1. Send something unique. Don’t send what everyone else is sending – a great way not to do that is to look through your mail for a few weeks and gather all of the junk direct mailers that annoy you and go straight to the recycle bin. Then create the opposite. My original mailer, which you can view on my portfolio page, was a brochure in the form of a greeting card. The color was deep and eye-catching (and bright pink). My business card was attached inside and easily removable. I received countless remarks that the color and shape of the piece made them open it…and read it, because it was something they just didn’t see everyday.
2. Purposeful Direct Mail (as opposed to Random Direct Mail). I urge you to learn from my experience. Here’s the time I did it wrong: I once sent a 750 piece direct mailer to a random list (happened to be to my Chamber of Commerce). I got one, 1, uno job (that’s a .1% return rate). Here’s the time I did it right: I found a small group of companies (about 125) that I knew would understand what copy was and would have a need. (see the niche post for more details). I sent my mailers to them, and then I called every single company (had a contact name for the person I needed). I got 17 clients (that’s a 13% return rate). The average direct mail return rate is 2%.
3. Show don’t tell. Don’t just send something that tells people what you do and how well you do it. SHOW THEM. You’ll notice that my direct mailer reads like a catalog page. This is because I thought I really wanted to do catalog writing back then – so I demonstrated my catalog abilities. If you want to write press releases, illustrate yourself in press release style. If you want to write ads, create a self-promoting ad.
4. Get their attention. Send a promotion or premium. Here are two things I thought about doing and didn’t do, you are welcome to them if they fit:
- Send a huge, weighty oversized pen with your contact info and with a note that reads: “If your pen gets this heavy when you think about writing, call me.” (ooh, I actually like that one and might have to use it…)
- Get seeded paper like this, with copy that says: “When you add water to this paper, you get flowers. When you add my words to this paper, you get success.”
Okay, people. It’s time to share. Tell us what you’ve done, how you’ve done it and why it’s worked (or not worked)…