Direct Mail

3. The Mailing

A good mailing package will create a better response rate. You are competing with all the other mail that is sent to your target groups.

3.1 The letter should explain the offer.

  • If possible, it should be personalised, by addressing it to a named individual.
  • You have less than two seconds to convince the reader it is worth reading.The first half-dozen words are crucial.
  • You should usually include a highly focused, relevant headline.
  • In the first paragraph, describe the benefits.
  • The bulk of the letter should then explain and amplify the first paragraph. It should be clear, simple and convincing Avoid being flamboyant or patronising.
  • Avoid jargon or technical terms, unless you are writing to a technical audience.
  • Write as if you are talking to your prospect one-to-one.
  • In the final paragraph, explain how to respond to the letter (the call to action).
  • Sign the letter. If you are mailing in bulk (more than 500 recipients), you can add a digital signature.
  • Always have a P.S. that restates the benefits and call to action – everyone reads it.

3.2 Include relevant attachments.

  • A well-designed brochure will help to establish your credibility.
  • If possible, include a sample of some kind.
  • If you are selling a range of products, enclose a price list.

3.3 Make responding as easy as possible.

For example, you could include:

Make it clear to the readers exactly what you want them to do.

  • a self-mailing order form for the reader to tear off and return
  • a pre-printed business reply envelope with a Freepost address
  • a link to an online form or specific landing page on your website

3.4 Give readers an incentive to reply promptly.

  • For example, you might offer them 10 per cent off, as long as they reply by a specified date (up to three weeks away).
  • Cost any incentives you offer carefully, to avoid making a loss.

3.5 Mailings to business customers will usually be opened by an assistant. But when mailing to consumers, the first hurdle is getting them to open the envelope.

  • Using stamps, rather than franking, will raise your letter-opening rate.
  • An unusual size or colour of envelope may attract attention.
  • If you overprint the envelope – for example, offering a free gift or special offer – the message must be justified by the contents or it will disappoint people and backfire badly.Do not mark the envelope ‘private’ or ‘confidential’ unless this is really justified.
  • Window envelopes need no labels and are therefore marginally cheaper to use.

3.6 Choose the best possible timing for each mailshot.

  • For business targets, do not send out mail just ahead of a public holiday.
  • Saturday and holidays are ideal for consumer products such as leisure and gardening items.
  • Mail in advance of key financial points in the year such as the end of the year and tax year so that your message arrives when budgets are being planned.
  • A mailing promoting an event should ideally be sent six to eight weeks beforehand and followed up with additional mailings.

3.7 Depending on the nature of your mailing, you may follow it up with a telephone call.

  • Make this call part of your overall sales strategy.

3.8 Be ready to react quickly when orders come in. Poor service puts customers off.

  • Decide in advance what you will do if the response rate is two or three times what you were expecting.

BHP Infosolutions

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