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Creative : Multichannel Copywriting

Tactics that work across direct mail, email, Web and social media

December 2013 By Gary Hennerberg
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The principles and foundation of direct marketing copywriting are timeless. But the copywriting styles used to market the same offer across various media aren't always the same.

While the tactics differ, one principle is constant: At the moment your prospective customer is consuming your message, you need to build motivation to take action now.

Direct Mail vs. Digital Media
Direct mail is often written in a formula—a framework—with a call to action. Direct mail affords flexibility in copywriting style because a letter can be two, four or even 16 pages long (depending upon budget and the category of product being offered).

One of the classic direct mail formulas, identified generations ago, is AIDA: attention, interest, desire and action. When this formula was first envisioned, it was obviously with the notion that all four processes would unfold while the reader was reading a letter. But now, because there are so many media options, and a shortened attention span from readers, this formula can unfold over a number of touchpoints. Moreover, the medium that gets the prospect's attention and brings them into your sales funnel can be virtually any vehicle: direct mail, email, Web landing pages, social media, content marketing and more.

Some media choices are designed for long copy, others for short copy. The environment your prospective customer is in while consuming your message can reveal what your prospect's mindset is at that point in time. Our challenge as marketers is to identify the best copywriting approach for each vehicle.

Putting It Together
To illustrate differences between vehicles, let's examine how the Digital Learning Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to improving economic growth by advocating for personalized education through the use of digital learning technologies, used multiple vehicles to reach technology companies. DLA has a list of educational issues that dozens of state legislators in about 35 states are attempting to solve through legislation and funding of initiatives.

Digital learning technology companies, who have created the technology to solve these issues, often don't have access to legislators, let alone an ability to track bills in states or know of RFPs in 50 individual states.

These digital learning technology company CEOs and senior executives are difficult to reach. To get the executives' attention, multiple vehicles were used with the same core message, but in different copywriting styles.


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