Format – Order Generation Letter Package

The Order Generation Letter Package

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Order Generation MailerThe order generation letter package is considered to be the classic direct mail package because it was the format of choice for the pioneers of direct marketing – those early publishers and mail-order companies that introduced the concept of buying by mail.

This package is best designed for businesses that use direct mail to generate immediate orders.  It is not typically used for lead generation.  Non-profits also use this format for fundraising.

The order generation letter package can be designed for a variety of envelope sizes.  The size of the envelope will directly affect your postage rate.

The most common envelope types are #10, 6×9 inches and 6×11 inches – all three of which can be mailed at the basic “letter” rate.  Larger envelopes will be mailed at the so-called “flat” rate which is about double the cost of postage.

Mailing components

This format has multiple components, including:

  • outer envelope (#10, 6×9, 6×11, 9×12, 10×13)
  • letter (often 2 to 4 pages long)
  • brochure (ranging in size/folds)
  • a reply form or order form or donation form
  • reply envelope (business reply or courtesy reply)

Occasionally, this package may include additional inserts such as a premium sheet, an endorsement sheet or a testimonial sheet.

Why such long copy?

The rationale goes like this:

Because the goal is to generate an order (a financial commitment), the reader is likely to have many questions about the product/service, the company and the offer before taking action.  Therefore, it is essential for the mailer to provide a complete explanation so the reader is completely comfortable with the buying decision.

This rationale applies to both product/service selling and fundraising.

Order generation offers

The offers used in an order generation campaign are multi-faceted.  In other words, there are many elements to a typical order generation offer.  Changing any one of these elements will effectively change the offer – and most likely, your response rate.

Let’s look at a typical order generation offer:

It starts with the product or service being sold – and the price you’re charging for that product or service.  These two elements make up the core of the offer.

Obviously, any time you change the product or service (you add or subtract features, for example), or you change the price, you have dramatically changed the offer.

But there are lesser elements that could also change your offer and your response rate.  Some will have more impact than others.

  • pricing discounts, combination rates, early bird specials
  • incentives (premiums with order)
  • shipping options
  • payment options (bill me later is a game changer)
  • response channel options
  • trials (one week, one month, two months, with or without credit card)
  • guarantees (30-day, 60-day, lifetime, unconditional, etc)

Order generation messaging

The main characteristic of an order generation mailer (letter or self-mailer) is the length.  They typically require long copy because in order to get people to buy your product or service, you need to answer all of their questions.

An order generation message would lead with a major benefit, but it wouldn’t stop there.  You would also need to include every other benefit you could think of to build your case.  Often these benefits would be tied to specific features which helps to substantiate your claims.

At the same time, you will be looking for ways to build your credibility.  This can be done through demonstration, supporting charts, photographs, endorsements and testimonials.  Many lead generation packages will include many testimonials – often with photos and real names.

Finally, the offer itself needs to be presented in detail which also requires space.


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Please contact Bob McCarthy at 508473-8643 or  Or fill in the form below

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