The “Old School” Power of Lift Notes

Each of us can learn a lot (or be reminded of what we already know) by studying classic direct mail packages for our offline and online businesses, which is one reason I suggest you NEVER throw out your “junk mail’ until you go through it with your marketing radar set to “on.”

Personally, I collect and save all the attention-grabbing “junk mail” in a swipe file box for whenever I need a unique idea or inspiration.

The classic direct mail package consists of:

  • The Envelope
  • The Main Letter
  • The Lift Note
  • The Brochure
  • The Order Device

In this article, I’m going to focus on how you can use lift notes to enhance your direct mail campaigns. I’m also going to be discussing how lift notes give you the opportunity to present to and persuade your audience “in a different voice.”  According to direct mail expert, Malcolm Decker, the lift note:

“Gives another voice backing up the key salesperson”

Your salesperson would be your main letter included in the mail package.  Lift notes help you to:

  • Reduce risk
  • Allow a second point of view
  • Strengthen credibility of offer
  • Offer new benefits or a different selling point

I recently received the above package from AAA. It was a classic direct mail package with a lift note, as you can see on the left hand side, using a handwritten font and CopyDoodle like arrow.  Note the message and tone of the copy on the outside of the lift note.

When you unfold it, you see it’s a testimonial from a AAA member. This testimonial helps to reduce the risk of the offer since its discussing AAA service from the voice of a satisfied member.

The above are two examples of a traditional lift note. On the left, there’s a photo of the person who wrote the lift note. This person could be well-known to the target audience, a happy customer, or in this case the president of the organization.

A few years ago, I held a workshop.  In the marketing funnel to fill the workshop were several direct mail packages, one of which included a lift note from Bill Glazer. Bill was going to be speaking at my workshop and he wrote about why he was traveling up to speak and why the recipient should attend the workshop.  It was basically a testimonial about me from a well-respected marketing expert.

Here are a few design tips to keep in mind when creating your own lift notes:

  • Format – What type of format are you going to use? Is it a letter, a memo, a list of benefits…
  • Size – Typically a lift note is smaller than your letter and it’s meant to look different when sent in your direct mail package
  • Color of your paper and ink – Typically a lift note is on different colored paper so it stands out, you may even use a different colored ink from the main sales letter
  •  Images and photos – Think about how you can use images and photos like the examples I have shown above with the image of the man who wrote the testimonial on the yellow paper and the cartoon of Bill Glazer I used
  • Fold – Is it a tent fold, card fold, or do you even fold your lift note at all?
  • CopyDoodles – Where will you use CopyDoodles and how will you use them? They’re a great way to grab attention
  • Comics – You may want to use comics on your lift note to grab more attention
  • Personalization – Will you personalize this to someone or have it signed by the person who wrote it?

Lift notes are not just for direct mailings anymore!  You can use the concept of lift notes in your email too. Here are two examples of ways you can use lift notes in your email follow-up sequences.

  • “FW:” email – you could take your lift note you’ve created written from a customer or someone like Bill Glazer and actually FORWARD (FW) the lift note as an email to prospects in your sequence. You would put the body of the lift note in the body of the email and then send it as is with your subject line being something like: “FW: A Personal Message From Bill Glazer.”
  • Create a PDF or JPG attachment and actually attach the lift note to your email so readers can open it up as they’re reading your email

If you’d like to easily create lift notes for your online or offline marketing campaigns, check out the Lift Note CopyTemplate I recently created for the CopyDoodles Access Club.

This CopyTemplate includes everything you need to create your own lift notes in minutes (Platinum Member Access only).  If you’re not a member of the CopyDoodles Access Club simply head over to to view our Platinum Membership option and get instant access to this template along with all of our CopyDoodles, CopyComics, and more.

If you’re a member of the CopyDoodles Access Club, but not a Platinum Member and would like access to this template, simply log into the Access Club and select Membership Options on the left hand side to upgrade your membership.

Interested in finding out more about different ways you can improve your direct mail? Check out the replay of a webinar I just did with Ethan Boldt, Chief Content Officer for DirectMarketingIQ, “15 Smart & Easy Ways to Boost Your Response with Direct Mail.”

Click Here to Watch this Valuable Replay Now!

Have you used lift notes in the past or seen any great examples of lift notes used? I’d love to hear about them below!

About Mike Capuzzi

I'm a speaker, author and high impact marketing strategist for business owners and sharp, aggressive entrepreneurs looking to get to the next level in their business. I'm also the the inventor of the world-famous CopyDoodles. CopyDoodles are the world's largest library of handwritten fonts, hand-drawn doodles, comics and more designed to grab attention and boost your marketing results!

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