6 Copywriting Tips For Direct Response That Sells

One of the nation’s top copywriters reveals secrets to powerful print ad, web copy or any other form of direct response copy

To define what constitutes good print advertising, or a web copy for that matter, let’s begin with what a good print ad in not:

o It is not creative for the sake of being creative.

o It is not designed to please copy writers, art directors, agency presidents or even clients.

o Its main purpose is not to entertain, win awards or shout at the readers.

In other words, you need to ignore most of what you would learn in any basic advertising class or from the big marketing agencies.

So, what makes successful direct response print ads?

1. They stress a benefit. The main selling proposition is not cleverly hidden but is made immediately clear. Example: “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

2. They arouse curiosity and invite readership. The key here is not to be outrageous but to address the strongest interests and concerns of your target audience. Example: “Do You Make These Mistakes in English?” appeals to the reader’s desire to avoid embarrassment and write and speak properly.

3. They provide information. The headline “How to Stop Emission Problems – at Half the Cost of Conventional Air Pollution Control Devices” lures the reader because it promises useful information. Prospects today seek specific, usable information on highly specialized topics. Ads that provide information the reader wants get higher readership and better response.

4. They talk to the reader. Why are so many successful control ads written by direct response entrepreneurs rather the top freelance copywriters and direct response agencies? Because, although these entrepreneurs may not be professional writers, they know their product, their audience and what hold their audiences’ interest. And that is far more important than copy writing technique or style.

5. They are knowledgeable. Successful ad copy reflects a high level of knowledge and understanding of the product and the problem it solves. An effective technique is to tell the reader something he already knows, proving that you, the advertiser, are well-versed in his industry, application or requirement.

The opposite approach – reducing everything to the simplest common denominator and assuming the reader is completely ignorant – can insult the reader’s intelligence and destroy your credibility with him.

6. They have a strong fee offer. Good ads tell the reader the next step in the buying process and encourage him to take it NOW.

The offer should convey urgency in order to generate immediate response and business from prospects that are ready to buy now or at least thinking about buying. Without an offer, you lose many potential customers.

In addition, strong offers increase readership, because people like ads that offer them something – especially if it is free and has high perceived value.

These are the characteristics of successful direct response advertising. “But”, you may ask, “what about general advertising?”

Well, one of the ways to make your general advertising more effective is to write and design it as direct response advertising. Applying all the stock-in-trade techniques of the direct mail marketing (coupons, toll-free numbers, free booklets, reason-why copy, benefit-headlines, informative subheads) virtually guarantees that your advertisement will be better read – and get more response – than the average “image” ad.

This approach agrees with Howard Ruff who said that everything a marketer does should be direct response, since results are all that matter, not the appearance of the ad.

What Do You Need To Be A Successful Affiliate Marketer?

Everyone has a differing opinion on what is needed to become a successful affiliate marketer and this includes opposing views on whether you should or should not have your own website. For my own part I believe that having some form of web site should be a mandatory aspect of you building your business. It is true that you can conduct affiliate marketing without a website, but when you consider that a number of the marketing methods available are used whether you have a site or not you might as well have sight together with a list building element for future growth and security. So what do you need?

1.You need to establish the niche you would like to promote- your starting point could be an interest, so that you are comfortable with the content of the subject. If you wish to promote digital products you can search Click bank to determine if there is a good match for your chosen area of interest.

2.Check demand, is your chosen area popular. Often opinion would suggest that an area full of competition should be avoided, but remember that this is also where the money is so is there something you could be doing better, your site, free offers etc.

3.Conduct keyword research for your chosen product, dig deep for popular search terms with limited competition so that you can build marketing campaigns. It is possible to find popular and competitive niches with long tail keywords that allow you to compete in even the most competitive of areas. To achieve this and save hours of detailed you would need to invest in some specialist keyword research tools.

4.Purchase a domain and arrange hosting. Your domain ideally needs to have your chosen main keyword in it, at the very least some link to the niche you are looking to market.

5.Your own website-although you could direct your marketing efforts directly to the merchants website, remember you are also working hard for this traffic, once its passed on its gone. If you build your own site you can implement list building techniques to secure this traffic and direct it to your merchants site.

6.Your site will require a opt-in form and be coded to accept a third party auto responder such as aweber.

7.In exchange for your visitors name and email address, you need to offer them a valuable free gift, this could be a free report, software, membership linked to the product your promoting.

8.A follow up series of email messages-it is a well known fact that if some one is going to buy it may take several looks at the offer before purchasing.

9.You then need to have an affiliate marketing strategy, including what methods of promoting you are going to use and over what period ot time you are going to measure these results and evaluate what to do next.

This is the key ingredients of one of the methods for promoting affiliate products, others would differ by operating a review page as opposed to a squeeze page web site, and other considerations need to surround whether to promote physical or digital products or both.

Other important factors are the quality of the product and the reliability of the affiliate scheme. Before promoting any product be sure of the products value, remember your reputation is on-line when promoting a product of your choice and it is you that are giving it your vote of confidence. If you choose a product of low quality this will effect you and your business.

Also be sure that you are confident in the affiliate scheme to pay you what you are owed and on time. Lastly any good affiliate scheme should provide you with as much support as is possible in the way of ads for your promotions. They have a vested interest in your success if there is no effort in this support I would recommend that you choose again.

How Great Market Research Increases Sales!

Increasingly, “Location, Location, Location” is being replaced by “Customer, Customer, Customer.”

This doesn’t come as a surprise to any savvy business person: What you know about your customers will help you serve them better and encourage them to spread the word about the value of your products and services.

However, how you go about learning as much as possible about current and potential customers is the true key to sustained success, especially as small businesses find themselves vying with national brands locating here or marketing via the web.

Sure, you can learn a lot through face-to-face discussions. Nevertheless, in 2008, some of the same detailed market analysis tools used by the biggest companies in the world are accessible to you.

Whether your business is in retail, restaurant, banking, insurance, financial services, or other businesses that services homeowners; you have a need to know your customer’s buying habits and lifestyles. Why? It helps drive sale of the products and services in your business.

Understanding which customers are most likely to purchase your products and services helps you target potential buyers more cost-effectively. Furthermore, by knowing where these customers live, you can make location-based decisions on your stores, restaurants, and branch locations.

When you shop, does the sales clerk ask for your zip code or telephone number? Do you use loyalty cards, store credit cards, charge cards? If so, these techniques provide the data necessary to develop customer profiles.

Businesses increasingly are utilizing location-based technology, demographic studies, traffic patterns, sales, homeowner location, and other data to describe customer lifestyles and buying habits (psychographics), identify ideal store locations, determine high and low volume product categories, locate their competition, estimate potential sales volume, and track average daily traffic volume. The same opportunities are available to the smallest business, due to continuous technology advances.

The use of decision support tools directly assists larger companies to understand their current location dynamics and markets that lead to their success, and identify where else these dynamics exist to support additional growth strategies.

It is not by chance that Home Depot, Chili’s Restaurants, Ben & Jerry’s, Wal-Mart, Pier One, Outback Steakhouse and other national brands are locating in your communities. Their decisions to build a store, hire and train staff, purchase inventory, and advertise in specific ways using these decision-support tools substantially reduces the associated investment risks.

They know who their best customers are; where they live; what the sales potential is from each customer; and which locations can maximize their investment. Increasingly, “Location, Location, Location” is being replaced by “Customer, Customer, Customer.”

Different businesses develop different concepts. A good location for one retailer may not be the same for another. Why? Location value is determined by the customers in that trade area. Customer concentrations drive the location decision!

Market researchers have established lifestyle segmentation systems that encompass up to 72 clusters or divisions based on life stage, demographics, income, purchasing habits and other unique characteristics of residents in specific neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods and households are labeled. These clusters and divisions are critical, since they are statistically likely to act in similar, predictable ways. Most stores service several predominant clusters or divisions. Researchers have categorized the over 111 million households in the U.S. into these segmentation systems.

What is your business concept’s “trade area?” You need to know how much time a typical customer is willing to spend to drive to your business. “Drive time” is often a product of the cost of the good or service. Consumers will drive further to purchase a bedroom set than they would to buy groceries. Today, location-based technology can cost-effectively produce a polygon-shaped map of your “drive time trade area.”

Once you know your dominant customer segments and your model trade area, you can graphically plot the major and minor clusters within each. Then, you can augment this with:

Daily traffic counts by your site location,
Competitor location(s),
Trade area product demand,
Total households in the trade area, and
Total population and other demographic data.
You also can determine whether an additional location for your store in the trade area would cannibalize (steal sales from) your existing location.

Data to help you market and advertise cost effectively

Want to market and advertise to the households in this trade area?

Consider a marketing message that “fits” the lifestyles and buying habits of your predominant segment profiles – using print, radio, television, or direct mail. Today, you can target direct mail only to specific households that are most likely to purchase your products and services, saving money on wasted eyes bought in a mass media campaign.

Second-home owners, for example, purchase much differently than full-time residents.

Want to determine if a potential, new location will be successful?

Develop a customer profile model, a model of your successful trade area, and an analysis of alternative sites to determine if these sites have the critical factors (profitability analysis, penetration and product performance, competitor location, cannibalization analysis) necessary for a successful location.

Want to know if your existing product and service mix is maximizing your current locations?

Analyze consumer-spending estimates for your trade area’s demand for specific products and services in 20 major categories and hundreds of individual items. These categories and items are indexed to national averages for each segment cluster or division and can help you understand why certain products and services are disappearing from the shelves and why other products are gathering too much dust.

How do you start this analysis?

If you are not yet collecting customer-specific information (street address is the ideal), start collecting it.
Analyze your sales and inventory data, as well as total cost of goods sold, to determine high and low sales categories.
Locate where your competition is.
Consider utilizing location, segmentation, and market analysis to increase your competitive edge.
Remember, technology advances have made this process very affordable for the small, local, or regional service business. You can compete effectively with the chains.