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 Part 4: Direct Marketing Creative

Your actual copy and graphic design is important in direct email but less than a well defined strategy using your offer and a targeted list.

Poor graphic design can hurt your response and professional image. Lavish or unusual artistic techniques may work well for magazines and other types of advertising but would actually distract or lower response rates in direct mail. It would be wise to keep your graphic design to a minimum unless you employ a graphic designer for design or professional photographer to shoot your photography. Direct email advertising is a combination of words, pictures and graphics. The words used almost always must move and persuade.

Write a sales letter for entry-level products or service's and feature it on your home page. Write a sales letter convincing prospects to send an e-mail requesting a sales representative to contact them. Offer free reports, e-zine to build the list. Personalizing with first name last name, gender zip-code using mail/merge software will increase response and will separate you from the clutter of emails prospects get.

Using a compelling headline that draws your prospect into your letter and promotion can triple marketing response. The headline should be driven by product benefits or solving a problem. Headline offers would be a good item to test in a letter and can pay for it self many times over since this would become your control letter. Newspapers and tabloids use well crafted headlines to sell there publications at point of purchase display's.

The focus is writing compelling copy that describes the many benefits and features of products or services. Products that are digital in nature like e-books and MP3 music and software do especially well since the visitor will get immediate satisfaction by checking out with credit card and downloading within a couple of minutes. If you are selling e-commerce web mall items clean digital photography with limited graphics and strong copy featuring benefits like free delivery, guaranteed satisfaction or free downloads will help response levels.

Direct email soft offer trial periods are being used frequently by Microsoft Network and AOL to market there internet services. Like 60 days free with credit card verification. When the competition is fierce and pockets are deep soft offers can be very effective as long as your billing package has been tested and has proved to be effective. Payment variations (credit card, check, installment by phone or emailed by CGI form) may work well for products and services on the internet. This technique used in direct mail would have the opposite effect and may lower response. Testing this feature would give you the best answer.

Sometimes billing prospects for services can triple the response rate. The payment offer can be a crucial element in a direct email campaign and should be evaluated closely, since the pay up rate could possibly break a small business.


 by Timothy Little


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