Posts Tagged ‘direct response’

How to use copywriting to reduce your costs and lower your risk

June 19th, 2010 No comments

Response Magazine often talks about a low-cost way to test your infomercial, before you spend a fortune on DirectTV.

They suggest running a long radio spot with the same or similar script that you plan to use for your infomercial. Many long-copy radio spots have been successfully morphed into high-yielding infomercials. And if your radio spot bombs, you can change the script or the concept before you’ve spent a fortune on TV advertising.

But even a simple radio ad will cost your company thousands of dollars but the priciple is useful no matter how small your advertising budget may be: It’s better to discover a failing campaign before you when the costs are low.

Since copy is the backbone of every ad campaign, along with a solid offer, you’re best off testing your copy and your offer as cheaply as possible. If it’s successful, you can invest more money to get your message out there on the expensive media.

Start with a sales letter, and make 2 slightly different versions so you can compare the response.  Maybe change the headline, or they layout, the “p.s.” at the end or the call to action.

Mail each one directly to 100 or 1,000 of your most likely prospects. Send out the different versions as an email to everyone on your list. Post them on your blog, and link a few relevant Google ads to the pages.

Track your results, and find out what works This is the time to tweak and test your message. Copy is the foundation of every effort. Once you’ve got it right, then you can re-apply it–with amplified results, over other media such as radio and TV.


Business owners: Choose the copywriter you want to write a FREE direct mail campaign for your business

April 3rd, 2010 No comments

Warning: You best ideas are being stolen from you as soon as you implement them online. Anytime you come up with something new and clever, and it works, thousands of Internet-surfing competitors are going to swipe and deploy it. Online, innovation has an expiration date.

One of the best things you can do is figure out ways to market invisibly, doing things that your competitors can’t see.

That’s yet another reason to use direct mail. When you deliver your best marketing content straight to the people you’re trying to reach, none of your competitors will see it. They may notice that you’re beating them, getting more business, stealing market share, but they have no idea how or why.

If you’ve heard people say, “direct mail doesn’t work,” I’m about to prove to you that it does. Not only that, but I’m going to get you a bargain on a powerful campaign.

Here’s how it works. I’m having a contest. A group of ambitious, talented writers will take a look at your business and propose a direct mail campaign. You simply pick the best campaign and implement it. I’ll pre-screen the contestants  so you only have to deal with the best.

I only ask a few things from you. First, you should sincerely intend to use the campaign in the near future, and you should have a way to measure the response (I’ll help you with this). This way, the writer will at least have a solid sample for his/her portfolio with quantifiable results.

Second, your business should be on a growth trajectory that will create a need for future copywriting. I want you to build a relationship with your copywriter. If she makes you rich and famous, you should have the resources and the ambition to engage her again in the future. In fact, you’d be a fool and a loser if you didn’t.

This is meant to be a 3-way, win-win-win scenario.

  • You get an invaluable professional service for free
  • The writer gets a stronger portfolio and excellent prospects for future work
  • I get to add a talented, proven writer to my stable, someone to whom I can outsource work in the future

Drop me an email or leave a comment below if you’re interested.

The rest of this is for copywriters (I know a lot of you read my blogs and newsletters).

If you’re interested in doing this, it tells me two things. First, you’re ambitious and energetic (good). Second, since you’re willing to work for free you’re probably not getting all the work you want (not necessarily bad).

Send me an email about your writing career. Maybe you just finished the AWAI course (or the pricier DMA version), you read Peter Bowerman or something happened that convinced you to take the plunge and go into business for yourself .

Anyway, send me an email about you, your writing, your life. (HINT #1: The subject line is basically a headline. Write a good one or I might delete you unread) Experience and training are important, but not critical. I assume most of the contestants are going to be relative newbies. Your email will show off your copywriting skills, and this is far more important than just sending me a digital resume.

Finally, the disclaimer. I’m doing this because I’m planning to strictly limit the amount of copywriting I take on in the future. I’d rather strategize, plan, and delegate. This means I’m very eager to build good relationships with good writers who will hopefully work for me and my clients.

But there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get any paid work out of this. I know from personal experience that writing for free is usually just that and never anything more, even when people have the very best of intentions. I wouldn’t enter this contest, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

So what will it be? Are we on? Go for it, if you dare.


How a simple copy test will amplify your Return On Investment

May 26th, 2009 No comments

It doesn’t get any easier than this. If you know you can spend $100 and get $1,000 back, you’ll make that trade with every $100 bill you can lay your hands on.

Welcome to the world of direct marketing. If you have a list of a thousand prospects who are likely to need your service, and you send out a postcard to each one, you’ll know exactly who responded and who didn’t. That’s the kindergarten level.

The split-test is how you ramp up your results. Let’s say you have that same list, and you split it in half. The first 500 get your basic postcard, the next 500 get the same card with a different headline. If one card brings in 12 sales and the other brings in 50, it’s a pretty good guess that the headline that brought in 50 sales is better for selling to that group.

Now here’s where you add the habanera to your chili. Put your winning headline on all your postcards the next time around, and this time split-test some other aspect of the card–the offer you make, the color, the photo, and so on.

After you’ve done these split tests a few times, 2 things should be happening:

1. You’re making more profit on every marketing campaign, so you have more money to invest in the next one.
2. You’re getting a detailed picture of what works with your prospects, and the results of every marketing campaign become more predictable.

When you’ve reached this stage, it’s like you know how to exchange $100 bills for $1,000 bills. You can know, with reasonable certainty, that if you spend x dollars on a marketing campaign, you’ll get y dollars in sales.

Once you’ve done this, you can risk bigger bucks on more expensive media that will reach higher audiences. Instead of trading you $100 bill for $1,000, you can swap out the $1,000 bills and make millions.

Some of the most successful marketers are doing just that. In fact, Response Magazine did a story a while back on how some big-name advertisers usually run radio spots before they spring for a TV ad.

The basic tip: Use cheap media to test your content. Use your proven highest-selling content for the expensive ads.

Categories: marketing Tags: ,

Copywriting Secret Number One

November 26th, 2007 No comments

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Always do this.

Every time you deliver content or info to a prospect, give them a specific step they can take to do business with you.

Don’t just put your phone number at the bottom of the web page. Tell them to pick up the phone and call you for an appointment, and give them several good reasons why they need to do it today.

Every piece of text should actively prompt readers to do something: Sign up for a newsletter. Download a white paper. Buy this special deal at this special low price that will only be good until Saturday.

On top of getting more sales faster, writing for specific results gives you something tangible you can measure.

When you know that 3 out of every 1000 visitors to your website call for a consultation, and you get 5 appointments for every 100 newsletters you send out, you can start to understand what works and what doesn’t.

This will let you put more time and energy into useful activity, dump the tactics that aren’t working, and increase your Return On Investment (ROI).

There are a lot of clever ways to put in your “call to action.” but all you really have to do is include a reason why they should take the desired action.

For example, “Tax time is just around the corner. I want to make sure you get a chance to review your portfolio before my I’m booked solid, so call me before the end of the week and you can take advantage of our annual IRS vaccination special.”

Be sure to repeat your call to action at the end of your piece, in the form of a p.s. Over 75% of the people who don’t read your copy word-for-word will still read the p.s.

Only businesses based on mail order, catalogs, and e-commerce seem to use this tool consistently. Do you?

The next time a marketing piece grabs your attention, ask yourself, “So what am I supposed to do now?” See if it answers that question.

Then look at your own website, sales letters, presentations, or anything else you use, and ask the same question.

You’ll learn a lot of surprising things about your business and your customers. And on top of your new wealth of knowledge, you’ll also gain a wealth of…er, wealth.

To get ahead in business, you have to stand out from the competition. You have to do something different. You have to be bold.

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