Want Better Direct Mail Copy? Tighten It Up!

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What’s one of the keys to creating great direct mail copy? Keeping it tight!

Over the years, the amount of copy used in direct mail campaigns has dropped.  In fact, according to Who’s Mailing What! (WMW!), a national database of direct mail, the amount of copy used in direct mail pieces has dropped by a whopping 62% over the past two decades.

WMW! discovered this trend after analyzing its direct mail database for its “Top 21 Direct Mail Trends for 2021” report. It cites Amazon.com as a prime example:

For years, [Amazon has] been mailing letters to remind Prime members that they’re entitled to watch Prime Video, but there’s a big difference in word count from 2014 to 2021 example. [In the 2021 piece,] you see…

  • shorter sentences,
  • much smaller paragraphs, [and]
  • a few bullet points.

This finding is consistent with what we are seeing elsewhere in the direct mail space. Shoppers are busy, and they have limited time to read. Rather than text-heavy copy, more and more mailers are using images, charts, and graphics that readers can digest quickly.

amazon prime direct mail 2014 vs 2021

 

The growing use of postcards

The trend toward shorter copy ties in another trend on WMW!’s list—the growth in the use of postcards. With any direct mail piece, but especially postcards, you have only a fraction of a second to grab someone’s attention and get your message across before they move on to something else.

If your direct mail copy — whether a letter, a postcard, or any other marketing piece — looks text-heavy, think about where you might be able to tighten up. Where can you use charts or images instead of words? Can you break concepts into bullet points? Imagine that you only have half the space to work with — what information can go?

Buyers are busy, so make it easy on them. Tighten it up!