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Marketing & Design Tips
Direct Response Mailers
Taken from AWAI Copywriting Insider (www.awaionline.com)
According to copywriting legend Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Every copy decision you make, from how to ask for a response to whether or not to spell out
numbers, will have an effect on how your audience interprets your message – and how it
Even though they may seem trivial, "every word should be gold," Lewis told a standing-
room-only crowd during his "Creative Master Class" session at the Direct Marketing
Association's 87th Annual Conference & Exhibition. "Your words generate the reaction, and
you are in command of that reaction."
Lewis went on to share some of his insights into creating copy that resonates with any
Write like people talk. The Internet has made us all more casual in our language, so
your direct-response copy should follow suit. Avoid the trickiness, overly formal language
and pomposity that will turn prospects off. "We are not being graded on an academic
basis," asserts Lewis. "We deal in response."
Avoid generic words (such as quality, value and service) and cliches (such as
paradigm, win-win, 24/7, outside the box and fast track) that add nothing to your
message. Some other words and phrases on Lewis's don't list: "remember," "what is
more," "means business," "when it comes to," "proactive," "due to the fact that," "game
plan," "customer-centric," "at the end of the day," "core competency," and "knowledge-
Spelling out numbers adds dignity, formality and importance, but it also adds
distance between the reader and the writer, so this should be used with caution.
Pay attention to and test the nuances, because they really do make a difference. For
example, Lewis's tests have shown that "reply" out-pulls "response" because it implies
less commitment and "free shipping" out-pulls "we'll pay the shipping costs."
First person is more effective at establishing rapport with the reader, while third
person is better for being official.
An emotion-based message will outsell an intellect-based one, so make sure your
message reaches your audience on an emotional level.
Benefits out-pull features, so place them first for more sales power.
Present tense is more effective than future tense because the present is now and
today's customer wants immediate satisfaction.
Always keep in mind the three basics of success in direct-response copywriting:
verisimilitude (truth), clarity, and benefit.
Direct Mail Tips