Lewis Enterprises’ Herschell Gordon Lewis on Copywriting for the 21st Century
HGL: No one can be Nostradamus, but unless envelope copy, front and/or back, combines credibility with an imperative, the recipient quickly identifies the message as a sales pitch. Opinion: Strident envelope copy will become less valuable with each passing year. Apparently one-to-one envelopes whose contents quickly validate the apparent individuality will be the royalty of tomorrow’s mailings.
EB: How important is font size and bolded copy now, compared to in the past?
HGL: Any technique that adds to clarity and emphasis is a factor. For mailings to seniors, avoid type smaller than 11-point. American Typewriter is a contemporary font that gives letters a typewritten look without the antique-look old typewriter faces such as Courier and Prestige Elite impart. Personal prejudice: Avoid Times Roman. Goudy and Bookman are preferred fonts.
EB: In a saturated market, such as auto refinancing, how can you create emotion for and validate the pre-qualification to increase response?
HGL: Emphasize singularity. “Not one person in 10,000 ...” “You’re a rare individual ...” “We salute you ...” Actual wording depends on the specific offer to these people, to whom we say, in one type of verbiage or another, “You’re chosen.” DON’T use the worn-out, “You’ve been pre-approved.” Figure out a logical rubber stamp effect for the envelope if this is a mailed offer.
EB: Do branded outer envelopes (with your logo) pull better than envelopes without your logo?
HGL: Logos pull better only when communicating with multibuyers. For cold lists, the best response seems to come from the CEO’s name typewritten above the street address.
EB: How do you get marketing managers to “get it” in terms of copy? And what’s the single best DM tactic to use during a downturn in the overall economy?
HGL: If the marketing manager is especially obtuse, prepare a second copy-block that violates the rules … and ask that individual to choose. Confusion invariably results, and you can reassume command.