Copywriting

Creative Corner: Technology Is Great
December 1, 2004

... until it eliminates the human factor. This past year, Mason & Geller relocated to Florida. Why’d we come? Well, we have clients down here, and I’m closer to my 93-year-old mom. We also cut our office overhead by about 70 percent. Then there’s the weather, the beaches and the laid-back lifestyle. Except for hurricanes, it’s been great. We all miss New York, but we’d be crazy to go back. Why didn’t we make this move years ago? Simple. We didn’t have the low-cost technology—or the low-cost air travel—that lets us work in an out-of-the-way marina in Hollywood, Fla. Now, with clients all

Hook Them With Your Copy
November 1, 2004

If you can get people to spend more time reading your direct mail, you’re likely to generate more response One of the most eye-opening things I’ve learned during my 25-year career of writing direct mail copy is that people don’t read every word I write—even those who truly are interested in what I’m selling. And they certainly don’t read it from start to finish. Instead, most people scan copy, looking for reasons either to keep reading … or toss it. Even those who ultimately respond spend less than three or four minutes reading the copy it took you (or your writer) days or weeks

Catalog and Direct SellingL Create in 3-D
November 1, 2004

Techniques to help your products come alive on the printed page Selling a product through the mail is a true art form when it’s executed correctly. While it’s true that many direct marketers successfully sell products with minimal representation of the product, consider how much more response might be garnered if a product were to come alive on the printed page. Direct marketers have to compete against their retail sisters in an unfair playing field, since retail allows customers to pick up, touch, feel, try on or even sample products. You can create products that are three-dimensional in nature using the right creative techniques.

Direct Marketer of the Year: Beth O’Rorke, COO and Vice President, The Economist
October 1, 2004

Playing by the old rules—and winning big. In 1981, Beth O’Rorke had been out of work for three months after spending a year as circulation manager for a start-up magazine called Prime Time, which had run out of money. Robert Cohn of the PDC circulation modeling consultancy steered O’Rorke to The Economist, a British magazine that needed someone to take charge of its direct mail, which she could do in her sleep. On her way to the interview with circulation director Peter Kennedy, O’Rorke bought a copy of the publication at a 42nd Street newsstand and blinked in disbelief. Here was a skinny little

Creative Corner: I’m a New Mover
October 1, 2004

So where are the direct mail campaigns? Greetings from Florida. I moved here permanently in the middle of June to be close to my mother. Now, instead of commuting from New York to Miami, I commute from Miami to New York. My staff, Michael, Dwain and Pepper, is down here with me, and the rest of our merry crew works out of our office in New Haven, Conn. Our new office is on the second floor of the lovely and brand-new Harbormaster’s office in a marina in Hollywood, which is about halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach. I like the view: water, yachts

Customer-Friendly Order Forms
October 1, 2004

24 tips to make your order forms work hard so your customers don’t have to Direct marketing guru Bob Stone once observed that order forms are the “moment of truth.” While your letter, brochure and other inserts spur people to action, the physical act of response comes down to filling out and returning the order form. The job of an order form is not to persuade but to make response easy and quick: It’s a facilitator meant to keep the action going and not get in the way. Here are some ideas to consider implementing to make your order forms work harder, so

Outsource Solutions: Creative Services
October 1, 2004

Hiring a Creative Consultant Whether you’re trying to jump-start a drained creative team, identify areas of opportunity in your direct mail program or simply tighten your billing cycle, a creative consultant can offer the outside expertise and perspective to help you achieve your goals. But where hiring a freelance copywriter or designer to create a new package is fairly straightforward, working with a consultant can be more tricky. To ensure a productive working relationship, it’s good practice to define your expectations up front, establish clear-cut goals and detail it all in a contract so there are fewer questions. Plan for Success For a consultant

Insert Media Buying Guide: Insert Copy and Design Tips
September 1, 2004

Like candy bars and gum in the supermarket checkout line, inserts work on impulse. The viewer needs to immediately comprehend the offer and product or service to make the decision to respond. While it’s true that larger insert pieces provide marketers with more creative options, the overall objectives of commanding attention and delivering a clear proposition remain the same for any type of insert, says Myron Gould, a direct marketing consultant and professor at New York University and Fashion Institute of Technology. Here are some pointers for writing and designing your insert to achieve the maximum effect. The Headline is Key To draw

Prep Work
July 1, 2004

Strong direct mail copy starts with detailed market and product research The first preparation for writing direct mail copy that gets results is to pack in at least 30 years of life experience and, somewhere along the line, do some selling … if it isn’t too late to suggest that. It also will help if you diversify your life experience as much as possible. For example, even if you’re pushing 40, you should not ignore MTV, Fox and VH-1 TV channels. At the other end of the spectrum, America is getting older. And older folks, historically, have been great direct response customers. The overall

E-commerce Link: E-mail by Design
July 1, 2004

Make your message look like a winner Effective e-mail design is important to the success of your program. A consistent template will resonate with your customers, help them easily move through your message and provide them with a customized experience. But designs can become stale. Just as you continue to redesign, enhance and improve your Web site, you should revisit your e-mail template. If your program has been in place for more than 18 months, or if your click-through and open rates are declining, it may be time for a new look. The Basics Your design template should prominently feature your logo; this