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Should I Use ChatGPT To Write Direct Mail Marketing Copy?
Direct Mail
March 30, 2023

Should I Use ChatGPT To Write Direct Mail Marketing Copy?

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If you’ve been keeping up with the latest trends in technology, then surely, you’ve heard about ChatGPT. It’s the viral AI chatbot everyone’s talking about.

Nearly 75% of marketers agree that direct mail gives them the best ROI of all the marketing channels they use. Also, automation and technology are the main improvements marketers use when looking to modernize existing direct mail processes. ChatGPT is an automated content generator with a limited, free version and a paid ChatGPT Plus version, but should you use such technology to write your direct mail campaigns?

What is ChatGPT?

In November 2022, OpenAI, a Silicon Valley company known for its text-to-image generation software, Dall-E 2, launched ChatGPT (Chat-based Generative Pre-training Transformer). This artificial intelligence (AI) content-generating chatbot went viral, capturing the attention of over a million users within its first week after launch.

Here’s how the OpenAI website describes ChatGPT:

“We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT, which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response.”

The current basic version is free to use. However, OpenAI is accepting waitlist signups for those interested in the premium version, ChatGPT Professional. When the new version comes out, it’s expected to cost about $20 per month.

The program uses transformer architecture to sift through terabytes of textual data. This deep learning technique, a type of machine learning (ML) based on artificial neural networks, can generate human-like responses to questions and prompts. This billion-dollar Microsoft-backed technology offers promise, but it’s not without limitations.

Limitations of ChatGPT

Chatbots are nothing new, but they still haven’t been perfected. The same goes for ChatGPT, despite its game-changing ability to “learn” how to speak text just like humans. OpenAI is transparent about the software’s limitations, which it prominently lists on its website.

Some of ChatGPT's limitations include:

  • Gives incorrect or nonsensical answers: ChatGPT can sometimes write incorrect and nonsensical content, even though it may sound plausible.
  • Is sensitive to tweaks: ChatGPT doesn't always understand phrases or questions. In addition, it won't respond to multiple queries of the exact same text. Sometimes slightly rephrasing the copy can lead to a better response.
  • Tends to be too wordy: ChatGPT can be very wordy and frequently overuses specific phrases.
  • Lacks clarifying questions: ChatGPT can't ask questions to clarify a question if it's not clearly stated. Instead, it takes a wild guess as to what the user meant.
  • Responds to unsafe content: ChatGPT is unable to filter out unsafe content and inappropriate queries, causing it to respond inappropriately or exhibit unbecoming behavior.

Additionally, ChatGPT is also unable to:

  • Cite sources
  • Fact check
  • Weave in real-life examples or stories

Recommended Reading: Get More ROI With Direct Mail Automation

When you should (and shouldn’t) use ChatGPT for direct mail marketing

Limitations aside, many industries expect that the ability to use AI to generate text, images, video, and audio will boost efficiency and transform the way they do business. ChatGPT's ability to generate content in seconds has the potential to save you valuable time and resources. But should you?

Some direct mail marketers currently use ChatGPT to:

  • Generate ideas for promotional content
  • Brainstorm copy, such as creating catchy headlines or body copy
  • A/B test content options, like using two different CTAs
  • Summarize text, like when listing product or service benefits
  • Create rough outlines as a starting point

Although you can create AI-generated content faster than a human can write, the results aren't quite as human. Instead, the content can sound robotic and emotionless, leaves out certain information, may appear correct but doesn't make sense, isn't always factually valid, offers only basic and often outdated information, and lacks a point-of-view.

Your direct mail campaigns should elicit an emotional response, prompting the recipient to act accordingly since 62% of consumers report taking action on a direct mail piece.

While content generators offer much promise for marketers, the technology is still evolving. If you know your audience and key topics but want to generate new or different ideas, ChatGPT could be beneficial and save you some time.

Bottom line? Use AI as a tool to help you create the bones of your direct mail copy by coming up with different copy and CTAs to A/B test, but don’t rely on it to be the muscle—at least not yet.

But, there is a way you can put an extra dose of intelligence into your next direct mail marketing campaign - by leveraging intelligent mail. Learn more on our podcast episode about intelligent mail:

Let Lob help with your next direct mail campaign

ChatGPT and other content generators powered by AI are set to pave the future of marketing. While you can use ChatGPT to help you generate new and unique ideas for your direct mail marketing campaigns, it's not yet (and may never be) a replacement for human writers. Nevertheless, there’s something to be said about novel ways to automate the direct mail process. That’s where Lob comes in!

Lob is an automation platform—the only one of its kind—that transforms direct mail into intelligent mail. Using Lob, it only takes minutes to design, print, and send a direct mail campaign to your contacts without ever contacting a printer. Lob’s power rests in its APIs and integrations, so you can connect our platform to your other marketing automation tools as part of a true omnichannel marketing strategy.

Contact Lob to automate your repetitive processes and schedule a demo.

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