I firmly believe that in direct mail, you’ve got to tell the reader exactly what you want him or her to do to inspire the action needed to make your letter successful. For most of the letters I write, the objective is to have the reader call.
When clients tell me their letters fail to bring a response and I’m asked for my analysis of why they fail, 99% of the time it’s because the client only asked the reader to call – weakly – in the last paragraph. It generally goes like this: “Blah, blah, blah, blah and call me at your convenience…”
To get readers to call I ask for them to call – and give a client’s phone number – multiple times throughout the entire letter. In the letter below I asked the reader to call and 16 times in this single page, and gave his phone number 6 times. People called, and the letter was highly successful.
Seven years after I wrote this direct mail letter, I was speaking at a direct marketing seminar in New York and by chance my old client saw my name on the presenter list and stopped in to meet me in person and say hello. Since we never met in person he let me know who he was and that I had written a letter for him years ago. Curious, I inquired about the response – did the letter I wrote work for him? He said response has been pretty good – he was still mailing it.
Here is the 16-Call Printer’s letter, reprinted with permission:
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