Writer's BlockBecause direct mail marketing copy needs to grab the reader from the first word, there’s little or no margin for error. Your best approach for generating compelling, memorable copy for all your marketing needs is to pay attention to a few key concepts.

Crafting Direct Mail Marketing That Gets Attention

Good marketing copy is golden. It can make your company a superstar if you learn to use it right. These tips will help:

  • Say one or two key things in your mailers. Don’t muddy the message by trying to do too much.
  • Have a strategy. Offering a sale item or a giveaway is a tried and true strategy, but consumers have become savvy to these gambits. Make your offering worth their attention. If you aren’t leading with a sale, try a consultative approach. Introduce yourself by offering a good tip for solving a common customer problem or complaint.
  • Get right to the point. A literary handshake, some throat clearing, and a polite opening joke are not the way to go. If you’ve drafted a sales letter, post card, or other direct marketing piece, look at the first sentence; now look at the second sentence. Do you really need them both? If not, lose one. Often the second or third sentence of your first draft will make a better opener.
  • Use headers and sub-headers. Think of these as billboards. They’re arguably the most important part of your presentation. Make them big, too. A headline with 24 -point type isn’t too large.
  • Keep your sentences and paragraphs short.
  • Don’t use a long, complicated word if a short one will do. This isn’t dumbing down your message; it’s refining it. Writing isn’t conversation, but it should sound like it. Good marketing copy is easy to read with the added benefit of being planned and well crafted. Your copy should never sound like a high school textbook.
  • Make an immediate impact by using color in your mailer, either in the print, paper, or with photos.
  • If your opener sounds weak, turn it into a question instead. Questions make compelling reading and may keep your targeted prospect around long enough to develop an interest in what you have to say.
  • Tell a story. If your product provides the solution to a problem, a story is a great way to show that with a specific example. It establishes you as an authority the customer can relate to.
  • Include a postscript (P.S.). It’s a subtle way to guide the reader’s eye to an important piece of information. After the header and sub-headers, the postscript is usually the most viewed copy on a mailer.
  • Consider using first class postage instead of a bulk mail stamp. Nothing says mass mailing like an ink stamp. John Jantsch in his book, “Duct Tape Marketing” suggests that as much as 25% of presorted bulk mail never reaches the intended recipient.

Once you start crafting direct mail marketing copy, a tone and style will begin to emerge that you can draw on for future mailers. Rereading older copy before each new campaign can sometimes provide inspiration too.