How to Create Good Direct Mail?
The first thing you need to do before you can create powerful direct mail (same thing applies for ads, Internet sites, etc.) is to grab your prospect’s attention. Your direct mail piece is an intrusion. I can tell you there is nobody anxiously awaiting your mailing piece (except maybe you).
When prospects get your mailing you’ve got to break the conversation going on inside their head at that time. Every minute of the day there is something on your prospect’s mind.
Here’s what’s going on in their heads when looking over their mail:
“Bill…another bill…another bill…gee, when’s my phone bill due?”...
“Oh yeah, I need stamps to mail it out, better go the Post Office.”…
“I need to go to the Supermarket and pick-up a salad for dinner tonight.”...
“How am I going to fit into my swimsuit next week?”...
“Oh, a Sharper Image catalog I’ll set that aside for later.”...
“Junk mail…junk…junk…wait a minute…what’s this? A plain envelope with my name on it and only a street address….hmmm….what could this be?”
And on and on...
Since there is something going on in everyone’s head you need to do two things:
1) Break their preoccupation
2) Enter the conversation that’s already going on inside their head.
Let me explain.
To break someone’s preoccupation you need a strong attention-getting headline that says “Hey, this is for you!” A headline works for sales letters.
We’ll talk a lot more about headlines in a minute.
But for now here’s what Robert Collier, one of greatest direct mail copywriters of all time, said about writing sales letters:
“The reader of this letter wants certain things. The desire for them is, consciously or unconsciously, the dominant idea in his mind all the time. You want him to do a certain definite thing for you. How can you tie this up to the thing he wants, in such a way that the doing of it will bring him a step nearer to his goal?”
Think about that statement for a moment. It’s pretty profound and doesn’t just apply to sales letters.
So if you only think about getting a prospective customer’s attention — that’s easy. If I wrote a headline in huge 48 pt. type that screams: “SEX”would you look?
Yeah, I bet you would. But then what if the letter began “Now, that I’ve got your attention I want to talk to you about your furnace....” What would you think of a letter like that? I’m sure you’d feel duped, deceived and hoodwinked. And once you found out you’ve been tricked you’d stop reading immediately.
Therefore just getting attention is not the answer.
There are lots of ways to gain attention, but attention is not the end-all, be-all to effective advertising. What you need to do is flag down a prospective customer by linking their desires, wants and interests to what’s inside your headline.
So before I tell you my secrets for creating headlines let me give you the thoughts from guys a whole lot smarter than me about headlines:
David Ogilvy says, “On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that, unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money.”
And Claude Hopkins relays the importance of a headline, “The salesman is there to demand attention. He cannot well be ignored. The advertisement can be ignored. But the salesman wastes much of his time on prospects whom he never can hope to interest...The advertisement is read only by interested people who, by their own volition, study what we have to say. The purpose of a headline is to pick out people you can interest.”
John Caples has these words of advice, “If you have a good headline, you have a good ad. Any competent writer can write the copy. If you have a poor headline, you are licked before you start.
Your copy will not be read...Spend hours writing headlines - or days if necessary.”
I don’t think these masters would have placed such an importance on headlines if it didn’t really matter. In fact, John Caples says that he’s seen one ad pull 19 1/2 times better than another one simply by changing the headline. I believe it. In my own personal tests the best I got is about 2 1/2 times — but that’s still pretty damn good. So for spending the same amount you can more than double your response — not too bad.
Now, when coming up with powerful headlines you want to be able to answer the questions nearly everyone has on their mind whenever they read your ad. Here are the questions you need to zero in on:
What’s In It For Me?
Why Are You Bothering Me?
If you have good answers to these 4 critical questions then you’re well on your way to success.
The Power of Direct Mail
Why Do not More Businesses and Practices Use Direct Mail?
The 3 Components of Successful Direct Mail
Who Are You Targeting Direct Mail?
The Secret to Selecting A Good List
What Kind of Lists Are There?
Working with Compiled Lists
Cloning Best Customers Using A Customer Survey
How to Get Survey Results?
Analyzing The Results
Working With A List Broker?
Direct Response Lists
3 Guidelines to Selecting Direct Response Lists
The Absolute Hottest List of All
The Copy and Creative
The Formula for Writing A Winning Letter
How to Create Good Direct Mail?
Headlines for Letters
What Headlines Should Do?
Headline Appeals That Last Forever
How to Make Advertising Pay?
How to Create Killer Headlines?
Tips for Better Writing
The Problem-Agitation-Solution Formula
The Irresistible Offer
Make Prospects Take Action Now
Expiration Dates Increase Response
Creating A Compelling Reason Why
Using Overlooked Assets
Holding Names Hostage in Computer
Birthday and Special Events
Using Preferences and Personal Details from Database
Keep Mailing Customer List with Reasons to Buy
Gathering Testimonials from Happy Customers
Bring Back Old Forgotten Customers
Getting The Message Delivered
The Secret to Double-Digit Returns
How to Use Testing for Breakthrough Marketing Results?
What Makes The Test Successful?
Understanding and Profiting from Customer Lifetime Value
How High Is High?
Testing For Maximum Results
What to Test?
Keep Doing What Works
How to Know What Works?
Working The Numbers
Action Steps to Maximizing Profits
The Power of Endorsements and Joint Ventures
Think about Who Has More to Gain Than You Do
Setting up The Deal
The Method to Madness
How to Create Good Direct Mail?
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