Promotions for conventions,
trade shows, and incentive programs will generate greater response if
you follow these guidelines.
There is no known
limit to the number of times you can contact your prospects by mail. You
can contact them whenever you have a new message, or until dollars spent
versus dollars returned no longer shows a profit.
The most effective
mailing consists of a letter, a brochure, a response form, and a business-reply
card or envelope. People really like attention-getters, too, such as coins,
buttons, stickers, and other gimmicks. Try them, they'll like it.
- Copy is "king"
in direct mail, more important than any or all of the individual elements
-- even more important than graphics.
- Ignore grammar
rules in favor of crisp communication.
- The opening paragraph
in a letter or brochure should contain no more than 11 words for maximum
- No single paragraph
should have more than seven lines of copy. If it does, break it up to
- Be sure to tell
your prospects what's in it for them. Don't assume they know or understand.
Tell them what you want them to know -- and what you want them to do.
Letters & brochures
- Most people look
at the letterhead of a letter first, then the salutation, the signature,
and the postscript. Design letterhead and letter content to take advantage
of this eye flow. Two-color letters work better than one-color, four-color
is rarely worth the additional cost (though a four-color reply form
often more than pays for extra printing costs).
- The best size for
letters in North America is 8½ by 11 inches. "Executive" letters, from
the CEO or president of a major corporation, can be monarch size so
they receive special attention.
- A two-pager is
more effective than a one-pager. Four pages are even better than two,
except for lead generation, where a single page often does the best
- Computer letters
get better response than those that are typewritten, providing personalization
is meaningful and low key.
- Form letters with
indented paragraphs are better than those without indentations.
- Specially designed
letterheads, tailored to fit the message, will often work better than
- Change of pace
in a letterhead's appearance will increase response in a series of mailings.
- Letters should
be signed by one person only, with a title that is meaningful to the
audience and ties in with the message. A signature in blue ink is expected.
- Using a postscript
will usually increase response.
- A separate letter
with a separate brochure generally does better than a two-in-one letter
and brochure combo.
- A large, four-color
brochure printed on heavy stock almost always warrants the extra cost.
This is not necessarily true for lead procurement and fundraising campaigns,
Reply forms &
- Always ask for
specific actions. Don't assume the reader knows what is in his own best
- Make it easy for
your reader to respond. Print the reader's name, title, company, and
address on the reply form.
- "Busy" forms, which
look important to many people, often produce more responses than neat,
- An envelope to
go with the form is vital. In fact, two response "devices" in the mailing
are even better: say, an envelope and a card.
- Postage-free reply
cards generally bring more response than those to which the respondent
must affix postage.
Envelopes & postage
- Variety in types
and sizes of envelopes will pay, particularly in a series of mailings,
and window envelopes are better than closed-face envelopes.
- Label addressing
is almost always as effective as typewritten or stencil addressing.
Hand-written addressing, except where appropriate, has an adverse effect
- Third-class mail
is as effective as first-class.
mail gains the same response as a live stamp, except for "personal"
appeals, such as invitations.