Four Rules for Direct Mail

By Lanee' Blunt

A sales letter reads as if you are speaking to a friend. Follow up your direct mail with a phone call. If the sales message is what it should be a percentage of readers on your mailing list will respond about the advertised product or service.
Writing direct mail requires knowing your audience. A sales letter can be produced with a laser printer, letterhead stationary, and a qualified mailing list.

AIDA refers to Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action, or the AIDA formula according to AIDA the copy must first gain the prospect’s attention. Use a strong headline to get their attention.  After the reader’s attention has been obtained it must be developed into interest of your product or service. Create a desire for what you are selling by using testimonials, photographs, or etc. Action must be demanded by the writer.

Begin with a desirable benefit and what the customer wants from your service that your competitor cannot match. The sales letter’s focus will be on the benefits of the customer and what the consumer wants. Try not to focus on your company and how great you are, but focus on what your company does for the prospect. Does your product or service save the consumer money? Improve productivity? Does your software solve problems? Stress benefits in your letter.

An offer is what your prospect will receive when he calls about your direct mail. Having an offer gives the prospect a reason to respond to your direct mail. Use an active voice when writing the offer.  Offer a free no-obligation consultation visit if your goal is to have a meeting with the prospect. Offer a free sample, newsletter, or information package. Offer the prospect a free gift if they call within a specific time frame.

Use headlines in the sales letter. Headlines are used to gain attention and for some people that will only read just your headline.  Brainstorm different headlines before you begin and choose the one that fits what you are selling. Questions may be used as a headline and often provokes the prospect to think of an answer which will then keep them thinking about your letter. Open the letter with a headline. The headline may be either flush left or centered on the page. Drop down two lines and begin the copy.

Entrepreneur: Get Your Copy Write; Kim T. Gordon; 2008
Inc: Writing a Sales Letter; Kimberly McCall; 2000

SBA: Marketing 201


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