When writing a brochure or a letter always consider that you are writing to one person, not to hundreds or thousands. Think about that individual - the background, interests, what he/she is doing on opening the mail, etc.
The worst thing you can ever say in a direct mail letter is "some of you may know". You have to be saying to people - "I am writing to you personally about your interests and your views."
Now of course you don't know the individual you are writing to, so you have to make all sorts of assumptions - and these assumptions can be wrong. For those people to whom you write and about whom you make the wrong assumptions, the letter is just another piece of junk. But for the people to whom you write and for whom you get the assumptions just right, the piece is perfect - and you are highly likely to get a response.
Let us imagine you are writing to grandparents. In terms of the relationship they have with their grandchildren you could assume
a) they only get to see them a couple of times a year
b) they see them very regularly
Your job is to sell gifts that grandparents can give to their 4 to 7 year old grandchildren. You could write in any one of three ways:
First - you could say to yourself, "I don't know how often they see them, so I will say, "Whether you see your grandchild once a week or once a year..."
Second you could say to yourself, "I will assume that a) above is true, so I am going to write about them from that point of view. I will say, 'when you only see your grandchild occasionally you want to make sure that the little gift you give really means something'..."
Third you could say to yourself, "I will assume b) is true, and so write 'Even though you see your grandchild regularly, it is good on occasion to make your meeting that little bit extra special by taking along..."
My view is that a campaign using the first method will have lower success rate. Although it meets all possibilities it doesn't feel personal. The second and third options will both be meaningless to many grandparents, but for those who do fall into the right category the power of the mailing will be overwhelming.
Free analysis of your mailshot
This article is written by Tony Attwood, Chairman of Hamilton House Mailings Ltd. If you would like to discuss the writing or design of your mailing campaign, or indeed a single mailshot, with Tony, without cost or obligation, just call 01536 399 000, or email Creative@hamilton-house.com You can also send Tony a copy of your latest advert and he will call you back with his thoughts on how your response rate could be raised - again without cost or obligation.