Direct Mail Strategies: How To Get a 50% D.M. Response Rate With A Stroke Of The Pen

Did you know that your clients and customers are getting hit with approximately 3,000 advertising messages a day! This barrage of advertising noise is making it increasingly difficult for prospective customers to hear what your business has to offer.

So, what can a business do to break through this noise and actually have their messages heard by their targeted customers?

Many businesses have just simply started to advertise more and louder…which simply compounds the overall problem. Some have tried gimmicks and sales. Still others have simply accepted a stagnant business growth model.

However, a few have begun to see huge success with a 2,000 year old tool that has none of the sexiness of a celebrity endorsement or the award winning graphics of a Madison Avenue advertising firm. That tool is a simple handwritten note.

  • A Midwestern restaurant owner sent out a series of handwritten notes to his customers and had a 20% response rate.
  • A financial planner in the Northeast sent out just 80 handwritten notes to touch base with prospects and had 6 people call him and 2 set appointments.
  • A non-profit was able to get 51 donations by simply sending a handwritten note to warm list of 100 people.


Handwritten notes are special. Clients cannot throw them away without reading them.

I dare you to try and throw out a handwritten note without reading it the next time you get one. Believe me, I’ve tried. I recently received a handwritten postcard from the hair studio that I had abandoned 6 months earlier for one closer to my home.

I knew it was probably just them asking me to come back as a client, but did I read it even though I knew it was a prospecting piece? Yes. There is a magnetic feeling that handwritten notes create that draws you in every single time.

Would I have read a prospecting form letter or an advertisement from the same studio? No.

So is it worth it to spend the time sitting down to write handwritten notes to your clients and prospects? When was the last time you have had a 6%, 20% or 50% response rate on a mailing?

Here are some tips on how to get up to a 50% response rate on your next handwritten note mailing:

  1. Each piece should begin with your client or prospects name – not a generic greeting
  2. You should handwrite the piece yourself or utilize some of the technology now available that will duplicate your handwriting accurately and easily – A computer-generated font, while easier, will NOT get you a 50% response rate
  3. Give your client or prospect a reason to call you – “I just thought of an idea that might really cut your tax bill, give me a call so we can get together before you do your taxes this year! Talk to you, Mike”
  4. Put it on a card that will get their attention – Cute, unusual, beautiful, historic, children, animals…they all work but use a picture that catches their eye
  5. Hand address their address, Do NOT use labels – Labels tell them that you sent the same card to hundreds of other people. You have to keep it personal, even if you are sending it to hundreds of other people!

If you follow these few, simple and easy guidelines, you will be surprised at the huge response rate you will receive. It will also be the last time you’ll want to flush good money down the drain sending out generic form letters or invitations. A little elbow grease or a little smarts (using technology) will go a long way when it comes to direct mail response rates.

About the Author: Direct Mail Strategist, Michael Kaselnak can help you get a 6%, 20% or even a 50% response rate on your next direct response mailing. As creator of the Hoard Client Marketing, Sales Lead and Referral Systems, he personally brought in over $33 million in new business in just two years in a small Midwestern town. To learn how to put the automatic referral driver to work for you, check out this Free 3-minute movie: