Sometimes, in a rush to take advantage of the next significant marketing trend, we forget to value the tried and true. Here are ten essentials of direct response marketing from Dan S. Kennedy, a well-known marketing consultant, and copywriter. These fundamental guidelines come from his book No B.S. Direct Marketing. Are you following all ten?
1. Have a great offer. You would be surprised how many marketers neglect to do this. Don’t assume the reader understands your full value proposition. The proposal needs to go beyond the product itself to include elements that represent additional value, such as availability, delivery options, and technical support. Don’t overlook them!
2. Make it urgent. Great marketing pieces create a sense of urgency. Unless yours is a complex, high-value product, the decision has to be made right now.
3. Provide instructions. Don’t assume your reader knows what you want them to do. Do you want them to make a phone call? Go online? Download an app? As Kennedy says, “Confused consumers do nothing.”
4. Track and measure. If you do not measure, you do not know what works and what doesn’t. Measure everything.
5. Follow-up. Following up—whether by email, phone call, mobile, or another channel—dramatically increases your response and conversion rates.
6. Write great copy. Effective selling requires having more than just a great product and a compelling offer. It requires copy that shows that you understand your customer’s pain points and presents how your product solves them.
7. Borrow from the best. It is great to be innovative, but look at what has worked for others over time, too. Look through newspapers, flyers, and great direct mail. Note the campaigns that are most compelling, then borrow what works.
8. Brand as a by-product. Branding is important, but for most small and mid-sized businesses, all marketing needs to serve a specific marketing purpose. Branding needs to be a by-product of the primary marketing goal.
9. Remember that results rule, which is why you measure. If it works, keep it, if it does not, scrap it.
10. Stay focused. Don’t get distracted by shiny objects. If a marketing campaign does not adhere to the previous nine rules, “just say no.” At least for six months.
Every once in awhile, you just need to go old school for a straightforward reason. It works.