Message & Media: Positive Anticipation
• Pre-announcements. Tests show tag-teaming multichannel messages significantly increases response, as much as 30 percent to 40 percent. See for yourself by testing a pre-announcement e-mail that leaves your customers or members watching their traditional mail for your catalog or solo package.
• Looking for resolution. When you do an Internet search and land on a website, what are you anticipating? Nine times out of 10, you're looking for the answer to a question or solution to a problem. In other words, you are anticipating resolution. The same applies to visitors to your own website. Make the first few seconds count by quickly giving them what they're look for or pointing them in the right direction.
• The name says it all. Which would you rather receive, a fundraising mailing or a Donor Kit? A subscription mailing or a New Subscriber Kit? A lawn service sales letter or a Free Lawn Analysis Kit? The word "kit" is magical. It increases perceived value and openability even when all the components in the mailing remain the same.
• Sell 'em with a series. My last tip is to use a series of messages to build anticipation and pent-up demand. Here's an example. Every week, I drive through the Flint Hills of Kansas. Just outside Lehigh, there's a sign at a farm that changes daily. The copy is always short—just two words. Early in the season it changes from Just Planted to Now Sprouting, then Not Yet. After that, it shifts to one of these: None Today, Ready Now, Darn Rabbits or Bumper Crop. I've only stopped once to buy this farmer's sweet corn. Just as I did, they changed the sign. It read, Sold Out.
For more ideas about how to generate response by tapping emotional triggers, I suggest looking at Denny Hatch's latest book, "The Secrets of Emotional, Hot-Button Copywriting." It's filled with great observations and examples.