Getting Started with Creative by the Numbers:
A List of 99 Creative Ideas
11. Facts about product benefits are more powerful than claims. Use:
- Case histories
- Performance figures
- Quotes from expertsany facts you can find
Facts, such as color, size, shape, weight, length, height, widthall specific. Youll find your copy becomes more believable and more successful.
12. Testimonial copy provides some of the most effective written words for any offer. Business or consumer. Any product or service.
Get testimonials from your clients and use them in your direct mail, your space ads, and your catalogs. Everywhere.
The most believable testimonials include: the quote, the persons picture, name, title, company, and city.
Anything less than this begins to compromise the credibility. It doesnt mean it is not a good idea, if, for instance, a picture is not available, but something is lost.
13. Ditto for case history stories. Live examples from real situations allow your copy to paint a complete pictureto tell the entire story.
Dig in your files and find examples of superior service, outstanding success, and amazing results. And tell your prospects what your product or service will do.
14. Know the difference between a product feature and a product benefit. And keep them separate.
A Feature . . . helps to distinguish one product from another.
A Feature . . . is a characteristic of the product or service you are selling.
A Feature . . . is inherent in the productit is part of the product, whether or not it is sold.
A Benefit . . . ties the product feature to the customer NEEDS!
A Benefit . . . is the good the buyer gains from your product/service.
A Benefit . . . cannot exist without a buyer!
Your readers are not less interested in what your product is than what it will do for them. So fill your letter and response device with all the ways your product will help the readers make money, have fun, save time, or improve life. Remember, people do not buy red buttons. They buy what happens when you push red buttons.
A feature is a quarter-inch drill . . . the benefit is the quarter-inch hole the customer needed.
A feature is a safety lock . . . the benefit is the security you feel when you use the lock.
Save the necessary but less exciting technical stuff for the brochure or flyer. Sell with benefits.
15. "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." An original from sales pro Elmer Wheeler.
This rule dates back to the golden days of salesmanship. Its a basic. And an essential rule to remember when putting your sales points on paper.
What it means, quite simply, is to discover the reason why your customer will want to buy your product. Sell the excitement, the benefit, the peace of mind, or the satisfaction your product offers.
Sell the sizzle, not the steak.
16. There are 6 key words that will aid you in writing.
Before your first draft:
After the first draft:
Just as you revise important interoffice memos that are going up the ladder a couple of levels, revise your direct response copy, tooso that your audience gets your best effort.
Headlines and Other Beginnings
17. Some ideas for your headlines and your teaser copya check list:
- Does the copy relate to the offer?
- Does it offer a benefit?
- Does it urge action?
- Does it tie to the opening of the letter or the first paragraph in the advertisement?
- Do the graphics and the copy tie together?
- Does it avoid imitation?
- Does it have a "YOU" attitude?
- Does it "talk with" the reader?
18. Convince your reader to open the envelope!
If you dont get your reader to open your envelope or mail package, none of the "rules" will do you any good. Okay, so how do you do it? There are basically 4 schools of thought:
Whet your prospects appetite by promising a benefit or making an intriguing statement about what they will learn. Tease your reader. (Hence the term "teaser copy.")
Use a dramatic graphic design.
State your offerloud and clear.
Use a blank envelope and hope that curiosity will get it opened. Especially true if your company is very well-known. Or if the person to whom you are mailing is a customer. Or in a mailing to top-level executives.
19. Your teaser and your headline copy should do one or more of these things:
- Explain who you are, what the offer is, what the benefits will be
- Entertain your prospect with something just a tick humorousthe teaser part to get them inside the envelope or to read the ad (You must be very careful with humor, it can backfire.)
- Enhance the product or service you are offering (This many times works best when you are upgrading or cross selling a product to your own customer base.)
20. Write a SOLID headline.
Solid information-packed headlines usually work better than "cute" double-meaning headlines. Good headline words include these:
- Find Out
- Send For