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Slow in getting to point You have five seconds. After that, your reader is either still reading or is preparing your mailing for a flight test into wastepaper basket.
Don't make mistake of a slow build-up. Avoid roundabout approach. Start your letter with your most compelling sales point. Fire your biggest cannon in first line of copy. Promise your reader a benefit. Give them a reason to continue reading.
Poor follow-up Don't spend all your time and effort in generating a response and none in following up inquiries. Slow fulfillment is ly.
So are inadequate marketing literature and unprofessional telemarketing. They can destroy interest that you work so hard to build. Fill requests for information within 48 hours. Send follow-up mailings to those who do not respond first time. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
No time limit Time may heal all wounds, but it kills response. Your enemy is procrastination. Your enemy is tomorrow.
Don't make mistake of letting your readers put you off until they forget your mailing altogether. Put a time limit on your offer: "Call now. This offer expires June 1, 1999." Time-limited offers almost always outpull offers with no time limit.
No call for action Ask for order. BUY NOW! PHONE TODAY! ORDER YOUR FREE SAMPLE! If you don't ask for a response, you won't get one. Tell readers what to do. Show them next step. Make your order form easy to read and easy to follow.
Fortunately, others have gone before us. My favourite sources for tested, practical wisdom on direct mail techniques are Successful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone and anything by Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter and lead generation consultant who helps high-tech firms attract new clients using creative, cost-effective direct mail. Subscribe to "Sharpe & Direct," his weekly newsletter, at www.sharpecopy.com