If you’re in the Direct Response Marketing game, and you’re not already asking yourself, “what can I do to increase revenue FAST?” every minute of the day, then I urge you to continue reading.
Freelance direct response copywriter Dean Rieck says: “Response is one of the five keys of successful direct marketing. And if you have that, the other four don’t matter.”
Simply put, Direct Response Marketing is designed to provoke an IMMEDIATE response from the customer, through clear CTAs (calls to action) and other techniques, in order to generate reactions and feedback while encouraging decision-making.
That’s all well and good, and to be honest it’s pretty self-explanatory, right?
Which is why we at GKIC make it our aim to arm marketers with every single tool they need to market efficiently, because although this process sounds simple enough, the ins and outs can actually be quite challenging.
Generating a direct response from consumers isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sure, lots of people are taken in by mediocre advertising, but if you REALLY want to make the big bucks then you need to master the following 10 rules (outlined by our founder Dan Kennedy in his book, ‘No B.S. Direct Marketing- The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing For Non-Direct Marketing Businesses’).
Think of these as the 10 Commandments! (in order to succeed thou shalt implement them wisely and then thou shalt get results…)
1. There Will Always Be An Offer or Offer(s)
“NOTHING, I mean nothing, goes out your door without offers.”
To generate a response from your consumers, you need an irresistible offer that is going to urge them into taking action IMMEDIATELY. What will you offer them? Is it going to be of value to them? How will it improve their current situation? Ask yourself these questions, and NEVER end a ‘conversation’ with your audience without making the offer.
Dan states that you’ll find a lot of businesses get by with ‘implied offers’. They’ll give all their details but won’t ACTUALLY say what it is they’ll do for you.
But what REALLY generates a response is direct marketing that tells the consumer how your product can enhance their life, solve their problems, make their day better etc, and the steps they need to take in order to reap the benefits.
THIS is how you make money.
2. There Will Be Reason To Respond Right Now
If you’re unfamiliar with direct-response copywriter John Carlton, I recommend you get familiar right now. A friend of Dan’s, John advises imagining your prospective customer as a gigantic sloth, unlikely to move, with its phone out of reach.
You need to think about this sloth when constructing your offer. Is a plain, mediocre offer going to cause that sloth to move, reach out for its phone and take action? Probably not.
Your offer should generate a direct response. That’s the whole point. I reiterate my point about providing value to your prospects- if you can truly convince them that investing in your product/service will answer their prayers and satisfy their current desires, then you’re onto a winner.
3. Clear Instructions
I’d like to turn your attention to Dan’s two sub-rules:
* Confused consumers do nothing
* Most people can follow directions
Anything you put together in your next strategy, whether it’s a flier, an advert, a sales letter etc, make sure the pathway to taking action is clear for the consumer…. “with high sidewalls (to prevent the prospect from wandering off)”.
If you’re currently sending things out WITHOUT clear instructions, STOP. Make some changes.
4. There Will Be Tracking And Measurement
Dan says; “you need real, hard facts and data to make good, intelligent marketing decisions.”
Do you want to make unintelligent marketing decisions?
Didn’t think so…
When making marketing decisions, it doesn’t matter what you and your colleagues think/feel etc. It matters what your AUDIENCE thinks and feels.
“Tracking means accurately collecting all the information you need to determine what advertising is working and what isn’t, which offer is pulling and which isn’t, what marketing has traction and what doesn’t”.
Ultimately, you’ll be able to know what your ROI is for each dollar. As long as you get systems in place to capture all the data you need, and make the time to get a thorough analysis underway, then what seems as a confusing drag will start to become profitable and easier the more you do it… especially if your employees have a tendency to become lazy with or confused by the whole concept.
“From now on, ye shall spend no dollar without tracking ROI”.
5. Branding As By-Product
If you’re the CEO of a giant company that is recognized worldwide, then by all means invest in brand identity. If you’re an entrepreneur investing your own capital, then take Dan’s advice- “focus on response and sales”.
Sure, you may actually build your brand without knowing along the way, which is awesome. But don’t spend time doing it on purpose. Dan states that there are many types of direct response ads that are designed to motivate qualified leads to step forward and take action, that succeed WITHOUT branding. All they need is a clear CTA and BAM, sorted.
6. There Will Be Follow-Up
There are fortunes in the follow-up. Most marketers make the mistake of only following up with a lead on ONE occasion.
But to be a SMART marketer, you need to build out a way to continue this follow-up with your prospects.
Imagine somebody refers you to one of their closest friends. Or a business fellow, perhaps. What are you going to do? Simply say ‘thanks’ and move on?
NO NO NO!
You speak with the person who made the referral, and you ask them for their closest friend or business fellow’s details, so you can approach them personally. Start up a sequence that involves a letter or email, with something free and valuable that is going to kickstart this new relationship.
No response? Send another letter or email. Keep at it!
7. There Will Be Strong Copy
I love this quote from Dan: “you can’t send a shy, timid Casper Milktoast guy out into the street to knock on a door of a home or walk into a business and beg in nearly a whisper for a few minutes of the prospect’s time. So you can’t do that with ad, flier, letter or postcard either. Send Arnold Schwarzenegger instead.”
In a nutshell, your copy must be compelling enough to get your prospects to take immediate action. Your vocabulary choices should aggravate your prospect’s problems so much so that they can almost FEEL the pain, and then soothe them immediately with whatever it is you’re offering, and how it can solve their issue.
Think about your audience. Speak to them like they’re human beings (which they are…) in a conversational tone that hooks them in with power words, packs a punch and sticks in their mind.
(NOTE: for further information on kick-ass sales copy, I urge you to read another of Dan’s books “The Ultimate Sales Letter.”)
8. In General, It Will Look Like Mail-Order Advertising
Dan says that David Ogilvy once admitted: “only direct-response guys really knew what they are doing” and that HIS guys were guessing. Who would you copy?
The ‘G’ in GKIC, Bill Glazer, is a ‘master’ at using mail-order style advertising. Our two founders suggest making a swipe file of mail-order newspapers and magazine advertisements that show clear calls to action. Next time you construct an offer, flip through the file for inspiration.
9. Results Rule, Period.
From this moment forth, you are (if not already) completely, wholly, ultimately results-driven.
Nobody EXCEPT your customers is going to put money into your business and personal bank account. NOBODY ELSE. All that matters, is what your customers think. If you make sales, then your strategy has worked. If it doesn’t make sales, scrap it.
10. You Will Be A Tough-Minded Disciplinarian And Keep Your Business On A Strict DIRECT Marketing Diet For At Least Six Months
Last but not least…
Think of this as a regular diet.
Cut the crap.
Purge the junk.
Stick to a new regime guaranteed to get results.
If your new business diet consists of nothing but the previous nine rules, I promise you that your direct response marketing efforts will pull through. Don’t let anything toxic slip through the net.
As Dan says, “anything that doesn’t conform to the prior nine rules, do not let it in at all. Just say no. And bar the door.”