Message & Media: Positive Anticipation
Do you anticipate receiving birthday cards, leaving on vacation or heading out the door on Friday afternoon? Of course you do.
Anticipation is a wonderful emotion. It literally has us looking forward, not backward, focusing on the possibility of good things to come.
Creating anticipation is the job of all direct response writers and designers, whether they're creating messages for traditional print or digital media. Here's why this emotion is so important: Anticipation leads to customer engagement and engagement leads to response—clicks, calls, visits and mail-in responses.
What are you doing to build customer anticipation? Here are 13 tips to try.
• Create that special feeling. Use words and phrases like "exclusive," "by invitation only" and "limited edition" to make your reader feel extra-special. Or enclose a certificate of nomination or membership card. All create anticipation by suggesting your recipient is about to have a unique experience unavailable to the general public.
• Intrigue. Transform your outer envelope teaser with an intriguing command, such as Do Not Bend or Do Not Destroy Without Opening. Or make a statement that arouses curiosity, such as Untouched by Human Hands. Your reader sees these words and wonders, "What does this mean? What's going on here? I need to find out." The anticipation builds and the envelope gets opened. Apply the same technique to your e-mail subject lines.
• Something for nothing. Everyone loves freebies. So use a headline, teaser or button copy that offers a free sample, free trial or free demo. For example, consider this e-mail subject line I received from Snapfish when I recently returned to its website when a long absence: Glad you're back—get 20 FREE 4" x 6" prints with your next upload.
• Lumpiness. Admit it; when a hefty envelope announces Free Return Address Labels Inside or Free Gifts Enclosed, it's difficult to toss it without opening. And once you've got them inside, you're on your way to generating response. Freemiums and other lumpy enticements work.