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 Copywriter

October 2006
Volume: 21 Number: 10

You Need A Lift!

"Read this only if you have decided NOT to take advantage of this
incredible offer!"

You've probably seen this line, or one just like it, a thousand times before.

It's always on the cover of a small, folded slip of paper that's an inevitable
part of your junk mail.

Except this little piece of paper definitely isn't junk.

It works. It lifts response. In fact that's why, in the copywriting business, it's
known as a "lift letter." (You may also see it referred to as a "publisher's letter"
or a "second letter.")

Yes. Lift letters can add a substantial boost to many direct mail packages
and they should not be disdained or overlooked when you're trying to sell
something by mail.

Bob Stone, one of the direct response industry's pioneers, and a man who has
been collecting response data for decades, has stated that "such a letter boosts
response 10 percent or more."
Wouldn't it be silly to walk away from a fact like that without at least doing
some testing?

O.K. I grant you that by now the line I quoted at the top of this page is nothing
more than a tired, worn-out cliche. As copywriters we should always be looking
for ways to cut through the clutter -- not settle for bland and mindless formulas.

Still, just because you or I hate a specific line, it doesn't mean we have to reject a
whole technique that can help us sell a product.

Nope. I'm a true believer. I've seen for myself that lift letters can lift profits -- which
is what successful marketing communications is all about!

Enough said. Here are some proven tips and techniques you can put to use today:

1. Keep it small. You don't want your lift letter to fight with other parts of the
package. Therefore, stick with modest dimensions. 5" x 7" or 7" x 7" folded
once works well. Or try 8"x 5 1/2" folded into thirds.

2. Fold your lift letter. Why? Because a headline on the cover by itself builds
interest. And because the act of opening the letter creates a subtle form of
involvement with your mailing.

3. Stick to one point. Because you're dealing with a small space, don't try to
write another War and Peace. Say one thing, but say it well and forcefully. Maybe
you should hammer away at your guarantee. Or tell a "time is running out" story.
Whatever you do, be sure to keep it simple!

4. Keep it personal. Remember: a lift letter is a real one-on-one communication --
a final word from one human being to another. So keep it personal and human.
That may mean using handwriting on the cover or "lightening up" on the tone of the
copy. A lift letter is not the place to overwhelm the reader. It's the place to entice,
cajole, entreat, and sometimes even do a little creative begging!

5. Have it signed by an "authority." Often it works well to have the lift letter signed
by someone with a higher corporate status than the person who signed the major
selling letter in the package. For example, if the main letter is signed by a Sales
Manager, the lift letter can come from the Senior Vice President.

6. Don't forget the P.S. As I've said before, postscripts get read like
crazy so consider including one in your lift letter. Note:
the P.S. can be handwritten for a personal touch.

About Ivan Levison

Need some help with copywriting? Pick up the phone and give me a call! I'm a
freelance direct response copywriter who works for high-technology companies
like Adobe, Hewlett- Packard, Intuit, Intel, Microsoft, and many others.
(Terrific small technology companies too!) I write lead-generation letters, emails,
Web pages, and ads. Why should I be writing for YOU?
You'll find the answer at: http://www.levison.com/pg8.html

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

How To Subscribe/Unsubscribe

SUBSCRIBE FREE to The Levison Letter at

UNSUBSCRIBE by sending a Reply to this message with
just the word unsubscribe in the subject line.

IMPORTANT: Your subscription information will NEVER
be traded, sold, or used by anyone else. That's a personal

Copyright 2006, by Ivan Levison, All Rights Reserved.

Recent Back Issues of The Levison Letter

Enter and click "Go"
Click Here to see back issues of The Levison Letter


© 2013, Ivan Levison & Associates. All rights reserved.