First Up: Lift Letters
Remember the lift letter? Rising postal rates and production costs, alongside many marketers thinking this element no longer has a place in the direct mail piece, have put lift letters on the endangered list.
But rather than deliver a postmortem, I asked several leading copywriters and marketers if the lift letter deserves a comeback. First used in the publishing world, the "publisher's note" or "publisher's letter" was added to a direct mail package that already included a sales letter, which usually came from the magazine's editor. Typically on the small size, both in length and paper size, and signed by the publisher, it came to be known as the "lift letter" because it lifted response. Apparently, it still can.
"I recommend having a sound strategic reason for adding one with the goal of lifting response ... then testing to read the results," says Pat Friesen, copywriter and owner of Pat Friesen & Co. Consider these six reasons why you should run that test.
1. People Still Read!
I know, in the age of Twitter (140 characters or less!) and the shrinking mailer, many marketers love to say that prospects no longer read (malarkey!)—and it's why they've killed the lift letter in packages. "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.
Another reason why the lift letter gets overlooked by marketers? It's an art form. "I do consider lift notes to be a kind of ‘art'—often given less attention than they should have," says copywriter Ken Scheck.
2. A Lot of Positive ‘Little' Things
Sure, the overall package is paramount, but lift letters can boost placement from the "maybe" pile to the "yes" pile for many prospects. Friesen lists several reasons why they're so darn likeable: "I also 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."