News and views to improve the strength and vigor of all your direct response marketing activity.

Sometimes, regardless of product or consumer segment, and in any medium — Facebook, TV, email, postal mail, landing page, digital display, whatever — messaging is the critical factor in the success, or failure, of your marketing effort.

Pricing, distribution, available budget, competitive activity, various marketplace conditions … yes, there are many factors which could be the culprit yielding poor in-market performance. Yet often, when asked to audit a marketing campaign, we find the messaging bears a large proportion of the responsibility.

Get the full infographic and read the Blog: “5 DR Myths Debunked”.

There are many so-called rules of direct response marketing. And many DR myths — some of which were debunked in this past DMW Blog. But right now, if your lead volume has slid, sales are sluggish, clickthrough rates are crappy … it’s time to run through this checklist and dial-up the power of your creative … in a very direct way.

5-Point Direct Marketing Creative Must-Do Checklist:

✔️ 1. Appeal directly to my self-interest — Too often, a piece of marketing basically claims “We have a great product!” As a jaded 2020 consumer, with lots of other things to do, I respond “well, good for you!” … and go on my merry way. Even saying something like “Save 50%,” I shrug. Off what? And do I want or need your product/service anyhow? I dunno.

You’ve heard the joke: “… but enough about me, what do you think of me?” Only it’s not a joke. Winning creative is all about appealing to your audience’s self-interest.”

W.I.I.F.M. — What’s In It For Me — remains “the only radio station consumers are tuned in to.” Don’t tell me what you do, tell me what you can do for me. Do you make my day easier? Make me more productive? Tell me how you solve my problems, and I’ll give you the time of day, all day long. Which gets us to point #2 …

✔️ 2. Be clear and direct: engaging, more than clever — Getting attention is the first thing any promotional message must do. But when an ad punchline makes me laugh, does it also make me want to buy? It’s a safe bet that a smile, chuckle, or belly laugh is not the Objective or Goal stated on your Creative Brief.

This digital ad we created for Delta Dental attracts relevant attention — while presenting the ultimate benefit of joining their plan. Benefits, not features!

Now, it’s ok to do that — if you also make me a compelling sales pitch that makes me want what you’re selling. Better to engage me with relevant, interesting sales points, without the punchline. Especially, if you’re asking me to “get the joke” and then scroll down, click through, or open to actually get to your sales story. I may simply take the chuckle and run.

✔️ 3. Present direct benefits, not general featuresfeatures being what a product or service has, and benefits being what it does. In short, you can say that a coffee maker has a timer feature. Much more compelling, though, to tell me I can set up the coffee at night, and wake to the aroma of a freshly brewed pot ready to pour as I roll out of bed.

Rather than present a bullet list of insurance plan coverage, this promotion for Meemic — auto insurance for teachers — gets attention while presenting some of the unique protection educators benefit from, parked on school grounds.

✔️ 4. Direct them to an offer: a reason to respond … now! — The heartbreaking point in losing a lead is when an interested prospect is attracted by your visual, headline, and promise, spends some time getting a feel for what you’re selling — may even think it’s a pretty good idea — but just goes soft and doesn’t actually commit to “pulling the trigger.” They fail to take the next step. They drift off before buying, filling out a form, calling, or clicking through.

A compelling offer isn’t always about “giving away the store.” Find alternate ways to craft offers in our post: “Going Beyond Bogo”.

You got a shopper to the edge but they needed a final nudge over the line. You could “buy” their action with a sale or discount of some sort. But there are many other less-costly offers that can also do the job. Beyond “Free Booklet” and “Trial Offers” — both good — we explore a number of alternatives here.

✔️ 5. Call for a direct order — that’s more than having a “CTA” — Too often the need for a “CTA” is satisfied off hand. A “Learn More” button. An 800# at the bottom of an ad. I submit (see what we did there) those tactics are more stating your desire that someone act, than a true “Call To Action” enticing them to make a move and take action.

A generic CTA button may be instructional, but it’s not motivational and sells your offer short.”

Some better alternatives would feel like: “To get your free booklet, call 1-800-000-0000” … a “Download Your Guide” button … “Lose those drafty windows: Call today” … “Get all the (your value proposition here) you’re entitled to.” That genre of CTA fans the flames of consumer desire to reach out and grasp something more than what you’re settling for now.

And there you have it. Five items to check off – and you’re on your way to winning response executions across all media channels, right? Ah…if only it were that easy! Make no mistake: having a handy reference as a reminder to actually DO all these in the heat of the Ad Wars we face can be a great help. And I hope you are able to put these proven creative To-Dos into practice.

Of course, to get a solution to your marketing challenges you can always explore engaging DMW for a full-service, integrated solution. Or perhaps working with an agency on a project basis, may fill the bill. In all your endeavors, we wish you response that meets your KPIs, sales that exceed your MBO and results below your projected ROI. Happy marketing!