What To Put Inside a Shock And Awe Direct Mail Package

We write for, and are on the mailing lists of, some of the most successful marketers on the planet.

We study them, watch what they do online and offline (yes, they always do both) and the one major similarity is how they have mastered the big “shock-n-awe” package. Some may do it bigger than others, depending on the price of what they are selling, but they ALL do it.

What is it they are doing? They are mailing packages that are so much more than a single sales letter…more than just a clever grabber…and more than their competition is doing that’s for sure.

They are blowing their prospects mind with an overwhelming amount of info, in all sorts of forms and media, so that the lead will be so utterly overwhelmed and impressed they will have no other choice than to say “yes”.

Here’s what they are adding to their copy to answer every question, every objection and create a ’burning desire’ for the lead to want more:

Lift Letter, Notes and Third Party Endorsements

A lift letter or note is an addition (short) letter that is designed to “lift” the response of your mailing. This letter is usually from someone other than the person doing the mailing. So… a customer or other “third party”.  BUT I have used it to add a thought or bring to light a certain angle that I think would be of particular concern to the reader.

This “lift” note or letter is a great way to add a testimonial or “letter about you” that’s from the mouth of an actual customer.

It should have a different look and tone than the main letter…remember it’s supposed to be from someone other than you. So even if you write it speak differently or people will suspect that it’s not authentic. Use different sized and color of paper, fonts and overall look should be different than main letter.

If the letter is a Third Party “endorsement” type letter or note see if you can have the person put it on their business or personal stationary. It should be attached or placed on to of the main sales letter. You want them to read it first, as it significantly increases the readership of the mail piece.

  •  Lift Letter – It’s, again, used to overcome skepticism. Include a testimonial letter, endorsement, or just an additional letter from you and draw more curiosity to it by putting one of the following on the outside:
    “Open ONLY After Reading The Enclosed Information”
    “Read ONLY If You Don’t Think This Opportunity I s Right For You”
    “Still Not Convinced?…Read This Now…”
    “Open This Envelope After You’ve Read The Enclosed Special Report…”

shock-and-awe-direct-mail-2No one will be able to resist…even more reason to put just as much effort into these lift notes and loose inserts as you do the main sales letter.


  • Post-It Notes– I LOVE the sticky note idea, and I’m not the only one. Heck, even my local newspaper is slappin’ these babies on it’s front page.The best way to use the sticky note is to put your deadline, guarantee, offer…the most important info on it. You want to place it partially over the copy…so the reader must look at it and peel it off before they can read on. 
  • Article Reprints– Is there an article that you have that “proves” your point in your letter, adds credibility to you or your business or will answer questions in the minds of your reader? Well, throw’em in your package.I did this when trying to sell businesses on the effectiveness of corporate wellness programs. Our local paper ran a HUGE article on the front page of the business section just the week before I sent my mailing. So I included a copy of the article along with my letter.If you have been featured in a publication of any kind that verifies and proves your credibility, include it. Even highlight important parts to draw their attention to the juicy stuff. This would also be a good piece to add a sticky note “Though you might enjoy this -” Who could resist.


  • Coupons or Certificates– People love to get in on a great deal, but more importantly they want to hold it in their hands…especially women! We LOVE a good coupon! And coupons just aren’t for retail, almost anyone in any industry can create a coupon for their goods or service. Even, online guys can send coupons, just include the web address and online discount code. Remember, they don’t want to “read” about their savings, they want to hold it in their hands!shock-and-awe-direct-mail-3 
  • Testimonial Inserts– You just can’t ever have enough testimonials. Put them throughout your letter but also place them in a separate insert or booklet (my favorite) so you can overwhelm this with positive feedback and PROOF! Remember, they don’t trust you and you need to show them overwhelming PROOF!Just remember the testimonial rules: use full names, business name, city and state and pictures when possible. 
  • Photographs– There’s nothing that piques curiosity more and makes people take notice than a good photo. I have seen people use giant group photos of the attendees of a prior years event (when selling the event for the current year), pictures of the speaker that will be presenting, or it could be something totally stupid that can somehow tie into the sales letter.Plus, you can then put “Photo Enclosed, DO NOT BEND” on the envelope. The use the back of the photo to explain why the photo is enclosed. 
  • Buck Slips– A “buck slip” is a mini-insert, usually one page, that is included in your mail piece. They call it a buck slip because if done right will increase your response, hence, more bucks for you.This slip should be an odd size and be loose in your package. The idea is that you want the prospect to see all kinds of pieces “fall out” when they pull the contents from the envelope. The buck slip should stand out, perfect for the “skimmers”.The same general copy rules apply…compelling headline, subhead, bullets and be sure to include important info like details of your guarantee, offer, deadlines, bonuses, etc. However, don’t stuff too many ideas on the buckslip, just choose a single concept for each side…the guarantee on one side and/or bonus info.

    shock-and-awe-direct-mail-4I also like to use an eye-catching graphic of some sort, usually tying in the theme of the main letter.  You have two sides to work with so fill the back with testimonials or more details. Always include your toll-free number or website in case it get separated from your package.


  • CD/DVD– These are really great to include in your mailing or package, and best of all, they’re cheap! (Always a plus in direct response).  Think about it…wouldn’t you at least open a package that says “CD or DVD enclosed– DO NOT BEND”?Plus, you can continue to sell to them on the CD, in the order in which YOU want them to hear the info. Load it with actual testimonials in your client’s or customer’s voices. Or, do what I did, invite current customers to join you on a teleconference call, pick a subject that would be interesting to a wide range of people, especially your prospects, then invite your callers to share their success stories throughout the call (maybe give them a  hint as to what to talk about). Burn the call to CD and Voila…instant audio sales letter. Truth is, some people are listeners, others are readers, so why not reach them both?DVD’s are very powerful also, so you get the people who like to be shown, instead of reading or hearing the info.


  • Checks– Once again, great envelope copy when you use checks…”Handle With Care Check Enclosed” I don’t know about you but I like checks…they WILL open it.If you are saving them a lot of money with your offer or showing them how to make a lot of money you can include a check made out to them in the estimated amount that they will save or earn. Really puts the possibilities right there, front and center.You could also include actually copies of checks that your current clients or customers made by using your product or service. Just be sure to black out any personal info and the account numbers. THAT would be a really bad oversight. Oh, and this translates very well online also. Show a check right next to a testimonial from the recipient…irresistible PROOF!


  • Brochure– People like to see what they are being asked to buy or sign up for. Show them pictures and details. Help them visualize. This also will add even more credibility, proving to them you are who you say you are. Just remember, a brochure is NOT sales letter. Don’t you DARE think mailing a brochure will “sell” someone. It won’t. 
  • Special Report – This can be inserted as a “bonus” to your letter or it works very well for lead generation from a online source or offline ad. Sometimes it just a lot easier to tempt them with free info to get the lead than go for a mass mailing to cold prospects that really don’t give a darn about you or what you sell. Getting them to raise their hand with a special report gets you a much warmer lead.