How a Guarantee Builds Direct Mail Profits

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Value of Direct Mail Guarantee

When it comes to decision making, I have a simple approach. If I believe the outcome might be something I wouldn’t want my mother to know about, I don’t do it.

And when creating a direct mail offer a similar rule applies. If you can’t provide a meaningful guarantee, don’t promote it.

You have two reasons to offer a guarantee:

First, it’s the right thing to do. A meaningful guarantee shows that you believe in your product. And, when you’re asking for someone else’s money, you should believe in what you’re selling—if not, don’t do it.

Second, you’ll want to offer a guarantee because it can build profits.

Buyers, whether online or traditional direct mail, have plenty of reasons—real or perceived—not to respond to your offer. After all, whether we’re fundraising or selling a product, we’re asking the prospect to trust us to do what we promised. (more…)


17 Ways to Improve Your Direct Mail Offer

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How improve direct mail offer

Simply put, your direct mail offer is the “deal” you promise the recipient. It’s what you promise the reader and what you ask in return.

Your offer needs to be specific and to clearly state how it benefits the prospect. It includes the product—or for a fundraiser, the organization’s mission or project—the price or asking amount, terms, incentives, guarantee, etc.

And, of all the components of your mailing—other than the list—the offer is the most important element of your success. If you’re looking for breakthrough results, here are 17 quick ideas to consider: (more…)


21 Basic Rules for Successful Direct Mail Testing

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We all know the importance of direct mail testing, but too often money is wasted on unproductive and unwise tests. Here are 21 basic rules worth reviewing to get the most from your marketing dollars:

1. Before you start production on any test, do the math first. How long will it take to recover your test costs, and what increase in results will you need to beat the control? Proceed with the test only after showing that there’s a reasonable chance that it can economically increase response.

2. Don’t test just because you’re curious to know “what if.” Have a solid plan of how you’ll turn the test results into a profit before you invest in the test.

3. Be sure you test a sufficient quantity to obtain reliable test results.

4. “Replicate” each test when possible—rather than mail one test cell of 10,000 names, split the names into two equal groups and mail the same test to two groups of 5,000. (more…)


The What, When and How of Direct Mail Testing

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What to test

In his book, Secrets of Successful Direct Mail, Dick Benson states, “Any idea you honestly believe can economically increase response is worth testing.”

The key words are “economically increase response.” But what is economical? Typically, the more dramatic a change you make in a package, the more dramatic the difference in results.

For example, when you need a breakthrough, test the components that have the greatest influence on the mailing’s success—lists, offer, format and copy. Forget about testing minor changes on page three or the color of the return envelope. Test big things for big results.

However, for clients mailing larger volumes, “tweaking” the control for incremental gains often makes sense.

For example, Client A and Client B both have an average response rate of 1%, with a $25 average transaction. Both test a new package that lifts results by 10%. The only difference is that Client A has an annual (more…)


How Leo Tolstoy Applies to Successful Direct Mail

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In his novel, Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

What Tolstoy was saying is that to be happy, a marriage must succeed on a number of levels including: financial, sexual, how to raise children, in-laws and religion. Every successful couple finds agreement in each of these areas. But an unsuccessful marriage can break apart when there’s disagreement in any one of these areas.

The reasons for happiness are same. The cause of unhappiness is unique.

Can’t we say the same about direct mail? (more…)


Defining a Direct Mail Copywriter…

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As professional direct mail copywriters, we often take a lot of grief about our work. We’re told our English isn’t proper – maybe even deplorable. We’re too emotional, we keep repeating ourselves and the copy is way too long.

It’s easy to forget what good direct mail copywriting is all about so let me sum it up. Good direct mail copy is copy that works. It achieves its objective.
Direct mail copywriter
At its best, good direct mail copywriting is one letter written by one person to one other person. Whether you’re mailing a few hundred letters or millions, direct mail is a personal communication.

Some of the best training I’ve had for becoming a direct mail copywriter came when I sold magazines door-to-door as a teenager.

Each time I approached a house, I developed a plan before knocking on the door. Then, if I could entice the homeowner into (more…)


Look into the future. . .

This is a cool post that gives you a look into the future.

Set aside 15 minutes for a peak into the future by pasting this URL into your favorite browser.


The topic is “Six Sense Technology.” I don’t know how long the URL will be active so check it out today and let me know what you think.