If you’re like most business owners who have written out a big check for direct mail advertising, and been immensely disappointed with the results, there is good news.direct mail marketing and advertising

It is possible to create a direct mail campaign that virtually guarantees successful, profitable results. Here are 3 critical components every direct mail marketing piece must have to generate out sized response.

1.      An Attention Getting Headline or Envelope Teaser Copy

The headline is the “ad” for the ad. It’s the first thing that people see when they look at your ad. It typically receives 5 times more readership than the body copy, so it is absolutely critical that your headline gains the reader’s attention.

Highly-successful ad writer Ted Nicholas states that the headline has 5 important goals:

1. Gain Attention

2. Communicate a strong benefit

3. Appeal to the self-interest of the reader

4. Set the tone for the offer

5. Select the right audience

The two easiest ways to do that are by telling the biggest benefit or payoff that you can give the reader, or the biggest pain or problem you will help them avoid. Here are a few classic examples:

“How to Legally Slash Your Taxes to Little or Nothing”

“What Will You Do–When Your Business is Shut Down– Or You’re Thrown Into Prison—Because Your Fire Safety Procedures Weren’t Up to Date?”

 “You Can Prevent and Cure Cancer Simply By Eating Two Natural Foods!”

2.      A Valuable Offer

Every direct mail ad has to have an offer. If there is no offer, there is no reason to respond. People only respond to advertising for two reasons: the fear of loss or for personal gain.

You must show them what they will gain by taking action, or the pain they will suffer should they refuse. Your offer must ignite a strong desire to possess the benefit your product or service provides, or they will not respond.

Paint a vivid picture of all the benefits he could be enjoying… and show how you are making it easy for him to get them now.

3.      A Reason to Respond Quickly

Why is this necessary? People in general are procrastinators. When given ample time to complete a task, most will inevitably wait until the last minute. It’s human nature. Rather than fight it, learn to use it to your advantage.

Skilled negotiators do this very well. They understand it’s usually not until a crushing deadline falls on either party’s neck that the negotiations really take off.

The same principle applies in spades to advertising.

The easiest way to do this is simply with a deadline. Every direct mail campaign you create should have some sort of deadline.

But, be careful not to extend them too long. In most cases you want them relatively short so the reader has to respond while it’s fresh on their minds. 10 – 14 days is typically fair. Especially in the case of direct mail being sent locally.

Another way to increase urgency is to restrict the supply. Scarcity often forces the reader to respond for fear of loss.

However, you must be careful not to seem as if you have too large of a supply, or the prospects will assume they have plenty of time to respond. Words like “Limited time only” or “While supplies last” are extremely overused and don’t carry much weight. To really make an impact, emphasize the fact that once this deadline is met, they will be turned away.


Be sure to commit your deadline, or the word will get out that your deadlines aren’t real and people will stop believing in them.

So if you would like to significantly boost your direct mail advertising response, be sure to include these vital components. If you do, you’re virtually certain to see an immediate, tangible return on your marketing dollars and a corresponding spike in sales from all of your direct mail efforts.


Guest contributor, Wayne Brown, is a Direct Response Marketing Consultant and Copywriter. To learn more about him you can go to his website: www.BusinessBuildingTechnician.com


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