Marketing in an age of skepticism is always difficult.

In the case of direct mail, your prospects automatically perceive that you’re selling them something.

When that happens, they’re likely to not even want to discover what you have to offer. They will not be taking a look at your mailing piece to see your product or service because they believe it won’t be in their self-interest to read the content. They’ll believe you’re simply there to take their money.

Fortunately, I have a solution for you – value added marketing.

Value added marketing helps to:

  • override initial suspicion…
  • develop relationship with your prospects, and…
  • dramatically increase your response rate.

Here are 6 things you should know about value added marketing, and how to use this powerful tool to increase response to your direct mail now:

1. A value added component will get your prospects to open your envelope.

 Use “tease copy” on the front of your envelope to tell your prospects there’s something special inside…and they’ll be more likely to rip it open to discover what’s in it for them.

value added marketing

Wine of the Month Club front envelope

For example, I put a note about “A Free Checklist” on the outside of the envelope for Wine of the Month Club to generate curiosity.

I also included a list of other value added pieces that prospects could get for free, including a “wine exploration course” and a bonus bottle of wine.

With this kind of copy, the reader immediately sees that they have something to gain for FREE from your offer – and they’ll want to respond.

Other examples include an envelope I created that said, “Free Coin Guide Enclosed,” for my client Monaco Rare Coins, shown below.

value added marketing

Monaco Coins front envelope


Another was a “World Conflict Map Enclosed” on the envelope for a direct mail piece to those involved in international relationships and the military.


2. The value added component does not have to be expensive, but it has to have value.

A value added piece doesn’t have to be pricey, but it should be considered useful and worth keeping by your prospects.

For example, you can use a print piece such as a calendar, map, book of stamps or article reprint as a value added piece.

Remember that a value added piece needs to be something that somebody would not only want, but preferably want to keep.


3. There is a great deal of variety of value added components.

Value added pieces can range in purpose, usage, look and feel.

Think creatively about what your prospects would want from you, and how to capture their attention.

Here’s an example of a creative value added component we created for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles:

value added marketing

Childrens Hospital LA front envelope

Do you see what’s inside? It’s a free nickel. Most prospects opened the envelope just to get the coin – after all, it’s difficult to throw away money.

But, once they’ve opened the envelope, they’re likely to take a look at your offer to find out why you’ve just given them a nickel.


4. Value added components help create the relationship you need with prospects.

Value added pieces help create a sense of trust and generosity with a prospect, and help you generate more leads and sales. They motivate a person to make a purchase, or make a contribution.

Bottom line is: you are not taking money out of a prospective client’s pocket. You’re trying to help them.

That’s how you should be positioned with a prospective client. That’s great marketing.

One example of a direct mail package that uses value added marketing to build relationship was from a Christian organization called “The Navigators.” They put together a direct mail piece for Christmas that included the following free gifts:

  • Personalized return address stickers
  • A booklet of Christmas carols
  • Christmas-themed envelope seals
  • A themed desk calendar
  • A personalized certificate of appreciation
  • A “Christmas Fun” booklet

This was a very extensive value added campaign, with multiple pieces. But they understood that adding value to an offer builds relationship.


5. Be creative in what you want to offer to prospects.

When thinking of a value added piece, think about your specific prospects and about your offer.

For example, if you are offering a product or service aimed at kids education you could offer an article reprint such as “7 Surprising Ways to Help your Child Learn – Enclosed” for direct mail pieces to parents of young children.

Or, for one product I helped market to seniors, the value added piece was a “Hospital Survival Checklist.” This got a great response.


6. Value added components can totally change the tone of your direct mail piece.

Finally, value added components change the tone of your direct mail piece by communicating that you don’t just want to sell the person something, you want to help them. It builds relationship with a prospective client by providing them with something they want to keep.

Value added marketing will ultimately change their perception that you’re there to take from them — a value-added component says that you’re there to give.


If you would like to discuss incorporating value-added components into your marketing strategy, please give me a call at 310-212-5727 or email Caleb at


Here are the rest of this week’s articles: