12 Steps to Creating a Successful Direct Mail Package

Antique Typewriter. Vintage Typewriter Machine on wooden table

“We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising. I still believe that one can learn to play the piano by mail and that mud will give you a perfect complexion.” — Zelda Fitzgerald

The prospect of writing and assembling a direct-mail promotion — whether it’s for a traditional mailer or online — can be intimidating to a beginner copywriter. (And sometimes to experienced ones, too!) But it needn’t be the beast it appears to be if you just apply some logic and follow a step-by-step approach.

Of course, there is no one set of rules for approaching every promotion. Ideally, the product or service will dictate how it’s presented. But I’ve found that if I follow these suggestions, in the order they’re presented, more often than not I will end up with a good, strong promotion. At the risk of oversimplification, the steps are as follows:

  1. Before you attempt to write any copy, thoroughly study the product. Familiarize yourself with its features, benefits, past performance, applications, and the markets it appeals to. Digging deep for the facts always pays off because in advertising, people look for specifics.


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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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