Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

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Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Direct Mail: The Headline .. & More

Direct Mail Headlines are a Vital Copywriting Component to Ensure Sales Success


In past posts about Direct Mail I’ve talked about the need to ensure you have a highly targeted list of people to send your mail to, the value of images, the need for quality paper and envelopes and even the need to “hand write” your letters. I’ve suggested that you could also get the 23% response rate I obtained for my “Bat” letter.

But there are a number of other things you need to know before writing your first letter.

You see once the recipient of your letter has it in their hands and realised that this isn’t junk mail, but something they really want to read, they are going to open your letter .. And they may not proceed beyond that point!

I’ve mentioned the fact that I used images on a leaflet in my example and that I wrote a succinct and highly specific letter … but if the headline on your letter and leaflet isn’t spot on you’ve wasted your time.

Your headline has just one purpose ……

To get the person opening the letter to read everything you’ve sent them, so that they can get to the “call to action” and then buy into your idea or product (and that probably means spending money with you). 


Readers Look For An excuse Not to Read Your Letters

Let’s face it most of us look for an excuse not to read letters.  It might be subconscious but we’ve literally been brainwashed into it by so much junk being sent to us.  In fact most “junk mail” doesn’t even get opened.

But we need to do better than this.  We need to ensure the headline intensifies the good feelings we want to reader to enjoy. We want them to realise that this letter is not just something they ought to read; we want it to be a letter they really want to read. We want them thinking .. “Wow this is brilliant .. it answers all my problems”.


Choosing a Headline For Your Letter

I could write reams about writing the correct headline but I’ll keep it short. You need to get into the head of your reader, understand their problems and write a headline that solves their problem. Simple really.

So this goes back to profiling your customers.  To really understanding their issues and only writing a letter to them once you have a perfect solution .. and can present it well on paper !

In my “Bat” example we were offering a new bat box to environmentalists so that they could evaluate it. We’d profiled these people and knew a lot about them and we’d observed their comments, about existing bat boxes, on forums.  They had concerens about the green credentials and weight of existing boxes.  So we knew their problems and what was causing them pain.

So our headline was “Trial the new improved bat box”

This worked really well but I think in retrospect we could have had an even better response from ……


Evaluate the new lightweight sustainable bat box from [my client’s company name].”

Note I didn’t say test the new box, I said evaluate.  This is their language, the language of science. Trial is a alternative as it is also a scientific word.  So we could have split test each headline to say 100 people and then used the one that performed best.  We could also have tested both headlines via Google Adwords and used the best performing Adword copy.

My client has a good name in their sector so in version two I’ve included it in the headline to add credibility.


Your next copywriting move

Profile your customers, find what pains them .. then encapsulate that in your headline. 

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