Ivan Levison — Copywriter
Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting


Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
E-mail, Web Sites & Advertising

Published by
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriting

Volume: 20 Number: 11 November 2005

Watch out! Email isn't the same as paper mail! -
How email copywriting is different than direct mail copywriting


If your company is using email to generate leads, make
sales, or drive people to your Web site, let me issue an
important warning.

If the person writing your email letters is using the
same techniques they used when writing standard PAPER
direct mail letters, you risk getting creamed!

Yeah, I know that direct mail and email share many
crucial similarities. But there are BIG differences too,
and if you write both exactly the same way and expect
great results, you could be in trouble.

Let me give you an example that makes the point clearly:

Some time ago, TigerSoftware sent Word Finder Plus
customers a letter by snail mail that started this way:

"Dear Registered User: Consider this: No two words in the
English language have precisely the same meaning. That's
the beauty of the language -- and the challenge . . . If
you write letters, reports, proposals, speeches, ads,
articles, essays -- anything -- the private offer on the
all-new Word Finder Plus is being made especially for

Now, on paper, this lead-in could work just fine. In
email, it would crash and burn.


Because when you pick up a letter in your hand, you're at
your desk in the office, or sitting comfortably at home.
You're somewhat at ease, somewhat receptive and relaxed.
You're in your "let's go through the mail" zone. Sure you
throw out the junk mail. But you'll sometimes give a
letter ten seconds (a LOT of time!) to see what it's
about. This means that a letter's lead-in paragraph, like
the one above, at least has a shot.

But what about email? Do people go through it the same
way they do paper letters? As they say in New York,
"fuhGEDaboudit!" Their In-Box is jammed and full of spam.
They're under the gun and moving quickly. If someone
starts an email by telling them that "no two words in the
English language have precisely the same meaning. That's
the beauty of the language -- and the challenge . . . "
they're history!

Nope. Email copywriting demands that you grab people's
attention quickly then move IMMEDIATELY TO THE OFFER.
Here's an example of an email lead-in that I wrote for
Intuit (to promote the old Quicken Deluxe):

"Interested in tracking stocks and mutual funds?
Want to spend more time investing
and less time searching for data?

Now you can try it absolutely FREE FOR 30 DAYS
without risk or obligation!"

See what I mean? In email you have to jump in very

My advice? When you're creating an email sales letter,
remember to include the bottom line benefits (the way you
did in paper direct mail), but pare down the language and
get to the point even more quickly!

How To Get In Touch

Ivan Levison
Direct Response Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive
Greenbrae, CA 94904

Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
E-mail: ivan@levison.com
Web Site: http://www.levison.com

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Copyright 2005, by Ivan Levison, All Rights Reserved.

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