Reprinted from The Catalog Marketer

Writing Copy to Get Fresh Names

by Rene Gnam

We all want our direct mail promotions and catalogs to produce new names for our future mailings, so we use variations on the familiar referral name or "get a friend" theme. We can do so much more.

Suppose you've used a compiled list of names at business addresses. Many of those names are outdated due to job reassignments or function shuffling. In other cases, you have job functions or titles on the labels, but no names.

What to do?

Often overlooked is the space within the mailing box, but to the left of the mailing label. Here are some copy concepts you can consider using in that space to try to get new names:

  1. Ask the recipient to return this section with proper spelling of correct names and titles. Sure!...You can do this with a rented list. Any responses you get are your own for future use as desired.

  2. Promote a special deal, special prize or special event as an incentive to supply the fresh names.

  3. Honestly admit you're using an outside list and would appreciate the proper names so you can be of greater assistance.

  4. Indicate that the prospect company's "subscription" to the catalog is running out and you'll renew it without charge if the proper names and titles are supplied.

  5. Tell the recipient your computer lost the name of the executive who requested the catalog, so you need an update.

  6. Ask for additional names and titles at the prospect company, indicating that a personalized gift will be sent to each new person with a card from the executive who supplies the names.

  7. Direct the recipient to your referral name card inside.

  8. Indicate you can't send a bonus item from a previous promotion without the right name and title. You're holding and will send it when the mailing section is received with corrections.

  9. Ask the recipient to immediately move the peel-off label to your order form and mark corrections on it.

And, of course, you can combine several of these techniques with relatively short copy, perhaps like this:



Your bonus gift from our last catalog is ready to be shipped now, and you are entitled to a personalized notepad this month.

 Both gifts are yours at no charge, no obligation. Just print all corrections to your name and address on this section and mail it to us today, being certain that we have the correct spelling of your name and your proper company title.

If your name and address are 100% correct on our mailing label, just write "correct" on this section and mail it now.

Your FREE Gifts will be shipped by UPS on the day we receive this section back from you.

All words in this one example fit in 2" x 1-1/2". 

Those 2" could bring you tons of future sales.


Rene Gnam is an independent response marketing consultant

specializing in creative advertising techniques.

He can be reached at 813-407-8400


Photo of Marketing Consultant Rene Gnam

Rene Gnam is a Marketing Consultant and Advertising Copywriter

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I'm usually in Florida, and here are the numbers:

FAX 813-475-4354      CELL 813-407-8400

You can reach me right now by e-mail:


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