When it comes to writing direct mail, less is usually more. You need sufficient words to deliver your message and spark emotions but beyond that, each additional word dilutes the essence of what you want to say.
The front. A strong start.
We recently received this piece of direct mail on the left from Amnesty International Australia. These are the three key panels.
The first panel the reader sees is strong: a well known line, entirely appropriate to the cause, cleverly reappropriated.
- Could we lose some words? Yes.
On the left is the second panel the reader sees. It’s obviously leading to a third panel. A three-part format is a standard for movies, jokes or direct mail. However it would benefit from a trim.
- Cut, cut, cut.
This is our recommended edit for the second panel: shorter, sharper.
- The third panel.
The third panel, here on the left, aims to create a response in the reader. Perhaps this line would have sufficed; Use your right to speak out.
- The shortest panel yet.
This is even shorter and more pointed.
So much for our unsolicited advice – use the comments section to make yours.
We at Hootville are far from digital fundamentalists which is why we’ve recently invested in some magazine inserts to promote our training (see below). Have they worked effectively as a promotional option? Yeah, we think so. Infact they probably work better then the direct mail we’ve recently invested in which proved significantly more expensive, messy and resource-intensive.
We selected one benefit to emphasise. From so very many.
Using iStockphotos for imagery saved us time, money and opened options. Using Sam at Evoco Design is always a smart move. He also designs for Our Community.
We like that we’ve struck upon a look and feel that can be consistent but adjusted as required. This saves time and concentrates the brain when conceiving up each new flyer.
It’s strange how constraints – in this case the use of silhouetted images, the need for a witty remark from a dachshund and limited copy space – actuually speeds up the creative process.
Did we mention we're running webinars?
We think we’ll continue this series for a while yet. We would like them exhibited at the Guggenheim upon our death.
We already have Victorian Youth Mentoring Alliance, Surf Live Saving NSW, Family Relationship Services Australia, Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health, Diabetes Australia Victoria and YMCA Victoria joining us for our first public Copy Savvy 101 webinar. Et tu Brute?
The first 10 registrants to our copywriting workshop have the first option to have their copy reviewed (mauled) by the group. With the anonymity provided by the web, the feedback should be full and frank so be quick and take up the opportunity.
As of August 16, we are just about full, so quicksticks if you want in.
Direct mail is a universe unto itself. Still the backbone of most fundraising programs, it’s a mix of skills, science and gut instinct. The creative must meet the right segment of the right list at the right time. If not, there’s no pretending otherwise – dollars don’t lie. The Arts Centre in Melbourne outdid itself with this effort, personally addressed to our Mayor and self-professed patron of the arts Brett de Hoedt.
Cute kid, quaintly illustrated, personally targetted.
At 16 pages, there's quite the narrative arc.
Sadly Baz Luhrmann outbid Martin Scorsese for the film rights.