Increase Your Creative Wins (1,147 words)
Here's the bottom line. If it's in an envelope, it needs a letter. And if you enclose a letter, it should sell. That's where you make the personal connection. That's where you make your pitch. That's where you close the deal.
Allot your time accordingly.
Creating a slow-reveal "Burma Shave" brochure.
Burma Shave once ran an outdoor campaign that presented a rhymed
message with each line on a different sign along the highway. As you drove past, the message was slowly revealed, saving the product name for the end.
Cute. But a bad technique for direct mail brochures. When there are a few words of copy or a clever graphic on each panel, the reader has to open the brochure to figure out the message.
Burma Shave signs had a simple purpose: to fix the Burma Shave name in the minds of buyers. However, your brochure has a much more difficult and immediate task: to support the sales message in the letter with explanations, details and proofs. People look to it for information, not entertainment
If you have something to say, say it right on the cover. Make sure your message is clear no matter how the reader skips around from panel to panel.
Playing hide-and-seek with the order form, guarantee and testimonials.
A software company tested six versions of the same mailer. All performed poorly. Why? The order form was hidden on the last panel of the brochure. The guarantee—one of the strongest I've ever seen—appeared only once in the middle of some text. And the testimonials were merely filler for open areas in the design.
But an order form is not a piece of extra paper. A guarantee is not a necessary evil to jam into the copy. Testimonials are not a design element. These are each part of the skeleton of your direct mail message. Without that skeleton, the body of your package collapses.