A wise copywriter once told me you have to do three things in your marketing copy:
1. Tell them what you are about to tell them.
2. Tell them.
3. Tell them what you told them.
This same kind of repetitive structure applies to mailing out a promotion in a postcard or letter format. If you are investing in a direct-mail or postcard campaign, it's wise to conisder padding the mail with two e-mails. One e-mail sent before the mailing is supposed to reach customers, and one e-mail after.
These two e-mails will act as bookends to the mailing, and will greatly increase the chances that folks will notice your mail message and respond or take action.
E-mail No. 1
The first e-mail should hit inboxes about two to three business days prior to the date when you think the mailing will be delivered. In the first e-mail say something like, "Check your mail for our 2010 Events Brochure and Registration." It's that simple; warn folks the mailing is coming. In the first e-mail you can also provide a link to a landing page that has the same creative and the call-to-action as the mailing -- to make a sale, offer a discount, get a registration, etc.
Now when the postcard, brochure or envelope arrives in the customer's mailbox, a lightbulb will go off in their heads. They'll say to themselves, "Hey, I've heard about this somewhere before." This tiny moment of recognition may be all it takes to save your mailing from the trash bin and get them to read on.
E-mail No. 2
Finally, about two to three business days after the mailing should have hit everyone on your list, send the second e-mail. Remember to leave enough time for national mailings to reach far-away states. You may want to segment your e-mail list by ZIP code so that you can send the messages right on time to people in each location.
The second e-mail message copy can be a bit more urgent or dramatic, using phrases such as "Last Call," "Final Announcement" or "Deadline." Remember to include some copy thanking those folks who have already responded or taken action, in case you don't have time to weed them from your list before sending the final e-mail.
A note about list keeping
To send a bookend campaign, clients will need a comprehensive list with both e-mail addresses and mailing addresses. Some organizations will have all of this information in one place. But many companies will have several lists in different places, and there will be a bit of work involved to track down the data and combine it on one list.
If yours or a client's organization does not have e-mail and mailing addresses in one list, then encourage folks to start building a comprehensive list now. During customer service interactions, purchases or other points of communication with customers simply ask folks to provide or match the missing information.