Direct Response Copywriting

Direct Response Copywriting

How it’s different from other marketing & advertising creative

When it comes to Direct Response copywriting, there are some tried-and-true formulas you can use to get more results from every ad. Direct Response copy is much different from brand advertising because the entire purpose of the copy or ad is to drive the customer to act, respond and do something now. It could be clicking on your ad, following you on social media, filling out a form, requesting a free trial, calling in to purchase your product or signing up for your newsletter. The heart of Direct Response copywriting and creative is to connect you directly to the customer by getting them to respond to this particular ad right at this moment.

Brand advertising, on the other hand, is designed to create recall, develop affinity toward a brand and increase awareness of a certain brand. For example, consider Ford vs. Chevrolet vs. Dodge trucks. Each automaker brand wants you to think of them as a better value when you consider purchasing a vehicle. However, you will usually need to go to one of their dealers to purchase.

In the Direct Response world, the advertiser wants you to make a decision, act immediately and respond directly to them… now. This request may take the form of a 60-second ad, 30-second ad, a Facebook post, a Google ad or an Infomercial. The creative is designed to take you from awareness to interest to desire to demand to conversion all in one setting. To get an individual to respond to your advertising right then and there is challenging to say the least. It takes years of fine-tuning your craft and millions of dollars in testing to understand the “magic dust” of Direct Response copywriting. Here are seven tips to help you create Direct Response copywriting that delivers more results from every advertising campaign.

1.) 3-Second Rule: You have 3 seconds to grab your customer’s attention.

Make it relevant. Make it count. Your headlines or lead text in Direct Response copy should be 100% focused on engaging the customer immediately. The more you know about your customer and what’s important to them, the better you will be able to craft the lead in text. Advertising veteran David Ogilvy writes, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body of the copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Your headline or lead copy needs to break through the mundane clutter and chatter and make your target audience take notice. This is true for your Facebooks ads, Google AdWords, television spots, radio ads, Social Media and even newsletters. Here are some examples of effective headlines or lead-in samples from Jill Ferris (“Response Capture”), “Most Money—Making Headlines of All Time,” and others from around the web:

  • Thousands have this priceless gift but never discover it.
  • 27 Discounts Seniors Get Only If They Know.
  • Free book tells you 12 secrets for losing weight.
  • Great new discovery that kills kitchen odors quick.
  • For the woman who wants to look younger than she is.
  • Seven Steps to Financial Freedom.
  • The most expensive mistake you can make in your life.
  • How to burn body fat hour by hour.
  • Can you spot these 7 decorating sins?
  • The secret of making people like you ____.
  • You can laugh your money worries away if you do this.
  • If your pharmacist goofs, you could be dead. How to protect yourself – takes just 3 seconds.
  • Major diet plans. Which ones actually work. Which ones are guaranteed to torture you, Cost A Fortune and leave you fatter.
  • You can save $668 on car insurance when you switch.
  • How to easily kill 98% of all mold in your home.
  • Tech scam backfires. Victims Get Millions.
  • Is your phone spying on you? Here is how to find out.

Notice how they grab your attention and leave you wanting more. If you are curious about what they are offering, then you are compelled to finish the ad to find out the pay-off.

Now let’s compare these to some current branding lead-ins. Notice the difference or lack of “What’s in It for Me?” You will find more corporate-focused wording and less individualized, customer-focused creative appeal.

  • How do you become America’s best-selling brand? (Ford)
  • It’s summer signature pancakes at IHOP (IHOP)
  • America, it’s a shame you are not in the tournament (World Cup), but Iceland can use your support. We don’t have enough people to do the wave. (Volkswagen)
  • Tag Heuer – What Are You Made Of?
  • The Shoe Works if You Do. (Nike)
  • The world is a stage. Make it a Memorable Performance. (Lexus)
  • Can’t beat the Real Thing. (Coke)
  • Over 1/3 of Americans have no retirement savings. This is getting old. (E-Trade)
  • There is no mystery. Dove is the No.1 Shampoo. (Dove)

While the branding ads can be interesting, state facts about sales volume, deliver humor or enlighten, they don’t lead you toward taking an action, listening, watching, clicking, engaging to find out what’s next, or making you want to take any action to find out more.

2.) Deliver the Goods. “Sell the Problem You Solve–Not the Product You Sell.”

Once you have gotten your target audience’s attention, then you need to communicate to them why they are going to benefit from responding to your advertisement. Entrepreneur Magazine author Jeff Shore writes, “Every purchase decision (every decision, no exceptions) begins with the buyer’s current dissatisfaction. Feeling dissatisfied with something automatically makes a person a buyer.” Once you have the attention of your target customer, you have to answer this question. What are they going to get by responding to your ad? Give them concrete reasons why it’s worth their time to react. If you are promoting a health supplement or weight loss ad, show them the results others have had from using your product. If you are saving them time, money or making them feel better about themselves, then explain how their life is going to be markedly better by responding to your offer. Here are some examples of some successful Direct Response campaigns that deliver on what they are promoting:

“Lose up to 13 pounds and 7 inches in your first month.” (Nutrisystem)

“800 Pet Meds. We sell the exact same pet medications as the Vet but for 10%, 20% up to 50% less. And get free shipping for orders over $39.” (800 Pet Meds)

“Promote what makes your business great with Vistaprint business cards. 500 cards start at just $9.99.” (Vistaprint)

“Looking for a real relationship? Check out Match right now for Free.” (Match.com)

3.) Ignite Action with a Sense of Urgency.

Direct Response advertising creative performs better when you give the target customer a reason to act now and create a sense of urgency. It could be seasonal sale that ends on a specific date, a limited-time offer, or a special add-on the customer gets only if they respond now. Think about what you can do to ignite the customer action. Here some samples of this strategy:

“40% off Yellow Tag items. Deals end June 30th.” (Lumber Liquidators)

“Window Nation buy one, get one Free sale. Call by the end of the month and get 0% financing for 36 months.”

“Call or click in the next 15 minutes and get our exclusive activity tracker. A $75 value. Yours free.” (South Beach Diet)

4.) Use Words that are Proven to Motivate.

These are also known as Power Words or Persuasive Words. Gregory Ciotti wrote about these words in his post for Copyblogger. They have proven to light up our brain. You will need to have good reason to add them, but when it makes sense then you should include these words in your creative. Here they are:

  • You
  • Free
  • Because
  • Instantly
  • New
5.) Deliver a Call to Action.

Tell you target customers exactly what you want them to do. Where branding campaigns can leave you with a positive feeling about their brand, a well-crafted Direct Response copywriting will give the customer specific directions on how to respond. Call now. Click here. Donate now. Shop Now. Watch it now. Don’t miss out. Good Direct Response creative always gives clear direction on the action customers need to take if they are interested in the offer.

6.) Build Trust.

Many times, what you are offering is new or needs to have additional reasoning behind it to get the customers to act. This is why it’s critical to build trust. You can do this by adding testimonials from satisfied customers of your product or service. These need to be legitimate. For legal reasons, integrity and effectiveness, the testimonials you use should be from people who have had a positive experience and are more than willing to share that with others. You can also build trust with associations like BBB, Trustpilot and others.

7.) Limit Risk.

Good Direct Response copywriting usually offers prospects the ability to start a relationship with your company at very limited risk to them. The goal of limiting risk is to create comfort and move the client from desire to action. Here are some examples:

  • Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
  • Try Spotify Premium for FREE.
  • 30 Day Free Trial. Get Full access to premium for 30 days Risk Free! (Florida Gators)
  • Love it or your money back.
  • If you are not satisfied, we are not satisfied. 100% money-back guarantee.
  • 60-Day No Hassle Money-Back Guarantee.
  • Our Unbeatable Double Guarantee. Replace the product. And Refund Your Money.

These are your 7 Tips for to get better results from your Direct Response copywriting. If you need help creating your TV, Radio, Outdoor or Digital ads, we are at your service. Just contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Put our 30 years of advertising experience and volume discounts to work for you. Call 940-323-1101 ext. 1.

7 Steps for Hiring the Right Direct Response Advertising Agency

7 Steps for Hiring the Right Direct Response Advertising Agency

You feel stuck. Your marketing has hit a wall. You know you need help to grow and break through the marketing clutter, but you don’t know exactly how. And your current direct response advertising agency isn’t moving heaven and earth to find out why.

It could be that your advertising–which used to work–no longer delivers. You feel like your marketing is not as good as it can be, and you are certain some part of it is broken—you’re just not sure which part. You need a marketing doctor because your marketing plan is sick. Or you may need a marketing surgeon because some part of your marketing needs to be strategically removed and replaced with a healthy marketing plan.

If your business depends on leads, customers and sales that your advertising drives directly to your business (no storefront), then you are in the market for a professional direct response advertising agency.

So, how do you know when a direct response advertising agency is a good fit? After nearly 30 years in the Direct Response advertising world, we have some tips on what you should look for when hiring an agency.

Tip #1: Research their core competencies.

A good Direct Response Advertising agency will not be a one-trick pony. Although many advertising agencies promote the fact that they can do everything well, they may have a core competency in only one particular media. You can find out by asking for their list of long-term clients and seeing what types of media these clients are actively using to drive sales. If your customer base is nationwide, inquire about the current campaigns the agency is managing on national radio, national cable television, network television, podcasts and Pay Per Click. If you only do business in certain markets, then don’t be afraid to inquire as to what type of advertising that agency is buying in your target markets. A solid Direct Response Advertising Agency won’t shy away from telling you about the experiences they have had in both the media and markets you want to be a part of. In fact, they should also be asking you questions about your company, which relates to our second tip.

Tip #2: Make sure they are good listeners.

A great Direct Response Ad Agency will also be a team of great listeners. That’s because they truly need to understand your business inside and out. They need to hear about your customers, what has worked in the past, what has failed, what you need to accomplish, what needs to change and how you sell. They should have plenty of questions, seek to understand your corporate and sales goals and most importantly listen to your answers. If they start giving you rates and budgets before knowing what you need, how you sell and how you process inbound customers, then watch out. As a rule, if you start getting advertising rates, packages and promotions without feeling like this agency really understands how, where and why you do business, then beware. Pause. They should also be asking you questions regarding the problems you solve for your customers. A great Direct Response Advertising Agency is going to want to get into the minds and motivations behind your best customers.

  • What do you offer that creates desire and demand for your product or service?
  • What gives you a competitive advantage?
  • What makes you different?
  • What do you have to offer that other companies don’t?
  • Why should someone respond to your ads?

In addition, they should understand your particular selling process. When and where do you realize the best ROI? When are you staffed with your best salespeople? At what times are responses to your ads not handled or going into voicemail? They should be asking tons of questions and then actively listening and learning about your business. Calvin Coolidge said, “It takes a great man to be a good listener.” In order to be a great Direct Response Advertising Agency, they have to be amazing listeners and then be able to communicate clearly to you what they understand you are saying you need.

Tip #3: Find out how long they have been in the business.

We live in a world of start-ups. That’s fine when someone has a new technology and seeks funding from investors. But when it comes to a Direct Response Ad Agency, you want to find out how long they have been actively involved in the Direct Response space. It’s key because so much of the Direct Response world is about having the right contacts and insights as to where and how to get you the maximum amount of exposure for the least amount of money.

The media market is constantly changing. TV, Radio and Internet properties are buying each other out, consolidating, changing reps, merging and creating new offerings almost weekly. You need a team that is in the trenches week in and week out. The professional overseeing your company and campaign should be battle-worn, battle-ready and equipped with the experience to guide you to safe harbors.

Tip#4: Find an Agency that is not afraid to be honest with you.

Sometimes an idea you have has been tried; your agency should be open enough with you to say whether or not they feel it has the opportunity to work before you spend any money testing it. This relates back to Tip #3 and their experience. Business author James Altucher is quoted as saying, “Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.” You want your agency to listen to all of your needs and ideas and then help you navigate to bring the best ones to life.

This comes into play when it comes to copywriting, creative development, media planning, campaign management, refining results and even budgeting. They should tell you when you are spending too much or too little. They should warn you of pitfalls they have seen hurt past campaigns. They should communicate when the market is not favorable and deliver options to you, instead of just spending your money without concern for the end result.

Tip #5: Make sure you get along well with the key team members serving you.

The Direct Response Advertising Agency you hire should feel like an extension of your company. You should feel like you can pick up the phone, call, email or text and get an immediate response like you hired a team of marketing professionals inside your company. They should be responsive and ready to serve you. Sometimes personalities conflict. That’s ok. It’s just the world we live in. The truth is that Direct Response Media Planning and Buying is NOT easy. It’s a stressful, fast-paced, up and down roller-coaster-of-a-ride.

But you, as the client, should not feel as much of the twists and turns. That’s the agency’s job to take that stress off of you. So, if you feel like you just can’t work well with them in the beginning, then don’t hire them. There will be times that that media market will stress you both. You need open communication lines to understand each other and the challenges the market can throw at you. You should feel like you can share concerns and that you will be heard. You should really enjoy the relationship.

A good media buying agency has your best interest at heart. They should be proving it on a weekly basis with your campaign’s performance. You should really like working with them even when times get tough (e.g., most Mays and 4th quarters). No agency hits a home run every single week. However, if your communication lines are open and strong, then you will know you both are in it for the good of your company and the long-term success of your campaign.

Tip #6: Find out how your campaign performance is measured.

A solid Direct Response Advertising Agency should be able to communicate and show you how they measure the success of each campaign. From digital to broadcast to print, you should be able to watch the results of your campaigns come in, in real time. There is so much cutting-edge technology available to see how your television ads impact your Google search and call volume. Combine that with how radio, PPC and social media drives clicks, apps downloaded, calls generated and sales.

Here at DX Media Direct, we use a variety of third-party tracking software that allows clients to view their responses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s critical that all parties can see the same data at the same time. When questions come up about performance, you can point to specific dayparts, advertising outlets, creative and costs to determine what is really winning for you. Your Direct Response Ad Agency should help you understand what they are measuring, how they measure performance and what they are doing to refine the media plan week in and week out.

Knowledge is power. Measuring performance and managing the media mix is your agency’s job. However, your ability to see what is happening will give you comfort and internal data to review key performance measurements like conversion ratios by day of week, time of day, media outlet and media type. This is critical. Don’t miss it.

Tip #7: Make sure your Direct Response Advertising Agency can also help your craft your Direct Response messaging and creative.

The best media plan and execution in the world will fail if your creative is not solid or is poorly developed. In the traditional advertising world, the creative agency is usually separate from the buying agency. Many creative agencies don’t touch the media buying portion. They especially don’t want to execute a Direct Response campaign if they are not seasoned at doing it. There are a number of reasons why, but it comes down to being accountable for performance.

Your Direct Response Advertising Agency does not necessarily have to produce your creative, but they need to be able to warn you if your direct response copywriting, for example, will not perform and be able to fix it before you launch. If they feel great about the creative you’ve had produced at another agency is going to perform, all the better. But sometimes clients try making old creative work because they’ve invested money in it, and with a few changes the new agency can help increase response by 25% to 75%. You want that intel. You need that input. You will succeed more often than not if your agency can help you fix what is broken.

Direct Response Marketing vs. Branding

Direct Response Marketing vs. Branding

The Differences and Benefits of Direct Response

There are some major differences between Direct Response Marketing/Advertising and Brand Advertising. Advertising campaign types and goals are unique. Understanding the differences of each type can help guide you to the best fit for your company.

First let’s look at the definition of Direct Response Advertising and Branding or Brand Advertising. This will give us more clarity for comparison. According to Marketing Profs, Direct Response Marketing is “a type of marketing designed to generate an immediate response from consumers, where each consumer response and purchase can be measured and attributed to individual advertisements.” According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Brand Advertising is “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” These differences become more distinct and easier to understand when we look at examples of significant, widely-known Branding and Direct Response campaigns.

Top Branding campaigns include companies like Adidas, Nike, American Express, Apple, Ford, Chrysler, Macy’s, Sony, Taco Bell, T-Mobile, Target, Walmart and Walt Disney. One of the best branding advertising campaigns is for a bank: “Capital One. What’s in Your Wallet.” As a rule, these brands want you to think of them first when you are about to shop. You will most likely spend money with these advertisers at a retail location, dealership or online retailer. These advertisers have retail distribution, and their product or services are offered at these locations.

Some of the most well-known Direct Response campaigns include Geico, Progressive Insurance, Nutrisystem, Trivago, Wayfair, Vista Print, Priceline.com, Home Advisor and Proactiv. As a rule, customers will order products or services directly from the company either online or over the phone. Successful Direct Response campaigns that feature products—usually those that are easy to demonstrate, like Ready Seal—will end up on retail shelves. However, they first have to be successful in a Direct Response model to make it to retail.

There are real benefits to using Direct Response Marketing to generate sales and awareness for your product or service. Here are three key benefits you can bank on:

1). Instant Results. At the heart of every Direct Response marketing campaign is the drive to get potential customers to respond to your ads and offers immediately. With a solid Direct Response marketing plan, you will be able to see results the very first day you advertise. You will also have tracking and measurement abilities to see which media outlets are performing and which are not. There is technology available to see how many customers go to your website from each television ad that airs. You can also know exactly how many people called from your television or radio ads. With digital marketing you will be able to see how many unique visitors responded to your pay per click or social media campaign. You will also be able to measure creative performance and conversion ratios. It is in the Direct Response marketing campaign’s DNA to measure every response from every ad and deliver a cost per sale, Cost Per Customer Acquisition and ROI data. Many direct response advertisers develop a Media Effectiveness Ratio for every buy. This is communicated in a formula like 2 to 1. This means they generated $2 in sales for every $1 invested in advertising. There is never a question as to what advertising is working or what is not because you see the results immediately. That helps you limit waste and refine for success during the campaign.

2). Smaller Test Budgets. With Direct Response campaigns, you can test much smaller budgets to make sure your creative is working, your sales staff is selling, and your website is built to handle purchases. Then you can roll out from there. We worked with a well-known weight loss product that did $40 million dollars in a year in sales and ended up being carried in Big Box retail stores nationwide and sold even more. What most people don’t know is that the first campaign they did was on one radio station in a small California town with an investment of less than $3,000. The client knew it had a winner because that $3,000 investment generated $4,500 in sales. Then one successful station, turned into two successful stations, turned into 20 successful stations that turned into national radio and then national television. The beauty and genius of Direct Response advertising is that you can start small. Test your message, measure your results, refine your message and media mix and then replicate the formula you found successful. It does not cost very much to test out one or two radio stations or Facebook or even Google pay-per-click. You can start with small budget, measure your key performance metric or KPI (Key Performance Indicators) and grow. According to Forbes, branding agencies will charge $10,000 to $50,000 “there is no ceiling” just to develop a strategy. That does not even include the cost of designing a logo, much less executing a media buy and full-on branding campaign. When you have a great idea, plus an amazing product to sell but not a ton of cash, then Direct Response marketing is definitely the way to go.

3). Faster Return on Investment. Unless there is immediate negative feedback on your branding campaign (think Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad), then you don’t know for three to four months if your campaign is working. Brands look at recall, unaided recall, year-over-year sales and other data which takes time and research dollars. With Direct Response advertising, you usually know within 15 minutes after the ad ran if you made money or not. That gives Direct Response advertisers an advantage to get a faster return on investment. Most media salespeople will tell you “You need to be in for the long haul” or “You need at least 13 weeks to see if your campaign is going to work.” More than likely, this is how these salespeople were trained to sell and they don’t know otherwise or they care only about their commission check. We tell clients that you should be at 65% to 75% of your goal in the first two weeks or something is broken that needs to be addressed right then. Pause the campaign. Find out if it’s your creative strategy, media mix or sales process. But don’t throw good money after bad. That’s why Direct Response is so helpful. It takes the emotion out of your marketing decisions. You may think you’ve got the best product on the planet, and everyone from Rough and Ready, California to Slickpoo, Idaho will want one. You can find out quickly with Direct Response Marketing. You can also discover if it’s the goldmine you thought it was or if you need to keep digging. David Ogilvy said “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” You know that much faster in Direct Response advertising.

As Mark Twain put it: “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

We hope this has helped you decide what the “right kind” of advertising is for you.

How to Develop Creative Advertising that Motivates Customers to Try and Buy

How to Develop Creative Advertising that Motivates Customers to Try and Buy

How many logos, ads and marketing messages do you see each day? According to the American Marketing Association and the IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, it’s 10,000 brand messages day. That seems impossible. However, next time you step foot in a convenience store or grocery store, think about how many logos and package designs you see luring you to buy. With multi-tasking on multiple screens the number is growing every year. Creative advertising that compels your audience isn’t an option if you want to rise above the noise.

Who Has Your Attention?
Let’s make it personal: When was the last time an advertisement motivated you to click, call, shop or stop what you are doing and act on what the advertisement or advertiser asked you to do? If you think about it, you may say “not that often” or “never.” Yet according to Statista, the US will spend an estimated 218 billion dollars spent in media this year.

Why does it matter? Because no matter who you are, you have competition vying for your customer’s time, attention and dollars. You have to break through the clutter and penetrate the mind and heart of your customer to get them to do something. You may want them to click on your site, visit your store, call your office, make an appointment for an estimate or just like your Facebook page. But here’s the bottom line: if your audience doesn’t do something—even if it’s just remembering your brand over another when they decide to purchase—then your advertising and media dollars are wasted.

Level Up: Making a Difference in the Bottom Line

Businesses close every day because they lost touch with their customers and were not able to communicate their brand’s value clearly enough to get and maintain consistent customers. Brands like Payless, Radio Shack, The Limited, Nokia, Borders, Compaq, EF Hutton and more have filed for Chapter 11, closed locations or vanished. Even Wheaties is reported to be dying a slow death and may not be on cereal shelves much longer. How can we “Eat Our Wheaties” when there are no Wheaties to eat?

When awareness meets motivation you usually get movement. So, let’s look at what you CAN DO to get your customers’ attention, create desire and keep the sales cycle in motion.

Before we start, one needs to know that your product or service can deliver on what you promote. You can count on the fact that people who call Geico will get a FREE quote in 15 minutes or less to see if they can save 15% or more on car insurance. If they regularly took 30 minutes, you would be seeing memes on Facebook every other day. Your creative can get new customers to purchase and re-ignite existing satisfied customers to come back, but one bad experience can send a shockwave of bad reviews and hurt response overall. In fact, Google research reports that “46% of people say THEY WOULD NOT PURCHASE again from a brand again if they had an interruptive mobile experience.” So once your creative does its job, then your product or service and customer experience needs to pull the load.

In advertising and marketing, your creative is a starting point to all this. You have to get potential customers to your site, or to call or to visit your store. So, the message you give your customers about your brand that connects you to them is critical. You can have a good mix of media, but if your message falls flat it can hurt you quickly. It is why Pepsi pulled the Kendall Jenner campaign. The response was so negative that Esquire Magazine reported it as “almost surreal in its thoughtlessness.” You don’t want that to happen to you. So here are some ways to develop creative that moves the needle and motivates people to try and buy from you.

Step 1: Think of your target customer and what is important to them.

“Sell the problem you solve. Not the product you sell.”
Many times, companies are so focused internally with sales volume, awards and industry jargon that it’s easy to forget what’s in it for their customer. Leo Burnett said, “Don’t tell me how good you make, tell me how good it makes me when I use it.”

Bad creative is filled with words, visuals and terms that leave customers confused, in the dark and disconnected. Mary Beech, the Chief Marketing Officer of a famous fashion designer in New York, says it best, “All too often, we get so wrapped up in the message we’re trying to send that we end up with tunnel vision and forget that the best marketing isn’t about the brand; it’s about the customer.”

Great marketing is becoming customer centric in thinking, communicating and calls to action. In the past two years Google reports that “Mobile searches for “do I need”—like “how much do I need to retire?”—have grown 65%. Mobile searches for “should I”—like “what laptop should I buy?”—have grown over 65%. And searches for “can I”—like “Can I buy a seat for my dog on an airplane”—have grown over 85%!

To develop customer-centric creative and language, start with thinking and writing down the things that are most important to your customer when they buy your product or service. It may be that you save them time, save them money or make them look or feel a certain way. Or “what problem are you solving for them”? Are you helping them have more free time, looking or feeling better about themselves, their lifestyle or their future. Are you helping them potentially avoid loss or pain? When you pinpoint the problems, you solve then you can begin to craft a message that gives them the solution you provide. You may also consider the emotions they are feeling when they are in the decision-making process for purchasing. If it’s a large purchase, then you will need to build case for them being able to trust you more than your competitors. This is where reviews and testimonials become very helpful in building trust and creating comfort.

Step 2: Create a sense of urgency strategy.

People tend to procrastinate, get distracted and fail to act. Jim Rohn said it well: “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” If you want to develop creative advertising that actually gets people to respond, you need to think of ways to get your audience to respond now while you have their attention. David Ogilvy said, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” So, you want to make sure that your offer is a genuine offer and makes your customer feel like they will really be missing out if they don’t take advantage of your offer now! Furniture stores take advantage of extra time off to shop by creating holiday sales that feature buy one get one free offers, percent off and free delivery during certain sale times. Limited time offers, risk-free trials or limited supply deals (“while supplies last”) are good reasons for consumers to act. Make your offers specific and don’t be afraid to define your offer dates. Terms like these can help when you want to see response that you can measure:

  • This weekend only
  • Three days 30% off sale
  • There are not many left—only 8 at this special price
  • Free shipping for today only
  • Our best offer yet
  • Act now and save 50%
  • Don’t miss out

Step 3: Tell your customers exactly what you want them to do.

Many ads are entertaining and have beautiful visual content. Ads can be funny, unique and overall aesthetically pleasing. But you see these ads and either don’t know what you are supposed to do, why you are supposed do it, or how you need to respond.

So, give your consumer direct instructions on how you would like them to respond. You may tell them to visit your website, come to your location, call for a free estimate or sign up for a newsletter. Make it clear, make it specific and make it a response you can measure.

Step 4: Give prospective customers specific ways to connect with you where they will get the most positive experience.

We ran a radio campaign for an auto leasing company. They requested that the ads run Monday through Saturday. The only problem was that the radio spots asked people to call in and get a free quote on the type of car they wanted to lease. On Saturdays, the sales people were usually busy handling other customers and treated the radio callers fairly rudely or were short with them. First time prospective customers got a really bad experience when they responded.

We have had campaigns send customers to a website where the lead forms were never followed up on and worked with companies that let their entire sales staff off at lunch. Guess what happened to leads that called in from national ads during lunch? They got a voicemail or phones just rang.

When you are crafting your message, answer this question for yourself, “What is going to happen when someone responds? Will their experience be positive and make them want to continue a relationship with you that leads them toward a sale or conversion?” If you can answer “yes, absolutely” then that’s exactly what you want to promote.

The best example of this is how Amazon “limits friction,” making it easy for customers to buy. “Amazon maintains an obsessive focus on removing every pain point from the buying process.” They have patented one-click ordering. That’s the world your customers now live in. Convenient, fast, friendly and almost limitless options. Work your creative to deliver on the most positive experience your customer can have. Prove to them it’s worth the time they invested to respond to your advertising. Only then will your advertising build a solid foundation for your success—both now and in the future.

Creating More Effective Advertising Campaigns

Creating More Effective Advertising Campaigns

Three Steps to Measuring, Managing and Maximizing Your Advertising Performance

There is a saying in advertising that “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.”

Which is absolutely true. The power of refining your advertising campaign’s performance relies on your ability to find underperforming media outlets and renegotiate, refine or remove them. They key is making sure that you are measuring what matters, managing what you can change and maximizing the performance of each campaign, so you can fix broken elements sooner than later.

Step 1: Measure What’s Important to Your Sales Cycle

The first step to maximizing campaign performance is to decide what you will be measuring, how you will measure it and what data you need to make change. There are several key items to consider. If you start with what you know then you can build a baseline for a solid measurement strategy.

“Where do I start?” In today’s digital world it’s easy to get so granular in your data that you end up being impressed with the wrong data or giving parts of your information more weight than you should. So, start with the end in mind. Start with what makes the cash register ring.

It’s also known as your conversion ratio. Begin by answering these key questions:

  • How many opportunities do you need to create a sale? This can look different depending on how your business operates.
  • If you sell your products or service online, then install Google Analytics and look at how many unique visitors per day, week or month it takes to generate a sale.
  • If you are in retail, how many customers must visit your location for you to create a sale?
  • If you sell direct, then how many prospects must you talk to on average to create a sale?

This number is your current conversion ratio. Finding your conversion ratio is the first building block to understanding what it takes for your campaign to be successful. Once you have your conversion ratio, then you can place benchmarks on the cost or investment you can afford to make in your marketing to create opportunities.

Now that you have your conversion ratio in place, ask yourself this question: “Is there any way to improve conversions or conversion ratio before I invest more money in advertising or marketing?”

If you need some resources to look at industry standards or competitor information, you can easily find benchmark information online. For Facebook statistics, for example, check out these benchmarks. Online advertising pro Larry Kim wrote in his eye-opening article “Everything You Know About Conversion Rate Optimization is Wrong” that you may be surprised at how low your conversion ratio is compared to the top performers in your industry.

Larry Kim writes:

“If you’re already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you’re going to go? But what is a good conversion rate? Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10% — these are the landing pages with conversion rates of 11.45% or higher.

We recently analyzed thousands of AdWords accounts with a combined $3 billion in annual spend and discovered that some advertisers are converting at rates two or three times the average. Do you want to be average, or do you want your account to perform exponentially better than others in your industry? So what is a good conversion rate? About 1/4 of all accounts have less than 1% conversion rates. The median was 2.35%, but the top 25% of accounts have twice that – 5.31% – or greater. Remember, this isn’t for individual landing pages – these advertisers are accomplishing 11.45% conversion and higher across their entire account.

Clearly, this isn’t some anomaly; this is perfectly attainable. If you’re currently getting 5% conversion rates, you’re outperforming 75% of advertisers … but you still have a ton of room to grow!”

This gives you some insight into online conversion ratios.

What about offline? If you have a retail location, keep track of weekday foot traffic and weekend foot traffic. Measure the number of sales by location by day, accounting for seasonality, bad weather days or any redirection of traffic. For direct sales or if you have an in-house sales team, you can track the number of inquiries each salesperson receives and how many they convert on average into a sale.

Campaigns that we have seen achieve the most success over the years have maintained anywhere between a 6% and 16% conversion ratio. It is rare for an offline campaign to succeed long term if you are able to speak to prospective customers (either face to face or by phone) but experience a 3% or less conversion ratio. The cost per response is simply too high. If your current team can convert at 6% to 20% you have a solid foundation for moving forward with your campaign.

Ok. You’ve established your conversion ratio. You have measurement in place to know daily or weekly how many responses or opportunities it takes to create a sale. You feel good about where you are in your current sale system to maximize every opportunity.

Step 2: Refine What You Can Control

Your second step is to refine the elements of your campaign that you can control. Here is what you can control in your campaign:

  • The media mix
  • The creative
  • The frequency
  • The audience you need to reach
  • The rate you pay to reach that audience

In regard to the media mix, determine whether the media mix you are using fits the way your company sells. Your company is unique. You have a culture, a system and process for how you sell best. You want to make sure the media you use plays to these strengths. For example:

  • If you have a great system for selling online, following your customer from interest to search to checkout but don’t do a great job with inbound calls, then make sure your media mix directs your customers to your online experience. (It’s been said “People want to buy–they just don’t want to be sold.”) If you are strong online, then make sure your site is fast, easy to use, mobile friendly and your advertising cost effectively drives them to that online experience. Your media mix can support your ability to sell and improve your cost per sale. Look at the time of day and days of week you generate the most sales. Advertise then. If you are a digital powerhouse, then of course digital is going to be a great vehicle. However, you may also find that offline media like radio, TV, or outdoor also does a good job for creating that interest to interact with you online.
  • Traditional sales processes: Drive interested prospects to your best sales people. Use the power of the media to create inbound leads so your seasoned professionals can spend time doing what they do best. Are you open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm? Then consider radio as an option if your product or service does not require a visual demonstration. Radio is effective for reaching prospects close to the time of purchase. If your product is visual, then use video or television to show how effective it is.
  • Creating quality creative: In regard to your creative, make sure you are visually and audibly speaking in terms your customer understands and in simple ways the customer can easily see what’s in it for them. Have you ever watched a television spot and asked yourself “what that was about?” or seen the ad and questioned “who is this for?” Or worse, have you ever just tuned it out, clicked away or turned it off because you were immediately NOT INTERESTED. These are all signs of bad creative. Don’t fall prey to lazy writing, poor design and feature-focused ads. If you want to see how other companies execute creative, go to www.moat.com for web advertising ideas or www.ispot.tv Make note of ads that motivate you, interest you or capture your attention. Ask yourself why. What about this ad made you want to act or do what the ad was instructing you? What enticed you?

Step 3: Maximizing Campaign Performance

The third step is to make sure you are getting a good value for your advertising. This relates to how much you are paying to reach your target audience with enough frequency to take your prospect from interest to awareness to action. If the advertising campaign you are running is not producing a measurable ROI, then look hard at letting a professional media buyer help you navigate the options you have to make it more effective. There may be several other media options you have simply not discovered yet that could take a losing campaign and turn it into a winner.

Reach out to DX Media Direct if you’d like to learn more about creating more effective advertising campaigns.

Marketing to Millennials

Marketing to Millennials

One of the most important elements of marketing and advertising is understanding your audience. For millennials, there are three key factors to consider when marketing a product or writing creative.

1. Millennials have short attention spans.

Microsoft conducted a study in 2015 that revealed millennials have an attention span of 8 seconds. That falls short of 2000’s results of 12 seconds and 1 second shorter than a goldfish. This means your window is very small. But if you can manage to hook their attention, you’re halfway there.

2. Younger audiences don’t like to be interrupted.

Who does? This goes for most anyone, but Business Insider reported in a survey that 51 percent of millennials found YouTube advertisements to be the more annoying out of other groups such as Facebook (37%). The last thing people want to see when they expect entertainment is an interruption. Be sure your attempt to catch someone with your advertisement is not going to obstruct and turn them off to the idea of your product.

3. Impulsive spending is extremely common.

There is a consistent pattern with the spending habits of millennials that is vastly different from Baby Boomers. Owning and saving are out, millennials like to rent and spend. If you can advertise something that is low cost and interesting to spike an impulsive purchase you may have a higher chance for a response from the younger audience.

Millennials are the future. Learning these things and more about Millennials will be extremely beneficial to your overall marketing plan when you have a product or service that targets this growing population.