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Wednesday, 11 March 2009
With the increase in direct mail volume at all-time highs, the need to grab a reader's attention in a sales letter is even more crucial. As a prospect sorts through loads of daily mail, he needs to know two things up front: what is being sold and how it can benefit him. Consider these six steps.
1. Know and state the biggest benefit for the reader up front. Readers spend, on average, five seconds deciding if they'll open a mail piece.
2. Remember the basic goal for your sales writing: increased response. You're not a writer, you're a salesperson who uses the medium of writing.
3. Review a sales letter you're presently working on. See where the "grabbing" material or "hook" is and determine whether it's too far down. Also try this: begin reading in your third or even fourth paragraph. Chances are you'll discover more reader benefits there than at the beginning.
4. Use specifics to grab attention. It's not enough to mention profits?use numbers, names, dates, etc. Use everything you can get a hold of to capture your reader's attention.
5. The "hook" can be placed in various places besides the first or second paragraph. Some prefer the superscript above the salutation. Others like to use the space where the inside address is usually found.
6. Be creative in your salutation. "Dear Friend or Reader" sounds trite. Personalize the salutation, if possible, using: "Dear Executive," "Dear Doctor," "Dear Homemaker," etc.
Craig Huey is president of a direct response advertising agency, Creative Direct Marketing Group, Inc and InfoMat. 310-212-5727 (email@example.com).
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Direct mail marketing is often part of a bigger picture and longer sales cycle. In such cases, your direct mail postcard or letter serves a ?learn more" function. This is where direct mail and websites become perfect marketing partners.
Postcards make excellent website promoters. With their easy readability and "at-a-glance" impact, direct mail postcards can help you entice people to your website. Here are five ways postcards can drive qualified traffic to your site.
1. Free reports and white papers.
Create a valuable report and make it available for download via your website. Feature the report (with graphics, excerpts, and other teasers) on a postcard. Make sure you have a web-based lead-capturing system in place to collect the name and email address of each respondent.
Seminars are a great business-building tool for certain industries. Real estate, financial services, investing, technology - each of these sectors can use seminars to increase their exposure and gain clients. Direct mail makes it easy to promote your seminars. Put the primary benefit of your seminar in the headline, and offer multiple incentives for attending. Offer a web-based form to simplify the sign-up process.
3. Free trial.
If you're selling software, e-books, or anything else digital, you can offer a free trial or sample download through your website. Then use the direct mail piece to build interest and point readers in the right direction.
4. Newsletter subscription.
Want to increase the size of your subscriber base? Send a postcard that conveys the value of the newsletter, along with a strong bonus incentive for signing up. Create a landing page with a short URL / web address so it's easy for people to type.
5. RSS Feeds.
RSS feeds are becoming a popular web-marketing tool, and for good reason. They're easy to produce, and they give you another way to stay connected with your audience. So why not send a postcard to your customers showing the value of your RSS feed (and how and where to sign up for it).
Leveraging your website can reinforce your direct mail, which in turn can lead to higher response rates. So think about your own website, audience, and product or service. How can you bring them together to accomplish your goals?
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
As consumers move their media preferences toward customized, one-to-one vehicles such as iPods, satellite radio and TiVO, marketers are challenged in managing multi-channel messaging opportunities, according to direct marketing experts at Pitney Bowes. As spam is auto-dumped from personal computers, traditional mail has regained and maintained a great deal of relevance, usefulness and profit potential in the marketing mix.TheWiseMarketer.com).
According to the Cable & Telecommunications Association, 70% of American consumers prefer to receive advertisements and promotions by mail. Letters, including transactional mail, constitute a US$36 billion dollar industry in the US alone, and the entire global mailing industry - including shipping packages - tops some US$900 billion.
According to John Schloff, vice president of marketing for Pitney Bowes Document Messaging Technologies, mailstream marketing - the direct mailing of marketing materials that lead to other channels - is arguably the fastest way to optimize both B2B and B2C customer communications management. Printed mail, whether postcards, letters, catalogues or brochures, can all be used as catalysts to drive web site traffic.
Proper customer communication management is necessary for effective one-to-one marketing with mixed media that merges digital and physical channels. Direct mail today already comprises data-rich systems and processes that provide mailers with options for making their customer, production and channel intelligence more comprehensive and more precise than ever before.
Brands that use the traditional mail channel have a particular taste for highly personalized, relevant marketing to current clients. Financial statements, mortgage bills, credit card statements, insurance premiums, even drivers' license renewal forms, all arrive directly through the consumer's front door to deliver timely and useful information.
Five Direct Mailing Best Practices To Optimize Mailstream Marketing Efforts
1. Leverage customer intelligence
Use your data intelligently to create more personalized messages that enable cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, and to ultimately foster customer loyalty.
2. Deliver only relevant communications
Your message is traveling with an important personal document (e.g. a bank statement, or an insurance policy's explanation of benefits). Be respectful of the medium by keeping the marketing message aligned with the purpose of the document. In addition to content alignment, a relevant document is always accurate.
3. Apply the highest data quality practices
The shortest route to the waste basket is a wrong address or a misspelled name.
4. Mandate the highest mailing accuracy and integrity
... especially with personalized transactional mail and inserts. Misdirected mail can put customers off the brand completely. The wrong marketing message - or worse, the wrong personal document to the wrong person - is a far greater problem than just creating a bad impression.
5. Practice event marketing
Be opportunistic about events in your target customer's life such as birthdays, graduations, home moves, weddings and births. Sending helpful promotions around life events can create close connections with customers.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Writing sales letters and brochures is both an art and a science, says Tony Attwood of Hamilton House Mailings. It's important to have a sense of both. There are only four ways of writing a direct mail ad that will raise your response rate.
1. Sell on price
This is the oldest approach?and it works if you are really sure you are less expensive than anyone else and you are sure that your audience is not concerned with quality. Of course, there's a downside to selling on price alone. The problem is that it can get you into a competitive price war, with negative results for both you and your competition.
2. Headline a benefit
This is on page one of every marketing book. But vast numbers of direct mailers still sell on features. Benefits are things like "No more back ache when you spend all day at a desk," or "double the speed of your broadband at no extra cost." Unfortunately, many still ignore benefits and promote features.
3. Ask and answer an interesting question Pose a question that you think could be interesting to your reader. Spend a paragraph or two developing the question and the issues around it. Then answer the question. All the way through this, don't talk up your product or company name; instead, have as close to a conversation as you can get in direct mail with your potential customer.
As an example, consider this headline: "What's the simplest way of doubling the response rate in direct mail?" If direct mail is your line of business, you have to read it, even if it is just to prove "I'm already doing that."
4. Use humor
Humor is widely used in radio, television and particularly cinema advertising. But it is hardly used at all in direct mail. A good starting point is to present yourself at one with your audience, and share with them some sort of issue that annoys them. So if you are a business-to-business service, look at the company's day-to-day work, find the thing that really annoys them and raise a chuckle through it.
Two Bad Approaches. What Not To Do
1. Announcements don't work.
Announcing in a headline something like "ABC Ltd launches the XYZ laptop version 2" is close to useless. If you then proceed to tell the reader that you've been in the computer business for 20 years and the XYZ is the very latest technology, then you can be sure no one will read it. Don't talk about yourself?talk about the reader and his/her wants and needs.
2. Grabby images don't work.
"Grabby" images are graphics that aim to capture the readers' attention in a gimmicky way. Grabby images are everywhere: direct mail, TV, newspapers. And yet, they simply don't work.
By Tony Attwood, chairman of Hamilton House Mailings, UK, for MarketingProfs.com
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
By Joe Vitale
Hypnotic Marketing's Joe Vitale gives his mesmerizing tips on how to make your direct mail a smashing success. What are his tricks of the trade?
So many of you seem willing to spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on a direct mail gamble, that I feel compelled to give everyone a brief lesson in what it takes for direct mail to work.
Far too many people try it and then say "Direct mail doesn't work." They often say the same thing about advertising. Well, it may not be the fault of advertising or direct mail. It may very well be that the three keys to success were not covered.
There are three legs to a successful direct mail campaign: the list, the offer, and the creative. Blow it on any one of them and the whole campaign will die. But get the three elements right and you just might be able to laugh all the way to the bank.
1. The list. This is THE most important element. Don't think because you can get a list cheap, or even for free, that it's something you can use. Don't think because thousands or even millions of people will read a publication that you should advertise there. Those people may not be your prospects. The best list for you may be the one you pay an arm and a leg for. The more targeted the list of prospects, the better. If you are selling a book on, say, gambling, you want to find a list of people who gamble AND who buy books on gambling. Try any other list and you may end up saying, "Direct mail doesn't work."
2. The offer. What you offer to the list better be something they cannot get anywhere else, while also being something priced to make a profit for you. If you offer a book on gambling that anyone can buy down the street for two dollars less, you'll end up saying, "Direct mail doesn't work."
3. The creative. How you present your offer to your list has to be done professionally, so that all of the emotional hot buttons are triggered while also maintaining interest and going for the sale. Some of the best copywriters are paid upwards to $15,000 to write a single sales letter simply because the creative aspect of your campaign is that important. I've known many people who tried to write their own letters and ended up saying, "Direct mail doesn't work."
Direct mail DOES work. Just ask Robert Ringer, who launched his series of best-selling, self-published books with direct mail and advertising. Or ask John Kremer, who has successfully used direct mail to sell his own books. Or ask me, as I've used it to sell some of my work. But, again, those three key elements have to be there or the direct mail or advertising won't net you a dime. Hope this helps you save - and make - money.
Thursday, 05 March 2009
Beyond Commerce, Inc. Announces Third Consecutive Month of Record Revenues and is Profitable for the Month of February 2009
HENDERSON, Nev., March 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Beyond Commerce, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: BYOC - News) www.beyondcommerce.com, an E-commerce solutions, local advertising and niche social networking company, announced today that www.LocalAdLink.com has again exceeded its growth expectations. Total revenues of $3,326,000 for the month of February represent an increase of 44% compared with the prior month, and about 80% increase since December 2008. Based on current trends, the Company anticipates the first quarter to be profitable.
"We are creating income opportunities for people who need to make a living to support their families, pay mortgages and put food on the table during these difficult times in our financial lives," stated Chairman and CEO Bob McNulty.
LocalAdLink is a low cost provider of local advertising, selling ads to local businesses through its network and skilled independent ad sales representatives. Exploiting the "people-to-people" business model, LocalAdLink uses a local sales force in order to connect local businesses with local consumers with the goal to develop local marketplaces, helping small businesses grow and reach new geo-targeted customers. This business model has proved successful and the Company now has reached the pathway of profitability. Additionally, the Company has assembled a strong management team across all operating divisions and continually develops innovative technologies.
Bob McNulty said, "Our profitability will even get better when we launch i-SUPPLY, along with other pending technology products and powerful solutions for our valued Advertisers. The vision of Beyond Commerce is to go beyond our "hybrid" platform and to become a meaningful partner for any small or mid-size businesses that want to grow and increase their profits."
The i-SUPPLY's E-commerce widget store will enter the market using a beta version 1.0 on thousands of Web sites in late March 2009, offering about 1.8 million brand name products. i-SUPPLY will add an additional revenue stream and be the backbone of the proprietary advertising network the Company is currently developing.
About Beyond Commerce, Inc.
Beyond Commerce, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: BYOC - News) www.beyondcommerce.com, provides best in class products, services, and solutions by being the low cost provider in its market sector. i-SUPPLY, www.i-SUPPLY.com, offers easy to use, fully customizable E-commerce services, and revenue solutions for any Web site, large or small, and hosts local ads, providing extensive reach for our proprietary advertising partner network platform. LocalAdLink, www.LocalAdLink.com, is a local search directory and advertising network that brings local advertising to geo-targeted consumers. BOOMj, www.BOOMj.com, is the leading niche portal and social networking site for Baby Boomers and Generation Jones.
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors affecting Beyond Commerce, Inc. operations, markets, products and prices and other factors discussed in the Company's various filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.