Alan Rosenspan's "Improve Your Response"
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
DM consultant Lee Marc Stein (www.leemarcstein.com) gave a highly credible presentation on how to build credibility in direct marketing.
Here are some of the techniques he described and my comments.
1. Acknowledge skepticism and disbelief
People are more skeptical than ever before. You can pretend it doesnt exist or you can admit it.
Lee showed a very successful sweepstakes package they did for American Express that said "How come this doesnt say 'youre already a winner'?"
2. Master the tone and language of your customers
Lee worked with an insurance company that sold "contents" insurance. This was designed for people who rent houses or apartments and it covered their belongings.
Lee recommended changing "content" insurance to "renters" insurance. Response soared.
3. Put a face on it.
People like to buy from people not from faceless corporations.
Remember: true one-to-one marketing isnt one company to one prospect. Its one person to one person.
4. Use testimonials but from the converted
This ties in very well with #1. Testimonials are always a great idea but think how much more powerful they would be if they came from people who had doubts?
For example, "I never believed this would work, but after I tried it "
5. Admit fallibility
This has always been one of my favorite techniques.
Several years ago, I did an Easter promotion for a large department store chain. It was a sweepstakes, where customers could win valuable prizes every day.
Unfortunately, the mailing went out a day late, and the Chairman of the company received half a dozen angry letters.
What would you do?
(A) You could ignore it. After all, there were several other chances to win. (B) You could write a letter of apology to everyone. Or (C) You could admit fallibility and thats exactly what we did.
I created a "2ND Crack Promotion" and we sent out a direct mail package that showed cracked Easter eggs. It read, "Were giving all our customers a 2ND crack at all the prizes."
I wrote the corniest mailing of all time "Which came late the chicken or the egg? Our mailing came late ." And also "Boy, do we have egg on our face!"
We did more business in those two days than we did all of Easter.
And this highly unusual promotion became an annual sales event.
Ernan Roman gave a presentation on Integrated Direct Marketing (He invented the technique 15 years ago.)
Integrated Direct Marketing is using a combination of communication tools to accomplish your goals.
This is even more important today with falling response rates and as Ernan puts it - "an unprecedented level of e-mail opt-out"
For example, an integrated campaign might consist of PR, then Print, then Direct Mail and then e-Mail or telemarketing 24-72 hours after the direct mail.
IMPORTANT TIP: Many companies wait for the direct mail response to come in before they start telemarketing. Their thinking why waste an expensive phone call on someone who is already going to respond?
Roman believes this is inefficient. He says, "Dont let the 98-99% of your prospects get cold while youre waiting for the 1-2% to respond." I agree with him.
How well does this idea work? Roman usually achieves double-digit response rates for each program. You can order the new edition of his classic book Integrated Direct Marketing by calling 1-800-323-4900.
How could I not attend a presentation with the title - "What I Learned from the National Enquirer"?
Sandy Blum (www.BlumDirect.com) gave a fascinating presentation on how supermarket tabloids sell and what direct marketers can learn from them.
One of her lessons was the Power of the BLT (Yes, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato.) Sandy was referring to a triple headline an eyebrow, a main headline, and then a kicker subhead. For example:
DI TRIED TO
Chilling Evidence from Royal Butler Trial
Sandy also talked about the Power of Photo Narration. In other words, dont use one photo. Use three or more to tell a story.
For example, one photo spread showed Cher with five different hairstyles over the years.
Sandy says the tabloids follow a formula and that every company can do the same, and have guidelines for every piece of marketing or communications.
For example, the formula for the cover of People Magazine is:
Sandy also shared this quote which applies to every form of writing:
"Take a great beginning and a great ending and put them as close together as possible!"
Okay, I didnt get this from the DMA.
But on the flight out to the DMA, I read an essay by Rick Reilly, who writes for Sports Illustrated. He has 10 rules of writing which are absolutely terrific and also apply to direct marketing.
Here are my three favorites:
Reillys Rule #1: Never Write a Sentence Youve Already Read.
"Its the best way to make words jump off a page and squirt grapefruit juice in the readers face. Why write "He beat the crap out of the guy" when its so much more fun to write, "He turned the guy into six feet of lumps"?"
Reillys Rule #2: Get em in the Tent
"Have you ever been zapping around on the remote, going from one show to the next? And then something comes on that you just cant zap because you have to know whats going to happen? Thats what a great lead does.
"In this fragmented world, readers are looking for the tiniest excuse to turn the page, put you down so you have to make it impossible for them not to go on to the second paragraph."
Reilly wasnt referring to letters but this rule absolutely applies. My favorite letter lead of all time was for Amore cat food.
Youre on a luxury cruise liner in the Caribbean. A wave smashes over the deck, washing your husband and your cat overboard. Who would you save first?"
With that lead, how could anyone stop reading?
Reillys Rule #8: Adjectives and Adverbs Sorta Suck, Really
"If I can avoid using an adjective, I will. Ill avoid writing, "He was a lucky sort of guy," and write instead, "He was the kind of guy who could drop a quarter in a payphone and have it pay 20 to 1."
"And dont even talk to me about adverbs if you cant find a better way to say "hungrily" or "proudly" you need to find a new line of work.
"Three hundred thirty pages; not a wasted word. That is my conclusion after spending a stimulating day with Alan Rosenspans book. This book is for those who have spent a lifetime in direct marketing as well as those who are simply curious about what direct marketing is all about. The structure of the book is simplicity itself. Rosenspan puts all the direct marketing tools on the table. Then he provides a Golden Arrow CREATIVITY to hit a bulls eye time after time. This book is a dream come true."
Author, Successful Direct Marketing Methods
"In a clear, friendly and accessible manner, Alan takes the reader through example after example of successful (read responsive and profitable) direct marketing. Confessions of a Control Freak will be an invaluable reference for every direct marketer who wants results!"
Senior Vice President of Professional Development & Training, Direct Marketing Association, New York
"Alan Rosenspan is not only a genius direct response copywriter, he is also a delightful person. Alans engaging style is apparent on every page of his new book. The book draws you in with facts, with stories, with illustrations, with persuasive arguments, and with charm until, by the end, you feel like a genius too."
"Ive always known Alan was a great copywriter, but in Confessions of a Control Freak he demonstrates he is a classic direct marketer. With humor and style, this book is a virtual road map for direct marketing success.
"This new book is destined to be one of the Top books in our industry, and if you only own one, this is it!"
Jerry I. Reitman
Executive Vice President (retired), The Leo Burnett Company; Author, Beyond 2000, The Future of Direct Marketing
Newsletter subscribers can have my new book at the special price of $29.95 plus $5. delivery and handling. To order, please visit www.alanrosenspan.com
Other book news: Ruth Stevens just published her new book, called The DMA Lead Generation Handbook.
Ruth knows her stuff - this is an invaluable guide to creating demand and driving sales. You can find out more and order at www.the-dma.org/b2b
Forward and Backward, and a Few Words about Privacy
You are welcome to forward this to anyone else who you believe may be interested.
To unsubscribe, just send me an e-mail that says "Remove" and I will understand. And once again, please let me remind you that your name and/or e-mail address will never be shared, sold, circulated, or passed along to anyone else. Thank you.
© Alan Rosenspan & Associates