20 Ways to Increase Sales with Direct Mail Letters

Are you thinking, ‘How can we get more sales?’, ‘How can we launch a new product?’ or ‘How can we remind old customers we exist?’  A direct mail letter can solve your problem.  Here’s how:

  1. Adapt letter-headed paper

If you’re using company letterhead for direct mail then adapt it to your requirements.  The company name and selling benefit should stand out.  If you want people to email you, then the email address should stand out.  If you want them to phone, then make the phone number prominent.  Use the footer as a place to increase sales by drawing attention to a trade association or quality control mark.  Make legal information as small as possible.

  1. Postal replies

Do you want potential customers to reply by post? Include a pre-paid envelope.

  1. Long letters

Don’t be afraid to write long letters (over a page).  Nobody will buy something without enough information to make a decision.  Keep selling until you have run out of sales points.  Every word should be relevant – no rambling.

  1. Be friendly

Address your letter to a known person if at all possible because it shows that you care who they are.  Second best is to address them by their job or interest, eg. ‘Dear Dog Owner’. The worst salutation is ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

Sign off in a friendly way.  Instead of a secretary signing the letter on your behalf, sign it yourself.  Include your Christian name and a friendly title. ‘Customer Services Manager’ says that your company cares about its customers.

  1. Powerful headlines

At the top of the letter write a headline that communicates the product’s main benefit.  It gives the potential customer a reason to read on.  Keep it clear and simple – think communication not clever word play.

  1. Powerful openings

Grab your reader’s attention.  Study magazine articles and newspapers.  How do they it?  What works? Use your research.  Click here for a list of letter openers to get you started.

  1. Subheadings

Subheadings make letters digestible.  Each subheading should sell the product.

  1. Ask for what you want

Don’t beat about the bush.  If you want your reader to buy your soaps then tell them so.  If you want them to take out a subscription, ask them to sign up (and make it super easy).  Ask straight away – don’t leave it until the middle of the letter.

  1. Talk benefits

Know the difference between features and benefits.  Instead of saying ‘the X65 lawnmower has a barrel of sixty rotating blades’ say ‘the X65 lawnmower develops a healthy lawn within weeks’.  Decide which is the most important benefit and put that first.  All the other benefits follow.

  1. Make it personal

Address the reader as if you were sitting beside them.  Make it about them and not you.  Every time you write ‘we’ try and change it to ‘you’.

  1. Emphasise important points

Emphasise important words by using bold or underline, but don’t overdo it or the power is lost.  Indent to emphasise key paragraphs.

  1. Make sure the letter flows

Guide the reader gently from one point to another.  Sentences should be linked (‘what’s more…’, ‘but…) and ideas should be set out in logical order.

  1. Entice the reader to act

Your letter must end with a ‘call to action’.  Now you’ve (hopefully!) sold the reader make it easy for them to act.  Don’t make it complicated by providing lots of alternatives which involve decisions.  Give an incentive too: ‘reply by 20th August and you will receive a free watch’.

  1. Provide reassurance

Make sure the reader knows they can’t lose.  For instance, say you won’t take payment until the product has been dispatched or that they won’t be charged for 60 days.

  1. Use a PS

When you receive a letter do your eyes go straight to the PS?  So do your reader’s.  There should be a new ‘just remembered’ benefit here to seal the sale.

  1. Make it a parcel

You don’t have to send a letter on its own.  A creative package is likely to generate a higher response rate.  You could include a sample of your product or a promotional item which will be a constant reminder of your company eg. a drink coaster or a pen.

  1. Include a reply device

Pre-paid postcards with tick boxes make life easy for potential customers.  If you can print their name and address for them, all the better.  Reassure people that a salesman will not call and that they are under no obligation to buy.

  1. Include an endorsement

Comments from satisfied customers go a long way as do market research statistics: ‘85% of our customers have used us for over 2 years’.  Always be truthful.  Never be tempted to lie – to do so cheats your customers and undermines your reputation.

  1. Involve the reader

Ask rhetorical questions: ‘What would you do if…? Write questions that potential customers might ask and answer them: ‘How much will it cost?’  Provide an example of a company or individual who reaped the benefits of your product: ‘When James & Son bought our product they halved their production costs in a week’.

  1. Overcome objections

Make a list of all the possible reasons your customer might have not to buy.  Decide how you would answer these objections and put them in your letter.  For example: ‘I can’t afford it now’ could be solved with an easy payment plan.  If you think people will want to compare deals with other providers then provide a comparison chart.

Would you like help with your direct mail letters?  Please get in touch.


What makes a good newsletter?

According to DMR Stats the average office worker receives 121 emails per day.  So how can your message shine through the dross?  What makes a good newsletter?

What’s in it for me?

That’s the question your readers will be asking.  A good newsletter provides quality content that gives advice or information readers can use.  Make-up ideas, recipes, gardening advice – whatever is relevant to your brand.  Aim to send three articles like this for every one sales piece.

Have you evoked the senses?

Use images, animation and video to grab your readers’ attention, motivating them to read on.  Here are 25 examples of GIF animations used in email marketing.

A word of caution: before you use animations and videos make sure you know what devices your readers are using as this could affect their visual experience.

Do you know your audience?

Is your typical reader going to be scanning your newsletter on the train or reading at leisure from the comfort of their sofa? If you know this, you know how much detailed information to include.

It’s important to note that no matter how much time your reader has there is still a limit to the quantity of information they can absorb before losing focus.  It’s best to display information in an F- shaped pattern which reflects the way that people typically scan content.

What makes a good newsletter?

How enticing is the title?

It’s vital that the subject line is intriguing as well as recognisable to readers.  Will a short, sharp line be effective or will your readers respond better to a lengthy, detailed subject line?  Think about which key words are most likely to entice your readers by using a split-testing method.  For keyword ideas see Econsultancy’s 152 Killer Keywords.

What do you want your readers to do?

Your newsletter needs a clear ‘call to action’ which stands out.  Do you want your readers to ‘shop now’ or ‘read more’?  Think about the wording, colour and position of your call to action.  What will work best?  Neuralab offers great advice.

Will you show consideration or pay the price?

Before someone signs up for your newsletter say exactly how their data will be used and how often the newsletter is produced.  Give them a chance to customise how often they receive your newsletter so that it is always welcome and never a nuisance.  If they can customise they are less likely to unsubscribe.

Ultimately, consideration for your audience is what makes a good newsletter a great newsletter.  

Are you looking for a newsletter copywriting service?  Visit WriteSpark.


How to brief your copywriter

Whether you need a business marketing copywriter to help you with a brochure, a website, an advertorial, a sales email or a pay-per-click advertisement, it doesn’t matter, you always begin with a brief. But do you now how to brief your copywriter? Get your project off to a flying start by providing clear instructions, ensuring a good quality first draft and saving lots of to-ing and fro-ing.

Basic information

Tell your copywriter the:

  • organisation’s name and contact details
  • deadlines for first and final copy
  • nature of your business and services.
About the project

Give a brief description of the project and say what format the copy will appear in (a brochure, a website etc).

The purpose of the copywriting

Explain what you want the copy to achieve whether it’s sales, donations or to inform people.

The audience

It is essential that your copywriter tailors their work to your audience so you need to give some key information eg. retired women between sixty and eighty with lots of disposable income and plenty of leisure time.

Your brand personality

Brief your copywriter about your brand’s unique personality.  For instance, is your tone chatty and friendly?  Creative and imaginative? Authoritative without being stuffy?  Click here to find out why copywriting is key to communicating your brand identity.

House style

Provide your copywriter with a house style guide if you have one.  This is a set of rules which dictate how all written communication must be formatted.  The guide might detail the font style and size, how the text should be justified, specific use of punctuation, spelling choices eg. ‘ise’ or ‘ize’, and so on.

Outline the content

Your job is to tell your copywriter what you want to say, and your copywriter’s job is to decide how best to say it.  You might provide a bullet point list of the key messages you want to communicate.  Highlight the most important point on this list.  Detail any particular phrases or words that you want the copywriter to use and specify the word count.

Call to action

What is it that you want your audience to do after they’ve read your communication?  For example, do you want them to purchase something or to sign up to receive further information?  Make sure your copywriter is aware of your goal.


Will the copy accompany images? Explain how the images and copy must link together and talk about any captions that you want to include.

Do you want to learn more about how copywriting can enhance your brand identity, leading to increased sales?  Get in touch today!