mailBorrowing words from Potter Stewart and applying them to junk mail, it’s often hard to define, but I know it when I see it. So do you.

Junk mail is worthless, often gimmicky, riddled with hype, pushy in its call to action, and most often laced with bold type, highlights, and font changes. It is hard to define, but we see it before we even open it, sometimes 🙂

But don’t confuse direct mail with junk mail. While all junk mail is direct mail, not all direct mail is junk mail.

I do a fair amount of direct mail, both in support of my client’s business and mine. And I’ve successfully used direct mail to generate leads and sales for B2B businesses selling to Fortune 500 executives, as well as B2G businesses selling to local and state governments. Bottom-line, direct mail works.

You can successfully use direct mail to gain access to corporate executives and elected officials.

Here are a few tips to make direct mail work for you, even when sent to the most sophisticated and historically skeptical and hard to reach prospects:

  • Look-n-feel professional. Don’t send anything cheesy or cute. Cute doesn’t earn respect.
  • Be direct. Tell the person you’re mailing to why you’re doing so and what you hope to gain from having done it. If you want the reader to do something, tell them in simple terms what you want them to do.
  • Get to the point. Long and short copy both work, but don’t wander around in your copy building a story that doesn’t need to be told.
  • Don’t imply anything. State benefits, difference, and reason to believe as clearly as possible.
  • Cite relevant testimonials. Let the reader know you’re legitimate.
  • Make an offer. Give your reader something to act on. You won’t insult them.
  • Don’t add a crazy amount of PS, PPS, etc. It’s okay to add a PS, but make it relevant and eliminate over-hyped copy.
  • Bold-faced type is okay. Bold sub-titles and key points. But don’t get carried away.
  • Rarely use highlighted type. Used judiciously it’s okay, but watch your professional look-n-feel.
  • Don’t use tricks or gimmicks. You can increase open and response rates by disguising envelops, implying things that don’t really exist, and using a wide array of other tricks and gimmicks. But don’t do it. If you’re a serious business with a real offer and real benefits, it’s not necessary.

There’s my quick list of 10 things to guide a successful direct mail campaign to B2B executives and B2G elected and senior non-elected officials. I use these basic guidelines in successful direct mail campaigns all the time, it works.

What would you add to my list?


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