Saturday, December 30, 2006

Week 19 - Who Goes There?

OK so you are doing direct response but you need an offer. Before you decide how you are going to describe this offer, you have to be crystal clear on whom you are talking to:

1) You must know who your prospects are and where they are
2) You must know what they want, need or desire

You can find this information by asking your customers or by measuring and testing your various marketing initiatives. Don’t skip the step or you’ll be communicating with the wrong audience. Crafting the words which you use to describe your product or offer is similar to crafting your headline. You must promise the reader benefits and ask them to act. Broadly speaking, the body of your advertisement should:

1. Reinforce your headline in your opening remarks
2. Specifically state your offer
3. Develop and support your offer, offer reasons why the prospect should believe you and take action. Tell the reader why you are offering the special price, bulk rate etc.
4. Most importantly, tell the prospect how to act.

The words you use to elaborate in these areas are up to you. Run small tests to see what is working and what is not. Never assume that you have found the perfect combination of words or that your wording could not get any better. Keep refining the ad, especially if your response rates start to decline. Most importantly, try not to use the “technical language” which is thrown around in your industry. Remember that the offer should be directed towards your readers in words they can understand. And finally, don’t use the ad to tell them how great your business is.

P.S. – Speaking of headlines, here are my four golden rules for making them as effective as possible:

1. Pick out only the people you can interest. Focus your headline on the intended recipient only, for example: “Calling all nurses who find car parking difficult in the city!” versus “Great deal on parking near to the hospital/city.”

2. People don’t read ads for amusement. Offer some valuable information and a reason to read on.

3. Be specific. Don’t try to be funny or witty – state the offer or the reason to read on (example, “Rid your house of termites today and stop them returning forever – guaranteed” versus “The Bug Stops Here”).

4. An oldy but a goody - promise the reader a benefit! (Example “Do you want to stop hair loss and restart growth within 90 days – guaranteed?” versus “Is your hair falling out?”)

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