Direct mail - Boost your sales and bring in new leads

How to use the SECRETS OF DIRECT MAIL to make your marketing work

Some advertising people think that as long as you send something in the mail, it is likely to be effective. Wrong, very wrong! Direct mail can be more effective than almost any other advertising. If you make it interesting to the reader, they will actually sit down and concentrate on it (rare for advertising).  But if you do not interest them, it will fail.
Direct mail brochures are always crammed with words, because those companies have learned that "The more you tell, the more you sell!"
Direct mail brochures selling cheap watches will often include twice as much selling copy and twice as much interesting information about benefits than what car dealers will tell you about their $39,000 car. So, does that mean that people are less interested in information about their car than their watch?? Absolutely not! All it means is that if you’re a car dealer, you should learn from the direct mail companies. Their results show them that the more they tell in their advertising, the more they sell! It’s no different than selling on your yard. You have to TALK to people to be able to persuade them to buy from you. Try talking to them in your ads too. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Successful direct mail always uses LONG headlines.
Successful direct mail companies use long headlines because they get more sales when they do. Research shows that people find it easier to understand one another when spoken to in whole sentences.  For that reason, ads that speak to them in whole sentences are easier to understand too. Only the most brilliant writers can say something interesting and compelling in four or five words. The rest of us have to be content with writing (and speaking) in whole sentences. The headline "NEW AUDI" is much less effective than "This new 4 litre Audi has an engine that many are saying is quieter than the Mercedes and more reliable than the BMW".
Direct mail experts use powerful selling words.
For some reason, designers and marketers are now shying away from the words research has always shown to be strongest in advertising. If you want results from your advertising, you can’t afford to drop the proven selling words from your ads. Some of the most effective selling words in the English language STILL are:  You.  Yours.  Now.  New.  Sale.  Hurry. Free. Save. Own. Best. Fast. Quiet. Start using them and your results will improve over time. But make sure you use them in sentences! Don’t just say "Diamond Ring Sale". Instead try "Hurry, this new diamond ring can now be yours at half the price of last years’! But to own it, you’ll need to move fast!"
Direct mail companies show photos of their products in several different situations.   
A successful direct mail brochure for a watch will show it up close, in a photo with bold arrows to special features worth pointing out to the reader.  It will also show the watch being worn, and may even show the watch in its box, particularly if the box is worth talking about. So, if you’re selling a new clothesline, don’t just show one photo, show several, and make every one of them interesting and informative. For example, one photo might be a close-up that allows you to use an arrow to point out the fact that the line turns silently because of nylon bushes. Another photo might show that the height can be adjusted to suit people of different heights. And still another photo might show how even the elderly or children can operate the height-adjustment – no hard turning! The more you tell someone about your product, the more they are likely to buy it.  Use your photos to tell more too.
Direct mail makes it very clear that the advertiser wants a specific response.
Our research shows that if you don’t tell the customer how you want them to respond to the ad, they won’t respond. This research, using our own ads, shows that even if they are highly motivated by the ad and would like to respond, if you don’t tell them how, chances are they won’t try to figure it out themselves. In our own ads we give customers at least three different ways to respond.

How to make your direct mail interesting.

Have a look at any of the direct mail brochures sitting around your home. The ones you keep have these things in common. 
  • The emphasis is on information, and lots of it. In direct advertising, "The more you tell, the more you sell!" Successful direct mail companies write more copy in their ads about a $39 watch, than other less successful advertisers might use for a $39,000 car.   
  • Every photo has a caption under it explaining more about the offer or the product.   
  • Every product has its own selling headline. And they’re all long. It takes more words to tell a persuasive story.
  • There’s hardly any white space. Contrary to what you’ve been told, white space DOES NOT sell products or service. Words and photos do!
  • There’s always plenty of reminders about how to respond to the ad – coupons, phone numbers, websites. If you don’t tell readers how to respond, they won’t!
  • Logos are not displayed in large size. This is because direct mailers know that the customer is not interested in your logo, they want to know about your products and services.

Gareth Burgess


1) Headline that tells your whole story, and uses at least one powerful selling word.
2) Attractive and compelling photo of your product WITH A CAPTION that tells your selling story.
3) An endorsement from someone else who loves your product.
4) Long headline that intrigues the reader and talks about something that concerns them, not you!
5) Even longer sub headline.  Once you’ve attracted readership with your headline, you need to tell more of your story to those still prepared to read (about 20% of people who see it).
6) Photographs of real people in your company who the reader is likely to trust and relate to.
7) Lots and lots of copy. The more you tell, the more you sell!

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