How to write great direct mail letters
I recently started work on a series of direct mail letters promoting a wedding videography business. They approached me because they felt their copy was dry and boring and lacked that certain something to make it stand out from the crowd.
Whilst the facts were there, the content needed some creative treatment to encourage readers to read the letter and take action. Not only did the text need livening up, it needed a better structure with a clear beginning, middle and end.
Compared to email promotion, writing a direct mail letter is a bit like taking a step back in time. The postal address, date and salutation need to be included, together with a headline or “hook” at the start of the letter. What’s the best sign off to use? Yours sincerely? Yours faithfully? Or just “Best wishes”? Do you include an enc. at the bottom for an enclosed item?
Here are some suggestions on how to structure the content of a great direct mail letter.
1. Gain the reader’s attention. An eye catching headline should do the trick.
2. Engage the reader’s interest by identifying a problem the reader has or a need that must be filled
3. Position your product, service or company as the solution to the reader’s problem
4. Offer proof to convince skeptical readers that your claim you can solve their problem is true
5. Invite the reader to take action toward implementing your solution. This might be to request more information or to order the product or service.
Consider the length of your letter. Whilst business buyers will read alot of copy and consumers typically pay more attention to pictures and headlines, in both cases it’s important to keep copy concise and tell the complete story in the fewest possible words. Get to the point and don’t waste the reader’s time by saying in three paragraphs what you could say in one. Keep content interesting and relevant – the more interesting and relevant it is, the more likely they’ll read it. And make sure that the letter makes sense as a standalone piece – this is particularly important if you are enclosing a brochure or sample with it that could get missplaced.
Finally, don’t forget to spend time carefully checking content looking for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Read your work carefully and if you’ve got time, put it to one side and check it again the next day – your eyes will be fresh and may spot something you have overlooked.
If you need help giving your direct mail letters or other marketing communication material the “wow” factor, contact us – we’d be happy to help.