Your direct mail package can help you see incredible results…and profits.

But if it doesn’t meet a certain number of direct response rules, it can fall flat…and waste your time, money and effort.

In this Direct Mail Package Critique, I’ll give you the proven, time-tested criteria to help ensure your direct mail is successful – based on over 40 years of experience, 1,000+ campaigns and more than 1 billion pieces of mail.

Compare this with your direct mail!

Carrier Envelope

Does your teaser qualify the prospect immediately?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Does your teaser make your prospect want to rip open the envelope?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Rate the envelope in terms of copy and design:

Excellent [  ]

Good [  ]

Needs some improvement, but can be salvaged [  ]

Needs to be rewritten [  ]

Needs to be redesigned [  ]

Comments (For example, could be more powerful): _________________________

 Letter

Content

The letter must contain the following in this general sequence – all done strongly and effectively according to proven direct response methods:

#1: Does the superscript or headline compel the reader to keep reading?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#2: Does it give exciting news, make a promise or offer a benefit?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#3: Should a superscript be used in this letter?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#4: Is there a strong lead sentence that picks up from the teaser or the superscript? Must start reader on the route to a sale.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#5: Opening paragraphs: Do they begin immediate development of the benefits promised in the teaser? Do they develop desire for the product/service? Do they show the reader how he will benefit specifically? Or else do they compel the prospect to read on?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#6: Is the opening section mostly “flattering” and not critical?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#7: Proof: Are all claims backed up by success stories, charts, figures, a track record…or by testimonials, endorsements, etc. from satisfied customers or acknowledged authorities?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#8: Are the “credentials” of the writer defined strongly enough that the letter has authority and credibility?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#9: Are all benefits brought out strongly? (Product characteristics are features. What those features do for the customers are called benefits).

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#10: Is the prospect told he will lose something if he doesn’t act?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#11: If the product is new or unique, does the letter say so and state how it’s better?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#12: Is there reason given for an immediate response?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#13: Is the price justified? Or are there equivalent tangibles listed to dramatize the amount requested?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#14: If a publication, is there a choice of subscriptions and terms?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#15: Is there a money-back guarantee?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#16: Is there a free premium or some incentive to bring quick action or a bigger purchase?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#17: Strong summary: Are the major benefits restated? Have you answered all questions and objectives?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#18: Is there a reference to the order form or procedure that tells exactly what you want the reader to do?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#19: Credit card purchases and toll-free “800” number purchases increase response up to 30%. Are they offered?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#20: Action: Is the order/donation/action/asked for strongly and clearly?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#21: Is there a P.S.? Does it add a note of urgency, incentive, etc.?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#22: Overall, has the entire presentation been directed to the toughest, hardest-to-sell prospect, and no stone left unturned in order to get the job done?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#23: Does the letter include the URL of your targeted landing page?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#24: Does the messaging on the direct mail piece match the messaging on your targeted landing page?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#25: Does the direct mail piece include the ability to text?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Technique

#1: Use the “you” attitude all the way through. Talk about the reader, not you – his needs and problems from his perspective.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#2: Is the “bucket brigade” used? Use connectors that subtly lead from one paragraph to the next: “And, But, So you see, Of course, Better yet, As I mentioned, Now here’s the important part, And don’t forget that, But that’s not all…”

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#3: Does the copy read smoothly? Does it keep moving?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#4: Is it in a sincere, first person singular, conversational idiom?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#5: Is it in the reader’s vernacular – the jargon of his or her field, sex, age, or other psychographic limit?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#7: Does the copy breathe enthusiasm? Excitement? Conviction? Like you really believe it yourself?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#8: Has the reader been recognized as a unique individual, and are his needs and problems identified and solved by the end of the letter?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#9: Does copy hold the reader’s interest all the way through?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Writing Style

#1: Punctuation – forget the rules! You’re writing the “spoken” language for the most direct effect. Do you use punctuation for impact and clarity, and not for the sake of grammatical correctness?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Words

Are there too many long words? (About 65–75% should be five letters or fewer.)

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Are they familiar, common words most used in ordinary conversation – NOT pedantic, pretentious, or “business letter” English?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Do you use the active tense, not the passive?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Are there “word pictures” – metaphors, similes and analogies that make concrete, emotionally stimulating images?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Is the verb-adjective ratio good – about three verbs to every adjective?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Is the writing fresh? Does it avoid clichés?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Sentences

Are most sentences under 20 words? Fewer than 150 syllables long?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Are they varied in length to lend rhythm and pace?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Do the sentences flow logically – from subject to predicate to object? Do they read right the first time through – give the meaning you intended?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Paragraphs

Are they six to seven lines maximum, but varied for visual appeal?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

First line intended?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Are whole paragraphs double-indented occasionally for emphasis and visual appeal?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

 

Appearance

#1: Placement on page: ample borders all around?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#2: Subheads used for visual and strategic purposes? (The ideal is to have your subheads form a synopsis, in sequence, of your basic proposition or story).

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#3: Underscoring: effective for emphasis, but use sparingly. Overuse kills the effect.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#4: ALL CAPS: effective for emphasis, but use sparingly. Overuse is more likely than with underscoring.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#5: Is there a second color and is it used well? It increases responses substantially when used sparingly but wisely.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#6: Type: Use typewriter – don’t typeset unless you use a type font that looks very much like a typewriter. Prestige Pica, 72, ten pitch, is preferred by the nations top direct mail letter writers.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#7: Are ragged right lines used (lines not justified at right end?) Doesn’t hyphenate at the end of ragged right lines?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#8: Bottom line of page – Break sentence at a “leading” word when possible so reader must turn page to get the meaning.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

#9: Is there a continuation note in the bottom-right corner (such as “please turn…”)?

YES [  ] NO [  ]

Rate the overall letter in terms of copy and design:

Excellent [  ]

Good [  ]

Needs some improvement, but can be salvaged [  ]

Needs to be rewritten [  ]

Needs to be redesigned [  ]

 

Overall Evaluation of Insert

Overall rating of your strategy, writing, design, pricing and terms.

[  ] 10 – Rare. A landmark achievement in direct mail.

[  ] 9 – Outstanding. Deserves a prize.

[  ] 8 – Unusually good. Many professionals would not have done as well.

[  ] 7 – Good. Reaches ordinary professional standards.

[  ] 6 – Passable, with luck. However, not up to the standards of proven direct response marketing.

[  ] 5 – Marginal value – Will probably lose money.

[  ] 4 – Weak. A certain money-loser.

[  ] 3 – Very weak. Shows a critical lack of understanding of what direct mail is.

[  ] 2 – Awful.

[  ] 1 – Offensive or illegal.

 

A. Your offer is clearly presented.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

B. The pieces in your package complement each other in the right way.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

C. You have separated yourself from the competition adequately.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

D. Your product/service/publication/ministry is marketable through direct mail.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

E. You have created a digital campaign that integrates with your direct mail piece.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

  1. A targeted landing page with your offer? YES [ ] NO [ ]
  2. Facebook ads that match the messaging of your offer? YES [ ] NO [ ]
  3. Banner and native ads that match the messaging of your offer? YES [ ] NO [ ]
  4. Pre-roll ads that match the messaging of your offer? YES [ ] NO [ ]
  5. An email campaign that follows up your direct mail piece, with references to the piece? YES [ ] NO [ ]

F. Your strategy, product, service or publication can and should be improved before you continue marketing.

YES [  ] NO [  ]

 

Need help with your direct mail piece? I’d be happy to talk to you about how you can boost sales today with a powerful direct mail package. Give me a call at (310)212-5727 or email Caleb at caleb@cdmginc.com.

 

 

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