Pat Friesen & Co.

13 Questions for Better Creative
August 22, 2007

Copywriters who have been around the direct marketing block more than a few times bring with them honed insight into what details in a campaign can make the difference between floppy, flat and firing-on-all-cylinders performance. To leverage this knowledge, it behooves marketers to answer, to the best of their ability, the questions these creative professionals send their way. The following are 13 questions you should be trying to answer—even if your copywriter doesn’t do the asking—compiled from freelance copywriters Pat Friesen, of Pat Friesen & Co.; Mark Everett Johnson, of Mark Everett Johnson Inc.; and Malcolm Decker, of Malcolm Decker Associates Inc. 1. What are the

Give ’em a Sneak Peek
July 1, 2007

In a recent survey entitled “Because It’s Personal: A Study of Consumer Use and Preference for Envelopes,” conducted by the Envelope Manufacturers Association Foundation, two-thirds of the survey participants indicated they open envelopes received by mail “if they think the contents might be interesting.” That’s a potential for a 66 percent open rate. The average person invests less than three seconds deciding whether to keep or toss your mail. One way to increase the odds in your favor is to give recipients an immediate sneak peek of the package’s contents. With this in mind, here are a few types of envelopes you can

What’s in Your Wallet?
March 1, 2007

What do you carry in your wallet? If it’s like mine, it’s filled with discount devices—gift cards, savings certificates, coupons, and other ink-on-paper reminders of money-saving offers you have good intentions of using. If you’re a direct marketer who sends these incentives to customers and prospects by direct mail, your challenge is three-fold. First, you’ve got to get your mailing opened and read. Next, you’ve got to communicate your offer in such a way that it’s retained and used. And finally, your discount device has got to be as durable as it is memorable, so it doesn’t disintegrate or get lost in the growing stack of

9 Ways to Make Your Response Device More Effective
February 7, 2007

The response device is the most important component in direct response advertising, whether it’s a space ad, direct mail piece, or online registration process. If the response device is confusing or difficult to complete, it will kill response no matter how great your offer, creative or list selection is. With this in mind, here are nine tips for making your direct mail response cards, catalog order forms/order organizers, and even online registration forms more successful. • Make it look fast and easy to complete. Use readable type, and leave plenty of room for fill-in information. • Know your audience and design accordingly. Use typefaces and ink colors

The Great Response Influencers
January 1, 2007

I recently revisited the columns I’ve written for Target Marketing in the past few years and noticed that several of them focus on specific direct mail tactics such as creative postage options, postcards and other direct mail formats. After a recent meeting in which all my client wanted to talk about regarding his upcoming mailing was the format, I thought it time to offer this gentle reminder to both clients and readers: An effective direct mail strategy is based on the synergy of multiple key elements working together to generate cost-effective response—not just one or two tactical pieces. Focus on only one—such as the format—at the

The Wonders of White Mail
November 1, 2006

When I’m teaching a workshop and use the term white mail, I get blank looks from about half the group. They are unfamiliar with the term. White mail is unsolicited correspondence from your customers. While I don’t know this for a fact, I assume white mail got its name from the plain “white” envelope it arrives in—rather than a printed reply envelope provided by you, the marketer. I once was an official reader of white mail for the personalized Christmas card program at Walter Drake, a multichannel marketer of household merchandise and gift items. So, I know from experience the enclosed message can be anything

What to Put in the Fulfillment Kit
October 1, 2006

You’ve got some promising leads, prospects who have responded to your initial offer to learn more about your product or service. But that interest level could range from mild curiosity to a more immediate need for a solution to a problem. So what do you send these leads that will help the tentative become more assured, while not putting off those who might make a quick decision? “Whether the customer is a consumer or B-to-B buyer, the most important thing for the kit to do is to keep the sales process alive,” says Pat Friesen, president of Pat Friesen & Co., a direct marketing consultancy

Do’s and Don’ts of Kits
October 1, 2006

A few mistakes to avoid along with some great ideas to implement if your budget allows: Do personalize or customize the kit in some way. When working with a longer sales process, it’s key to show prospects you are paying attention to the qualification information they have been supplying you, explains Lee Marc Stein, proprietor of Lee Marc Stein Ltd. Either recap the details you gathered via your lead-generation effort in your fulfillment kit letter or at least address the prospect by name. Don’t assume people will pore over every word, photo and component in the kit, notes Pat Friesen, president of Pat Friesen & Co.

Stretch Your Postal Dollars
January 1, 2006

The new year is a good time to review your direct mail efforts and look for opportunities to get more from your investment. Whenever you're paying for postage, you want your mail piece to work as hard as possible to achieve your marketing goals. With that in mind, here are 15 suggestions to help you maximize your direct mail investment in 2006.

Explore Your Postage Options
November 1, 2005

Postage can do more than just get your mail delivered. Your mailbox tells the story. Most direct mail bears ho-hum, routine-looking postage, whether it’s a stamp, metered postage or a preprinted indicia. Sure, it does its job. It gets the mail piece delivered. But if you’re the direct marketer paying for the postage, you also should consider how to make your postage investment work harder to: - make your mail piece stand out from the rest of the stack; - make it look important and valuable enough to get past the mail screener; and - get it opened and read, instead of