You have a great idea and a cool product. Your Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaign is poised to send your sales rocketing through the sky. Now it’s time to revisit your headline, arguably the single most important element in your EDDM campaign.

Your headline has one single goal: entice the recipient to read on, where he or she’ll have a chance to at least consider your offer. As your recipient rifles through that stack of mail that they’ve just pulled out of their mailbox, hunting for bills and other important mail, will your headline save your investment from instant junk mail status?

We already discussed the importance of visuals for a campaign. An aesthetically-appealing design combined with a punchy and sales-oriented direct mail headline is the best recipe for successful direct mail.

Follow our guidelines for the two Fs below – the formula and the formulation – and you are bound to boost your headline’s conversion power. Then, with the third F (read on to see what this is) you will make your campaign absolutely bulletproof.


The Headline Formula

Decades of well-documented advertising campaigns have proven that headlines that work manage to:

  • Identify the customers’ problem
  • Offer a viable solution
  • Make a promise to apply this solution and achieve real results

These three components require a deep knowledge of what your customers need and want. Make sure to convey the clear promise you are making through your very first contact. When you do this in a specific way and with an implied urgency, you have a higher chance of making your recipient believe you will relieve his or her pain point.

headline formula3


Headline Formulations

Once you know what kind of information your EDDM headline should contain, begin to play around with shaping it. Even if you have a good understanding of your customers’ problem and a perfect solution for them, you have to make your promise in a compelling way. Catching their attention is crucial – as well as keeping it and directing it in the right direction.

You have a variety of options when it comes to the precise wording of your offer in the headline. Here are only some of the most commonly used techniques:

  • Question Headline: Have you tried the phenomenal new veggie pizza?
  • Straightforward Headline: 50% off all winter gear
  • Subtle Headline: Make your dreams come true with our travel agency (Note: But remember that being specific generally pays off better)
  • Testimonial Headline: George Clooney is in love with our services. What about you?

Unleash your creativity and let your imagination run wild. There are many ways to formulate an effective headline, so experiment freely while keeping the headline formula in mind.


The Third F: Fantasticalness (yes, it is a word)

Finally, don’t forget a stroke of brilliance in the creation process. Decent headline’s won’t save you from the junk mail pile – you need a fantastic headline. Тhe right formula will only get you so far. The recipe for amazing, impressive, and effective headlines will include not only these two key ingredients, but also definitely a dash of the fantastic.


And don’t forget to A/B Test!

Even if you are convinced that you have unlocked the world’s best headline, always A/B test at least one alternative. A/B testing gives you crucial evidence to test your creative assumptions, and the evidence often will surprise you.

In order to properly test different headlines, the campaign’s call-to-action should include a unique conversion trigger (e.g. call-in phone number) that allows you to segment conversions by headline copy.

What are some of your favorite direct mail headlines? Have you ever pulled something out of your mailbox that you thought was just too clever and compelling to chuck into the round file? Tell us your favorite headlines.