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How to Write Direct Mail - American Express

Updated on July 26, 2014
Direct Mail For American Express - Tips On Writing The Direct Mail Letter
Direct Mail For American Express - Tips On Writing The Direct Mail Letter | Source

Logic Track For the Direct Mailer

In a typical Direct Mail letter ,certain questions are answered by the copywriter in a sequence known as 'The Logic Track'.

  1. Why are you writing to me?
  2. What is this about?
  3. Why should I buy it?
  4. What must I do to get it?

The last rule – the ‘call to action’ usually asks the recipient to fill in a Response Device and mail it back, in a pre-paid envelope provided for his convenience. Once he does this, he gets something free.

Objective of the American Express Direct Mailer

This promotion for American Express sells American Express Traveler's Cheques to international business travelers.

The Offer

The offer is the second most important factor in any form of Direct Marketing. Here it is a complimentary holiday to Jakarta and Singapore.

Creative Route For Direct Mailer

The idea is to make the target audience wish for a welcome break from work.

The Entry Form Or Response Device In Direct Mail
The Entry Form Or Response Device In Direct Mail

The Strategy for the Communication

Two contests for international business travellers were devised where the target audience had to send in photocopies of American Express traveler's cheques, purchaser's application forms and the first page of his KLM business or first class air ticket.

He also had to fill in an Entry Form to the Contest and write a slogan:

I prefer buying American Express Traveler's Cheques because ___________________

A memo note on a Post-It was attached to the response device (entry form) for his secretary. Being CEO, he is not expected to fill in the form himself.

This is what the note said in handwritten script (for that personal realistic touch):

Re: My trips abroad in May/June/July/Aug. '90

1. Get me only American Express Traveler's Cheques

2. I would preferably like to fly KLM. Please check their flight schedules and let me know.

How To Write A Sales Letter For American Express
How To Write A Sales Letter For American Express | Source

Each Paragraph In the Sales Letter Answers Questions in the Minds of the Target Audience

Envelope Headline:

After winding up your next business trip, unwind at Jakarta and Singapore!

Dear International Business Traveler,

(Answers "Why are you writing to me?")

Imagine opening your mail one day and receiving an invitation to a five-day holiday in Singapore and Jakarta.

(Answers "What is this about?")

This could happen to you if you purchase American Express Traveler's Cheques on any of your business trips between May 30 & August 31 this year.

What's more, if you also fly KLM first or business class during this period, you will be able to take a companion for the holiday as well– for free."

(Answers "Why should I buy it?")

How to Write About Contests in Direct Mail

The next paragraphs in the letter explain the details of the two contests the target audience is invited to enter. Winning the regular contest will ensure a holiday for one, while the special contest offers the same complimentary holiday for two. This section answers "What must I do to get it?"

Notice how the benefits of American Express and KLM are explained in detail towards the end. This will help clinch the deal as the call to action is always last.

Now let me tell you why carrying American Express Traveler's Cheques and flying KLM make good business sense, not just for winning, but all the time.

American Express Traveler's Cheques are accepted all over the world and also provide you with complete protection in case of loss.

For example, only American Express can hand deliver replacements for lost or stolen cheques to you virtually anywhere in the world. And only American Express offers you the facility to send an emergency telegram to anywhere in the world at no extra charges if your Traveler's Cheques are lost or stolen.

When it comes to flying, KLM is one of the finest choices you can make. You get convenient departures to Amsterdam, Singapore and Jakarta. Many also choose KLM for its pleasant attentive service, great comfort and exquisite cuisine.

Now you can combine good business sense with a fabulous holiday by participating in the two contests which could win you and a companion a well-deserved holiday.

Wishing you all the best,

Yours sincerely


P.S: Do pass on the enclosed Memo Note to your secretary to help you win a complimentary holiday to Jakarta and Singapore.

P.P.S: The closing date for the contest is August 31, 1990. Your entries should reach us by September 10. Also, please pass on photocopies of the entry form to your friends and colleagues so that they can win a super holiday too.

The Flow of the Direct Mail Letter

The copywriter must anticipate the questions that occur to the person reading the letter and answer them in sequence. The success of the letter will also depend on devising a strategy and using the correct creative route.

The P.S. in Direct Mail

Research shows the most read part of a letter is the p.s. The p.s. in direct mail is used to remind the target audience of the offer, the action required and the closing date for the offer. This letter required two postscripts that highlighted the most important elements.


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