111 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR DIRECT MAIL RESPONSE

1. Mail to your customers more often. If you are now mailing
four times a year increase the frequency of your mailings to size
or eight times. If you increase your mailings by 25% you should
increase your sales by at least the same percentage.
2. Use a P.S. on every direct mail letter. The P.S.S is second in
importance only to the headline.
3. Don’t forget to thank your customers for their orders by
enclosing a message with the orders…and enclose another
merchandise offer with the “thank you” message.
4. Vary your mailing format – use self-mailers, Lettergrams,
computer letters, envelope formats, catalogs…change your format
so that prospects don’t get in the habit of recognizing your
mailing piece.
5. Ride on the coattails of current events (energy crisis,
elections,, cold winters, etc.) When inflation increases, have an
“inflation-cutting” special, etc.
6. Look for other products you can successfully sell to your
customers.
7. Include more offers in your mailing package than you already
are.. Study the mailings firms such as the Haband Company who
pack a volume of material into their envelopes and see if you can
adapt the idea to your own mailings.
8. Think about using simulated handwriting for emphasis in your
letters. Occasionally test a handwritten letter…particularly if
you’re soliciting funds for charity.
9. Try an unusual format that you’ve never used before.
10. Test selective distribution to your list. Maybe only a
portion of your list should receive more mailings. Other mailings
should go to the entire list.
11. Stimulate off-season business by asking for it.. If you
normally have a summer slump have a special “summer sale” mailing
in the summer. You can boost your sales any time of the year you
need a boost through effective direct mail.
12. Word your offer differently – put a unique twist into it by
offering a baker’s dozen instead of a regular dozen.. Or sell 110
instead of 100.
13. You can even add a smell to your envelopes. Check with your
envelope manufacturer about special inks that can be used to make
your envelope “smell” the way your product does.
14.. Change the size of your mailing package frequently to create
interest and appeal.
15. Test credit terms.. You’ll find that Master Charge or Visa
Bank Americard will result in larger orders than cash terms.
16. Let people “peek” into your envelope with multiple windows
on the face and back.
17. Test buck slip routing for addressing…and use it to reach
multiple prospects.
18. Try using illustrated letterheads and test them against
conventional letterheads.
19. Put a simulated check into your mailings to emphasize a
discount..
20. Consider using stamps, coupons, early bonuses, etc.
21. Pack order starters – a special offer that will get a person
started on his order – into your catalog..
22. If you can sample your product, test including a sample in
your mailing..
23. Make more sophisticated use of your own list and the lists
you rent by looking for those segments of people in a list who
buy.. and forget the rest of them.
24. Test simulated telegrams. Mailgrams, other imitation formats
similar to the Mailgram.
25. Test a tiny letter with a tiny pencil accompanying it. Test a
jumbo letter in your envelope…maybe even mail it in a jumbo
envelope.
26. What is your “wastebasket readability factor” and what can
you do to get people to read your mailing piece when it is
sitting on somebody else’s desk… or has already landed in
his/her waste basket?
27. Put a wraparound on your catalog. It gives you two covers
instead of one.
28. Test your catalog mailing and mailing dates.
29. Use teaser copy on your outer envelope and test its vs a
blind envelope.
30. Acknowledge orders promptly, and include additional sales
literature with your acknowledgement.
31. Periodically send a statement to your customer that shows
he’s been missed – even if he doesn’t owe you any money.
32. Follow up inquiries promptly and persistently. Make it easy
to buy from you by giving the inquirer a return envelope to send
his order back in.
33. Tie in with a timely topic (current events, special problems,
etc.).
34. Get to know your printers – not printer, printers. Every
direct marketer needs different types of printers with different
capabilities to come up with different printed pieces.
35. Test multiple premiums with your offer and give your prospect
a choice of the one (s) he prefers.
36. Put your letterman on your team – make your best selling
products sell most..
37. Remail your mailing to your best customers three or four
weeks later.. You’ll do 60-75% as well on the second mailing as
you did on the first.
38. Look for creative new ways to increase catalog sales.
39. Remember the five basic rules – test, test, test, test, test.
40. Don’t be afraid to run without a test if your gamble is
small.
41. Use good judgement in planning your direct mail and you won’t
go wrong.
42. Use a bounce-back package enclosure to get an extra order.
43. State your guarantee in the strongest possible terms..and
state it often. 44. Spotlight your message on your envelope and
lead your reader inside.
44. Spotlight your sales points in your headline.
45. Start your message on your envelope and lead your reader
inside.
46. Feature last-minute merchandise on the back of your envelope
or on a separate flier enclosed in your package.
47. Offset delays in mail delivery by extending cutoff dates.
48. Cultivate customer with special savings, bonuses or premiums.
49. Use lightweight paper to save postage and allow you to put
more in your envelope.
50. Use a “Publisher’s Letter” to give the prospects an extra
reason for buying.
51. Put distinctive differences in your catalog to add interest.
52. Check dimensions of your envelope to make sure they’ll
conform to new postal requirements.
53. Stimulate action by featuring a time limit at the top of your
letter.
54. Show how merchandise solves problems and enhances the stature
of the user among his contempriaries.
55. Use a full-view envelopes to display attractive literature.
56. If buying your product spells numerous benefits, spell them
out by number for maximum impact.
57. Increase customer goodwill and purchases with advance notice
of sales.
58. Use stock photos for much less than the cost of making
original shots.
59. Cultivate customers with special catalog offers directed
exclusively to customers.
60. Use unusual techniques to get your customer to open your
envelope.
62. Dramatize big news by using a big format to present your
message.
63. Can you use the inside of your merchandise carton as part of
your media mix?
64. Increase the impact of your advertising with clip art- at
minimum expense.
65. Express appreciation to your customers for their past
business! And enclose some extra sell material with your thank
you message..
66. Use match-up and comparison tables to increase selection ease
and accuracy.
67. Offer premiums that are unusual.
68. Include smart-selling stuffers in envelopes, packages, etc.
70. Update your catalog with supplements or newsletters. 71. Use
a second letter in the package to increase the impact.
72. Use a second letter in the package to make a second offer…
73. Notify the customer if there is going to be a delay in
fulfillment – and include additional merchandise offers with the
notification.
74. Test post card deck mailing as an inexpensive method to get
leads/customers.
75. Put an unusual message on the outside of your envelope.
76. Put an alternative offer in the reply envelope to create
bonus sales.
77. Try a massive display of stamps on the outside of your
envelope to emphasize a fact.
78. Tray a 3-dimensional package for unusual effect.
79. Tray a pre-holiday mailing to invite a former customer back.
80. Try a customized response vehicle to get your customers to
respond.
81. Offer to provide specific benefits to the customers.
82. Offer potential gift lists to both customers and prospects.
83. Use customer gift lists as future mailing lists for your
prospecting..
84. Test selling your product by phone.
85. Use an in-watts line to get more orders.
86. Call on your business reply order by some other name! Such
as, trail order card.
87. Can psychographics help you build sales from neighbors of
your customers?
88. A double coupon in your package could double your response.
89. A reply envelope plus loose stamp might be more effective
than a B.R.E.
90. If a postcard can tell your story …test it.
91. If a postcard’s too small, step up to a self-mailer.
92. Follow-up your prospects inquiries promptly with hard sell
material.
93. Make the space on the inside of your mailing envelope work
for you by using it to sell your product.
94. Prove to your prospect that your free gifts are really free.
95. Combine promotion with your shipping and service information.
96. State your guarantee boldly, in strong words .. and repeat it
often.
97. Teat allowing mailer in your envelope and you in his..
98. Test simulated gram formats.
99. Develope a distinctive personality for your business.
100. Make a major anniversaries a plus factor in your promotion..
101. Have your reply envelope emphasize your prompt shipping
service..
102. Present outstanding testimonials in a big way for big
impact.
103. Never stop selling the advantages of direct marketing to
your customer.
104. Consider using special formats to make ordering easier.
105. Test different length trial periods.
106. Promote seasonal products in off-season times – and offer
alternatives.
107. Ask customers their opinion of a proposed new product.
108. Test the plastic record message in your mail formats.
109. Us e the negative to accentuate the positive.
110. Use simulated handwriting in your messages. And just like
every good direct mail package should offer something : a little
extra” to the prospect here is one more a total of 111 ideas – to
add to the list.
111. Use the telephone aggressively – both outgoing and incoming
– to stimulate business, customer activity and salesmen’s
productively.

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