Direct Mail Strategy: Hook Them With Your Copy
One of the most eye-opening things I’ve learned during my 25-year career of writing direct mail copy is that people don’t read every word I write—even those who truly are interested in what I’m selling. And they certainly don’t read it from start to finish.
Instead, most people scan copy, looking for reasons either to keep reading … or toss it. Even those who ultimately respond spend less than three or four minutes reading the copy it took you (or your writer) days or weeks to create.
This means that to write effective direct mail copy, you have to be more than just a direct mail copywriter. You also must be a marketing strategist, behavioral psychologist, sales person and traffic cop.
So whether you’re the writer or approving manager, remember there’s a good deal more to writing successful direct mail copy than stringing words together and plopping in punctuation. To get more of your copy read, learn the rules so you’ll know when and how to break them.
Here are some proven tips for getting people to read more of your direct mail copy:
• State your major benefit in the opening sentence, then restate it two or three more times in various hot spots. You never know which part of a letter or brochure will be read first.
• Repeat your major benefit several times—in text copy, photo captions, charts and graphs, bullets, testimonials, headlines, subheads, call-outs and bursts, the Johnson Box, P.S., or closing sentence. Don’t assume it is seen or fully understood the first time.
• Use sidebar testimonial copy and put it in quotation marks to make it stand out. We all love to read what “real people” have to say. We find it reassuring that an objective third-party feels as strongly about a product or service as the company selling it.