Thursday, June 29, 2017

Improve Direct Mail Response: 5 Tips For Creating Powerful Copy

November 4, 2010 by  
Filed under All Posts, Marketing

(This week we’re out of town at Creataspace. Since we’ve been doing a huge direct mailing, we want to share with you this article by Jeanne Grunert, of Seven Oaks Consulting, on writing good copy to improve your direct mail response. And no, direct mail is NOT dead, especially when sent to a very targeted list. We’ll be sharing more about how our mailing went in a few weeks.)

Writing Copy For Better Direct Mail Response

Need to improve your direct mail response?   Evaluate your copy!

When you’re creating a direct mail or direct marketing piece, how much attention do you give the copy? From the headline to the call to action, make every word count to generate sales in your next direct mail marketing piece.  The following five questions will help you evaluate whether or not your copy and message are working to generate leads and sales.

1. Is the message on the direct mail marketing piece coherent and clear?

The first question on this direct mail marketing checklist may seem absurd at first, yet you’d be surprised at how many packages go to press or ads get into magazines without passing this first and most basic test.  Show the creative boards around the office. Better yet, grab a few friends or family members in the target audience. Ask them to look at the ad.  If you can separate the artwork from the copy, just show them the copy.  Cover up the body copy and let them read just the headline.  Do they understand what the ad is about? Do they want to open the envelope? Or is the message meaningless gibberish without the photo? While the interplay of strong graphic design elements and effective copy can indeed be powerful, the majority of ads that flop lack a coherent message.  They fail to state the benefits and advantages of the product or service and instead go into coy, clever copy that is in and of itself meaningless.  Copy must be coherent and clear to be effective.

2.  Is the message relevant to the intended audience?

This question is a little trickier. In order to discern whether or not the message is relevant to the audience, you must first know who your target audience is. Many people who I talk to about their direct marketing piece say “everyone is my target audience – everyone will want this product!”  Direct mail marketing is about developing a one to one relationship with your customers. You can’t do that by broadcasting generic, one size fits all messages to a mass group of people.  If you really believe you can do that, you’ve either got the wrong medium (you should be thinking about broadcast or mass advertising, public relations, or similar communications) or you haven’t really thought long enough about the target audience. At the very least, if you can you should split out your audience into discrete segments and refine the copy and headlines so that they speak directly to that niche audience segment’s wants and needs. Doing this almost always boosts response rates.

3.  Is the copy written in a logical way?

Yet another very common mistake is to present the messages willy-nilly, without organization or forethought. Go with your strongest and most persuasive benefit first. Lead off with the good stuff.  Headlines should focus like a laser beam on the core problem your product will solve.  Then let the copy delight and tantalize with benefits and advantages, and wrap it up with the juicy features. Be sure to include calls outs and side bars to share the delight of other customers and highlight the brightest bits.  This is the formula for winning direct mail copy.

4.  Does the copy sell, rather than tell?

This one goes hand in hand with all the preceeding points…but make sure your copy sells.  It’s amazing how many direct mail pieces read like the ingredients list on a box of cereal.  Blah blah blah facts.  Dry. Dull. Unappetizing. Sell the sizzle, not the steak!

5.  Do you ask for the sale?

It’s what’s known in the direct marketing world as the “call to action.”  Check your direct mail marketing letters and packages now and see how many actually ask outright for the sale, the lead, or the visit to the website.  “Oh but Jeanne,” my clients say to me when I point out they’re missing a strong call to action, “I don’t want to insult my customers by telling them the obvious!”

Do me a favor. Be obvious, very obvious!  Write exactly what you want customers to do: “Call today and order the Wondrous Widget. Act now and you’ll get a Gorgeous Gadget absolutely FREE.  But you’ve got to order NOW.  Call 1-888-555-1234.”

And don’t let your graphic designer remove that little “1” in front of the toll free number. It’s the sophisticated style nowadays to do away with the tiny numeral 1 in front of a toll free number. The problem with that, my friends, is that many customers DON’T know that you need to dial 1 before a toll free number, particularly older customers or those for whom ordering over the telephone is infrequent.  And while you may scoff at the few who don’t understand this, I’ll say it again: be obvious about everything, very obvious.

A direct mail piece isn’t the time to be shy or coy. Cleverness has a place, but never at the expensive of clarity and coherence. Check your direct mail marketing pieces now and test revised copy using these five tips against the control piece, the one you have now. I look forward to hearing about your successes and higher response rates!

Jeanne Grunert is a well known direct and online marketing expert and the president of Seven Oaks Consulting. For 20 years, she led marketing departments in the retail, financial services, and publishing industries. She helped companies save money and increase response rates – and profits – on their direct mail and online marketing efforts. Today, Jeanne shares her experience through her books, articles, coaching and courses available through Seven Oaks Consulting, focusing on low cost, high results marketing strategies. New clients welcome. For more information and a free consultation, please visit http://www.sevenoaksconsulting.com, or call 434-574-6253.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeanne_Grunert

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Comments

4 Responses to “Improve Direct Mail Response: 5 Tips For Creating Powerful Copy”
  1. Steven says:

    A great read on how effective copy can generate exceptional responses to your direct mail pieces.

    I recently came across this blogthat shows how themed pieces can drive sales to automotive dealerships.
    Again, a great piece Jeanne.

    • Thanks for the kind words! I also do a free Blog Talk Radio show called the Seven Oaks Small Business Marketing show. It’s recorded so you can listen later. I’m doing a series of presentations on direct response marketing. Free to tune in or download.

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