How to Beat the 8-Second Attention Span

— March 24, 2017

It’s a noisy world out there, and today’s technology means that consumers are being exposed to an ever-growing volume of content every day. So, is it really any wonder that the average attention span has shrunk from about twelve seconds, to just eight since the dawn of the new millennium? To put this in perspective, studies have clocked the average attention span of a goldfish at about nine seconds.

Beating today’s 8-second attention span demands a marketing channel that:

  • creates an impact,
  • is highly visual, and
  • that promotes longevity in terms of brand message and awareness

Direct mail delivers on all these fronts and more, and is the ideal vehicle for inspiring and maintaining valuable customer relationships. Want to get noticed? Consider these three keys to creating direct mail postcards and brochures that generate sales and build brand value.

1. Differentiate

Direct mail is all about differentiation. Print ads help to distinguish your brand’s voice among the marketing clamor because consumers naturally view physical mail as a more intimate and personal form of communication than digital advertising.

It’s common for the typical consumer to be curious about what’s waiting inside their mailbox at the end of the day. By building on that curiosity, you can use your direct mail postcards to delight and surprise – whether it’s by means of:

  • a humorous headline,
  • a stunning visual image, or
  • an exclusive offer that your client or prospect wasn’t expecting

Direct mail gets noticed, while digital ads tend to get lost amidst the flurry of too many emails. Many consumers claim they prefer to handle and read print communication simply because it’s such a pleasant contrast to the hours they spend staring at a computer screen each day.

2. Personalize

Direct mail is the marketing channel of choice for personalizing relationships with past, current, and future clients. It’s a great way to communicate your brand values because it naturally lends itself to more genuine, one-to-one messaging.

It’s largely the tactile nature of direct mail that makes it so noticeable, memorable, and so likely to inspire positive feelings in the recipient. With personal interactions becoming more limited in today’s digitally-driven environment, people appreciate the chance to physically handle communications that come directly from the hands of another human being.

Consider these recent study findings:

Almost three-quarters of consumers notice direct mail advertising some – or all – of the time,
More than 80% of consumers read the mail in their mailboxes the same day it’s received, and
A full 85% of direct mail recipients will open what companies send them – if it looks interesting

When it comes to standing up, and standing out, your customers will gain a far better impression of your business, and feel more personally valued by it, when you communicate by way of direct mail.

3. Let Data Do the Driving

Direct mail success hinges on getting to know your customers inside and out. Only then can you offer them a buying experience that’s:

  • meaningful,
  • relevant,
  • unique, and
  • memorable

Figure out who’s buying from your business now, and who’s likely to buy from you in the future. When you compile customer data that’s based on demographics and psychographics – and segment that data by client similarities – you’ll be better equipped to design direct mail messaging that speaks to actual buying behaviors.

It’s time to help your business rise above the digital din. While digital ads and email both play pivotal roles in an effective marketing campaign, the bottom line is that consumers are far more likely to notice, read, enjoy, and respond to direct mail ads than they are their digital counterparts.

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