In April, I was asked by a large financial services company to review their direct response vehicles: postcards and self-mailers.
The work was good – nicely-written, beautifully-designed – and reflected well on their brand and their company.
But it was not compelling.
I recommended they follow these three suggestions for improving their response. They may also apply to your work.
1. Ask a provocative question. This is a great way of getting people’s attention and compelling them to read on. I often find the negative works better than the positive. People are more motivated by the prospect of loss than by the desire of gain.
2. Give some compelling facts. Most copy is just copy – it may sound fine – but it doesn’t work as hard as it might. People respond to specific facts and numbers more than generalities.
3. Sell the offer. In most of the work I reviewed, the only call-to-action was a generic “contact us.” The reader wants to know – what happens when I do? What exactly do I get? How will I benefit? Again, specifics work best.
Following these three copywriting guidelines won’t guarantee you success in direct mail. Nothing and no one can do that. But they could dramatically improve your response.
Have a copywriting key that helped you boost response? Please share it in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about your success. Thanks.
About guest blogger, Alan Rosenspan: Alan is the president of Alan Rosenspan & Associates, a direct marketing creative and consulting firm based in Massachusetts. Author of Confessions of a Control Freak, he has also contributed chapters to several direct marketing books, including The Direct Marketing Handbook and Direct Marketing 2000. Alan has written over 100 articles for direct marketing publications around the world. Most can be found on his website at www.alanrosenspan.com.
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