Direct Marketing Headlines

I received a direct mail headline question and thought I would talk about it here too.

You are relying on someone giving you their quality time. If your headline is weak, you are assuming they will care long enough to read your whole copy. They probably won’t.

Your instinct may be to use a headline like “The best service in our industry”. But this is more like a followup to a real headline that grabs their attention and then makes them read more. People process information in bits and you can either lead them along or you can confuse them at the start.

I would rather entice readership with something like “Your Customers Don’t Like You”. which makes everyone say to themselves “WHAT? Our customers love us! Who is saying this?” and then you drop into your secondary line “How do you know you have the best service in your industry?”.

At this point the person reading will at least ask themselves that secondary question and see if they can answer it. If they cannot – you can take them to the next line… leading them forward into your offer.

You have engaged them! Bravo!  Step 1 complete. Remember not to think too much about step 4, 5 & 6 until you conquer step 1.  Engage them and make them talk to your mailpiece and question it.

The main problem is that too many corporations wont allow you to use headlines like that. They’ll say it’s too unprofessional or too “small company”.  They want to lead with giant brand statements like “Great service for over 50 years”.

So what?
Why should I give you 15 more seconds of my time, let alone some kind of response or business order?

Your headline must engage them.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to track and test multiple headlines to see what works best with your audience.

Mailing Services Have to Change with New Postage Rates

As most everyone knows, the postal rates for First Class postage rates are increasing on May 11, 2009 to 44 cents. Whenever a rate change is announced that the general public sees, a lot of rates and classifications are also changed for the business mailers (mail houses). One of the significant changes being proposed is the size and handling of self mailers and letter-size booklets. Some of the proposed changes include:

Larger Tabs: The post office is seeking to require two 1″ tabs on self-mailers and three 1 ½” tabs on booklets (2″ on larger and heavier booklets). The placement of tabs will also be a part of the proposed rule change, with more tabs required.

Smaller Size Limitations: The postal service has determined that folded self-mailers and booklets do not process as efficiently as envelopes, and seek to require smaller dimensional tolerances. The proposed rule will limit the size of self mailers and booklets to 6″ x 10 ½” x 0.25″.

Perforated Tabs: Perforated tabs will be eliminated under the proposed rule changes.

Paper Stock: The paper stock that self-mailers and booklets are printed on will likely be amended, and the paper requirements will be based on the piece size.

These changes are intended to assist the postal service in processing mail more efficiently. Unfortunately, it places the burden on the direct mailer and businesses preparing the mailing. The post office will be able to run more efficiently, but everyone else will be slowed down due to increased processing and higher supply costs. Many current mailpiece designs that are set up as templates will need to be revisited as well. As I stated before, the increase in postage is merely a single facet of the changes for the businesses whose livelihood is put to the test with each regulatory change.

This is an important time to partner with an experienced Mailing Services company, such as CSG Direct. We can help guide you through these tumultuous changes. With our staff of United States Postal Service MQC (Mailpiece Quality Control) trained specialists, you can be certain that your project is in capable and caring hands. As marketing budgets grow tighter, customer response and cost-saving methodology are more important than ever. It is critical to market… but even more critical to market wisely. CSG Direct is a leader in direct marketing because we offer experience, value and cutting-edge innovation coupled with individuals who are passionate about our customer’s success.
The difference isn’t just noticeable…. it’s obvious!

Please feel free to share your comments.

Guest blogger Dave Carsten is the general manager of CSG Direct, Inc.