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Don’t Forget Your Call to Action

Action BoardYou’ve designed a terrific direct mail piece. You have high-quality graphics and are printing on premium stock. Your headline jumps out, your marketing copy rocks, and you’ve got multiple response mechanisms, including QR Codes. There are even social media icons for viral sharing on the landing pages of your mobile site. Is the campaign ready to launch? Not until you’ve got a call to action.



The call to action (CTA) can make or break any marketing piece. In the CTA, you invite the recipient to do something— make a call, sign up for an event, or make a purchase by a certain date.

Even with a great direct mail campaign, people won’t always respond right away even if they are interested. Sometimes they have to be asked. They need to be given an invitation or an incentive. Otherwise, your mailer turns out to be a pretty art piece that sits on the counter.

This happened to a high-end car manufacturer recently. It created an eye-popping, multi-fold piece promoting its newest model sedan. It used cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) technology to encourage recipients to scan the piece with their smartphones, looking for areas that would automatically launch an AR app, enabling them to take virtual tours and explore different features of the car. The piece was extremely well produced, engaged recipients at a very deep level, and used unusual elements such as AR and video to command attention.

But the piece had no call to action. Missing was the ability to request a test drive, get directions to the nearest dealership, or access some kind of incentive to encourage recipients to respond within a specific time frame (or at all). Had those elements been present, how much greater might the response have been?

In the call to action, you are giving an invitation. Your goal is to close the sale. So when designing your next direct mail campaign, don’t forget to include one. The lack of a CTA is a simple oversight that can make all the difference between a good response rate and a great one.