Today we return to our new series called “Old Masters,” and we’re going to look at another list from Maxwell Sackheim’s book, “My First 65 Years In Advertising.”
Sackheim started in direct mail in 1906. In 1927 he was a co-founder of a highly successful direct-mail business, The Book-of-the-Month Club.
He wrote a very famous ad with the headline, “Do You Make These Mistakes In English?”, which ran for 40 years and was always profitable.
The list we’re going over today is called “Seven Deadly Direct Mail Mistakes.” But don’t worry if you don’t do direct mail yourself. It’s based on hard-won wisdom and it applies just as well today with Facebook ads and funnels as it does to actual direct mail.
(Seven deadly Direct Mail mistakes)
1. Failing to Give The Reader a Good Reason to Open Your Envelope
This applies to ALL forms of direct marketing. Almost all forms involve more than one step — whether the first step is opening the envelope, responding to a print ad, or clicking on a Facebook ad. Be sure that you’re giving your prospect a strong reason to take the FIRST step.
Cheat Sheet Question #1: Did I give me prospect a good enough reason to take the the first step?
2. Failing to Give The Reader a Good Reason for Reading Your Mailing
Every step of the way through your funnel, make sure you give your prospect a good reason to read it and move on to the next step.
Cheat sheet question #2: Did I give my prospect a good enough reason to read this copy and move on to the next step?
3. Making Trivial Tests
Important tests are of major elements that can really affect response. Headline, lead, offer, pricing, for example. Test the things that are most likely to make a real difference in response.
Cheat sheet question #3: Make sure you’re testing elements of your copy that are likely to make an important difference.
4. Making Sales, Not Customers
It costs a lot to acquire a customer. Why WASTE that money when you can turn it into profit by making additional offers to each customer?
Cheat sheet question #4: What am I doing to increase the lifetime of each customer, and extend the lifetime value?
5. Believing that People Won’t Read Long Letters
“People read long books, take long trips, watch long movies and plays, and read long letters — provided they justify the time. They must be interesting. They must promise a profit, in entertainment, in money, in enlightenment.”
Cheat sheet question #5: Am I providing all the information my prospect needs—and doing it in a compelling way?
6. Letting the List Go to the Last
“The reasons many mailings fail is that they are directed to too many wrong people.” Same is true for ads and other types of copy that are targeted wrong.
Cheat sheet question 6: Am I targeting the right people?
7. Forgetting that Your Letters Are You
“Every letter you send is your personality on paper. Whether you mail one or one million, each letter tells who YOU are.”
Cheat sheet question #7: Am I writing to my customers like I would talk to a friend?