Message & Media: Delivery Confirmation

Tips on selecting the right direct response media for your direct marketing campaigns

Full disclosure: I am a writer and creative strategist, not a media maven. I love words. Even more, I love stringing words together in ways that encourage people to respond with a quantifiable click, phone call, mail-in response, or visit to a Web site or retail store.

In my world as a writer, media planning and buying have always been someone else’s job. And still are.

However, like so many of you reading this, I have become fascinated by the multitude of media choices now available to target and deliver the messages you and I write. And there are more new media options headed our way.

This means that in today’s media-rich world with readers strapped for time and bombarded with marketing communications, wordsmithing alone probably won’t get our messages opened and read. We’ve got to understand how to deliver the message at the right time and in the right place.

What follows are media-related tips for delivering maximum impact from a direct marketing writer.

• Don’t be overwhelmed by choices. Remember what’s worked in the past, and test those new options that make strategic sense for reaching your audience and meeting your business objectives.

• Apply common sense and basic direct marketing principles. Measure and evaluate results, including initial response, closure rates, average order size (dollars and units), abandon/cancellation rates, lifetime value, etc. Remember, direct marketers track and measure to the individual level of response.

• Cheaper on the front end isn’t necessarily more cost-effective on the back end. Track, measure and compare results.

• Not all media is direct response media … but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. Like public relations and special events, social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are marketing tools with the power to influence buying decisions. Use them accordingly.

• Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. For example, a client recently called with a letter writing assignment. After successfully testing an e-mail cross-sell offer to customers, he wanted to make the same offer in a letter to his remaining customer database. The rationale? Even with a successful 15 percent to 20 percent e-mail open rate, he still wasn’t reaching 80 percent to 85 percent of his highly qualified buyers. A matchback of direct mail respondents showed they hadn’t opened the e-mail. Common sense dictated using both e-mail and postal mail to maximize results.

Pat Friesen is a direct response copywriter, content developer, copy coach and creative strategist. She is also the author of "The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook," published by Direct Marketing IQ. Reach her at (913) 341-1211.

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