Amid the rush to slim down mail pieces to save on cost, many valuable elements have been jettisoned. One such element is the lift letter, which was first used in the publishing world.
The "publisher's note" was added to a direct mail package that already included a sales letter. Usually on the small size—both in length and physical dimension—and signed by the publisher, it came to be known as the "lift letter" because it lifted (increased) response.
Guess what? It still can. Here's why:
1. It gets the prospects who matter—the readers.
"I'm as convinced as ever that people do read, if they are interested in buying. If they aren't interested in buying, it doesn't really matter if they read or not," asserts Peggy Greenawalt, president and creative director of the direct marketing agency Tomarkin/Greenawalt.
2. It does all the "little" things well.
Freelance copywriter and consultant Pat Friesen lists several reasons why they work. "I like lift letters because of their size. They are usually smaller—bite-size in the amount of copy they provide. They frequently focus on one major reason (offer-driven) about why you should respond. They are easy to read in less than a minute. And they normally stand out, because they are printed on paper other than white."
3. It offers a different voice.
Lift letters can provide another point of view or voice with yet another reason for why the recipient should respond. Gary Hennerberg, a copywriter and direct marketing consultant, believes it's vital that a lift note be something different from the rest of the package, and from a different person, perhaps outside the organization.
"The lift gives you a chance to come at the prospect from a different angle, to change voice and shift perspective," explains copywriter Ken Scheck, who says that many writers simply restate the offer in the lift letter. But he considers that an opportunity—to get the prospect's attention—wasted. "It may be your last chance to seal the deal!"