How to Write a Successful Order Form and Increase Response

How to Write a Successful Order Form and Increase Response

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  1. How to Write a Successful Order Form and Increase Response


    In direct mail, there may be no more valuable component than the order form.  It is typically the way people send for your product or service, and you want to do everything possible to make it easy to order.  Often, people turn to the order card first to see what the offer and price is. Here are 10 steps to writing a successful order form and increasing response:

    1.      Don‘t call it an order form.  That makes people feel like they’re being sold, and no one likes to be sold.  Call it a Trial Reservation Certificate, a Free Gift Bonus, a Membership Trial, or any similar combination that doesn‘t say “order form.”  This makes it appear more valuable. 

    2.      Add a decorative border, safety paper background, simulated rubber stamp, handwriting, or serial numbers, etc.  These devices make an order form also appear more valuable.  Henry Cowan, direct mail guru and founder of the original busy sweepstakes package with its eagles and other artwork, says the order card should “look too valuable to throw away.”    

    3.      Make the order form one of the largest, most colorful components in your mailing.  You can use a smaller perforated coupon with the pertinent details that will fit into the reply envelope.  Be sure to include a postage-paid reply envelope in the package.

    4.      Use personal involvement to make the reader do something.  Have him apply a stamp to the card (found elsewhere in the mailing, preferably on the outer envelope.)  Or a “yes” or “no” token.  You want to make the reader act, including sending back the form.

    5.      Restate the offer and benefits on the order card.  Every piece in a mailing should be able to stand alone.  People often turn to the order card first before they read the letter or brochure to find out the cost. Benefits will entice them to order.

    6.      Start with a commitment:  “Yes, please send me…”  Or “I accept the invitation to try…”  Or “OK, I will try…” Then clearly state what it is they are ordering.

    7.      Important:  Include the guarantee on the order card.  For example:  “Your money back if you are not completely satisfied.”  Put this within an important-looking border.

    8.      Include an 800 number, and give it a prominent place on the card.

    9.      To prevent inertia, don’t use the order form as a survey questionnaire.  Make it as simple and easy to use as possible, without asking questions, other than what is necessary to fulfill the order, i.e. size or color..

    10.  Offer more than one way to order:  mail (using this order card and a postage-paid reply envelope), 800 telephone number, and online website.

    Direct mail is an enticement.  No one was expecting to receive it.  It has to entice people to open the envelope, entice them to read the contents, entice them to send for something they didn’t know they wanted.  So direct mail calls for artistry as well as salesmanship.  Of the two, what do you think is more valuable?  Don’t forget:  no one likes to be sold.


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