One (just one of many!) cool things about twitter is following people who provide constant inspiration to the work we do every day. Inspiration can come in many forms of course but when it arrives in bits of useful tips – well – it can be priceless.
I’ve been following John Bethel for some time now and I’ve become a John Bethel tip collector. Keep some of these tips and inspirations for next time you are working on your appeal! And thanks again to John for publishing them!
Direct Mail Fundraising Letter Tips:
• Write about a real live person — NOT just your mission statement or programs
• When using hand-written copy — be sure to keep it short (hard to read otherwise)
• Try using hand-written copy in Johnson Boxes, postscripts & as margin notes
• Experiment using “hand-written” underlining, made w/blue felt tip pen
• Tell a real story & weave it throughout your entire letter.
• “You” & “Your” most important. And type “I” instead of “we” most of the time. Keeps it a 1-to-1 communication.
• Occasionally use 1-sentence paragraphs for emphasis. Even 1-word paragraphs are great.
• Hook your paragraphs together with “connective” words – ex: And But Then Why – to build & keep reader moving.
• Try using “handwritten” marginal notes in blue or red ink.
• Copywriting tip: Read your draft copy ALOUD & anywhere u stumble, revise & smooth it out.
Direct Mail tips:
• Giving a deadline date for response is great, but give a believable reason for it
• Always include your return address on the reply form itself (recipient could lose the reply envelope)
• Sell (JL: or ask) for only 1 thing at a time. If seeking donations for summer kids’ camp, don’t shift to estate planning
• Always re-state your offer on the reply form. Reminds recipient why they need to respond when they put it in their stack of bills
• Always re-state any guarantee or backend premium offer on your reply form.
• Test making reply form & reply envelope different color from all other components. Makes them standout & could boost response
Make sure your reply form fits comfortably in your reply envelope.
• Test offering mail-only response (not web/phone). Many find it boosts response.
• Having recipient’s name/address already filled in on the reply form boosts response rates
• Put a headline on your reply form to help it stand out & encourage response
• Repeat any deadline date on your reply form & as teaser on reply envelope
• Tell your donor WHY you need their money, and WHAT you will do with it.
• Mixing typeset w/handwritten teasers on outer envelope can boost response.
• For your next No.10 envelope mailing, test using No.11 or No.12 against it.
• Place the name of the person signing letter above the corner card on carrier envelope in courier typeface.
• When using No.11 or 12 carrier envelopes, make sure you also use larger carrier window.
• Giving a deadline date for reply can boost response, but give a believable reason for it.
“Using the best copywriters available is the cheapest money you’ll spend.” – Richard V. Benson
“It’s incredibly hard work to design effective direct mail. You try designing a 8.5″ x 3.5″ coupon over and over, every day for 15 years.” – John Lepp
Thanks again John for these great tips. Feel free to comment with any of your favourite direct mail tips.