Junk Mail or Moneymaker? The 2-Second Decision
When you're planning to mail a lead-generation letter or self-mailer, you probably think a lot about what your offer's going to be, what lists you'll use, etc.
But don't forget to consider the context in which your letter will get read. You see, it's important to understand exactly the way people read your mail and the demands that imposes on the copywriter.
Let me put all this under the microscope and you'll see what I mean: Typically, a prospect receives his mail in a pile, addresses facing him. Then he becomes a Las Vegas blackjack dealer dealing down, making decisions, searching for valuable material, discarding the junk.
There are basically four kinds of mail in everybody's pile:
These are instantly identifiable, unwanted but retained. It gives the recipient no joy to receive the electric bill, but there's no question of tossing it. It goes on the bill pile.
2. Personal mail
A handwritten note from a friend is a keeper for sure. The recipient might even interrupt his sorting to read it immediately. (No wonder hand-addressed mailings with live stamps get opened in huge numbers!)
3. Requested mail
These are items the prospect asked for, expect, and will keep for later reading. Magazines, catalogs he requested, newsletters, etc.
4. Junk mail/money-making mail
These are all the unsolicited marketing pieces that land on the prospect's desk. They are subjected to a merciless, one- or two-second review based entirely on the envelope. Yes. Envelopes are incredibly important. They crucially determine whether the prospect will open the letter and get to your compelling sales message.
Most letters will instantly be placed on the throw-out pile, but a few will survive. Hopefully yours! Here's where things get interesting.
As you know from your own experience of being a prospect, there are some letters that are on the borderline. You're a bit interested but are not really sure if the letter is junk or not. So you open it and quickly start scanning, looking for the writer to get to the point.