q. is there any mailing format that consistently performs better than the others?

a. in a word, no. but you can take advantage of the fact that direct mail allows for testing with prompt results. so you can determine the format and approach that works best and provides maximum cost-effectiveness for your market.

q. what questions should i ask when i'm reviewing a piece of direct mail copy?

a. here are a few suggestions: is it clear? is it interesting? does it speak to the recipient's needs and desires? does the opening sentence irresistibly pull the reader in? does it pile on the benefits? is it concise? (by concise, we mean, does it avoid unnecessary verbiage in doing the job it has to do?) is it believable? (remember, the purpose of all advertising is to generate believability. one exaggerated claim or bit of excess "hype" can lose your prospect's trust right then and there.) is it totally, 100% about the recipient? (a good direct mail piece should appear completely selfless. it's not about you. it's about what you can do for the prospect. it's not about your product or service. it's about what your product or service can do for the prospect. never brag or boast. always show that you understand your prospect's needs, care about those needs, and that you're in business to meet them.) right people genuine prospects for your product or service results will suffer.