99 Quick Tips to Boost Your Direct Mail Response
With so little time on your holiday hands, here are 99 quick tips that will boost any direct mail program:
1. Make an irresistible offer.
2. Give away something free to boost response.
3. Prefer a free gift over a discount.
4. Increase the perceived value of your offer.
5. Reduce the perceived risk in accepting your offer.
6. Offer attractive payment options.
7. Use a time limit to increase urgency.
8. Test a two-step offer for high-priced goods.
9. Test a yes/no offer to clarify the buying decision.
10. Test a yes/maybe offer to lower perceived commitment.
11. Dramatize your offer with tokens and other widgets.
12. Make your offer more tangible with a check or coupon.
13. Create the envelope exclusively to get opened.
14. Use teaser copy to tease, not tell.
15. Consider using a plain envelope.
16. Test a different envelope color, size, or format.
17. Use a low-key envelope for business prospects.
18. Use your sales letter to sell and your brochure to tell.
19. Make your letter look like a real letter.
20. Grab attention in your letter with a short first sentence.
21. Express one central idea in your letter.
22. Write your letter in a friendly, personal tone.
23. Keep your letter paragraphs short and readable.
24. Have a high-authority person sign your letter.
25. Personalize your letter, if possible.
26. Use a P.S. to cite a benefit, deadline, or extra detail.
27. Use your brochure to add credibility.
28. Use brochure tables, charts, diagrams, and visuals to support your claims.
29. Design your brochure for easy reading.
30. Use clear benefit heads and subheads in your brochure.
31. Include all features and specifics in your brochure text.
32. Include complete ordering information in your brochure.
33. Test your package with no brochure.
34. Use a separate, stand-alone order form.
35. Restate your offer on the order form.
36. Include an acceptance statement: "Yes, please send ..."
37. Make your order form easy to fill out and return.
38. Highlight the deadline.
39. Make your order form look valuable.
40. Call the order form something other than "order form."
41. Consider extra order forms for pass-alongs.
42. Order something from yourself to see if the process is actually easy.
43. Offer a fax response option for businesses.
44. Use your order form to highlight last-minute specials.
45. Preprint your customer's name and address to simplify ordering.
46. Restate your guarantee on the order form.
47. Offer a toll-free number for faster orders.
48. Avoid a two-sided order form.
49. Use the back of your order form for supporting information.
50. Give clear, simple ordering directions.
51. Include a BRE if you ask for confidential information.
52. Pay the postage on reply cards.
53. Feature compelling testimonials.
54. Edit testimonials carefully and honestly.
55. Prefer many short quotes over a few long quotes.
56. Group testimonials to increase impact.
57. Use names, titles, and locations to increase testimonial credibility.
58. Turn a good success story into a special insert.
59. Use a testimonial as a headline or benefit statement.
60. Show people using your product or service.
61. Give case histories of your best customers.
62. Display a seal of approval or rating.
63. Cite favorable reviews.
64. Cite media coverage.
65. Back up your offer with a guarantee.
66. State your guarantee in the strongest possible terms.
67. Keep your guarantee conditions to a minimum.
68. Make your guarantee a prominent package element.
69. Prefer an unconditional guarantee.
70. Strengthen your guarantee with a signature.
71. Extend your guarantee for as long as possible.
72. Make your guarantee look official.
73. Avoid asterisks and legal-looking teeny type.
74. Reinforce your guarantee with a merchandise return label.
75. Encourage involvement with a quiz or checklist.
76. Emphasize exclusivity with a membership card.
77. Add fun with a rub-off or hidden message.
78. Answer objections or highlight a benefit with a lift letter.
79. Increase credibility with a testimonial insert.
80. Answer questions or objections with a Q&A insert.
81. Prove your product superiority with a sample.
82. Share supporting information with an article reprint.
83. Deliver a quick pitch with an ad reprint.
84. Announce last-minute news with a buckslip.
85. Offer a premium on a buckslip.
86. Draw attention with a yellow sticky note.
87. Include company name, address, and phone on every piece.
88. Establish a solid control before testing elements.
89. Test one element at a time.
90. Run statistically valid tests.
91. Re-test anything that shows a significant change.
92. Track results meticulously.
93. Train your people on the importance of tracking.
94. Analyze your results in writing.
95. Use your test results to determine creative strategy.
96. Keep using your control until you beat it.
99. Test some more.
Dean Rieck is one of today's top direct mail copywriters and has created sales and generated leads for more than 250 companies, including Intuit, Rodale, Sprint, and American Express. For a free copy of his white paper, "Getting Response in a Down Economy: 4 Key Principles to Boost Your Direct Mail Profits in Today's Difficult Market," visit www.DirectCreative.com.