Refreshingly, copy consultant Susanna K.
Hutcheson admits that she has made a ton of
mistakes in her long career. She hopes that her
candid confession will help you to avoid
repeating them in your own mail advertising:
Ignoring your target audience
If your copy is not targeted precisely to
a specific audience, Ms. Hutcheson
writes, you — as she has done — are
Before you write a word, she advises,
take the time to dig and find out who
your prospects are ... their age and
gender … their hot buttons. Then you
will be equipped to write to them in
language they will understand and
Mailing to the wrong lists
“This is probably the most common —
and fatal — error made in mailings,”
Hutcheson writes. “If you’re selling
books,” she says, “you want people
“So don’t skimp on your list. You may
pay more for the ideal list,” she notes.
“But the returns will more than pay
Not keeping focus on your goals
Now, with dear-bought wisdom from lots
of trial and error, Hutcheson writes down
her copy’s objective clearly on paper,
sticks the sheet onto her computer’s
monitor case, and refers to it often.
Keeps her on target.
Stressing price before your offer
and its benefits
Never feature price before you establish
what your offer is, and the benefits that
accepting it will confer.
Let the marketplace show you the right
price for your offer, and the best copy and
graphics to articulate it, Hutcheson
writes. Testing costs money and time, but
Hutcheson observes, “If you do not test
you are not going to succeed.”
“Test everything,” she urges.
She notes that you should test only one
factor change at a time. Otherwise, you
will never know which change triggered
a rise or fall in your responses.
Trying to achieve two objectives
with one mailing
“If you need to generate leads, don’t try to
sell!” Hutcheson warns. And don’t expect
a selling piece to generate inquiries.
Not telling your readers exactly
what to do
Hutcheson says that most letters that do
not pull fail to tell readers what action to
take. Tell them, she writes — and tell
them often in every piece.