What Messaging Works for Direct Mail?

Direct Mail Messaging
The right messaging is critical to the success of your direct mail campaign. You can have the most attractive graphics and images, the perfect strategy, and better offers than any of your competitors, but bad messaging can sink the whole thing.

The little things make a big difference when it comes to generating interest in your business, visits to your store or website, or even sales. That’s why our team at Aspen Automotive put together this explanation of some ideas for how you can improve your direct mail messaging.


Direct Mail MessagingUtilize present-tense verbs in your headlines, subject lines, bullet points, and body copy. Immediacy will encourage reader engagement, and engagement will lead to action. Present tense refers to verbs like “receive” as opposed to future-tense verbs like “will receive.”

Why does this work? We know that people crave instant gratification. Use your messaging to let them know something will happen right away instead of promising them something later on down the road.  Some of the ways you can grab the readers’ attention right away and inspire them to take action include using phrases such as:

  • Act Now
  • Get Started
  • Sign Up Today
  • Enroll Instantly

By sending an offer that encourages customers to get started right away, they have more motivation to take you up on it. That kind of phrasing jumps out. Just having these kinds of action verbs and an urgent tone is more likely to get you an instant response rather than an eventual response.


You’re busy, and so are your prospective customers. Assume that they won’t read every word, so only use the ones that count. The best way to get your point across is to break the information up so that readers can skim through it and still get the gist of who, what, where, and why. Some of the ways you can do that include:

  • Bullet points (such as these)
  • Numbered lists
  • Smaller blocks of text
  • Short paragraphs and several headers

The more skimmable your content is, the more likely someone is to read all the way through it or at least see the message that you’re trying to get across. At Aspen Automotive, we can help you craft copy that’s short and to the point, but also highly informative.


Messaging for direct mailImagine online links as response devices that are similar to toll-free numbers or business-reply cards. Links permit readers to respond instantly; therefore, make them easily findable and rewarding to use.

When it comes to direct mail like a postcard or self-mailer, you can use a QR code or personal URL that takes the reader wherever you want them to go. It’s an easy way to get the desired response from your reader, like:

  • Encouraging them to redeem an offer instantly
  • Directing them to your website so they can learn more
  • Having them follow or subscribe to your social media accounts


The more times the recipient views the same exact message, the better it will be remembered. They’re then more than likely to respond. One other advantage of repeating a message is that the more often they see or hear it, the more they’ll trust it.

That’s why people remember slogans and jingles. Whether your message is catchy and upbeat or deep and profound, repetition can store a message in someone’s mind the same way a song gets stuck in your head.


People love rhyme. Not only are rhymes fun to read, but they’re also easy to remember. If your message rhymes, it’ll resonate more with a recipient. Have a bit of fun with the messaging. Here’s the best part about rhyme: You may subliminally coax individuals into remembering your message and responding.

As a two-for-one bonus, if you can combine rhyme with repetition, you have a legitimate earworm on your hands. That can be the difference between a recipient forgetting about your mail later that day, and randomly thinking about your message weeks or even months later.

That’s not to say you should force-feed your recipients rhymes and overload the copy with them. It’s best to allow them to occur organically—you don’t want rhymes that are overly forced. Like your message, keep things simple.


Effective Messaging for Direct MailA brand will be how individuals identify you, so take some time to develop a message that matches your brand. That includes thinking about your brand’s overall personality. What kind of image are you putting out there? What kind of tone does your copy have?

Good branding encompasses everything from how your business looks and sounds to what people associate with it. When it comes to direct mail, the words on the page or postcard should match your brand, but that’s just the beginning. How it looks and sounds also plays a huge part in grabbing the reader’s attention.

Some of the things you’ll need to think about it when it comes to direct mail and branding include:

  • Graphic design
  • Logos
  • Color scheme
  • Tone
  • Slogans, catchphrases, etc.


All of the words you put on the piece of mail must work together toward a goal. Is the goal for customers to:

  • Go to your website?
  • Visit your store?
  • Contact you by phone?
  • Something else?

Getting the mail to your customers and having them open it is one thing, but what you really want is for them to get involved in a way that accomplishes your goal. To do that, every piece of direct mail needs a call to action (CTA) near the end. This should motivate, inspire, or drive the reader to take the action that accomplishes your goal.

Examples of a strong CTA include phrases like, “Visit our website” or “Schedule a test drive at our dealership.”


At Aspen Automotive, we can help you with every phase of crafting the perfect message for your campaign. From brainstorming themes to working on specific language for your unique campaign, we’ll make sure your direct mailing materials have the exact message you want to get across. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about messaging, or contact us to get started!