Simple Formulas

12 secrets to getting more response from your mail

1. Highlight an offer

To professional mailers it's the oldest trick in the envelope: a discount, free gift or rebate. So powerful is a good offer that very often it appears in the headline of the letter. Also, make sure the offer has an expiration date. Time and again, it's been proven that more people respond to an offer when there's a limit on the amount of time they have to do so.

2. Emphasize benefits, not features

Features are what the product has. Benefits are how it improves your life. The "7-horsepower engine" in a snowblower is a feature. "The horsepower to clear 10 inches of snow from 40 feet of sidewalk in 20 minutes" is a benefit. If you have an important, valuable benefit, you may want to put this in the headline instead of an offer.

3. Put a P.S. on the letter

The P.S., that little afterthought at the end of a letter, is often read even before the body. This makes the P.S. a good place to reiterate the offer or main benefit.

4. Make it personal

A flower shop sends birthday and anniversary reminders to its customers. A shoe store tells a customer that a new line of pumps, similar to what she always wears, just came in. These efforts turn the mail into a customer service tool. And your customers want service.

5. Mail frequently

If you're mailing four times a year, test a series of six mailings. It may keep you in front of customers more often, and has a better chance of breaking down resistance.

6. Put in a business reply card

Even in this day when people may respond by telephone and Internet, business reply cards improve response rates. Their very presence communicates that a response is requested.

7. Start a club

Say you own the Hillcrest Gourmet Foods store. Don't refer to the people on your mailing list as customers. They are members of the "Hillcrest Gourmet Club." Provide membership cards, recipe exchanges and private sales. Your customers become stakeholders in your success.

8. Add a fragrance

Psychologists say the right fragrance can put people in a very positive frame of mind. Are you selling fruit baskets or perfumes? Try subtly scenting your letter.

9. Add a free gift to the envelope

It doesn't have to be a big gift. Consider a pen or a magnet. Adding these items to a mailing makes the envelope a little heavier and the recipient a little more curious.

10. Change the size

So you've always sent the same 4" x 6" postcard and it's always gotten respectable results. Test a 6" x 9," and see if it catches people off guard. What it costs you in dollars and cents, you may get back in attention and response.

11. Tell people what you want them to do

Don't say "On Sale This Week." Say "Come in for These Specials-This Week Only."

12. Tie in with a timely product

Is the hot summer the talk of your town? Invite people passing by to stop by your store for iced tea. You're not just a merchant, you're a member of the community.

You don't have be a pro to get responses like one...



Zairmail is an Authorized Affiliate Merchant with the U.S. Postal Service

Simple Formulas is a series of publications offered by the United States Postal Service and sponsored by Zairmail. Zairmail is an authorized online affiliate of the United States Postal Service.



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