrepreneur Craig Simpson provides easy-to-follow solutions for creating direct mail campaigns that work! In this edited excerpt, the author discusses the six things your direct mail pieces must contain in order to get people to visit your website.

If you want to build your online business, research shows that one of the best ways to do it is to use direct mail to drive prospects to your site. It's the combination of direct mail with an online presence that packs such a powerful marketing punch.

Even Google, probably one of the iconic internet businesses, sends out direct-mail campaigns. It uses a sales piece sent by physical mail to offer prospects $100 worth of free PPC advertising. By mailing these offers directly to people's homes or offices, it's able to reach a different audience than it does with its online efforts.

And this kind of promotion works. People put greater trust in information they receive by mail, and they're more likely to read physical mail than email, which often gets deleted without being looked at. Direct mail must work because the great marketing minds at Google wouldn't use it if it weren't profitable.

If you think that using direct mail in conjunction with the Internet holds promise for your business, here are some points to keep in mind so you can make the most of this powerful combination.

1. An intriguing message. The message in your direct mail piece must capture prospects' attention and interest to such a degree that they'll stop whatever it is they're doing and go online to visit your website. The mail piece itself won't be very long, so it has to pack a very powerful punch in minimal words. You need a headline that immediately arouses curiosity and promises some kind of benefit. Then you have to offer them an excellent reason to go to the site: They'll receive a coupon or a free report; they'll get to watch a video that will reveal some big secret that will make their life better. Motivate them to take the action you want.

The piece itself must look effortless, but writing it requires quite a bit of savvy. So put some work into coming up with a message that will move people to act.

2. A clear call to action. Now that you've got your prospects' attention and they're ready to act, you have to provide them with a crystal clear call to action. What you want them to do is visit the site. Don't provide them with any alternative actions, and don't make them struggle to find your web address. People's attention spans are very short, and if they have to go hunting for the information, they'll get annoyed or distracted. You want to keep them positive and moving in the right direction. Make the next step clear and easy to follow.

3. An easy URL. Prospects going from a direct-mail piece to a website must type in the URL themselves. It's not like they can just click on a link. So you don't want a URL that's complicated, has an odd spelling or is too long. And you want it to be memorable so that if they're not near their computer when they read your sales piece, they'll be able to remember it when they need it.

4. An incentive to opt in. One of the most critical reasons for getting your prospects to the site is to capture their contact information. You want them to opt in. But they won't do it unless you provide them with a good reason to do it. Maybe for opting in they'll receive a bonus of some kind, or they'll receive some valuable information. It's important that you keep your opt-in web page copy short with clean directions on how to opt in. Some of the best opt-in pages have only ten words on them. Keep it simple, and keep the instructions clear.

5. A compelling sales page. Once prospects have opted in and arrived at your sales page, you want them to be willing to read your letter, watch your video or do whatever it is you've set up for them. So the page has to be attractive, interesting and easy to read, with lists of benefits that can be seen at a glance.

6. A coordinated message.For a successful campaign, you should have consistent branding and messaging. All the pieces should coordinate with one another and present one clear message and call to action. If your sales piece is whimsical, there should be a whimsical quality to your website. If your message is serious, all the pieces should be serious. The look of the direct mail piece and the website should be similar. Of course, the offer and the call to action should be in agreement across all the different media.

With all the pieces in place and working together, you will increase the chances of a favorable response.

Craig Simpson has managed thousands of direct mail campaigns and grossed hundreds of millions in revenue for his clients over the past 15 years. Simpson is the owner of Simpson Direct Inc., a Grants Pass, Oregon-based direct marketing firm, and a respected speaker/presenter on the topic of direct mail. He is the co-author with Dan S. Kennedy of The Direct Mail Solution, available from EntrepreneurBookstore.com.

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