With a direct marketing piece, your words have to be performing at their best. After all, you need to motivate your targets not only to read your compelling offer, but also to promptly respond to it.

Here are five tips for writing convincing and effective sales copy:

1. Be concise. Direct mail pieces are fluff-free zones. Your words need to quickly spell out your offer, its value, how it differs from the competition, why readers should believe the words in front of them and how they should respond. Being specific sharpens your copy. For example, don’t just say your product will save people money. Give a dollar figure.

2. Don’t bury important info. Highlight key points in headlines and with indentations or bullet points. Italics, bold type or different color ink also can work, but use them sparingly to maintain a classy look. Postscripts, which appear after a signature, get read and are great vehicles to reinforce important ideas.

3. Engage readers. Your piece is like a printed salesperson, and it needs to sound more like a human being than a robot. Use a conversational tone that’s heavy on you and lighter on I or we. Stay away from jargon. Address folks by name if possible. Launch into your pitch with a captivating anecdote, an intriguing question or a surprising statement that pops.

4. Explain, don’t list. Since you’re trying to emotionally connect with your audience, simply listing the features of your product or service is a bad idea. Readers want to know what’s in it for them, so you’ll need to connect the dots. Those benefits might vary by customer segment, so plan to craft separate messages to address different needs.

5. Use hardworking language. You’ll grab attention with words like free, save, new, sale, exclusive, finally, at last and guarantee. Create a sense of urgency by including an expiration date on your offer and complement it with phrases like call now and supplies are limited.