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Boost Response with Reply Mail

Jul 19, 2010

Looking to Boost Response?  Reply Mail’s Your Answer

It may seem counterintuitive in today’s over-committed, attention-deprived world, but Reply Mail still works.  Yep, asking your mail recipients to do something so “old-fashioned” as filling out the reply card and popping it back in the mail box still works.  Some direct mailers have found that adding a reply element doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled response.

As you plan your direct mail campaign, think about how Reply Mail might fit within your strategy to boost response rates.  Certainly if you’re asking for customers’ responses to a survey, or gathering contact information, or qualifying leads from a list of prospects, then Reply Mail makes a lot of sense.

But, like everything, you’ve got to do it right.  These 6 steps will get you on your way.

Making Reply Mail work for you

Step 1: Make your target work for it (just a little).  Even Reply Mail should include a variety of ways that your prospects can respond – by e-mail, phone, on the web, or by mailing in the reply card.  But don’t stop there – even when you’re asking respondents to drop your reply card in the mail, go a step farther and ask them to actually check the “Yes!  I want what you’re offering” box.  That will cement their commitment to you, making it more likely that the card will make it from their kitchen counter or desktop back into the mailbox.

Step 2: Write the response copy as if it were your target talking.
Reply Mail is designed to read as if it were written by the recipient.  For example, instead of “Would you like to receive a free copy of the Direct Mail Checklist?  Check here ☐ ” write “☐ Yes!  Please rush my free copy of the Click2Mail Direct Mail Checklist.”

Always give your prospect the positive, action-oriented option to choose.  If he’s not interested in what you have to offer, he won’t mail back the card.  No need to spell it out “☐ No, please don’t send me my free copy of the Direct Mail Checklist.”

Step 3: Give the recipient the opportunity to “pass the buck” to someone else.  If you’re mailing to a business, include a few lines on your response card for the prospect to fill out name and contact details of someone else in their organization who would be a more appropriate contact for you.

Step 4: Ask lead-qualifying questions.  The beauty of Reply Mail is that it does double-duty as both a response mechanism and as a lead qualifier.  If you do it right, that is.  “When you use a [Business Reply Card] make sure you are asking qualifying questions. Of course, you say, everybody asks questions on a BRC. Not true. Too many BRCs only ask for an address without asking four to six questions,” writes James Obermayer in Direct.  Take the opportunity to learn more about your prospects – that’s information you can use to personalize subsequent mailings (for even better response).  But. . .

Step 5: Be careful what you ask for.  If you choose a postcard with Business or Courtesy reply, your recipients’ reply card will be mailed back to you with his filled-in information showing.  That’s fine if you’ve asked for a name, contact details, and the last place the recipient bought gardening tools.  If you need to gather more personal information – like a credit card number for an order, use the reusable EcoEnvelope with courtesy reply.

Step 6: Sell without selling.  If you’re using a postcard with Courtesy or Business Reply, the USPS requires that only reply content be included on the reply side of the card.  That makes your job more challenging, because – like every other piece in your mail package – your reply card has to be able to stand alone and communicate your message.  Take some time to think about how you can reinforce the benefits of your offer, state what the offer is, and explain your call to action without sounding like you’re selling.

For example, you can reinforce your call to action in the reply card header:  “There are only 50 copies of the Direct Mail Checklist available for free.  Drop this card in the mail today to secure yours.”  Then use the response check box to reinforce your offer: “ Yes!  Send me my free Direct Mail Checklist today.”

Click2Mail Reply Mail options

Click2Mail makes sending Reply Mail easy.  Choose from three different Reply Mail options:
1)    Reusable EcoEnvelope with Courtesy Reply.  This letter, mailed in a regular #10 envelope, is good for your response rate and for the environment – it’s made of 100% recycled content.  The envelope serves as both the original and the return envelope for the included reply piece (but does not include pre-paid postage).
2)    Postcard with Business Reply.  Make responding to your message beyond easy with this 6” x 4.25” postcard that includes a postage-paid reply card. Ideal for getting additional contact information and for brief customer surveys.
3)    Postcard with Courtesy Reply.  The same as the business reply postcard except that this reply card is not postage-paid.  Ideal for getting additional contact information and surveying business clients (who likely don’t need pre-paid postage).

Learn more about Click2Mail Reply Mail here.  As always, let us know if you have any questions.  We’re here at 1-866-665-2787, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. EST.