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Five Steps to Great Direct Mail Copywriting

In direct mail marketing, there are three things you must have in order to succeed:

  1. A well-qualified list
  2. A great offer
  3. A well-written promotional message

The first two are fairly easy but creating a well-written promotional message is another story. So in this article, I’d like to share five things you can do to make sure your promotional messages are well-written and effective in getting responses:

  1. Write a Headline That Stands on Its Own

Your headline should be effective enough to stand on its own as a classified ad. If it can do this, you can bet it will grab the person’s attention and make them want to read your letter. For example, imagine seeing this classified ad in the back of a magazine…

Super Spring Sale, 50% Off

Now, imagine seeing this one…

Men’s Neck Ties, Super Spring Sale, 50% Off for Next 48 Hours

Which one would get the most responses? The second one of course. The first example is too vague and has no urgency. But the second one tells the entire story and gives the person a reason to respond right away. This is what your direct mail headline should do. It should make the person want to read your ad and respond right away.

  1. Get Right to the Point

The most common mistake made by new copywriters is writing too much fluff before getting to the point. After you’ve written your letter, try cutting off the first two sentences and see if it still works. Most of the time, the edited version will get to the point faster and will work better than the original version.

  1. Create a Scalable Message

A lot people will scan your message before deciding to read it, so make your message “scanable.” Create bullet lists of your strongest selling points. Make these so clear and so direct that the person can get a good general idea of what the message says just from reading the bullet points. If you do this right, the scanners will either stop to read, or if your bullet points are really good, they’ll respond without even needing to read.

  1. Use Good Testimonials 

Every good copywriting message needs a clearly visible testimonial which includes a picture of the past client and which speaks of a direct benefit of having done business with you. For example, choose a testimonial that speaks of a specific result instead of just talking about what a nice person you are and how much the customer enjoyed doing business with you. For best results, choose a testimonial which tells a “before and after” story, explaining how your product or service solved a problem for the customer.

  1. Write Two Calls to Action

Always give your customers two options for responding to your ads. For example, instead of just inviting them to call and order, give them a way to get information from a recorded message or a website without having to talk to a sales person. Many people are afraid of sales people. So give your prospects a few options for responding to your messages.

Are there more rules for writing great copy?

Sure, but if you get these five right, you’ll earn plenty of business and you can always invest the money into hiring a professional copywriter to spice up your offer.

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