Copywriting

Use These 11 Easy Tips To Make Your Direct Mail Letter More Readable

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

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When we write a successful direct mail letter, we’re creating a conversation between the letter signer and the recipient. A conversation that persuades the reader to take a certain action.

But to persuade the reader, you must first get them to read your letter.

Here are 11 easy formatting tips that will make your letter more “inviting,” easier to read, and generate greater response.Make your direct mail easier to read and increase response

  1. Make the letter look like a letter. In most cases, you’ll want to print the letter on the organization or company’s letterhead. Practically everyone will recognize the letter as a “mass mailing” but create the perception of a personal letter.
  2. Include a salutation. You wouldn’t start a conversation without a greeting so include a salutation with your letter. And assign title codes. There is nothing more impersonal than “Dear Mr. Tom Jones.” (Even if you only have title codes for half your prospects,use them. Addressing half of your letters by name is better than (more…)
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Personalizing Direct Mail Copy

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

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You have probably seen how personalizing a direct mail letter can lift response and increase profits.

Personalizing our letter often means having a computer extract information from our database – the recipient’s name, address, past purchases, contribution history, names of elected officials, etc. – and inserting it into the letter copy.

We know this works. It’s been tested countless times and we regularly see the added cost of computer personalization justified by increased profits.

But when used incorrectly, attempts to personalize the letter can actually depersonalize it.

For example, my pet peeve are letters that begin (more…)

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How Your Direct Mail Letter’s Layout Can Increase Readership and Response

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

When you get down to basics, a direct mail letter is a conversation between the letter signer and its recipient.

A successful direct mail letter is one that motivates the reader to take a specific action. And to motivate the reader, you’ve got to get them to read your letter.

Yet too often, we receive direct mail letters that are offensive to the eye. Big blocks of text crowd the page. Narrow left and right margins choke the life from the words. And small sans serif type printed over a colored background makes the copy difficult to read.

At best, these letters are uninviting – even intimidating – to read. And with only a few seconds to capture the reader’s attention, any distraction to the reader’s eye flow can doom the mailing.

Higher readership equals greater response

But by applying a few proven techniques to your letter’s layout, you can get the prospect to read further along in your letter. And the more time they spend with your letter, the greater the likelihood of persuading the reader to take the desired action.

Few people – even those who respond – will read the complete letter but you can increase readership of your direct mail letter and achieve a more profitable mailing campaign by following these 11 simple steps. (more…)

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Your Direct Mail Letter’s “John Hancock” Can Help Drive Results

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

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Your letter signer is a person with a story to tell. A story that may give you new ways to relate to your mailing’s recipients.

Successful direct mail is a conversation between two people – the letter signer and the mailing’s recipient.

The more information you have about the mailing’s recipient, the better the conversation you can have.

Your Direct Mail Letter's "John Hancock" Can Help Drive Results

Knowing your Letter Signer’s Story Can Help Drive Results

It’s like going to a party and meeting someone new. You can captivate his or her attention for a few moments by talking about yourself. But if you want to hold their attention, you need to ask about their interests and direct the conversation toward them.

This is why successful copywriters study mailing lists.

Understanding the demographics, interests and history of the mailing’s recipients is the listening part of the direct mail conversation.

But your letter also has a voice. It’s the voice of the letter signer.

The copywriter speaks for the letter signer. And by taking time to understand the speaker’s background (more…)

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10 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Direct Mail Offer and Beat the Control

Friday, August 24th, 2012

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When attempting to beat the control, the temptation is to focus on new copy. But testing new copy alone has far less potential to influence results than does making changes to the mailing’s offer.

Here are 10 easy ways you can increase direct mail response by revising your offer.

  1. Offer something free. Your mailing can include an offer for free shipping, free financing, 3 months’ free membership, address labels, a bookmark, a decal, etc. On the back end, you can fulfill a nearly endless list of gifts – in all price ranges – for those who respond.

10 Easy Ways to Strengthen Direct Mail Offer
If you already offer a premium, test a new one. It doesn’t need to be expensive – or even relate to the organization’s mission – as long as it has a perceived value.

Unfortunately, many groups – and especially boards of directors – hate premiums, believing they cheapen the organization. But most donors and customers respond to (more…)

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Understanding how people read your direct mail can increase response

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

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The purpose of a direct mail letter is to motivate the recipient to take a specific course of action. But to persuade the reader to take action, we must first get him or her to read our letter—or at least its key parts.

Readers typically start at the top of a direct mail letter by reading their name in the address and salutation. From here, they go to the end of the letter to see who signed the letter. After the signature, readers typically go to the P.S.Direct mail in mail box

Let’s see how we can use this reading pattern to increase response.

 

Addressing your letter

Your direct mail letter is a one-to-one conversation between the letter’s signer and the recipient, and nothing assures the recipient that your message is intended for him better than seeing his name at the beginning of the letter.

People love to see their name, and today’s technology makes it cost-effective to personalize your mailing. But when you do personalize, use title codes—Mr., Mrs., Rev., etc.—in the salutation. There’s nothing less personal than a letter beginning with “Dear Hugh Chewning.” Without a title code, the attempt to personalize seems insincere and (more…)

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5 Common Direct Mail Mistakes to Avoid

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

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We all make mistakes, but years ago a teacher told me, “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing enough.”

Mistakes can be learning experiences, but as valuable as it is to learn from our own mistakes, it can be more profitable to learn from the mistakes of others.5 Common Direct Mail Mistakes

Throughout my 30-plus years of direct marketing, here are five of the most common mistakes I see mailers make. And regardless of our own experience, we can always profit from the lessons others had to learn the hard way.

 

1. Refusing to make a long-term commitment to direct mail

Successful direct mail is methodical. It requires a plan and the discipline to follow the plan. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Not everything will go right on every mailing. Whether you are a startup or a mature mailer, some tests (more…)

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How to Make Your Direct Mail More Readable and Achieve Greater Response

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

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Too often, we receive direct mail that’s offensive to the eye.

Big blocks of text crowd the page. Narrow left and right margins choke the life from the words. And small sans serif type makes the copy difficult to read.

Visually, these letters are uninviting.

Tips to Increase Readership

Tips to Increase Readership

Graphic designers may love the look of grey-colored type, but readers need text printed with high contrast. Illustrations and graphics can enhance a mailing, but when overused they pull the reader’s eye in so many directions that it’s virtually impossible

What might appeal to someone’s sense of design doesn’t necessarily help the reader. And with only a few seconds to capture the reader’s attention, any distraction to the eye flow can doom the mailing.

Even when you mail award-winning copy with an offer that meets the recipient’s every need, few people—even those who respond to your mailing—will read the entire direct mail letter. But when you follow a few proven techniques, you can lead more readers to the letter’s most (more…)

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How to Help Your Direct Mail Copywriter Make You Money

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

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Whether you’re promoting an idea, a product or a service, successful direct mail copy persuades the reader to take a desired course of action.

Years ago, the televangelist Don Stewart successfully wrote to his supporters saying, “Send $25 now. I’ll explain later.”

But today we live in an “age of skepticism,” and without facts to support the letter’s claims—and a clear understanding of the mailing’s purpose—the direct mail copywriter cannot write his or her most persuasive appeal.

Facts help build creditability, and every promise needs to be supported with believable data. But, to do his or her best work, the direct mail copywriter needs more than product information. Before beginning to write, your copywriter also needs (more…)

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How to Kill a Perfectly Good Direct Mail Offer*

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

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Direct mail is a sales medium. We use it to sell ideas, products and services. And like any other form of sales, its success is based on trust.

Regardless of how much the prospect may value your offer, if he or she doesn’t trust the person attempting to make the sale, it’s not going to happen.

In direct mail, our salesperson is the letter signer. And to establish trust we use testimonials, money-back guarantees and clear, straightforward language.

By definition, an asterisk “indicates omission…”

An asterisk signifies that the claim being made isn’t complete. There are qualifications and/or limitations to what you’re being told. In blunt terms, an asterisk says that (more…)

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