Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lessons From the Greatest Direct Mail Letter of All Time

Direct mail has been a proven money maker for many years and continues to prove its worth to this day. In this age of all things digital, it's nice to note that once again many marketers are turning to direct mail for its immediacy and involvement power to complement electronic marketing.

If you're one of those who have penciled this powerful strategy onto your marketing calendar this year, it might be instructive to learn from one of the best direct mail sales letters ever written.

In 1974, Martin Conroy wrote a simple, two-page sales letter which was continuously mailed out with very minor changes between 1975 and 2003. Not only did it have amazing longevity, but it was responsible for raking in over a billion dollars in new sales.

This letter was a simple story. The best salesmen, teachers, CEOs, and communicators know that stories told well sell! Whether you're selling something or trying to get others to take action, simple but powerful stories can do much of the heavy lifting for you.

There are many reasons this piece proved to be so successful. The classic formula of attention, interest, desire, and action are beautifully articulated in the piece. Here are a few other lessons to learn:
  1. It pulls you in with a story and emotional hook which makes you want to read more.

  2. It's simple and clear, so you can follow to the end without getting lost.

  3. Emotions and hot buttons are weaved throughout the copy so your interest remains high.

  4. The benefits are crystal clear.

  5. There's a clear call to action.

  6. It offers a risk-reversal and guarantee for those on the fence.

  7. It makes a promise and restates that promise at the end.

  8. It provides three options: Good, Better, and Best.

These simple 781 words proved to be a key circulation builder for subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal for over 30 years. There are seminars and courses which have been taught using this letter as a prime example. Studying the letter and learning the techniques and power can make your next direct mailer a big success as well.

Here's a link to the letter's text, along with some information about its amazing success.

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