Email Broadcasting will win you more business

in - February 2014

Email broadcasting can help you, along with direct mail, achieve the maximum possible impact, response rate and win more business.

We have put together a few notes to help you create the best possible mail piece:-

Win more business with direct mail and email broadcasting

Setting an Objective

  • It is vital that you are clear what you want the recipient of your direct mail letter to do – eg to make an appointment, request more information, attend an Open Day or make a purchase there and then.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes

  • Think about what the reader wants to hear. Do not become lost in the mechanics of your own product or Service.
  • Imagine your reader’s own problems or needs and then think how you can help to answer them.


  • A special offer can help tip the balance and be the trigger that your reader needs to buy from you.
  • It also helps to justify the reader’s reason for buying, particularly if they will be changing from a current supplier.


  • A good starting point is to write down the features of the product or service that you are offering.
  • Then look at each feature and turn that into a benefit that your customers can derive from it.
  • For example: An ink-pen may have a very large ink reservoir. The feature is the ink capacity. The benefit is that the user will be able to write for longer between refills and will, therefore, be able to complete the task quicker. In this case, the headline should NOT read: Our Volumax pen has the largest ink reservoir on the market. It should say something like: Finish your work sooner with a Volumax pen.


  • AIDA is a well known sales formula, which forms the basis of most successful promotional items including media advertisements, glossy brochures and direct mail letters. It uses four building bricks to construct a process which takes the reader from disinterested bystander to willing purchaser:-
  • Attention – Your 1st job is to grab the reader’s attention
  • Interest – once you have their attention – you need to build their interest in what you have to say
  • Desire – now you have their interest – you need them to want your product or service
  • Action – finish off by persuading them to act on their desires!

Let’s break down and analyse each part of the AIDA process:-

Grabbing Attention

  • It is widely recognised that you have 3 seconds in which to grab the reader’s attention when they open your letter.
  • Therefore, you must always use a headline – and you must keep it short, direct and unambiguous. If it takes more than 3 seconds to read out – it is too long!
  • To create your headline, take the key feature/offer that you listed earlier and look at the benefit that you created from it – use this as the content for your headline (see Features/Benefits section above).
  • Remember not to write about you – write about them! If your headline has the words “our” or “us” in it, it is wrong and needs changing to use words like “you” or “your” to win more business.

Maintaining Interest

  • So, you have stopped the reader from consigning your letter to the bin with an attention grabbing headline. You now need to draw the reader in further with a 1st paragraph that maintains the interest level.
  • It is important that you create a link with the headline so that the reader takes a logical step from the headline into the letter content.
  • There are two ways that you can do this:- 1) Expand on the headline   or, 2) Add another benefit.
  • Here is an example of how to use both link methods:-

25% discount on Hover Mowers until 31st July

  1. Repeat the benefit/offer
    That’s right. Now you can buy a Hover mower at a specially discounted price if you visit ABC Garden Supplies before the end of July.
  2. Add a 2nd benefit
    Not only are our Hover mowers even more affordable, but you will also be able to create the perfect lawn in minutes.

Creating Desire

  • Now that the reader has committed to reading your letter, you can use the next 2 or 3 paragraphs to paint a more detailed picture of your offer.
  • Make sure that you include every possible benefit that you can from the list that you compiled earlier – but don’t write more than 3 short paragraphs.
  • Try to use as facts & figures to support your claims if you can.
  • Also, use Testimonials if you have the, this is a big factor to help win more business.
  • Another powerful tool is to offer re-assurance to the customer, for example money back guarantees, free samples, demo’s, etc..

Persuading the reader to act

  • Now that you have grabbed the reader’s attention and shown that you have just what they need. You now need to help the reader to make that all important jump and commit to a purchase. This is where the final paragraph becomes all important.
  • Try to start it by repeating the main benefit that you used at the beginning.
  • Always finish the paragraph with a call to action – If there is no obvious course of action for the reader to take, the sale will be lost.
  • Tell them clearly how to respond and what will happen next (eg call us now on……, to order your ……., etc)
  • Try to make responding as easy as possible – for example include website links, fax-back forms, reply coupons, addressed envelopes (pre-paid if poss.), freephone numbers, etc…
  • Then finally after your signature, include a postscript to re-iterate the biggest benefit or to bring in one further benefit. It may just be the final clincher.


  • Keep your letter as short as possible.
  • A maximum of one side is best
  • So you will have to be succinct and avoid unnecessary waffle

Writing Techniques

Sentence & Para length

  • Keep short (16 words per sentence is ideal & 2-3 sentences per para)
  • Just one idea per sentence
  • Just one subject per para

Spelling & Grammar

  • Don’t by hung up by grammar – this is not an English exam!
  • Try to write in the way you speak and avoid saying things in a convoluted way – for example, a policeman who is proceeding on foot in a northerly direction – is:- walking northwards!!
  • Most of your clients do not understand your own industry jargon – so don’t use it.
  • Make sure that the spell checker is on and that you have checked through the spellings – wrongly spelt words will be noticed by the reader

Style, punctuation, use of words

  • Try to use a warm & friendly style
  • Use everyday words & phrases
  • Be honest and direct – avoid being side-tracked from the main point
  • You want to be addressing the reader’s needs, so you should be using “you” more often than “we”
  • Use adjectives regularly: eg “a superb range of special offers”
  • Read it out loud & smooth it out where you stumble



  • Personalisation is more than just using the reader’s name in a salutation and his address
  • Target the content as much as you can – for example, vary the letter to suit different audiences so that you have several versions with differing product benefits
  • If you include a response form – pre-personalise it as much as you can to save the reader’s time when replying
  • Try to mention the reader’s previous buying history or other relevant detail whenever you can and then link it to the product/service that you are offering in this letter

Use of Fonts

  • Use a serif font for the content of the letter (for example – Times Roman) and a sans serif font for headlines (for example – Arial).


  • Varying the font styling can draw attention to important points
  • But use it sparingly – otherwise it defeats the object of trying to draw attention if it is dotted all over the letter

Line Spacing

  • The letter needs to be comfortable for the reader to read
  • single line spacing is OK – but ideally 110-115% space between each line is better
  • Also make sure that there is extra space between each paragraph and good margins around the text – don’t be afraid of white space it helps to draw the reader’s eye into the text.

Bullet Points

  • Bullet Points are a good way of emphasising a short list of important points – don’t have too many of them or they will lose their impact
  • Try to avoid making them too long. Ideally you want them to be 4-5 words only
  • If they do need to be longer than that – summarise the important bit in the first 4-5 words in bold and then expand on that in normal text

Page 2

  • Ideally the direct mail letter should be no longer than one page – if you really feel that you do have to go on to 2 pages, you need to lead the reader in to the 2nd page.
  • The best way to do this is to end page one in mid-sentence followed by a few dots and a PTO just underneath.

The Outer Envelope

  • There is a difference of opinion when it comes to producing the outer envelope for a direct mail piece.
  • Some marketing professionals recommend a headline on the front of the envelope, designed to draw the recipient into opening it.
  • This is fine, if you have an offer that the recipient is already likely to be warm to. However, if not or if you are unsure, I would recommend a plain envelope
  • After all, if the recipient doesn’t know what’s inside, they really should be opening it – you never know it could be a cheque! Some commentators suggest that if the recipient thinks the item is a mailshot, they will throw it away un-opened. That’s why I believe in a plain envelope, give as little away as possible and maintain the element of surprise.
  • Finally, think about the action of opening and extracting the contents from the envelope. Try and make sure that the dynamic headline that you came up with is the first thing that the recipient reads. Think about how the letter is folded to achieve this – remember you only have a very few seconds to draw the reader into your offer – so make every second count!

Good Luck with your direct mail project. Remember, you have chosen marketing’s most powerful method of direct communication, along with email broadcasting. Over 17 million people buy every year as a direct result of receiving direct mail.  You might also like to read our blog about the advantages of personalised documents.

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