MGI Tipster – Volume 11, Issue 8

August 15, 2012   |   Vol. 11   |   Issue 8
Super Hints Revealed

Arguably, the most powerful tool for membership marketers is one-to-one direct marketing. Whether by mail, email, or phone, direct marketing is efficient, targeted, and measurable.

While many of direct marketing’s fundamentals are largely common sense, there are a lot of them. Marketing General Incorporated recently published a booklet by MGI Senior Vice President Raylene Kershaw titled 100 Super Hints Revealed, which is a compilation of direct marketing suggestions divided into 13 topics.

You are invited to download a copy of 100 Super Hints Revealed from the MGI website. Some hints may seem obvious; others less so; still others may appear a little odd but have proven their worth over time.


Develop your concept and set your goals so you know what you are trying to accomplish, including why, how, and when. Be sure to put your plan in writing. Consult it often and have a Plan B.

Know your USP—that’s your Unique Selling Proposition—the one thing your organization can do that no one else can, or at the very least, the one thing you can do better than most others. The USP is what differentiates you. It’s also the foundation of your 15 second elevator speech when you are asked to explain what your organization does and what makes it special.

Test everything—list, offer, format—and don’t reinvent the wheel. If it works, use it, even if you don’t much like it. Think big picture, not piecemeal. Think campaign, not one-offs. Think multiple channel, not single, and sell your brand as well as your product or service.


Write to be heard, not read. Write in the active voice. Write short sentences and use simple and precise words. Mention “you” often to involve your reader. Author the order and the order form first so you’ll be certain to say what you are selling. And don’t forget to ask for the order.

Be straightforward and succinct, not wordy. Personalize your letters so you speak directly to your reader, one-on-one. When your draft is done, set it aside and review it later with a critical eye.


Sell benefits, not features. Negatives usually pull better than positives, and fear generally outdraws other reasons to join. Keep the offer simple and avoid combining offers, which can complicate, delay, and even derail the decision.


Great design can sometimes boost sales but bad design will always hurt them. Use photos and graphics to help you sell. Keep the design appropriate to your audience. Avoid design that is too simple or too smart so it gets in the way of your purpose, which is to communicate your offer and sell. Adults are visual learners: test captions, call-outs, and most importantly, use type sizes which can be easily read by your audience.

Want to learn more?

The next edition of the MGI Tipster in September will reveal more super tips for direct marketers.

If you would like help developing your membership measurement analytics, please feel free to contact Raylene Kershaw, MGI’s Senior Vice President and COO, at 703.706.0344, or by email at

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