Brookfield, Conn.

If there's a subject that gets most copywriters, especially those who write in the squeezed publishing sector, fired up, it's vouchers. Simply put, most hate them because these "is it a bill?" mailers have replaced many full-blown acquisition or retention packages that used to be their bread-and-butter work. It's not just that jobs have been taken away, they say, but also the meaning of their work, as so many publications are, in essence, sending a much less impressive representative now—the lowly voucher.

The role of the order card in the direct mail piece has always been important. "The main purpose is to state (or restate) the offer clearly and simply, so it's easy and effortless for the recipient to say, 'Yes.' The sole purpose of the order card is to get the order!" states Heidi Wells, a freelance copywriter based in Chicago.

Buckslips got their name because, when they first appeared in the mail package, they were roughly the size of a dollar bill. Now they’re often slightly larger, but more important than their physical dimensions, they, like dollar bills, usually manage to ensnare the prospect’s attention. Of course, that is a role that can’t be underestimated for direct mailers faced with prospects’ continually shrinking attention spans and the shrinking size of the mail package. “Buckslips are vital to the package. Readers want their information FAST. Buckslips fill the bill,” asserts Ruth Sheldon, a New York City–based copywriter and president of Ruth K. Sheldon & Associates.

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