Marketing & Advertising mentor Jay Conrad Levinson responds:

First, the campaign should be directed solely at people who are honest prospects for what you offer. Second, know ahead of time the exact action you want recipients of your mailings to take. Be certain that your envelope gets opened; many a great letter gets tossed in the wastebasket because the envelope does not promise anything appealing inside. You must also make an offer too good to ignore or refuse.

Include a P.S. with your letter because many people first read the opening line of a letter and then the P.S. before deciding whether to read more. Focus your message on the recipient, not on yourself. Be clear about the benefits you offer, especially the primary benefit. Do everything you can to prove that you know who your prospect is and what is important to him or her.

Set measurable goals. Track your results. Make a plan for following up. Improve your results by increasing what works and eliminating what doesn't. Consider bolstering your direct mail with telephone, e-mail, fax, or even FedEx follow-up. Keep identifying new markets. And never overlook the value of testing -- test envelopes, opening lines, benefits to stress, and mailing lists. The better the mailing list, the better your response rate.