Put Your Reply Device to the Test

As a copywriter you already know that a well-written reply device is crucial to the success any direct-mail package, including catalogs.

But it can be more than just the means by which prospects share their information; it can be an active and effective part of your sales message, according to direct-mail veteran Sandra Blum. In her book, Designing Direct Mail That Sells, Blum outlines 19 questions that you can use as a guideline to determine whether your response mechanism simply takes orders or leads to them:

  • Is it easy to understand?
  • Is it easy to find?
  • Is there a clear statement of the offer?
  • Does it highlight the benefits?
  • Does it encourage action?
  • Does it spell out how to respond?
  • Does it highlight the guarantee?
  • Are the price and terms clear?
  • Is the sales tax spelled out?
  • Are shipping and handling costs indicated?
  • Is delivery time stated?
  • Are time limits stated?
  • Are any rules and regulations handled positively?
  • Is the return address included on the reply form?
  • Are phone, fax, and email included?
  • Does it fit in the reply envelope easily? Without folding?
  • Did you ask for a change of name and address?
  • If possible, are name and address of responder filled in?
  • Is postage-paid return provided if payment, credit information, or confidential information is requested?

Keep this checklist handy, and the next time you’re working on an assignment, pull it out and put your own reply device to the test!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: February 14, 2007

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