by Dean Rieck A famous chess player once revealed to me how he wins so many games, often against far more experienced players. What he said was this: "I try to avoid making mistakes." I've never forgotten that bit of wisdom, and routinely give similar advice to clients and people who contact me wanting to improve their direct mail programs. The first thing I tell them is this: "Avoid mistakes before seeking brilliance." What sort of mistakes? There are a few particularly stupid things I see again and again, each guaranteed to screw up your direct mail big time. Here are seven to watch

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