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Putting the Response Back In Direct Response Marketing

Posted on the 12 June 2014 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
  • June 12, 2014
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Putting the Response Back In Direct Response Marketing

Direct marketing is often called “direct response marketing” for good reason. It’s all about getting the recipient to take action. To help improve the results of your next integrated marketing effort, let’s review some of the basics of a successful direct marketing campaign, as compiled by Dean Rieck at Target Marketing.

Sell Benefits, Not Features

Your customers don’t really care about your latest product or improvement. All they want to know is the answer to one question: What’s in it for me? Instead of listing product features, phrase them as customer benefits or solutions to problems. As Rieck puts it, “Bob doesn’t want a drill, he wants a hole. Mary doesn’t want a dress, she wants to look thin at the party this Friday.”

Appeal to Emotion First

Direct marketers are usually data-driven types. But customers make decisions based on emotion before rationalizing their choice with logic. So set up your sale by appealing to emotion first. Then close it with logic and reason.

Do What Works

No technique works in every situation, but there are a few proven tactics that are nearly fool-proof. Take a few tips from direct marketing expert Bob Stone about which types of offers usually draw the most response:

  • “Yes/no” offers tend to outperform offers without a “no” option.
  • Negative-option offers outperform positive-options.
  • Limited-time offers outperform offers without a limit.
  • Offers with a free gift outperform discount offers.
  • Sweepstakes can increase order volume (especially for impulse items).
  • Benefits outperform features.
  • Envelope packages outperform self-mailers.

Content Trumps Form

Advertising often falls short when the creative team gets too caught up in their creative idea and forgets that the ad needs to answer the customer’s main question, “What’s in it for me?”

Make sure your direct marketing piece has something relevant to say that ties in with your overall integrated marketing campaign. Begin with the content, then let design and form follow from that basic function.

For more tips on creating a successful direct mail campaign, look at “The Dime Store Marketer’s Guide to Testing Direct Mail” and “How To Get Your Direct Mail Marketing Piece Noticed.”

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