Launching a new product is never easy … and the media or channel you choose to use is absolutely essential. With most products and services, we recommend direct mail … it minimizes the risk of a new launch and can maximize the chance of success.

Here’s an example of a new launch my team did …

Whole Botanics has a CBD oil product.

It’s designed to help people alleviate pain without the harsh side effects and addiction-potential of pharmaceuticals.

The CBD market has exploded. As such, it’s hugely competitive, making it more difficult to differentiate product.

So, how do you break through all the noise and clutter?

How do you achieve a successful launch and make money from the outset?

The answer …

A two-phase direct mail campaign.

In phase one, we tested a carefully crafted, powerful direct mail piece that consisted of an envelope, sales letter, and several other key components that we’ll look at in a minute.

In phase two, we added digital elements for a multichannel, integrated campaign to the very same names we sent the direct mail to. This includes emails, Facebook ads, and Google ads to increase sales and boost responses to the direct mail piece … and generate profitable online sales themselves.

Here’s what that direct mail piece from phase one looked like…

The 7 Key Steps to Profitable Direct Mail

For the first campaign out the door for Whole Botanics, we created seven elements for the direct mail package:

  • A 4-page 8.5 inch by 11 inch sales letter;
  • A 2-page 7 inch x 10 inch lift note;
  • A 2-page 8.5 inch x 14 inch response device;
  • A 2-page 8.5 inch x 11 inch V.I.V.A piece;
  • A 6 inch x 9 inch envelope;
  • A Business Reply Envelope; and
  • An Informed Delivery component.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail …

Element #1: The Foundation … A Direct Response Sales Letter

There are several important sales-letter essentials worth underlining …

Signer … The signer of a sales letter is critical. That’s why, for the Whole Botanics campaign, we found a pain management specialist to create credibility. A medical doctor who specializes in treating and managing pain is better than the president of the company … and anything is better than a “marketing doctor.”

So, the four page letter came from Dr. Douglas Spiel, America’s #1 anti-pain pioneer.

Benefits … The copy was full of the benefits (rather than features … and you can read why that’s important here) that the CBD oil offers pain sufferers.

Tagline … Then we created a tagline: America’s #1 Anti-Pain Pioneer

Personality … The top of the letter had the doctor’s photo and tagline … We intentionally did not add a masthead to avoid distraction or pre-judgement.

Superscript … Above the salutation was a powerful tease, hooking the person into the letter.

Salutation … Better than “Dear Friend,” we said: “Dear Fellow Pain Sufferer.”

Indentation and second color … To keep skimmers reading, we used a second color to make key points stand out and we indented key paragraphs.

P.S. … The most read part of the sales letter in the P.S. So that have a “hook” to get a skimmer back into the letter. Besides, when any prospect opens the mail, they look to see who it’s coming from. They also look at the P.S. Both elements must work hard to get the prospect to spend more time on reading your letter.

It looked like this …

Element #2: The Lift Note

In the world of direct mail, you don’t know what piece of the campaign will catch a prospect’s eye. While there is a handful of people who will read everything, most just skim over the pages and elements. So, you present them with several pieces, one of which sticks … grabs their attention … and gets them intrigued, interested, and more receptive to your offer.

For this first phase of the Whole Botanics direct mail campaign, we made the lift note slightly smaller than the sales letter – printing it at 7 inch x 10 inches. This helped separate the piece from everything else stuffed into the envelope.

It looked like this …

We used the dark green color intentionally because it’s a powerful psychological trigger in the direct response game. We know this because we’ve done a lot of testing on the impact of color on response rates. You can read about one of those tests, and the results, here.

A lift note can increase response by 10% to 20%!

Element #3: The Response Device

Order forms, also known as “response devices,” are critical components to the success of your direct mail campaign. In fact, it could result in sub-par results if it fails to follow tested and proven direct response rules.

The order form we created for Whole Botanics applied all the rules, including the positive acceptance statement (PAS), guarantee, premiums, and the call to action (CTA).

And we added in an additional element to it to boost response. Can you see what that addition was? Write to me at and let me know what you think. In another issue, I’ll let you know if you found it.

To make sure you’re not making the common direct mail blunders with your response device, check out this article.

Element #4: The V.I.V.A. Insert

V.I.V.A. stands for Valuable Information, Value Added. It’s a critical component of any direct response effort. And a real response rate booster. It gives your prospect objective, interesting value.

Not only that, but it …

  • Sets your company apart with a unique selling proposition (USP).
  • Creates a branding effect to help you gain market share.
  • Overcomes skepticism and objections of buyers.
  • Rapidly expands your customer/client base.
  • And multiplies sales from your existing database.

Yes. It really does all that. It also does more, which you can read about here.

For Whole Botanics, it was a checklist of the latest scientific studies…

Element #5: The Envelope

Without the right envelope, your entire direct mail campaign is doomed. That’s the first thing your prospect sees when flipping through his mail at the mail box. If it doesn’t grab him by the eyeballs, it goes into the trash without a second thought. And all the hard work and great copy never sees the light of day.

Here are 5 little-known direct response envelope techniques guaranteed to get your message opened and read.

We applied these techniques with the Whole Botanics envelope … including a pre-cancelled stamp that will increase response 12% to 18%.

But we also started our first test of the campaign on the envelope. I’ll talk about that another day, so be sure to check your weekly issues of Direct Marketing Update so you don’t miss seeing what we tested, and what the results revealed.

Element #6: The Business Reply Envelope

We included a Business Reply Envelope (otherwise known as a BRE in the industry). Many think this is history. It’s not to audiences 50 and older. It helps the prospect place the order without having to think about it. No searching for a stamp … or an envelope of their own in which to put the check … or writing an address on the front.

All they must do is complete the response device, pop it in the BRE, pop that into the mail box, and flip up that little red flag for the mailman.

Particularly with the more mature generations – the Baby Boomers and the older Silent Generation – they’re likely to feel more comfortable writing a check than placing an order on line. They grew up with checks. They trust them.

So make it easy for them.

If you’re interested in how effective the use of a business reply envelope can be, here’s a case study.

Element #7: Informed Delivery

The final element of our Whole Botanics direct mail campaign was Informed Delivery. It’s this fantastic new service that the United States Postal Service offers, and it boosts response rates wildly.

Essentially, it’s free marketing. You can read all about it, and why it’s such a powerful addition to the direct mail game, here.

Postal customers who have signed up for the service get a daily email letting them know what will land in their mail box that day.

It has a readership greater than 80%! The prospect sees your mail in advance.

If you’ve followed the direct response rules to make your envelope irresistible, then informed delivery helps build up the anticipation to open when the prospect gets the mail.

Plus, under the image of the envelope in the email is a banner ad that allows a “sneak” preview by clicking to go to the Whole Botanics’ landing page even before they get the mail.

If you’re not doing Informed Delivery as part of your direct mail campaigns, I urge you to give me a call. We can explain how it works and why it is now such a critical component to your direct mail efforts.

There you have it: the first phase of the Whole Botanics direct mail campaign.

In the next few weeks, I’ll share the results of this campaign, so remember to read each issue of Direct Marketing Update.

And if you’re working on any direct mail campaigns that you’d like to turn into winners, give us a call or send me an email. We’re here to help. Email me at or call on 310-202-5727.