Before there were digital sales funnels, webinars and social media there was a powerful marketing channel that has built many strong businesses.
While direct mail hasn’t gone away it’s effectiveness has wained and most companies have moved their focus online.
I heard a great story yesterday of a company who accidentally utilised one of the most powerful persuasion elements there is.
The company specialised in commercial leasing.
The property owners were notoriously hard to find and communicate with.
Over the years the company had built up a database of a few thousand of them.
Their direct mail strategy utilised direct response letters inside UPS bags.
Official bags always get opened more than blank envelopes but the response rate of a direct mail campaign often hovers around 1%.
When preparing a campaign in a rush they made a mistake.
500 empty but addresses bags were sent out to a portion of their database.
The company uncovered their error and hoped it wouldn’t affect the ROI of the campaign.
It did – massively – but not in the way they imagined.
A few days after the envelopes went out, phone started ringing, and ringing, and ringing..
Picture this – you receive a courier package.
It looks important and official.
You open it.
and there’s nothing inside.
I wonder what was supposed to be inside?
The possibilities roll through your head.
There’s a sender on the back.
So you call them up to ask what was supposed to be in it.
and that’s exactly what they wanted you to do.
Call and start a conversation.
The result for this company ended up being that 20% of recipients called them vs 1% of a regular campaign.
This campaign accidentally took advantage of a powerful psychological trigger.
The urge for people to find out what something that is vaguely alluded to is powerful.
We want to know
We need to know.
It’s so powerful it needs to be used with caution.
You can’t bait and switch.
There needs to be substance on the other side.
But opening a curiosity gap between you and your market is a powerful way to draw them into a conversation.
Use it wisely.