Message & Media: How Many Ways Can You Say It?
The seminar topic was "Management Problems of the Technical Person in a Leadership Role." The audience was engineers and other technical specialists who were moving from technical to supervisory jobs. Here was the challenge: This group of people historically was not interested in managing people nor attending seminars on the topic. They had not responded well to my client's prior mailings.
My assignment was to write a four-page self-mailer, the control direct mail format this company used across all topics and audiences. I wrote it and when it worked, I was asked to write an 8-page self-mailer—same topic, same audience. The only thing that changed was the additional four pages to fill. When the eight-pager significantly outperformed the four-page control, I was asked to write a 16-page self-mailer … still the same subject, same targeted audience. Sixteen pages … that was four times the amount of copy I had written for the initial self-mailer.
The test strategy was to see if technical people accustomed to reading long reports, lengthy research studies and detailed listings of specifications would respond better to longer copy. And it worked.
In the process of writing the 4-, 8- and 16-page mailers selling the same one-day seminar, I learned some tricks for finding different ways to present the same information to fill 16 pages.
Here are some of the techniques I use regularly in writing copy:
- Bulleted benefit copy
- Numbered lists of benefits
- Attendee reviews
- Comprehensive seminar agenda
- Program overview
- List of seminar locations
- Who should attend (new managers and supervisors to specific: architects, repair technicians, physicists, chemists, accountants, lab directors, etc.)
- List of companies that had sent people to the seminar
- Instructor bios relating their experience to the topic
- Executive summary
The charts and graphs made a quick connection with scanners who were more comfortable with graphics than words. The quizzes provided an opportunity to tap my readers' competitive nature. Attendee reviews and the company list provided the credibility only peers can provide. And the bulleted and numbered lists of benefits presented the same information in different bite-size pieces, presented in easy-to-scan lists. If I were given the same assignment today, I'd add a QR Code that links to a video landing page.