Mistake No. 9: The magic words
This mistake is not using the magic words that can dramatically increase the response to your mailing.
General advertisers, operating under the mistaken notion that the mission of the copywriter is to be creative, avoid the magic words of direct mail, because they think those magic phrases are cliches.
But just because a word or phrase is used frequently doesn’t mean that it has lost its power to achieve your communications objective. In conversation, for example, “please” and “thank you” never go out of style.
What are the magic words of direct mail?
Free. Say free brochure. Not brochure. Say free consultation. Not initial consultation. Say free gift. Not gift.
If the English teacher in you objects that “free gift” is redundant, let me tell you a story. A mail-order firm tested two packages. The only difference was that package “A” offered a gift while package “B” offered a free gift.
The result? You guessed it. The free gift order in package “B” significantly out pulled package “A”. What’s more, many people who received package “A” wrote in and asked whether the gift was free!
No Obligation. Important when you are offering anything free. If prospects aren’t obligated to use your firm’s wastewater treatment services after you analyze their water sample for free, say so. People want to be reassured that there are no strings attached.
No salesperson will call. If true, a fantastic phrase that can increase response by 10% or more. Most people, including genuine prospects, hate being called by salespeople over the phone. Warning: Don’t say “no salesperson will call” if you do plan to follow up by phone. People won’t buy from liars.
Details inside/See inside. One of those should follow any teaser copy on the outer envelope. You need a phrase that directs the reader to the inside.
Limited time only. People who put your mailing aside for later reading or file it will probably never respond. The trick is to generate a response now. One way to do it is with a time-limited offer, either generic (“This offer is for a limited time only.”), or specific (“This offer expires 9/20/01.”). Try it!
Announcing/At last. People like to think they are getting in on the ground floor of a new thing. Making your mailing an announcement increases its attention-getting powers.
New. “New” is sheer magic in consumer mailings. But it’s a double-edged sword in industrial mailings. On the one hand, business and technical buyers want something new. On the other hand, they demand products with proven performance.
The solution? Explain that your product is new or available to them for the first time, but proven elsewhere—either in another country, another application, or another industry. For example, when we introduced a diagnostic display system, we advertised it as “new” to U.S. hospitals but explained it had been used successfully for five years in leading hospitals throughout Europe.