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"Little things mean a lot"--consider the humble lift letter.

There is a long-running debate about which element is the most critical one in a newsletter direct mail promotion piece. It's hard to argue with the premise that--

* The list is most important since the best package in the world won't be read if it is mailed to the wrong list, or

* The envelope is most important since the best offer in the world won't sell if the prospects don't open the envelope, or

* The offer is the most important since a great package will flop if the offer isn't really attractive.

And, of course, the letter has to be compelling, packed with reason-why, benefits-oriented copy.

But, as the classic song has it, "Little Things Mean a Lot."

In that vein, some words of praise for the Publisher's Letter.

You know what I mean--the "second letter" added to the package, which is usually, as the name implies, from the publisher. It's used to restate some key point(s) of the offer.

It is also often called a "lift letter" because it is said to "lift" response to the package. Tests usually show an impact of about 10+ percent from the addition of a publisher's letter.

And, needless to say, 10 percent can be worthwhile, especially from an element that usually adds only a penny or two to the price of the package.

Here's a hypothetical mailing: 30,000 pieces at $18,000 for a $197 offer. A response rate of .003--three-tenths of one percent, unfortunately quite reasonable for a mailing these days--would bring in 90 paid orders and $17,730.

If a lift letter added 10 percent to the response, raising the rate to .0033, that would be nine additional orders and another $1,773. Nice.

Liftt letter points to keep in mind

Here are some points to keep in mind when designing a lift letter for your package.

* Many successful ones have been headlined, "Please don't read this letter unless you've decided not to accept our no-risk offer." The premise is that prospects, being contrary, will read this letter first.

* Often the lift letter is formatted, when opened, as "Memo from the Desk of" the publisher.

* If the lift letter is signed by the publisher, as is usual, have someone else--the editor or the marketing director--be the signatory of the sales letter. It doesn't really make much sense for one person to send two letters in the same package.

* So many of these notes begin with the phrase "Frankly, I'm puzzled" that I once headlined the outside of a lift letter, "Your 'Frankly, I'm Puzzled' letter is enclosed."

* The text of a lift letter usually features some or all of the following:

--Restating the major benefits to the reader,

--Emphasizing the guarantee and the no-risk nature of the offer,

--Further gloriously describing the FREE premium report,

--A P.S., of course, directing the prospect to the order form.

* If the editor is signing the sales letter, the lift letter can include credentials copy and awards won--important stuff to get into the package without the editor tooting his or her own horn.

None of this is set in stone, of course. At United we did a test, and a lift letter from the publisher, "Why I founded XXX letter" clobbered the "traditional" version which restated reader benefits from the sales letter.

Closing thought. Although it's a package insert, make sure the lift letter is an adequate size, perhaps 5 X 7 or 6 X 6 before folding. Smaller than that and it can pretty much disappear among the various elements.
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Title Annotation:DM Notebook
Author:Goss, Fred
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Jun 16, 2004
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