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.

Connor Logistics – A Case for Direct Marketing on a Multi-National Scale

The Problem
Connor Logistics is a film industry logistics firm with over 45 years in business and operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Connor’s sales for logistics relied solely on Account Manager sales efforts, limiting the firm to the size and time of their sales staff. With the recent business climate changes, Connor’s yearly sales dropped by 15%, a total of $35 Million. The firm’s marketing team was only focused on creating marketing collateral for the Account Management staff with little efforts in customer acquisition marketing other than sponsoring a few industry events every year.

The Solution
Marketing Director for Connor and their CEO planned customer acquisition campaigns by targeting 250 film studios located in 4 countries. These firms held a potential revenue stream of $40 million for Connor Logistics. The acquisition campaign involved a robust variable-data direct marketing campaign that included customized marketing materials for each studio, with specific messaging that was relevant to the individual firms. Connor sent out postcards and brochure materials to key executives in every film studio, along with personalized calendars for secretarial staff. The investment in this marketing material was not cheap, Connor spent over 4 months generating the materials and nearly $2.5 Million to produce and mail it.

The Results
Connor’s Account Managers would follow up after ever marketing piece was mailed with a phone call to schedule an onsite visit with every studio. Over a period two years, 185 of the original 250 targeted studios had signed contracts with Connor Logistics. This produced a net increase in sales of $37 Million. 

Connor’s results are a clear example of the potential of personalized marketing campaigns. Studies show that personalized direct mail pieces produced using variable-data equipment raise response rates by nearly 55% over non-personalized materials.

Direct Mail Marketing: Is It Now Obsolete?

Direct mail marketing has been one of the most effective marketing tools among merchants. But with the emergence of the new technology and its advancements, businessmen have developed a misconception that direct mail marketing is now useless and obsolete.

Marketing outlets like television, radio, and print are boasting that they are a more effective marketing tool and more beneficial to the success of the company. They emphasized that at some point of the day, an individual really watches TV, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper or other form of print media. Well, this fact might be true, but there’s a kind of misconception or flaw to this kind of promotional logic.

The first flaw is the broad spectrum marketing that is used by the modern marketing media. When you use television, radio, and print media to advertise your business, you are not targeting only to your prospect clients. You are paying advertisers to make your products and services be known to people hoping that there will be some of them who might be interested to your product. Yes, your business might be known but it doesn’t mean that you can boost your sales because of this kind marketing strategy.

Another thing, when using this kind of marketing it will really cost you a lot compared to direct mail marketing. While direct mail marketing on the other hand, is very flexible. You can utilize broad spectrum marketing or you can focus specific individuals to market your business which couldn’t be done by modern marketing techniques.

The second flaw of modern marketing is the time that the promotion or the advertisement might be broadcast or printed for the masses to see, listen, or read. A kind of marketing that relies only to chances that an individual might watch or listen to a certain TV or radio program, or might read the magazine where the ads are printed can be called a foolish promotion or a big nonsense.

Whereas, if you use direct mail marketing, you don’t depend on chances, your clients can literally hold the promotional material in their respective homes creating the most direct and most efficient way of advertising your business. To run a very effective and efficient direct mail marketing campaign, just see to it that you can access to the best resource available. Try to get the best lists from reputable brokers so that you wouldn’t be sending mails to those individuals who are not actually interested about your business. Make your mails also as personalized as possible for you to attract clients’ attention.

Modern technology can surely help in opening doors and new opportunities for your business but the effectiveness of direct mail marketing should not be set away and just taken for granted. Direct mail marketing is not obsolete even if how modern things are nowadays and it is still one of the cheapest and most effective ways of advertising the products that you are selling and the services you are offering. It might be traditional to send posts but if people still respond to it, why wouldn’t you do it?