How to write a direct mail letter?

For direct mail to be successful it has to stand out from the crowd, as there are millions of other letters dropping through letterboxes every day. Not only that, but the message must be compelling, fresh, motivating, and relevant.  Above all, people are busy so the message needs to be conveyed instantly.


Whatever the message you want to convey, creativity is required to ensure it is noticed. Aspects of creativity that can help to get your mailshot noticed are:

  • design
  • colour
  • use of humor, and even
  • fear…

The Proposition

The most important part of your brief is the proposition which needs to be simple, clear and single minded:

  • Why do they need your product or service?
  • What feature will the customer remember?
  • How does your product/ service improve their life or job?

The Message

The right proposition will make prospects and customers take notice of your advertising message and promote desire for your product or service.  Most of the work should already be done for you.  As explained in “What is targeted direct mail”, you should already understand who buys from you and why.  You should look to have testimonial that what you are saying works for people who ‘look and behave’ like your customers.  Your target market has the same income, live in the same part of the UK, has the same family size, same life-style or business practice, turnover, employee size.

Don’t fall into the common trap of confusing features with benefits – e.g. the fact that List-Logic offer advice on which direct marketing list is best for you is one of our features. But the fact that our services save you time and money plus increase your response rates and profitability are the benefits

The benefit is the key to building customer desire by clearly explaining how their personal or work life will be improved and enhanced by your product or service.

When considering your proposition, remember to:

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it short
  • Stress the benefits
  • Talk about your reader, not yourself
  • Keep it legal, decent and honest

The Call to Action

A great direct mail letter will build desire in your audience but achieve nothing without a clear response mechanism. Having ‘sold’ your product or service to the reader, you also need to provide them with very clear instructions on how they can get more information or make their purchase.

Provide all contact methods on the letter but make them simple to read and highly visible.  You may also want to incentivise a certain type of response that is more efficient or cheaper for you to handle. For example, if you don’t have the resources to take hundreds of telephone enquiries you may want to include a prepaid return envelope with response form or a discount code for entering on internet orders.

Whatever you do, make the response mechanisms:

  • clear
  • convenient
  • flexible
How to write a direct mail letter?


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