Seduction: Mastering The Unspoken In Direct Mail For Event Marketing

Photo Credit: Nigel Lamb

It turns out there are a lot of parallels between direct mail copywriting and the seduction techniques you learn while dating -- one major one being what you don't say can make you appear more intriguing and desirable. 

As Francine Prose writes in Reading Like a Writer, "[…] dialogue usually contains as much or even more subtext than it does text. More is going on under the surface than on it. One mark of [badly] written dialogue is that it is only doing one thing, at most, at once."

Although it goes without saying, you don't want your copy to be unethical. You certainly don't want to omit facts for the sake of misleading someone. In the dating world this would be like omitting such necessary facts as, "I'm actually married." In direct marketing, it might be lessening dangerous outcomes, such as, "This product is made of carcinogenic materials -- no biggie."

Direct Mail Techniques & Event Marketing Campaigns

Seduction is even more applicable if your direct mail piece is promoting an event. Event marketing with the right invitation or direct mail piece should convey just enough information to entice -- but not so much that it runs the risk of appearing formulaic. It should keep the prospect on familiar ground with just enough enticement to be compelling. 

You've got limited room to communicate in a direct mail piece, so it's just as important to consider what you don't say as what you do say. What are you implying? Where are you leading your prospects?

Are you irresistible? Or, as Sally Hogshead asks, are you fascinating?

How can you master the unspoken in your direct marketing for events? Here are some crucial areas to examine. Master these, and you'll harness the larger task -- communicating the unspoken.

Who Are You Inviting? Who Is Your Ideal Prospect?

Defining your ideal prospect is a fundamental, so don't make the common mistake of glossing over it and not taking the time to clearly define the best person for your event.

A friend of mine is on a mission to get married. She has compiled a list of ideal qualities in her mate, taking inspiration from Amy Webb's book, Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match. My friend has adopted Webb's system of scoring qualities for a minimum score to avoid wasting time with people who don't make the cut.

Similarly, you should be as granular as possible about the preferences and aspirations of your targeted customer. Narrowing your focus and writing to "one person" assists you in writing the best copy. To be seductive on a date, it works well to speak using the words they would choose; the same is true when you're approaching your direct mail prospect. Every Don Juan knows nothing is sweeter than the sound of your own name whispered in your ear...

Does Your Prospect Understand Your Reference?

In dating you might casually joke using a favorite line from a movie or music you enjoy, curious if the other person "gets it." If they do, you instantly have a common interest and shared experience. That begins the bonding process.

Similarly, in direct mail think of your ideal prospect. If you reference an event, a time period, or specific set of circumstances, where is this most likely to lead your prospect's mind? One small reference can invoke a larger, shared experience. The value of using this reference is to build credibility and familiarity, or, in another word, to bond.

Be clear about the references you choose and what, specifically, you'd like the reference to conjure up in the mind of your prospect. Will the reference underscore your seriousness? Will the reference spark memories of fun times? Be very, very selective. The right reference will skyrocket your response rate, while the wrong one will leave your prospect cold.

Are You Likeable?

As the old saying goes, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" -- which is to say, are you likeable?

When your direct mail or invitation copy contains an upbeat, friendly, and trustworthy tone, you, as the direct marketer, benefit in several ways. One of the primary benefits is that prospects relax. When they relax and find you trustworthy they naturally "fill in the blanks" -- which is to say, they'll start generating their own reasons for continuing a relationship with you, whether it is to continue reading your sales letter or opening your email newsletters.

Be likeable enough to make the pitch immediately, but, barring that -- after all, some people don't just jump into action right away! -- at least be likeable enough to start the conversion process. Research is the start of the process. Inspire your prospects to dig further for the facts about the event you're promoting.

So, brush up on your seduction skills. Mastering the unspoken in your event marketing campaigns is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audiences and drive action. Connection is just a few hot breaths away from conversion.

Katie McCaskey is a freelance journalist who writes for, the official provider of Vistaprint coupon codes for customized direct marketing products for small businesses across the globe. Katie is also an author and co-owner of a grocery and café in Staunton, Virginia.


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