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Welcome to this week’s Direct Marketing Update, with more tips and strategies to help you increase your response rates.
Without delay, let’s get started looking at some new ideas to help you get the most out of your marketing dollar.
In this issue...
How to create direct mail profits in an impossible market
The 2008 stock market crash was still fresh in the minds of investors when Wall Street analyst Charles Payne set out to market an investment newsletter.
At the time, many investors had lost a good portion of their life savings and consequently many of them dumped their investment newsletter subscriptions or opted not to renew them.
Charles Payne already had great exposure as a regular commentator on the FOX Business Network and FOX News and as host of his own radio show. But it was important to reach out to more investors to market his newsletter Charles Payne’s Common Sense and significantly grow his subscriber base.
This integrated multichannel campaign included a magalog, landing page and emails as well as paid search and banner ads. The campaign tested three different approaches: One focused on Charles Payne’s investment strategies and the other two highlighted his latest stock pick.
The major and unique focus of the campaign was the direct mail piece. What was created? A mini magalog dropped into an oversized #14 envelope with a cover letter.
This campaign focused on 3 main objectives:
- Play up and expand on Charles Payne’s credibility by positioning him as a trusted stock commentator who has dispensed profitable advice to millions on television, radio and through his Common Sense newsletter.
- Communicate Charles’s passion to help average investors grow and protect their portfolios while easing their feelings of panic and uncertainty about the stock market.
- Gain new subscribers in a difficult economy while overcoming resistance not only to subscribing to an investment newsletter again but at a price higher than the competition as well.
To help meet these objectives, I created an envelope with a photo of Charles on TV to build credibility.
Potential subscribers were driven to a landing page with video.
The campaign also included emails, an outsert (a 4-page wrapper around the outside of a magazine), banner ads and paid search for a multichannel marketing campaign.
A compelling offer for Charles Payne’s Common Sense newsletter was designed to win new subscribers, including 4 FREE Special Reports, a FREE bonus report for early responders and a 100% Money-Back, No-Nonsense Guarantee.
The key to this success was powerful, informational direct response copy that motivated the skeptical audience to respond.
As other investment newsletters saw their subscribers decline, the Charles Payne’s Common Sense subscriber base grew, which was remarkable considering the challenging economy and intense competition.
My staff and I created this campaign. If you’d like to see it, just let me know and I’ll get a copy to you for your review. Or to learn how we can help you, email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 310-212-5727.
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Web strategy: The #1 paid search keyword mistake
If you have been reading (and re-reading) Direct Marketing Update diligently, you’ll know that I often emphasize the importance of being specific.
Rather than say “save hundreds,” it is better to say “save $522.25 on average every month.”
When you use specifics, you make your copy more believable and credible and it differentiates you from your competition. When it comes to pay-per-click search terms, you maximize your ability to target qualified prospects and avoid wasted costs on words that don’t deliver.
Pay-per-click (PPC) keywords or search terms are important in attracting the right customer who might use your product or service.
So it is vital you find every possible related term your prospect might be searching for.
That’s why you must use highly targeted search terms.
For instance, if you are marketing a chiropractic service and use the term “back pain,” you will get people who are interested in the topic. But hundreds more who are not interested in a chiropractor will also click through, which will cost you money.
A more highly targeted search term would be “drug-free back pain relief” or “new back pain recovery.”
So don’t make the mistake of using just a handful of keywords.
The more keywords you use, the bigger the response. A pay-per-click campaign using only single or double keywords is unlikely to capture those prospects searching for something more specific.
The long-tail keyword-phrase (3 or more very specific words) searches bring in fewer responses than the general ones, but you don’t waste your money when your ads are clicked by the wrong prospect.
Creating a list of highly targeted, long-tail search terms your prospects might use will ensure low costs and high ROI.
And one last thing. Some marketers leave some very important web copywriting responsibilities to their web developers. Don’t make this mistake. Your metatags…image tags…and search terms…should all be handled by a professional web copywriter.
Looking to get bigger and better results from your next PPC campaign? Contact me today at email@example.com.
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More government intrusion with new “Do Not Track”
The government’s goal of creating an unnecessary “Do Not Track” registry for the web is coming closer to fruition.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called for the implementation of a universal “Do Not Track” option that would allow consumers to opt out of all third-party online tracking and behavioral targeted advertising.
What would this option look like?
The FTC specifically suggests the “Do Not Track” mechanism take the form of an add-on to the browser, similar to a cookie. Consumers would be able to check a box that would transmit their preference to opt out of tracking to websites as they surf the web.
Ultimately, companies that fail to honor the option would be penalized. This is just more regulation that will kill jobs and further slow the economy and lessen consumer confidence. Further, it lessens freedom of commerce, motivation and freedom of speech.
What’s more, it is unnecessary. In October of last year, the Direct Marketing Association introduced a self-regulated program to ensure customer privacy.
When will the regulation madness end?
So what are your thoughts? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll publish your opinion in the next Direct Marketing Update..
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Copy tip: Creating impact with your first paragraph
How you start your letter, your brochure, your website or, for that matter, any other direct response piece could mean the difference between success and failure.
Consider what I call the “three-paragraph rule.” This direct marketing copywriting rule states simply that with most sales pieces, you can cut out the first three paragraphs and start with the fourth.
Yes, this rule is a bit arbitrary, but it tends to prove true when reviewing drafts from companies or copywriters. The copywriter will warm up to the subject, but the critical lead paragraph is buried further down in the fourth or fifth paragraph.
A great sales piece will get to the point right away.
Your objective is to demand and attract the interest of the reader. It is not to set the groundwork for understanding the piece. Rather, it’s to generate immediate interest in the theme that you have chosen.
Also, the beginning paragraph should be in the first person. The fastest way to destroy a letter or other direct response piece is to talk in the third person or have a lot of “we’s” in the copy. You WILL cripple your response if you start your sales message with the word “we.”
Instead, when you begin a letter with the word “you,” it immediately involves the reader in the copy. A “you”-oriented letter speaks directly to the needs of the prospect.
No dogmatic formula exists for writing a lead-in paragraph, but there is a similarity in style from the industry’s great copywriters. Your letters will produce better responses if you follow, rather than break, these rules.
To learn more or even have me evaluate your opening paragraph, simply contact me today at email@example.com.
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Testing corner: Video vs. no video
Time and time again I have shared that the inclusion or omission of a single element can mean all the difference between success and HUGE success. It can also mean complete failure.
In this week’s example, an online music download marketer had created a PPC campaign that directed prospects to one of two versions of a splash page that summarized the benefits of the offer.
The splash page was the first page the prospect saw.
Version A included solid direct response copy—benefit oriented. It also combined a good call to action with a prominent action button.
Version B was exactly the same only it included a 40-second video. It summarized what the prospect got in the offer.
The video featured a pretty woman in the lower-right-hand corner in a medium waist-high shot. The content summarized the benefits for the visitor and concluded with a call to action…all in just 40 seconds.
Which version got the best result?
Version B did. It generated an 18.5% lift in paid subscriptions and free trial sign-ups.
Why do you think the video made a difference? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll share some of your responses in the next issue (without disclosing any full names).
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- Click the Forward to a Friend button in the upper-right corner to pass this Direct Marketing Update on to interested friends and business associates.
- Check your direct mail and web campaigns. Are you violating any direct marketing rules? Are you experiencing loss of leads or sales? Contact me at email@example.com.
- Do you have a direct response marketing test story you’d like to share? Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include it in my next issue.
- Questions about any of these articles? Email me at email@example.com. I’d be happy to answer your questions.
That’s it for this week’s issue of Direct Marketing Update. Don’t wait to put these tips to work for your business. After all, higher response means higher profits.
Yours for direct marketing success,
Craig A. Huey
Publisher, Direct Marketing Update
President, Creative Direct Marketing Group, Inc.
21171 S. Western Ave., Suite 260
Torrance, CA 90501
Nobody knows direct marketing better!
to visit the Direct Response library. Youll find numerous articles from past issues of my Direct Response newsletters that provide even more valuable direct marketing help.
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