Today’s consumer is increasingly sophisticated. Successful marketers learn to build relationships with customers based on trust, on quality and on value. Direct-mail marketing is considered the among the most trustworthy marketing practices, but can your piece be trusted? Are you committing mistakes that are hurting your brand? Let’s take a look at some common mistakes:
Consumers are increasingly savvy to hyperbole. Misleading claims, inaccurate descriptions or over-promising can lead to distrust and even to anger. Instead, be direct and specific with headlines, calls to action and body copy. Use accurate images of products. In fact, under-promising and over-delivering is a better method to build credibility.
Because of the time and expense involved in creating a direct-mail piece, it’s tempting to load it up with every possible marketing message. We’ve all seen those mailers that look like ransom notes or 1970’s Ronco ads. If there’s too much information or information organized in an illogical way, it may hurt your brand. To address this, use only pertinent copy, organized in bullet points or lists. Have a specific call to action that not only specifies what action to take, but why they need to act quickly. Use images that complement the message, not just as filler.
If you are a long-time direct-mail marketer, consider looking at your design. Even classic brands periodically review their designs to ensure they are effectively communicating the current brand message. Just the other day, we say a postcard for a tech retailer with a photo of a flip-phone on it. And no, this was not an attempt at nostalgia. Make sure you check your copy as well. Are your terms and language current? Are any dates mentioned current? For example, we are still occasionally see pieces with “copyright 2015” on the bottom. This can hurt your credibility without you even knowing it.
Fonts go in and out of style, like any design trend. Does your copy feel like it’s from the 80s or 90s? Or, worse, do you choose trendy but hard-to-read fonts that obscure your message? Hard-to-read or too-small fonts can actually undermine your credibility, because it makes it look like you are hiding something. Don’t create suspicion; alleviate it! Another tip: Don’t use all caps. Just don’t.
Authentic testimonials from real customers can build credibility. In today’s fast-paced marketing environment, however, these statements need to be current, clear and credible. A testimonial with an obvious stock photo, attributed to a generic name in a random small town, doesn’t boost your credibility. Use only real testimonials, with legitimate feedback. With today’s social media channels, it’s simple to get in touch with customers directly, and solicit their opinion. They may even be flattered to be considered for a testimonial, and will share this among their social connections. Double bonus! People do business with companies they trust. Authentic marketing messages, presented in an appropriate way, build a better response than gimmicks or trends that may end up backfiring on you.