Tuesday, November 26, 2013

They All Laughed When I Said I Could Write My Own Ad Copy....

But Then I Sat Down At the Word Processor and They All Kept Laughing

If you want to get a good start on writing your own direct mail pieces then I have a few recommendations that I would like to make this week.  I'm sure you'll appreciate some insight into what makes decent copy.  It really isn't rocket science, but it does require practice to get good at it. 

You can learn about how to play a good round of golf without getting to be as good as Tiger Woods.  So, at any rate, this information will probably help your sales pages convert a little better.

Of course, there will be those of you that are thinking, “My gosh, he’s going to put himself out of business telling us about a resource like this.  After all, if we learn to write ad copy for ourselves what will we need him for?”

If you know anything about good ad copyists you will know that we're a finicky bunch; we don’t work for just anyone.  The entrepreneurs we most like to deal with are people that are educated in what we do.  So, our way of thinking is that if you understand some of what it takes to be an ad copy writer, then you will actually be a much better prospect or client than the average Joe Schmoe.   

Another angle to this view is that once you actually try your hand at writing your own copy, you will see that it isn't as easy as you thought. 

I’ll never forget the first (and actually the last) time I went golfing.  It always looked so easy on T.V.
and even though I just knew it always looks easier than it actually is, I learned something very profound about the sport.  Knocking the crap outta the ball down the fairway was easy and fun.  Getting that stupid ball to do what you want it to on the green was another story.

So, go ahead, give it a try.  Take a course, read a few books and break out the word processor. Writing ad copy is cheap to try and you will probably learn a few things about the craft.  

The first person that I heard about writing ad copy for direct mail pieces was a guy named Dan Kennedy.   (Of course, this was when I first became a student of marketing.)  Dan has a great starter book that has been on the market for at least two decades called “The Ultimate Sales Letter. “ 

Dan Kennedy is a master marketer who has the distinction of being called “The millionaire maker” because he has helped a lot of entrepreneurs become millionaires in their businesses.  He has a huge following of successful entrepreneurs that he even calls it Planet Dan from time to time.

At least, that’s the buzz.

Dan Kennedy's Awesome Book
If you listen Monsieur Kennedy’s advice for very long, you will hear him talk about the importance of this type off writing – which is the ability to sell using your own words on paper and it is the reason why he decided to write the book, of course.

The book is laid out in plain, easy to understand language that will take you step by step through the process of writing advertising copy.  Not only does it give you excellent instruction, but it also gives you great illustrated examples of brilliant copy in a variety of situations. 

Anyway, “The Ultimate Sales Letter “is an outstanding resource and it will definitely get your feet wet in learning how to write your first sales letter, web site, video sales script or any other use you can find for this type of writing. 

It doesn't cost much and you can get it used from Amazon.com HERE ---> The Ultimate Sales Letter.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

In the Gutter, Down and Dirty Tactics to Get Your Direct Mail Pieces Noticed

Next to the Valley View Ferry
Richmond, Kentucky

I got a call yesterday from a company that started something like this: “This is your second and last notice about a credit card that we will make to you….”  Now, that caught my attention big time because for a second, I thought I hadn't paid a bill or something like that. 

However, the message went on: “…to get an outstanding interest rate on our new offer, please stay on the line for this important message…..”  Also, a week ago, I got a letter in the mail that had a window on the envelope and it had my name on it, except the paper inside the window looked exactly like it was a check.  I eagerly opened it up, salivating over the idea that I would be able to take my wife out to dinner only to find that it was an advertisement and not a meal ticket.

My students at school would say that I was “dominated” and “owned”.

Even though this type of marketing and direct mail assaults are killer and sure to get me to open the mail, it is a two edged sword.  On one hand. I could just shrug it off and think, no big deal, on the other, I could definitely get mad about being deceived. 

Actually, I got mad about the call rather than the mail, because the call interrupted something important.
However, despite my reaction to both of them, the direct mail piece actually accomplished more than the call did.   The call was a one-step introduction whereas the direct mail piece required me to do at least two things, look at the envelope and then open it.

 (You can easily see which was harder to do.)

Anyway, I wound up opening up the envelope hastily, and of course, it was an advertisement.  However, no matter how disappointed I was, I started thinking, “What if they did this marketing right?”  I mean, what if they put some information of real value in there about their product or if they offered me something like a free trial or even an irresistible offer that I’d have to be crazy to pass up?

I’m here to tell you that it can be done the right way, and it has been done over and over again.  You can use these types of tactics just to get the mail opened, much like the direct mail ideas that I have told you about like three dimensional objects or the Doodleopes I wrote about previously.
Picture 1

The deceptive envelope trick isn't new but it is very effective and used by some of the best marketers on the planet. (see picture 1)

However, as I said before, if you use this tactic, you better make darned sure that you have something of value to say or offer them, otherwise this tactic could backfire and you could suffer a bad reputation. 
I would only use this tactic on first time prospects because chances are you won’t be remembered, unlike if you are sending out an offer to someone who already knows, likes and has been already doing business with you.

Picture 2

Anyway, you can get these types of direct mail pieces from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.  They have all sorts of great direct mail envelopes that you can order to help you get your foot in the door with potential clients or customers.  (See picture 2)  This company has all sorts of great envelopes covering almost every type of deception or occasion.  Check them out at the link above.

Friday, November 8, 2013

There’s a Chicken Foot Inside My Mail!!!!

Mark Ellis
Next to the Valley View Ferry
Richmond, Kentucky

How would you like to craft a direct mail piece that you knew for sure would get opened without a shadow of a doubt?   Not only would your prospect open the envelope, but they would read the cleverly crafted sales letter that you provided for them without question.  Would that interest you?  Would it, Bunky?   

   Well, this is where you can get creative with your direct mail pieces and actually get prospective clients to look at your stuff. (I am of course assuming that you have a specific target market, and that you know that your clients are hungry for what you have to offer them.  You don’t want to try selling shot guns to blind people or Dick Cheney.  Ha!)

 Creative Direct Mail Ideas   Anyway, in my last incredible blog post entitled “If You Don't Read This I'm Gonna Croak!!!” I talked about moving heaven and earth to get people to open your envelopes and some of the basic things you can do to move things along and get people to absolutely open your mail.  Today, I want to make you aware of a few more things that you can do to get people to really open your envelopes and read your incredibly researched, tested and retested message that you know will make them want to grab their credit cards, cell phones, or check book and buy whatever it is you are offering.  At least, that is the theory.  

   If you are old enough like me, you will remember back in the olden days, the wonderful snack, Cracker Jack had a dimension to their snacks that made kids go gaga.  As a matter of fact, many cereal companies picked up on the idea and before legal and economic reasons started to interfere, putting prizes into these packages was a big hit.  Anytime someone says “Free” you can bet there will be an immediate attraction to the item or event.  I can’t tell you the number of times my wife wanted to drive clear across town because she saw an ad in a newspaper that Joe’s Warehouse promised the first 100 people that came into their doors a free $5 gift card. (We probably forked over $4.99 in gas just to get there.)

OK, so let’s say that you have sent out your direct mail pieces and your prospect gets a regular, legal sized envelope and you have it addressed and prepared the direct mail piece just as we told you to in our last direct mail marketing blog post.  But, this time when your prospect gets the sales letter in the mail, the envelope feels like there is something inside of it!!!

   If you were your prospect, would you want to know what was inside of there???   So, placing an item like a magnetic calendar, a pen with your business name, address and phone number, or any three dimensional object, would get someone to open your mail.

Now, you may be thinking, yeah, but that is gonna hike up the cost of my direct mail pieces!  Yep, it sure will, but considering the usual cost of a direct mail campaign, the time or money it takes to craft the sales letter, the price of your list or acquiring it and all of the other expenses, YOU WANT TO MAKE DOUBLE DARNED SURE IT GETS AT LEAST LOOKED AT, RATHER THAN THROWN AWAY!!!!!

   So, consider the slim increase versus what you could easily lose, which is the attention of your prospect.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

If You Don't Read This I'm Gonna Croak!!!

Next to the Valley View Ferry
Richmond, Kentucky

What would you do if you sent someone an envelope in  the mail, and you would die if they didn't open it?  Would you just send the letter in a plain envelope?  Would you disguise it as a piece of junk mail?  Would that be a good idea?

I think a good idea would be to disguise the envelope in such a way, that people would be so curious about what was inside that they would go crazy if they didn't open it!  That is the challenge that business people face everyday when they create direct mail letters.

What usually happens when you send an advertisement in the mail is that a person gets the mail out of the mail box, glances at the envelopes, and then starts chucking the envelopes that look like junk mail and advertisements right into the trash.  This happens a lot when you are selling to or courting a company that your company is trying to do business with. People in business get tons of junk mail, so it is imperative that an enterprise like yours gets the other guy to open your envelope and start reading about your opportunity or product.

How can you do this?  Well, you just have to get creative. The most important thing that you can do is to make sure that you use handwriting on all aspects of the envelope, including the return address.  If you make it look very personal, whoever you are prospecting with your letter will think it is personal correspondence and more than likely open it.  (Once it is opened, you will need to keep their interest in the letter you sent them, but more on that subject in another post.)

Another way is to use some outrageous advertising techniques. Here is an envelope from  a company called "Doodleopes" As you can see in the picture, Doodleopes have unique designs on them that makes the envelopes look like they were "doodled" on with a blue pen.

These envelopes are designed so that they look like someone scribbled all over the envelope and is designed to pic the receiver's curiosity so much, that they will definitely want to open them.   This way you don't have to draw on the envelopes yourself and they will definitely get opened.

There are tons of other techniques like this that you can try at your business and you can see more of them right here tomorrow!

-Mark "Elmo" Ellis