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Friday, June 30, 2006

Do You Make These Mistakes In Direct Mail or Emails?

I received a letter from a telecoms company this morning.

I think they got what they paid for from the copywriter.

It smacked of someone who doesn't know how to write a direct response letter.

I'm willing to guess their response will be zero, or minimal. And because of it they'll join everyone else in saying "direct mail doesn't work".

I took the time to email them to explain some of what they did wrong.

I know, I know. I could have let them stew wondering why they got no response. But they're a start-up and I get a kick out of helping people.

I wont quote what I put in the email. Instead I'll explain a bit more about the different (wrong/bad) aspects they, and us, can learn from.

  • They used an address label on a manilla envelope. That just screams "business post", "junk mail" and "Bin me now!"
  • My company and address were correct but they'd sent it to someone I'd never heard of. Nil points  for building a credible relationship.
  • When I opened it I found an A4 folder with a flyer and one page letter. So full marks for at least using a letter. Then all marks taken off again for using the dreaded "Dear Prospective Customer". Never do that, ever. They're a telecoms company so at worst they should have used "Dear Business Mobile User". But best of all if they had my name they should have used it in the letter. OK it would have been the wrong name in this case but at least it shows they're going a little extra in building a personal relationship.
  • There was no headline. Nothing that actually made me want to read further. Where was the "Attention" from our old friend the AIDA formula?
  • The next thing I know I'm reading the sentence "we may have already spoken to you via the telephone and you have registered your interested, we may not". Please! If you're going to write to me regardless of my wishing to hear from you make your first sentence interesting. Something like "Do you suffer from overcharging on your business mobile?" Yes I do. Let me find out more!
  • The rest of the letter is all about them. Nothing to do with my situation.They even include some of their own perceived "unique selling points". Points that I don't believe are unique anyway.
  • They had no testimonials. As you know testimonials are gold dust to credibility
  • They had a weak to non-existent offer. I didn't really want them to visit my premises to "create a profile" so they can "prepare a proposal". That sounds just like a salescall rather than a valuable offer.
  • Finally no signature or PS. So it wasn't a personal letter. So no relationship built there at all.

The good news for them is that if they check the email I sent them. And also this blog as I've expanded on a couple of the points they could improve the letter. Then they could send it out again, without the flyer or folder.

But if they use the same person who wrote it again it will totally lack lustre. I won't say I fell asleep but I found myself hitting my head (metaphorically) on my wine cupboard.

I thought I'd check their web site to see if that was any better. But it's been reserved by an ISP and not built yet.

what I've written is intended as a positive criticism and has been put bluntly so they don't waste their time.

If you'd like your direct email/mail critiqued send it to me at crit AT acornservice DOT com and I'll give you some pointers. Who knows maybe you've the best pulling letter of all time and I can learn from you. If so I'd like to share it with my other loyal reader.

PS If you're wondering where my next post on "why blogging is set to explode onto the corporate scene" is bear with me I just had to get that one off my chest.

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