A direct mail call-to-action (CTA) is the most crucial part of a formula that results in a successful campaign.

Think about how it all comes together – your strategy, your list, your offer, your copy, and more – when your direct mail reaches your target audience. The classic formula, AIDA, describes how you move the recipient through a process of Getting Attention, Creating Interest, and Developing Desire, and Propelling Action.

Whether you prefer that process or another one, your mail’s ultimate goal is to engage the prospect and keep them involved until they have to make a decision.

But how?

Some marketers don’t pay enough attention to getting this right. Here are some tips for a more effective direct mail call-to-action resulting in more customers and greater sales.

1. Be Specific

There’s no better way to put this: Tell them what you want them to do.

Don’t leave any doubt.
Don’t make them guess.
Don’t be vague or too polite.

Do be specific, whether your goal is to sell (or cross-sell or upsell), generate leads, or prompt a donation.

Some examples:

  • “Call [phone number] for a FREE 401(k) consultation and investment guide”
  • “Order your new phone today and get FREE shipping or FREE curbside pickup at our [location name] store”
  • “Join our animal-saving mission at [charity name].org and we’ll match your membership 3-to-1!”

2. Add Value

Instead of a generic call-to-action, look for ways to describe how the prospect or customer will benefit from responding to your mailing campaign. In a few words, your CTA should answer their question “What’s in it for me”?”

For example:

  • Dentist office: “Get a beautiful new smile by calling us at [phone number]”
  • Utility: “Scan this code to access your account & find 3 ways to save $97.24 on next month’s bill!”

3. Act Now

Fear of missing out, implying scarcity or a loss of an exclusive benefit can be an important motivator of action.

“Act now – supplies are running out” is a classic call-to-action because it’s based on fear. Your customer has no time to lose, they have to get “it” done immediately … or close to it at least.

For limited-time offers, as well as sales, consider the likely shelf life of your mailer, and make your deadlines clear.

4. Tap Into Technology

Traditional calls-to-action (mail, phone, website) are getting some company. There are more channels open than ever before for you to engage with your customers consistently and meaningfully.

Some examples:

QR Codes: “Scan this code for your personalized free quote”
PURLs: “Go to [company name].com/[your name] for your personal pricing”
VDP-enabled maps: “Follow this route to our new, safe office location”
NFC: “Tap here with your NFC-enabled phone to respond to this offer”

USPS Informed Delivery gives you another option. With a free multichannel campaign run on this platform, the ridealong image has its own tagline that can get the recipient to take advantage of an online offer before the mailer reaches your home mailbox.

5. Make It Easy

Your copy and design have successfully moved your customer to the point where their next move is obvious. That next step should be obvious, but … is it?

If they have to look hard to recognize or even find your CTA, that’s a problem. If it’s only in 1 or 2 places on a large, complex mail piece, that’s a problem, too.

So set your call-to-action apart in some way that the person reading your mail knows exactly what to do.

Try a separate box with shading, or maybe an arrow, use readable (not fancy) type, be bold, be BIG. And for any readers who skim headlines and subheads to quickly understand your pitch, this move will bring them along as well.

Wrapping it up

With the right strategy, a clear and compelling call to action triggers that last step on the path you’ve carefully laid out for your prospect.

Ultimately, a direct mail call-to-action is just about that. Not paint-by-numbers, checking items off a list but getting your customer (or donor) to say “Yes! Take my money!”

Our direct mail experts have decades of experience in helping companies develop winning successful campaigns. Contact our team to discover how we can help your direct mail convert prospects into satisfied customers.