Dear Business Builder,
I may never write another direct mail promotion.
No, I’m not retiring … I’ve just been focusing most of my energies on online promotions – and the money is amazing.
First, Julie McManus and I set up a new customer acquisition program that uses banners, e-zine ads and rented e-mail lists to drive prospects to a landing page for a health product – a landing page that is generating up to $6.50 in net sales for every $1 we spend on traffic.
Then, a few months ago, I agreed to take over customer file marketing for another client – and we’re generating up to $1.7 million a month with our daily e-mails to his file.
Now, don’t get me wrong; not all of my online promotions do that well. Fact is, I’m learning a LOT about what it takes to succeed online every single day. And I’m betting that, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a marketing pro or a copywriter, what I’m learning will help you multiply your response, too …
THE ASTONISHING POWER OF MAKING FRIENDS FIRST
Here are three things we’ve learned about online promotions as we’ve grown our ezine, The Total Package:
Greater Readership: When I founded The Total Package back in June of 2005, I knew our subscribers would read us more often if they could count on us being in their inboxes on a particular day.
Put simply, we would have to publish our e-letters on a regular schedule. So, we began publishing every other Monday.
After a few weeks, we began publishing every Monday. And on April 1st 2007, we began publishing daily, Monday through Saturday.
Now, we’re working on the next step: Publishing all of our e-letters at the same time each day will help you get into the habit of checking in with us every morning to get your shot of inspiration before you begin work.
Tremendous Value: When you’re in the information business, there’s no such thing as purely “editorial” copy. Every jot and tittle in every issue of your e-zine or print newsletter is, in the purest sense, sales copy.
Your invitation copy and headline and deck copy must “sell” subscribers on reading the issue by presenting the benefits they’ll derive.
Furthermore, to keep readers coming back to you, you must help them realize the practical benefits they’re looking for – and that means every article must “sell” readers on actually applying the ideas you share.
Do that – and make sure the ideas and advice you provide are top flight – and not only will you make friends; you’ll keep them.
In a very real way, the quality of the ideas and advice we give away free becomes our most effective salesman for the products in our Online Store.
Under-Promise, Over-Deliver: Everything I do – both here at The Total Package and in the online promotions I create for my Response Ink clients – is aimed at maximizing customer lifetime value.
Our mission with our e-letter is to keep our customers with us forever. And should a customer decide to purchase one of our products, our plan is to deliver far greater value than he expected – and to give him ideas and advice that put so much more money into his pocket than he expected – that he eagerly snap up every other product we offer.
That’s why we often advertise a one-hour teleseminar – and then deliver a 90-minute or even two-hour event. And it’s why we’re careful to ensure that the copy describing our products never exaggerates the benefits our products deliver.
And THAT’s why we have literally hundreds of “thank-you” e-mails from customers who were blown away by a product they purchased from us – and who are more than likely to come back to us over and over again.
BREAKING NEWS CAN MULTIPLY YOUR E-MAIL RESPONSE
When you begin an e-mail with a USP or benefit headline, you might as well be screaming, “HEY! This is a junk e-mail! Delete it NOW!”
On the other hand, beginning every e-mail with a news story that ties directly to the product being offered is a great way to deliver value to customers and to ramp up readership of your promotional e-mails.
I spend the first hour of every morning scouring news sites for stories I can use to open the e-mails I write daily for a financial client. Right now, we’re conducting an online promotional campaign for an investment service that issues “buy” and “sell” signals for options on international exchange traded funds.
So finding a news story that shows how foreign stock markets are leaving the U. S. stock market in the dust is like striking gold. The other day, for example, I found a story that documented how 65 stock markets around the world outperformed the S&P 500 in the first quarter of 2007.
My headline almost wrote itself:
2007’s First Quarter Results Reveal …
65 World Stock Markets
Pound Wall Street to a PULP!
For Every $1 Gain in U. S. Stocks,
These Foreign Stock Markets
Made Investors up to $389 Richer!
And last week, I found a Reuters story that made an equally powerful lead …
REUTERS GLOBAL MARKETS REPORT:
Foreign stocks soar to record highs
while U. S. dollar plummets to record lows!
The U. S. dollar has plunged to all-time record lows,
precisely as we told you it would . . .
Foreign markets are blasting through their all-time record highs,
just as we said they would . . .
Now, get ready for our
URGENT RECOMMENDATION to cash in …
Both of these headlines generated huge open and click-thru rates and produced huge sales by being newsy rather than benefit-oriented.
By contrast, the headline on my landing page for the product went straight for the jugular with a classic USP headline:
How Savvy Investors
Grow Up to 17 Times Richer
In As Few As 58 Days:
Go For 1,739% Gains
With The World’s Lowest-Risk, Highest Leverage Investments:
OPTIONS on Highly Diversified
Exchange Traded Funds!
The rule here is simple: Make e-mails timely, personal and value-added. Make your landing pages benefit-oriented and timeless.
DEADLINES AND COUNTDOWNS RULE!
Next time you create an e-mail campaign for a customer file, seriously consider including a deadline – and then use your daily e-mails to count down to the deadline.
If you’re using the e-mail campaign to promote an investment newsletter or trading service, for example, your deadline could be tied to a scheduled real-world event like the next Fed Open Market Committee meeting … the publication of key economic data … or the release of corporate earnings reports.
Or, you could tie your deadline to a trade or recommendation you’re about to issue …
Or it could simply be a deadline for saving money on the service you’re promoting – a Charter Membership Offer or a “Buy-One-Get-One-Free” offer for example.
When a deadline won’t work, try a strictly limited offer in your e-mail campaign: “Only 200 widgets are available at this price, and they’ll be sold on a first-come, first-served basis only. When these 200 are gone, you’ll have to pay full price. ” Follow-up e-mails can “count down” the number of widgets remaining.
Also: Don’t assume that deadlines are just for customer file promotions. A client of mine found that adding a one-hour deadline to his landing page – complete with a digital clock counting down the seconds – gave him a 40% lift in orders.
ADD A HEAPING HELPING OF HIGH DRAMA
Lately, we’ve been adding drama to our e-mail campaigns and it’s working like gangbusters.
Instead of using our e-mails to sell a product, we create a week-long campaign inviting customers to register for a free webinar … or teleconference … or to listen to a recording … or to watch a video online.
Each of these audio and visual presentations is at least 95% value-added content. Each contains valuable information that our prospect would normally expect to pay for: Step-by-step instructions for accomplishing a particular goal … or investments you should buy now … or breaking news on dealing with a particular health problem.
Only the last few minutes are given to a very friendly, low-key offer for the product. Afterwards, customers who participated receive a series of e-mails counting down to a deadline for accepting the offer.
This kind of e-mail campaign is perfect for customer file promotions because in addition to generating massive sales revenues, it also reduces the number of times you ask customers to buy something via e-mail and increases the number of e-mails sent in which you offer your customer something free just for being your customer.
Plus, the event itself gives your spokesperson “face time” with your customers - and as we’ve seen, anything that strengthens the personal bond between your spokesperson and your customer adds substantial lifetime value to every name on your file.
Hope this helps…
Clayton Makepeace is a working direct response marketing consultant and copywriter who has helped his clients attract more than 3 million new customers … quadruple their profits … and rake in more than $1 billion in direct mail and internet sales. His daily e-letter, The Total Package, shares his proven response-boosting techniques with younger writers, business owners, and marketing pros. Find out more at http://www.makepeacetotalpackage.com