|Blind envelopes sometimes offset lack of known brand to improve open rate|
I recently received a letter in a blind outer envelope. The only hint of the mailer is the postage indicia from "LFS, Inc." The inside of the letter describes my opportunity to pay for some purchases over time with Bill Me Later® because I am a "Continental" customer.
- Copy is full-justified, making it difficult to read.
- All copy is the same font size, including the 9-line disclosure. The only use of boldface is for required legal copy. This makes the letter impossible for a customer to scan.
- The entire letter is one color, with a logo that appears to be produced on a dot matrix printer.
- The call to action is difficult to comprehend. Is it to request an account as mentioned in the first paragraph, place an order with a merchant as mentioned in the third paragraph, or go to their website?
- The word "on-line" is hyphenated. While this is grammatically acceptable, it isn’t a stylistically common usage in consumer communications, potentially distracting readers.
- The offer is good through "December 05, 202011." A date before the 10th of a month should not have a zero in it, and "202011" is not a real year. Proofread your materials!
- Every mention of Bill Me Later® includes a registered trademark in superscript. Legally, the registered trademark is required only in a company's first mention in body copy. Also, superscripted text interrupts eye flow and should generally be avoided.
- Some of the copy is pedestrian. For example, in the third paragraph the customer is asked to place an order for "an amount not exceeding your pre-approved amount." Huh?
- The letter has a signatory but no signature. This further suggests that it is an impersonal form letter and the company is not caring of the customer.
|Hard to scan + Hard to read + Hard to understand = Hard to believe|
On the whole, a letter like this will fail to inspire consumer confidence or interest in Bill Me Later. It is a challenge to believe that something is "convenient and safe!" when the sales letter is poorly written and has errors. Even letters from the federal government look better than this.
PayPal could improve a one-page solicitation letter in many ways, including:
- Adding color to the package.
- Positively branding the envelope as from PayPal, a trusted brand, with the PayPal logo.
- Using balanced and varied typeface sizes.
- Adding a Johnson Box.
- Including subheads before paragraphs.
- Italicizing relevant URLs.
- Not going into detail about why I was preselected, or at least being correct about the company name.
- Using full dollar amounts and avoid decimals, e.g. "$5,000" rather than "$5,000.00".
- Including a signature with the signatory.
- Proofreading lettershop samples and verifying data field formats.
Lesson: There is so much wrong with this solo letter package that the lesson here is simple. Don't waste a valuable brand to send poor mail like PayPal did.