Rieck's Response Letter from Direct Creative at www.DirectCreative.com
December 2007
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Rieck's Response Letter is a publication of Direct Creative

Contact: Dean Rieck
Phone: 614-882-8823
E-mail: Dean@DirectCreative.com

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Quote of the Month

"Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read." -Leo Burnett


My articles are all over the place this month!
Last month I told you that my gig at DM News has more or less come to an end because of a format change that gave the boot to all columnists. Such is life.

But now I'm getting a lot of requests to write articles for some high quality blogs, including Tech Savvy Marketer, Copyblogger, and ProBlogger. Here are two that that have posted:

12 Boring Ideas for More Exciting Marketing Copy
58 of the World's Greatest Offers

Santa is a marketing genius!
As long as I'm pimping my articles, I should mention another annual favorite, Santa's Secrets of Marketing Success. Feel free to share this with friends and neighbors.

We write ads or people die!
Most movie spoofs aren't all that funny or imaginative. But I found a spoof of A Few Good Men that will make you blow coffee out your nose. The people who did this really know the ad business. I'm always on the lookout for more good videos, funny or instructive. If you find one, zip me an e-mail.

Response Booster

Encourage an immediate response.

Experience reveals two interesting facts: 1) The longer a decision is postponed, the more likely a decision will never be made. 2) The sooner you can provoke a decision, the more likely it is to be in your favor.

The most common way to force people to make an immediate decision is with a limited-time offer. For example: "Respond by March 12 and you can try the new SuperGizmo 5000 free for one full month!" Or you can fudge a bit by using a time frame rather than a specific date: "Respond within the next 14 days and you can try the new SuperGizmo 5000 free for one full month!"

Quick Tips

I'm going to do something a little different this month and focus all my quick tips on sales letters. This is a sales tool that should be in everyone's marketing tool box. And while you won't become a master with a few bullet points, you can certainly improve your results.

Make your first sentence short and attention-grabbing.
You must instantly involve the reader. Make a startling statement. Hit an emotional hot button. Or just state the offer and get to the point. This last approach is often the best tactic and offers the least room for error.

Make the body of the letter work hard.
Expand on the first sentence to pull the reader into the body copy. Tell a story, list benefits, share testimonials, and provide proofs.

End the first page in mid-sentence.
Whether it's curiosity or an urge for "closure," cutting a sentence in two at the bottom of a page helps encourage the reader to flip the page and finish the sentence — and, you hope, keep reading. You can also use this technique on successive pages where the reader must turn a page over or go to a separate sheet.

Make response easy and clear.
Your offer should be stated simply and directly. And responding to your offer should be easy-to-understand. Give your toll-free number. Explain the ordering process one, two, three.

Use your P.S. effectively.
The postscript is one of the most-read parts of a letter. It should present an important message, a prime benefit, a restatement of the offer, a reminder of the deadline, a sweetener, or whatever you feel is most effective in this prime spot. Some call the P.S. a headline at the end of the letter.


Direct Mail Resolutions for the New Year

Back in 1998, I wrote an article for DM News about making resolutions for the upcoming new year. It turned out to be one of my most popular articles ever and still generates a lot of interest from people who love long lists of tips.

Here are a few of the resolutions. You can read the entire list if you click on this link: 99 Direct Mail Resolutions.

Repeat after me, I hereby resolve to ...

  • Make an irresistible offer.
  • Give away something free to boost response.
  • Increase the perceived value of my offer.
  • Use a time limit to increase urgency.
  • Create the envelope exclusively to get opened.
  • Consider using a plain envelope.
  • Use my sales letter to sell and my brochure to tell.
  • Make my letter look like a letter.
  • Express one central idea in my letter.
  • Write my letter in a friendly, personal tone.
  • Design my brochure for easy reading.
  • Make my order form easy to fill out and return.
  • Make my order form look valuable.
  • Give clear, simple ordering directions.
  • Feature compelling testimonials.
  • Back up my offer with a strong guarantee.
  • Test one element at a time.
  • Track results meticulously.

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Dean Rieck is an internationally respected copywriter, designer, and consultant who has created direct mail and ads for over 200 clients.

Phone: 614-882-8823
E-mail: Dean@DirectCreative.com
Web: www.DirectCreative.com

Copyright 2007 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.