Thought Provoking

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

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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…)


How to Kill a Perfectly Good Direct Mail Offer*

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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…)


How to Get More Value from Your Direct Mail Copywriter

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When I started my direct marketing career, I wanted to be a copywriter. Copywriters were the agency “hotshots”; it seemed like they were the star attraction.

Yet my mentor told me that the people of most value to the agency were direct mail “generalists.” Taking his advice, I spent the next six years learning how to initiate, develop and manage successful direct mail campaigns.

I studied list selection, graphic layouts, the letter’s structure, print production and lettershop capabilities. And I gave special attention to what and how to test.Empowering the Direct Mail Copywriter

Yet today, most of my income comes from direct mail copywriting.

Over the years, I’ve tested (more…)


Much of What I Know About Direct Mail, I Learned in High School

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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.

I quickly learned that not every homeowner welcomed me. Some would not even come to the door, some would close the door in my face and others would listen but not buy.

Soon, I learned to how to better my odds. Each time I approached a house, I gathered all the available information on the homeowner and developed a plan before knocking on the door.

My marketing “data” came from what I could see in the homeowner’s front yard. Were there toys in the yard, indicating children lived there? Was a newspaper (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…)


The Cost of Giving Direct Mail Readers Too Many Choices

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One thing we can do to improve the profitability of our direct mail is to learn the lessons of a famous jam study.
Direct Mail Offer Choices
That’s right. Jam. The stuff we spread over our toast.

In a gourmet market, Professor Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University and her research assistants set up a booth offering samples of Wilkin & Sons jams.

Every few hours, the researchers switched from offering customers a selection of 24 jams to offering a group of only six jams.

Each participating customer – regardless of the number of selections offered – received a $1 savings coupon and tasted an average of two jams.

Here’s the interesting part. (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.