“Don’t Choose A Direct Mail Copywriter Until You Read This”
by Scott Bywater
Do you use direct mail for your business… or do you plan to use direct mail? If so, then this article will hand you the exact questions you need to ask before hiring any direct mail copywriter.
Not All Direct Mail Copywriters Are The Same
And if you have ever hired a direct mail copywriter, you’ll know what I’m talking about. They generally fall into two different categories:
- Too boring: Many direct mail copywriters talk in ‘corporate speak.’ In fact, they might even address you from the company rather than the individual. And talk in ‘we’ language (about how wonderful the company is) rather than ‘you’ language (how the company can help the customer).
- Too hyped: On the other side of the spectrum, you have the direct mail copywriter who sells with too much ‘hype’ and not enough substance. Sure, you need to excite people. But a direct mail copywriter also needs to realise they need to prove every claim. Cover every objection. Explain why their product is unique. And deal with an ever increasing skeptical consumer.
Some direct mail copywriters rely on ‘intuition’ and not the study of their craft… the greatest sales letters… and human nature. Others try using processes which work for one type of individual. But don’t know how to match the specific individuals they are talking to in each instance. (for example, they may be able to sell to a group of real estate agents, but not a group of computer programmers).
How do you know who to believe or to trust with your direct mail copy? Don’t become a victim of poor copy delivering poor results. Don’t throw in the towel and say ‘direct mail doesn’t work’ just because you hired a poor direct mail copywriter.
5 Questions You Should Ask A Direct Mail Copywriter
Before Handing Over A Cheque
- What results have you generated for other clients? The only reason to pay a direct mail copywriter for their services is because they can get results. Otherwise, you may as well do it yourself, right? So ask them for testimonials of actual clients who have generated results. Now, the testimonials don’t have to be in the same industry as yours. No copywriter can be an expert in every industry.
A direct mail copywriter is much like a salesperson. If they can sell one product… in the majority of cases they’ll be able to transfer the skills across to another market.
- Who are your mentors? The names you want to hear are some of the world’s best copywriters. People like David Ogilvy, John Caples, Leo Burnett, Clayton Makepeace, Gary Halbert, Gary Bencivenga, John Carlton and Dan Kennedy. If your copywriter doesn’t know who these people are, then dig deeper before hiring them.
- Can you show me some examples of your work? A professional direct mail copywriter will have heaps of examples they can show you. And it’s important you see them before going ahead. And when you get them, don’t look for pretty pictures. Don’t look for prose your English teacher would love.
Look at whether it connects with you on an emotional level. Look at whether… if you were the target market for that specific letter… it would interest you. Consider whether it is exciting or ‘ho hum’ boring. The number one mistake in direct mail copywriting is being dull.
- What’s your opinion on long copy versus short copy? If the reply from your direct mail copywriter is that he prefers short copy because ‘people won’t read all that writing’… then RUN as fast and far as you can… just like Forrest Gump. Why? Simply because thousands of tests over the years have proven over and over again that long copy invariably outpulls short copy. And people will read all that writing IF they are your target market and interested in what you are selling. And IF they are not, they’re not going to buy from you anyway. Right?
- What process do you follow when creating copy? A good direct response copywriter should interview you. And take the time to understand your customers needs, wants and fears. This allows them to get inside your customers head and understand what keeps them up at night, what they desire most, and what benefits are going to be most important to them.
You’ll also want to know how many headlines they write when creating the copy. The answer should no less than 15. And preferably more than 30. Given the fact one headline can increase the response of a direct mail package by up to 1700%, a professional direct mail copywriter needs to dedicate sufficient time to making it a winner.
Now that you know exactly how to choose a professional direct response copywriter, you might want to print this page out and keep it handy for the next time you are looking for a direct mail copywriter. The copy is the most important element of your campaign (because it’s your salesperson) so make sure you do your due diligence and find a direct mail copywriter who can generate the response you are looking for.
If you’re looking to educate yourself on direct mail copywriting, so you can spot a good copywriter from a bad one, then…
Your copywriting friend,
Copywriting That SELLS