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Increasing Direct Mail Response

By: Mary Sweeny

Mary Sweeny is a marketing writer and consultant who believes in studying her clients' businesses to maximize the power of the message. Mary owned a service business (employing 27 people) for ten years. Since selling the business in 1993, she's been writing advertising copy for, and consulting with, clients across the country. Her copy and strategies have brought sales increases of as much as 276 per cent for her clients. To learn more, visit her Web site at

The following elements have been tested over many years, on millions of pieces. These are not guesses--they are proven. In other words, you can take them to the bank.

  1. Personalized salutation

  2. Bold type

  3. Short words, sentences, paragraphs

  4. Two colors of type

  5. Statistics

  6. Two pictures

  7. Postscript

  8. Picture of owner/inventor

  9. Free sample with solicitation

  10. Action verbs

  11. Bonus offer

  12. Handwritten notes in margin

  13. List of benefits

  14. Guarantees

  15. Testimonials

  16. Personalization

  17. Sweepstakes

  18. Professional looking carrier envelope

  19. Deadline date and call to action

  20. Free gift with order

  21. Standard typeface that looks typewritten (letters)

  22. Offering a single product instead of several

  1. All same size type

  2. Ornate type

  3. More than 3 pictures

  4. No pictures

  5. Long words, sentences, paragraphs

  6. All same size paragraphs

  7. Small margins

  8. Technical terms

  9. No guarantee

  10. No testimonials

  11. Generalities

  12. "Occupant" mailings

  13. Surveys

  1. Two-or three-color logo/elaborate letterhead

  2. Bill me later

  3. Free trial

  4. C.O.D.s

  5. Handwritten address

  6. Brown Kraft carrier envelope

  7. Mail arriving on certain day of week

  8. Name on order blank

  9. Colored envelope

  10. Live postage

  11. First class

  12. Over-sized envelopes

  13. No toll-free 800 number

© Copyright 2000, Mary Sweeny

Other Articles by Mary Sweeny

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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