How to write a good direct mail letter

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A well-written direct mail letter should:
  • Attract – first attract your reader’s attention.
  • Interest – arouse your reader’s interest early.
  • Desire – create desire for what you’re selling.
  • Convince – convince readers that it’s in their interests to take up your offer, suggestion or invitation.
  • Action – make it clear how readers should act and what they need to do.

Follow these basic guidelines to help you write an effective, call-to-action letter for your customers:

Write for easy reading

  • Use short sentences and paragraphs.
  • Grab the reader’s attention early.
  • Spell out what the major benefit/offer is at the top of the first page. Repeat this on the second page towards the close of the letter.
  • Use legible typefaces.

Personalise your letter

  • Personalised direct mail is the strongest form of direct mail.
  • Make sure recipients’ names are spelt correctly.
  • Don’t be over familiar or too casual.
  • If, for any reason, you can’t fully personalise your letters, you can use a default greeting. For example – Dear Customer, Member, Reader, Gardener.

Involve the reader

  • Tell them exactly what they will get by accepting your offer. Explain what readers will miss if they don’t act.

Establish credibility

  • Whenever possible emphasise that what you say is true with relevant proof and customer testimonials.
  • Be scrupulously honest – too many companies and advertisers tell their customers the truth as they would like it to be.

Ask for action

  • Ask for action now, and explain clearly what readers need to do to take up your offer.
  • Make it easy for readers to respond. Show electronic and postal addresses clearly. Including a FreePost™ or an International Business Reply™ envelope makes it easy for customers to respond or send orders. And you only pay when it’s used.

P.S. Use a post script (p.s.)

  • A p.s. is often the first part of the actual letter to be read. Use it to reinforce key points such as the offer itself, any major benefits as well as time limits.

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