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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Do You Make These Mistakes When Writing To Prospects?

I know some of my posts have been lengthy so I'm thinking of adding a summary. Let me know if that helps you...


This post looks at one of today's direct mail pieces received in the post. It reviews it and suggests ways it could be improved.

Direct Mail Mistakes

I received a lovely well-designed letter and glossy folded postcard from a printer through the post this morning.

It used a nice font for the company name, the name (Juicy Print) was very visible in red and it had a nice little graphic of a box with a tagline of  "Not your average box of printing."

Unfortunately the copy didn't do the design any justice at all. In fact I was moved to email the company to suggest that I could rewrite the letter and double their response.

They'd been clever enough to use blue coloured "hand written" signature and personal address to me. That looked good.

They were missing the following:

  • A headline
  • An offer
  • The WIFM angle
  • PS

What About A Headline?

Without a headline the only reason I read it was to see whether I could learn anything from them.

Research shows that the headline is read first.

The company logo shouts out what the company does so people are likely to think, "another printing company, bin, next!"

Without a headline there is nothing that immediately attracts the eye.

Make Me An Offer

They do appear to serve a large number of clients. Although the way the copy was worded it sounds  like a franchise company.

They noted that they were "over £567 cheaper than some high street printers." For the promo card they'd used as an insert.

That's not really an offer if I'm not looking for promo cards but want a brochure or sales letter is it?

What's more the phrase they used whilst technically correct sounds as though it's trying to pull the wool over their prospects eyes.


Because I suspect they're talking about the small printing franchises like KallQuik and Prontoprint. Rather than comparing themselves to who are heavily in the commercial sector.

What's In It For Me?

It's not clear how they're different to the commodity print companies. Perhaps they are...

I just can't tell from the letter.

As a consequence why would I even consider jumping from the printer I know? After all at best they're an unknown quantity and at worst could be an expensive disaster.

By The Way The PS

Research shows that a PS is read after the headline and before the prospect begins to read.

No PS and you lose a chunk of people who can't be bothered to read further.

What To Do?

I wrote them  a quick email suggesting that I could double their response rate. Mainly because I think that the letter has no oomph and will generate only a few responses.

They've just replied asking me to elaborate, which I've done. Now let's see whether they want to improve their letters pulling power!

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