Direct Mail Marketing and the Golden Glimpse: How to Get Your Offer Noticed

In direct mail marketing, you have what I like to call the “golden glimpse” — that moment, however brief, when your prospect pulls your direct mail piece from the mailbox and actually pays attention to it.

This is an advantage not enjoyed by other marketing media. You can ignore a radio commercial and a magazine ad. But you have to give each piece of mail a moment of your attention to decide whether or not it’s a keeper.

This marks the first in a series of hurdles your direct mail piece has to clear. Think of it as an obstacle course. Only instead of high bars and log jumps, your hurdles are the following:

1. Getting noticed.

2. Getting read.

3. Getting the message across.

4. Getting a response.

But it all begins with the golden glimpse, during which you’ll either get noticed or be forgotten. Here are some tips to help you clear this first hurdle:

Make your offer immediately visible. If you’re mailing postcards, repeat the offer on both sides. If you’re sending a letter, put some form of the offer on the envelope.
Write your offer in clear, simple language. Show it to several people and ask them to interpret it for you. If your test subjects can restate the offer in their own words without hesitation, it’s clear enough. If they struggle, it’s unclear.
Repeat your offer more than once, and in more than one place. You can shape your offer into headlines, bullet points, callout boxes or starbursts, and even within the body copy of your direct mail piece. Make it impossible to miss. And of course, it all starts with those parts that are visible right out of the mailbox.

Direct mail gets a guaranteed touch by recipients. That’s something email, radio and TV advertising cannot do. But that first touch represents your first in a series of hurdles. It is the golden glimpse when your recipients give you a moment of their time.

To capitalize on the golden glimpse, you must convey the value of your offer clearly and immediately.

* You may republish this article on your website as long as the byline, author’s note and hyperlink are left intact. Please include the article in its entirety.