5 Suggestions for Writing Copy

All the elements on a piece of direct mail must work together to produce a complete and engaging marketing piece that will call for consumers to act. Writing copy for direct mail is a tricky act, as you only have a few seconds to get the consumer’s attention.

Here are 5 tips for writing copy that will complete your piece of direct mail and get consumers to act the way you want them to.

1. Concise and Easy to Read

This is the “make or break” element of your copy. While engaging the consumer and providing the necessary information, you want to make sure that it is simple and easy to read. When planning your copy, decide what is the most pertinent and valuable information to include.

  •         Try to keep your opening paragraphs limited to 11 words.
  •         Try to keep single paragraphs limited to 7 lines of copy.
  •         Use short sentences and short words.
  •         Use fonts that are easy to read – serifs (fonts with “little feet” at the bottom and “hooks” at the end) tend to be easier to the eye.

The U.S. Department of Education says that 21% of U.S. adults read below a 5th grade reading level while the average reading level is approximately 8th grade. Keep this in mind when crafting your copy. Try utilizing the Flesch-Kincaid Score, a tool that will scan copy and give you a grade on readability.

2. Strong and Engaging Angle

Get straight to the point and ask yourself, “why should consumers care?” Prior to crafting your copy, ensure that you and your team are fully aware of the angle that you are taking in the mail piece. That way, your copy will match the entire build of the mail piece – this will create a strong argument for consumers to follow.

Use “pop” words that support your angle. In this case, consumers that are merely scanning your copy can pick out the strong words that will connect the pieces of your angle. Consumers should know exactly what the purpose of your mail piece is.

3. Tell a Story

No one likes to read a boring sales pitch – it’s just a reason for the consumer to throw the mail piece away. Tell an engaging story that will connect with the consumer by making it personable and relatable. Storytelling is an age-old technique for making people feel like they are not alone and others have been successful or happy taking the recommended approach. Craft your story with relatable anecdotes. Remember to keep this part just as concise and clear as the rest of your piece!

4. Leave Consumers Wanting More

Within your copy give just enough information to get your point across and keep consumers engaged, but create some suspense! If your copy leaves a trail of breadcrumbs for consumers to read more or engage on another channel, you’re increasing the likelihood of that consumer responding.

  •         Create a sense of urgency.
  •         Make the “other side” enticing.
  •         Give consumers the tools for engaging further.

Try using a P.S. (Post Script) at the end of your copy. Consumers will usually jump to end after reading the headline, so create a P.S. statement that is a power pack sentence leaving them wanting more.

5. Don’t Forget Your Call to Action!

A powerful CTA will make all the difference. Your consumers should know exactly what you want them to do next. You can be creative and unique with your CTA, especially with a physical direct mail piece. Elements such as Personalized URLs (PURLS), Quick Response (QR) Codes, and detachable forms are a few excellent ways to encourage further engagement through direct mail.