Getting Started with Creative by the Numbers:
A List of 99 Creative Ideas
51. Maxwell Ross has prepared a list of sentences he calls the "Bucket Brigade." Here are some Bucket Brigade sentencessentences that get you from where you are to the next step in getting your audience to take some action:
- "But, thats not all."
- "And now you can . . ."
- "So that is why . . ."
- "Or, if you prefer . . ."
- "Nowhere is all you do."
- "Better yet . . ."
- "More important than that . . ."
- "And in addition to that . . ."
52. More "Bucket Brigade" IDEAS:
- "When you first . . ."
- "Let me show you how . . ."
- "Within the next few days . . ."
- "You may wonder why . . ."
- "Here is the reason why . . ."
- "As you probably know . . ."
- "Now, here is the next step."
- "So youll be glad to know . . ."
53. Stay away from Me-Me copy.
Make your copy a dialogue, not a monologue.
Copywriting is communication, and that takes two. If your copy is filled with "I," "we," and "our company," dont be surprised if the reader ignores it. Instead, concentrate on what the product or service does for the reader.
Some successful pieces use "you" to begin as many as half the paragraphs. Mention yourself, to be sure, but talk to the "you" whos waiting to hear what youll do for them.
54. Give your copy to someone else to read.
The first time they read it, did they get the emphasis on the words you wanted to emphasize? Did they understand your copy the first time they read it?
If so, fine. But if not, it is back to the typewriter.
Remember, in direct response, direct mail, space ads, and catalogsIT IS COPY THAT SELLS! Copy is king. If your words are not understood, no amount of superb graphics can save your packageor make your offer work.
55. Be a copycat.
Every direct response copywriter and art director should have a SWIPE file. If you dont have one, make one. This is probably your best indicator as to what is happening in direct response.
SWIPE means just what it says, steal ideas from others. No one has a lock on good ideas. If you see something someone else did and can use it for yourself, do it!
56. Keep up-to-date on whats happening in direct marketing.
Where your schedule, budget, and quantity allow, experiment with the latest printing techniques. Familiarize yourself with ink jet and laser printing, plastic envelopes, zipvelope mailings, and gold foil stamping.
Learn about 3-dimensional mailing options. Did YOU ever get a 3-D or lumpy package, a box or tube, anything "odd" in shape or size you didnt open? No! Ditto for your prospect and customers.
Join your industry trade organization. Ask your suppliers to make a presentation to your creative staff. Have lunch with your printers.
Read Direct Marketing, Target Marketing, DM News, Direct, Catalog Age, Direct Marketing International, and whatever newsletters and specialty publications address your special needs.
Getting a ResponseMaking an Offer
57. A money-back or satisfaction guarantee is worth its weight in gold to a direct marketer.
Its a powerful tool for overcoming suspicion. The stronger you can make it, the more it will increase your response.
Do you know anyone that doesnt guarantee their product, their service? Everyone I deal with does . . . or I dont deal with them! So, since you want happy and satisfied customers, offer a guarantee.
Guaranteeand then as Ray Considine would say: D.W.Y.P.Y.W.D.Do what you promised you would do.
58. Besides telling the positive reasons for responding to your message, a guarantee helps point out what the reader will lose by not responding.
Sometimes what they feel theyre going to lose moves people to action more than what they might gain.
Such as the chance to buy at the low introductory price . . . the chance to buy, period, if the supply is limited . . . the bigger profits, improved health, greater beauty or whatever your product or service offers.
59. Premiums work!
Especially if the customer doesnt have to send money with the order, this can be an irresistible offer. The more closely your premium relates to your product, the better it will be. (In most cases. There is a theory that says your premium should have nothing to do with your offer, so your prospect doesnt mix them. I subscribe to the related concept.)
You can select your premium from thousands which are on the market. Or you can create one. For example, if your product is a book, consider offering an excerpt from that book or a similar book.
60. Make it easy for your prospect to order your product; make it easy to respond to your appeal:
- Offer a booklet or sample.
- Offer a free trial.
- Offer a free cost estimate.
- Offer an easy payment plan.
- Explain in explicit terms how to order and then make ordering as simple as possible.
- Use a coupon, order form, or reply card.
- Include two or more reply forms.