- 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.
- Use a P.S. on every direct mail letter. The P.S. is
second in importance only to the headline.
- 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
- 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.
- Ride on the coattails of current events (energy
crisis, elections,, cold winters, etc.) When
inflation increases, have an
"inflation-cutting" special, etc.
- Look for other products you can successfully sell to
- 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.
- Think about using simulated handwriting for emphasis
in your letters. Occasionally test a handwritten
letter...particularly if you're soliciting funds for
- Try an unusual format that you've never used before.
- 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.
- 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.
- Word your offer differently - put a unique twist into
it by offering a baker's dozen instead of a regular
dozen.. Or sell 110instead of 100.
- 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.
- Change the size of your mailing package frequently to
create interest and appeal.
- Test credit terms.. You'll find that MasterCard or Visa will result in larger orders than
- Let people "peek" into your envelope with
multiple windows on the face and back.
- Test buck slip routing for addressing...and use it to
reach multiple prospects.
- Try using illustrated letterheads and test them
against conventional letterheads.
- Put a simulated check into your mailings to emphasize
- Consider using stamps, coupons, early bonuses, etc.
- Pack order starters - a special offer that will get a
person started on his order - into your catalog..
- If you can sample your product, test including a
sample in your mailing..
- 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
- Test simulated telegrams. Mailgrams, other imitation
formats similar to the Mailgram.
- 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.
- 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?
- Put a wraparound on your catalog. It gives you two
covers instead of one.
- Test your catalog mailing and mailing dates.
- Use teaser copy on your outer envelope and test its
vs. a blind envelope.
- Acknowledge orders promptly, and include additional
sales literature with your acknowledgement.
- Periodically send a statement to your customer that
shows he's been missed - even if he doesn't owe you
- 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.
- Tie in with a timely topic (current events, special
- 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.
- Test multiple premiums with your offer and give your
prospect a choice of the one (s) he prefers.
- Put your letterman on your team - make your best
selling products sell most..
- Re-mail 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.
- Look for creative new ways to increase catalog sales.
- Remember the five basic rules - test, test, test,
- Don't be afraid to run without a test if your gamble
- Use good judgment in planning your direct mail and
you won't go wrong.
- Use a bounce-back package enclosure to get an extra
- State your guarantee in the strongest possible terms,
and state it often.
- Spotlight your message on your envelope and lead your
- Spotlight your sales points in your headline.
- Start your message on your envelope and lead your
- Feature last-minute merchandise on the back of your
envelope or on a separate flier enclosed in your
- Offset delays in mail delivery by extending cutoff
- Cultivate customer with special savings, bonuses or
- Use lightweight paper to save postage and allow you
to put more in your envelope.
- Use a "Publisher's Letter" to give the
prospects an extra reason for buying.
- Put distinctive differences in your catalog to add
- Check dimensions of your envelope to make sure
they'll conform to new postal requirements.
- Stimulate action by featuring a time limit at the top
of your letter.
- Show how merchandise solves problems and enhances the
stature of the user among his contemporaries.
- Use a full-view envelopes to display attractive
- If buying your product spells numerous benefits,
spell them out by number for maximum impact.
- Increase customer goodwill and purchases with advance
notice of sales.
- Use stock photos for much less than the cost of
making original shots.
- Cultivate customers with special catalog offers
directed exclusively to customers.
- Use unusual techniques to get your customer to open
- Dramatize big news by using a big format to present
- Can you use the inside of your merchandise carton as
part of your media mix?
- Increase the impact of your advertising with clip
art- at minimum expense.
- Express appreciation to your customers for their past
business! And enclose some extra sell material with
your thank you message..
- Use match-up and comparison tables to increase
selection ease and accuracy.
- Offer premiums that are unusual.
- Include smart-selling stuffers in envelopes,
- Update your catalog with supplements or newsletters.
- Use a second letter in the package to increase the
- Use a second letter in the package to make a second
- Notify the customer if there is going to be a delay
in fulfillment - and include additional merchandise
offers with the notification.
- Test post card deck mailing as an inexpensive method
to get leads/customers.
- Put an unusual message on the outside of your
- Put an alternative offer in the reply envelope to
create bonus sales.
- Try a massive display of stamps on the outside of
your envelope to emphasize a fact.
- Tray a 3-dimensional package for unusual effect.
- Tray a pre-holiday mailing to invite a former
- Try a customized response vehicle to get your
customers to respond.
- Offer to provide specific benefits to the customers.
- Offer potential gift lists to both customers and
- Use customer gift lists as future mailing lists for
- Test selling your product by phone.
- Use an in-watts line to get more orders.
- Call on your business reply order by some other name!
Such as, trail order card.
- Can psychographics help you build sales from
neighbors of your customers?
- A double coupon in your package could double your
- A reply envelope plus loose stamp might be more
effective than a B.R.E.
- If a postcard can tell your story ...test it.
- If a postcard's too small, step up to a self-mailer.
- Follow-up your prospects inquiries promptly with hard
- Make the space on the inside of your mailing envelope
work for you by using it to sell your product.
- Prove to your prospect that your free gifts are
- Combine promotion with your shipping and service
- State your guarantee boldly, in strong words .. and
repeat it often.
- Teat allowing mailer in your envelope and you in
- Test simulated gram formats.
- Develop a distinctive personality for your business.
- Make a major anniversaries a plus factor in your
- Have your reply envelope emphasize your prompt
- Present outstanding testimonials in a big way for big
- Never stop selling the advantages of direct marketing
to your customer.
- Consider using special formats to make ordering
- Test different length trial periods.
- Promote seasonal products in off-season times - and
- Ask customers their opinion of a proposed new
- Test the plastic record message in your mail formats.
- Us e the negative to accentuate the positive.
- 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 --
- Use the telephone aggressively - both outgoing and
incoming - to stimulate business, customer activity
and salesmen's productively.