How To Create Direct Mail Copy That Sells
After you’ve eliminated those mistakes from your marketing you must next write content that is compelling and interesting.
Your message must grab your reader by the eyeballs and make it impossible for him to bat an eye for fear of missing something juicy. That’s what effective direct mail copy does for you.
So what are the steps in creating content that will keep your readers glued to your sales letter?
Here they are:
Write compelling content that magnetically attracts readers, like sugar water attracts humming birds — it’s impossible for them to resist you.
Use a powerful "hook" throughout your message. All great ads use a hook to set the ad apart from every other message that competes for the attention of the same market. The last thing a sales message should do is sound like every other ad that is out there. When it comes to marketing, sameness will kill your sales.
Focus your message on benefits to your reader. Remember W.I.I.F.M.
Use plenty of credibility statements and proof.
And most of all…
…Preach To The Choir!
Communicate your message to people who already want what you’re selling, or have shown a predisposition towards believing you. The worst way of selling is to waste time trying to educate anyone on why they should want what you’re selling. That’s a quick way to failure. Probably the quickest.
Instead keep this in mind: it’s easier to preach Jesus to Christians than to atheists. It’s easier to persuade Buddhists to follow the ways of Buddha, than to get a Christian to do so.
The same holds true to what you’re selling. It is far easier to sell to people who already want what you’re selling than to sell to people who must first be convinced of the value of your product or service.
Of what value is it to try to sell an AK-47 to a member of an Anti-Gun movement? None. You would be wasting your time. But what about selling a shotgun or spear or crossbow to someone living in a rainforest? Think you’d have a better chance at success there? You bet.
That’s one of the major secrets to copywriting success. You filter out those who don’t have an interest for what you’re selling, and communicate only to those who do have an interest.
This will help…
Discover The Secrets For
Turning Your Words Into Cash
The above classic layout is considered one of the most effective formats for a direct mail piece.
It has a pre-head, a subhead, and an attention-grabbing picture. Ideally the picture should be of the writer of the letter or spokesperson. Oh. The headline format above is slightly malformed if you plan to send hundreds of thousands or millions of copies of your letter. In that case you’ll want to alter this format a little.
For smaller mailings the results of changing the format is nearly negligible. The classic example is fine.
Also, the headline should be reformatted as an opening sentence, not as a literal headline when writing to CEO’s or other C-level executives. At that level, all mail resembling ‘junk mail’ instead of as personal communications is usually tossed out. There are exceptions. So test the layout. Especially when writing to executives.
Speaking of layouts…
What do you get when you cross
clipart with hasty design?
Answer: Zero Response
Synopsis: The "before" flyer above was created by the owner of an otherwise successful company. She was trying to generate new sales leads for her business. The problem is she had no prior training creating sales copy before her attempt to create that flyer. No one responded to her flyer.
I commended her for trying though. At least she included a specific offer (so many ads fail big on that point).
Anyhow, here’s why the original flyer failed and what we did to fix it:
After the client handed her flyer to me I read it several times. At first glance the words ‘what would you rather be doing’ were confusing. I didn’t understand what she was asking people if they’d rather do. Win the lottery? walk a tight rope? or something else? The question was just too vague for me to understand the intent of the headline.
“Rather than what?” was my question. I also wondered who in the world is being addressed in this example. The flyer just didn’t make sense. At least not without further questioning.
So I asked a few questions:
- What are you trying to sell?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- Where is this flyer being used?
Afterwards I followed up with a few questions about the company and its history. Turns out the company was trying to promote custom painting services to affluent homeowners living on golf courses. At a glance that is not being communicated in her flyer.
Why does this matter? Because when it comes to advertising, you have about two seconds to catch someone’s attention and communicate why they should give you more of their time. If you fail, they move on. Your ad or sales letter will never be read.
"What would you rather be doing?" fails to communicate self-interest or even curiosity. And the ad fails to address the needs or concerns of the specific group intended to reach.
Don’t Fly Blind
Before writing any marketing communication, knowing and understanding your market is critical.
The truth is, in this example 90% of the company’s client base is made up of wealthy, widowed, women. Despite that knowledge, the company had spent thousands of dollars trying to reach all affluent homeowners as well as many commercial clients within specific geographic areas.
I advised the company to instead focus on the market they are most successful with. How? By showing a member of the target market enjoying the benefits of the services the company offers. In this case it’s older women who are successful in life who enjoy being out on the golf course.
This is the headline and attention grabbing picture I came up with instead…
This ‘after’ example is the result of reaching out to the client’s specific market.
Oh. For competitive reasons, other than the headline, the original content is excluded from my ‘after’ example. Also, the exact text layout is excluded. If you know Ogilvy’s work, though, you can probably figure it out fairly easily ;)
Still, as you can see, the layout is a much more attractive, effective, and powerful example than the vague clipart flyer the company originally tried using.
A big plus here is… besides being a great flyer or insert, my example can also easily double as a postcard with few formatting changes. Double value for single amount of research!
When you sit down to create sales copy there’s a lot to consider. For example, here are a few of the primary components that make up responsive sales copy:
- the hook
- the offer
- the guarantee
- third-party credibility
- verifiable track record
- use of emotional-response marketing (this is a big one)
- attention grabbing headline [where appropriate]
- a congruent picture that is irresistible to ignore
- use of postscripts (P.S.)
- the one form of proof that makes it impossible for any competitor to outsell you
- and urgency
Those are just the beginning elements.
There are hundreds more ‘tricks of the trade’ that get inside the head of your reader and prevents them from putting down your sale piece until they finish reading it. I’ll give you an example of one of the most powerful industry ‘tricks’ in a minute. Just keep reading.
Why Write Until Your Hand Hurts?
Here’s an insider copywriting secret: few direct response copywriters write from scratch. Instead, they grab sales letters and ads already proven to generate millions (and in some cases billions) of dollars. Then they simply re-write those sales letters. If you hire one of those unethical marketers, you could end up paying a ‘professional’ $25,000 to do nothing more than copy someone else’s already proven sales letter.
What a rip off!
Don’t bother paying that kind of money for something any kid can do. That process of ‘stealing’ someone else’s work is called "swiping". As strange as this may sound, it’s perfectly legal. That’s because no one can patent or copyright an idea.
The good thing for you is, you can copy the concepts from any good ad or sales letter and produce the same results for your offer. That’s because the psychology that moved someone to buy one thing, will move people to buy another. Human nature never changes.
To get started at writing your own copy simply find a few winning sales letters. Then copy the letters by inserting information about your product or service.
Don’t copy the words!!! That will get you into hot water. Copy the ideas.
I will get into exactly how to do this in more detail in a moment. For now just remember, swiping proven sales copy will improve your response much better than risking your reputation on one of the thousands of generic sales letter templates littering the internet. And much better than writing from scratch–unless you’ve studied copywriting in-depth.
The Proof Is In The Pudding…
Hey, do you remember I said, "There are hundreds more ‘tricks of the trade’ that get inside the head of your reader and prevents them from putting down your sale piece until they finish reading it…" ?
Here’s a copywriting secret you won’t find available free to the general public: the human brain is designed to solve problems. If you give it a situation that is unresolved it will continue until that problem is solved or can be erased from memory, forgotten. The brain hates cliffhangers.
So if you want someone to keep reading your words, you simply tell them something like, "I’ll give you an example in a minute. But first…" then you go onto some other subject.
I used at least three cliffhangers in this article. Did you catch them all before I revealed this technique? Or did you scroll through this article in hopes of finding what I hinted at? Or did you just keep on reading all the way through to this point in hopes of coming across the information?
Either way, the cliffhangers are designed to make you do that. Use cliffhangers in your sales letters too, and your readers will be forced to continue reading or skimming until they find what you were holding out from them. Just like you did ;-)
That’s just one way to guarantee your message gets read.
Lesson Learned: Don’t settle for just any stale old sales letter template or junk direct mail ‘template’
Ok, so that’s how to create ads and sales letters that move people to action. Hopefully we’ve hit the nail on the head and hammered the point home well enough to convince you that more than a single sales letter is needed to achieve serious business success. Above all, a powerful winning sequence is needed.
But if after reading through all this info you are still hell bent on grabbing sales letter templates, here’s something to consider… there is only one set of ‘off the shelf’ set of direct mail sales letter template collection I found that helps level the playing field for small home business owners.
These templates cover several areas of direct response marketing.
By using the strategies found in the kit you can generate more customers, more profits and increase your business with very little work on your part. Basically you fill in the blanks and go.
Hey. If I haven’t driven the point home strongly enough, I’ll say it another way…as crazy as the economy is, we all need to be regularly speaking to our clients or they WILL forget us –or worse get stolen by competitors. That’s the plain and simple truth of it.
These direct mail sales letter templates will give you the start you need to keep in regular contact with your clients and customers and help turn them into regular repeat buyers and evangelizers for your company. These templates truly are the only direct mail templates I can recommend.
I’m not just saying this to get you to buy something to earn me a commission. I own them myself. I paid several hundred dollars for them. Fortunately you won’t have to pay that. Plus you can download them today (I had to wait weeks for these to arrive i the mail).
Go download these direct mail sales letter templates now. The only thing left to hammer out is answering how soon do you want to start profiting? ‘nuf said.
Yours in Success!
PS: Oh. If you are looking for sales letter templates for the web or for email marketing, these are what you are looking for: web copy templates. I own them too. Focus on the strategies laid out in the templates, not necessarily the words. These strategies work too.