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10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Direct Mail

December 5, 2014

Direct Mail Competitive Analysis

Are you new to direct mail? When you’re an absolute beginner – whether in sales, marketing or any other business function – working out which step to take is often a difficult process.

Do you send out a brochure or a catalog? Do you launch a postcard campaign? What should you write in your headline? Without any prior experience, it’s hard to know what you should (and more importantly, what you shouldn’t) be doing.

One of the best ways to find your footing and get started with direct marketing is by studying your competitors. Since some will have been in the market longer than you, they’ll possibly have honed in on the best techniques and strategies for direct mail success.

From the secrets of writing a good headline to the best colors to use, read on to learn the 10 most important things your competitors can teach you about direct mail.

How to write a great headline

Headlines can make or break your direct mail campaign. Studying your competitors’ headings and subheadings will teach you how to grab people’s attention, lead them into your copy and succinctly explain your offer’s biggest benefits.

Which offer works the best

Before you approach a postcard mailing service, you’ll need to know which type of offer will best connect with your audience. Study your competitors to see what they use to draw in prospects – free trials, big discounts, added bonuses, and more.

How to use images properly

Images play an important role in direct mail marketing, whether they reflect your target audience or showcase your product. Look at the postcards and other direct mail materials sent by your competitors to see how they use images in their pitch.

What the “big brands” are doing

Would you like to turn your business into an authoritative, trustworthy brand? The best way to learn the techniques involved in effective branding is by studying great brands and their direct mail materials.

How to write persuasive copy

No matter how good your headline is, it will achieve very little if it leads into boring, ineffective copy. Read your competitors’ copy and see which key selling points they focus on, which benefits they showcase, and how they engage their audiences.

Which calls to action work

The right call to action can lead to an incredible response rate. Look at the calls to action your competitors use in their small business postcard marketing campaigns and use them as a starting place for your own.

How people respond to color

Color influences your perception of brands, products and offers. Before you decide on a color scheme for your direct mail campaign, look for popular colors and color patterns in your competitors’ campaigns – they could be worth using.

How to stand out from the crowd

Studying your competitors is also a great way to learn what not to do. If you want your brand to stand out from the crowd, look at common features your competitors use and make sure they’re not a part of your direct mail campaign.

Why people stop reading

Here’s a fun exercise: put yourself in the shoes of a prospect and read one of your competitors’ direct mail postcards. At the point you lose interest, ask yourself why the copy (or the headline, if it’s that early) failed to keep you engaged.

When to launch your campaign

Studying your competitors will teach you one certainty: there’s never a perfect time to launch a direct mail campaign. After you’ve found out what your competitors are doing, seize the initiative and get to work on a campaign for your own business!