The goal of a direct response campaign—no matter what channel—is to sell the product/service or next step in the response process. But it’s important not to oversell prospects. People get enough solicitations thrown their way that simply ignoring the bulk of them becomes second nature.
That’s why it’s as important as ever to strike the proper balance between being an overeager salesman and being a trusted source. This balancing act is no walk in park. “Trying to balance that [product and promotion in the copy] continues to be important because it’s so easy to just want to go one way all the way or the other. Either I’m just going to push the product and sacrifice a little response and have a great back end, or you can go all promotional and kind of sacrifice your pay-up or some of the back end,” says Heidi Vincent, director of direct mail for the National Geographic Society’s book division.
One sure way to reach a stronger approach is to provide copywriters with as much information as possible to become comfortable with the product. In National Geographic’s case, this is how it’s had the most success. “My experience with copywriters has been if they’re not comfortable or don’t have a good understanding of the product, they tend to overcompensate by being overly promotional. If they have enough information, they can balance the two,” says Vincent.