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


Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
E-mail, Web Sites & Advertising

Published by
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriting

January, 2005
Volume: 20 Number: 1

Successful copywriting of fulfillment mailings. Seven tips.

A while ago I wrote an issue of "The Levison Letter" that
I called "Five ways to make your fulfillment piece
irresistible!" You'll find it at:


The article explained how to improve your lead-generation
efforts by creating exciting offers that prospects can't

In THIS issue I want to make an important related point:
Don't spend time, energy, and money developing a hot
lead-generating piece, and then neglect the important
fulfillment mailing - the mailing in which you "fulfill"
the request and deliver the promised free item.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. I
recently received an attractive self-mailer that did a
great job of interesting me in a new software utility. I
wanted more information and called an 800 number to
request an Info Kit. The software publisher, who did such
a nice job of getting me to raise my hand and identify
myself, sent me a pathetic bunch of data sheets and
product reviews.

Instead of treating the lead as a golden opportunity,
they sent me a slovenly collection of materials that was
a complete turn-off.

The bottom line? The company did the front end right but
completely blew the back end of the two-step mailing

I suggest that you don't make the same mistake. Check out
these fulfillment basics that can help you turn curious
prospects into paying customers:

1. Be sure to put the right message on the front of the
envelope. It is imperative that you tell the reader
right up front (literally) that the materials contained
in the envelope were requested and are not junk mail!

People know the name of your product -- not necessarily
the name of your company. That's why your simple
corporate return address all by itself may not mean
anything to your prospect. You have to say something

"Here's The WidgetPro Information Kit you requested!"

2. Don't waste money on a fancy envelope.

The envelope that contains your fulfillment materials can
be simple and inexpensive. In fact, I'd go so far as to
say it SHOULD be simple and inexpensive. You don't want
potential customers to be confused by a prospecting
package that looks like "junk mail."

3. If you're just sending paper, don't enclose a bunch of
loose data sheets.

Put them in a special folder with a terrific title and
promote that. Or what about creating an exclusive White
Paper or Executive Report? Anything but a hodge-podge of
random information.

4. Ask for the sale.

When you do your original lead-generation mailing you're
selling the offer, not the product. But when you mail the
fulfillment package, you want the prospect to order. Lots
of companies miss the boat. They include a two or three
paragraph kiss-off letter with the fulfillment piece
saying "Here's your information. Thanks for your
interest," and that's about it. They simply don't give
themselves the space they need to do what has to be done,

5. Explain what you've enclosed.

The letter is the place to position all the elements of
the package and explain what you've included and why it's
of interest. Tell them, "here's what I've included for
your review" -- then provide a short, bulleted list that
explains what you've got waiting for them in the
envelope. Remember, you should control your readers every
step of the way and never leave them free to start
rummaging around the package and thinking for themselves.
As always, stay in control and tell them just what you
want them to look at or do.

6. If you give readers a demo disk (or just about
anything else), get them to try it out immediately!

One of the most important things you can do is get
prospects to give your demo a look-see while they're
still interested -- not later on. If a reader puts your
disk into the black hole between their monitor and the
desk lamp it may never emerge again! This advice holds
true for whatever you've mailed to them. If you send
prospects an Executive Report, ask them to read it NOW.
If you enclosed an important White Paper, ask them to
review it NOW.

7. Include a well-thought-through Business Reply Card.

If you want them to order on the spot, spend time
creating an order card that works. This important item
shouldn't be an afterthought. Here are some BRC pointers
to remember:

+ Make sure you state the offer clearly. A lot of people
avoid the sales letter altogether and go straight to the

+ Make the math easy to do. If your customers have to
add up a bunch of numbers (cost of goods, shipping &
handling, tax, etc.) be sure your art director has made
life easy for them.

+ Write with energy and personality (the way you always
should!) When you're writing selling copy you always
have to keep the energy level up and the benefits in the
reader's face.

+ Always stress that the offer is risk-free. Restate the
guarantee right on the BRC -- in the copy or in a
separate guarantee box. (You can do both.)

+ Punch up the 800-number. Say, "For faster action call
800-123-1234" right there on the reply card.

+ Use visuals to spur action and guide the reader. A
well-placed red arrow can point the way to key chunks of
copy (and higher order rates).

+ Give your BRC an appropriate title. I don't like
calling a BRC an "Order Form" or "Order Card." Try
"Action Card," or give it a special name like "Preferred
Customer Upgrade Card."

How To Get In Touch

Ivan Levison
Direct Response Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive
Greenbrae, CA 94904

Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
E-mail: ivan@levison.com
Web Site: http://www.levison.com

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