A famous person once said, “Don’t sweat the little things.” WRONG! In direct mail, you need to sweat the little things. Don’t glaze over minor details. It’s easy to get swept up by writing your copy and sending it ASAP that you fail to take care of the small things. Believe me, nothing will go to the trash quicker than a piece that looks like it was produced with minimal effort and zero thoughtfulness. Spend time hashing out ALL these aspects of the sales piece: the envelope, the font, the spacing, the graphic design, grammar etc… Remember you build a brick wall one brick at a time. These little things are the bricks that form the impenetrable brick wall of your sales piece.
Perhaps the most important “little thing” of the sales piece is delivery. I’ve seen it countless times. A marketing team spends days, weeks, even months working on a sales piece. And then, because they were so absorbed by the sales piece, they failed to consider the package in which it was delivering. And when they received a terrible response they wondered why. Please analyze every bit of the delivery. Take it just as seriously as any other aspect.
Is your prospect wary of direct mail? Can he or she sniff out a mass produced marketing piece? Do you know what other marketing promotions your target is receiving? Does the prospect have a secretary (“Gate Keeper”) who sorts through the mail, filtering out each piece. Or does the piece go straight to the customer’s mailbox?
You must ask, answer, and solve all these questions — and many more — before EVER sending your mail piece. It doesn’t matter how good your sales pitch is if your customers never read it! Try sending your sales letter in Fedex or UPS packages. Yes, you’ll spend more (sometimes considerably) but it increases the chance your customer will receive it. As an example, we once created and sent a mailing to dentists via FedEx. We followed up in the next few days and EVERY dentist received the package. Fedex and UPS package scream important. They always get past the gatekeeper because legal and financial documents arrive in a similar manner. Use these to your advantage.
Many copywriters — even very talented ones — fail to consider the importance of the font. But it matters. A quick Google search reveals there are over 32,000 different typefaces. Needless to say, you have A LOT of options. Choose one that most accurately reflects the tone of your sales piece. Times New Roman, Calibri, and Arial are safe options; they are well known and readable. That being said, they may not be the best option. Often, sending envelopes with handwritten looking (or handwritten itself) works best because it looks personal. Realize this: the font you choose for the exterior of your sales piece sets the tone for what’s inside. Ensure the font is consistent with the sales piece enclosed and conveys an unified message.
Spacing and Formatting
Hire a competent graphic designer who has a background in laying out text and sales pieces. Or, if you must do it yourself, research the best ways to improve the readability of your sales piece. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a slightly misaligned paragraph or unevenly spaced title immediately deteriorate the effectiveness. Even slightly blurry images or fuzzy logos can be a wrecking ball to the rest of your piece. Take care of the individual details that matter! These are just a fraction of the things you can do to improve the quality of your marketing. They are small, sure, but added up they create a tremendous impact.