Every direct mail letter is selling the same thing: Response.
If the lists are right, and the offer is right, then just about every response will be a valuable response, even if it's just for more information. We often forget that.
If you write to sell the idea of responding, you'll win much more often than you'll lose.
The other stuff is important, but the core idea never changes. Respond—now.
Decide Which Kind of Letter to Write
There are many kinds of letters, including: news, testimonial-based, personal experience, yarn-spinner, shocker, exclusive "insider" info, problem/solution, confessional, focus on guarantee, focus on price, etc. Add a road map—some kind of structural flow—to keep it focused.
AIDA is a pretty good road map. It stands for attention, interest, development, action. It means:
>Start with a grabber such as "hey you."
>When you've got their attention, you have to keep it: "Wanna save 30 percent on your dry cleaning?"
>Then expand on it: "Drop your dry cleaning off on Monday before noon and pick it up on Friday."
>And finally action: "If you sign up before the 15th, you'll get a free high-quality laundry bag."
Finally—and you still haven't written a word—think of an attitude, a personality, or some kind of edge that will help people realize you're a human being writing to them and not some committee-infested corporation.
Who do you want to be in this letter? Guru, innocent, helpful, friendly, conversational? It's important that people like you and respect you, and feel that you understand them. They won't buy from you if they don't. And you'll get their trust by writing with the right kind of personality.
You've now completed the prep work required to write a great direct mail letter that generates response. Next month, we'll discuss the writing, editing and approval processes.