Are you stressed out trying to come up with your next effective marketing idea?

If so, I have a powerful idea and one you may have not seen used before.

I call it my stress card marketing letter and it’s adaptable for any type of business – including yours!


Now before I share the details, I have to give credit where credit is due. I first saw this stress card marketing letter in a Gary Halbert 1988 newsletter.

As soon as I saw it, I loved it because of its unique approach and the fact that it shouldn’t add any additional weight to your direct mail piece.  So you can the BANG of  interactive, dimensional mail without having to pay lumpy mail postage.

I am not sure if Gary came up with this inexpensive marketing idea, but it sure is different and it does a great job at one of the most critical jobs of any marketing piece – to get the attention of the reader.


As soon I saw an opportunity to use the stress card in a direct mail campaign, I contacted my Private Client and trusted promotional marketing expert, Phil Brakefield, who found me a full-color, plastic stress card which I could customize with my information and logo for less than $1.00/card.


I then crafted a four-page letter and attached the stress card to it.  As of the posting of this article, my response rate to this specific letter has been 36%!!!

Using a customized stress card in your marketing (like a direct mail sales letter) is an attention-grabbing, “get the reader involved” marketing idea that works in any business or niche for many different reasons, including:

  • It allows you to use teaser copy on the envelope to tease the recipient about something special inside.
  • It is a hard-to-miss “dimensional” mailer that feels different than a standard sales letter in the hands of the recipient.
  • Because of its slim design, it should not add any extra postage costs to your mailing.
  • It has the added benefit of not only easily being added to a direct mail piece, but also makes for a powerful business-card handout, bookmark tradeshow giveaway, etc.
  • It’s an interactive, involvement device that gets your recipient involved, not only in removing it from the letter, but also using it (can you imagine somebody NOT at least trying it out?).
  • It’s a fact that the more involved you can get your recipient in your marketing, the better your results. This is why Columbia House Records used to use those little stamps to get you thinking not about “should I buy these records?” but instead about “what records do I want to buy?
  • It allows you to press an emotional “stress button” and tap into the fact that there’s an excellent chance your prospects and customers feel some level of stress about something related to your business or product or service. This gives you a quick and easy, fill-in-the-blank template for your headline, like this:

“Are you stressing out over ________? Then do this!” or “Is _____________ causing you stress?”

Here are some niche-specific examples to get you thinking:

For the insurance niche: “Is the Cost of Your Auto Insurance Causing You Stress?”

For chiropractors: “Feeling Stressed Out? We Can Help!”

For a gift retailer: “Stressing Over Your Anniversary Gift?”

For a CPA: “Is the Thought of Filing your Own 2015 Tax Return Stressing You Out?”

You get the idea and with a few seconds of creative thinking, I’m sure you can come up with a few ways to leverage this idea in your marketing.


High Impact Marketing Member and insurance agency owner, Michael Carroll did not waste anytime creating a version for his agency and mailing out starting this week.

Not all stress cards are created equal!

It’s important to note, while you can find many suppliers of these cards online, not all cards are created equal. The cards Phil found for me are plastic cards which probably won’t get thrown away and they offer optional full-color customization. Your price will vary depending on your quantity ordered and if you do customization. If you want to use the ones I used, contact Phil Brakefield:

Phil’s email:

Phil’s phone: (847) 458-1100

By the way, these stress cards really do measure your “stress level.” When you’re stressed, your fingers become cooler. That’s because your blood is rushing to your muscles and heart to prepare you for “fight or flight.” Relax and your hands become warmer as blood flows freely once more. The stress square on the mood card registers the changes in temperature, and thus tells you how stressed you are.

If you would like to devise a winning strategy like this for yourself, please contact me.    Speak to you soon!