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WARNING: Do NOT Try to Sell Anything Else Until You See This...The BIG Checklist

WARNING: Do NOT Try to Sell Anything Else Until You See This...The BIG Checklist

October 30, 2009

Use this checklist BEFORE you do another promotion, mailer, sales call, website, ad, brochure or any other type of marketing pitch! These are the best-tested and proven strategies for making money with direct marketing from my personal files.

This list is a gold-mine of ideas that you and your marketing team should have with them at all times. Whether you're developing a new promotion or trying to turnaround an existing one, use this checklist to help guide you.

Using the tools in the picture above, you're guaranteed to get a much bigger return on your marketing and advertising. Read on to see how you can put them to work for you.

Here are the biggies:

1. CATER TO YOUR HUNGRY FISH: Make sure you're targeting a specific group. Speak only their language. It's okay to turn others off. Be specific, i.e. 'attention, left handed golfers'

2. ATTRACT THEM WITH IRRESISTIBLE BAIT: Give them an offer they can't refuse. Remember the Godfather (but be nice). Make a great offer for a response. Pile on bonuses ' use FREE gifts and FREE reports.


LIMIT THE OFFER ' Create scarcity, exclusivity, urgency, create artificial limitations then stick to them. Limit the number available, time to respond, special pricing, number of people invited.

USE THE WORD 'BECAUSE' ' Why should they believe you? Add the word 'because.' Give credibility specifics and testimonials (use pictures, audio, video). Show real results, avoid squishy endorsements such as, 'they're so good.'

BE SPECIFIC ' Use numbers like 43.5% increase, 211 people, 36 years or $67,214.53 profit.

SELL THE STORY ' Tell a story. I call it 'infotain.' Illustrate a person with a problem and show how they solved it.

OFFER THE PROMISE OF AN OVERT BENEFIT ALWAYS (POOBA) ' Here's where you get tough and promise a big benefit or your hungry fish get their money back. Examples: Domino's Pizza, '30 minutes or less guaranteed,' FedEx, 'Next day delivery guaranteed.' For my direct mail company, Lumpy Mail, 'Double your response guaranteed.'

SHOW YOUR WARTS ' If you have a weakness, flaunt it. Turn it into a positive. (Avis: We're #2 so we try harder.)

RISK REDUCTION ' Remove the risk of doing business with you. Give a big, bold guarantee. Be specific. 'Earn an extra $22,000 in 45 days or get a full refund plus $100 cash

4.USE EMOTION: Employ the PASS Formula. (1) Talk about the Pain your hungry fish are going through. Agitate the problem by explaining if they continue to do nothing. Solve the problem with your offer. Share Stories of how others have benefitted.

5. USE THE LAW OF RECIPROCITY: Give away freemiums (free gifts that you give upfront) in the mail. Free stuff makes your prospects feel warm, fuzzy, interested and obligated. My mom called it 'guilt mail.'

6. REPEAT: Let me say it again ' REPEAT. Send a series of mailings, not just one. Best response comes after the 5th contact based on research.

7. Create a BIG ZIG: While everyone else is zagging in the market, you want to create a Big Zig that will stop people and make them take notice.

General Strategy

  • What's your time frame? (Determine when it needs to be in the mail, and then work backwards.)
  • How many mailers will you send in a series? Most successful direct mail is part of a series. Many use 3-4-5-6-7 and more in a series. Send over time to the same audience. This is your best way to increase your response. Please do it. You'll be glad you did!
  • Use the Power of Emulation. Is there anybody you can borrow ideas from? In the beginning you don't have to recreate the wheel!
  • What are your basic elements? Carrier (envelope, tube, box), lumpy item, letter, brochure, testimonial, picture of premium on separate insert.
  • What is your break-even point, and worst-case scenario? (See page 6 for my secret formula.)
  • Test! Test! Test! It's the only truth. We've been able to increase responses by up to 700% using the strategies I've discussed in this article. You can have far more sales, inquiries and store traffic for the same money just by testing different headlines, formats and copy.
  • How will you track your results?
  • Did it work? How will you measure if it was successful?

Lumpy Mail Insert

  • Lumpy mail gets opened and read. How can you tie in a freemium? How can you tie it into the headline, subhead and/or first paragraph and closing paragraphs? Example: 'Why did I send you this TUIT coin? First, to get your attention. Second, because you must get 'around tuit if'''
  • It should reinforce a benefit.
  • Is the item well-protected from breaking?
  • Will it crumple your paper or break through the package if you send it in the mail?
  • Is it over '-inch thick? Will you have to pay a surcharge in postage?
  • Can you have fun with it? Draw them into your business. Tell them to touch it and use it. Arouse curiosity and intrigue.
  • Does it have staying power? If it's imprinted with your name and contact information (e-mail, website, phone #) they'll contact you in 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years when they're ready.
  • Can it be personalized? People Love their own name. Remember the two most powerful names in marketing are your prospects' first name and last name.

Irresistible Bait

  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Put a picture on the response device, maybe the envelope too.
  • Did you use benefit-rich, sexy words or features?
  • Do prospects get a FREE gift if they take action?
  • How can you tie it in with your message?


  • Does it pass the slippery slope test? In other words, does the headline make the prospects want to read the next line and next line? Did you use the right fonts and sizes?
  • Does your subhead build excitement?
  • Does it offer a benefit or make a big, bold bodacious promise?

The List

  • Is this your target audience?
  • What do they like?
  • What do they read, buy or belong to?
  • Is it a response list?
  • How do you format the list?
  • Who else should be included?

The Copy

  • Check to make sure you have the 'Big 4' in your letter before it's sent to the printer or posted on your website: (1) salutation, (2) signature, (3) a concise P.S. that reiterates the promise and your best offer, and (4) a strong headline that grabs a reader's attention. A reader will look at these 4 things before anything else.
  • Does the introductory paragraph make readers want to read on?
  • Is there a call to action (what you want readers to do next)?
  • How did you address them? (when in doubt use 'Dear Friend,')
  • Is there a sense of urgency? Is there a reason why someone must respond right away?
  • Did you include a deadline to respond?
  • Did you include the appropriate legal disclaimers?
  • Is your offer irresistible?
  • Does it pass the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) test?
  • Can it use more PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solve)? Remember, every marketing or advertising piece should demonstrate a Problem and then Agitate readers by showing what would happen if they do nothing. Finally, it should illustrate how your offer will solve their problem.
  • Does it pass the 'Why should I care?' test?
  • Does it tell a story?
  • Is the USP (unique selling proposition) clear?
  • Does it WOW You? If it's not a WOW! It's not a go.
  • What is the main benefit?
  • Do you offer proof with facts and figures to support the benefit?
  • Can you offer price reductions to make the offer more appealing?
  • Does it include a handwritten signature?
  • Does it look and feel personal?
  • Can it be personalized with the recipient's name? (Are the names spelled correctly?)
  • Did you include testimonials and endorsements?
  • Is it believable? How can you improve your credibility?
  • Is there a risk a reduction (a big, bold guarantee) in the offer?
  • Is the guarantee strong enough? Is it repeated?
  • Did you speak your prospects' language? (Avoid industry jargon.)

Don't ignore the response device! (1) Avoid the evil word, 'order form.' Use benefit-oriented titles such as 'Savings Certificate' or 'RSVP Gift Certificate.' (2) If you offer a premium, show a picture of it. (3) Emphasize the urgency to respond. Offering additional gifts in this case can increase response 15% or more. (4) Restate your guarantee!

  • Did you eliminate all the 'I, me, mine and we' and replace with 'You or yours?' (Your prospects don't care about you. It's about them and what they'll get!)
  • How does your promotion rank on the boring meter? Can you give it a kick in the pants?
  • Can you make it more personal? People buy from people. Put your personality into it.
  • Did you include illustrations, photography and graphics? Visual and color graphics mean action. Add movement to grab more attention. Many people are graphically oriented so be sure to include plenty of images to get your message across to your prospects.
  • Did you ask questions? Asking questions is a terrific technique to keep your prospects engaged. But don't overdo it and be sure to answer the questions.
  • Did you break up the copy with bullets, headlines and short paragraphs and subheads to keep the reader moving?
  • Can you see your prospects nodding their heads and saying, 'yes ' yes' to your offer?
  • Did you push any emotional hot buttons? The big ones are fear, greed and desire?
  • Did you touch a 'pain point?' (People only buy when they have enough 'pain' to motivate them.)

Use this checklist the next time you're planning a promotion. I guarantee you'll see better results in your sales and marketing.