Since the direct mail piece was HVAC related, I read it. It was one of the worst I have seen in a long time. Here is the first of two articles listing common mistakes I frequently observe in contractor direct mail.

1. Lack a Main Headline

Consumers do not read junk mail. They scan it and discard. You have an instant to grab their attention. You need a compelling headline to do it. It is the single most important copy on the direct mail piece. Yet, it is amazing how many contractors send out direct mail totally lacking a headline. Or, there are half a dozen headlines, which is tantamount to none. What is the point?

2. Leave Out Emotion

Most contractor direct marketing runs something like, “Here’s the stuff. Save money on the stuff.”

There is no attempt to stir an emotional response. Zig Ziglar said, “People don't buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”

Zig was right. Stirring emotions, whether in the copy, imagery, or both is more likely to prompt action than presenting the stuff.

3. Feature Boxes, Boxes, and More Boxes

When contractors do include imagery, it’s usually a condensing unit, furnace, or full product array...