Direct mail continues to be a tactical marketing workhorse, both for lead generation and reengagement, and nurturing of existing leads. When developing direct marketing materials, there are a number of tips and techniques you can employ to help ensure success.

1)  Include compelling photography or other graphics to support and provide visual context for the written messages.

These should include lifestyle photos of seniors, other photos that suit the theme of the mailer or information graphics that help bolster a particular message. Whenever possible, use professionally shot lifestyle images that depict seniors interacting with one another, rather than “posing” for the camera. This can help to communicate a universal strength of community living—a built-in social network.

2)  Try not to use images that depict only “bricks and mortar” with no people or lifestyle elements.

While these kinds of images may demonstrate the look of the campus and its buildings, they communicate very little emotion or lifestyle benefit.

3)  Avoid copy that is simply a list of the features of a community,

and instead focus the messages on how those features benefit the reader and enhance his or her lifestyle. For example, instead of saying, “enjoy a sparkling pool,” say, “meet up with new friends to swim your daily laps and increase your vitality.”

4)  Adopt a personal, conversational tone by addressing the reader directly.

This type of writing helps to pique a reader’s interest in the messages and may contribute to a higher response rate.

5)  Layouts should be simple and straightforward,

guiding a reader’s eyes from the headline through the call-to-action—the next logical step you want a person to take after absorbing the content. Confusing graphics that make it difficult to absorb the entire message within a few minutes will often cause a reader to lose interest.

6)  Make sure that calls-to-action are clearly stated and easily visible within a mailer.

This could be your one chance to encourage a reader to pick up the phone or complete a reply card. Always indicate your preferred method of reply in the call-to-action, create a sense of urgency and, if possible, offer something in return for a response. A good example is, “Call us today at 000-000-0000 for your free information kit.”

7)  Consider using copy that contains a thematic element,

which often helps to make a mailer approachable and memorable, and offers an opportunity to make graphics more colorful and eye-catching. Themes could include seasons of the year, a food focus—like a BBQ or other special meal—or something that relates directly to a feature or amenity of a community, such as a residence floor plan, swimming pool or unique dining venue.

8)  Use the community’s visual and copy brand to help tie the mailer to other communications materials,

such as print ads and online web pages. It can take a long time for a brand to become easily recognized, so when you’re considering how you might “do something different” for a particular mailer, remember to always do so while utilizing the brand’s fonts, colors, logos, preferred copy structure and continuous visual elements.

9)  Use a size or format that’s different from previous mail pieces,

which may help it to stand out in the mail stream. Similarly sized pieces can start looking the same after a while, and enclosing the piece in an envelope, versus using a self-mailer format, can add intrigue or convey a different level of importance about the content.

10)  Consider the use of first-class presort, live stamps

or non-profit live stamps instead of a printed postal indicia. Even first-class presorted mailing rates provide a significant postage savings, while the live stamp imparts a more personal touch to the recipient.

For more information on how you can update your marketing materials, reach out to either Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013, or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801 today. Or, reach out to us online.

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