Tips 65

Compel Customers to Act NOW or Go Out of Business

There's a lot involved in creating a successful marketing plan for your company, but when it comes to a direct-response TV campaign, success is determined by your effectiveness in two key factors:

  1. Converting viewers to callers
  2. Converting callers to sales

One client of ours has experienced great success in the first step – generating queries, but needed help in improving the conversion of calls to sales.  After seeing disappointing results from a direct-mail campaign, they consulted us to find out what was going wrong.

Our first sample of their work came in the mail several days later. Opening the padded white envelope revealed a video, a letter, and a brochure. The presentation of each element was very clean and had a very professional look to it. Upon further investigation, an obvious question emerged: “What do we do now?”  There was not an obvious way to actually buy the service.  No visible phone.  No visible website.  Ah…but buried inside was a business reply postcard.  And guess what?  You had to fill out your information again on the postcard!

This brings us to an important point – to drive sales, marketing must drive customers to act. A clean, professional presentation is sure to impress your customers, but it's not going to do a bit of good if your impressed customers don't take the next step towards buying.

Below are a few suggestions we had for the client, which resulted in almost 35% more orders from the original follow-up direct-mail campaign:

  • Make sure your 800 number and website address are large, easy to read, and even easier to find – these are two elements that should stand out.

  • Don't bother asking your customer to contact you for the purpose of sending them the same package they just received.

  • If you've got a post-card or a coupon, place it on the outside of the brochure, and make sure it's easy to tear out.

  • Don't bury the instructions in heavy text. If you want the customer to call you to schedule a no-obligation appointment for example, make this message stand out.

  • Don't expect every recipient to spend 10 full minutes reading through text to find out what the next step is. They won't.

  • There should be no confusion on your customer's part as to what their next step should be, even if they're just skimming over your literature.

  • Remind them early, remind them often, and make the response message impossible to miss.

  • Personalize your message. If appropriate, include the business card of someone they can contact when they're ready. Your customer would rather speak with a person than a corporation.

  • Make it easy for your customer's friends or family to help you sell. Include a refrigerator magnet that she can subtly leave on the fridge to send your message every time the husband hits the old icebox.

  • Put a yellow post-it note on the video box saying “Watch this video to learn how to receive a $100 rebate”

Lastly, and most importantly, give a compelling reason to act now .

Use valuable, but time-sensitive rebate certificates, use free premiums, offer something to act within the next 14 days; otherwise, you've just created a wonderful commercial and designed a lovely direct mail piece but failed where it counts – making money from your media.

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