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How can I get Higher Response Rates on my next Direct Mail campaign? Answer: Use A Pen!

Updated on January 29, 2012

Why use real handwriting on Direct Mail?

Get Back to the Basics for higher response rates on your next direct mail campaign with Real Handwriting!

I have worked in direct mail marketing for many years now and the one thing that has always bugged me about it was how impersonal it can really be. Most businesses want to reach your mailbox, they want to establish a good relationship with you, but they cut costs when it comes to contacting you. This results in a highly impersonal, mass produced, "you're just a number",
advertising campaign.

It's time to get back to the basics... and here's how.

In today's society, we communicate more by texting, e-mail, Facebook, blog posts, and instant messaging than ever... Even my 70 something Mother uses Facebook to keep up with the family!

Let me ask you a few questions:

  • When is the last time that you received a handwritten letter in the mail?
  • Was it your birthday or a Holiday?
  • How many times per year do you receive a handwritten letter?
  • And lastly - When you receive a handwritten letter -- Do you open it?

Our research shows that nearly all of you will open that letter!!

When the economy seemed to "tank", it had an extremely negative impact on my direct mail business. Response rates plummeted and customers slowly faded away. I had to set out on a quest to find a way to bring back the "zing" to our direct mail program that we had been known for.

What used to work wasn't working anymore....

The campaigns that we mailed were mainly for life insurance leads, a tough market to say the least. Our direct mailers were also time sensitive to give our customers an edge in this competitive market. I already had the best mailing list that I could possibly get, as we were compiling the lists ourselves. I had already upgraded to First class mail to get our letters there faster...Standard rate mail was taking up to 2 weeks to deliver.

What else could I do?

I needed to get more of our mail opened. I did some research and found that for every 1,000 letters that we were mailing using our bulk mailer format, we were lucky if 20% of them were even being opened. I was shocked by that. At this point I knew that the fast track to better response rates was to get more people to open our letters!

Same tired old options..

I started the tiring task of researching ways to get some attention....I looked at all styles of envelopes, lumpy mail pieces, expensive printing options, scented mail, and more..

And now for the light bulb..

But what appealed to me the most, and seemed almost so simple that it couldn't possibly work, was trying a mailer addressed by hand...

And guess what..? It worked! We started testing the same direct mail piece that we had always used, but rather than put it in a window envelope, we slipped it into a plain white envelope and Hand-Addressed it! We also affixed the postage with a regular stamp instead of using a meter mark.

Response rates instantly soared.. they more than tripled in most of our areas. Some did even better than that!

In summary..

Hand Addressed Mail will increase your open rate, therefore increasing your mailers response rate! If you don't believe me, try it yourself! Take a sampling from your next mail campaign and hand address it - stick a stamp on it, and then watch the effect that it has on your response rates.

T Johnson Marketing (That would be me)

By offering Hand-addressed direct mail services not only to the insurance market, but to all markets, our company has been able to begin recovering from the downturn in the economy. I personally thank God for blessing my business. Especially lately. He's allowed me some time to focus on other things for a time, giving me a new outlook on my marketing business. One thing that I know for sure, is that He is the reason for any success that comes my way! I will always give Him the Glory!

A wonderful sideline to new businesses that opt for Hand Addressing and Handwritten letters is that JOBS ARE BEING CREATED HERE IN THE U.S.A.! Hand addressed mail, hand written sticky notes, handwritten letters all take time and labor. Every new client creates a new job for someone.

And in case you are considering using real handwriting, but are concerned about the additional postage cost.. Don't worry. We can still use Bulk Mail postage rates in conjunction with real handwriting! Yes, it can be done. Real handwriting is more affordable than you think. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.

If you are considering getting into the business of real handwriting, we do use subcontractors in the Delaware/Maryland areas and are always looking for team leaders who are experienced with recruiting, training, and managing work teams. So if you are interested in starting your own hand-addressed mail service, we would be glad to add your group to our list of sub-contractors!

We offer High Volume Handwritten mailers, and hand addressing - 1,000 pieces to 1,000,000! Give us a call!

T Johnson Marketing
Rising Sun, MD 21911
Office: 302-727-0339 9-5 Eastern, M-F

NOTE: Please visit our specialty and niche mail program links

Please see the links below to visit some of our niche mailing programs that have have either resulted from using hand addressed mailers, or have been improved by switching to hand addressed mailers.


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      Directmail Services 7 years ago

      Nice Topic. As any good direct marketer would tell you, testing is the key to a successful direct mail campaign. Having the right balance of test elements allows you to understand what components are working, and what needs continued refinement.

      There are some basic components for testing a lead generation direct mail campaign:

      1.test the list sources

      2.test the offers

      3.test the creative (from paper stocks, to formats, to copy).