Tips for Creating a Great Direct Mail Headline

Direct mail is a method of promoting brand awareness and service availability unmatched among other forms of mass communication. A physical document placed into a reader’s hands initiates a tactile, palpable response that will create a more lasting impression than a phone call from a telemarketer or a forwarded chain email.

However, in order to be truly effective, a direct mail package must have an eye-catching, concise and incisive headline. The following are some tips for creating a great direct mail headline.

Why The Headline Is Important

The headline is important because it is almost always the first thing the recipient sees. Additionally, if the recipient is in a hurry, distracted or is simply tired of receiving other types of mail, the headline may be the only bit of text that he or she sees. This practice is known as “skimming” and it is the bane of direct mail headline writers.

The headline serves as the gateway to the rest of the content of the direct mail package. Think of the headline as the baited hook of a fisherman. The fish in the pond see lots of baited hooks, in fact, they see them almost every day and some of them are so used to the sight that they tune out their appearance completely. This is why it is important to have a good, attractive and eye-catching “baited hook.” A good baited hook (AKA a good headline) is flashy but not gaudy, impressive but not pretentious and attractive without appearing deliberately designed to draw attention. All of these reasons make the headline vitally important to the successful distribution of direct mail packages.

Headline Areas To Consider

The business of creating effective direct mail headlines is one of precise application. That is to say, an effective, concise headline must be tailored and customized to the recipient for which it is intended. Here are some bits of advice on different areas of headlines to consider.

The Recipient Is The Focus

Make sure that your direct mail headline places the reader in the spotlight. Use words like “you” and “your business” or even “your family.” Personalizing the the direct mail headline so that it focuses on the recipient is key to engaging the potential reader. After all, no one wants to read a piece of mail that seems machine-generated and is addressed to “Resident” or “Recipient.” A little personal touch goes a long way.

Be Deliberate and Definite

Nothing spoils a good direct mail headline like weak phrasing, indirect assertions and impotent descriptions. Be bold and assertive with your choice of words. Never assume that the reader is of low intelligence and unable to understand your use of language. Rather, keep things simple, short and to the point. Strong, but not forceful, language is the key to grabbing the reader’s attention and keeping them engaged throughout the reading of the piece of mail.

Headlines That Improve Engagement And Sales

When you follow the above tips and advice, you are well on your way to creating direct mail headlines that are sure to engage any reader. Of course, any direct mail headline writer knows that engagement is the most direct and sure route to sales. Furthermore, increased sales leads to increased amounts of word-of-mouth advertisement, which is the best way to increase a company’s positive reputation.

It is also advisable to make your headline impart a sense of urgency. Make it seem as if the opportunity your direct mail is offering is a fleeting chance and action must be taken on the part of the reader before their chance is lost. This is a good way to attract attention to your mail package.

There are many more ways to craft great direct mail headlines but these are some good basic starting points. As with any other endeavor, practice makes perfect

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