|The more your direct mail reflects the world-view of the recipient, the more successful it will be.
|You have 5 seconds to grab and hold attention - after that you have no chance.
The mailshot must be consistent throughout in style and approach.
The key point is that the laws fit together - they all come from the central point that the perception of the reader is fundamental and controls everything that happens. Each suggests and reinforces the point that you have to talk about the recipient and the recipient's needs in a format and style that the recipient finds acceptable.
Thus the recipient is at the centre. Not the product, not the writer, not the company, but the person to whom you are writing.
This opens everything up to a scientific basis for your direct mail, because the view of the recipient can be discussed in terms of the psychology of the individual (the personality, hobbies, outlook, style), the social psychology of the setting in which the pack is opened (the crowded school staffroom, the calm elegance of the chairman's office), and the unchanging psychology of perception (the way in which all of us view the sheet of A4 paper when we first glance at it.)
It is out of this scientific awareness of how the recipient looks at the direct mail that we can bring in theories developed by academics who have for years researched individual aspects of direct mail. Here more than anywhere else we can see the folly of the "I'll tell you how to do it" determinists who reject all theory and just give you a list of what to do.
The determinists will say "put a picture there - a picture is worth 10,000 words", while the follower of the 3 laws who understands the science of direct mail will say "what actually happens to the reader when you juxtapose a text and a picture?" In this individual case what we discover is that a picture is not worth 10,000 words. Everything depends entirely on how the picture sits alongside other items on the page (like the text). This is because there can be a tendency for confusion in the brain at this point because of different ways in which pictures and text are handled by the brain.
So the simplistic notions like "a picture is worth 10,000 words" actually hinder response rates. You cannot use an image to grab attention, and then hope the recipient carries on and reads the text. And this is exactly what Law 3 says. Your approach has to be consistent.
Overall the three laws offer a liberation from the folly of the gurus who say "do this, don't do this" with no background and no logic holding everything together.
So with this approach evolved from the 3 laws you cannot suddenly say "what about using a different coloured envelope?" without then asking, "how does the recipient respond to this?" and "what is the science here?" and "what else is going on at the same time" (as in, "will the recipient open the mailshot anyway?")
Most direct mail produced in the UK ignores these three laws, and as a result tends to underachieve in terms of response rates. Some direct mail also annoys some of the recipients - hence the name "junk mail". Junk mail is in fact direct mail that fails to follow the three basic laws.
This website takes you through every issue that arises in direct mail. But if you fancy a short cut, email me a copy of your mailshot, with your phone number, and I'll call you back and tell you what I think. I'll pay for the phone call, and you don't have to take any notice of what I say. But you never know - I might just be right.
Now move onto Getting Going