In Business-to-Business Direct Mail Sales Letters, Make It Easy To Respond

Alan Sharpe

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I have a client who wanted to drive prospective customers to his online store using a business-to-business postcard. Great idea, I thought, and cost effective.

He had a terrific product, a compelling offer, and a sound business model. He had just one problem. He wanted to make all website visitors register before they could browse his product catalog. Big mistake.

So I, along with his business partner, managed to talk him out of the idea. And he will be glad that we did.

That’s because one of the fundamental requirements of business-to-business direct mail is that you make it easy for your prospects and customers to respond. The word to remember is “convenience. ” You must make responding as convenient as possible. Here are some ways to do that.


  • Pre-print your prospect’s name and address on it.
  • If prospects must complete the card, give enough space for company, job title, address and city.
  • Pay for postage so prospects don’t have to hunt for a stamp.
  • If you need to qualify prospects, ask as few questions as possible.

Place coupons at the outside corners (not in the gutter or the middle of the page), where they are easy to tear out.

Make the math as easy as possible so that customers can quickly and accurately add shipping, handling and sales tax to their order.


  • Offer as many payment options as possible without paralyzing your reader. One of the most attractive payment plans (and one likely to boost response, if you can afford it) is the “send me an invoice” plan.
  • Accept all the major credit cards.
  • Accept orders by telephone (toll-free, of course).
  • Accept orders on your website.

If you are after a lead and not a sale, make the next step in the sales process as convenient and as painless as possible for your prospect to initiate. Some prospects are reluctant to respond by phone because they fear they will hear a sales pitch. Others dread responding by email because then you will know their email address. Through testing, discover which response methods work best for your target audience.

One of the beautiful things about shopping by mail is the convenience. You don’t have to battle traffic, hunt for a parking spot or wait in line. But that is only true if the direct mail ordering experience is also convenient. Use some of these methods to improve your convenience quotient and your customers will thank you for it—with their orders.

About the author
Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter and lead generation specialist who helps business owners and marketing managers generate leads, close sales and retain customers using business-to-business direct mail marketing. Learn more about his creative direct mail writing services and sign up for free weekly tips like this at

© 2005 Sharpe Copy Inc. You may reprint this article online and in print provided the links remain live and the content remains unaltered (including the “About the author" message).


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