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How to Save Money on Direct Mail

The mainstay of marketing, direct mail remains one of the most useful tools in customer procurement, engagement and retention. Direct to homes and businesses across Britain, it’s front and centre where your prospects live and work. Direct mail’s unique selling point is its physicality, something that is rare to find in the predominantly digital landscape in which we live. But why send a mailer when you can send an email? Higher engagement rates, that’s why.

Of course, a printed mailer has a greater production cost than its electronic counterpart—what with the printing, the postage, and the man hours required to get it just right. That said, direct mail has greater rates of engagement and comes out as the overall leader in cost per acquisition. There’s always room to save money on Direct Mail, and it comes from being strategic, sensible and planning your campaign from the outset. Here are some pointers to get you on the way to greater campaigns for less.

 

Cleanse Your Database

An accurate database means less returned mail, which equates to money saved. Think of the environment and your back pocket before mailing out into the ether. Ensure your database is up to date by validating all records, merging duplicates, and data matching any gaps.

 

Buy Lists

Rather than pounding the pavement to find new clientele, let someone else do the hard work for you. Data companies have millions of records awaiting your special brief. By pulling data from a variety of sources, they can match your requirements to build a comprehensive client profile. Now just wait for the leads to roll in.

 

Outsource Data Entry

Got a stack of unentered customer data cards sitting in a shoebox somewhere, but can never find the time nor resources to have them entered into you database? It’s easy—get some outside help. Using electronic data scanning, a computer can read cards in milliseconds, digitising all the contact information in the fraction of the time it would take you or a team member do the same.

 

Mail Discounts

When you work with a professional direct mail company, use their power of persuasion to attract discounts. Bulk mailings do attract special postage rates from the Royal Mail and Down Stream Access competitors and these can vary depending on your requirements Advertising or Business? Prepared to wait a little longer for the mail to reach you customer? There’s a discount for that. Pre-sorting the mail before dispatch? It will be cheaper again. There are endless ways to work the system, and your direct mail specialist can show you the way.

 

If you’d like in-depth insights to successful direct mail campaigns, call us on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk

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5 Reasons to take another look at Direct Mail

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A Guide to Testing in Direct Mail

Top tips on testing in Direct Mail for increased customer engagement and higher ROI

Many people aren’t aware of one of the most attractive features of direct mail: the ability to constantly test and refine your campaigns, ensuring your message is always evolving to maximise your reach and improve your responses. As direct mail experts, we have all the direct mail tools and expertise you need to successfully execute an A/B testing campaign.

See below our guide to testing in Direct Mail –

What is Direct Mail A/B testing?

A/B testing enables you to uncover what works best and what does not, continuously improving your ‘control’ pack. Begin your campaign with two alternative mailings, A and B. If possible make the test changes meaningful by which we mean clearly different e.g. one with a lift piece one without or one creative vs. another.

Build in a system that allows you to track the response from each of the two mailings. This could be a scannable barcode which indicates which mailing the response comes from or a unique customer code, for instance. Once responses start coming in, it becomes easy to measure and compare the response rates from the two mailings. Keep a daily record it will really help later on.

Find out more about A/B Testing.

 

What to test

Later when you have the confidence that you are achieving a Return on your Investment you might test out visual tweaks to your campaign: changes in colour scheme, images, layout and font. Changes in the envelope presentation, for example, or in whether key parts of the text or greeting are handwritten or typeset, can also prove significantly affect response rates. Valuable feedback can also be gained from testing changes to copy and the offer contents itself. You might shorten or extend the deadline on an offer, or trial a rebate scheme, for example, against a two-for-one offer. Changes in the target group (who you are mailing) are also great fodder for A/B testing.

 

One step at a time

Now, let’s imagine you’ve done your first A/B test—with varying offers, say—and evaluated the responses. For your next mailing, use the more successful offer from the first mailing for both your A and B groups, but vary something else—perhaps the layout or the greeting. This time, did group A or B yield a higher response rate?

Incorporate your results into your third mailing but this time test yet another variable. Monitor every response you receive daily so that you can forecast results, learn lessons and implement them, in realtime, without waiting until an offer ends.

 

Cut the cake into different-sized pieces

While the standard A/B test involves a 50/50 split, there might be other lower risk ways to trial a new campaign idea. Try a 70/30 or even 90/10 split for a new idea that might be high risk in a standard 50/50 scenario. Of course, the greater the difference in size between the “control” and the test pack, the larger the mailing may need to be to give meaningful results.

 

Please contact us enquiries@firstmove.co.uk or call 01494 539300 for more information.

 

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What to Include in a Direct Mail Pack

How to create and deliver a powerful, cleverly executed direct mail pack that makes them want to tear, unfold, read, and respond.

For many years, “junk mail’”had a poor reputation with customers, businesses and marketers alike; and this was no wonder, given the ugly, loud, one-size-fits-all approach of a lot of direct mail in the past. But the most powerful, cleverly executed direct mail campaigns have radically changed those perceptions in recent years by offering quality campaigns to prospects who actually want to engage with them.

Here are some ways your campaign can put an envelope in your prospects’ hands that makes them want to tear, unfold, read, and respond.

 

Add a personal touch

Perhaps one of the most important realisations of marketers has been that personal touches are important. Personally addressing each recipient is often the difference between an open envelope and the wastepaper basket. A handwritten greeting is a sign of openness and warmth, while some information that recognises a customer’s past engagement can show an enticing level of familiarity.

 

Tailor the content

Tailoring the contents of a mailing to a prospect’s age, gender or location is also a very effective tool in terms of generating customer engagement. Strong imagery is another must in any effective direct mail pack. Use imagery that provokes an emotional response in your target audience, with people they can relate to smiling, feeling relieved, or having a great experience – whatever emotional response is most appropriate for your campaign.

 

Have a strong call to action

Your call to action is perhaps the most critical element of your campaign, triggering a response from the recipient towards a marketing outcome. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by the Royal Mail, nearly half of marketers (44.8%) ranked the call to action as the most important element of their integrated marketing campaigns. A good call to action should drive your prospect to a specific website, phone service, postal or email address to find further information, make a purchase, or take out a subscription.

 

Make it easy for them to respond

Of course, it’s not as simple as drawing your prospect in with the call to action and then chalking up a win. The outcome needs to also be easy and satisfying enough to keep your prospect engaged. If inviting your prospect to reply by mail, postage should be reply paid. In many cases, the enclosure of a reply/subscription form is also essential. Phone numbers, email and website addresses all need to stand out from the mail and be clear and legible. Phone services need to be up and running efficiently. Your URL should not only work, but should work effortlessly, as well as integrating stylistically with the mailing.

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your direct mail campaigns.

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What are the patterns of behaviour when it comes to Direct Mail?

How to write a responsive Direct Mail letter

direct mail response rates

Achieving better Direct Mail response rates in the digital space

When it comes to a direct mail campaign, direct mail response rates are our bottom line. And research shows that, whereas an average email marketing campaign will yield a response rate of just over 1 in 1000, response rates of 1 in 25 or better are possible for an expertly planned and executed direct marketing campaign. But just how does one get one’s direct mail response rates to rise?

 

Personalisation

A personalised message with customer-specific content can be the crucial difference between your mailing ending up in the rubbish bin and your prospect ending up in your store or on your books. The options for personalisation are limitless: from envelope colours to handwritten greetings to offer content, a cleverly personalised message is easy and will lift response rates dramatically.

 

Timing

The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing, goes a well-known saying. And in many cases when it comes to generating sales or subscriptions, nothing could be more true. Use sales information and expert knowledge to optimise the timing of your campaigns so that your message arrives exactly when your prospect wants to hear it, maximising customer response rates at no extra cost, that can be acutely personalised from a behavioural perspective.

 

Using previous sales information

One of the most powerful tools in the direct mail kit is the ability to analyse previous sales information and use it to tailor your current campaign. In some cases the application of “big data” can be harnessed by pushing an almost limitless level of personalisation into any mailing. Basically if you’ve got the data, we’ve go the know-how. Build a customer database that enables you to easily identify customers who have purchased most frequently, most recently, and who have spent the most money, and use this information to target future campaigns. Sales records and information about customer preferences can be used to generate leads and convert these to sales or subscriptions, ensuring the maximum response rates from every campaign.

 

Filtering and segmentation

Another key strength of direct marketing is the possibility of taking the information in your database and applying filters to help segment your campaigns, ensuring the right prospects are targeted in a way that speaks to them. The database is at the heart of this process, and indeed, the heart of any good campaign. Using categories, codes and key data fields, you can organise your data in the most effective way possible, making future filtering and analysis as easy as a few mouse clicks. Once the filters have been applied, segmenting your campaigns to target different groups is a cinch—and higher response rates await.

 

Means of reply

Every prospect is different, and a smart campaign will reflect that, not only in the content and format of the mailing, but also in the means of reply. Email, phone, web, post—cater to all factions of your audience by knowing their preferences. Use sophisticated database filters to segment your campaigns into differing means of reply groups, so that every prospect is as comfortable as possible with the reply means, and of course, far more likely to respond.

If you’d like to talk further about your direct mail campaigns and find out how to increase your direct mail response rates call us on 01494 539300 or fill in our online contact form.

 

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How to write a responsive Direct Mail letter

5 ways to personalise your Direct Mail campaign

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5 Reasons Why Direct Mail is Better than Email

We’re sure you’ll agree: as experts at direct mail we should be celebrating it, but too often we find ourselves defending it. In fact, direct mail is one of the most powerful, versatile and cost-effective ways of marketing your business, brand or product. Here are 5 reasons that prove why direct mail needs no defence.

 

  1. Direct mail is physical

There is something far more compelling about what can be held in the hand: the tactile connection, the little touches that can be added to the printed page – these ensure a deeper sense of connection and trust for every potential customer.

An email will be lucky to get through your prospect’s spam folder and into their inbox, but a physical piece of mail will make it into your prospect’s hand, into their home or business – and won’t be deleted as soon as it’s opened.

 

  1. Direct mail makes an emotional connection

Another proven benefit of real physical marketing is its power to stir customers’ emotions and create a connection with the brand and the offer.

In fact, research by Bangor University that compared responses to physical and virtual material showed that physical messages trigger a much deeper emotional response than virtual messages. This stronger emotional connection means that physical messages fix deeper in prospects’ memories and generate more positive, powerful brand associations.

 

  1. Direct mail has a greater response rate

Ideas and branding are important when it comes to marketing, but the bottom line is always the response rate: in other words, how many prospects who received your marketing actually went on to become paying customers. And it’s here that direct marketing really leaves email for dead. Compare a response rate of just over 1 in 1000 for email, to a response rate of around 1 in 25 for direct mail; that’a more than enough of a difference to translate the greater investment needed for direct mail into a very worthwhile return.

 

  1. Direct mail adds a personal touch

We all respond better to a personal touch. Whether it’s a handwritten address, a personal message, or a novel inclusion in a parcel, it’s personalisation that puts you right in the room with your prospect and opens up a one-to-one conversation. Combined with the added power of making a physical connection with your customer, the possibilities of personalisation in direct mail are almost limitless.

 

  1. Direct mail tells you more about your prospects – and your success

There’s no point screaming into the digital ether, not knowing if you’re getting a response. With direct mail, an inbuilt feedback system allows you to monitor the results of your campaign with ease.

Take, for example, an approach which A/B tests different campaigns to determine the most successful approach. Begin small, and if the testing shows one campaign is succeeding, go big. Later, use testing to fine-tune your campaign, ensuring minimum investment for maximum return.

Less we forget – – A virus can’t piggy back on your direct mail either…

 

If you’d like to talk further about your direct mail campaign call us on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk

 

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Achieving better direct mail response rates in the digital space

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Direct Mail Tips

Direct Mail Tips According to Experts

Planning a direct mail campaign and baffled by the terminology? Inspired, but looking for additional insight? Or maybe you think you’re onto a winner, but wouldn’t mind a little extra guidance? Well, look no further. We’ve got some expert direct mail tips from the DMA, Royal Mail, and First Move, which should set you on the path to direct marketing success.

Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
You might think that the poor reputation of ‘junk mail’ is one of the main barriers to businesses investing in direct marketing. However, in the Mail Matters 2015 report, the DMA found that cost (cited by 43% of respondents) was the main perceived barrier, not reputation (cited by a mere 16%).

This explains why 15% of digital marketeers have already adopted direct marketing in conjunction with their digital campaigns, as they seek new ways to cut through the digital “white noise.” But there is still more potential to be realised: Only 46% of those using direct mail have genuinely combined advertising mail and digital marketing by offering exclusive content—like personalised URLs, scannable elements and QR codes—to mail respondents.

When you consider that 98% of respondents would welcome better content personalisation, which has been one of the strengths of direct marketing for over a decade, you can begin to imagine the untapped potential of this medium.

Royal Mail
Many businesses don’t realise that Royal Mail also offers a range of services and tools to assist with direct marketing campaigns, from format choices to delivery options and machine readability to research tools. Some things to remember:
A direct marketing expert can also help you decide, for example, whether it’s most economical to pre-sort the mail or to have this step done by the Royal Mail on the way to delivery.

Barcodes and mailmark barcodes (which have extra space customers to place their own information) may also be suitable for your mailing.
Moreover, prices reduce as volume goes up, meaning that you might be looking at less than 20p per letter for a medium-large campaign.

First Move
Facts and figures aside, the crucial advantage of direct marketing lies in its physicality—its power to stir emotions and create a tactile connection with the brand and the offer.

A recent study by researchers at Bangor University showed that physical messages trigger a much deeper emotional response than virtual messages. Participants’ neurological activity was monitored while they received both physical and virtual messages. Resoundingly, the physical messages caused more activity in those centres of the brain that correspond with emotional response. In real-world terms, this translates into not only a higher chance the message will become ingrained in a prospect’s memory, but also a deeper brand connection. And that means, above all, a higher response rate.

In fact, research shows that whereas an average email marketing campaign will yield a response rate of just over 1 in 1000, businesses can expect a response rate of around 1 in 25 for an expertly planned and executed direct marketing campaign.

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

 

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Why use Direct Mail within your Marketing Mix?

The past, present and future of direct mail

Successful Direct Mail Campaigns

10 Tips to Successful Direct Mail Campaigns

As an avid user of direct mail, you already know its distinct benefits. Higher engagement rates, a more tactile way to communicate than email, and targeted, visual campaigns are reasons to return. No doubt you’ve experienced success with direct mail, so why not strive for more? We’ve outlined ten pointers below that will make your direct mail campaigns even more successful with less effort than you can imagine.

 

Know Your USP

It might seem obvious, but strangely, it’s something many marketeers overlook: What makes your product different? While there might be many competing products or services in your space, there are differences—subtle or otherwise—that make yours unique. Put yourself in the customer’s position and ask yourself why you would choose your product over a competitor’s. List these reasons and use them to guide the way you communicate your offer. Think of it as the answer to the question you never asked.

 

Get Personal

Personalisation is key in a world of generic brand messages. It’s near impossible to hear one voice when everyone is shouting, so why broadcast when you can engage? It’s a simple touch, but using your prospect or client’s name will help you get their attention, before delivering a line of communication that is targeted to them. See also ‘Empathise.’

 

Empathise

Getting the customer’s attention is one thing, but retaining it is another. If you can show that you understand their desires or plight, your brand can be the one that stands out from the rest. Make your proposition speak to them by addressing their needs and become a trusted companion, therefore gaining or retaining their business.

 

Find a List Broker

Struggling to find the information yourself, or perhaps looking for new prospects? Look no further than a list broker. It’s a broker’s responsibility to find the correct fit for the customer profile you supply, and they will have a variety of databases pulled from sources that can relate to your business.

 

Find the Easy Pickings in Your Database

If you already have a connection with your database, why not utilise it? Focus on those who fit the profile of your campaign and concentrate your efforts on their conversion. Look for those targets who might have purchase history with your company for more comprehensive lead generation. Make better use of your time and direct mail budget by going directly to those who matter.

 

Identify Your Best Responders

When prospects become customers, or even respond with an enquiry, half your work is done. Continue the relationship with those you’ve engaged for repeat purchases and convert those who are curious. By following up weeks or months later shows that you haven’t forgotten about them, and you’ll remind them that you still care.

 

Use Purchase History to Frame Your Offer

Sales databases offer a wealth of insight into your client base. It makes business sense to review what your customers have purchased in the past to anticipate what they might need today. Think of product replenishment, cross-selling related products, or incentivised offers to expose your product to their friends. Make your offer relevant and expect your leads to roll in.

 

Exploit Your Peak Selling Season

While peak season means guaranteed sales, they can always be better. Look for opportunities within your peak period for multiple and add-on sales by framing your offer in a light that’s attractive to your customer. Whether it’s seasonal or necessity-based, create a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to convert with greater ease.

 

Use Examples or Testimonials

Nothing is more convincing than a proven record. Speak to your audience with real-life examples of how your product or service has helped others just like them. Build confidence through demonstration and help them conquer their fears or resistance.

 

Test, Test, and Test Again

Frequent and repeated mailings are the best way to understand what works best for your customer base. Run split testing to glean insight to which offers work well, change your wording or your offer slightly, or think of other ways to communicate that might be out of the ordinary—you never know what might work, just take a chance.

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

 

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Direct Mail Key Statistics

Direct Mail by Numbers: Key Statistics About the World’s Favourite Marketing

When building a campaign, you should always play to its strengths. Direct mail comes pretested with decades of industry use and insights that you can apply to any campaign, giving you an overview well before going to print. And best of all, it’s entirely measurable.

The beauty of quantitative data lies in its infinite detail. Not only can you anticipate your campaign’s results, but it can help you to figure out the smaller details, such as budgeting, forecasting, and preparation for an influx of sales or subscription leads.

Measurement is important and it’s what makes direct mail so great. We’ve compiled some of the most important key statistics that make a case for direct mail, so why don’t we let the numbers do the talking?

94 billion spam emails are sent across the globe every day—most never read.

92% of recipients will be driven to act online, according to  Royal Mail study.

87% are encouraged to make online purchases.

86% feel a greater connection with your business.

79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately—only 45% react to email in the same way.

70% welcome mail that rewards their loyalty.

67% of a 2011 study suggests women aged 45-64 are most likely to donate to charity.

61% of advertising budgets are spent on direct mail by UK charities.

54% engage in social media.

43% download something.

39% of people have an area in their home dedicated to displaying their mail.

38% believe a physical mailer can influence how they feel about the sender.

£2.98 is made for a charity for every £1 spent in a 2013 study.

1.1 – 1.4% will respond to a direct mail piece.

.04% will respond to an internet advertisement, according to a Harvard Business Review study.

.03% will respond to an email.

 

Listed in black and white, it’s obvious why direct mail has stood the test of time. Be inspired by these magic numbers, and make sure your next campaign stacks up.

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

 

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Breaking the Myths of Direct Mail

Breaking the Myths of Direct Mail

While direct mail is one of the most established forms of marketing, it can still be enshrouded in mystery to the uninitiated. It’s our job as direct-mail specialists to educate our clients and prospects, and to dispel the myths surrounding direct mail. Here are some of those myths, and how to put your customers at ease.

 

It’s too expensive! 

Or is it? Sure, email has low production costs and might seem appealing, but it’s worth digging deeper. Direct mail allows you to put your communication in your target’s hands thereby increasing the likelihood they read its message. Email offers a less direct approach, with many messages overlooked, deleted or lost to the junk mail folder. If your target never receives the message, then it is time and effort wasted. Direct mail has almost guaranteed delivery.

 

It isn’t targeted

Quite the opposite! Direct mail allows you to contact your clients or prospects with some of the most advanced data available. Data matching can pair your existing records with information from other sources to give you a rich understanding of your database. With  these additional insights, you can then build a profile of your customer and communicate to them in the most targeted way.

 

Direct mail databases are inaccurate

Direct mail has some of the most accurate data available to marketeers. Sure, purchased lists can soon lose their value with inaccurate and out-of-date records, but data cleansing means they reach their intended recipients. Duplicate data can also do your business more harm than good, irritating your prospects if they receive multiple versions of the same communication. Direct mail has practices in place to ensure your recipient receives only one communication.

 

It’s junk mail

There is a perception that all unsolicited mail is considered as junk mail, but direct mail is different. As all direct mail is targeted and addressed, it is sent to the recipient with the Royal Mail postal run meaning it won’t be thrown away with the takeaway menus and supermarket catalogues. Addressed mail carries weight and authority and piques the curiosity of the reader, meaning that your mail won’t go unopened.

 

It doesn’t engage its audience

Direct mail it is one of the most engaging forms of marketing yet 3.4% of recipients engage with direct mail, compared with only 12% who respond to email. That’s an astronomical difference. Put simply, that’s 30 times more customers for your business or 34,000 of every million you contact.

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

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Direct Mail Customer Behaviour

Everything You Need to Know About Customer Behaviour

Without a doubt, direct mail gets into your customers’ hands—literally. Its tangible nature is one of its strongest selling points, along with its incredible ability to target recipients with utmost detail. It’s this versatility and results-driven focus that makes it so attractive to businesses, no matter their product or service. When proposing a direct mail campaign, it’s important to consider the medium itself. There’s a vast distinction between physical and virtual media, and understandably, consumers respond to each medium differently.

Recently, the Royal Mail commissioned a research agency to discover how consumers respond to marketing messages, and which is the most effective communication. Working with scientists from the Centre of Experimental Psychology at Bangor University, research participants were connected to medical-grade scanners and shown the same material twice—once using projection to reproduce the online experience, and once printed on cards to produce the physical experience. Brain activity was measured across the different areas of the brain to see how it processed the differing marketing messages. The results turned out to be surprisingly simple:

This indicates that tangible materials are more likely to become embedded in memory, and because they also generate more emotion they’re more likely to provoke positive brand associations. Think of it as your opportunity to convey your brand personality at the most intimate level. When you strike such a close tie with your audience, it makes it easier for you to adjust your perception in their minds, and to establish a conversation between your customer and prospect.

This is reflected in Millward Brown’s 2002 white paper of brand personality and how best to align your messaging to your market’s cultural values. Every culture takes certain values into consideration when evaluating a brand. According to Geert Hofstede, the forefather of research on the subject, it comes down to five contributing factors: power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertain avoidance, and long-term orientation.

  • Power Distance: The degree to which members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. Runs from high (difference accepted) to low.
  • Individualism: The degree to which societies believe people share an obligation for the care of those outside of their immediate families. Runs from high (obligations to close family only) to low.
  • Masculinity: The degree to which a society emphasizes the value of achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material rewards for success. Runs from high (these values are important) to low.
  • Uncertainty Avoidance: The degree to which the members of a society feel comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. Runs from high (where people need clarity and rules) to low.
  • Long-term Orientation: The degree to which a society believes that truth depends on situation, context, and time. Where long-term orientation is high, people adapt traditions and are more likely to save, invest, and persevere.

Source: Millward Brown 2002

Research has shown that in the United Kingdom, emphasis is placed on tolerance, respect for equality (the UK has a low power distance score), and individualism. These attributes influence the brands’ desirability and trustworthiness, which at the end of the day means bottom line. In Britain in particular, consumers identify consistently with strong brands that are ethical, that allow for individuality, and are considered friendly and generous.

Conduct your own research into your customer profile and with your finding, you can anticipate how any given market is likely to respond to certain types of messaging. Learn a little more about them and you can refine that message even further. Remember: Products and services will always dictate the overall message, but customer profiling helps you refine it.

Neuroscience stuff in – http://www.firstmove.co.uk/science-news/

 

Contact First Move today on 01494 539300 or email enquiries@firstmove.co.uk for help with your Direct Mail campaigns.

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