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The Excitement of Direct Marketing

Charles Baldwin

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Direct Marketing has to be the most exciting area of marketing. The results of a winning mailing are truly thrilling. Few things can compare with opening your mailbox to find a flood of emails or envelopes filled with orders and checks made out to you! And if you can increase the response to your offer by just a fraction of a percent, you can turn a slight profit into windfall profits.

So one of the key questions marketers have always ask is, “How do I increase the response to my mailings?" In this first part of a two part article, you'll learn 25 of the 55 excellent techniques for making sure your mailings pull a stronger response.

Not all of these techniques will work for every mailing you create. The key is to review the techniques whenever you're planning a mailing. Pick the ones that apply to your situation and put them to work. Your bank account will be glad you did!

1. Carefully target your audience.

Sales volume can be directly connected to your ability to accurately identify your most likely customers. If necessary, create different versions of your package tailored to each specifically targeted audience.

2. Solve your customer's most irritating problems.

Most customers don't buy products, but they do buy solutions to problems that plague them. If your product solves a critical problem, pull out all stops to let your customers know.

3. Help your customers achieve significant goals.

This is the complement of the prior point. If you can clearly show that your product or service will make your customer's lives easier or better, your sales volume should shoot straight up.

4. Focus on your customer's needs, not your product.

Customers have limited interest in your product or company. But they have unlimited interest in their needs, solutions to their problems, and making their lives better. Concentrate on fulfilling their needs through the use of your product or service.

5. ALWAYS stress benefits.

Always concentrate on how your product will benefit your customers-both logically and emotionally. Hit the right hot buttons and your sales will skyrocket.

6. Repeat your key benefits in the beginning, middle, and end of your email, letter or brochure.

Tell your readers once, tell them again, and then tell them one more time. Remember, people buy benefits, not products.

7. Use the “4 to 1" rule.

Your sales copy should contain four “you's" to every one “I. " Customers want to hear about their number one priority-themselves. One of the best ways to convey that you understand your customer's needs is to use plenty of “you" language.

8. Use a stop-them-in-their-tracks headline or first sentence.

Some letters and emails benefit from a headline while others don't. Either the headline or first sentence must be very powerful in order to convince your prospects that your letter is worth reading.

9. Use sub-headings liberally.

Subheads help break up long blocks of copy. They also act as a “hot point" outline to pull the reader through the key ideas of your email or ad.

10. Seize the reader's attention immediately.

Don't waster space building up to your blockbuster points. Start with them. You have only a paragraph or two to convince your prospects to keep reading your letter. Give them what they need to make sure they continue.

11. Flatter your reader.

These days people are much more sophisticated when it comes to advertising. They know that you got their name from a mailing list. You can turn this fact to your advantage by suing this kind of copy.

12. Share some “inside" information.

Direct mail offers a perfect opportunity to appeal to a person's need to feel special. An ideal way to do this is to share some exclusive information. Make it clear that this offer is being made only to them.

13. Issue a personal letter from the President.

People like to deal with the person in charge. Using this type of personal message builds confidence.

14. Never end a sentence at the bottom of a page in a sales letter.

Always use a broken sentence to carry your reader forward onto the next page of your letter or email.

15. Feature the offer.

Everyone loves a good deal. Your job is to design an irresistible offer and make it a key focal point of your letter or email. A strong offer can often be the extra incentive that will convert your “maybes" to real live orders.

16. Give something away for FREE.

Free samples, trials, demonstrations, consultations, or information are all exceptional ways of getting customers to give your product or service a hands-on try. Sometimes that is all it takes to close the sale.

17. Run a contest.

Give away a free enrollment in your seminar, a free subscription to your newsletter, or anything else that appeals to your buyers.

18. Use a special “before the price increases" offer.

If you plan to raise your prices, make your regular customers a special offer at the old price for a limited time.

19. Repeat your offer.

An irresistible offer can overcome customers reluctance. State it at least twice in your email or letter, and again on your order form.

20. Make a time-limited offer.

Offer a special deal for a limited period of time. And do just that-legally you can't continue a time-limited offer indefinitely.

21. Base your offer on a limited supply.

A close-out of your inventory can create strong demand. A limited supply offer can be used to designate exclusivity and prestige.

22. Offer a special deal to the first 100 people who order.

Or the first 25, 50, 250 and so on. But remember, the key here is to keep it to a meaningful limit as an incentive for customers to act quickly.

23. Make a charter offer.

This approach is ideal for new products, subscriptions, and service agreements. If your product isn't new, consider starting a membership club and offering charter members special benefits.

24. Make a “last chance" offer.

Last chance at this price, inventory close-outs, and last chance before a model change can all be used to successfully win more orders.

25. “Buy 1 get 1 FREE" always outpulls “2 for the price of 1. "

Although the savings are precisely the same, the first format sounds like the customer is getting a better bargain.

As mentioned in the beginning, not all of these techniques will work for every mailing you create. The key is to review the techniques whenever you're planning a mailing. Pick the ones that apply to your situation and put them to work.

In part two you'll learn about boosting the pulling power of your mailings.

In the meantime you have plenty of ideas to apply in your marketing. So go to work and try them out!

Dr. Charles Baldwin is a freelance copywriter living in Ireland. He has over 30 websites and blogs and specializes in direct marketing and internet marketing.


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