And so you can with direct mail if you find a printer that does it.
Done right, your letter seems to be written to that one reader and nobody else.
This means you are going to get higher response compared to non personalisation.
Think about it, who ever gets a person letter in the mail today?
To get started you need a list of prospects that have several attributes that are listed on a spreadsheet.
I'll give an example for a website designer.
Annual revenue $5 to 10 million
Makes or fixes things
Been in biz for more than 30 years
You can get a mailing list like this for free
from your local library either through AtoZ Databases or Reference USA.
Those Databases will sort your selects into headed columns on a spreadsheet so the variable printing software signals to the printing machine what variable to write.
Now the mechanics are out of the way, let's see what a personalised letter can look like
with an example then I'll give some comments so you can get the thinking behind it.
I was asking my long suffering assistant, Claire,
whether you've got your website yet.
Her response, No!
She went on to explain you probably don't want one because you've done ok for the last 30 plus years and won't get one now.
I told her you probably secretly want one to show off your business but dear god, this tech stuff drives you crazy!
Not only that, you aren't going to embarrass yourself in front of young whipper-snappers by talking about this techy stuff.
Afterall, we were born in a different era when you make your honest living working with your hands, not punching a keyboard.
What if we settle you in all comfy and have a chat about what you have in mind?
You do the talking and I do the listening.
Here's my personal number, so you don't have to go through Claire, she's the one who keeps out the pests...
Xx xxx xxx
What you first notice it's conversation.
First between the writer and his assistant
then to the letter reader.
Asking if "Bill" has a website.
You can't get much more personal than that.
Or can you?
Well being in business 30 plus years makes
the reader you know something personal about him.
Then for a triple stack of rapport building.
Go straight in with what seems a negative against you.
Why on earth would you do it?
Because the reader is probably thinking it already and you can't sweep an elephant under the carpet.
By bringing it up first, you diffuse the bomb that will blow up in your face if not dealt with.
Since we selected an underserved market,
older successful biz owners, we tap into how they feel about tech stuff and the younger generation.
Do this to the point of getting a "that's right" out of them.
Before we can get someone to take action from a complete stranger, he needs to know you understand him first.
Hence the triple stack.
It's good to add in a form of "it's not your fault"
like I did with being born in a different era.
The response mechanism used is the phone.
It could be a a recorded message or a direct line to a live person.
For most of the older generation,
they prefer picking up the phone and talk with someone.
I'll point out the appeal of a website used is pride and nothing more.
Talking about money puts you in the same annoying pests category as all the others wanting to sell them a website.
What we the advertiser think the market want is wrong in most cases.
Hence I'm leaving it open to the readers interpretation.
Gary Bencivenga, who Gary Halbert and John Carlton paid $5,000 to learn from, told me the responders to his direct response agency ad which offered to beat the performance of existing ads, didn't want to talk about that subject.
So you've now seen what a personalised letter looks like, the mechanics on how to build it out and the right thinking to maximize response.
Personalisation is a modern day marvel.