How to Make Direct Response Work One Step at a Time


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One efficient method is to use of the multi-step process in direct response marketing. For example, single-step marketing could be defined as sending out a flyer in the neighborhood, telling people about a neighbor's home that has just been sold by you or as running a one-time ad in a local paper advertising an investment offering you have or as running an ad in the paper that says “Call me before you redecorate, " and so forth. In other words, anything where you do a single step in the hope that you will get responses.

Now, true - you may run the same ad more than one time in your paper over a period of a few months, and you may send out farming flyers or postcards to people over a period of time. But that is not what I'm talking about here, because each of those particular efforts is really a single-step process. You send out the piece, and prospects are supposed to call.

Now, while this seems easy and logical, it also has been proven over time to just not work. The real secret to direct response marketing is to use little, bite-size chunks for people so that they are responding to what is easy and non-threatening, allowing them to take little steps, one at a time.

For example, let's say you run an ad that says, “Do You Worry That Your Filthy Air Ducts Could Be Making Your Family Sick?" “If so, call. 1-800-000-0000, 24 hours, for a FREE recorded message to get a copy of an amazing report. It reveals the secrets of 99.9% pure indoor air your allergist will never tell you! Call NOW to get this eye opening FREE report!"

When you run that ad in the paper, what is the purpose of that ad? Is the purpose of that ad to sell a product? Is the purpose of that ad to secure an appointment for a presentation? No - the purpose of that ad is one thing only - to get people to call your 800# and listen to the recorded message!

In fact, we should take it back a step farther. The purpose of the headline on the ad is to get somebody's attention and cause them to stop going through their publication.

The purpose of the headline is not to sell or solve anything. The headline, then, has a single purpose. The headline's function is to get people to read the copy of your ad. The copy is, then, the next step, keeping people interested enough to follow through and call the 800#.

Now when prospects call the 800# and listen to the message, what's the purpose there? Is the purpose of the message to make a sale or get a client? No - again, the purpose of the message is only to get people to leave their names and addresses.

Once prospects leave their names and addresses, and you get their phone number through the Caller ID, what is the purpose of the follow-up that you would do on the phone and the report? Is it to sell? Is it to get prospects to hire you? No - the purpose of the report going out is to get people familiar with you and your company, and to get them familiar with what you have to offer, and to answer the questions they have.

Once they've gotten the report, you move into the multi-step sequence and follow-up. See, the real secret of direct response marketing is, after you've gotten somebody's interest, you must try not to make them do any more than they are comfortable with doing at any particular step. To make all the steps combined work up to the sale of products and services.

But each individual step is small, and simple, and doesn't ask people to do more than ease them into the next step. The purpose of each individual step is to do only what it is supposed to do. The purpose of the recorded message is not to make a sale; again, it is to get a prospect to leave his or her name and address.

The only purpose of the recorded message is to get prospects to leave a name and address. You're not trying to sell them or convince them of anything. I see people running seminars, for example, and their recorded message talks about how great they are and how big they are and how smart they are, etc. . . . all these things that are of no interest to the prospects whatsoever.

They are asking the prospects to do way too much. In fact, for seminars, I recommend only doing an ad that offers a FREE report. The FREE report then offers the seminar to make the steps more non-threatening and easier for people to digest.

You see, the bottom line is that people are afraid and confused. The old single-step marketing the old “shove it in their face" approach, does not work. For the present and the future, to get people interested and wanting to do business with you, you have to take it slow and easy! You can not expect your marketing to do things that it is not capable of doing.

If you think you need single-step marketing to create sales instantly, just forget it. Please don't forget this lesson about the multi-step approach, and please don't forget this concept of asking each step to do only what it is supposed to do.

You should not try to incorporate multiple steps into a single step. You don't want to mix up your product presentation stuff into your copy in the ads. If you follow this process you will see your leads go up and you will see your business go up. But even more important, if you follow this process, the pressure will be off. There will be no more feeling like you have to close, or that you have to make a certain step do multiple things. It doesn't work anyway, so why put yourself under all that pressure?

Copyright 2006

You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter on your web site as long as the byline is included and the article is included in it's entirety. I also ask that you activate any html links found in the article and in the byline. Please send a courtesy link or email where you publish to:

Abe Cherian is the founder of Multiple Stream Media, a company that helps online businesses find new prospects and clients, who are anxious to grow their business fast, and without spending a fortune in marketing and automation.


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