Archive for the 'Direct Marketing' Category

Goodbye digital, hello paper

February 3rd, 2017 by Bob Bly

In an article in The New York Review of Books (2/9/2017), Bill
McKibben notes that an increasing number of folks are turning
away from electronic communication and instead choosing
old-school media.

For instance:

>> In 2006, just 900,000 new vinyl records were sold in the U.S.
In 2015, the number of vinyl records sold was 23 million — an
increase of 20% per year.

>> Despite a hefty $150 price for an annual subscription, in the
last decade the magazine The Economist has seen its print
circulation grow by 600,000.

>> Students who take massive open online courses (MOOCs) perform
worse, and learn less, than their peers who are sitting in a
school listening to a teacher talking in front of a blackboard.

>> In many classrooms and office conference rooms, schools and
corporations are replacing digital smartboards with paper and
colored markers.

>> Hundreds of board game parlors, where people get together to
play on game boards made of cardboard moving pieces made of
plastic or metal, have opened in North America.

So … what are the reasons a portion of the population is turning
back to old media?

>> Well, in the case of records, people enjoy handling and
playing them, and appreciate the cover art and liner notes. They
also gain a sense of ownership over the music some don’t get from
digital.

>> For The Economist, when you carry the print edition, people
can see what you are reading, which if the magazine is
prestigious, shows you are smart, cultured, and in-the-know. Much
harder to see that the bloke next to you is reading the digital edition of The Economist without sticking your face right in front of his smart phone.

>> MOOCs does not surprise me. Podcasts, online courses,
streaming video, and other digital classes simply cannot match
the interaction and personalized attention a teacher gives in a
classroom or a speaker like me gives at a live workshop.

>> As for video games vs. board games, McKibben quotes writer David Sax: “Even if you were playing World of Warcraft with the same group of friends around the world each day, talking smack over
your headsets, and typing in snippets of conversation, you were
ultimately alone in a room with a screen, and the loneliness
washed over you like a wave when the game ended.”

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 4 Comments »

7 small graphic tweaks that can create a huge lift in response

January 27th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Last week I asked ace graphic designer Dwight Ingram for some
ideas on how to improve the performance of our direct mail and
online marketing through changes in design.

Dwight replied:

“Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest
difference. I’m often called upon to ‘freshen up’ a fatiguing
control, and I’ve developed a toolkit of small design changes
that can revitalize a promotion without having to create a whole
new piece.”

Here are 7 of Dwight’s go-to design tips you can use to boost
response and breathe new life into your control:

1–Change the envelope or the outside of the mail piece. If the
design is too busy, remove or move something. If the design is
too simple, add something.

Use a new teaser, freshen up the design, and try new fonts. Use
the back … think of the extra space like a buckslip. It’s a great
place to showcase the product and reinforce the offer.

2–Use bigger buttons. For e-mails and landing pages, try a bigger
button, a different color, or change the shape. Add a button to
the top or bottom in a key location near the offer language.

3–Simplify. Make the order process clean and fast, especially in
digital efforts. Don’t make your audience jump through hoops to
order.

One of the first things to look at is how many fields are on a
form? Are there too many choices, and is the process intuitive?
Decide what information you must ask for and what you can
eliminate.

4–Change the order form. Enhance the format of your form by
adding a notch, or make it an L-shape. Strengthen your offer
language, focus on the key benefits. Add an offer summary box.
Stress the deadline. Use more personalization, but not too much,
and use it appropriately.

5–Add an insert. A lift note, buck slip, or other element can
focus your prospect on the right features or benefits of the
product. Highlight the guarantee, the premium, or a unique
feature of your product or service.

6–If you use a business reply envelope (BRE), change the color.
Using a different paper color for the BRE can lift response.

7–Make sure your e-mails, landing pages, and order pages are
coded to display optimally not only on PCs but on mobile
devices including tablets and smart phones. (I’ll have an entire
chapter on designing e-mails for smart phones in my forthcoming
book “The Ultimate E-Mail Handbook” from Skyhorse Publishing.)

Remember, it’s all about clarity and thinking like a potential
customer. If your offer is hidden, or too complicated, or if
you’re asking for too much information, your response will be
affected. Make it easy.

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Category: Direct Marketing, General, Online Marketing | 1 Comment »

Avoid disaster when migrating to digital media

December 16th, 2016 by Bob Bly

It’s ironic.

Direct response guys by far know more about what works in
marketing than anyone else, because we generate tangible results
on every promotion. And these results are measured.

Yet more and more marketers are bypassing direct response today
in favor of what is hot and trendy — specifically branding,
content marketing, digital marketing, and social media.

For instance, my friend BC, a veteran direct marketing pro,
recently wrote me an e-mail. He says:

“I’ve had so many clients insist on dropping what they call
‘traditional’ media for digital and social media, only to have a
harsh awakening as their response plummets.

“One such client is a small community college who was struggling
during the recession. They were down to just under 7,000
students and state funding was cut.

“Teaching jobs were on the line. We launched a campaign with
traditional media with the right message. And in just 2
enrollment periods — spring and fall of the same year — we
raised enrollment to just over 11,000 students … an increase of
57%.

“We sustained that number and even moved it up a notch or two for
3 years. Then the college’s Marketing Committee got comfortable
and bored, fired us, and hired a digital/social media agency.

“The new media agency produced disastrous results. Enrollment
went from just over 11,000 students down to 6,500 students in 2
enrollment cycles. The last numbers I learned of were below 4,500
students.

“Now the college doesn’t have an ad budget, and most of the
Marketing Committee, who were also professors and instructors,
have been let go due to lack of funds.

“The college’s Marketing Director was moved from his office suite
in the main building to an office on a remote side of the campus.

“This is why I always tell clients to ease into ‘new media’
slowly — and test, test, and test!”

I urge you to consider BC’s story and advice carefully. He is a
top pro and he knows what he is talking about.

In my view, this myopic college Marketing Director, who had BC’s
vast expertise as his disposal, starved to death with a loaf of
bread under each arm.

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 1 Comment »

Direct mail: what’s a good response rate?

July 29th, 2010 by Bob Bly

Most people, when discussing direct mail response rates, think in
terms of percentages.

For years, 2% was viewed as an “average” response rate.

The problem is that percentages don’t take into account things
like the cost of the mailing or the price of the product being
sold.

A much better measure of direct mail response rates is
“break-even.”

“Break even” means the sales generated by a mailing is equal to
the cost of the mailing.

For a mailing that generates 150% of break-even, you make $1.50
in sales for every $1 you spend on the mailing, including printing,
list, and postage.

Here is a free online calculator you can use. It calculates the
percentage response rate your mailing must achieve to reach break
even. That way, you know whether your 1% response rate is good,
fair, or terrible in terms of ROI.

The online response calculator is free ? there’s no cost to use
the calculator as often as you like:

www.dmresponsecalculator.com

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Category: Direct Marketing | 29 Comments »

Direct Mail Preferred Over E-Mail?

May 4th, 2010 by Bob Bly

In his column in Target Marketing (5/2010, p. 42), Denny Hatch said that a large percentage of the population — 18 to 34 year olds and 62-plus — prefer direct mail to e-mail.

If you are in these groups, or outside them, which would you rather receive — e-mail marketing, direct mail, both, or neither?

If neither, what’s the best way for marketers to communicate with you?

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Category: Direct Marketing | 38 Comments »

Are There Too Many Webinars?

January 19th, 2010 by Bob Bly

An article in BtoB (1/18/10, p. 21) says, “Given the plethora of webinars these days, it isn’t altogether surprising that some companies report a decline in attendee registration.”

I love webinars as an offer, especially in e-mail marketing. But can BtoB magazine be right? Is the market becoming oversaturated with webinars, just as some people say it is already oversaturated with white papers?

And if so, what offers can we use in BtoB lead generation in lieu of webinars and white papers? What other offers are in your bag of tricks for B2B lead gen?

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Category: Direct Marketing | 33 Comments »

John Carlton Says Long Copy Works Best — Period.

June 20th, 2009 by Bob Bly

In my 6/14/09 post, I invited a debate on which works best — long copy vs. short copy.

But superstar copywriter John Carlton doesn’t thinks there’s much of a debate to be had.

“If I woke up tomorrow and realized the universe had changed in such a way that a decent sales pitch no longer required persuasion, proof, credibility, offers, and all the other classic ingredients, I’d be the first one writing short copy,” writes John in Early to Rise (6/20/09).

John disputes the Web 2.0 evangelists, who claim that you can create sales with just a smidgen of copy here and there, like dabs of gray ink in the colorful wonder of an over-designed web page.

“I don’t write long copy because I like long copy,” asserts John. “I write long copy because that’s what works.”

His formula for writing effective long copy promotions:

1–Start at the beginning of your sales message.
2–Cover the points your prospect needs to hear to make a decision.
3–Urge him toward the right decision — to buy your product.
4–Close with panache.

“When you can do that in a few terse sentences or in a single, brief, whiz-bang video, let me know,” concludes John. “I’m not holding my breath.”

Do you want to let John know that you AGREE with him — and that, online and offline, long copy is still king, even in this era of online video, Twitter, YouTube, sound bytes, Susan Boyle, and child-like attention spans?

Or can you offer arguments and evidence to prove John wrong by showing that short copy sites, videos, and the like can sometimes clobber long copy?

What say you?

Source: Early to Rise, 6/20/09.

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Category: Direct Marketing | 69 Comments »

What Direct Mail Response Rate Do You Need for Your Campaign to Break Even?

June 12th, 2009 by Bob Bly

“Break-even” is the response rate a direct mail must generate to produce sales revenues equal to the cost of the mailing.

But what is that response rate for your mailing? It depends on 5 factors:

* Postage.
* Printing.
* Letter shop charges.
* List rental cost.
* Price of product being sold.
* Cost of goods for product.

You can input these factors here and have my free DM ROI software instantly calculate the response rate you need to achieve break-even:

www.dmresponsecalculator.com

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Category: Direct Marketing | 419 Comments »