Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Explode Your Direct-Mail Response by 108%

Want a higher response from your sales letters -- up to 108% higher?

Try a sticky note.

Social scientist Randy Garner ran a study in which he sent out surveys to people, with a request to complete them.

The survey was mailed in one of 3 ways:
  1. with a handwritten sticky note requesting completion of the survey, attached to a cover letter;
  2. with a similar handwritten message on the cover letter itself; or 
  3. with a cover letter only -- no handwritten message
The little yellow square packed a big persuasive punch: More than 75% of people who got the survey with the sticky note request filled it out and returned it ... while only 48% of the second group and 36% of the third group did so.

That difference is huge -- 108% higher
response for a letter with a sticky note compared to a letter without one. More than double.

Garner suggests that people recognize the extra effort and personal touch required to add a sticky note, and that they feel a need to reciprocate by agreeing to the request.

As I’m sure you know from the classic book, Influence by Robert Cialdini, reciprocity is the social glue that helps bind people together in cooperative relationships. As this study shows, a simple sticky note can trigger reciprocity -- and increase response.

Bottom line: Little sticky notes swing big doors ... and an ounce of personalized effort is worth a pound of persuasion.

The above is adapted from the article, “How to Make Your Influence Stickier,” by Bob Adams, and is based on the book "Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive" by Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein, and Steve Martin.


How can you use this idea in your marketing? What’s the next letter you plan to mail that could be improved by adding a sticky note? Please let me know -- leave a comment below.

Update: A few days after writing this post, I got this letter in the mail from Xfinity/Comcast ...

They send hundreds of thousands of mail pieces each week. And they're testing the sticky note to see if it boosts response. You might want to try it, too.

Meanwhile, do you own a business? If so ...

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