Tuesday, June 10, 2008

55 Hot Tips For Boosting Your Direct Marketing-Part I

Direct Marketing has to be the most exciting area of marketing. The results of a winning mailing are truly thrilling. Few things can compare with opening your mailbox to find a flood of emails or envelopes filled with orders and checks made out to you! And if you can increase the response to your offer by just a fraction of a percent, you can turn a slight profit into windfall profits.

So one of the key questions marketers have always ask is, "How do I increase the response to my mailings?" In this first part of a two part article, you'll learn 25 of the 55 excellent techniques for making sure your mailings pull a stronger response.

Not all of these techniques will work for every mailing you create. The key is to review the techniques whenever you're planning a mailing. Pick the ones that apply to your situation and put them to work. Your bank account will be glad you did!

1. Carefully target your audience.
Sales volume can be directly connected to your ability to accurately identify your most likely customers. If necessary, create different versions of your package tailored to each specifically targeted audience.

2. Solve your customer's most irritating problems.
Most customers don't buy products, but they do buy solutions to problems that plague them. If your product solves a critical problem, pull out all stops to let your customers know.

3. Help your customers achieve significant goals.
This is the complement of the prior point. If you can clearly show that your product or service will make your customer's lives easier or better, your sales volume should shoot straight up.

4. Focus on your customer's needs, not your product.
Customers have limited interest in your product or company. But they have unlimited interest in their needs, solutions to their problems, and making their lives better. Concentrate on fulfilling their needs through the use of your product or service.

5. ALWAYS stress benefits.
Always concentrate on how your product will benefit your customers-both logically and emotionally. Hit the right hot buttons and your sales will skyrocket.

6. Repeat your key benefits in the beginning, middle, and end of your email, letter or brochure. Tell your readers once, tell them again, and then tell them one more time. Remember, people buy benefits, not products.

7. Use the "4 to 1" rule.
Your sales copy should contain four "you's" to every one "I." Customers want to hear about their number one priority-themselves. One of the best ways to convey that you understand your customer's needs is to use plenty of "you" language.

8. Use a stop-them-in-their-tracks headline or first sentence.
Some letters and emails benefit from a headline while others don't. Either the headline or first sentence must be very powerful in order to convince your prospects that your letter is worth reading.
9. Use sub-headings liberally.
Subheads help break up long blocks of copy. They also act as a "hot point" outline to pull the reader through the key ideas of your email or ad.

10. Seize the reader's attention immediately.
Don't waster space building up to your blockbuster points. Start with them. You have only a paragraph or two to convince your prospects to keep reading your letter. Give them what they need to make sure they continue.

11. Flatter your reader.
These days people are much more sophisticated when it comes to advertising. They know that you got their name from a mailing list. You can turn this fact to your advantage by suing this kind of copy.
12. Share some "inside" information.
Direct mail offers a perfect opportunity to appeal to a person's need to feel special. An ideal way to do this is to share some exclusive information. Make it clear that this offer is being made only to them.

13. Issue a personal letter from the President.
People like to deal with the person in charge. Using this type of personal message builds confidence.

14. Never end a sentence at the bottom of a page in a sales letter.
Always use a broken sentence to carry your reader forward onto the next page of your letter or email.

15. Feature the offer.
Everyone loves a good deal. Your job is to design an irresistible offer and make it a key focal point of your letter or email. A strong offer can often be the extra incentive that will convert your "maybes" to real live orders.

16. Give something away for FREE.
Free samples, trials, demonstrations, consultations, or information are all exceptional ways of getting customers to give your product or service a hands-on try. Sometimes that is all it takes to close the sale.

17. Run a contest.
Give away a free enrollment in your seminar, a free subscription to your newsletter, or anything else that appeals to your buyers.

18. Use a special "before the price increases" offer.
If you plan to raise your prices, make your regular customers a special offer at the old price for a limited time.

19. Repeat your offer.
An irresistible offer can overcome customers reluctance. State it at least twice in your email or letter, and again on your order form.

20. Make a time-limited offer.
Offer a special deal for a limited period of time. And do just that-legally you can't continue a time-limited offer indefinitely.

21. Base your offer on a limited supply.
A close-out of your inventory can create strong demand. A limited supply offer can be used to designate exclusivity and prestige.

22. Offer a special deal to the first 100 people who order.
Or the first 25, 50, 250 and so on. But remember, the key here is to keep it to a meaningful limit as an incentive for customers to act quickly.

23. Make a charter offer.
This approach is ideal for new products, subscriptions,and service agreements. If your product isn't new, consider starting a membership club and offering charter members special benefits.

24. Make a "last chance" offer.
Last chance at this price, inventory close-outs, and last chance before a model change can all be used to successfully win more orders.

25. "Buy 1 get 1 FREE" always outpulls "2 for the price of 1."
Although the savings are precisely the same, the first format sounds like the customer is getting a better bargain.

As mentioned in the beginning, not all of these techniques will work for every mailing you create. The key is to review the techniques whenever you're planning a mailing. Pick the ones that apply to your situation and put them to work.

In part two you'll learn about boosting the pulling power of your mailings.

In the meantime you have plenty of ideas to apply in your marketing. So go to work and try them out!

How To Make Writing Good Sales Copy A Snap

One of the biggest challenges to selling your product or service online is writing the sales copy. You are basically trying to use text to convey the benefits of your product to the buyer. Hopefully, the prospective buyer has already been searching for the answer to their problem. It is your job to convince them that your offer will satisfy their needs.

You have a product that you believe in and stand behind. Your price is competitive and you offer some incentives to the buyer. The problem is how to write a good, solid sales letter that will lead your prospects to buy from you. There are many ways to write effective sales copy. It is definitely not a cookie cutter science though. Learn to be attentive to the needs of your clients, and explain in simple language why they should buy the product you are selling. It is always in your best interest as a sales copy writer to keep things simple and to the point. With that said, let us move on to what components you should include in your sales letter to make it outstanding.

Start with the main focus of your sales letter: Ask yourself; What is the Unique Selling Position (USP) my company is trying to offer our clients? In other words, how is our product or service uniquely beneficial to the buyer? Answer this question first. Then you will have the basis for writing a compelling online sales message.

The USP must be something that your competitors do not offer, or your company does better for the customer. It might be something about the price, the superiority of your product or even the great service after the sale. Whatever you decide as your unique selling position, be sure to emphasize it more than once using simple down to earth language.

The outline to use for good sales copy includes these things in order of appearance on the page:

1. Benefit Headline. Tell your customer exactly how they will benefit from buying your product now.

2. State your USP in easy to understand text. Let the buyer know they have found a unique solution to their specific need.

3. Give the reader an idea of the many advantages of owning your product. This will keep them interested in reading deeper into your copy to discover if it really is what they want to buy. 3 to 5 bullet points should do it. Make the points clear and try to build desire in the reader's mind.

4. With one line of definite purpose, restate the main benefit you started the sales copy with in the headline.

5. Next, use a small list of the best features your product has to offer. A feature is something that the product has built into it that makes it special. This is important because here is where the buyer will make up their mind as to whether or not your product is right for them.

You have now captured your prospect's attention, interest and hopefully their desire. Some copywriters stress that the closing of the sale is the most important part of the sales letter. It is definitely important to emphasize this part of your pitch to the buyer. Usually a good incentive to make the purchase right now is necessary at this time. Use your judgement as to what you want to offer. This will help increase your sales conversion rate.

Closing the sale really comes down to simply asking for the person to buy your product. It may sound elementary, but do not overlook this part of the process. Experiment with different types of closing statements to see what works best. When you incorporate these elements of good sales copy, you will see an increase in the responses to your offers. Writing your own sales copy can be highly profitable when you follow these guidelines.