Seven Secrets to Sparking Sales With Mail
I call them secrets because the vast majority of Direct Mail Writers do it so badly. Why else would we have words like “junk mail” to describe so much of what ends up in our mail boxes? When you write a terrible direct mail piece it deserves to be in the trash. You’ve thrown away so many tacky envelopes without even opening them, so why would you want to waste money doing the same thing? You wouldn’t, which is why you should use these seven guidelines to avoid this all too common waste of money, effort, and trees.
Step 1: Get into the right mindset.Disregard your current contractor way of thinking. Forget about your company and all the awards it has won. Don’t worry about the competition or what you’re going to get for dinner when you get off work. Clear your mind of everything except you customer.
Customers don’t know anything about your business or the electrical industry. You’re thinking, “Yeah, everyone already knows that so why are you telling me?” This is important to state because the customers are the ones with the checkbooks. They’re the ones who are going to be purchasing your services, so you need to speak to them.
Your letter should be about them and only them. If you write it like a letter to yourself, full of how much you know about the industry and how long you’ve been in business, your customers aren’t going to care. If you brag endlessly about yourself then that’s exactly how it will read, and consumers are sick of hearing it from almost every industry in existence.
Step 2: Write to real people.You’re not writing to a concept – you’re writing to a person, a customer. We read the same phrases all the time. For example, “Thank you for your patronage. Please contact us for all your electrical needs”. Yawn. Come on, who actually talks like this?
People actually say things like, “We really appreciate your business and hope we can continue to help you in the future”. So say that! Why revert to stock phrases that everyone instantly flags as something insincere that everyone says?
Always try to say “you” instead of “us” or “we” every time you can possibly say it. People will always care about what you can do for them. It’s so easy to change a line from “We have 24 hour service” to “Call us anytime, 24 hours a day!” So easy, so helpful.
Step 3: Write about benefits, not features.I just said it, customers don’t care about what you can do, they care about what you can do for them. So tell them how they benefit, when, and to what degree. Or tell them what they will lose from not calling you. Turn a feature into a benefit and see the difference it will make.
Example: "With the installation of a new ceiling fan you ad more style to a room and lower your energy costs. You’ll also reduce frequency of needing to change air filters by using your new fan to cool a room." This example uses "you" four times, tells them how to benefit, extract value, save many and avoid trouble.
Continue to talk benefits throughout the entire letter. At the end, reiterate the biggest ones. Then listen for the phone.
Step 4: Make your first statement or the headline powerful and valuable.Miss this step and the prospect is lost. How you begin is worth 80% of the readership, and you’ve got 4 seconds to make it count. You have to make it relevant, impressive, interesting, and attention-getting. It takes considering all these things to craft an effective headline. Sometimes it takes many tries before you get it right.
A good example of an opener: “Get outdoor wiring done for the summer, but don’t pay anything until the fall!”
Make them want to keep reading: “Lots of people ask about my “free” surge protector offer and are looking for the “catch”. Well, here it is…” Then go on to tell them about how the catches are reasonable conditions to the sale.
Over the years we’ve written 77 of the top performing direct response headlines in the industry, and it wasn’t easy. Grab a notepad and write headline after headline until the right one ends up on the page.
Step 5: Inform the reader with information.If the information is not relevant, beneficial, measurable, understandable, and verifiable – they will not care. If they keep reading (after your great headline coaxes them into reading instead of trashing) and all they find is meaningless vagueness about nothing then they are going to be ticked, and rightfully so.
Instead of saying “Fast service, High Quality, and Low Prices”, stop wasting ink and be specific. Say “Over 93% of our calls are handled within 24 hours”. Please, please don’t ever say “Satisfaction Guaranteed!” because people have heard that so much that they do not believe it any longer. Instead say, “Guaranteed service within 24 hours of your call or you save 10% off the cost.” Now that will raise an eyebrow in a good way.
Step 6: Pretend you are sitting down for a conversation with your reader.Your writing should be pure salesmanship delivered with an air of familiarity. Be enthusiastic, but don’t go too far with it or it will look fake. Don’t attempt to be too clever or cute. Talk about the details like you would if you were in the prospect’s home. Ask your salesperson (or salespeople) how they paint a picture for a prospect over the phone and then use this in your letters.
If you put exclamation! Points! After! Everything! You look like a screaming idiot! If you put more than one exclamation point after a sentence then you look like you’re passing a note in the 8th grade!!! ALL CAPS IS HOW YOU SCREAM IN PRINT and oh man is this the easiest way to make you look amateur. You wouldn’t scream benefits at a prospect in person so don’t do it in print.
Step 7: Your letter must tell the reader what to do.We call this “the call to action” and it is so often forgotten or omitted. If you have good salespeople, they know that they must ask for the sale at the right moment. Your letter needs to do the same thing to be effective. Your directions should be clear, to the point, and in the same “familiar” tone as the rest of the letter.
If you want the leads to come quickly, weave a sense of urgency into your offer. “ACT NOW!!!” is a no-no and you should know that if you’ve paid attention to anything I’ve said. Instead, specify a length of time that the offer will be in effect, or limit the number of homes you’re willing to take on this offer.
If you do these things correctly your leads will rise. The difference between writing a letter that will be instantly trashed and one that pulls leads can be literally tens of thousands of dollars for you. Wasting postage, money, time, and paper is pointless.
If you just can’t get started, or are having trouble getting it just right, we’ll be happy to create a letter for you. Contact us if you’re interested.
My guarantee: I’ll create a letter that will outpull your existing Direct Mail’s results or I’ll give you a refund.
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