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Wednesday, March 11 2009
Writing sales letters and brochures is both an art and a science, says Tony Attwood of Hamilton House Mailings. It's important to have a sense of both. There are only four ways of writing a direct mail ad that will raise your response rate.

1. Sell on price
This is the oldest approach?and it works if you are really sure you are less expensive than anyone else and you are sure that your audience is not concerned with quality. Of course, there's a downside to selling on price alone. The problem is that it can get you into a competitive price war, with negative results for both you and your competition.

2. Headline a benefit
This is on page one of every marketing book. But vast numbers of direct mailers still sell on features. Benefits are things like "No more back ache when you spend all day at a desk," or "double the speed of your broadband at no extra cost." Unfortunately, many still ignore benefits and promote features.

3. Ask and answer an interesting question Pose a question that you think could be interesting to your reader. Spend a paragraph or two developing the question and the issues around it. Then answer the question. All the way through this, don't talk up your product or company name; instead, have as close to a conversation as you can get in direct mail with your potential customer.

As an example, consider this headline: "What's the simplest way of doubling the response rate in direct mail?" If direct mail is your line of business, you have to read it, even if it is just to prove "I'm already doing that."

4. Use humor
Humor is widely used in radio, television and particularly cinema advertising. But it is hardly used at all in direct mail. A good starting point is to present yourself at one with your audience, and share with them some sort of issue that annoys them. So if you are a business-to-business service, look at the company's day-to-day work, find the thing that really annoys them and raise a chuckle through it.

Two Bad Approaches. What Not To Do

1. Announcements don't work.
Announcing in a headline something like "ABC Ltd launches the XYZ laptop version 2" is close to useless. If you then proceed to tell the reader that you've been in the computer business for 20 years and the XYZ is the very latest technology, then you can be sure no one will read it. Don't talk about yourself?talk about the reader and his/her wants and needs.

2. Grabby images don't work.
"Grabby" images are graphics that aim to capture the readers' attention in a gimmicky way. Grabby images are everywhere: direct mail, TV, newspapers. And yet, they simply don't work.

By Tony Attwood, chairman of Hamilton House Mailings, UK, for

Posted by: ATI Admin AT 01:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email


Email Marketing Done Right - We've been lied to - It's not all about the "Open",...initially

Toyota & GMC; Preferred Vendor- Marketing & Eccomerce

What emails yield the highest open rates, and which are relevant to your campaigns success? 
Let's begin by addressing the "Open".
It's not enough to get the email solicitation (for lack of a better word... perhaps informational piece? Nah.. we all know it's a solicitation... 

Any email deployment company can promise high open rates, but if they aren't opening the message for the right reason it will yield limited results. We have tested this time and again. 

Example Market Test: 

We deploy an email campaign with the subject line: "What do you think of Candi's new Bikini?", and yield an impressive 15% track-able open rate. Not bad ... if that's my only goal... We'll call that subject line "A". 

We launch another email to the same business prospect list, this time with the subject line "B"; "Dealers add profit with Security System Installs". "B" yields a mere 2.5% open rate... but wait...

Now you may think the first subject line is the way to go, however let me share further results...

Test Subject line "A" received 5 click-throughs to the landing page with further details and order options.

Test Subject line "B" received 200 click-throughs to the landing page with further details and order options 

The question is.. what are we trying to sell? Security Systems? or "Pictures of girls in Bikinis"...
Which yielded the best return?.... 

The fact is, "it's not all about open rates"... It's about relevancy. Now.., what could we do with the contact records of those who "Opened" our email based on a relevant Subject Line?.... We now know they are in the market or have a need or interest in what we have to offer, based on the fact that they opened, our relevant subject line... and what could we do with the contact records... the knowledge of which business prospect took further action; i.e. clicked through, based on that 'relevant" subject line?

This leads me to the final word in my headline...'initially"... Once an email is opened based on a relevant subject line....action was taken (click through), the highest yielding "OPEN", on an outbound email marketing lead generating initiative is the "follow-up" email to those recipients who opened and read your initial email based on a relevant subject line. We've seen anywhere from 35% clear up to 65% open rates on follow up letters... Now how could this change your prospecting efforts?