Last week, I showed you blunders #1-3 of the 6 most common direct mail blunders that marketers make in direct mail.
These are the costly mistakes that result in a low response.
Knowing these blunders will help you create powerful direct mail pieces with a low cost per lead and low cost per sale.
Here are blunders #4-6.

Blunder #4: Lack of direct response art

So many direct response mail pieces are destroyed because the art violates direct response art rules. Quality direct response art doesn’t win art awards and doesn’t draw attention to itself. It’s basically invisible because what it does is utilize the science of eye direction.
Direct response art guides the eye towards the copy to help ensure the words get read.
This specific type of art has its own set of direct response rules to avoid common depressants like reverse type, using sans serif type in print, and choosing a font size that’s too small.
Look at the art here:
Magalog – The infomercial in print for Independent Living newsletter.
direct mail blunders
Envelope – For Wine of the Month Club.

Envelope – For Monex.
direct mail blunders

Blunder #5: Failing to tap the full sales potential of your order form

Order forms, also known as response devices, are critical components to the success of your campaign. One of the primary reasons direct mail pieces pull subpar results is that the order form fails to follow tested-and-proven direct marketing results.
And, in this business, ignoring the rules can cost you.
We have discovered long ago that the length and setup of your order form affects your response. Many clients come to us with a small order form that looks something like this:
direct mail blunders
That’s a good start, but it’s not complete. An oversized response device is a more effective choice. While we have sometimes used order forms that are 8” x 14” most are 8.5” x 11”. Both sides are used, and a coupon with a certificate border appears at the bottom.
Take a look at this example from one of my DM packages:
direct mail blunders
This type of order form produces a much higher response rate.
In a sense, an oversized response device takes the place of a brochure because it can also use graphics that wouldn’t be appropriate for the sales letter itself. This form works for B to B and consumer mailings.
Here are 4 elements your order form absolutely must have:

  1. A clear call to action. Even if your customers ultimately choose to respond online or through an 800 number, the order form is your chance to clearly spell out your offer, guarantee, discount, premiums and the most important benefits—all in one spot. Clearly outline what your prospect will receive by responding to your offer and why they simply cannot wait.
  2. Easy instructions. Your customers must be told exactly how to fill out your order form physically or online. If it is not easy to understand, he or she will lose interest and you’ll lose the sale.
  3. Professional artwork. Remember, your prospect will judge your product or service based on the quality of that response device.
  4. A positive acceptance statement. This powerful copy technique engages your prospect and reinforces how he or she will benefit from your product. For example, an investment newsletter writer found this effective:

YES! I want more opportunities to be on the winning side of today’s market. I’d love to add to my profits with your Charles Payne WS Strategic Newsletter that could bring returns of 100% to 300% or more!
Please begin my no-risk subscription to the only source of your unique safe-profit strategies for the term I’ve selected below.
Simply saying “Check this box for a one-year subscription” will do nothing to help you make the sale.
Here’s another good example from a local charity’s holiday campaign:
[  ] YES! I want to help feed hungry and homeless people this Thanksgiving season.
Enclosed is my gift of:
$27.60 to help feed 15 people
$36.80 to help feed 20 people
$____ to help feed as many people as possible
Bottom line: your response device can help your response…or hurt your response. Be sure you’re not depressing your campaign results by committing this costly blunder.

Blunder #6: Failing to define your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP

Plain and simple, your USP is what sets you apart from the competition. How are your products or services better, faster, stronger, easier to use, more profitable or trendier? Your prospect wants to know.
If you don’t clearly communicate what you have to offer that no one else does, your prospect won’t have a compelling reason to buy from you…instead of choosing a cheaper or more convenient alternative.
If you’re not sure what your USP is, finish the statement: “Nowhere else will you find…”
If you have the best pricing on the market, say it. If you’re the only company with a certain widget, say it. If you have the trendiest design, say it.
Here is a JOBS Act client doing an equity crowdfunding campaign—it’s a “mini IPO.”
direct mail blunders
The USP is clearly defined on this direct mail piece.
Now that you’ve learned all 6 direct mail blunders, you should be able to do a critical review of your direct mail to make sure that it follows the rules.
Without the rules, you won’t see a high response—or high profits.
If you would like a FREE critique of your direct mail, give me a call at (310) 212-5727 or email Caleb at We would be happy to take a look at your marketing materials and give you feedback.
Here are the rest of this week’s articles: