A good direct mail can be worth its weight in gold. But you need to get the content just right. Here are eight hot tips to help you on your way.

1. Show the benefit upfront
Put an attention-grabbing headline at the top of your direct mail in bold text. A good headline should clearly demonstrate the benefit to the reader and encourage them to read further.

2. Start talking about them, not you
When someone opens a direct mail, they want to know one thing: what’s in it for me? So don’t waste time in the intro with standard letter openings like “I’m just writing to tell you about…”. Instead, talk about your reader first and how they will benefit from your product, service or offer.

3. Write to a person, as a person
Keep your tone friendly and conversational. Imagine you’re writing to one person. It helps if you have an image of that person in your head. Write to them as you would speak.

No-one likes to be spoken to by a committee, so avoid using ‘we’ and ‘our’ and use ‘I’ and ‘my’ instead. And if you want your reader to contact you, make sure the contact is the same person who signs the direct mail at the bottom.

4. Make your offer clear
Direct mails need to persuade people to act – and offering them something special, such as a discount, free sample or free consultancy will help. And research shows that limited-time offers work better than open-ended ones, so set a deadline to make your reader act now. If you can make your offer completely risk free, all the better.

5. Use bold text
People skim a letter before they read – and they often decide whether or not to read further based on what they see. So use well-placed bold text to make the main benefits and the offer catch the reader’s eye.

6. Be clear about your call to action
Most direct mails won’t clinch the deal – but they can open up a dialog or persuade the reader to find out more. Decide what you want your reader to do (phone you to arrange a meeting, visit a website or fill out and return the enclosed form) and make this clear. Also, once you’re done writing, go back to your direct mail and remove any text that doesn’t lead the reader to take the action you want.

7. Use the P.S.
People tend to look down to the bottom of a letter before they read the main text, so use a P.S. to clearly restate your offer, what’s in it for the reader and don’t forget to put in your call to action.

8. Make your letter appealing to read
First impressions count, so create the design and layout of your direct mail with a lot of white space, and make sure it pulls your reader towards your call to action. Great images help, too!