Message & Media : Head of the Class
Answers to 8 frequently asked questions about direct marketingMay 2012 By Pat Friesen
As a workshop leader and teacher of compulsory English composition to college freshmen at 7:30 in the morning, I've learned that for every question people ask, many questions go unasked. And unanswered. And not having these answers can affect success, especially in the world of direct marketing.
So, if you've ever wondered how long your copy/content should be, whether or not you should tap social media, or what kind of response rates to expect, keep reading.
1. How long should a letter, email or subject line be? (The person asking this question usually adds, "I never read long copy.")
Answer: No matter which type of media is delivering your message, the content needs to be as long as it needs to be to generate action from your targeted audience. That said, here are some guidelines:
- Lead generation copy is typically shorter than one-step sales or fulfillment kit copy;
- Email content with the job of generating clickthroughs to a website is generally shorter than the page(s) it links to;
- Effective email subject lines can vary in length. When in doubt, test.
2. I'm new to direct marketing. What response rate should I expect?
Answer: It depends. Response rates are affected by many variables, including media selection, list segmentation, timing, offers, copy and creative.
While companies with a response-rate history can project response rates fairly accurately, new tests are more difficult to project. If you have no history of doing direct marketing (tracking, measuring and analyzing results), you have no basis for making a projection other than industry standards or results generated by others. But neither is necessarily meaningful nor reliable for your situation.
For example, life insurance marketers with high value customers and high renewal rates can live with lower initial response rates, sometimes under 1 percent.
But this may not work for your business model. Track, measure and build a response history to help you make future projections.
3. Does an offer have to be free shipping or a free gift to be successful?
Answer: Offers are actually much more than just freebies that you throw into your marketing campaign. An offer is a package of elements. It's everything you're willing to give your readers in exchange for their response. Your offer is what pushes a fence-sitter off of the fence, adds value to your buying proposition and addresses buyer objections.