Direct mail letter image

We all know postage prices are going to soar at the end of April.  At 50p to send a 2nd class letter, will direct mail letters become a thing of the past?

In February, we set up a new limited company for the Copywriting Apprentice.  Since then we’ve been besieged with letters from accountants introducing themselves and their services.  A savvy move?  Possibly, though we  already have an accountant. But what if we didn’t?  Would any of these letters have me clamouring for their services.  In a word, no!

Sadly, accountants have a reputation for being dull and boring.  There are many who are trying to break this mould and working hard to make people realise not all accountants are coloured grey.  Our own accountant is one of them.

But sending dull letters of introduction doesn’t help. While they might not be conducting mass mail campaigns, the cost is still significant.  Just churning out some standard form letter written by someone who doesn’t understand the psychology of direct mail, isn’t going to deliver any ROI (return on investment).

So what was wrong with the letters?  Here’s a selection …

Formatting – text too small and tightly packed.  The content squashed up to the top of the page making it hard to read.

The headline – ‘Congratulations’ (on what?)  ‘You’ve set up a new company’ (yes, we know that) – nothing there to attract our attention.

Large amounts of uppercase letters SHOUTING threats about the repercussions if we didn’t comply with the legislation.

‘WEEd’ on content … we do this, we do that.  Nobody said what was in it for me (we’re talking benefits here).

Signature – electronically printed.  That’s a turn off in itself.

The PS – what PS?  There were none.

Imagine if one of those accountants saw the light and employed a professional copywriter.  Their letters would positively sparkle in comparison.  And if there was business to be had, who do you imagine would get it?

So as a result, we did our sums.  And knowing how accountants like numbers, I’ll share our findings here  …

We based this on our charges for writing a direct mail letter and on the modest amount we pay our accountant each year.

So … if a well-written letter brought in one (just one) new client in a year, that accountant would enjoy a 600% ROI.  

You might not be an accountant, but if you’re thinking of sending out any direct mail letters, my first bit of advice is stop and think … and my second is to find yourself a good copywriter.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy
Remember, if your letter isn’t written properly by someone who knows what they’re doing, you might as well not bother and save yourself the cost of the stamp.