Remember, there are really only four major elements in any direct mail package. They are:
1. The carrier or outside envelope. What does it look like. Is it enticing enough to get opened? Does it hit your demographic between their eyes with the need to know what’s in it or does it look like every other piece of unsolicited “junk” mail?
2. The “deal”…or offer. Is it phrased so your audience understands what it is and how it can benefit them? Does it speak to your customers or is it over their head or belittle their intelligence?
3. The COPY…Is the copywriting done to reach your audience and the correct demographic or is it all set to make every comma crusader happy? It you believe your sales copy has to be grammatically perfect you need stop reading and befriend an English teacher….never worry about marketing the correct way and forget any kind of direct response…and while you are at it…..CLOSE YOUR DOORS!!! Because your need for correctness will sound like a phony come-on to your customers and your piece will end up in the garbage….PLEASE get over the need to tell a good copywriter not to use a preposition at the end of a sentence …..PLEASE!!! My only response now is: “just cause.” (MORE ON THIS LATER)
Please see – http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/11/grammar-myths-prepositions/
4. The list. Is it your perfect demographic? Is it fresh? Is it the perfectly targeted audience most likely to buy from you or is it some cheap list not worth the .10 per name you spent.
Now that you know the four major elements in every direct response package I will start explaining the finer elements in the weeks to come. By the time this series is done you will know what a lift note is and how to pick a quality mailing list. And, a whole lot of other stuff that is necessary to do a great direct response piece and get the results you really want. After all…..why spend money on something that no one reads or pays attention to….BECAUSE if they don’t pay attention to your direct response they won’t open and read it and you won’t make any sales…..
For now I wish you Good Luck and Good Response….
Today I’m going to try something different…I know that a lot of my readers are here to pick up ideas or suggestions to help in their marketing efforts. And, I also know that most of my readers are aware of the fact that I believe that the most effective way to market any service, product or business is through direct response.
I also know that any business can and will grow through the proper use of direct response marketing….All that being said I am going to offer you a way to get any question you have answered by a twenty-year participating expert. ME.
SOOOO….I am offering every one of my 3,200 readers the chance to ask me a question. Simple email me your questions to CornellDirect@gmail.com with the word QUESTION in the subject line .
I will answer your questions one at a time on this blog and will give you credit for asking unless you ask me not to use your name…Feel free and let’s get some questions answered. Until later….continue marketing and win some customers hearts…..
Once upon a time in a land much like the one you live in a merchant decided that he needed to grow his business. He saw more and more competition every day and was really beginning to worry. He would ask everyone that he saw if they had heard of his little business. Sadly, most people hadn’t. He couldn’t understand because he had used social media a lot at first and advertised in magazines and on radio and television.
He had spent a lot of money on his website (because a designer assured him that if he had a pretty website it would make people like his business.,…lies all lies for another post) and he had his brochures, postcards, and flyers all done…and very cheaply too because he had someone from one of the dollar sites do the writing. He had found a couple of grammatical errors and some usage mistakes , but hey… he had purchased the pre-made brochures and flyers from the paper company and even though English was the writers second language he knew that it really didn’t matter…..so, what was the problem?
As he asked around he started to hear that the message was a little confusing from the people who actually heard of his company and gone on the web looking for him. He heard that his material looked like everyone else’s so his business didn’t really stand out….he heard that his company and the competitors where really all alike and he knew that wasn’t true….. Our little merchant knew what good work his team did, but he wasn’t even given a chance to compete because his message wasn’t getting through….
To make a long story short….or so I say…the message didn’t get through because most “CHEAP – English is my second language ” writers don’t really understand the nuances of the language and can’t use the basic laws of copywriting correctly in English.
The use of the emotional hot buttons that are synonymous with any successful marketing venture is completely lost on most of their work. (NOTE: I am not trying to insult these writers….I am saying that if you don’t grow up using the nuances in a language you can’t fully understand them unless you have years of experience writing and reading the language and using it to converse with daily.)
That being said, and the truth does ring out loud when you say you get what you pay for especially in writing and copywriting.
So our little merchant decided to invest in his business and have all of the wording redone to better standout and explain why his company was different. He used a professional copywriter and web writer that had grownup speaking and writing English as their first language.
To his surprise the traffic to his website increased dramatically over the next few months and as we all know when the traffic increases so do sales….when he sent his company collateral out after the re-write and re-design it made his company standout and showed what pride he took in his business and his customers.
Even though the little merchant cringed at the initial price of the work being done he did realize that the investment he made today would be usable for several years and help pay for itself over the long-haul.
So, as any smart merchant would, he decided to look at the improvement as an investment.
He realized that he wouldn’t be getting his company material updated for at least three or four years and saw that the initial cost was actually very little.
Our little merchant realized that you have to standout, educate, and help your customers and prospects for them to remember his company and to succeed….
Moral of the story : Don’t throw dollars away quibbling of pennies……Good luck!
Today I decided that it would be the perfect Friday to tell you a fictional story with very real consequences. It’s the story of Jerry the ex-cmo of a fortune 500 company in the mid-west.
It seems that Jerry loved marketing. He has been a little marketer all of his life from the very first Cub Scout popcorn sale through his high school band candy sales he always scored BIG. He was never less than second place in sales and most often took first place.
Jerry loved the attention. He knew he could sell and sell he did….Jerry was so good he knew without a shadow of a doubt he was the best.
Unfortunately; he also grew his EGO along with each sale.
As the story goes, Jerry finished high school and went on to college to get a degree in marketing. Everyone said that a marketing degree was a sure fit. His parents were so proud.
Jerry won several awards and continued to sell various services and products to earn his way through college. He always had a pocket full of cash and was the first to tell anyone who would listen how good he was and how he was going to be rich because of his enormous talent in marketing and sales.
Well as it goes in these stories the young genius, who was also very tech savvy, moved right up the ladder as he had intended. Stopping only long enough to show off his skills and win a sales title or save failing sales territory. All bets were on the new marketing superstar….
Until one day (you knew this was coming didn’t you?) when young Jerry was called into the CEO’s office to discuss a new program by the US Postal Service. His CEO was very excited because the prices were the least expensive of all of the marketing avenues his company could use to get a solid return on his investment for the stockholders, and he, since he was old school, knew how he and his whole management team would get a huge raise for overcoming the terrible Obama economy.
Jerry pretended to listen intently even though he was born with a tablet in-hand and refused to discuss any option that didn’t highlight the use of the web. Jerry knew that “OLD SCHOOL” marketing techniques would never work so he smiled and ignored his boss’s insistence.
You see the boss had built this business by using these very same direct response methods that were so foreign and unrealistic to tech-savvy Jerry..
Well, as all good readers know, I just gave the ending away as so often happens in stories where we actually learn something. Anyway……
To make a long story short (mostly because I’m bored with this) Jerry didn’t pay attention to the request of his boss because he felt it was to “Old School” to actually work….The department went over budget and nobody on the executive team got any raise and two were actually laid off because, as you know, the Marketing Department is always the first to go (If the person making the decision is an idiot).
Anyway, Jerry lost his job because he didn’t do the research and understand how perfect DIRECT RESPONSE is in most marketing situations with the high-tech add-ons such as email, SEO, and the plethora of other web-based options used to reinforce the message.
Now, the once rising star in marketing and sales is working the front counter at McGiggles where laughing is a part of the meal and every giggle let’s Jerry know what a moron he had become by not using the tried and truest method of marketing…..namely DIRECT RESPONSE….
Post Script….The CEO hired a DIRECT RESPONSE copywriter to fix the situation and eventually got to hire the two marketing executives back that had to be let go earlier to add drama to the story and make it work….and, they all got big raises. Meanwhile, the magic words that the DIRECT RESPONSE copywriter wrote let him write all the way to the bank…..
The End of a Very Beautiful Story …
It never ceases to amaze me when small business owners ask if we’re done after the first part of the campaign is complete. I can’t help but feel sorry for the little dicken’s because of their complete lack of understanding of the marketing beast…
Marketing is an ongoing, never ceasing animal that grows your business. To me it’s like asking your date if taking her to dinner once is going to do if for the time you are to spend together….it ain’t happening…..just like marketing.
Feed the beast and watch it grow your business….!!!
You need to understand that your customers make all of their decisions with their emotions and then use their intellect to explain why….Sell to their intellect and lose money. Sell to their emotions and you’ll sell all of your inventory.
You know that your customer doesn’t know what they are doing when they say that the they’ve got a TV commercial, a couple of billboards and a Facebook page going on so they really don’t need any help. Or the ever popular….I just spent a fortune on a website and the designer promised that would take care of my marketing for at least a year or two….I’m telling you….walk away….laughing to yourself….just walk away. I actually had a restaurant owner tell me he was going to get a car wrap and that was his marketing budget…his business is gone now….walk away…..walk away.
OK! So last week I met with a small business owner that doesn’t have a clue. He has owned and operated a delivery service that only has one customer and has for over 20 years. He’s done ok, but not outstanding, however, he believes he’s rockin’ and rollin’.
So now, his daughter and his son-in-law have a beautiful little girl and he’s decided that he’s trained his son-in-law well enough to take on the world and he is buying the young couple a business of their very own. I believe the intent is great however, in reality he doesn’t have a clue.
The new business is customer driven and can’t be any different. The new business is a goldmine if they do it right. Unfortunately, the young man worked in marketing for a direct response list broker and “knows” a lot about B2C so you know he will not do it right.
Anyway, the meeting was a version of the poor-mans Price is Right. Every time I mentioned something he could do or needed to do to help grow the business I was asked…how much is that worth….what money would it return…and if I pay you that amount where is my guarantee…This went on for an hour and when it was done I got a burger and coke out of the deal and left these poor, misguided, egotistical, frumps thinking all was well and they could get it done themselves and save a few thousand dollars…
Poor dumb souls. Good luck and PLEASE explain to me how to have a business pay on performance when your trying to help them grow in spite of themselves…What idiots some small business owners are….OH WELL! It takes all kinds.
Until next time….keep your chin up and keep your mind open. There is opportunity everywhere.
Just a quick note to ask are you really using writers that write in English as a second language for your business needs. Do you do it thinking it doesn’t matter?
Do you do it because you are too cheap to worry about your business?
Or are you just a moron?
I admire my hardworking proteges that have learned English and now believe “they be English literable.” I think it’s great for writers from around the world to break in to the American market and undercut the hardworking American writers by selling their little souls for $3 an article….what I don’t understand is the hillbilly business owner that uses these illiterate writers to represent their business.
These “business” owners will certainly NOT understand what that looks like in the market and how it affects what his customers and would-be customers think when they see how careless the business is in representing themselves.
Most customers will never tell you however, they think…even for an instant…if they don’t care about what I see then they don’t care about how they do their work or how they treat their customers and look to your competition for help.
If you don’t understand this then you deserve being the hillbilly you are and continue to scrape by in your little bubble.
I live in a small town (some call it a city) in Nebraska that just happens to have a gland problem. It keeps growing and the small businesses popup and go out of business just as fast. Many of those businesses are great little shops and retail outlets but the owners refuse to step into the 21st century. Most of the small business owners understanding of how the marketing paradigms have changed in the last 20 years is abysmal to say the least. Most don’t have a clue about what works and what doesn’t work in this day and age and probably never did really understand it..
Most of the business owners in Omaha still say things like; “That internet thing is just a passing fancy. It’ll never last.”, “I use nothin’ but WORD O MOUFF marketin’ and look what it’s done…I got me a new cady and my house is almost paid fer.”
Anyway…enough said about the whole “next” level of stupid we get to endure in Omaha. Back to what works.
The next time you run into someone who says, “I use nothin” but word of mouff marketin’ remind them that most young people do nothing but text today. And, even mom and dad have Facebook accounts. Remind them that Myspace, Facebook, and Pinterest aren’t the only social networks. There are over 199 very popular social networking sites and over half of those have well over 1 million members. Most of these sites are niche sites that cater to a very definite demographic. (Hint, hint)
So the conversations have moved from over the back fence to over the Internet. This is how you use the conversations to grow your businesses in this day and age. Find one or two social networks that serve the niche you serve and become involved. Just join the social network and watch and read the interactions for the next week or two. When you get to the point that you feel you can add something to the conversations going on….jump in, introduce yourself and give you opinions. Remember, it only takes a couple of minutes to post to Twitter, or to write a post on Facebook. And, don’t get carried away and spend too much time observing. It will be worth the time spent as you become know for you business knowledge. If done well you will become known as the “expert” in your field. Remember that word of mouth marketing is the best if done correctly…on the social networks.