Postcard, postcard, everywhere a postcard

I don’t have any statistics on this, but judging by my own mail, it seems postcard usage is at an all-time high.

In today’s mail I received five postcards. Actually, it was 3 postcards and 2 postcard-sized self-mailers, but let’s not split hairs. The point is that many more businesses are turning to cheap mail formats.

Great Indoors postcard

Here’s one from the Great Indoors, a home decorating store. Others I received include a card from a health center reminding my wife to get a checkup, another from the same health center offering a health seminar, an offer from a carpet cleaning service, and an upgrade offer for a business contact program.

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How to design an ad no one will read

Direct response design is all about getting people to READ the text. If no one reads the words, why bother running the ad?

While flipping through some magazines recently, I came across this ad for a laser sighting device. I know what the ad is about because of the photo, but certainly not because of the text. This ad ignores virtually every convention for designing readable copy.

Gun Ad

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Do customers see what you see in your ads?

Is the woman turning to the right or to the left? That depends. Some will see her turning one way while others will see the opposite.

This animation is a visual trick, but it illustrates the idea that two people can look at the same thing and see something entirely different.

Selling is largely about perception. And everyone’s perception is a bit different. To be successful at writing or designing direct mail, ads, or other selling tools, you must grasp this simple idea.

Every person comes to your advertising with different experiences, knowledge, language skills, attitudes, preferences, and prejudices. Even something as simple as a headline can create a totally different response for two people. Read more

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My direct mail reviewed by Who’s Mailing What

Intuit direct mail sampleWhile sifting through my various marketing e-newsletter subscriptions recently, I ran across a nice review of one of my direct mail packages at Who’s Mailing What Insider by Ethan Boldt.

Who’s Mailing What is basically a library of direct mail pieces. They collect, analyze, scan, and file them. Then, for a price, you can download them for your own inspiration.

The image of the direct mail piece is no longer posted with the article, but you can look at an early version of the Intuit direct mail package here.

Here’s a snippet from the review:

Perceived value. It’s what B-to-B mailers often try to build within a mail package, and Intuit’s latest effort is an example of how to do it expertly . . . to the point that a response is nearly guaranteed.

Beginning simple, the computer company’s plain white #10 outer envelope says, “RE: Your FREE Retailer’s Success Kit.” Indeed, the word “free” becomes the theme of this package.

Inside, prospects are greeted by a letter that uses many of the standard response boosters: personalization (Dear [John Doe], We’ve created a FREE Retailer’s Success Kit for [X Studios], the word “free” running throughout, a bullet list of benefits (such as the key “FREE Software CD: Intuit QuickBooks Point of Sale 30-Day Trial”), a limited time offer, special offer code and a P.S. that emphasizes all of the above at once.

The top of the letter, however, goes an unusual route by titling the addressed portion with “Shipment Confirmation” and “Status: Ready to ship ***no charge***” and then the crucial “Instructions: Call [toll-free number] to confirm shipment.” Wow. Clever, huh?

The personalization – “Dear [John Doe], We’ve created a FREE Retailer’s Success Kit for [X Studios]. It’s ready to ship right now. May I send it to you?” – is equally clever.

Aw shucks. I was just doing my job. Read more

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