101 Ways to Improve Your Direct Mail Response

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1.? Mail to your customers more often.? If you are now mailing 4
times a year, increase the frequency of your mailings to 6 or 8
times.? If you increase your mailings by 25%, you should
increase your sales by at least the same percentage.

2.? Use a P.S. on every direct mail letter.? This is second in
importance only to the headline.

3.? Don't forget to thank your customer for their order.? Enclose a
message with orders... and include another merchandise offer
with the "thank you" message.

4.? Vary your mailing format.? Use self-mailers, lettergrams,
computer letters, envelope formats, catalogs.? Change your
format so that prospects don't get in the habit of recognizing
your mailing piece.

5.? Ride on the coattails of current events, e.g. energy crisis,
elections, cold winters, etc.? When inflation increases, have an
"inflation-cutting" special, etc.

6.? Look for other products you can successfully sell to your
customers.? Information on how to make and save money is the
best prospect.

7.? Include more offers in your mailing package than you already
are.? Study the mailings of firms who
packs a volume of material into their envelopes.? See if you can
adapt the idea to your own mailings.

8.? Think about using simulated handwriting for emphasis in your
letters.? Occasionally test a handwritten letter, particularly
if you are soliciting funds for charity.

9.? Try an unusual format you've never used before.

10. Test selective distribution to your list.? Maybe only a portion
of your list should receive more mailings.? Other mailings
should go to the entire list.

11. Stimulate off-season business by asking for it.? If you normally
have a summer slump, have a special "summer sale" mailing in the
summer. You can boost your sales any time of the year you need a
boost through effective direct mail.

12. Word your offer differently.? Put a unique twist into it by
offering a baker's dozen instead of a regular dozen.? Or sell
110 instead of 100.

13. You can even add a smell to your envelopes.? Check with your
envelope manufacturer about the special inks that can be used to
make your envelope "smell" the way your product does.

14. Change the size of your mailing package frequently to create
interest and appeal.

15. Test credit terms.? You'll find that accepting Master
Charge/Visa will result in larger orders than cash terms.

16. Let people "peek" into your envelope with multiple windows on
the face and back.

17. Test buck slip routing for addressing, and use it to reach
multiple prospects.

18. Try using illustrated letterheads and test them against
conventional letterheads.

19. Put a simulated check into your mailing to emphasize a discount.

20. Consider using stamps, coupons, early order bonuses, Etc.

21. Pack order starters - a special offer that will get a person
started on his order - into your catalog.

22. If you can sample your product, including one in your mailing.

23. Make more sophisticated use of your own list and the lists you
rent by looking for those segments of people who... and forget
the rest of them.

24. Test simulated telegrams, mailgrams, and other imitation formats
similar to the mailgram.

25. Test a tiny letter with a tiny pencil accompanying it.? Test a
jumbo letter in your envelope, maybe even mail it in a jumbo

26. What is your "wastebasket readability factor" - and what can you
do to get people to read your mailing piece when it is sitting
on somebody else's desk... or has it already landed in their
waste basket?

27. Put a wraparound on your catalog.? It gives you two covers
instead of one.

28. Test your catalog approaches and mailing dates.

29. Use teaser copy on your outer envelope and test it vs. a blind

30. Acknowledge orders promptly and include additional sales
literature with your acknowledgment.

31. Periodically send a statement to your customer that shows he's
been missed... even if he doesn't owe you any money.

32. Follow up inquiries promptly and persistently.? Make it easy to
buy from you by giving the inquirer a return envelope to send
his order back in.

33. Tie in a timely topic (current events, special problems, etc.)

34. Get to know your printers... not printer, printers.? Every
direct marketer needs different types of printers with different
capabilities to come up with different printed pieces.

35. Test multiple premiums with your offer and give your prospects a
choice of the one(s) he prefers.

36. Remail your mailing to your better customers three or four weeks
later.? You'll do 60-75% as well on the second mailing.

37. Remember the 5 basic rules... test, test, test, test, and test.

38. Don't be afraid to run without a test if your gamble is small.

39. Use a bounce-back package enclosure to get an extra order.

40. State your guarantee in the strongest possible terms... and
state it often.

41. Spotlight your sales points in your headlines.

42. Start your message on your envelope and lead your reader inside.

43. Feature last-minute merchandise on the back of your envelope or
on a separate flier enclosed in your package.

44. Offset delays in mail delivery by extending cutoff dates.

45. Cultivate customers with special savings, bonuses or premiums.

46. Use lightweight paper to save postage and to allow more sales
material in the envelope.

47. Use a "Publisher's Letter" to give the prospect an extra reason
for buying.

48. Put distinctive differences in your catalog to add interest.

49. Stimulate action by featuring a time limit at the top of your

50. Show how merchandise solves problems and enhances the stature of
the user among his/her contemporaries.

51. Use full-view envelopes to display attractive literature.

52. If buying your product spells numerous benefits, spell them out
by number for maximum impact.

53. Increase customer goodwill and purchases with advance notice of

54. Use stock photos for much less than the cost of making original

55. Cultivate customers with special catalog offers directed
exclusively to customers.

56. Use unusual techniques to get your customer into your envelope.

57. Use action stimulators to get your customer to open your

58. Dramatize big news by using a big format to present your message.

59. Can you use the inside of your merchandise carton as part of
your media mix?

60. Increase the impact of your advertising with clip art, at
minimum expense.

61. Express appreciation to your customers for their past business.
And enclose some extra sell material with your thank you message.

62. Offer premiums that are unusual.

63. Include smart-selling stuffers in envelopes, packages, etc.

64. Update your catalog with supplements or newsletters.

65. Use a second letter in the package to increase the impact.

66. Use a second letter in the package to make a second offer.

67. Notify the customer if there is going to be a delay in
fulfillment, and include additional merchandise offers with this

68. Test post card deck mailings as an inexpensive method to get

69. Put an unusual message on the outside of your envelope.

70. Put an alternative offer in the reply envelope to create bonus

71. Try a massive display of stamps on the outside of your envelope
to emphasize a fact.

72. Try a pre-holiday mailing to invite a former customer back.

73. Try a customized response vehicle to get your customers to

74. Offer to provide specific benefits to the customers.

75. Offer potential benefits to both customers and prospects.

76. Use customer gift lists as future mailing lists for your

77. Call your business reply order form by some other name, such as
trial order card.

78. A double coupon in your package could double your response.

79. A reply envelope plus loose stamp might be more effective than a

80. If a postcard can tell your story... test it.

81. If a postcard is too small, step up to a self-mailer.

82. Follow-up your prospect's inquiries promptly with hard sell

83. Make the space on the inside of your mailing envelope work for
you by using it to sell your product.

84. Prove to your prospect that your free gifts are really free.

85. State your guarantee boldly, in strong words... and repeat it

86. Test allowing another mailer in your envelope and vice versa.

87. Test simulated gram formats.

88. Develop a distinctive personality for your business.

89. Make major anniversaries a plus factor in your promotions.

90. Have your reply envelope emphasize your prompt shipping service.

91. Present outstanding testimonials in a big way for big impact.

92. Never stop selling the advantages of direct marketing to your

93. Consider using special formats to make ordering easier.

94. Test different length trial periods.

95. Promote seasonal products in off-season times... and offer

96. Ask customers their opinion of a proposed new product.

97. Test the plastic record message in your mail formats.

98. Use the negative to accentuate the positive.

99. Use simulated handwriting in your message.

100. Use match-up and comparison tables to increase selection ease and

101. Always offer an "extra" or "bonus" to encourage a quick response.

Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer

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