What to remember when you write

ADM | American Database Marketing, Inc.

BUILDING A LIST

What to remember when you write

Increase response with benefits.

The more benefits in your letter, the better the response. Most of your copy should include benefits, from the very start. State the key benefits and what you're selling in the introductory headline or first few paragraphs of your letter. Whenever you mention a feature of the product, link it to a benefit ("Automatic Memory" is a feature; "Saves Time and Improves Accuracy" is a benefit).

Include benefits everywhere.

The response card is often the first place that people look. Restate the key benefits there. Use the P.S. Use the outer envelope.

Pile on the benefits.

Promise many benefits; the more benefits, the more persuasive is your copy as a decision-making instrument for the reader. Divide your benefits into major benefits (develop extensively with two or three sentences, or more) and secondary benefits (a brief headline and one sentence that can be quickly scanned).

Quantify benefits.

The reader must weigh the cost of your product or service against the benefits he will reap. Help him decide with numbers. "Typing in one-fifth the time." "Correct up to 300 characters with the touch of a key."

Reinforce the letter with a brochure.

Present your benefits in a different way, but tell the entire story a second time. The most interested readers will get to both. Don't hesitate to also include a separate "lift note," a personal reminder-type note that states the key benefits yet another time and in another way.

Neatness doesn't count.

End a page of copy in the middle of a word or sentence to encourage turning the page. Fold a brochure through the middle of some important point or graphic element. Avoid making it appear too neat to open.

Don't split the message.

Tell the whole story in your letter, and also tell it entirely in the brochure. Try to make all your main points on each side of the brochure. Always make it easy for the reader to learn the benefits of your offer at a glance without having to refer to another mailing component or a reverse side.

Delete needless copy.

Don't "set the stage" for your sell copy. Don't give a history of the product of your company (unless a clear benefit is involved). Don't use humor; it distracts from the purchasing decision. . Stick to benefits; don't lead with an attention-getting but irrelevant story about football.

Keep it positive.

Either ignore objections to your product, or somehow phrase your response tot he objection as a benefit. If your product solves a problem, make sure the problem seems "solvable," not a bluntly horrible situation that puts the reader off. For example, change the "bad news" of the $1280 total price for the typewriter into the "good news" of the low monthly cost of only $38.64.

Tell the reader what to do.

Read how our product benefits you 10 ways. Compare all the valuable features you get with or low, low price. Call or write or send in your order.

Make it easy to order.

Use a toll-free number. Use credit cards. Keep your order form simple and easy to fill out. Use a postage-paid reply card return envelope.

Use testimonials whenever possible.

Be sure to include the person's name and affiliation. This is where you can say outright how wonderful your product is.

Use attention-getting graphic devices.

Keep the reader alert and stimulated to read further. Use capital letters, a second color, indented paragraphs, handwritten notes, underlining and bold face type.

Ask for action from the start.

Don't build up to it. Request the specific action you want at the beginning, rephrase it from time to time, be very direct at the end, and repeat it in the P.S.

Use a P.S.

This is often the first thing that people read, and they read on if it interests them. So make it intriguing but incomplete.

Keep it personal.

Your letter should look like a personal typewritten letter from you to the reader, one to one. Use handwritten notes in the margins to emphasize key points. If blue is your second color, make the signature blue. Otherwise, make it black.

Ask for the order right away.

If the reader goes no further than the beginning of the letter, he still knows exactly what to do. For example, urge in the headline of the letter, "FREE 30-day trial with no obligation."

Offer a free gift.

This nearly always increases response, and is usually worth the expense. One free gift is better than none; two are better than one; etc.

Summarize your offer.

Make your offer concisely in the letter's beginning and ending, in the major headline of your brochure and as the most prominent copy of your response device.

Keep paragraphs short.

No more than 6 or 7 lines. Break up long copy with graphic devices (indented paragraphs, etc.), Always make it appear that what is being read is effortless.

Eliminate the risk.

Whenever possible, offer a guarantee, a free trial period, assured quality nationwide service for the product.

Be sure it's easy to read.

Use typefaces that are proven easy to read. Avoid using too many different typefaces. Make it look inviting, accessible and exciting.

Ask for immediate action.

Act now, while you're thinking about it. Order before October 31, and you'll get a free gift. Offer expires October 31. (Only use a deadline if it is genuine.) Supplies are limited. We cannot guarantee that the price will remain this low in the future.

Include the price.

Readers want to compare the benefits of the product with its price. Usually, mentioning even a high price will get a better response than mentioning no price. If the product's low price is a benefit, emphasize it from the start. If it's a high price, talk about the benefits first, and mention the price at the end, using small, non-headline type.

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