Ivan Levison —
Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting

Five easy ways to improve your self-mailer.

The Internet is such a hot topic these days, it’s easy to forget about sales materials that go out via snail mail.

For example, if you’re trying to generate leads, the humble self-mailer can still be a giant winner. (DEFINITION: a self-mailer is any mailing that is completely self-contained and doesn't require an envelope.)

The self-mailer is a wonderful choice when you’re making no-brainer offers (which is why retailers often use them at sale time).

Software publishers should (generally) restrict the self-mailer format to lead generation activities. Are you offering a free demo disk, an Information Kit, a White Paper, an Executive Briefing, etc? A self-mailer can be an effective way to go. (But don’t forget -- with a self-mailer there’s not a whole lot of selling you can do. I would never use one for an upgrade mailing or for selling a software product off the page!)

Here are five proven techniques you can use for making your self-mailers work harder:

    1. Put your phone number or URL right on the front cover. This lets people act on your offer immediately and sets the response-oriented tone you’re after right from the start.

    2. Show what the reader is going to receive. Presumably you’re offering the prospect something of value, so why hide it? Show them exactly all the goodies you’ll be sending their way. A photo makes it real!

    3. Mention who should respond to your offer. Don’t make people guess whether the offer is for them. If you’re writing to the education market, say:

    "This FREE CD-ROM is perfect for teachers, staff, administrators, and anyone else who wants to see where the future of Internet education is headed!"

    4. Keep it short and sweet. There’s no reason to create a monster piece that’s hard to hold and read. Three decent-sized panels plus the perforated Business Reply Card should be plenty.

    5. Make sure your Business Reply Card copy sells the offer hard. Some readers go straight to the BRC so you really need to punch up the offer there. Make the offer sound irresistible and you'll generate a ton of leads!


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