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I'm one of those anal marketers who loves receiving direct mail each day. I review the contents as if I were giving them a marketing grade. (Must be the former teacher in me.)

So far this week, I received a personalized letter from a local couple advertising their real estate services. Let me share what they did right.
1. The paper stock is textured and printed in full color. The back is in one color, full bleed, with screened-back large words such as, "knowledgeable," "exceptional," "attentive," - all adjectives describing their level of service.
2. The letter is dated and addressed to my husband and me by first name.
3. The lead sentence is a rhetorical question: "Remember the days when it cost less than a nickel to mail a letter?" That's an attention-grabber and timely with the post office raising rates this month.
4. I would have tossed the letter at this point, except that I noticed it had something stuffed in it. Twenty, two-cent stamps! Now, who's going to throw away this piece? What a smart premium. The body copy is all about the stamp price and the availability of forever stamps. This part of their letter is positioned as "good news."
5. The back of the envelope has a sticker over the flap encouraging recipients to refer people to these agents. That's clever.
The positives outweigh the negatives in this piece, but I'll mention a few boo-boo's to balance it out.
1. There's a grammatical error in the copy and sticker. "If you know someone who would appreciate my me with their name..." The subject doesn't match the possessive in the object. One is singular and one is plural.
2. The tie-in from postage stamps going up to selling real estate is a stretch. They used the "good news" theme to announce that listings are selling and they need more.
3. They misspelled my surname on the envelope.
4. The sticker on the back of the envelope covered their URL.
In another piece that arrived the same day, I received an invitation from an upscale jewlery store to purchase a (specific) diamond ring for only $99. I would also get a free crystal vase. This piece was costlier to produce, but it turned me off immediately. The cover letter indicated that I was receiving it as a preferred customer. But, I've never even walked in the door! All that money and they didn't even segment the list.
Are you as anal as I am about direct mail? Do you scrutinize yours, too?

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel