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An Essential Direct Mail Checklist. Does Your Direct Mail Check the Boxes?

Marcus Johnson

We’re always on the lookout for and appreciative of essential advice for direct mail producers. A tip of the hat, then, to Paul McQuillan and an unnamed marketing seminar speaker, whose seminar he attended. Paul turned that encounter into a direct mail checklist and wrote a piece for Target Marketing a few years ago. These nine questions are evergreen, however, and constitute a call for rigor; i.e., every piece of direct mail you create needs to be able to satisfactorily answer every one of these questions. And they could well provide the spark you need to raise your direct mail game. I’m dividing this time-tested checklist into groups of three questions to discuss over a series of posts.

Question One: What am I trying to sell?

This boils down to, “What is the singular purpose of this ad/direct mail letter?” Put another way, “Here is what I offer.” If you’re not clear on your purpose, your audience won’t be, either.

Question Two: What problem does my product/service solve?

If you cannot make a clear, strong argument for the problem-solving benefit(s) of your product/service, you may as well save the cost of your postage. As this essential direct mail checklist insight makes clear, your target audience must be crystal clear on two points:

  1. That your product/service will make them smarter/healthier/prettier/richer/more admired or improve their lives in some personally beneficial way.
  2. That you’re the only one who can solve their problem at a price they can afford.

Question Three: Why should they buy it?

Here’s where you make your case. And it needs to be strong, as well as reassuring. Are you so certain of your product quality that you offer an unconditional moneyback guarantee? Is your product so well made that no one else offers anything like it at your price point? Will their house/yard/garden/carpet, etc. look and/or smell better than new when you get done with it? Make sure you sing your praises, but make it about your prospect and be specific.

Next up: Don’t touch that dial until you answer three more questions

Our next post will review questions four through six of the direct mail checklist and give you more ammunition to sharpen your sales pitch and create more effective direct mail.

Want to get better at direct mail faster? Consult the pros at IWCO Direct

We’ve been polishing our direct mail skills for years. So if you can’t wait to elevate your direct mail game, come to the pros. IWCO Direct can get you on the fast track to smart, data-driven, performance-tested direct mail campaigns. Contact us.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2020/07/15/essential-direct-mail-checklist/
Marcus Johnson


Marcus Johnson

Marcus is a Senior Writer who blends creative writing and idea generation to bring copy to life for leading financial services organizations, professional sports teams, healthcare, and outdoor brands. The question this University of Minnesota graduate and former winner of the Best in Show from the National AgriMarketing Association loves to ask is, “How can I help?” When he’s not pounding out copy, he loves doing yard work, especially leaf blowing. In sports, Marcus cheers for the Humboldt Broncos, the Canadian hockey team that lost 10 players in a 2017 bus crash.

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