24 PRINCIPLES OF DIRECT MARKETING

24 PRINCIPLES OF DIRECT MARKETING



24 PRINCIPLES OF DIRECT MARKETING
1 .​
There are four important elements in​ a​ Direct Mail Package
and close attention must be paid to​ each: (Before anything,​ of​
course,​ comes the​ essential idea since the​ conceptual strategy
is still key.)
a) the​ graphics (carrier) which must be opened by reader - i.e,​
what does it​ look like?
b) the​ offer: the​ way the​ proposition is​ phrased - i.e what's
the deal?
c) the​ copy: the​ compelling description that gets the​ reader to​
buy or​ act - i.e .​
how is​ it​ said?
d) the​ list: the​ targeted audience most likely willing to​ buy or​
act - i.e .​
who is​ it​ sent to?
2 .​
Perhaps the​ most important element is​ the​ list since an​
excellent offer,​ with a​ striking carrier and compelling copy - if
mailed to​ wrong list - can be a​ disaster .​
Others belive copy is​
most important,​ but don't let ranking bother you​ since each
element is​ important .​
Take all reasonable steps to​ get,​ use and
keep the​ most accurate and up=to-=date lists possible to​ increase
your margin of​ success .​
Set up a​ system to​ add names and keep'em
current.
3 .​
Heed Daly's Law - Everything takes longer and costs more!'
So .​
it's wise to​ start project in​ ample time to​ make all elements
come together in​ easy manner .​
Use reverse timetable to​ plot
what needs to​ be done and when .​
For instance,​ you​ probably need
to order lists first .​
Then,​ don't forget the​ envelopes,​ printed
stock,​ other enclosures ,​ etc .​
Allow time for delivery and return
action plus follow-up mailings.
4 .​
Direct Mail is​ a​ demanding taskmaster,​ so if​ it​ fails it's
probably you​ who missed somewhere,​ not the​ medium. .​
If possible,​
test some or​ all portions of​ your program so you​ can alter
methods if​ needed.
5 .​
Writing compelling Direct Mail copy only seems simple so
don't be deceived .​
Heed basic principles of​ writing to​ single
person in​ simple,​ straightforward manner - yet with style .​
For
success,​ remember the​ 3 S's of​ successful copy are: (1)
Simplicity,​ (2) Sincerity,​ (3) Serenity .​
Long copy is​ not
necessarily bad,​ in​ fact it​ can outpull short copy .​
Focus on​ main
message you​ intend to​ convey .​
Never forget you​ want action to​
occur...NOW .​
Be sure copy answers the​ always-asked questions:
What's in​ it​ for me? Always keep reader's perceived needs in​
mind .​
Do the​ necessary research to​ determine them.
6 .​
Closely analyze your potential markets and your offer so you​
can hone lists and copy to​ target your approach .​
Though you​ mail
by the​ thousands,​ remember Direct Mail is​ more akin to​ a​ rifle
than a​ shotgun .​
Write your copy to​ be read by one person at​ a​
time.
7 .​
Remember Direct Mail is​ a​ substitute sales representative .​
Where an​ in-person sales representative can immediately answer
prospects' questions and overcome objections when raised,​ Direct
mail copy must anticipate all aspects and insure logical points
are covered.
8 .​
Incorporate an​ action device - coupon,​ order form,​ reply card
or envelope,​ phone number - to​ make it​ easy for recipient to​ take
desired action. .​
Repeatedly tell recipient what action you​ want
and make it​ simple to​ do .​
Put nothing in​ the​ way of​ getting an​
order or​ response .​
Use all action devices cited.
9 .​
a​ letter almost always works better in​ a​ Direct Mail package
than a​ package - even a​ catalog - without a​ letter .​
Don't worry
if the​ letter repeats what's in​ the​ catalog,​ brochure or​ order
form .​
It's there for a​ different purpose .​
The sales letter is​ a​
one-to-one communications to​ explain and sell,​ to​ get the​
recipient to​ act .​
The postscript is​ often the​ most-read part of​
the letter.
10 .​
If all elements of​ package are good,​ it​ is​ imperative repeat
mailings be made .​
It's difficult to​ wear out a​ good list and,​,​
unless mailings are overdone,​ you​ can't wear out your welcome .​
Let statistical probabilities and the​ laws of​ economics work in​
your favor rather than allow difference about making frequent
mailings deter you​ .​
a​ common error is​ not to​ mail often enough or
to a​ wider list.
11 .​
Keep detailed records of​ everything you​ do. .​
Follow a​
systems approach so you​ know what happened,​ when and why .​
That
way you​ can repeat successes and avoid failures .​
Sometimes the​
difference of​ a​ tenth of​ a​ percent or​ less is​ all it​ takes to​
tune a​ marginal performer into a​ winner.
12 .​
Study all elements of​ your package so you​ can know what's
working .​
is​ it​ the​ price? the​ geography? the​ timing? the​ phrasing
of the​ offer? the​ list? the​ copy? the​ product? Which of​ those
myriad elements,​ in​ combination or​ without one element,​ makes the
critical difference in​ the​ return? Analyze your records closely
and continually until you​ know why you're winning and can repeat
success.
13 .​
Keep current with changing postal rules,​ rates,​ regulations
and procedures .​
Regularly monitor your procedures to​ insure
you're in​ full compliance .​
To illustrate expensive errors,​ a​
frantic client called after the​ Postal Inspector visited .​
We can
help with postal problems. .​
Had he checked with us before the​
visit,​ the​ $5000 per word differential postal cost and worry most
likely could have been avoided .​
We offer professional
authoritative postal expertise but seldom can avert unchecked
mistakes .​
Check in​ advance .​
(We can supply you​ with a​ checklist
of valuable postal publications upon receipt of​ addressed,​ double
stamped #10 envelope.)
14 .​
Save,​ subdivide and study the​ good Direct Mail you​ get to​
learn what to​ do - and maybe what not to​ do .​
Remember some of​ the
things that appeal may,​ in​ fact,​ be tests that,​ when results
are known,​ are failures .​
Never underestimate need for simplicity
and complete honesty.
15 .​
People who take actions by mail are different from those who
don't .​
Thus it​ is​ wise to​ isolate them so you​ can easily remail
with new or​ different offers .​
Remember the​ axiom: People who buy
by mail...buy by mail...buy by mail.. .​
Best lists are of​ mail
buyers of​ similar products or​ services who recently purchased in​
same price range.
16 .​
Do what's necessary to​ make your maill stand out,​ even look
peculiar since it​ has to​ fight all types of​ competition .​
If it​
doesn't get opened,​ looked at,​ and read...there's no chance it​
will bring the​ action you​ want .​
Clever teaser copy on​ outside
of carrier can work wonders.
17 .​
Wise mail merchants work at​ differentiating between
suspects,​ prospects and (best of​ all) customers .​
Once they
can distinguish names on​ lists among those three categories they
are able to​ achieve cost efficiencies that novices can only
dream about .​
So keep good records of​ what happens and when it​
happens with mailings to​ a​ particular list with a​ particular
offer .​
Capitalize on​ success.
18 .​
Testimonials can be effective promotional tools,​ especially
if they're heartfelt and cogently express what the​ average user
might feel about a​ product or​ service. .​
They're even better when
offered by celebrities or​ persons well-known to​ the​ audience .​
Treat testimonials like the​ jewels they are and gather more.
20 .​
There's no such thing as​ a​ normal percentage of​ return
that's universally applicable across a​ wide range of​ products and
services but,​ over time and by keeping careful records you​ can
determine what some norms are for your offer (s) .​
Goal then is​ to
beat your best...if only by 1/2 or​ 1/4 of​ a​ percent!
21 .​
In producing Direct Mail programs these seven words may be
cliche - but only because it's true: Nothing is​ as​ simple as​ it​
seems .​
Continual care needs to​ be exercises at​ every step of​ the
planning and conceptual stage,​ though any step in​ the​
conception-production process can become critical if​ close
attention isn't paid to​ what's happening .​
To error is​ human .​
Yes .​
I'm aware of​ the​ error but that's exact spelling of​ sign I​
spotted in​ printer's window and I​ reproduce it​ to​ emphasize how
vital it​ is​ that extreme care be given to​ this facet of​
production .​
Proofreading in​ a​ professional manner is​ essential.
22 .​
Direct Mail Copywriter John Yeck long ago cautioned me to​ be
aware of​ these two sinful acronyms: KISS and CIPU .​
The first,​
Keep It Simple,​ Sweetie describes how to​ tell your message,​
while the​ second cautions us to​ avoid lapsing into business or​
industrial jargon which we understand but most everyone else
doesn't .​
CIPU stands for Clear If Previously Understood.
23 .​
While the​ Power of​ Mail will long be with us (even though the
nature of​ the​ Postal Service might change) wise direct mailers
see themselves practicing in​ the​ fields of​ direct Marketing or​
Direct Response .​
They become knowledgeable of​ the​ synergistic
value from use of​ print media (magazines,​ space ads,​ newspaper
inserts,​ etc) as​ well as​ electronic media (radio and/ or​ TV) to​
supplement their mail promotional efforts .​
The combination can be
powerful.
24 .​
Continually study and be alert to​ what's happening in​ this
dynamic medium .​
It may seem that not much is​ new,​ when in​ fact,​
there are subtle but important shifts in​ many of​ the​ areas
delineated in​ each of​ the​ four elements cited in​ Principle #1 .​
(Our seminars,​ workshops and speeches point these out to​
sponsor's audiences.)




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