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How to Create a Killer Direct Mail Call to Action

August 15, 2018

How to Create a Direct Mail Call to Action that Gets Results

You’ve crafted the perfect direct mail postcard. It’s well-written, well-designed, beneficial to the audience, AND it’s being sent to a targeted list of recipients. You’re proud of this campaign, and can’t wait to see the results!

And yet, weeks after it’s mailed out, you have little to no leads -- no website visits, phone calls, or new customers. What went wrong?

There are a lot of reasons why an audience may not have elicited the desired response after receiving your marketing postcard. But when every other element of the direct mail piece is executed flawlessly and there’s still crickets, the culprit is likely a poor call to action. Without a clear next step, your recipients won’t know what to do once they’ve read your mailer -- which often leads to it being thrown in the trash. A direct call to action ensures that your audience has the opportunity to respond in the way you want them to, whether that’s buying a new product or attending an event. Sticking to a few simple tips will help you design a great call to action that is better positioned to achieve the results you desire.

Consider what action you want your audience to take before designing any mail piece.

It may seem standard, but before writing any copy for your next marketing postcard, you should consider its purpose.

Why are you sending out this direct mail piece? Are you hoping to raise awareness around your brand? Do you want to encourage purchases by informing your audience about a sale? Interested in getting their feedback on a new product or company feature? All marketing postcards should be created with the intention that the direct mail piece is actionable -- that it will entice your audience into taking a very specific action. All copy should be created with this end goal in mind -- not just the call to action.

Choose only one call to action.

While all of the calls to action above may sound good to you, it’s important to focus on just one in a single direct mail postcard. Multiple calls to action will confuse your reader and muddy the the purpose of the campaign.

Think about how you sort through your own mail. You likely go through the entire process in seconds, skimming the headlines and images to determine if it’s relevant or interesting to you. A single, standout call to action is easier to comprehend for the reader, and more likely to grab their attention than multiple messages scattered throughout the piece. Keep it simple!

The Anatomy of a Call to Action

When creating a call to action for postcard marketing or any other direct mail campaign, keep these best practices in mind to keep the copy punchy and engaging.

  1. Begin with a verb
  2. Convey a sense of urgency, using words and phrases like now, today and last chance
  3. Indicate a clear benefit

Using a verb at the beginning of a sentence makes the sentence active and inherently easier to understand. Urgent messages push the reader to respond, and indicating a clear benefit drives the call to action home.

A few examples:

Objective - Secure attendees for an event

Call to Action - RSVP in the next 24 hours to save with early bird pricing!

Objective - Gain new subscribers for a retail company’s email newsletter

Call to Action - Subscribe today for regular updates on the latest trends and exclusive deals.

Objective - Increase patient roster of a medical practice

Call to Action - Contact us now for a FREE consultation!

Incorporate this structure into your next call to action, and you’ll be well on your way to a compelling mail piece.

Use a standout color.

There are a lot of opinions out there about which color generates the most conversions. A general rule of thumb is to pick a call to action color that is complementary to the dominant color used -- the call to action should be that color’s opposite on the color wheel. This will create contrast and make the call to action stand out. However, always remember your brand -- don’t choose a color just for the sake of contrast that doesn’t fit your brand’s personality or the direct mail postcard’s color scheme.

These tips will help you create calls to action that have a clear message, are interesting and beneficial to the user, and are visually appealing. As arguably the most important part of any direct mail postcard, following these call to action guidelines can increase returns and motivate your audience to respond in the way you desire. If you’re ready to start designing your next marketing postcard incorporating these tips, we provide an easy-to-use tool for creating beautiful, high-quality direct mail pieces: Design Canvas. This tool allows you to make your own postcard without the need for a designer, and it’s simple to use. Check it out today -- we can’t wait to see what you come up with!