7 Direct Response Increasing Secrets


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I have studied Direct Response Copywriting, applied it to successful direct mail programs, and created this presentation to teach others in seminars how to do it themself. I am now providing it here to help people throughout the world.
Linda J. Maynard
LJM Marketing

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7 Direct Response Increasing Secrets

  1. 1. Direct Response-Increasing Secrets by Linda J. Maynard LJM Marketing www.ljmmarketing.net 7
  2. 2. Response-Increasing Secret #1 Always use Direct Response copy in your marketing efforts-anything else will suppress response
  3. 3. <ul><li>Grab the attentions of your prospect </li></ul><ul><li>Powerfully position your company and products in your prospect’s mind </li></ul><ul><li>Overcome your prospect’s skepticism and objections </li></ul><ul><li>Create a “branding” effect that will help you gain market share </li></ul><ul><li>Motivate your prospect to pick up the phone, go to your website or drop an order in the mail to you right now </li></ul>Direct Response copy succeeds because it’s based in science Response-Increasing Secret #1
  4. 4. <ul><li>Discover what’s unique about you and your product or service </li></ul><ul><li>Decide exactly how your prospects will benefit from the most important features of your product or service…and tell them how these features benefit them </li></ul><ul><li>Reveal your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to your prospect </li></ul><ul><li>Create a specific, clear theme </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a personal, one-on-one communication </li></ul>It starts with YOU Response-Increasing Secret #1
  5. 5. <ul><li>Compiled the response rate to tens of thousands of advertisements, marketing materials, direct mail packages, radio spots and television commercials. In the last decade, they’ve gathered responses to websites, emails, banners ads and pay-per-click ads as well. </li></ul><ul><li>Compared marketing copy and strategies with the quantity and quality of responses. </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #1 Here’s how we know. For decades, direct marketers using Direct response copy have: Direct Response copy is better return on your investment
  6. 6. <ul><li>Discovered which strategies and tactics were hugely successful, which were moderately successful and which were devastating failures. </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzed exactly why successful marketing strategies and techniques earned their clients hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars and why some didn’t. </li></ul><ul><li>Validated their discoveries through solid accountability, testing again and again. </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #1
  7. 7. Response-Increasing Secret #1 Decades of testing prove that almost any kind of Direct Response copy gets more results than almost any image advertising copy
  8. 8. Long copy almost always works better than short copy A leading direct marketing agency evaluated brochure, sales letters and self mailer against each other in a five way test. Several Different sizes of brochures, sales letters and self-mailer were evaluated against each other in a five-way test. Take a look at the test results: Response-Increasing Secret #1
  9. 9. 5-Way Direct Mail Test PACKAGE: RESPONSE RATE: Brochure in Envelope 0.5% Self-Mailer 1.0% Long Brochure and Short Letter in Envelope 3.2% Letter and Brochure Combination in Envelope 4.0% Short Brochure and Long Letter in Envelope 7.3% Response-Increasing Secret #1
  10. 10. <ul><li>The first is that a letter is one of the most important marketing materials you can invest in. </li></ul><ul><li>As you can see from the test results, response to a long letter can significantly outpull response to a short letter. </li></ul>This test demonstrated two important facts: Response-Increasing Secret #1
  11. 11. <ul><li>Deserves a sales letter that packs an emotional wallop </li></ul><ul><li>Shows your customers what’s unique about you </li></ul><ul><li>Explains why you benefit them more than your competitors </li></ul><ul><li>Overcomes their objections </li></ul>Truth is, if your product or service is worth selling to your customers Response-Increasing Secret #1
  12. 12. <ul><li>Your image-based advertising agency wants you to believe that no one can write sales copy like their clever copywriters. Don’t believe them. </li></ul>Writing great copy requires mastery of direct marketing strategies and techniques Response-Increasing Secret #1
  13. 13. In these times, constructing copy that sells your product or service requires techniques, psychology and science Response-Increasing Secret #1
  14. 14. <ul><li>Writing surefire “get ‘em to pick up the phone and buy right now” Direct Response copy isn’t a mystery. It’s part art, part science, and direct marketers have mastered both. </li></ul><ul><li>Your response rate can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled or more when you hire a professional direct marketing copywriter to write your sales copy. </li></ul><ul><li>Your investment in direct marketing really pays off, while what you spend on advertising is marginal. </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #1
  15. 15. <ul><li>Direct Response copywriters use scientifically proven, time-tested words </li></ul><ul><li>in the hunt for customers or leads… </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #1
  16. 16. <ul><li>Craft sentences so they’re short and easy to read </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid big words when one-syllable words are available </li></ul><ul><li>Indent and use white space to their advantage </li></ul><ul><li>Select hot words such as NEW, NOW, EASY, INTRODUCING, and SAVE </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the opening paragraph short </li></ul><ul><li>Vary paragraph lengths </li></ul><ul><li>Make sentences and paragraphs flow </li></ul><ul><li>Occasionally insert a paragraph that consists of just a word or two-maybe one sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Use color for subheads, bullets and indentions </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #1
  17. 17. <ul><li>Avoid bureaucratic talk. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t choose odd words that will pull the reader’s attention away from the sales message. </li></ul><ul><li>Weed out clichés and jargon. </li></ul><ul><li>Steer clear of new language (like slang words and phrases) that may jar or confuse your readers with meanings they may not know. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid using too many commas and semicolons. They’ll slow your reader down. </li></ul><ul><li>Omit words that convey doubt or uncertainty: “we think,” “it appears,” “it seems,” “you might find.” </li></ul>In addition, great copywriters: Response-Increasing Secret #1
  18. 18. <ul><li>Force the reader to continue reading. In a letter or webpage with a link, end the first page in the middle of a sentence, prompting the reader to turn the page or click through. </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly provide reader instructions at the bottom of each page such as “over please,” “continued on next page,” “turn over” or “click here.” </li></ul><ul><li>Write in a language that’s “you,” not “we” oriented. For example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You’ll gain (not “we provide”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You’ll discover (not “we’ll show you”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You’ll get a free (not “we’ll give you”) </li></ul></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #1
  19. 19. <ul><li>Use an active voice. “You’ll get your free book,” not “the free book will be forwarded to you.” </li></ul><ul><li>Use the present tense. “Subscribe now, and you’ll get a free bonus.” </li></ul><ul><li>Write to one person, from one person. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t brag. Let the facts brag for you. </li></ul><ul><li>Give examples, testimonials or facts, and your audience will more strongly believe in you and your product and service. </li></ul><ul><li>Pepper copy with scientifically proven power words: own, get, control, take, care, seize, capture, enjoy, try, grab. </li></ul><ul><li>Use exclamation points, but sparingly! </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use asterisks.* </li></ul><ul><li>Use an ellipse (…) instead of a dash (-). </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #1
  20. 20. <ul><li>What your advertising agency won’t tell you </li></ul>Advertising agencies specialize in creating cute, short copy, to get your product or service noticed. But most advertisements won’t give you a fair return on your investment-and they aren’t accountable. Image-oriented copywriters will attempt to sell your product or service’s features. Response-Increasing Secret #1
  21. 21. <ul><li>Features do not sell </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #1
  22. 22. <ul><li>Sell your product’s benefits-not its features-and watch your sales explode </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #2
  23. 23. <ul><li>The feature “low price” becomes the benefit , </li></ul><ul><li>“ you save lots of money with our low price.” </li></ul>#1: Add the magic of the word “you” and an appropriate verb in front of the feature Response-Increasing Secret #2
  24. 24. Response-Increasing Secret #2 #2: Decide exactly how your buyers will benefit from the most important features of your product or service…and tell them how these features benefit them
  25. 25. <ul><li>EX: If you are selling an extremely compact pocket knife, your benefit could be, “slips into your pocket easily, because it is so tiny.” </li></ul><ul><li>EX: If you are selling a high-quality set of precision golf clubs, your benefit could be, “highest precision and extreme accuracy help you lower your score.” </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #2
  26. 26. Response-Increasing Secret #2 #3: Determine your prospects’ exact needs and desires…so you can give them the right kind of compelling copy that makes them want to buy from you
  27. 27. <ul><li>EX: With a less expensive, more powerful vacuum cleaner, the “you” method produces the benefit , “you can save with our low prices.” </li></ul><ul><li>The “what do they do with it?” method creates the benefit , “finish your vacuuming in less time with our stronger suction.” </li></ul><ul><li>With the “what you want” method, saving money earns prospects’ praise from their spouses. Getting the vacuuming completed faster could mean more time to spend with their families. </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #2 Figure out precisely: What do your buyers want? What are their goals? What makes them most happy?
  28. 28. #4: Make sure you determine exactly what the benefits should be so you don’t get them confused with features Response-Increasing Secret #2
  29. 29. Life insurance companies refer to the money they pay to beneficiaries as “benefits.” A $100,000 insurance policy payoff is a feature , not a benefit! The buyer’s sense of security in purchasing an insurance policy is really the benefit. The buyer knows that he or she is going to feel more secure regardless of what happens. Response-Increasing Secret #2
  30. 30. #5: Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes before you write one word of copy Just imagine that someone else is trying to sell your product or service to you. What benefits should they mention to convince you to buy it? <ul><li>What order should these benefits be in? </li></ul><ul><li>How should they be presented for the most successful sales story? </li></ul><ul><li>What strongest benefit should be the “clincher” that closes the sale? </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #2
  31. 31. Your order form must be an effective closing tool Response-Increasing Secret #3
  32. 32. Follow the order form “musts” Order form MUST be able to stand on its own and complete your sale all by itself. Order form MUST make it as easy as possible for your prospects to act once they have been motivated to reply to your direct mail package. Response-Increasing Secret #3
  33. 33. Some prospects will read your letter first Others will read the order form first to learn quickly what you want them to do before they decide whether or not to read the rest of your direct mail package. And others will skim you letter quickly…then read the order form where they can find a concise description of your offer. Response-Increasing Secret #3
  34. 34. 2 very important rules… Rule #1: Make sure your order form is EASY for your prospects to read, use and understand. Rule #2: Only use Direct Response graphics-avoid making the order piece a corporate brochure. Response-Increasing Secret #3
  35. 35. The Internet is your most cost-effective, response-generating tool ever-when used correctly Response-Increasing Secret #4
  36. 36. Web Rule #1: The web is a direct marketing medium The Internet is technology. And, it’s not an editorial delivery channel. Nor is it a brand-building strategy. It is a rapidly growing & flexible direct marketing medium. Response-Increasing Secret #4
  37. 37. By using the Internet as a direct marketing medium, you can…. <ul><li>Market to drive people to your site. For example, include your web address (URL) in your mailing package or create special online promotions. </li></ul><ul><li>Market with email, banner ads, news groups, directories and search engines to drive people to your site. </li></ul><ul><li>Test to increase response. </li></ul><ul><li>Make all your marketing accountable, so you’ll always know whether it is profitable. </li></ul><ul><li>Build relationships to help you learn more about your customers. Your customers can also learn more about you…so you increase your sales and profits as a result. </li></ul>Response-Increasing Secret #4
  38. 38. Web Rule #2: Your website must be a Direct Response marketing website More can be done to increase your response by making your site a direct marketing site than anything you could do with improved email, banner ads, higher positioning with search engines or any other media improvement. All of this can be accomplished using Direct Response strategy and tactics in copy, art and offer. Give substance using an informational approach that sells, presents an offer and has a strong close. Response-Increasing Secret #4
  39. 39. Web Rule #3: You must use multiple entry points Multiple entry points are the key to maximizing your net reach. Response-Increasing Secret #4
  40. 40. Health Alert Dr. West Heart Arthritis content sales offer close Response-Increasing Secret #4
  41. 41. Response-Increasing Secret #4 Web Rule #4: Use one clear theme at each entry point <ul><li>In a recent website study, </li></ul><ul><li>87% of the people surveyed said they had navigation problems; </li></ul><ul><li>83% left the site frustrated; </li></ul><ul><li>73% could not find what they were looking for. </li></ul>Another study showed that your prospects can be expected to spend 1.26 minutes on your site, unless you really grab their attention. If they leave your site, you probably won’t get another chance to talk with them again on that entry point.
  42. 42. Response-Increasing Secret #4 By using multiple entry points, most people entering your site won’t see your home page. That’s good! Instead, prospects will be directed right to the information they were searching for. Keep your home page simple, and not confusing. Rely on the entry points-not the home page-to sell your product or service. Web Rule #5: Limit the use of your home page
  43. 43. Response-Increasing Secret #4 If your site is a marketing site designed to sell your product or service, your advertising copy must follow all Direct Response copy rules. This includes “you” oriented copy; benefits, not features; and all the tested and proven techniques that can make or break a direct mail piece. Web Rule #6: Use Direct Response copy only
  44. 44. Response-Increasing Secret #4 Just as with any other medium, your website graphics must be designed to motivate people to read your copy. Graphics must guide their eyes and encourage readership. Your graphics must not slow prospects down on the web. Web Rule #7: Use only Direct Response graphics
  45. 45. Response-Increasing Secret #4 Just as with any other medium, your offer on the web is critical for your success. This includes using a discount, premium(s) and a money-back guarantee. Web Rule #8: Use a direct marketing offer
  46. 46. Response-Increasing Secret #4 Don’t settle for poor or mediocre response. Examine your current website from a marketing perspective. Are you falling short of the response you want and need? Start doubling or tripling your response NOW!
  47. 47. Response-Increasing Secret #5 Use offline marketing to make more money in an online world
  48. 48. Response-Increasing Secret #5 <ul><li>69% of e-commerce websites are now using offline marketing to drive prospects to their sites </li></ul><ul><li>31% of e-commerce websites are far less productive and profitable than they could be, simply because they are not capitalizing on offline marketing to generate their maximum volume of sales. </li></ul>
  49. 49. Response-Increasing Secret #5 10 Tested and Proven Keys to Drive More Traffic to Your Site
  50. 50. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #1: Decide exactly what you want to accomplish-then use these goals to determine your objectives <ul><li>Do you want to drive traffic to your site for “hits”? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you want to drive traffic to your site for sales? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you want to collect e-mail addresses? </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare your marketing strategy, copy and graphics to accomplish your precise objectives. </li></ul>
  51. 51. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #2: Make all your offline efforts totally accountable Always trace and record your offline advertising results, so you know exactly what is working and what is not working. Be sure to compute your cost-per-sale just as you would for every direct mailing you send to your prospects.
  52. 52. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #3: Keep testing all the time Always test. Testing is a critical part of making sure your marketing campaign is totally accountable. It’s one of the most important things you’ll do. <ul><li>A few of the many things you should test… </li></ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul><ul><li>Creative execution </li></ul><ul><li>Offer </li></ul>
  53. 53. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #4: Always use a direct marketing site with Direct Response copy, art, offer and strategy Make sure your website is not an antimarketing or nonmarketing site…unless you just want “hits.” A good, productive direct marketing site is designed especially to sell products or services, or to collect email addresses. It follows all the time-tested and proven direct marketing rules…through copy, graphics, offer and strategy.
  54. 54. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #5: Use only one specific theme to drive traffic to your website The most successful and most profitable campaigns always focus on just one specific theme…something newsworthy, dramatic and controversial. <ul><li>Must be fascinating </li></ul><ul><li>Promise your prospects that it is clearly in their best interests to look at your website. </li></ul><ul><li>The theme must be so compelling that your prospects won’t rest until they view your site…or, at least, save your URL until they go online. </li></ul><ul><li>You should have multiple entry points and not rely on just a home page. Each entry point has a specific theme that interests and satisfies your prospects. </li></ul>
  55. 55. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #6: Be sure to test direct mail. It could easily be your most successful advertising medium to drive prospects to your website!
  56. 56. Response-Increasing Secret #5 <ul><li>This type of direct mail does not sell </li></ul><ul><li>Does not use long copy </li></ul><ul><li>It teases-creates curiosity to drive people to your site </li></ul><ul><li>You can use a postcard </li></ul><ul><li>You can use a short, 1-page “tease” letter </li></ul>Postcards are inexpensive, and oversize postcards usually are large enough to contain enough copy and graphics to motivate prospects to go to your website. If constructed properly, letter direct mail packages are more likely to get by mailroom and secretary screening when you’re prospecting to large companies and organizations. They can also do a better job of qualifying your prospects.
  57. 57. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #7: Be sure to test display advertising. It can produce terrific results for you if it is prepared correctly! Small space ads can be created with powerful themes, powerful headlines and lots of compelling “tease” bullets…making them very cost effective. A strong headline can be responsible for up to 70% of the success of any ad.
  58. 58. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #8: Don’t overlook alternative media. They can also be very productive and cost effective
  59. 59. Response-Increasing Secret #5 By using a copy strategy that “teases” and does not sell but is used only to drive people to your website, use new and “unique” media for your offline marketing…
  60. 60. Response-Increasing Secret #5 <ul><li>inserts in newspapers </li></ul><ul><li>magazines </li></ul><ul><li>catalogs </li></ul><ul><li>packages and bills </li></ul><ul><li>advertising on cartons </li></ul><ul><li>TV and radio spots </li></ul><ul><li>billboards </li></ul><ul><li>co-ops </li></ul><ul><li>matchbook covers </li></ul>
  61. 61. Response-Increasing Secret #5 <ul><li>blimp advertising </li></ul><ul><li>skywriting </li></ul><ul><li>aircraft banners </li></ul><ul><li>advertising balloons </li></ul><ul><li>sidewalk benches </li></ul><ul><li>sandwich boards </li></ul><ul><li>bus and taxi signs </li></ul><ul><li>ride-alongs </li></ul><ul><li>conference marketing opportunities </li></ul>
  62. 62. Response-Increasing Secret #5 #9: Use radio advertising. It’s a low-cost way to drive consumer traffic to your site <ul><li>Can target the exact markets you want to reach by selecting stations and shows that reach those markets. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk shows, news formats and Christian stations are some of your best and most loyal Direct Response audiences. </li></ul>
  63. 63. Response-Increasing Secret #5 When you use TV to drive traffic to your website, you’ll get the best results by advertising niche products on niche cable TV channels. #10: TV advertising, especially targeted cable, is also a very powerful way to drive traffic to your website
  64. 64. Response-Increasing Secret #6 Online offers that follow tested and proven direct marketing strategies will multiply your sales
  65. 65. Response-Increasing Secret #6 <ul><li>Use introductory discount </li></ul><ul><li>Test pricing </li></ul><ul><li>Higher response with “soft” offer (as in “Bill Me Later”) </li></ul><ul><li>Offer guarantee </li></ul><ul><li>Offer premiums </li></ul><ul><li>List privacy and security, policies to shop online </li></ul><ul><li>Create offer to collect e-mail addresses </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge every online order immediately </li></ul><ul><li>Increase response with a value-added offer </li></ul>
  66. 66. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Use magalogs to set your products apart from the competition and watch sales soar
  67. 67. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Magalogs look like a special interest magazine chock full of important information. Usually a 4 page piece. Offers hard facts using direct response copy and graphics to inform hungry and/or skeptical prospects. Starts with headline that grabs attention and doesn’t let go.
  68. 68. Response-Increasing Secret #7 <ul><li>The magalog is an infomercial in print. </li></ul><ul><li>It is used for: </li></ul><ul><li>investment products </li></ul><ul><li>health supplements </li></ul><ul><li>magazine </li></ul><ul><li>newsletter promotions </li></ul><ul><li>services for diverse audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Magalogs are a minimum of 16 pages, ranging in size up to 32 pages </li></ul>
  69. 69. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Here are 7 tips to help you create a magalog that’ll make your product stand out:
  70. 70. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Tip #1: Create a front cover that grabs your reader’s attention and doesn’t let go
  71. 71. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Tip #2: Use pages 2 and 3 wisely to make your magalog a success To pack a real punch, though, place the first few paragraphs of your most informative, most beguiling article at the beginning of your magalog.
  72. 72. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Tip #3: Include a lead article The strongest-response magalogs have one well-focused, single-themed main article that sells the product or service and pulls the prospect to the order form at the end.
  73. 73. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Tip #4: Use sidebars liberally Sidebars are small articles that accompany a lead story in a newspaper or magazine. Use to highlight a benefit, make a call to action, offer a free Special Report or draw attention to the order form.
  74. 74. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Tip #5: Woo your prospect with an order form The last one or two pages of your magalog are an extremely powerful place to put your order form. On one page, pack extensive information on the bonuses and guarantees that accompany the offer. On the other, present your offer, with all the components of a traditional response device and the most important selling points of your product. Most importantly, don’t forget to include clear instructions, a savings certificate and your money-back guarantee.
  75. 75. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Tip #6: Use the back cover to sell information and add product credibility <ul><li>One of the most powerful places </li></ul><ul><li>Use to influence prospects into turning the page and reading what’s inside the magalog immediately </li></ul><ul><li>Make them want to read the entire article, and make it easy for them to find the facts by using bullets. </li></ul><ul><li>Also add testimonials </li></ul>
  76. 76. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Tip #7: Make your magalog look professional <ul><li>4 color process </li></ul><ul><li>60 lb. Paper weight for cover </li></ul><ul><li>50 lb. Paper weight for inside pages </li></ul>
  77. 77. Response-Increasing Secret #7 Any Questions?
  78. 78. Direct Response-Increasing Secrets 7