How to Write Direct Mail Letters that Sell

What tricks are used by professional copywriters to create direct mail letters that really sell?

Hook Your Reader

The first line of letter is vital. Your opening gambit should be short and precise, with a time limit to create urgency with the reader. Good headings should be short and clear, and go easy on alliteration and superlatives.

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Get on the Data Cleansing Cycle

Data Cleansing Cycle

Follow these simple guidelines, to ensure a fully compliant and effective data cleansing cycle is put in place for your business and consumer marketing lists, based on best practice guidelines issued by the Direct Marketing Association…

  • Your list of business or consumer postal addresses should be checked against the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) no more than 90 days before the list is used. If you use your list on an ongoing basis, then you need to check against the MPS every quarter to ensure you meet these obligations.
  • Your lists of business or consumer telephone numbers must be checked against the relevant Telephone Preference Service (TPS) for consumers or Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) for businesses, before you or your telemarketing agency lift the receiver to make a call. Both the TPS and CTPS registers are being constantly updated every day, so your list should be screened no more than 28 days before it is called. If you have a telesales team calling all the time, then you need to check your list against the TPS or CTPS at least 4 weekly.
  • Although it is a specialist sector, if you are planning a consumer mailing to promote any product or service related to babies, then it has to have been cleaned against the Baby Mailing Preference Service (BMPS) file before use. The BMPS file gives bereaved parents the option to have baby/infant related mailings suppressed for 12 months.
  • Whilst we are discussing timings, you should also respond promptly to a request from a customer to access their details – subject access request. Under data protection legislation, all information held has to be provided within a maximum of 40 days from being asked in writing. If it is appropriate, you can charge a maximum fee of £10 to provide data, but many organisations waive the fee as part of their commitment to customer service.

If you’re registered under the Data Protection Act (and if you hold any personal data, you should be), then making sure your data is accurate is actually a legal obligation, as well as an ethical commitment to best practice in direct marketing. Keeping your data up to date makes good business sense as well – an accurate mailing list helps your direct marketing become more cost effective, avoids waste and saves money.

If you need any help putting your cycle together or screening data against the MPS, TPS, CTPS, or BMPS, just call the Selectabase team on 01304 382211 for advice and low cost screening options.

New Improved Targeting for Prospect Download

Simple Selective Selectabase

A new improvement has been added to the the Prospect Download consumer direct marketing database, which can help reduce marketing costs, improve targeting and minimise wastage.

By linking with the most up-to-date and complete address database in the UK, users of Prospect Download lists can obtain more accurately addressed data, which helps reduce the financial and environmental cost of wastage, and helps prevent alienating recipients with inaccurately addressed mail.

Furthermore, additional cost savings can now be obtained as using PAF can also help maximise potential mailing discounts.

The new feature comes on the heels of a recently launched improved postcode targeting tool, which allows users to enter their chosen postcode then search for all postcode districts within a chosen radius up to a maximum of 30 miles. Rather than hunting through maps of your area, the new tool makes it fast and simple to identify your local geographic target area.

The consumer version of Prospect Download allows online users to build a list selection from over 34 million individuals by using a wide range of criteria; age, gender, income and lifestyle segment. All data is checked regularly for accuracy, and is screened against all the relevant suppression files.

Prospect Download offers free registration and free counts, and lists can be purchased on a Pay As You Go basis with no minimum order value.

To speak with a member of the Selectabase Prospect Download team call 01304 382211.

Remember AIDA for Your Direct Marketing

Any marketer would do well to remember the AIDA mnemonic:

A= Attract; Attract your target with colours image or words

I = Interest; Engage your target by capturing and maintain his interest

D= Desire; Make him want your product or service

A = Action: Tell him what he needs to do to get it

Remember AIDA – it will serve you well!

Direct Marketing Tip – Set Goals and Make Plans

Every direct marketing campaign needs to have a goal or objective against which results can be compared.

To help set your campaign goals you can research typical response rates for your sector or industry, or gather data on any previous mailings to set a benchmark.

Your goals might just be sales based. Or they might include driving visitors to your website, generating enquiries for your sales team, encouraging previous customers to get back in touch, generating word of mouth referrals and so on. Make sure you set realistic goals for your campaign though, which are actually achievable.

Include in your goals some financial objectives like the average anticipated profit from each conversion, cost of the campaign and a cost per ‘000 sent, conversions needed to break even, and so on.

Identify your target market in as detail as possible. If possible categorise your target segment as much as you can – technology allows you to send different messages to different sub groups.

Turn all of this into a simple one page plan for your campaign.

For help selecting your target audience call Selectabase on 01304 382211.