When doing a mailing online or offline, the most important decision you will make is the selection of which list you will mail to. This is because you’re selecting the audience to which you’ll be making your offer, which is the next most important decision you’ll make.
Your offer must be clear and show obvious value, way beyond the money you are asking for. You can be in front of the right audience and lose them if you don’t fashion your offer in such a way as to immediately cause the reader to act. Make the offer so good that it hurts more not to act than to act by accepting that offer.
Your copy must “talk” to the reader, not at her. If the offer is great, but the copy sucks, you may be OK, but you could do so much better if the copy addresses the reader directly and succinctly. Test your sales letter copy by having a colleague read it. If they praise your prose, it’s a bad thing. If they must have what you’re selling, that’s a good thing. Copy should sell the product, not itself. LC
Ever notice how many sites don’t offer you a search tool? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? It’s almost as if they want to force you through a mouse maze of their design and choosing. Let site visitors get to what they’re looking for before they hit the back button. How many times do you suppose people came for something you had, but they couldn’t find it for lack of a search tool on your site? Anyway, when you install the right kind of search tool, you’ll see exactly what people are looking for, which will help you understand what to feature forward the next time you redesign your site.
Direct marketers have known for a long time about the power of a “How To” headline. People just love to know how to do things. How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the best-selling books of all time because millions of people want to know how to do exactly that.
So, instead of an over-stated benefit or value proposition, try using a simple “How To” headline for your ad, direct mail piece or subject header. I find that “How To’s” are especially powerful as subject headers for email messages. My guess is it’s because people often go online to learn how to do something. Figure out how to tie that desire back to your offering and you could have a winner. LC
Why is this car on sale? Why must I act now? Why should I pay more for your services? There are always questions a prospect wants to have answered before pulling the trigger. Often, the best way to answer those anticipated questions is with a story. Maybe it’s a year-end clearance sale, or explaining why using one service instead of another (and paying more for it) gives you peace of mind. Whatever the case, you should at least have the storyline in your mind and write the offer from that point of view.
Our lives are made up of stories. Each of us has a narrative we speak to ourselves. Your job is to tap into that narrative with a credible storyline that perfectly hinges into the story on your product or service. Without that storyline, you and your products will seem out of context and disconnected, and no one likes to feel that way about anything they buy. LC
Really. When’s the last time you looked at or “used” your own site? If your site isn’t appealing enough for you to use it, why should anyone else bother? If you still feature a bunch of sales talk “blah blah blah” and no functionality, you’ve got your work cut out for you. One of the most powerful ways to draw more traffic to your site is to have a site that visitors look at and say “wow”. They come back, and they’ll tell others to check it out.
In the email universe, a sender’s IP address is given a reputation score by receiving mail servers. The reputation score is based on the “cleanliness” of the email list. That is to say, bouncing emails and the like have been removed from your email list. As the sender of marketing emails, you (or your company) earns a human reputation based upon how your recipients feel about you. Do they think, “How many times have I opened this company’s email and there’s nothing there for me?,” Or do they say, “Oh boy, it’s here!” Both technical and personal reputation scoring are often based on the sender’s previous actions. Keep this in mind before you hit the send button on your next campaign. It’s not just the response rates of that particular campaign that are on the line. It’s the response rates to all of your future campaigns that are on the line as well.
How many of us go through our postal mail near or over a trash can? Most of us, I suspect. The delete key executes the exact same snap judgment action for our email IN boxes. How many of us review our email with the trigger finger right on that delete key? Most of us, I suspect.
This is why the subject header of your email has to “speak” directly to the recipient, and why the branding of the “FROM” field becomes all important. Having the recipient see your email and start inwardly groaning “Oh no, not him again” needs to be avoided by consistently serving up high value inside each and every email. DM’ers refer to this as loyalty building. I call it common sense. LC
I like text ads much better than banners. Why? I can get lots more information into and out of a textual ad. There are branding appeals to a banner ad, I know. There are other reasons why you might use banner ads as well. But my experience in email and on the Web is that text ads pull many times better than graphical units.