Innovative Business Writing
Direct Mail Advertising
Connect With Your Customers
Using Direct Mail Advertising
Sales and marketing letters are among the most commonly used and
effective means of communicating with current and potential customers
about your company's or organization's products and services.
A direct mail sales letter can take many forms and sizes. It may
be as short as one page, or as long as twelve or more pages.
Regardless of its length, a successful advertising letter will:
Capture the readers attention
Create a desire for your product or service
Get the reader to take an action (e.g. place an order, contact your for
Increase Sales Through Direct Mail Advertising
A sales letter can also be combined with a brochure, order form, and other sales
materials to create a complete direct mail advertising package.
Direct mail advertising is a proven method of reaching key decision makers in
homes and businesses with information on the benefits your product or service
provides. A direct mail package often contains the following elements:
A mailing envelope with an intriguing tag line
A sales letter or brochure
A premium buck slip making a special offer
A separate note highlighting a specific product benefit
An order form and return envelope
Why use Direct Mail?
As Mark Twain might say, "The report of the death of direct mail
advertising has been greatly exaggerated." In spite of the significant growth
in internet-based marketing, direct mail still provides a great opportunity
for a solid return on investment of your advertising dollars. According to the
Direct Marketing Association, direct mail advertising generates nearly $2
trillion in U.S. sales every year.
A recent study commissioned by Pitney Bowes found that consumers prefer
mail to e-mail when receiving information about new products or services.
The study found: " 73% of consumers prefer to receive new product
announcements and offers by mail from companies they are already doing
business with, as compared to just 18% who prefer e-mail.
" 70% of respondents also prefer getting unsolicited product information by
mail from companies with which they are not already doing business.
In addition, consumers are less likely to discard unopened mail about
products (31%) than they are to discard unsolicited e-mail (53%). Survey
respondents reported mail to be less intrusive, more convenient, less high
pressure, and more descriptive.
This doesn't mean businesses should abandon internet-based marketing
efforts. However, failure to include direct mail advertising in your overall
marketing plans could significantly shortchange your success.
Three Steps to Successful Direct Mail Advertising
In order to ensure your direct mail advertising has what it takes to get
prospective customers to act, you must have three essential components:
1. A Strong Offer
Regardless of what you're selling, you need to make an offer that will compel individuals
to take steps to buy your product or service, come into your office or store, visit your
web site, or request more information.
To do this, you need to consider the unique benefits of your product or service. What
advantage does a customer gain buying from you (e.g. lower price, better quality or
service, money-back guarantee, additional free gift, easy payment method)? What sets
your product or service apart?
The stronger you can make an offer, the more successful your advertising will be.
2. A Quality Mailing List
You need to select or develop a mailing list that contains individuals or businesses most
likely to have an interest in your product or service. A mailing list can come from a
number of different sources, including list brokers and managers, mailing houses, or
your current customer base.
3. The Right Message
Once you have a great offer and a quality mailing list, you still need one more thing.
To ensure successful direct mail advertising, you must present your offer to the
potential customers in a way that attracts their attention and, most importantly,
compels them to take action.
If you don't present the right message, you will be wasting your time and money.
Nothing defeats the value of a direct mail advertising more than a poorly written
sales letter or brochure. And in order to have a successful sales letter, you need to
understand and use the most effective approach in preparing your message.
Keys to Building a Powerful Sales Message
Writing a profit-boosting sales letter is like building a house. You have to build it from the
ground up. You need to start with a solid foundation that the rest of the letter can stand
on. The key elements of a successful sales letter include:
The Headline - serves as the foundation. It should
draw the reader's interest and compel him or her to
want to read more. It may identify a benefit of the
product or service, make an offer, or ask a question.
The Lead - includes the first few lines of the sales
letter and tells the reader "what is in it" for him or
her. What is this product or service offering that he or
she needs? How could he or she benefit from buying
or using it?
The Body - contains the majority of the sales
presentation. It will describe your product or service,
give information on its benefits and provide
credibility for claims made about it.
The Close - restates the offer being made and
provides ordering information.
The Guarantee - states the actual terms of any refund to
alleviate any possible buying reservations.
The P.S. - concludes the letter and provides a few more
enticements, restates the benefits, or provides more
credibility to further encourage action.
The Ordering Device - is a separate element from the
letter. It is often the first thing people look at to determine if
your offer is of interest to them. It should restate the major
offer or promise given in the letter in an affirmative way,
restate the guarantee, provide a place for collecting all
ordering information, and prompt the customer to act now.
A winning sales letter could be as short as one page, or as long as twelve or more. However, if any of
the essential parts of the sales letter are missing or weak, it may not overcome a customer's reluctance
to buy. The major goal of any sales letter is to persuade the reader to take an action. And only a
well-built letter can do this effectively.
Some people mistakenly think direct mail advertising is junk mail that no one reads. But direct mail
advertising is a proven sales strategy. It puts information about your products or services directly in
the hands of key decision makers in homes and businesses. The science of direct mail marketing
provides a focused way to reach large numbers of potential customers in a cost-effective way. If you're
not including direct mail advertising in your overall marketing plans, you're missing a powerful sales
tool that can deliver outstanding results for your small business.