Reprinted from Strategies newsletter, 3rd Quarter � July 2001 by First Marketing, 3300 Gateway Drive, Pompano Beach, FL 33069.

Put some muscle in your direct mail and pump up response

If your direct mail has gotten a little stale, inject some excitement and increase response with these tricks of the trade.

Get an education

Wouldn�t it be great if customers viewed you as the expert in your particular industry? Achieving this elite status could be as easy as educating your customers.

At First Marketing, we�ve long been proponents of the 50/50 blend � 50% self-promotional copy and 50% value-added. This mix helps establish credibility and separates you from competitors. Customers view you as a consultant rather than a salesperson.

The next time you�re doing a mailing to your customers, give it a critical look. Does the content teach them something they didn�t know before? If the answer is no, consider including an educational article, a pertinent white paper or a helpful checklist.

This technique will build relationships with your customers and increase response rates. Customers want to partner with companies who are leaders in the marketplace.

Go glossy

If (heaven forbid) your mailings are ending up in the trash, cut through the direct mail clutter with a magaletter.

A magaletter is simply a newsletter that looks like a magazine. There are many advantages to putting your messages in a magazine format. Most importantly, people will read and respond to it. First Marketing magaletters typically get higher response than traditional direct mail. In addition, readers keep magaletters longer, and they tend to pass along the publication to friends and colleagues. Lastly, magaletters can be used for a variety of purposes. You can incorporate them into a direct mail campaign, distribute them at trade shows and include them in your customer welcome kits.

Make a splash

If you�re launching a product or service, making an important announcement or introducing a special offer to your customers, consider a three-dimensional mailing. Going 3-D will get you the attention � and the response results � you crave.

The big advantage of 3-D mailings is that they stand out. No one can resist opening a package or a bulging letter. The downside is that these mailings can be expensive. Once opened, the contents need to deliver. So there�s got to be something clever enough or useful enough to capture the recipient�s interest. And that usually isn�t cheap.

If a 3-D mailing is out of your budget, here�s an alternative. Send a traditional direct mail piece with your offer. Then, use the 3-D mailing as the fulfillment. In other words, make readers respond to get the goods.

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