Tuesday, July 10, 2012

12 Commandments of Vibrant, Effective Direct Marketing

By John Blom and Margie Church 

Lots of us have ended up in marketing roles we were untrained to handle. For some, this is a fun, fantastic challenge. For others, it's a real nail-biter. If you're a notch above the clueless category, here are 12 tips to making your next campaign look like a pro did it.

  1. Competitive/compelling offer. Do your homework on the competition. You won't get leader-of-the-pack results if you have an also-ran offer. 
  2. Ensure internal systems are in place to handle responses. Involve member services early in the process to make sure they understand what's being promoted, and how to react to hot/warm/cold leads. 
  3. Segment data to create a personalized, relevant, timely message. Tailor photography and copy to the recipient group for the best impact. 
  4. Write a clear headline. It can be clever and provocative as long as it helps your cause and supports the graphic. 
  5. Eye path is linear. Take this test: ask a few coworkers to look at your ad. Did it start and end where you wanted, or were their eyes bouncing around? Bouncing eyeballs are only funny on Halloween. 
  6. Colors and logos should match branding. Complimentary colors add interest. Wild combinations are best for circus ads. 
  7. Hire a copywriter. The English language is a minefield of grammar boo-boos waiting to embarrass you. If you can't hire a copywriter, use free, online grammar tools and pay close attention to homophone snafus. Verify dates, phone numbers and addresses. The copy tone should reflect the offer, the audience, and design. Read your ad out loud. If it sounds stiff and stilted, get out the eraser. Humor is only funny if the reader understands why the chicken crossed the road. 
  8. Stick to the subject. White space isn't something to fear. Resist cluttering your message with extraneous details. Kitchen sink copywriting never works. In fact, neither does kitchen sink design. Sometimes you need to delete copy and graphics that just don't work, no matter how much you love them. Share the extra details with your customers when they respond to your promotion. 
  9. Clear call to action, front and center. Tell me what you want me to do. Assumptions are deadly. 
  10. Use easy response tools. Personalized URLs (PURLs ), hyperlinks to online applications, and email are great to use. Branch-code phone numbers, addresses, and signatures to get customers in the door, too. If you use a QR Code, give the respondent a good reason to visit the landing page. Send the mobile user right to the page they need; don't make them hunt. If the landing page is a video, be aware of data charges and the time it takes to load/view whatever you're offering. 
  11. Easy-to-read mobile and traditional formatting are must haves for QR Codes, web pages, and blogs. The technology to convert traditional pages to mobile viewing is usually free and takes seconds. The customer frustration it saves is priceless. 
  12. You've come this far, don't risk being tossed or deleted unread. Avoid words and techniques that make your campaign look like junk mail. Window envelopes with no personalization look like a shotgun blast into the membership and community. Watch email subject lines for spam words and don't disguise words such as ca$h that'll be tagged as spam by the receiving ISP. 
Follow these tips and your campaign will have a higher than average chance to shine.

Pinpoint Direct Marketing creates data-driven, electronic and print marketing campaigns for the financial industry. Its customized campaigns achieve excellent results without premium costs. Learn more about Pinpoint Direct Marketing at www.PDMKT.com or call Kerry Blom, owner, 866-784-7555.

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