23 Detailed Direct-Marketing Observations by Nat G. Bodian

  • The acceptance rate on trial offers is about 85%.

  • Recipients of a direct-mail package usually go to the letter first, then to the folder, and then to the reply device.

  • If you want prepayment, use a package format with a reply envelope enclosed.

  • Lift letters should be signed by a person senior to the signer of the sales letter.

  • Fulfillment package inserts usually pull better than statement inserts.

  • The two most powerful elements in mailings are money-back guarantees and free trial offers.

  • A consumer offer of a free gift will pull better than a discount of the same value.

  • Making a gift offer a separate enclosure, independent of the folder, usually will pull better.

  • Money-saving offers work best with consumers. In business offers, saving money is not a strong primary appeal.

  • A premium offer will increase response sharply. However, as the response rate rises, response quality goes down.

  • Asking for an order by a specific date lends urgency to your sales message.

  • A weak offer to a strong list will pull better than an excellent offer to a mediocre list.

  • Offers of high-priced products work best when preceded by an inquiry-producing advertisement or mailing.

  • In generating orders, a lengthy letter usually pulls twice as many responses as a one-page letter.

  • A two-page letter on two sheets of paper usually pulls far better than a letter printed on both sides of a single sheet.

  • A blue signature on a sales letter will pull more strongly than one printed in black.

  • Photos instead of drawings in a brochure— especially if they show a person using the product—will lift both readership and response.

  • The most economical catalog size is a 16-page signature with an 8-1/2" X 11" page size.

  • It is likely to be more economical to draw catalog stock from your printer’s paper inventory than to buy from a paper house and risk having too much or too little stock.

  • Including a toll-free telephone number in a catalog will lift response by about 20%.

  • A headline needs no punctuation at the end unless it asks a direct question.

  • A separate reply device usually pulls better than one that must be cut or torn apart from another element in your mailer.

  • You can expect 15%-25% improved dollar response when you offer payment by credit card.

See also:

Direct Mail Home Page

Marketing Home Page

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