5 Tips To Boosting Your Direct Mail Response

I hope your Thanksgiving was great.

Personally, I had a nice, quiet and not “too dysfunctional” day, relaxing with my wife and kids.

Watched some football abd relaxed out back, looking at the lake — the weather was beautiful down here in Tampa.

I was, however, completely overwhelmed with the constant onslaught of retail holiday advertising. The newspapers were stuffed to the gils with inserts. And every single commercial was back to back “Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving Sale” alerts.

I’m not raising young children anymore, so I can’t say for sure… but I’d have to guess that the meaning of the Holiday season for young kids, HAS to be exclusively based around, “It’s time to buy stuff.”

It’s so prolific, it almost “forces” you to spend – like an addictive behavior you’re trying to avoid… calling out to you, over and over and over again.

Seems like this year, the pressure was ramped up more than ever.

And of course, now’s the season where you’re getting inundated with catalogs in your home mailbox, as well.

Which isn’t a bad way to jump into what I want to discuss today — direct mail.

I’m not sure if you use direct mail or not.

If you do, then you know… when it works, it’s a very efficient way of adding new customers or generating new leads you’d otherwise miss, just prospecting or selling online.

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And you also know, if it doesn’t work… it’s an expensive exercise in mechanics, organization, and selling.

But if you use direct mail, or if you’re thinking about using it — I want to cover 5 items that will help you get your mail opened, and increase your response rates:

1. Use an odd-shaped envelope

When it comes to marketing — and especially direct mail, curiosity is king.

And simply because something is different, it often arouses curiosity.

So if you’re mailing advertorials, for instance, don’t mail them in a standard #10 envelope (A5 if you’re in Europe). Instead, put them in a #5 envelope and hand-address it.

It’ll look like you received a letter from your grandma, or from someone you used to work with, years ago.

Plus, the added “heft” in the envelope (from the paper you’ve folded to get it inside), creates even more curiosity.

2. Use Serif Fonts

Now I know you may be thinking, you’ve seen online studies showing sans-serif fonts, like Arial, are easier to read, online.

But if you’re writing a full-blown long-form sales letter, offline… using a font WITH a serif, is much easier to digest.

Offline, studies show serif fonts — fonts with edges — make reading much much easier and less strenuous on the eyes.

That’s why newspapers and magazines use these fonts for the main part of the article. (Headlines are often different, however.)

I generally stick with the old standby, Times font. But if I can afford the extra space it takes up, and if I’m writing to people over age 40 (40 is when your eyes start going on you)… I’ll also use Courier font, as well.

3. Use nice clean white paper…

Unless you’re going for a certain “upper-crust” feel, don’t use anything too thick (more than 20 pound weight), and don’t use any fancy colored paper either.

And by all means, don’t use the el-cheapo brand that’s cloudy and the ink runs on it.

You want your prospects to feel as “comfy” as possible, as if they were reading a letter from an old friend.

And your good old friend isn’t going to send you a computer-generated hand-written letter on flimsy paper or pastel-colored paper, are they?

No, probably not.

So make sure you don’t do this to your buyers, either.

4. Put a page number (and sometimes a phone number or a URL) in the footer, at the bottom of every page.

This way, if the pages that make up your sales letter get torn apart, you don’t have to worry about your prospect getting lost, or wondering where to go… or where they left off.

Also, at the bottom of each page, along the right-hand edge of your footer, make sure you put something like “Please turn to next page”… or “next page please”… or… “go to page 7”.

Why do you need to do this?

The answer is simple: If you’re not telling your prospect what to do… and if you’re not continuing to “grease the slide” along the way, making it easier for them to get through your entire sales letter as smoothly as possible… your prospect may not do it on their own.

And that’s just too much of a risk to take… especially when you’re trying to sell something.

5. Restate the important points

Try and restate either your call to action, or your primary benefits or your Guarantee, more than once.

Especially if you’re sending a long sales letter. But even in an advertorial, I always at least restate at least, the call to action.


Because sometimes people will put your mailer down and you want to give them as many opportunities to read “the punch line’” as possible.

Yes, it’s hard to believe people are focusing on something other than your sales material — I know. Very hard to believe.

Also, restating what you want to happen, more than once… is a more likely way to insure that’s what will happen. Kind of like when you’re talking to your kids :-)

I hope you got some good ideas out of this.

January’s a great month to start direct mail. If you have a direct mail project you want to talk about, drop me a line – instructions on my Contact page, here.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

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listening to: Accidents Will Happen – Elvis Costello (1979)

About the Author

Craig GarberAuthor of "How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers, " and publisher of Seductive Selling - an offline marketing newsletter currently read in 15 countries, world-wide. In a nutshell, I do two things: 1. I show you how to attract a reliable, steady stream of pre-qualified leads who are ready to do business with you NOW... 2. And I increase your net profits and cash-flow, by increasing your customer, client, or patient value -- often, dramatically. How do I do this? By developing, and helping you implement, unique, personalized lead generation and marketing strategies... using compelling sales messages that push your customers emotional buy-buttons. I've worked with over 300 clients in more than 104 different industries, since March of 2000, and I really enjoy what I do. I'm a stable, reliable, happily married family guy with three kids who loves life and always follows through on my commitments and promises. I love to listen to music, workout, read, travel with my family, take pictures, and go bass fishing. I always say "Yes," when it comes to good cigars, good books, and good coffee :-)