If you want to get superior results from your marketing and direct mail, then don’t do what everyone else in your industry does. Risk ridicule, criticism and being laughed at to get the customers you want.  This may be anathema to most people, so let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

Quite a few years ago, Vinh Gupta of Info USA ran 3 ads during the Super Bowl. He was roundly ridiculed for the ads, and for many different reasons. But he was the only advertiser that had a direct response mechanism that would reveal if the ads were worth the investment.

He invited viewers to download 100 free leads for every sales rep in the company. This generated some 28,000 requests (using direct mail to drive people to a website for a free download is a great way to collect “interested” leads). He dared to be different. He went against the grain of the other advertisers and it paid off. I wonder if any of the other Super Bowl advertisers could site how many leads they received from their ads, much less how much revenue?

Could Vinh Gupta have cared less about what the other advertisers and the media thought of his ads? Probably not. All he cared about was the Return On Investment (and this what your main concern should be as well).

Look in your trade magazines. Most ads look similar. If you were to place an ad that was totally different and out of the “norm” you would see substantially better results. For example, if there are mostly full-color ads with pictures you might consider an ad with nothing but text and minimal color. It may not look as “pretty” as the others, but it will sure get the attention of the reader because it stands out among the rest.

The same goes with direct mail. Look at your stack of mail every day for a week. See what jumps at you and take note at what you would toss immediately. Don’t send a card or letter if it isn’t going to be noticed.

The power of different

Do you ever notice the person dressed differently, the building that just looks funky among its neighbors or the customized car that screams “I’m different”?  Different is a powerful attention getter, and you should be using its force.

Here are some examples of mailing packages that are different – that demand attention – that will get opened, looked at and read:

  • Lunch bag mailer
  • Trash can mailer
  • Foreign Money in a see-through envelope
  • Greeting Card
  • Magnetic Mailers
  • Boomerangs
  • Frisbees
  • Wooden Nickel Mailer (round tuits)
  • Tear Sheet – Advertorial

(If you don’t know what these are – Call us to get more information and a quote.)

These formats are just a few examples of mailers that are different than the norm. Your creativity is the only limit to developing something that will work phenomenally well.

As with any marketing technique, application is key. Some of the above mail formats should not be used for lead generation unless some diligent testing is done first. The cost for these mailers is higher than a postcard or other standard package, but the potential ROI far outpaces the average package when used in the right context.

For instance, if you’re going to send out a lunch bag mailer, you will want to have some “tie in” with your copy that says something like: “There may not be any such thing as a free lunch, but there is something called FREE ________”. You fill in the blank. But context and application are important.

Here’s how you can put this principle into use right away. Find out what your competition is sending to your customers in the mail, what their websites look like and what kind of ads they place. When you start to find the commonalities, modify your marketing to be radically different in look, feel, boldness, emotion and character. You may get some guffaws from the crowd, but you’re sure to attract the attention from the customers you’re looking for.