Live from DMA2010: 4 Ways to Make Copy More Measurable
Rather than trot out his own campaigns, Grant Johnson, creative director and founder of Johnson Direct, presented many third-party examples, both good and bad, of marketing—direct mail, brand advertising in magazines, email copy, etc.—that related to his topic: "Lucky 13: Proven Tips and Tricks for Making Your Copy More Measurable in All Media."
Here are 4 ways that Johnson suggested to make marketing copy more measurable for a company:
1. Copy is critical to your results
"Overall, there's a lack of understanding that copy is the primary driver of conversions," said Johnson, who instead sees an overemphasis on design in direct mail, often before copy is even conceived. "
"It's key to sell your offer or message position, not your product or service. It's the reason people will want to respond now," explained Johnson, who reminded attendees to test offers, positioning and messaging.
2. Establish credibility
Johnson warned about "too good to be true" offers. For example, if a company is offering a terrific bargain, it's important to legitimize that offer with the company's brand rather than an empty corner card, which will raise red flags among prospects.
Johnson mentioned that testimonials help raise credibility, along with citing impressive statistics and perhaps listing customers, investors and principals.
3. Test headlines
Whether you're sending out an email or direct mail piece, those subject lines or teasers must be tested, stated Johnson. He's a fan of using questions on the mail piece, for example, or even fascinations, which are a common feature of Boardroom's newsletter acquisition letters, such as "How to combat afternoon fatigue with this all-natural supplement ... see inside."
"You always need to ask: How does this headline compel continued reading?" said Johnson, speaking about getting prospects opening that email or direct mail piece.
4. Hook them with engagement
We're in an age in which prospects don't give companies much of a shot at keeping their attention. If they get to your letter, the key part of the package that can truly "sell" the company to the prospect, then that first sentence must be a doozy, said Johnson. "Does that first sentence urge them to read more? Is it short and captivating? Or is it long and boring?" he asked the audience.
Johnson has found that first sentences that boldly state a promise or a unique selling position tend to garner better response than those without either.