John Caples, the great direct-marketing copywriter, always stressed the importance of writing effective headlines. He put it this way:
In part one of this article, published in our April issue, we discussed how the Obama for America campaign became so powerful online, raising half a billion dollars total in small donations. It's true that a political campaign has unique elements that make it ripe for online marketing, such as constant media attention, big name recognition, high emotions and a quick deadline to meet, yet there are many best practices that fundraisers can take away from the Obama campaign.
Major marketers targeting small and medium businesses (SMBs) are relying less on traditional marketing tactics because of the economic downturn. Although SMBs say they prefer to receive product and service information though traditional tactics, marketers are relying more heavily on social networking and online resource centers.
Several years ago, I agreed to interview for the job of creative director with a major New York direct marketing agency. I didn't want the job for a variety of reasons, but my friend and mentor, Jerry Reitman, asked me to go through with the interview. So I flew into New York for lunch with the president of the company. He began his conversations with a provocative question: "What's your philosophy about direct marketing?"
There's no question that the Obama for America campaign set a new standard in online fundraising. Of its $750 million raised, half a billion came in online. Let me say that again. Half a billion dollars came in online; that's 6.5 million small donations, with an $80 average gift, from 3 million donors. Those numbers are staggering. So how did Obama for America do it?
You have a first-class product that's proved itself on the market for 18 months. You've run some solid direct mail campaigns around, it and they've helped you capture 40 percent market share. Should you stand pat and send the same lead generation effort out again?
Let's assume you've got to write a lead-generation letter or e-mail that must convince prospects to download a whitepaper from your website. How do you go about it?
Renewal series add regular cash to your coffers and build loyal, long-term relationships. Yet many publishers ignore them or consider them an afterthought, lavishing money and creative capital on new acquisition packages instead. They leave easy money on the table, since it costs less to renew a subscriber than acquire one.
In the preface of his recent book "Prove It Before You Promote It" (Wiley & Sons), Steve Cuno says that cutting marketing because sales are down is like reducing insulin when a patient's diabetes has gotten worse. But while marketing's role shouldn't be diminished, Cuno illustrates how it can be far better played.
When prospects are still thinking about turkey dinners on Thanksgiving, direct mailers are one step ahead-dropping packages in November and December to stoke holiday activity. In the nonprofit sector, many packages arrive around holiday time, weighed down with freemiums such as gift wrap, gift bags, gift tags, calendars, address labels and stickers, among other items to help prospects with gift giving and ringing in the new year