How to Avoid Copywriting Mistakes That Kill Your Direct Mail Response

Posted on 02/10/2022 at 09:51 AM by Meredith Bombella

How do you sell with the written word?  Well, the first thing you want to do is write like you talk.

You see so much direct mail that shoots itself in the foot by being boring . . . or too slick and professional . . . or chained to the pet peeves of a high school English teacher.

That kind of writing absolutely suppresses response.  Write with personality – like you speak – and punctuate for effect, not to follow rules. You should aim to be personal.

Have you seen some of the stuff sophisticated direct mail marketers are sending out?  We have.  And some of their letters are 8-pages, 16-pages, 32-pages or more. 

They understand the proven adage: “The more you tell, the more you sell.”  Your copy can never be too long, if it’s interesting. 

What makes copy boring?

For starters, the same thing that makes a person boring – talking only about yourself.  How often have you seen this kind of drivel -- ?

•“We’ve been in business since...”

•“We’ve got the most state of the art...”

•“We’re the number one supplier to...”

Perhaps the advertiser cares about these things, but their readers are thinking about themselves.  Your readers want to know what you can do for them.

Write from the point-of-view of your reader.  As much as you can, eliminate words like I, our, we, and my.  Structure sentences with you and your.  

Take all your “we” sentences and rewrite them into “you” sentences that offer a benefit to your reader.  

When prospects get bored, they stop reading.  And when they stop reading, you have no chance of them buying from you.

Remember, in the back of your readers’ minds, they’re asking:

• Who cares?

• So what?

• Why you?

• What’s in it for me?

Who do you think has more credibility to them when answering those questions – a friend or a slick sales person?

Write your copy to build rapport.  To be personal.  To be a friend with a solution to their problem.  That’s what sells.

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