Human life and all the things around us are pushed forward with the power of adaptation. It is the key of survival and sustenance for all living beings and inanimate objects that are in their use. Marketing, as we see today, has been transformed momentously post-industrialization, it is constantly gets adjusted with changing times.
Direct mail marketing, probably the most established and reliable means of advertising, is still thriving because it adapts all the innovative features, which have become part of this realm. Whether it’s about segmentation of marketing or integration with the digital medium, direct mail marketing has adopted all the contemporary trends.
Crossroads of Marketing and Psyche
Consumer behaviors and tendencies are the attributes that factor in a lot when marketing strategies are developed and materialized. In studying and taking advantage of the fundamental features of human intellect, the field of psychology has an important role to play.
Marketing, in its truest sense, entails the actions executed by businesses to elicit an interest from potential consumers in any product and service offered. Human predilections and interests can be gauged or even shaped by working on their behavior since both are strongly intertwined.
And here comes the use of behavioral psychology. It’s a sub-field of psychology, which studies the link between our minds and behaviors. Behavioral psychologists try to find out the rationale of every behavioral action i.e. why we behave the way we do and how these actions are linked to higher brain centers.
This branch of psychology, which has now been around for more than 100 years, has produced various theories and principles. This growing body of research in this domain proves to be very valuable in different fields of life, including marketing.
If we particularly talk about direct mail marketing, then the use of behavioral psychology can be carried out in various ways by using its different inferences and theories. In this article, we will try to center our discussion on the role of behavioral psychology in direct mail marketing campaigns and how it can be used to achieve optimum results.
Behavioral Psychology and Direct Mail Marketing
Let’s delve into the details of what different principles of behavioral psychology entail and how they can be in direct mail marketing for better results.
The Gestalt Principle and Striving for Simplicity
‘Gestalt ‘is a German word for the phrase ‘Unified Whole’. The Gestate Principle comprises of multiple research studies of German psychologists in the early 20th century, which established an inference that it’s a natural human tendency to look for patterns and symmetry in the things they see.
Even if there is no particular pattern present, we try to create and perceive one on our own to see things as a unified whole. If we see this theory regarding human perception from the lens of marketing, then one can deduce that having a marketing outing with simplicity and particular outlines can attract potential consumers since they are wired to appreciate patterns.
Therefore, to use The Gestalt principle for its merits, make sure that the design and copy of your direct mail is not too complicated. The recipients can easily find a pattern and symmetry in it without exhausting their brains out. There is a reason why marketing campaigns designed on the template of simplicity get more traction and all the large corporations and conglomerates usually execute the simplest possible marketing trends.
Tackling Action Paralysis for not Giving Room to Second Guesses
We humans have a tendency to doubt our own behavior before performing a certain task, particularly if we are not sure of its impact and consequences. This delay of decision-making is called Action Paralysis in the jargon of behavioral psychology, and acts as an obstacle in lead conversion for any marketing outing.
Let’s go through an example to understand how Action Paralysis can affect the results of direct mail marketing. In a targeted marketing campaign, where you are reaching out to a cohort of patients through ailment mailing lists, the closing of your CTA can have a significant role to play in inculcating or negating the action paralysis.
If you are closing your direct mail with the text ‘make a purchase right now’, as opposed to ‘make a purchase today for immediate improvement in your medical condition’, you can suffer a setback in the form of a significant dip in your lead conversion, as indicted by a psychological study.
If you notice both these texts, the latter is providing a rationale along with the call to make a purchase. The integration of rationale in your CTA thus reduces the chances of customers questioning their decision, which results in no action paralysis and improved lead generation.
Similarly, inconclusive and incomplete information also leads to action paralysis. If recipients are not getting the gist of what your direct mail entails, they will not bother to get in touch with you. So make sure that your direct mail is precise and covers all the important details of your products and services.
Shaping and Re-shaping the Position of Your Business Brand
There is a perception that costumers take ages to decide whether or not they want to do business with a certain brand. However, the reality is quite the contrary. Barring purchases involving large sums of capital, most of the retail items are purchased through the decisions made in a fraction of a second.
This quick decision-making, where a consumer is able to gauge brand, prices and its competitors within a few seconds, is possible because most of it has already done on a subconscious level.
This subconscious awareness about a brand or business is only possible when marketers are constantly delivering a similar message in their direct mails to establish a particular image of their operations. This activity is called brand positioning and can be carried through direct mail marketing as well. Let’s have a look.
If a business dealing in wearable items wants to position itself as a luxury and high-end brand, it can devise a long term, multistep direct mail marketing campaign to achieve this. First, start off with targeting affluent demographics. A Prizm mailing list can be helpful in targeting high income neighborhoods. Furthermore, use good quality material in creating direct mails e.g. post cards instead of regular paper. The language of your direct mail copy must not contain words such as ‘reasonable price’, ‘discounts’, ‘good use of money’ etc.
Scented cards with more use of luxury colors (as per color psychology) such as purple, black, gold and silver can convey an undertone of lavishness and luxury.
Reaching out to your consumers repeatedly with this marketing makeup can help you in positioning your business as offering luxury wearable articles, in their sub-conscious. So, what you will get from this marketing exercise? Chances will be increased that the prospective customers will choose you over your competitors without making any conscious effort.
Labeling and Defining Consumers: A Tool to Motivate Them
Behavioral psychology tells us that people have the tendency to relate to something special, particularly the things they have interest in. This is the reasons why we have high school fraternities and sororities. This is the reason why people want to become a part of cult groups.
This trait of human behavior can also be used when carrying out direct mail marketing. For instance, if a business that deals in golf accessories is specifically targeting its potential customers with the help of behavioral mailing lists, it can use this labeling trick for better response. A consumer called Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods is more likely to read your direct mail with interest and will be more willing to get back to you.
Similarly, using superlatives pertinent to your business, for your prospective consumers in the copy of your direct mail, can provoke greater response. Therefore, setting a persona for your consumer base in your direct mail marketing can pay off, especially if you are doing it astutely with prudent targeting and without over or under-doing it.
Increasing the Integrity of your Business by Admitting Shortcomings
In an environment of cutthroat competition, it is always difficult for businesses to admit their mistakes or shortcomings. For that matter, they try to iron out things through lies and deceits. This flawed strategy can only protect the integrity of a business for a brief period of time before it falls apart in front of consumers.
Psychology substantiates the fact that people are more forgiving towards those who admit their mistakes and failings. This same psychological truth is applicable on businesses as well. If a business dispatches faulty products to consumers, replacing them is usually a part of compliance and an act of regulation.
But if they really want to restore or increase their commercial integrity, a direct mail marketing outing can really help. A direct mail of admission that you have made a mistake and you are regretful about it, can reinstate the veracity of your business in consumers’ perception.
Similarly, admitting your shortcoming before your prospective customers is always a better approach. Otherwise, they will get to know about it from your existing consumers. In such cases, where you haven’t publically admitted your mistake or fault, it becomes difficult to entice new consumers no matter how good and streamlined your marketing strategy is.
Trust, honesty and truthfulness factor in a lot in customer retention and you can achieve it by remaining open and humble in your direct mail marketing campaigns.
Reciprocity and More Consumer Engagement
Reciprocity is another social norm and behavioral activity which drives many of our actions. People are more willing and motivated to engage when they are being reciprocated. All of human relationships stay alive when there is reciprocity present and same goes for consumer-business affiliation.
Things go well in this affiliation when exchange of benefits is two-way. For instance, content creation and value addition in different ways is a basic motif of inbound marketing, where businesses reciprocate the consumer’s permission of engagement by providing free knowledge and useful information. In some cases, some services are also offered in reciprocation.
A Regular informative communication with your existing consumers through direct mail marketing, where you are not selling and pitching anything, can successfully steer this consumer-business reciprocity. Reciprocating through direct mails can aid in increasing customer engagement and you can also extend this practice towards reaching out to new consumers.
For example, an automotive accessory shop can reach out to their customers with advisory and informative mails regarding vehicles, their safety, driving and other related factors without promoting any of their products and services. It’s a well-known marketing awareness that more engagement, no matter how passive it is, ultimately leads to meaningful lead conversion.
Show Commitment to Your Business
Showing the commitment and resolve to deliver is another noble feature that positively affects the behaviors of others. Similar is the case of businesses interacting with consumers. If you are able to convey your determination and commitment in your direct mails to recipients, you can convert them to actual consumers.
Informing that you can deliver ordered products at their doorstep at any cost is a sign that you are determined to do business. Providing them with multiple payment options is another way to show the extent of your tenacity to cater to them.
You can also add the glimpse of your commitment in your direct mail marketing by enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelope in your mail to proactively facilitate the communication with your prospective consumers.
As you can see, how helpful behavioral psychology can be in terms of formulating different marketing tactics and devising promotional campaigns. Moreover, if you have noticed, all the above-discussed behavioral principles can be put to use in direct mail marketing as well. So, it has become quite clear that direct mail marketing can be well-adjusted and customized with respect to any contemporary requirement.
The arrival of targeted mailing lists and professional mailing lists brokers have also made the realm of direct mailing marketing very robust and streamlined. We might further discuss some other principles of psychology and their use in direct mail marketing in our future blogs. Click here for Part 2 of this topic.