Direct Marketing Mayhem: 3 More Non-Copywriting Sales Killers

Marketing is how a business turns money into more money. So anything (and I mean anything) that blocks that particular process is bad. Unfortunately, even some of the best copy can fall flat on its face when other critical elements of the campaign aren’t right.

Non Copy Sales Killer #1: Unrealistic expectations

Many first time users of marketing services providers can have unrealistic expectations. Unless what you are doing is totally pathetic, it is unlikely that working with a marketing consultant us going to yield hundred or even thousand percent improvements in your response rates. They do happen but they are the exception not the rule.

In some ways, we are our own worst enemy promising too much and presenting our absolute best client success stories as proof that we are as good as what we say.

However, the copywriter who doesn’t try and understand the clients expectations and manage them is responsible for getting themselves in trouble here.

There are probably a library of successful campaigns that have been shelved because they didn’t measure up to expectations while their owners went on to look for something better. If it’s a winner, it’s a winner even if you are unhappy with the results.

Non Copy Sales Killer #2: Bad Timing

To me, bad timing can kill sales of the best copy in two ways. The first is when something happens that is distracting your market from your otherwise fascinating marketing. For example -the promotions mailed just before the September 11 attacks on the world trade centre bombed many of them were know winners.

The second form of bad timing is when you know there is a seasonal tie-in Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Australia Day, Valentine’s Day etc. Through poor internal management you don’t get your campaign out the door in time. Not good when you cut a promotional cycle short and fail to get full use out of a well written campaign because you can’t get organised. I can give you good copy, but if it isn’t in your markets’ hands when they are thinking about the tie in, you are missing out on the results.

Non Copy Sales Killer #3: Mis-underestimating the market.

When you have a good idea, test first and then roll out. Just because you think something will work doesn’t mean it will.

The copy could be 10/10 but you need to test before you roll out. There is an old trading saying, “cut your losers short and ride your winners.” Testing is how you follow that rule in marketing without betting the farm.

Brand Vs Direct Response Marketing

In business there are 2 main ways to market your business – you can choose either brand marketing or direct response marketing. And in the next few minutes I’m going to show you which one is probably better for your business, and why.

But first let me explain the difference between the 2.

Brand marketing is something you’d typically see businesses on TV use, such as Coke or Nike. They don’t do any direct selling but instead simply try to get the “brand” stuck in your head so whenever you think of, for example, shoes, you would think of Nike first.

On the other hand, direct response marketing is when you test every aspect of your marketing to find out exactly what return on investment you’re getting. For example, if you’re direct response marketing one thing you might do is send out direct mail and set it up so that you can track the exact response you get from that and determine how much money you made back from whatever you spent getting the list and sending the letters out.

So, which is better?

Well, unless you have pockets the size of the Grand Canyon, direct response marketing is better in nearly 99% of the cases.

Why?

It’s simple really. Because you get to find out EXACTLY what marketing methods are making you money, and exactly which ones aren’t! This is something you don’t typically get to do with brand marketing because, well, there’s no way to test it.

However, there is actually a way to combine the 2 so you can get the benefits of both. How would that sound?
Here’s how you do it.

First you’ll need to create what’s called a “USP” (unique selling proposition). In layman’s terms, a USP is what makes you stand out from your competitors.

Do you offer a lifetime guarantee on your services? That might be a great USP for your business. Or maybe your club is the only health club with a certain piece of equipment that your target market wants. Your USP would then reflect that.

So then you take that USP and inject it into all of your marketing. For example the USP Dominos used to have is “pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free”. They then put that into all of their marketing so people would remember them easier. It’s kind of like a jingle you hear on the radio which make phone numbers easier to remember, you’re just putting it in print.

So say for example you’ve rented a list of 5,000 names of individuals you think would be interested in joining your health club. In your direct mail piece, you would make sure to base that letter on your USP. That way you can both track the response from the direct mail piece, plus you’re branding yourself with your unique selling proposition which will in turn make them think of you when they think of a health club.

It’s a win-win situation and can do tremendous things for your business. I recommend taking 30 minutes every day to simply sit down and brainstorm various USP’s you can use for your business. Get creative, people love it!

Direct Marketing Tips – What Would You Do If Email Ended Tomorrow?

Marketing to a mailing list is easier than it has ever been with the availability of email. Email marketing is after all one of the most cost-effective ways to blast your advertising message out to thousands of people. Compared to mailing a direct mailing piece to thousands of people, email is ridiculously cheap and often provides a much better return on investment. However, what if email ended tomorrow?

Of course, email will probably not end tomorrow. It will probably not even end next year. Email may be around for decades. Or it may not. And if and when it is replaced, what happens? What will happen to list building?

There are numerous threats to email marketing. On top of the list is the proliferation of spam. Another is increasing information overload. People are spending more time on social networking sites than on email these days. And many marketers know that social networking sites, while fun to use, are not exactly the first places buyers would go to. Another is the rise of instant messaging services. People are becoming increasingly connected and many feel that email is past it. Then there is the emergence of Google Wave, which will become increasingly popular in the future. The likes of Twitter, Google Wave and social networking sites signal a change towards instant, real-time communication.

So how do marketers counter this? Well, in the future, email may be more advanced and more expensive. Marketers may have to start coughing up more money to do an email blast. The barriers to entry will increase. The entire email medium may be something else entirely. But we must understand one thing. The idea of building a mailing list (on any channel) and marketing products and services to subscribers will always remain. As long as marketers keep a database of prospects and customers (no matter where that may be) and provide solutions to problems, they will never go hungry. The medium may change, but the principles remain the same.