Direct Mail Best Practice #10 – Deadlines

You can have everything else lined up perfectly in your direct marketing, but the customer will fail to pull the trigger and purchase your product. So, what are they waiting for? Marketing messages without a clear sense of urgency result in customers delaying response. You’re going to need to strike fear into the heart of your potential customer to get them to act – fear that they might be losing out.

Fear of Loss

Research has shown that “fear of loss” is a significantly stronger motivator for people than desire to gain. Consumers are in general more motivated by the idea of losing something that they already own than the gains they’d receive from something new.

You can use this powerful idea in your direct marketing in your headlines, promises and guarantees. Instead of extolling the benefits of buying your product, express the loss the customer will feel if they don’t buy it:

  • Instead of: “Save up to $500 on long distance calls each year!”
  • Try: “Stop losing $500 each year on long distance calls!”

This subtle difference can significantly increase conversions.

Fear of Losing Out

Your direct marketing should include a special offer, such as a free gift or discount. This offer becomes twice as potent when it has a set deadline. The deadline both sets the customer up to worry about losing out on the bargain, and also makes the special offer seem more exclusive and exceptional.

Choosing a deadline can be tricky. You want to choose an expiry time that is not so far in the future that all urgency is lost, but you also need to allocate enough time for the customer to become acquainted with your product and to get into buying mode. Each product and marketing campaign is different and you will need to play this by ear.

If you are unsure of an exact date to use, a deadline based on limited stocks can also be a motivator. Suggesting that only the first 100 sales get a free gift, for example, takes pressure off you to set a date but still has a limited effect on consumers’ actions.

Getting them off the Fence

Deadlines work well to get fence-sitters to finally make the move to purchase your product. Here’s a few ways to seal the deal with your deadline:

  • Be specific – more specific dates and details lend credibility to your deadline, making it believable.
  • Give your special offer a name – May Madness Deal, Black Friday Blowout, Manager’s Special, etc. – these can all cement the deal in the customer’s mind.
  • Use attention-grabbing words like “rush sale”, “24 hours only”, “hurry”, “final chance” etc.
  • Put your special offer front and center, showing it’s the most important part of the postcard because the offer is just so good.

Ready to get started? Don’t lose customers with poor direct marketing postcards. Let us help you get the best return on your marketing budget investment. Contact us today at 866-319-7109 or at