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Seven steps to a buzzworthy campaign

Seven steps to a buzzworthy campaign - content and creativity are key

The average household receives two pieces of direct mail every day.1 That’s 12 a week and hundreds a year. How do you craft a mailing that not only stands out from the crowd, but also spreads a marketing message beyond the initial recipients? Here’s a handy checklist for creating buzz.

1. Keep your message top-of-mind. As you develop copy, keep a close eye on whether your product’s unique selling point is clear to readers. Ask for feedback from focus groups or marketing pros before finalizing copy. 

2. Appeal to readers’ emotions. A marketing message with a big emotional punch — whether funny or heartwarming — is more likely to be shared. Case in point: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising videos that swept the Internet in 2014 were seen by tens of millions of people in large part because they were so personal, with participants asking other individuals to take part.2 (Meanwhile, make sure to keep branding to a minimum, since overtly sales-focused language may actually turn off readers and keep your mailing from being shared.3)

3. Be different — but not too different. Experiment with different sizes and styles of mailers. The more eye-catching and creative your mailing, the more likely it is to be kept and shared by recipients. But beware of creating nonmachinable mailers that don’t meet USPS® requirements for automated processing: square envelopes; letters that contain pens, keys or other items that create an uneven thickness; and unique closures like clasps, strings or buttons are also subject to surcharges.

4. Push the envelope (within reason). Consider sending out several different messages in small test runs to see what generates the largest reach and response. Remember, however, that too small a test run may yield results that can’t be trusted.4 Search online for calculators that can help measure how many pieces you need to mail to yield statistically significant results, or work with an expert data service to make sure that your results are verifiable — and repeatable.

5. Share it! Take advantage of personalized URLs (PURLs) to drive people to a website where they can share your message with friends. Make sure the site offers buttons for sharing on a wide range of popular social media platforms.5 Also take advantage of social media for your own marketing efforts: Some 92 percent of marketers say social media is important to their business, and Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most commonly used social media platforms.6 Early afternoon is the optimal time to post on outlets such as Facebook, and Thursday and Friday tend to be the days where posts receive the most attention from readers.7

6. Go omnichannel. Tactics that drive people online are great. Once you get them to your website, take advantage of newer technologies such as augmented and virtual reality applications to enhance the marketing message. With these technologies, users may be able to see themselves wearing a new outfit or visualize how a piece of furniture would look in their home.

7. Evaluate your efforts. Once you’ve launched your direct mail program, determine what’s working and what’s not through traditional metrics, such as direct mail response rates and website visits. Use advanced metrics to measure your audience’s attention and engagement: For instance, figure out not just how many people watched your video, but also how many watched the entire video.8 Take advantage of online tools, too: Google Alerts can tell you when news stories or blog posts mention your company, and Topsy tracks mentions on Twitter. These important metrics can yield critical information to help influence future direct-mail efforts.

1 “How to Make Direct Mail Work for Your Business,” Chad Brooks, Business News Daily, March 20, 2014
2 “7 Marketing Lessons from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” Steve Olenski,, August 22, 2014
3 “Research: The Emotions that Make Marketing Campaigns Go Viral,” Kelsey Libert & Kristin Tynski, Harvard Business Review, October 24, 2013
4 “Direct Marketing Best Practices: Test, Test, Test,”
5 “PURL Jam: 6 ways personalized URLs can help increase the virality of your campaigns,” Daniel Bunstein, MarketingSherpa Blog, April 12, 2012
6 “2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report,” Social Media Examiner, May 2015
7 “What Are the Best Times to Post on Social Media,” Neil Patel,, January 2, 2015
8 “6 Buzz Phrases Marketers Should Take Seriously in 2015,” Natasha D. Smith, Direct Marketing News, January 12, 2015

© Pitney Bowes 2015.  All rights reserved.

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