Research has shown
that 65% of the people who open your direct mail, if they are inclined
to respond, will do so because of your letter.
What does this say?
It says you better have a letter ... and it better be good ... in your
Here are the 8ight
golden guide lines for writing the better direct mail letter:
1. Write it like you
say it. Don't worry about grammar. Don't concern yourself with punctuation.
And don't word-smith every sentence. Make it human.
Now that I have said
that, let's back-up a step or two. If you tape record yourself and then
transcribe it and read it, most of the time it is unreadable. Why? Because,
even though I highly recommend that we write like we talk ... that is
not really how it happens.
What I recommend is
that you use a language that is comfortable for your audience. And speak
in a style and format that the audience will understand. And be likely
to respond to. Most often that is writing like you speak.
2. The best direct
mail is very personnel direct mail. Multiply it and mail it to everybody.
Write to the person you know best, say the things to them that you know
are important about your property, and then send it to everybody you feel
is a prospect and a customer.
And do it again and
again over and over. Because it works. Personal direct mail is the best
On the other side,
trying to be personal and missing is absolutely horrid. All of us have
received direct mail where our name was mispelled. That takes away from
all the personalization ... and destroys the impact you are trying to
make on the marketplace.
Maybe the best thing
to do is not personalize your mail. What I mean by that is you don't use
information that you have to guess at ... you only use information that
you know is accurate.
So in place of a dear
name, you do something that is interesting. Such as dear boating enthusist.
Or dear business traveler. Or dear perferred customer. These things work
-- because they are out of the ordinary, and more interesting to your
3. If your audience is
octogenarians then you need to become an octogenarian. And write like one.
If your audience is
business travelers, pretend you are a business traveler. It's not to hard
... you are one.
If you are trying
to get a group of doctors to stay with you, then you need to write to
them in a fashion that is going to appeal to a doctor. The same thing
goes for plumbers. Or sky-divers. Or a woman's organization. Or a youth
group. You need to write to the audience at a level that makes them comfortable
with doing business with you.
4. Never, but never talk
down to your audience. Look them straight in the eye and write to them.
When you write, talk
with them about benefits. Not the features that you offer ... but the
benefits that they gain from these features.
Also, make sure you
write to them about your offer. The specials over and above the ordinary
that you offer that the other guy doesn't.
Always talk to your
audience throught direct mail the same way you would talk to them in their
5. Never, but never tell
a lie. Tell funny stories. Be entertaining. Weave a scene. Make a point.
Be dramatic. Share a case history. Include testimonials. But never exaggerate.
Always be true.
6. Have something
to say ... and say it in a way that's understandable by your audience.
This may seem silly
to have to say. But, frequently I receive direct mail that doesn't really
say anything. When you beat around the bush ... or the message roams or
rambles, you are never quite sure what the point is. Make sure you have
something very specific to say -- and then present it in such a way that
the audience can read it and understand it.
Some of the things
you might want to do to make sure your direct mail is more readable and
understandable are these:
- Indent the first
line of every paragraph.
- Make sure that
at least 70% of all your words are 5 letter words or less.
- Never have a paragraph
of more than seven lines in any direct mail letter.
- Try to keep all
your sentences short ... make certain the average of all is 14 words
By the combination
of short words and short sentences and short paragraphs you make it easier
to read. Research indicates that when sentences begin to become 15 words
or longer ... a certain percentage of your audience falls away. They do
not get the message. The longer the sentence, the fewer people understand
what it is you are really trying to do.
7. Make me an offer
I can't refuse. Make the very best possible offer to your audience that
you can. Because, if the best offer you have doesn't succeed, nothing
less will even begin to work.
Making the best possible
offer you can, many times will make the difference between success, or
lack of success.
Again, what is a offer?
An offer is over and above your features and benefits. It's the extra.
It's the what's in it for me philosophy and attitude. Meaning, what is
the customer going to get if they do business with you. Make the very
best offer you possibly can.
8. The 8ighth point is
very simple. It is Ask For The Order. Very specifically and very exactingly,
ask for the order.
Ask the people to
call. To come into your property. To make a reservation. To send money.
To do whatever it is you want them to do ... be sure to ask for the order.
As you are doing this,
one of the best places to repeat your offer and to repeat your A. F. T.
O. is in the P.S. Yes, you must have a P.S. in the letter. Why? Because
4 out of every 5 people who open your direct mail will read the P.S. before
they read your letter! Four out of five!
What does this mean?
It means you better have a P.S. And it better be a good one. It better
repeat the offer, repeat the call to action. It tells people what to do
and how and when and where and why to do it. Make sure you have a good
P.S. in your letter. As you A. F. T. O. -- ask for the order.
Okay these are the
8ight golden guide lines for the perfect direct mail letter. Use them, and
you will enjoy success.