typewriterWhen direct marketing is deployed by almost all organizations and those on the receiving end tend to feel bombarded by advertising and sales pitches wherever they turn, effective direct marketing has become something of an art form. Not only must your letter, flyer or email stand out from the crowd, but it also has to compel the recipient to read what you have to say and, more importantly, respond.

Here are a few, simple tips to help you get that response:

1. Give the Important Information Upfront.

No one enjoys reading direct marketing copy; they want to find out what you are selling or offering as quickly as possible. Don’t make the reader work to find out what you want. Place all the key information upfront, and provide the details later.

2. Keep It Simple.

Use short, punchy paragraphs. Don’t waffle on; quickly get to the point.

3. Break Up Paragraphs.

Unconventional paragraph breaks draw the readers’ attention to the next section, which makes them want to read on.

But, don’t be silly about it.

4. Apply “Me-Marketing.”

Ultimately, the reader wants to know: What’s in it for me? Answer that question early on. Your audience needs to feel that they are understood, so write copy that resonates with them and their situation.

Using a conversational tone that’s heavy on the “you” rather than “I” or “we” helps, while addressing it to an individual makes you sound more human and more appealing.

5. Use Attention-Grabbing Headliners.

The aim isn’t to be big or clever, but to appeal to what your readers want.

What, how, why, when and where they can get hold of the latest product, new experience or fantastic service needs to be relayed right away.

In an email, the subject line acts as the heading, and with the advent of smartphones and constant connectivity, people will often filter out what they don’t want even before opening the email. Get key words in, give them a teaser and always remember the “me-marketing” rule.

6. Gain Their Trust.

Don’t say, “Best kitchen deals ever!” Instead, “Great quality kitchens, at a price you can afford.”

Tell the truth. No one wants to be taken for a fool.

7. Draw Attention to the Important Bits.

Emboldening, underlining or italicizing words can help draw the readers’ attention to the parts that matter most. Don’t go wild making every other word bold, otherwise people may lose interest altogether. Think: if the recipient is only going to read one bit, which sentence or few key phrases would you want that to be?

8. Use Action Words.

Do, click, see, experience, make, grab, gain: whatever words you choose, create a sense of urgency.

9. Give a Call to Action.

Make it easy for people to respond. Once you’ve told your audience what you want them to do, make it really easy for them to do it. Embed links to your website, include pictures that take you straight to the product or link to a landing page with more information on the offer.

10. Always Include a P.S.

The postscript is one of the most read parts of direct mail. After the address and initial headline, people tend to skip straight to the end, so include something that will seduce the recipient to go back to the beginning and read the whole thing.

While many think the secret to an effective direct mail campaign lies in the design, getting the copy right is first and foremost the key to a successful direct marketing campaign — driving interest, boosting sales and getting results.

Originally published Sep 26, 2013 1:00:20 AM, updated July 28 2017


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