Seven Deadly Sins Of Pre-Show Mail Campaigns

Lets face it. There’s no end to the ways you can mess up a direct mail campaign. Most of us are familiar with the mistakes that lead to certain direct-mail death: don’t ask for any action, mail the item too late, don’t use benefits-oriented copy, or (heaven forbid!) don’t send anything at all.

Pre-show direct mailers are a particularly demanding breed of the direct mail species. As such, there’s even more room for error. Here are seven common pre-show direct mailer errors. Watch out for them in your planning.

  1. Wrongful assumptions. Don’t assume that people know all about your company or its products. Keep your copy to one message, and keep that message simple. You can educate them on the other levels of your company and products once they are in the booth.
  2. Mailer overboard. Giant type, multiple exclamation points, a dozen vibrant colours – ouch! Remember that pre-show mailers set the tone and spirit of your booth. You might discourage attendees from visiting your booth if your mailer is too loud.
  3. Error of excess. Often, a pre-show mailer ends up looking like a product catalogue, filled with specs and details. “You don’t have to tell them how your product works,” Denham says. “Just get them to see the benefit of coming to visit you.”
  4. It’s the message, stupid. Sometimes, pre-show mail creators are so caught up in the “creative” side of things that they forget what they are supposed to accomplish. The goal is bring people to the booth, not convince them this is the cutest mailer in the history of exhibiting.
  5. “We’re the greatest.” The pre-show mailer is not the place to laud your company’s latest accomplishments. Instead, you need to tell attendees why they should visit your booth. Think about how your product/service benefits them, and let that drive the message.
  6. Know the show limitations. If show management will be sending the mailer for you, be sure to check their guidelines up front. One company planned to ship its comic book style mailer in clear-coated plastic envelopes. They found out too late that show management’s mail house couldn’t process the materials.
  7. Too many hoops. Some mailers simply ask for too much action. “Bring the mailer to the front desk, have it stamped, fill out a form, visit three product stations-” Make it easy for your recipient. Give them one simple step, such as interfacing with a sales representative or viewing a presentation, to redeem the mailer.

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