Entries Tagged 'direct mail campaign' ↓

It’s All in the Presentation – Copy + Design

Ask any professional copywriter and they’ll tell you the power of persuasion lies within the copy of any piece of marketing material. Ask any designer and they’ll tell you it is the eye-catching design that will sway the reader.

So who’s right?

Well in a way they both are. Let me explain.

Your audience wants to be seduced; they want to be wooed by high quality sales messages that are not only engaging when read, but that also look the business.

Let’s face it, a glossy mailing that arouses curiosity is more likely to be read than a folded piece of A4 paper covered in Courier font that’s splattered with italics, bold words and underlining.

Admittedly, these letters do work in some markets, but personally I can’t stand the things and always launch them bin-wards when they arrive through my door (or if it’s on a website I navigate away faster than a fast thing).

But there’s no getting away from the fact that a quality mailing will give a better return.

Words and design go hand in hand

The main trick for any mailing is to ensure the copy and the design marry. For example, if you send out an elegant flyer that’s accompanied by text that’s very informal and more akin to something you’d expect to find in a text message (extreme example), it won’t work.

Or will it?

Perhaps that sort of disparity would work – it would certainly get your mailing noticed and talked about.

And, after all, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Getting noticed?

There’s a challenge for someone – to come up with an elegant ‘up market’ style flyer that contains text-speak language. I’d love to see the results.

The same goes for copy.

Why are there so many people out there who feel the desperate need to flag up the tiniest of errors just because they can? No one is perfect (nope, not even me) and errors do happen.

But there are some copywriters who will even – shock horror – make spelling or grammatical errors on purpose.

A well-placed typo can bring attention to a key point; flouting the rules of grammar can have the same effect – after all, rules are there to be broken aren’t they? And people have been breaking grammatical rules for centuries.

Of course there is a huge difference between a well-placed faux pas and an ignorant and careless mistake.

Your reputation in your hands

What it comes down to is your mailing, or whatever form of marketing you care to mention, holds the key to your customers’ perception of your company.

It’s human nature to judge ‘a book by its cover’ (please excuse the cliché) and however hard you try not to, you won’t be able to help yourself.

So one sloppy mistake, one misjudged mailing, one ill written letter, will tarnish your business forever (well, for quite a while anyway).

Direct Mail Rant

 

direct mail

Direct mail has been around for many years. Long before the internet was thought of letters would come crashing through your letter box promising all sorts of wonderful things.

It is one of those things you either love or hate. Personally I’m not a great fan but that is probably because I have seen so much bad direct mail.

Buy! Buy! Buy!

That is what immediately springs to mind whenever someone mentions direct mail.

There is so much today – on and off line – that shouts at you. Know what I mean? All those letters and landing pages that are a mix of fonts, font sizes, colours, bold text, underlining.

Why do it? Surely if your product is great and stands up on its own merits it doesn’t need all that fluff and decoration.

Surely concentrating on the benefits is the key. Tell me what it will do for me, how it will make my life better. Convince me of that and I’ll probably buy – if the price is right.

That’s another thing – the price.

Is the price right?

Only you know if the price you are asking is fair or not. When I say ‘is the price right’ I’m thinking more of where you’ve put it in your sales letter/landing page.

Often you’ll see it in the headline.

Only £5.99!

Great, but because you haven’t put forward your offer yet, what’s the point in thrusting the price at me? It is meaningless on its own.

It’s the same when the price precedes the benefits. You have to convince me that the benefits of your product are so strong I’ll want to buy it whatever the price.

Convince first, tell them the price later.

Forget the hype

Great swathes of writing going on and on and on about features, exaggerated claims and long winded testimonials can be a real turn off.

Yes, testimonials are strong but do you really need twenty of them?One or two persuasively written case studies would be far more powerful.

People today are very time limited. They don’t have hours or even minutes to waste wading through your longwinded letter or landing page.

If your offer demands longer copy, fine – so long as it is all relevant to your product. Long copy can be very effective when written well.

It’s very easy to write long copy badly – it’s not so easy to write good long copy.

Know who you are writing to

Another pet hate of mine is receiving direct mail that is of no interest to me whatsoever.

If you are sending off line direct mail make sure you do your market research well. There are three elements that make up a successful campaign:

  1. A great offer
  2. A great sales letter
  3. The right audience

Get any of those wrong and you’ll be doomed.

Even if you’ve slaved hours over your letter and written the strongest offer known to man, if you send it to a bad list you won’t get the return you are looking for.

There is money to be made

You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m not a great fan of this particular sales format. However as a copywriter it is something I am called on to do frequently for my clients.

Learning how to write it has been a long journey (it isn’t something you can pick up over night) and a tortuous one considering my feelings towards it.

But I quickly learnt that direct mail could be written without excessive hype, bold colours, odd fonts and flashing boxes (or those annoying pop-ups on landing pages that chase you round the screen asking if you are sure you want to leave the page).

So don’t be put off by my rant. Direct mail can and does work. There are many big corporations out there using is well. Its just a shame there are so many bad examples out there too. 

What are your thoughts on it? Do you love it or hate it? It would be great to hear from you.

Direct Response Marketing – The Makings of a Successful Letter

letter

You might think, because direct mail letters come from a wide range of different companies and industries, they have little in common. Well, you’d be wrong.

There are certain characteristics that make up successful sales letters. Of course, your offer and list will have a lot to do with your success rate, but the following factors will contribute to an engaging and powerful letter.

Time to get personal

Your first task is to build rapport. Talk directly to your reader and empathise with them. A sales letter is not the place to shout about your company.

Your letter is intruding into someone’s life. They didn’t ask you to write to them. So you must demonstrate to them you understand their problem and you can help by building trust and credibility.

How?

Quite simply by:

  • Using “you” engages them in conversation. You’re not lecturing them, you’re confiding in them – you’re building rapport.
  • Telling them what’s in it for them – tell them how your product or service will benefit them; what they’re going to get out of this.
  • Speak normally – now is not the time to show off your impressive vocabulary. Every day language will communicate your message far better.
  • Mirror them – your readers need to see themselves when they read your letter. It should reflect their needs, desires, hopes etc.

Once upon a time…

A good letter will follow the same pattern as a fairy tale:

Once upon a time your washing was always dull, your whites never shone. But then one day your neighbour introduced you to a new wonderful detergent. Now your clothes are brilliantly clean. You are noticed by the handsome prince who sweeps you off your feet and you live happily ever after.

OK, a bit tongue in cheek, but you get the idea. Just remember, in your sales letter the hero of the story is your reader and there can’t be a happy ending until your reader takes action.

Be precise

Your sales message must be precise. If you want to build credibility, you must use facts and figures, testimonials and case studies. Simply by saying your washing powder is the best on the market isn’t going to convince anyone to buy it. But say that independent tests have proven your washing powder to remove 99.9% of all stains – now you’re talking.

Tell them what to do

If you have followed all the other steps and produced a strong letter that talks to your reader, builds rapport, empathises with them and gives evidence that your product works, but you fail to tell them what to do next – you’ve just wasted everyone’s time.

Your call to action must be strong and commanding. Tell them what they must do – call now, complete the order form and return it today etc.

Leave them in doubt as to what to do and what will happen next – i.e. goods will arrive in 28 days, one of our representatives will call you in 10 days etc.

Sally Ormond is a freelance copywriter who works with companies all over the world. Her copywriting services have helped numerous companies increase their sales and enjoy greater visibility within their market place.

Copywriting and Clients – Direct Marketing

When working with clients, I like to get up close and personal.up-close

Not in that way!

By that I mean I like to be part of the whole process. I want to understand what they are doing, why they are doing it that way, who they are targeting and why. Only by having access to that type of information can our relationship be truly effective.

Think for a moment – picture a scenario in which you run a busy kitchen. Business is booming and you need to bring in a new chef. On Thursday evening he arrives all ready to work. But rather than discuss with you how the kitchen works, what is on the menu etc., he goes off and does his own thing – the result? CHAOS.

In the freelance copywriting world your ingredients for a successful direct marketing campaign are:

A great list

A fantastic offer

Superbly crafted copy

Now if you come to the party without having any input into the first two requirements, the likelihood of the campaign being successful is low.

If the list is wrong, old or a bit dusty you probably won’t be targeting the right people so the campaign will fail.

If the marketing department of your client put the offer together in a rush or without really thinking through what is important, the campaign will fail.

If you write the greatest copy ever seen but the list is wrong or the offer is poor, the campaign will fail.

So what it comes down to is this, no matter how great your copywriting, if you don’t have input into all aspects of the campaign, you are running the risk of it going Pete Tong.

To maximise your chances of success – get access to the list, work with the marketing team to ensure the offer is top notch, write fabulous copy and finally stick around and find out what happens.

If the return is not as expect, find out why. Work with your client, review the whole process and find the weak link. Direct mail campaigns are not guaranteed and there can be a lot of factors that will affect the outcome (your target audience, your tone, the time the campaign was sent out, how it was sent out, what your client was looking to achieve…)

Clients remember – a freelance copywriter should always be seen as an extension to your team not an optional extra. Use their knowledge and experience to give your campaign the best possible chance for success.

Follow this link for more details on Briar Copywriting ‘s UK copywriting services

Direct Response Copywriting

Direct response copywriting is everywhere and can take several different forms – such as a direct-mail campaign or direct response ads.

In this blog on direct response copywriting I’m going to show you what it entails.

Many companies employ direct response copywriting so you must make sure that you have different ways for your advertising to stand up.  When you are doing direct response copywriting, you should make sure that you are writing to your reader as you would write to a friend so it needs to be conversational.

There are no hard and fast rules as to how long your writing should be – instead you should write until what you need to say has been said.

Direct Response Copywriting Formula

OK, as the advert says here comes the science bit.

There are three main parts usually attributed to a direct response letter:

  • The headline – this must be attention grabbing.
  • The offer – make sure you explain in great detail what a person will receive if they take you up on your offer.
  • The postscript – this is where the incentive goes for someone to respond immediately to your offer.

The key behind direct response copywriting

The key is that you want the person to immediately respond to the offer that you have presented.

Good freelance copywriting for the direct response market is achieved by focusing on the three main parts such as the headline, the offer, and the postscript. Get these right and you’ll be setting yourself up for a high success rate.

Direct response copywriting can be very effective and produce great sales for you if it is done correctly.