Creative & Copywriting: Back to the Future
What media makes up your prospecting efforts? If you're like most seasoned cross-channel retailers, mail is "king," with the highest return on investment of all your channels. You may also prospect effectively online by beefing up your search engine optimization, but search customers are typically among your least loyal.
The customer acquisition avenue that's been around the longest of all — space advertising — is often the one marketers have the lowest expectations of. Yet it's pricey, and to treat it as a brand effort, untested and unmeasured, is clearly a waste of budget. If not creatively designed, placed strategically and the results tracked, space advertising can become a black hole into which you pour a hefty dose of your marketing dollars with no accountability.
Space advertising seems so easy — it's just a single page! Don't be deceived by its simplicity, however. Effective space advertising is harder than it looks. Space ads are often treated as more of a design problem rather than an exercise in salesmanship. "We know our product or service ... so how much do we need to explain?" The answer is a lot. Prospects are being dropped into a pool of ads, including those of your competitors. To get their attention you need both a hook that defines your unique selling proposition and clear communication to pay it off. A prospect's time with your ad will be a millisecond.
I learned the key elements to creating successful ads that pay off in quality customers from a wise mentor I had in my early years, a man named Andy Byrne. Andy was for many years a major player in the direct marketing world. He had an awesome breadth of experience using space advertising and direct mail in the U.S. and internationally, and he enjoyed friendships with David Ogilvy, Denny Hatch, Bob Hemmings and a host of other revered direct marketers. Andy spoke eloquently about direct response, and fortunately for so many of us he generously shared his experiences.
Make it or Break it With the Headline
"The problem with many advertisers, and even with advertising writers, is that they don't appreciate how much the headline can affect the response of the advertisement." — Andy Byrne, from "Methods to Increase Advertising Results"
Andy's revelation: those clever, snappy headlines that creative types often present and clients love are confusing to most prospects. Studies prove that confusion deadens sales.