Getting Started with Creative by the Numbers:
A List of 99 Creative Ideas
61. Its vital to get your reader involved emotionally in the benefits of what youre offering. If you can get your prospect physically involved in your mailing piece, youve got a big edge.
You can do this by designing in an "involvement device" such as:
- a token you peel off the letter and stick to the reply card
- a scratch-'n'-sniff area
- a pop-up
- anything you have to punch out
- a sample of the product or material
- a component that unfolds in an interesting way
- a small premium or intriguing gimmick or advertising specialty
- a rub-off spot
- printed or die-cut measuring devices
- simple puzzles
- connecting the dots
You can get extra mileage by showing your device through a window, or at least writing teaser copy about it.
While its true that making it easy to respond generally increases your response, its also true that giving the customer an interesting, enjoyable, or challenging task to do can also boost response.
These things work because they appeal to the child in each of us.
62. Remember the 6 PRoductivity Building Blocks, compliments of Tom Collins:
- PRoductWhats unique, whats the U.S.P. (Unique Selling Proposition)?
- PRospectWho is your audience; who needs it?
- PRoblemWhy is what you offer going to meet a need?
- PRomiseWhat will your product do for the marketplace?
- PRoofWhy should anyone believe you; what is your guarantee?
- PRopositionWhat is your dealyour offerand why should the market respond now?
63. The lift letter, also known as a publishers letter, pub letter, or presidents letter, will almost always increase your response.
The lift letter is the letter that says:
"Please read this if youve decided not to buy."
The lift letter works very well in mail order, in fund-raising, sometimes in lead generation.
Consider one in every package, or test with and without, especially to consumer audiences.
64. No direct response ad, mail package, or catalog is complete without a call to actiona response device. Dont "assume" your customers or prospects know what you want them to doTELL EM!
Tell your marketplace to call an 800 number, place an order, clip the coupon, fill out the business response card and mail it, bring the ticket to your store, visit your trade show booth, send money. Whatever it is you want in the way of action, make sure your message is clear.
65. Tell your audience more than once what to doREPEAT the message. McGrawHill says to repeat your offer 7 times.
Which means repeat your offer and encourage your reader to accept your offer over and over. Several times in your letter.
In the P.S. In the brochure, flyer, testimonial insert.
Obviously on the order form or response card. Tell your reader again and again you want to do business with them.
66. The less the commitmentthe more likely the response.
In your direct mail packages, always consider:
- bill me
- credit card options
- installment orders
- an 800 number
Regarding "bill me": The increase in the number of orders many times makes up for the increase in bad debts. However, make certain that someone in your organization is keeping tabs on bad debts.
67. Limited Time Offertry it.
Good for only 30 days will increase your action NOW, when you want it. Use a specific date when that is possible, reasonable. "Good only until April 10" lets your audience know they have a limited time to take advantage of this special opportunity. LTOs work. Try em.
68. The most important sentences in direct mail are the first and last.
Your P.S. is one of the best-read parts of a direct mail letter. Use one.
Use one in every letter you write. Make certain it contains important information. An important benefit or some other piece of information you want to get across to your reader.
Your P.S. must suggest your thinking.
Or . . . must suggest buying.
Or . . . must tell the reader what to do,
Or . . . when and how to do it!
69. If one P.S. works, try two.
This is especially true if you have a series of product offerings. Use one P.S. to call attention to the ease of ordering, the other to a special offer good for only a limited time. Repeating 800 numbers, expiration dates, and other key factors is always good in the P.S.
Some Thoughts about Graphics
70. Whenever possible, use photography instead of illustrations.
Photos are more believable. Realistic. Detailed. Informative.
There are instances where a drawing or illustration is better because of the copy point you wish to make. But generally, if you have good photography, use it.