1. Not knowing your audience. All writing should be to a specific targeted group. Then craft your writing style and content specifically to your readership.
  2. Mailing to the wrong list. The most common and fatal error in direct mail. Offering Buick mufflers to Chevy owners just won’t work, no matter how great the copy or the price.
  3. Not writing to clear objectives. Have a specific objective – having people call, visit your Web site, or send in a business reply card – and refer to it repeatedly.
  4. Price before offer. Make sure you tell them about your product or service first. No matter what you’re selling or promoting, a price has no meaning until readers know what they’re getting.
  5. Price before benefits. Tell readers what makes your offer so great in terms of potential benefits to the reader. If it’s a free dinner seminar, demonstrate beyond the meal why it’s worth their time.
  6. Wrong price point. Let the market set the price. Test each price point you feel will work, and see which one brings in not only the most response, but the most overall profit. With dinner seminars, this can help determine the right price you pay per meal or location.
  7. Inadequate testing. There’s no reason to lose big money in direct mail. Everything is testable, and you should test small mailings until one is clearly a winner.
  8. Wrong objective to your marketing piece. Asking for the sale instead of requesting a response can be a fatal mistake. A direct mail objective is to make the reader contact you to make a reservation or an appointment, or request free additional information.
  9. Wrong headline. The headline is the single most important element of your direct mail piece. On the basis of this one line, the reader makes the decision to continue – or not to continue – reading the piece.
  10. Not telling readers exactly what you want them to do. Tell readers multiple times exactly what you want them to do. It’s amazing how smoothly weaving the phrase “please call” into the copy several times can really encourage people to take action.


Source: “Uncommon Marketing Techniques,” by Jeffrey Dobkin. Danielle Adams Publishing Co.