12 Little Mailing Tips That Make A Big Difference


Friday, July 4, 2003

***  “The secret to success, in life and in business, is to work hard at the margin. Relentlessly.  It’s as powerful as compound interest, the eighth wonder of the world .Those little marginal extra efforts will inevitably grow into something big.”  — Bill Bonner

***  Little things mean a lot

***  “God is in the details”


No successful marketer I’ve observed, even those who should know better, take all the actions discussed in this issue. By acting on this information, you will markedly increase your success.

Here are 12 action tips that increase response and can give your sales letters that all-important success margin.

1. Typefaces. Use either Courier (not New Courier) or Times Roman. All my tests have confirmed these are the most profitable. Courier in nearly every case outpulls any other typeface.

2. Spacing. Indent five spaces for each paragraph. Double space between each paragraph.

3. Margin notes.  Handwritten notes in the left margin of your letters create a personal feeling and will help draw attention to important copy points. Use short words and phrases. Examples:

“Please note”
“Free gift”
“Sale prices”

Note:  Do not overuse margin notes.  Do not exceed one or two per page.

4. Cross out prices.  When you are offering a discount off a “regular” price, crossing out the old price and handwriting the new discounted price can really draw attention to it.

5. Liberal use of subheads. Subheads help break up large blocks of copy.  Use at least two or three subheads per page.

6. Break sentences. Never end any page of copy with a period, as do most people. Break the sentence and continue it on the next page.  This tends to keep your prospect reading, which is the whole idea.

7. Page numbers.  Make sure each page is numbered, preferably at the top of the page, and always in the middle of the page.

8. Reading instructions.  At the end of each page, on the bottom right in parentheses use the following:

On odd numbered pages: (Over please) On even numbered pages:  (Please go to page 3) – or 5, 7, etc.

9. Caption photos.  Never run a photo, even if it’s you, without a caption, assuming the reader will figure it out. Many won’t.  Always include a caption describing the subject of the picture.

10.  Testimonials. If you are doing an outstanding job in satisfying your customers with products and services, many people will send you favorable comments.  These can be among your strongest marketing tools. However, most marketers do not get anywhere near the potential sales power from testimonials. To get maximum impact from testimonials:

A. Request written permission to use the testimonial in whole or in part.

B. Request a photo. Customers will provide this about 90% of the time.

C. Use full name of testimonial sender. Include city and state. Most people use initials, which have little or no credibility, and omit city and state.

D. Use the testimonial verbatim as written. This captures the exact words and tone of the sender.  Many people rewrite testimonials, which is a big mistake.

11.  Consistent handwriting. Make sure the signer of the letter also writes the margin notes and cross-outs.  The same handwriting helps maintain consistency and thus credibility.

12.  Signature.  Use a felt tip pen for the signature, margin notes and cross-outs.  Make sure signature is always reprinted in process blue. Not black. Brown. Red. Green, etc.  Process blue works best (your printer will know what it is if you don’t).

I and other marketers, such as The Wall Street Journal, have proven the power of a blue signature in live tests.

Another important point that is often ignored is the boldness of the signature. Most signatures on letters look shaky and weak.  This communicates an apologetic feeling, the opposite of what you want. The person signing the letter should practice their signature so that it is bold and strong.

In any mailing, what you are asking a prospect to do psychologically is suspend belief for a few moments. While people may realize they are receiving a mass mailing, the above tips will help give your communication a personal feeling.

Here’s to more success in all your written communications.

Yours truly,

Ted Nicholas

p.s. Please feel free to forward this letter to a friend.  To see previous issues of “The Success Margin,” just visit our website
at www.tednicholas.com