Direct Mail has been,
is, and will continue to be a strong business marketing tool.
Why? Because it works!
It carries a message, answers questions and gets response.
And it works because
it is personal. Direct Mail works because it is "conversation in
writing". It works because, no matter what you have heard, read or
believe...most people look forward to receiving and reading their mail.
People like being treated as an individual...as a person.
So, if Direct Mail
is so powerful, how can we as marketers use it effectively? To keep the
business we have...to find new business?
Here are a few "Truths
with Words", to make your Direct Mail work for you;
4our Things People
Do With Your Mail
Most everyone looks
at their mail every day. When they look at your Direct Mail, they will
do one of these 4 things;
- Read it immediately...because
they perceive it to be important, even urgent, certainly interesting
- Stack it (with
all their other reading matter) to read at night or over a week-end.
- Pass it along to
another - they decide it is not for them and share it with someone else.
- Trash it - yes,
throw your mail away!
What is most interesting
is your reader will make one of these 4 decisions in 2 or 3 seconds! per
piece of mail. Just like you do.
5ive Ways You Can
Use Direct Mail
You can use Direct
Mail to help you market each of these 5 ways:
For Your Direct Mail to Work
- To get new business
-- something everyone needs to do sooner or later.
- To keep the business
you already have, with frequent "soft" and "hard"
- To upgrade your
customer to another level of your service or product.
- To cross sell additional
products and service.
- To keep 'em coming
back for more -- even if you can't upgrade / cross-sell, you retain
your current customer at the same level.
These 6 ideas are
not optional. For your Direct Mail to give you maximum results, these
are truly "musts":
7even x 2 ... Key
Words To Make Your Direct Mail Work Better
- Design your mail
to be noticed, noticed amongst all the other mail.
- Think about getting
your mail opened, seeing it, noticing it, does not get it opened.
- Make your writing
readable with words your audience will read with confidence
- So your message
is totally understandable.
- Aways have a unique
or different offer, something of additional benefit and value.
- Be certain to Ask
For The Order -- be clear you do bring something your audience needs...and
you do want to do business.
Direct Mail is a "read"
medium. Words are key. Here are 7 X 2 words and phrases to improve your
Direct Mail - words that get results;
- The first 7...You...New...Now...Win...Buy...Today...FREE.
- The next 7...YES...Save...Guarantee...Learn...Easy...
Find Out...Send For.
Use these words and
your Direct Mail will work better.
When Does Direct
Mail Work Best? -- 8ight Ideas
9ine Ways to Make
Your Envelopes Work Better in Direct Mail
- When you can
clearly identify your audience Direct Mail will work. If you are not
able to target your marketplace, it is much less likely to work.
- When you can
cleanly reach your target audience. Identifying them is first - reaching
them with your message is another process.
- When you have
a lot to say. When your message is long, complex, compound, different,
unique...new, mail works.
- When your service
/ product has continuity, repeat or follow-on sales. i.e., when it
must be bought over and over, again and again.
- When you need
to control the entire selling process. You don't want others between
you and the decision maker.
- When you need
to build a "model" that can be repeated by others. You set
the standards, and introduce your model for others to use.
- When other distribution
channels don't work as well as going direct to your audience.
- When you need
less visibility in the marketplace - Direct Mail is wonderful. You
send it only to your select few. Mail is perfect for segmenting your
your audience by beginning your message on your envelope. Start by
leading with your very best offer.
- "Show and
Tell" with graphics. We are in a graphic world. Use pictures,
charts, graphs, and "things" to get attention, beginning
with your envelope.
- Try shock and
surprise! Something different. Unique. Unusual. Be who you are, stay
in character. Yet, do not be like everyone else.
- Use people on
your envelope. People make buying decisions - not companies or associations.
Use pictures of people.
- Talk benefits.
Benefits to your audience. People do not buy red buttons...they buy
what happens when you PUSH red buttons. Give your audience buttons
to push. Benefits.
- Begin on the
outside of your Direct Mail package with facts and figures and numbers.
Specifics. They get attention. And will draw your reader in.
- Use photography.
Photos are more believable than illustrations.
- Use windows on
your envelope. Windows with "things" showing through. Windows
on the front...AND the back!
- In any case,
do use the back of the envelope. Why? Because 3 of 4 people will turn
your envelope over before they open it. Use the back of your envelope.
9 ways to make your
envelope work better for you.
10en P.S. & P.P.S.
79% of your first
time readers - almost 4 out of 5 - will read the P.S. in your letter first!
Before they read your
What does this say?
It says you had better! have a P.S.
Okay, what should
your P.S. say...and how should it say it? The P.S. is a repeat of earlier
key benefits, opportunities, offers, how to respond.
What IS in your P.S.?
Here are 10 ideas of things to consider and include in your P.S.:
- Write your P.S.
either "soft", or "hard". Your words either suggest
your reader think or do, or they tell more exactly what to do. And
how and when and where and why to do it. "Soft",... or "hard"
-- whichever works for you.
- Remind your audience
of the special premium or gift they'll earn by responding.
- Emphasize your
product / service guarantee. And your "Absolute Guarantee of
- Talk about what
they'll earn, or make, or save by doing business with you.
- Repeat the service
/ product benefits - list the features and the corresponding 2 or
3 key benefits you offer.
- Repeat how to
contact you. Your phone numbers, fax numbers, E-mail address, business
address -- make yourself convenient to do business with.
- Have a Limited
Time Offer or a Limited Number Offer. Dates get people to act. Numbers
get attention. "Limits" urge action -- make a LTO or LNO.
- Reinforce your
offer by including a graphic in your P.S. Or a testimonial from a
good customer. Anything to restate your strong message.
- Summarize your
sales message in 2 or 3 lines. Condense your entire letter to a single,
short paragraph. Put KISS (Keep It Short & Simple) to work in
- Repeat your call
to action. "One last time" Ask For The Order. Remind your
reader you DO want to do business with them.
10 ideas to make the
P.S. work for you.
11even Direct Mail
Ideas That Work
- Indent the first
line of every paragraph -- it "pulls" a reader into your copy.
- Use quotations
-- they get attention.
- Use testimonials
-- they make you believable.
- Tell a case history
story -- they prove you do what you say you do.
- Use real numbers
... people like facts and figures, they "follow" numbers.
- Include a Q&A
section...Questions & Answers share with your marketplace points
you know are important to them.
- Underline short
bursts of copy...use a very small amount of CAPS...or a very wee
bit of italics, and not much more bold -- each
will help you emphasize your key message points. Especially when it
is not over done. And, they keep the reader with you.
- This is a world
of color. Today's marketplace has seen color for a lifetime. Use color
in your Direct Mail. Everything! should be at least 2 colors. Your audience
expects color. Fulfill their expectations.
- And use symbols,
too. "Signs" such as # for number, % for percentage, + for
plus and = for equals, the $ dollar sign, * asterisk or bullets such
as with this list, \ or / slash marks all get attention. Use them in
your Direct Mail.
- Write like you
say it. Do not worry about grammar. Don't concern yourself with exact
punctuation. It is not necessary to word-smith every sentence. Be "good"...and
make it human, too.
- Direct Mail is
a "personal" marketing tool. So, be as personal as possible.
Use your readers name. It let's them know you took the time to care.
And, when you can't use a name, be "creative" with your salutation.
"Dear Marketing Enthusiast" works, too.
11 ideas that will
help your Direct Mail be more powerful.
12welve Ways To Get
Always Ask For The
Make certain your
readers know you want to do business with them. Now! Here are 12 things
to do on your order form, reply card, response device, application or
coupon to make certain your response is the max possible;
...Tell your reader
exactly what you want them to do. Make your directions crystal clear about
the steps to take.
...Make it easy to
respond -- easy to do business with you. Offer options on how to respond
- including listing your phone, fax and E-mail address on your response
...Make the most powerful
offer possible - and repeat it on your response device. Maybe with a graphic
to support the offer message.
...Use bold graphics
to get attention. Get away from boring... spruce up the response area
of your Direct Mail - make it look interesting and attractive, too.
...Write clear, clean,
crisp and concise copy for your reply. Make your response message perfectly
...Get your audience
"involved" -- use action devices. Rub-offs, stickers, perforations,
scratch and sniff, unusual folds, pieces of puzzle -- anything to get
people "playing" with your reply.
...Give your readers
plenty of room to write. Make your response device BIG. With large spaces
to fill in the blanks, to complete the action. Make certain your response
is inviting and friendly to use.
...Include your corporate
name, logo, phone, fax, E-mail and "snail-mail" address -- all
contact data -- on your reply device, too. Be easy to find.
...Offer a strong
guarantee. A Guarantee in Direct Mail is not an option -- it is mandatory.
Your readers expect at a minimum a "Guarantee of Satisfaction".
Make yours strong.
...Repeat your Limited
Time or Limited Number Offer. Dates and numbers on your reply device will
increase the action you enjoy.
...Include 2 or 3
or more response card options in your Direct Mail package. If 1 works,
why not 2? It allows your customer or prospect to reply a second time.
...and Always A.F.T.O.
- Ask For The Order. Make it clear to your reader you do want to do business
with them. And do it more than once, too.
12 ways to make your
response device work for you.
Tips About Direct Mail
If you are going to
remember only a small part of this article -- this is the part to remember.
This checklist will
help you make certain your Direct Mail has every chance of outstanding
- Look at your
Direct Mail as your recipient will look at it. Pretend you are they.
- Remember your
primary objective. What do YOU want your prospect, your customer to
- Do your #1.,
#2. and #3. benefits "hit" your reader right between the
eyes? Make sure they do!
- Does your Direct
Mail package "flow"? Does it look like it all goes together?
Like it was planned!
- Does your package
encourage your reader to open it NOW? At once? Immediately? Before
they do another thing?
- Do you see the
letter first? Since 2/3rds of your audience, if they are interested
in what you offer, will make a decision based on your letter - make
certain your letter is in the envelope where it is easily found.
- Does your letter
address the needs of the prospect, the customer? Is it written with
the reader in mind? If there are no needs, there will be no sale.
Make certain you address your readers needs.
- Does your brochure
"demonstrate" the benefits of doing business with you? With
pictures, illustrations, charts and graphs -- do you tell your complete
- Do the graphics
through-out your Direct Mail package support the copy? Do they make
the copy more readable? Do they make it better? As television "improves"
the script from radio, so Direct Mail graphics must make the copy
- Does your reply
device include a summary of your full story? Does your card, fax-back
form, application, sign-up sheet, coupon say everything? So your reader
knows what they are suppose to do next?
- Have you made
your very best offer? Do you have a reason for your reader to reply...now!?
And is it pointedly clear?
- Is it easy to
reply now? The easier you make it the more likely you are to gain
a response. Give options on how to respond; phone, fax, E-mail, walk-in,
drive-through, computer, mail it...every possible option.
- If YOU are the
recipient mentioned in #1 of this list...what would YOU do with your
Direct Mail? Would you respond? If so, why? If not, why not?
13 points for your
to think about as you put your Direct Mail program together.
"Truth with Words"
-- 85 Direct Mail ideas to make your mail marketing work better.
And ... happy marketing.