Direct Mail Tip: Make your direct mail offer the centerpiece

direct mail offerOne of the easiest ways to improve the response rate of your direct mail lead generation campaigns is by giving more exposure to your offer (or lead magnet).

Too often the offer is buried in the mailer, the reader never sees it and the response rate suffers.  What a shame.

How many times have you found the “5 Easy Tips” offer in the last paragraph of a sales letter or on the inside panel of a self-mailer?

Try a different mindset

In lead generation, nothing drives response more than the direct mail offer.

Other than the list, it’s the single most important element in generating response.  More than the format, more than the message, more than the creative.

So why hide it?

To some extent, this is a mindset issue.

You decide you want to do a direct mail campaign to get your message out to your target audience.  You and your team spend hours crafting just the right message about your company, product or service.  You bring in your designer to create an eye-catching mailer.

And then someone says, “Shouldn’t we have an offer?”

Everyone nods in agreement – and then it’s decided to grab an existing “tips” brochure and add it to the mail piece.

The problem with this way-too-common scenario is that the offer is an afterthought – and as such, tends to be relegated to a lower priority in the mail piece.  In other words, “buried.”

Why not start with the offer?

A better approach would be to start with the offer.

Get your team involved in finding or developing a compelling offer – an offer that provides insight and education on a topic that is important to your target audience, an offer that answers common questions related to the product or service you sell, an offer that makes you look like an expert.

This is where your team should be focused – developing and testing different offers and different titles of the same offers.

Once your offer is in place, then (and only then) start building your message around the offer.

  • Instead of simply closing with the offer, why not lead with the offer?
  • Why not use a photo of the offer?
  • Why not put the offer on both sides of the mail piece?
  • Why not list all the reasons why the offer will benefit the reader?
  • Why not sell the offer?

Assuming the offer is desirable by your target audience, why not make it the centerpiece of your next direct mail campaign?


Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and writer specializing in direct marketing, digital marketing and lead generation.

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About Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and copywriter with a focus on direct mail, email and digital marketing. Bob works with B2B, B2C and Non-Profit clients. You can download his free ebook, "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy."

2 comments to Direct Mail Tip: Make your direct mail offer the centerpiece

  • Bob…

    Where has the Johnson Box gone? That used to be a great place to announce a great offer?

    And in an email, put the PS at the top of the message with copy like, “I know you usually see teh PS at the end of a letter, but this news is so important it can’t wait! We just knocked another 15% off our prices! Click here to grab your extra savings!”

    Both of these things work: they increase response! (Old dogs; Old tricks!)

    Peter T. Britton
    The Write Answers

  • Great points Peter

    I use the Johnsox Box all the time. And yes, I almost always put the offer there.

    Thanks for the input.

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