Reprinted from The Catalog Marketer

15 Ways You Can Get Better Results

By Reviewing Your Mailing List History

With Your Direct Mail Copywriter

by Rene Gnam

Your copywriter can do a better selling job for you if he knows a lot about the lists you have used and will use.

Before writing, your copywriter reviews and analyzes mailing lists. He needs to know:

  1. BAD PREVIOUS he can eliminate certain copy appeals he might otherwise use.

  2. BREAKEVEN he can examine the copy that was used to see if it can be improved and thus be successful in acquiring additional sales.

  3. GOOD PREVIOUS he can determine like factors that influence his writing.

  4. CUSTOMER LISTS...the longevity of your names and their buying history, similarity of names, amounts purchased and percentages of payments via check, bill me, credit card, so he can structure his writing to your "hard core".

  5. TEST he can determine appeals for each of them, or for clusters of similar lists.

  6. GEO DISTRIBUTION...because he knows that names in certain areas need certain specific copy points.

  7. LIST SOURCES...because he'll want to write copy that is targeted to the same appeals that worked to produce the names you already have or those you'll rent.

  8. ORDER METHODS...because he knows that copy should stress phone convenience for those who like the phone, order form convenience for those who buy by mail, and telex or fax for international companies. Do advise your writer of the percentages of orders by each method so he can determine the copy weight for each avenue.

  9. TYPES OF he�ll write to individual clusters of names even though you mail to zillions. He'll weave specific points into his copy for business names, others for consumers, still others for those people who buy at the company but take the product home.

  10. EMPLOYMENT...with consumer lists, he wants to know typical occupations so he can consider copy points that enable the prospect to rationalize his purchase. With business lists, he needs to know job functions, titles, job longevity, types of firms, size of firms and what they market to whom so he can capitalize on this knowledge in his writing.

  11. INCOME LEVELS...because he knows that copy can be written to all levels and be less functional than copy that directs itself to specific levels, you do yourself a favor by acquainting your writer with the income ranges of the names on your lists.

  12. INTEREST the shrewd writer can incorporate appeals to prospect interests, hobbies, or advancement goals.

  13. MARITAL STATUS...because your writer does not want to say that your stereo will be enjoyed by the entire family if you're using a list of newly divorced people.

  14. COLLECTING PROCLIVITY...because writers know that people who collect will continue to do so and mentioning this aspect of a product's value is a key point.

  15. STATUS/ACHIEVEMENT ORIENTATION...perhaps the most important copy platform appeal considered by good writers is how to convince the reader that this product or service will give him greater status or enable him to achieve more. Authoring copy to hit this convincer is exceptionally hard, and the copy is written differently for each group of different achievers.

Help your writer by giving him all this vital information...and more...and he will sell more for you.


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

logo for Rene Gnam

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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