Direct Mail: Live from an Ancient Copywriters Office
September 29, 2013
Having travelled “back in time” this next post is Live from an Ancient Copywriters office …. and teaches a basic truth.
When my friend Kate and I talked about Direct Mail we covered a lot of ground .. and yesterday I was lucky enough to visit this old copywriters office, where I took some photos and was really inspired.
Honestly I took this photo yesterday … and it is here to convey a real message. It appears later in the post.
When Kate and I talked I told her the story of how I’d used snail mail to get a 23% response to a “bat box” campaign, how we grabbed attention with images and how putting a great image put in front of a carefully selected audience can really convey your message in a powerful way.
But there’s more ……
Then we looked at how we can take non written and non verbal messaging even further by simply choosing the right paper or envelopes to conveys your values. I’ve written posts on both these points and you can find them on this website.
In this post I want to consider another way to make your snail mail really stand out with incredibly high conversion rates. That is to hand write it.
OK it sounds incredible, this idea that you should hand write direct mail. In a sense it is if you want to send out hundreds or thousands of letters. But often we send out far too many letters when a few highly targeted letters would work far better; so cutting back on your mail is a good strategy provided you spend time planning it carefully. The proof is in our 23% response rate. They were highly targeted and very successful.
In an ideal world I’d suggest every letter is hand written (some of us, including me, would have to improve our hand writing of course). But when we sent out our “bat box” letter we sent to a list of over 800 people, so it wasn’t going to happen. If I was selling really high priced items I might consider hand writing 800+ letters but in this case, unlike the copywriters of ages past, who used a quill pen to hand write virtually everything, in this case it wasn’t economic. But there is a compromise.
The copywriting “hand written” compromise
It is quite simple to “top and tail” a handful of letters. By this I mean hand write the “Dear Fred” & “Regards, Stefan” part of the letter. It only takes a few minutes to do this.
In my case I don’t send all my letters on one day and hand write 10-20 a day. The idea seems tedious but when I’m selling something high priced, that maybe costs between 10-100k, I know it is worthwhile. You see, few people get letters these days .. and even fewer get hand written or top and tailed letters. Therefore these stand out and get more attention from the recipients.
Handwriting doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the business .. but it does guarantee people take notice of your direct mail and don’t feel spammed.
The old direct mail men, complete with quill pen (I’m told the ones on the desk in the picture were goose quill), often had beautiful hand writing. The fact most of use rarely hand write anything today can mean we have a “poor hand” but technology can help. You can always download fonts from www.dafont.com
Hand writing example .. with a quill pen
Here’s an example of one I’ve just downloaded .. it is great for communicating with monks and ancient scholars but you may not want to use it elsewhere .. but I’m sure you’ll get the idea.
Dafont has over 20,000 fonts in total and several hundred are free, so you should find something suitable.
In the meantime think about using “real” handwriting in your letters. Even signing them with a real pen can make a big difference.
If you need help with direct mail or any other marketing techniques contact me now .. it costs nothing to talk.
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