July 15, 2003 Volume 3 Issue 5
13 “new” DM response ideas
The day my fingers are on the keyboard doing this E-zine issue two interesting and different things happened.
First, I get an E-mail from a nice fellow who found one of my articles on another site. It was about “how to ...” get your advertising, and other marketing, read. He had a question.
Next, the newsletter from my good friends at the National Mail Order Association arrived ... the lead article by Jeffrey Dobkin got my attention. It too was about getting response to your printed word.
So, it seems today is the day to do an update on how to get what you write, read, and acted upon. 21st Century style. Here goes;
“New” Idea #1. Does your copy follow the “3-4 second rule”?
Your customers are busy. They were not expecting to hear from you today. Or see your pitch.
Your prospects don’t know you exist. So, in both cases, you have less than a handful of seconds to grab their attention.
This means your headline, your sub-head, the graphics, layout, design ... everything must work together. Fast. You’ve got to be good quickly, or your marketplace will move on just as rapidly. You’ve only a few seconds to pull them in.
Have you taken the time to think ... plan ... organize ... and then revise ... revise ... revise to make this happen?
“New” Idea #2. Does your headline pull the reader in for more?
Jeffrey Dobkin says the sole purpose of the headline is to drive your reader to read. I’ll buy that.
So, your headline in print, or teaser copy in direct mail, is just that ... a tease. It is not the sales pitch. It needs to be strong. Interesting. Passionate. Moving.
In Direct we’re looking for a response. We’re not nearly as interested in image, awareness, positioning. Because of this leaning, some prefer short heads ... 5 or fewer words. Others feel the message can be longer ... as long as 17 words.
Me? Whatever works. Test, find-out, learn ... and then do more of it. I like whatever works!
“New” Idea #3. Do you have an interest-arousing sub-head?
The “interest-arousing” phrase is also a lift from Jeffrey. Like his use of words. Not sure I would say “arouse” ... although, I do like it.
“Interesting” is my favorite word. If whatever you offer is good to great, fills a need, offers a variety, you have a reputation for quality and service ... and I don’t want it, i.e., it is NOT interesting to me, you will not get me to respond. Even if you do arouse me. You can tease me with “arousing” words and support pictures of fly-fishing on the South Island of New Zealand and you’ll not get me. I don’t fish.
The bottom line is to be interesting. Interesting enough to those who can buy what you sell to get them to dive into your message.
“New” Idea #4. ... and, does the opening line NOT sell anything?
Remember, this is an ad. Or it could be a direct mail package. Or a sales brochure. Something someone holds in their hand, and reads.
The first line is to keep the reader reading. Not make a decision immediately. Although that would be wonderful - it doesn’t happen. What does happen is someone reads your most interesting message about a product or service they’re interested in, and does read further. This is what the first few words are to do ... keep ‘em reading.
Copy writer Dick Bensen, talking about direct mail, said when you get someone to read your first 50 words, you can get them to read 500. That’s what the opening sentence and first paragraph or two should do ... keep ‘em reading!
“New” Idea #5. Do you make a smooth transition to the body?
Okay, you’ve pulled them in. Less than 20% will read the headline and sub-head, and then read more. The others will turn the page - they’ll move on.
So, you’ve done good. You’ve got your audience through the first 50+ words . Now what? Now selling begins. A full explanation. Maybe a story to illustrate your point. Maybe a laundry list of all the good things your buyer will gain by doing business with you - and doing it now.
This “flow” from grabber to explanation must be smooth. The first could be called quick and dirty. The next stage is longer, it weaves a tale, building on an interest. It can be a tad slower, easier, softer ... and smooth.
“New” Idea #6. Is your offer screamingly clear?
There are still a few who try DM without an offer. And wonder what did NOT happen!
Whatever your offer, make certain it is crystal clear. S C R E A M it if you must. It can be something as simple as a weekly E-zine, such as this one. Or as complex as additional software when you purchase specific hardware. The first is very soft - the second tied to a sale - much harder.
No matter, whatever your offer, remember neither your customers or prospects are looking to hear from you today. Your offer can make the difference between a response, or no.
“New” Idea #7. Does your ad make the reader want to respond?
I’ll do a little assuming here. I’ll assume you’re talking to the right audience. Meaning, those who can use what you sell. They buy it now, maybe from you, maybe from another. Or should buy it to improve their productivity, upgrade their product ... something.
So, those reading your marketing message are your potential buyers.
Now, is your message so clear, and your offer so outstanding, that they’ll truly feel as if they’re left waiting by not responding?
If you have a blue ribbon gold medal product, or a single star, it doesn’t matter. To your audience it must sound good enough for them to feel they just can’t live another day without it.
Plus, they want to get it from you. Meaning the urge to action, to walk in your store, to phone or fax or E-mail you, to visit your web site - whatever - they want to do something and they want to do it now. That is what will make your message successful.
“New” Idea #8. Are you benefits, vs. features, oriented?
Not sure which century this one came to life - my guess is a looooong way back.
Nobody buys a red button (feature) ... people buy what happens when you push that red button (benefit). Go to your new car and look at the array of buttons and knobs to push and pull. My bride and I recently purchased a new vehicle ... we’re not sure yet what happens with each one.
Most of us use technology, we don’t invent it. We’re not hip to the language of the few geniuses who create these new and wondrous things. And although you may learn some of the lingo, your marketplace is much less likely to know ... or care.
So, talk benefits. How you will feel, how you will look, how you will be faster or quicker, more exact, more efficient or effective or both. All the good things that will happen to you.
“New” Idea #9. Does your copy meet your objectives?
There are only 4 things we do in direct response marketing;
So, no matter your objective ... get a lead ... get a donation ... build some traffic ... get an order ... does your copy do it?
“New” Idea #10. Is your guarantee visible?
If you’re asking for an order, you must have a guarantee of complete satisfaction. If you’re doing anything else direct, you certainly need to give an air of unquestionable satisfaction. You want happy customers ... and happy prospects who may become customers later.
So, no matter what you offer, make sure your guarantee words are clear, concise, specific, understandable ... and very visible.
“New” Idea #11. Are all your response options visible from 3 feet?
This is another way Jeffrey writes to get attention.
Instead of saying large, or bold, or giving a type point size, he says you must be able to read your response phone number, fax number, E-mail address and web site from 3 feet away. I like it!
Because, even if you don’t do this, you have now thought about it. And whatever compromise you have come to, the tools that get you a response are big enough to be read by those older than twenty-something.
“New” Idea #12. Is your logo small enough?
Branding is important. Yet, with rare exception, people do not buy the brand if they don’t like, or need, the product.
People buy New Balance because they need basketball shoes, and have decided the options available within that brand work for them. People go to McDonald’s with their kids because it’s a reasonably priced place to fill ‘em up, and keep ‘em quite for a while. People fly United Airlines because they have to go from one place to another, and besides they like the frequent flyer program and lounges available.
None of these sales would happened on the brand alone.
Making your logo small, vs. huge, is really saying don’t take up valuable space needed to further explain your product, your service, your offer, your guarantee - something that will directly aid you in getting the sale.
“New” Idea #13. Have you used graphics to enhance?
If you know me at all you know I’m a copy guy. Yet, strange as it may seem, I really like graphics.
Why? Because I’ve learned that good copy gets better with good graphics to support it. It’s television vs. radio. The copy may be the same on both broadcast mediums ... yet, with TV the impact is greater. Because graphics enhance the message.
Ditto anything read. Pictures, design, color, layout, format, illustrations, size, and in type bold, italics underline all get attention. Together with text, the graphics can make or break your ad, your direct mail package, your printed piece.
Use graphics to make your copy better.
That’s it - another of my lists ... this time 13 “new” DM ad response ideas. Which really aren’t new. Still, they’re good.
The lead article this issue talks about writing to be read.
The Arizona Republic, the largest newspaper in the State of Arizona, ran an article in late April this year. It tickled me then ... it still does. And it fits, following the lead. So, I share with you.
Techno shorthand is turning the magic of fine writing into a lost art.
If written today, the Declaration of Independence might begin with: geo3 yr txs CWOT mk us LOL nuf!
Translation: "King George III, your taxes are a complete waste of time. Make us laugh out loud. Enough!"
Clever. But a far cry from the carefully worded document that launched a nation with the words "When in the course of human events . . . "
In those days, the lack of technology and the need to communicate made writing a high art. Even personal correspondence between John and Abigail Adams and others of the age can be read with appreciation hundreds of years later.
Today's communication is instant. Messages are long on abbreviations and short on content that anyone over 30 can understand.
Oh, those kids.
No doubt the English language, which survived "groovy," is sturdy enough to withstand this.
But are they kids?
If they don't learn how to use the written word to communicate the kind of complex concepts that the colonists wanted to convey to King George, they may well find themselves speechless when the course of human events demands eloquence.
The National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges says today's students can't communicate effectively because they can't write effectively. They don't get enough practice. Most fourth-graders spend less than three hours a week on writing, the commission's recently released report says.
In addition, more than 75% of high school seniors don't get writing assignments in history or social studies classes.
The commission wants to launch a "writing revolution" to get federal, state and other policymakers and elected officials to hold a big conference and advocate better writing in schools.
This is fine. School is one great place to teach children to write.
But schools can't be expected to correct every unpleasant consequence of social and cultural change in the modern world.
Parents have a role to play. Consider that Thomas Jefferson wrote well, in part, because he had to.
So the next time your child wants to declare independence of some rule he or she considers too juvenile, tell junior to put the reasons in writing - you can help with proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
As Ben Franklin wrote:
"It IS What's Next!"
It's become known as "the story".
I've shared it with a number of health care organizations, a database marketing business, a direct marketing firm, a publishing organization, a DM association - and several others. And I'm ready to bring it to your group. (Visit It IS What's Next!)
When you have a need for a 40-60 minute program, I'll give you this different, interesting, meaningful, warm and true action presentation. If you want a half-day interactive seminar, that can happen, too. For your club. Your company. Your organization. Your association. Your school or University. Any group you have. At any place. At any time. For any reason.
It IS What’s Next! is available to you as a Keynote Address. As a special program. As an opening or closing presentation. As a different / unique session.
... another Idea
New business friend Gerry Sacks of Houston, Texas sent me here. It turns out this leading information resource from the financial world offers a collection of marketing & sales ideas. Still, no matter your business, you will find good material here. Offered by 80+ experts (including me!) ... visit ProducersWEB.com
More Speaking of Speaking
Thursday evening, September 26 Ray kicks off an annual event for the Los Angeles Direct Marketing Association.
His opening night topic for this 9-week school is 40-30-20-10 ... Blast Off with Direct Marketing into the 21st Century.
In November Ray will be back in Central Europe, teaching DM to those formerly behind the Iron Curtain. Watch this space for details.
This issue of my weekly marketing & sales E-zine has news and ideas and thoughts from others.
Almost every issue has something from others. So, you may find it interesting I have chosen to share this with you from Anonymous;
“Originality is the art of concealing your source.”
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
Magic Marketing Minutes
How You Use Direct Mail
Direct Mail is such a part of our everyday life that we rarely think about it seriously. Let's think about it seriously for the next 60 seconds. There are really 4 basic things you do with Direct Mail ...
The first is Fund Raising. If you are The Heart Association, The Red Cross, Save The Children or similar -- you may use direct mail as part of your fund raising activities.
You may use direct mail to Generate Leads for a sales staff. If you have an inside or an outside sales staff, if you work direct or through distributors or dealers or some kind of a network, you may need to supply leads for sales people. Direct mail is a marvelous tool, aimed at the right audience to generate leads for your sales team.
Traffic Building. People traffic building. Anyone with any kind of a retail outlet needs people traffic. If people don't come through your front door, you soon go out of business. Direct mail is an extremely effective tool to reach into your neighborhood. So, invite your marketplace to visit you. Use direct mail for traffic building.
And, Mail-Order. We all know what mail-order is. You receive a catalog or a solo mail piece. You call a toll free number or fill out the application. You provide a credit card or some other means of payment and soon a specific product or service you ordered comes through the mail.
4 things you do with Direct Mail:
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.