In a Direct Marketing News piece last week, Nancy Harhut, chief creative officer of the Wilde Agency, was interviewed about the agency’s initiative to help Nationwide develop a direct mail campaign to appeal to the LGBT community. Four best practices stood out in this piece as great reminders about the powerful affect SAVVY DIRECT RESPONSE can have on your direct mail campaigns.

  1. Get people to engage with a mail piece is challenging (especially one from an insurance company). Harhut says the agency accomplished this by adding “human behavior triggers.” Decisions are often made reflexively and require only a certain stimulus to set them off.
  2. The agency determined that the mindset at Nationwide was similar to the supporters of the Human Rights Campaign.* Armed with that connection, it deployed the principle of consistency. Harhut said, “Once you make a decision, you’ll likely make that same sort of decision when confronted with that option. We reminded them they support the LGBT community, and now’s their chance to do it again [via a company that also supports the LGBT community].”
  3. Loss aversion is another best practice Harhut noted. “People are more motivated by the avoidance of pain than by pleasure,” she said, which is why the Nationwide piece mentioned that it would automatically check every six months to see if its customers were eligible for any new discounts. The message also included an element of peer pressure—stating that many members of HRC turn to Nationwide for their insurance needs.
  4. Of the sage advice sprinkled throughout the article, my favorite is about Nationwide’s use of “eye-magnet words” in the mail piece. “Certain words pull the human eye in and increase the likelihood you’ll read the message,” Harhut explained. “‘Discover’ is a very powerful word. [Marketers] use ‘Learn’ a lot, but that’s arduous. ‘You’ is an eye-magnet word. ‘Our company,’ or ‘Our service’: Not so much. But [customers] glom onto ‘You.’”

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Of course, the icing on the cake is the bottom line results these best practices earned the Nationwide campaign — a 56% lift over previous efforts, making direct mail a core part of their marketing strategy.

If you have direct mail best practices you’d like to share, please leave a reply on this post.

*Finding prospects with a similar affinity to your current customers or your brand is easier than you might think. To test drive our Predictive Modeling Process, contact Responsory for a complementary model for your customer base.

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