How to Write a Complete Direct Mail Package, Piece-by-Piece
One little trick I have is to use a lift note for testing offers or presenting special messages to each mailing list. When I'm creating several package versions, I can sometimes get away with changing nothing but the lift note, which makes production and proofing easier on everyone involved. Changing the package is as easy as swapping one note for another.
Many mailers today rely heavily on response via phone or website, so there's pressure to eliminate mail-back reply forms. However, a physical reply is helpful for highlighting your call to action even if you don't typically get response by mail. And, of course, if you do want mail response, the reply form is a must.
The reply can be as simple as a card that can be filled out and dropped in the mail or as complex as a multi-page order form. If you're wanting to generate sales leads or if you're offering a free trial, a simple reply is all you need. For completing sales by mail, you'll need a more complex form to capture product choices, billing information, shipping address, and so on.
Whenever you ask for personal information, such as a credit card number, you must also include a reply envelope, generally a BRE or business reply envelope.
And unless you have testing results to show that it's more profitable to ask for a response by one medium only, such as reply mail, it's usually a good idea to present additional reply options, including a phone number, web page, or fax number.
That, in a nutshell, is how to create a complete direct mail package. There is much more to it, of course, and many copywriters and direct mail gurus have spent lifetimes learning how to make direct mail work. However, this gives you a basic road map to get you started if you've never written a package.