How To Tell Your Prospects What They Need To Know…

By: Dan Kennedy on: February 9th, 2010 7 Comments

…Before you even meet them.

We’re still talking about the three aspects that make for a successful marketing strategy and so far, I’ve identified the first two…the list and the offer.

Of course, the third stepping stone to direct mail success is the mailing piece itself. If one is the list and two is the offer, then three is what we might call the packaging or the presentation of the offer.

In mailing development you will basically deal with copy, graphics and format. I want you to understand that it is not necessary or even necessarily advisable for you to engage the expensive services of graphic designers or ad agencies to create your direct mail pieces.

If you will make the format decision yourself, write the copy yourself and provide some graphic components yourself, all of which I’ll help you with during our journey together, then you can have your piece prepared by a small store front printer and his typesetter.

An ad agency or graphic designer may charge you thousands of dollars to prepare a single mailing piece. If you choose to use such services, you must stay in control and avoid creativity for creativity’s sake, or pretty or clever at the expense of function.

But given today’s PC’s, just about anybody can do much of this themselves, especially if sticking to simple, serviceable formats.

There are two commonly used formats that can serve most of your needs….

Let’s talk first about format. There are two commonly used formats that will serve most of your needs.

One is called the solo piece. This is a single sheet, printed on both sides and half folded or folded in thirds to self-mail without an envelope. This is the most commonly used format by small business and the least expensive.

If you watch your own incoming mail a little more closely for the next few days you’ll receive several such mail pieces and can get an idea of the different things that can be done within the solo format.

Another solo format that is even simpler and less costly is a postcard or oversized postcard. This can be a very cost-effective way of communicating with your established customer list.

The other format is a more complex, sophisticated multiple piece mailing in an envelope. This is the kind used by Publishers Clearing House and the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes as well as many other direct mail marketers. Again watch your incoming mail for the next few days and you’ll be able to collect some samples of this type of piece.

Usually this package is made up of #1 – a cover letter, #2 – a brochure or flyer presenting the main offer, #3 – a separate response device – a coupon to bring into the store or an order form to mail back and #4 – some extra sales piece – possibly a page of testimonials from satisfied customers or a flyer on the premium or bonus gift.

The theory behind this type of mailing is that the odds of something catching the reader’s interest are increased proportionately by the number of loose pieces.

Your choice of formats can be governed by how much space you need to tell your story, cost and budget factors, who you’re mailing to, and the dollar value of the response.

You then have to write the copy that will present your offer and tell your story. I’ve written all of my own advertising copy since the 1970’s and have never had any formal education in advertising. I’m self-taught through studying the many excellent how-to books readily available and through practice.

This is a very valuable skill and I urge most business people and entrepreneurs to develop the ability to write good advertising copy.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to www.GKIC.com

    7 Responses

    1. Great reminder of how one of the best R&D tools at your disposal is right outside of your own front door, with new examples arriving almost every day.

    2. Charles Ra says:

      the packaging or the presentation of the offer.

      One is called the solo piece. This is a single sheet, printed on both sides and half folded or folded in thirds to self-mail without an envelope

      the second is a sophisticated multiple piece mailing in an envelope

      This is a very valuable skill and I urge most business people and entrepreneurs to develop the ability to write good advertising copy.

      great tips Dan. thank you.

    3. My beautiful wife Michele knows that we never get any junk mail.

      But we get a whole bunch of free marketing education examples.

      Excellent basics, Dan. Almost all of the big, dumb companies who wasted multi-millions of dollars advertising on the recent Super Bowl should have heeded your advice:

      “you must stay in control and avoid creativity for creativity’s sake, or pretty or clever at the expense of function.”

      Oops.

    4. Steve,

      How True!

      Whenever you see a special offer in a supermarket or ad in a paper that grabs your attention.. it becomes a thought of “what is it about this that got my attention”?

      Everything you see and hear about becomes a marketing lesson….

    5. Yesterday, I Discovered that using snopes.com to check on urban legend emails is a great resource to see how stories go viral… its a powerful lesson in marketing!

      Reminded me again about the kind of stories “Made to Stick” shows about how to make your marketing sticky so it stays in peoples minds.. and while it’s not directly related to direct marketing, using them both combined is leverage to the nth degree….

    6. Rob Anspach says:

      you’d be surprised how powerful a kids drawing will add to your marketing piece if the copy is compelling…

      I did a mailing campaign for a charity and had all the kids draw pictures – we included a picture into every envelope…

      it costs about $750 for the campaign (I donated my time) and the mailing produced over $12,000 in immediate return.

    7. Rob: Genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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