Understanding Emotions in Direct Mail To Generate Interest and Sales

Understanding and using emotions in direct mail can help influence a call to action. Once you become attuned to the emotional component that’s used in advertising and marketing, you’ll see it everywhere you look…and become more aware of how it’s working on you.  But what’s really interesting is making it work on others! (ethically) 

Once you understand the techniques which can influence the human mind, you’ll end up using them everywhere!  The knowledge becomes a part of you so yours forever…at the ready in your ‘toolbox’ to be powerful methods of persuasion in all sorts of professional and personal situations.

Selling with Direct mail

If you want to sell something to a consumer via direct mail, your first job is to get that consumer to read your sales message.   Not an easy feat.  When your envelope arrives mixed in with bills, magazines, personal letters, and everything else in John and Jane Doe’s mailbox, it may be tossed into the waste bin without ever being opened.

This is one reason in the past postcards where so effective — no envelope to open (I don’t seem to remember getting any in recent times as we use social media and things like what’s app for direct connection).  It’s also the reason that you find so-called “irresistible” marketing messages on the outside of a sales envelope, printed there in the hopes of hooking the consumer.

The unfortunate thing is that more often than not, marketers — choose phrases that are a turn OFF, rather than a turn ON.  

To show you how this works, it’s time for you to take off your marketing cap and put on your consumers hat.  Read the pair of unique positioning statements below and decide which product you’d buy.

“Brand X” Jewelry Cleaning Kit

“Do you want to learn what you can do to make old worn-out jewelry look like new again?”  

Widget Jewelry Cleaning Kit

“Discover how professional antiques dealers transform tarnished junk into vintage jewelry with an amazing product that’s finally available to consumers.”

When you read the question posed on the Brand X envelope, it’s easy to say, “No, I don’t want to learn something” and throw the offer in the garbage.  Case closed.  Sale lost.  

The Widget offer, however, packs a powerful 1-2 punch emotional punch — actually a 1-2-3 punch — that’s a real knockout.  Let’s break it down.

  • Your need for knowledge is aroused by the word “discover”

We’re all curious creatures who want to know more

  • Your need for trust is stimulated by the word “authorities” 

We’re skeptical of what advertisers may say, but we trust the opinions of professional in a given field

  • Your need for greed (a natural instinct) likes the idea that you can use this product to make money just like the dealers…by increasing the value of what you have.

Just 20 words deliver so much psychological prodding to your brain that before you know it, you’re drooling with interest and ripping into that envelope, desperate to learn more about the offer…even though you may not even have any jewelry yourself!!!

Pick a Winner

Here’s another little test.  Each of the three salespeople below has taken a prospective client out to lunch.  Each is trying to make a sale.  And let’s just say each has read this blog, but only one is successfully targeting emotions.  (Yes, emotionally marketing techniques are just as important to selling in person as they are to selling in print.)  

See if you can spot the seller who’s going to seal the deal:

Seller A 

“I guess it’s a little crazy to talk about losing weight and health clubs here at Café Glutton.  But you know, after we finish here, if you have any time left, you really should come over to Club Widget and let me give you a tour.  We offer a lot of equipment and even though you have to work pretty hard, the results…although they’re not guaranteed…can be really amazing.”

Seller B 

“I couldn’t help but notice that you changed your order from a Swiss cheese burger to a naked burger.  You’re smart to be watching your health.  More and more people who I see my health club are cutting down on dairy for heart health.  In fact, I think one of the reasons I think Club Widget has gotten so many new members is that people realise how important it is to exercise if you don’t want to have coronary problems.   And if we have any discounted memberships still available from our last promotional, this would be the best time ever to join.”  

Seller C

“Thanks for meeting with me over lunch.  We’ve been so busy trying to bring Club Widget back from the edge that the only time I have a chance to eat is when I meet with someone like you. I don’t want to get into the gory details of what’s going on.  Our priority right now is bringing in as many new members as we can as fast as we can, but I can tell you that we’re offering some really deep discounts in our 12-month membership prices.” 

The winner is — Seller B.  (Duh!)

Seller C was on the right psychological track.  She was building trust — one of the most important emotional marketing “hot buttons” — by admitting that the club was is trouble and is working aggressively to become successful.  

But by refusing to be upfront and explain exactly what had gone wrong at the club, Seller C accomplished the complete opposite of her goal: loss of trust.

Seller C’s potential club member became worried that Club Widget had failed a health code inspection, was having problems with its equipment, or maybe was going to close before the year was out.  That meant that joining was a bad idea.  

No sale.

As for Seller A…well, let’s leave that poor, misguided, soon-to-be-out-of-business soul to her sorrowful end.  Everything about her presentation pushes the prospective client away.  This really isn’t the right moment…the solution I’m offering is hard…There’s no guarantee that you’ll be satisfied.

That’s no way to make a prospective client feel good about doing business with you!

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