2006-04-01

 

B-to-B Insights Powerful Prose

By Russell Kern 13 proven strategies to create high-performing copy. Whether you're using online or offline media channels to drive your direct marketing, copy significantly impacts your results. Direct is about getting prospects to read your message and respond right now. While you strive to build and support your brand using high-impact formats and images, you also must deliver copy that touches the heart and head of your prospects. Here's a checklist of 13 essential points to help you create high-performance copy. Be specific. Words are the writer's paintbrush. Your words should paint a picture that is


B-to-B Insights Powerful Prose, Part 2

By Russell Kern In my B-to-B Insights column in the April issue of Target Marketing, I presented a baker's dozen of copywriting tips that can be leveraged to create response-generating direct marketing campaigns. But I was just getting warmed up, so here are six more prose pointers you could apply to your creative efforts for stronger results. 1. Make your headlines and subheads so compelling, readers will want to act now. People don't read direct mail, or even e-mail, in a linear fashion. Their eyes jump around, looking for information that helps them understand the value and benefit of investing more time in


Content Gets Less Royal

Content, content, content. That's the hot topic these days. As consumers warm to media that allow them to control the flow of information directed at them, it leaves a marketer with the conclusion that the only way to get back its audience's attention is to be the content rather than the advertising surrounding the content. As this embedded advertising movement takes root, the danger is that content becomes less the king everyone proclaims it to be and can wind up more like advertising disguised as information. In talking to David Berkowitz, director of strategic planning at search/performance marketing firm 360i, it hit me


Create Synergy

E-mail is a wonderful way to reach out to customers and prospects and engage them. But e-mail becomes an even more powerful tool when you find ways to integrate it with all your marketing efforts. The customer is king, and she holds the keys to the kingdom—the power to do business with you, or not. She will communicate with you and order from you through her channel of choice, which may change from moment to moment. She also expects a seamless experience. That means the look and feel of your e-mails, your Web site, your direct mail and your print ads should have some commonality.


E-MAIL

Unlike other channels—such as direct mail, where delivery is at the mercy of the USPS, or search engine marketing, where your message only renders when someone enters the right keywords—e-mail offers the advantage of being able to control precisely when an effort is delivered. But, as Peter Parker taught us, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And smart marketers understand that when it comes to e-mail response, timing can be everything. About a year and a half ago, e-mail consultancies Return Path and eROI both came out with studies that identified Monday as the best day of the week for e-mail deliverability. And as


FAST FACT

Search engine marketing continues to drive growth in online advertising, reveals research firm Outsell in its recent report, “Annual Ad Spending Study: Where and Why Advertisers Are Moving Online.” The report projects search engine ad spend will grow by 26 percent in 2006, while the total ad spend for online marketing will grow at a rate of 19 percent. While SEM often grabs the spotlight, companies are spending 33 percent of their online budget on site optimization, which is double the amount spent on search engines (16.2 percent). Outsell attributes this to better natural search results from site optimization, which, in turn, fuels growth


Going Mobile
A 5-Minute Interview with Jim Cannella, Nati

Los Angeles-based entertainment company House of Blues Entertainment (HOB) prides itself on being ahead of the curve, both in its mission—to celebrate diversity of cultures and music—and as an enterprise. Home to live music of all genres, the first House of Blues opened its doors in Cambridge, Mass., in 1992 and now has venues throughout the United States and Canada. One of the first companies to make music available for download, its latest technological leap forward is the mobile marketing initiative it launched a year ago—partnering with wireless and broadband communications provider Motorola and more recently mobile marketing service company Soapbox Mobile. After


List Prospecting? Try the Internet!

By David O. Schwartz Here's something you already know: The Internet is an incredibly powerful direct marketing medium. Here's something you probably know: Today's most sophisticated direct marketers are successfully integrating traditional and online mediums. And here's something you may not know: The Internet can help you to be more effective in traditional list prospecting. "What's that?" you ask. Yes, the Internet can lift your postal mail response and reduce your costs! Clearly, the Internet is a powerful, new business medium. For some direct marketers, retailers and e-tailers, it stands apart from the traditional marketing fanfare and serves as a company's sole marketing


Lost Opportunity

Banks mystify me. They should be great one-to-one direct marketers, but they’re just not! It’s not only the stilted letter copy printed in mouse type, “my eyes glaze over” offers or the stock photo brochures with more legal disclaimers than actual selling copy. It’s the staggering mismanagement of information. Better yet, complete ignorance of information that, with minimal effort, could make them lots of money. When we were getting ready to move from New York City to Hollywood, Fla., banks were the first companies notified. My assistant Kate sent about 50 letters to banks, credit card companies, insurance companies and brokerages, and I figured I’d get


Powerful Prose

Whether you’re using online or offline media channels to drive your direct marketing, copy significantly impacts your results. Direct is about getting prospects to read your message and respond right now. While you strive to build and support your brand using high-impact formats and images, you also must deliver copy that touches the heart and head of your prospects. Here’s a checklist of 13 essential points to help you create high-performance copy. Be specific. Words are the writer’s paintbrush. Your words should paint a picture that is vivid in detail. Instead of “How many times are you going to fix your accounting software


Special Report - Search Engine Marketing

When companies talk at search conferences about Web site improvements they implemented based on analysis of search users' behavior, they typically throw around increased sales numbers in the millions. These case studies likely represent some of the best results possible, but experts note that solid revenue is at stake for all companies willing to drill down into their online analytics to uncover conversion opportunities. This report takes a look at the impact of online analytics on paid and organic search, but with a stronger focus on paid. The reason? As Lisa Wehr, founder and CEO of search engine marketing (SEM) firm Oneupweb, puts


Taking Risks, Increasing Response

By Linda Formichelli Assurity Direct gets creative with mail and models to energize its prospecting. Assurity Life Insurance Co. is a study in innovation, change and risk-taking—from its history to its direct mail program. Innovation: In 1890, Dr. E. O. Faulkner created Modern Woodmen Accident Association because he saw a need to make accident coverage available to working people—not just the wealthy. This Lincoln, Neb., company continued to expand and add products over the next century. Change: In 1954, three Woodmen companies were merged to create Woodmen Accident and Life Co., and in 1997, the Assurity Life Insurance Co. was formed as a