I agree with this
statement: "Each and every element in a direct mail package,
space ad, on your WWW site - anywhere - is equally important."
Yet, often the response
device of a direct marketing campaign appears to have resulted from left
Since the bottom line
is response - here are 13 Platinum "To Do's"
To Get More Response from your next DM effort. From your direct mail
BRCard, application form, faxback sheet, coupon in mail or a newspaper
or magazine, off your web site. No matter the media, no matter the device
- 13 things "to do".
with DIRFT ... & send your message to the right audience
Always, the basics:
spend more time up front making certain your message is aimed at the right
That's what DIRFT
says ... Do It Right the First Time.
To be as successful
as you can be, sending your message to the right audience is NOT an option
- it is mandatory. For even a poorly constructed collection of words,
with a horrid design and a weak offer has a chance of working when
the right people see it, receive it.
The opposite is true
when your news hits the wrong target. A great piece of copy, superbly
designed, beautifully produced and directed to the wrong people is absolutely
guaranteed to fail. It's not even debatable.
Start with the back-end
first. Think "how am I going to get my audience to reply?"
That process alone will get you to focus on the right audience.
me exactly what you want me to do
And be clear about
If you want me to
come to your store or your exhibit space, tell me. If you want me to phone
your toll-free number to register for a survey, to answer a survey, to
learn about your special offer, tell me.
If you need me to
complete the faxback sheet and send it to you before the next step, tell
me why and tell me to do it. If you need me to complete the app and return
it before I earn your premium, tell me.
If you need me to
fill out the coupon and mail it in, tell me. If you need money - tell
me. If I can pay by check, credit card, money order, or if you'll accept
a purchase order, tell me.
That is, tell your
audience exactly what you need them to do. If your message is unclear
you will receive fewer responses. And some you do receive will be unqualified
to do business with you.
Tell me what to do
and I'm likely to do it.
it easy for me to do it - to respond
The easier it is for
your audience to do business with you the more likely they are to do business
The opposite is true,
too. If you are difficult, fewer of your prospects will work through your
Yes, sometimes you
want some upfront qualifying. You really do not want tons of responses.
Maybe your product is new. Maybe it is a new marketplace for you. Maybe
you have new people. Maybe, maybe, maybe. And you really want only a qualified
Fine ... when this
is the case, make it easy ONLY for those you wish to reach. More difficult
for others. Require the many to do something you will not require the
few to do. Maybe your sort is by size, location, volume - anything. Some
get qualified "out". Others very much "IN"!
Remember, the fewer
steps your audience must take the more likely you are to receive a response
to your offer.
me more than a single way to respond
Part of making it
easy is offering multiple ways to reach you. In business-to-business today
it is mandatory to have at least 4 options:
- phone, which
can be a toll-free number, but does not have to be,
- fax, today
most often with a pre-printed and personalized form,
- mail, yes,
slower, and frequently less threatening and easier for your market,
no longer an option - your B-2-B market expects you to be able to handle
an E response.
And for some, 2 more
ways . . .
- WWW, a web
yes, front-door traffic.
For some consumer
products and services the same collection applies. And for others, more!
Take, for instance, the financial marketplace. How many ways can you bank?
walk-in ... ATM ... drive-through ... night drop ... phone
fax ... E-mail ... Web site ... "snail-mail" ...
at a competitors location or ATM.
Are there others to
this list of 10? I'd not be surprised
Make it easy for your
prospects to become customers. Give them many ways to do business with
me an offer I can't refuse
Your offer is a prime
reason many of your prospects will become your customers.
An offer allows those
"undecided" to consider you. It gives them a reason (vs. excuse)
to say: "Okay, let's look at what these guys can do for us."
An offer also gives
those who do know you a solid reason to stick with you. And not fly to
Offers are over and
above your collection of benefits. Frequently it is NOT the reason someone
buys. It IS the reason they STOP ... pause ... think ... and consider
you. It is an "extra". It is over and above your benefit package.
Offers can be almost
anything. More for less. Less for less. An "extra" when you
make a commitment. They can be tied to a visit or other action by the
prospect. A premium for taking a demo.
An offer is mandatory
in direct marketing ... if you are to enjoy maximum success. Always make
it a LTO - limited time offer
More than ever, limited
time offers make sense.
Why? Because people
feel they are busier than ever before. "Change" has always been
a tough sell - more so today. Because there is less time to consider something
new, different, unusual.
Combine this thinking
with the fact there are more choices than ever before - many times the
prospect will say: "I'm happy where I am."
Yet, putting a drop
dead date on an offer frequently will move that hesitant person to action.
If there is only a short time to take advantage of a special opportunity
- often you will enjoy more response. People will do something vs. doing
nothing. Rather than wait until they feel good, are more comfortable ...
whatever "excuse" they were thinking ... they move.
Try a Limited
Time Offer. It may increase your response, too.
BOLD graphics, show the product, show the offer
We live in a color
and graphic world. I've a couple of granddaughters who do not know black
and white ever existed.
is neither good nor bad. It IS a fact. And we in direct marketing need
to be alert that copy works better when the graphics are good.
Another fact is people
buy benefits - not features. So, show the "benefits" of your
product. Even if you have a service, "demonstrate" with illustrations
the benefits to the buyer. What they will get when they do business with
Yet, a warning: great
graphics that do not support the message are not great graphics. You still
need to look like who you are. Like your product and service. If you're
selling a Rolls Royce - look rich. If your product is The Salvation Army
- look poor.
me "involved" ... use action devices
Even the least of
us is fascinated with things that move, open, close, pop-up, wiggle, sing,
light-up, turn-on, ring, chime, fit together, come apart, tear, stick,
peel, smell, taste.
We like "things"
that DO something.
One of the best ways
to get attention is to have an action response device. Where your
prospect gets "involved". Where they must do something to get
to the next step.
As simple as moving
your logo sticker to a "Yes" box on the reply card. Or putting
together a puzzle that tells a story. Or peeling back an emblem, and then
scratching it for an aroma. Tearing along the perforated dotted line -
keeping one part, mailing the other part. Even the action of putting a
card in box gets your prospect involved.
As you develop your
offer for your audience, think your creative and your media - think "how
can I get the max amount of action?!"
clear, crisp, concise, & positive copy
English is the largest
language in the world. 625,000+ words, give or take a few thousand.
Spanish is next -
475,000. In comparison French has less than 100,000 words.
Yet, even with "just
100,000", we have tremendous choice of language.
Back to English: the
500 most common words have 13,000 meanings!
What this says is
you have many options on what words to use. And ... you do NOT need to
use them all!
Even though you may
be learned in the topic, that does not mean you need to throw your PhD
around. When your audience has a PhD, that does not mean they know anything
about your product, your service.
The best writing for
marketing and sales is the language you use in everyday conversation.
The face-to-face communication you have. As easy as reading the newspaper,
listening to the late night television news.
Final point: write
so junior high school 13-14 year kids can read the words. And pretty much
get the message. If you're over the head of the kids on your block, you
will be beyond understanding of most of your marketplace.
Write to be understood.
Marketing is communication - communicate for understanding.
Give me a guarantee, & an absolute guarantee of satisfaction
Having a guarantee
is not an option. Your market expects it.
Over time products
have "automatically" been guaranteed. Retailers were leaders.
People like Sears made promises to their customers that they could always
return a product. For any reason.
like L.L. Bean have always offered wonderful guarantees. The best in the
business is from Land's End:
No matter your product
or service, no matter the industry you are in, today customers expect
you to offer a guarantee. So, do it!
And make a big deal
out of your guarantee. Put it in writing, inside a gingerbread stock certificate
looking border. Make certain it is everywhere. On your literature. With
your product shipments. In plain view at your store. On your WWW site.
And everything you print.
Separately, yet equally
important, your customer expects you to satisfy their needs. This has
nothing to do with your product or service ... this has everything
to do with customer loyalty.
works. It does everything you say. It was delivered on time. Service has
been excellent. Yet, I am unhappy - I made a buying decision I'd like
to change. I want to give you the product back ... I want you to give
me my money back."
What do you do when
you hear this? Sure, it depends. Yet, you know what the customer expects.
And you need to be prepared to not only offer a guarantee - you need to
offer a Customer Satisfaction Guarantee.
Take the space you need to tell your story ... & then give me room
Some marketers take
pages and pages and pages to share their story. And give the prospect
a tiny, tiny space to complete the response card, faxback, application.
Do what it takes to
make 100% certain your response card or form has plenty of space for reading
... and writing. This is a good time to think "white space".
If necessary, use
a larger sheet of paper. Yes, jumbo costs more. What costs even more is
NOT receiving a reply simply because your response card was jammed, crammed,
stuffed and unreadable.
Use 11 or 12 point
type - even larger. Make your reply device a minimum of 2 colors. Use
graphics to make it interesting. AND give your reader room to write.
Include a summary of your message, AND all your ID - everything - on your
Once your message
is in the hands and eyes of the consumer, you are at their mercy.
You don't know if
they'll read it now, keep it to read later, route it to someone else,
or toss it. We all know what happens to many missiles we send to our prospects
do get looked at
do get opened
get looked at - again
get set aside for "reading" later.
Which is exactly why
you must be certain your full message and full identification is on your
application, faxback, response card, coupon - everything in your direct
mail. Plus, complete in print and through-out your web site.
This means your offer
and anything you know is important about it. e.g., it is a Limited
This also means your
full logo, name, address, phone, fax, E-mail, WWW site need to be prominent.
Easy to find, easy to read, easy to use.
Make it easy for your
prospect to become your customer. Let them find you.
End with AFTO ... and do it more than single time
Ask For The Order. Really, a sales axiom.
Which is as applicable
in marketing. It simply means communicate with your audience you do want
to do business with them. We've learned people like to do business with
people who want to do business with them. So, tell them so.
And do it several
times. Rarely is once enough. The word "Yes", used several times
on your printed response card or faxback, on your WWW site, allows your
reader options. They have a number of ways to tell you "Yes".
Reach out to your
audience and ask for their business. And do it again and again. AFTO
works for sales reps ... it works in marketing, too.
that's it. 13 Platinum "To Do's" To Get More Response
Use them all and enjoy
a higher level of response, sales and profits.