Design the Ad Concept before the Ad
Direct Mail offers an affordable and effective way to advertise directly to a select group of targeted prospects. There are few, if any, other types of advertising that can stake that claim with confidence. In my Direct Mail Advertising - Getting Direct. series I will walk you through the process of how and why direct mail works, the things you should consider in your own campaign, and highlight some the main advantages of using direct mail in your advertising arsenal.
Direct Mail Advertising - Getting Direct.
Part Two: Designing the Ad Concept
So by now you've put together your list and are ready to start designing your ad concept. By taking the time to put a list together first you're determining who's going to see your ad, now you just have to determine what they should see. This is something that marketing and advertising professionals always (or should always) do before the design process starts—research and analysis. Thoroughly research your target demographic and understand how your products and services can benefit them. Then analyze the results to paint a clear picture of who you're advertising to, and from there how best to effectively communicate to them.
Consider all the angles - Who, What, Where, Why, When, How
Before designing the actual visual component of an advertisement you should come up with a clear picture of the strategy and goal of your advertisement.
WHO - You already know who you're advertising to because you've already created a specific list of recipients. You're list of prospects is already targeted so you are in a greater position to effectively communicate to them and appeal to their interests. If you haven't already done this, see Part One: Advantages of a Direct Mail List.
WHAT (Message) - Next, decide which specific services or products your company offers that you want to make your direct mail campaign about. This may be determined prior to creating the list—before determining the WHO—but often enough your company has multiple products or services that would appeal to one type of prospect. Consider the differences and whether your goal is to advertise for your entire company and all of your services, or to specifically promote for certain ones. There are advantages of either, and is outside the scope of this article. But for right now understand that an advertisement featuring a specific product or service with a direct call-to-action and an expiration date will bring about a greater short-term response. The "WHAT" also includes not only the message but the type of direct mail product you decide to send. (brochure, postcard, etc.) This will be covered in detail in Part Three: Designing your Direct Mail Ad.
WHERE - You know where they will be when they get exposed to your ad because it will be delivered directly to the address you specificy in your mail list. Consider the differences between possible circumstances occuring at that moment, and the thoughts likely going on in the recipient's mind when they receive your advertisement. You can better predict this because you know where they're going to be when they receive your message. Consider the differences between the consumer receiving a mail ad at home versus a business manager receing the ad while at work. Are they just getting home from work? Tired and ready to relax? Just opened their bills? Likely hungry and determining where to eat or order food from? At work and busy with the tasks of the day? At work and trying to figure a way to increase sales, efficiency, or save money?
WHY - Determine why you want to send your advertisement. Are you looking to just increase awareness about your company? You could just send an informative brochure letting them know about your existence. Decrease your competitor's credibility? Then tailor your ad to highlight the advantages your company has, or disadvantages of your competitor. Looking to increase short-term revenue? Advertise a special promotion on a certain date or have a promotion that expires soon. Then tailor your ad to drive traffic and an incentive for your prospects to act quick. Just launched a new website, opened a new store, or started offering a new service? Then tailor your ad to inform people about it. Perhaps you're not trying to sell them a product right now, but want to drive traffic or awareness and intend to sell them once they are at your store or website.
WHEN - With direct mail you will know when they will receive it because you can specificy the urgency. Bulk rate postage will allow you to send your ad within 2-4 weeks. This is the most affordable postage and shipping option. You may also send your mail First Class which would allow you to narrow it down within approximately a week of when your mail piece will be delivered. Do not confuse direct mail with the mail bundles you receive weekly with local paper ads all intertwined. (grocery store ads, etc.) Your direct mail piece is NOT going to be bundled with other ads. It will be sent seperately so it will stand out.
HOW - Direct Mail. Done! :)
Subscribe and stay tuned for the rest of my Direct Mail Advertising - Getting Direct. series. More to come soon!