Archive for March, 2010

Shiva Hair Care Featured in Star Magazine

Star BEAUTY Fab Flat irons Here are some tools for landing supersleek dos!

Hot Tip from Star Magazine

To create perfectly smooth , straight locks always comb or brush through each section of hair before flat ironing.  This will eliminate unwanted crinkles. And don’t forget generoulsy mist main with heat protectant prior to ironing.

Check out the Shiva Flat Iron Pro GO Green !!

What Does Your Business Card Say About You?

Hopefully you already have a business card, but if you don’t you should definitely create one. Business cards are something that we take for granted when we shouldn’t. The look, feel, and message on a card help people determine how they view you and more importantly, if they will even remember you.businesscard

When you leave a conversation and the other party has your business card, your identity is that piece of paper. Because of this representation, your business card should not only state who you work for, your contact information, and what you do, but it should also state something about you. Not in a written sense, but more so on the overall image it creates about you.

For example if I were to hand you my business card you would probably get the feeling that I am a warm and friendly person due to the following reasons:

  • The card is thick, yet feels soft.
  • Corners of the card are rounded
  • The card color is green
  • The typography is a bit rounded

The main reason I had the card created with these qualities is because when I hand it to people, I wanted it to communicate a warm and caring feeling. This is important to me because I actually do care about others and I want to make sure people remember this and stay in touch.

If you don’t have a business card and are looking to create one, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Color – we usually take colors for granted, but there are meanings behind them.
  • Paper – the quality of your card says something about you. The last thing you want to use is cheap paper or a material like metal which doesn’t allow others to write on your card.
  • Uniqueness – if your business card doesn’t stand out in a pile filled with other cards then the chances are people won’t remember you by looking at your business card. You need to make your card unique somehow.
  • Typography – fonts have a voice, so choose one that best represents who you are and make sure to choose one that is easy to read.
  • Feel – touch is an important sense that we all have and your business card should appeal to that sense. If you want to represent that you are a soft and gentle person, make sure your card is soft and has rounded corners. If you want to represent that you are a corporate person who is very structured and ridged, you probably should have a hard business card with sharp corners.

Before you hand your business card to someone else, you need to make sure your card has the information it should but also truly says something about you. This will help them remember you and at the very least stay in touch once in awhile.

This information was contributed by Quick Sprout

For all your postcard and business card creative and business needs, please visit Salon Pro Marketing

99 Quick Tips for Upgrading Your Direct Mail Package

by Dean Rieck body_06

Whether you’re creating a new direct mail campaign or updating an old one, you have an infinite variety of choices for improving response. Based on decades of testing, here are 99 of the easiest and most effective. Consider this a smorgasbord of savvy possibilities and inspirations:

  1. Make an irresistible offer.
  2. Give away something free to boost response.
  3. Prefer a free gift over a discount.
  4. Increase the perceived value of your offer.
  5. Reduce the perceived risk in accepting your offer.
  6. Offer attractive payment options.
  7. Use a time limit to increase urgency.
  8. Test a two-step offer for high-priced goods.
  9. Test a yes/no offer to clarify the buying decision.
  10. Test a yes/maybe offer to lower perceived commitment.
  11. Dramatize your offer with stamps or stickers.
  12. Make your offer tangible with a check or coupon.
  13. Create your envelope to get noticed and get opened.
  14. Use teaser copy to tease, not tell.
  15. Consider using a plain envelope.
  16. Try an official-looking envelope.
  17. Use a low-key envelope for business prospects.
  18. Use your sales letter to sell and your brochure to tell.
  19. Make your letter look like a letter.
  20. Grab attention in your letter with a short first sentence.
  21. Express one central idea in your letter.
  22. Write your letter in a friendly, personal tone.
  23. Call for action early and often in your letter text.
  24. Have a high-authority person sign your letter.
  25. Personalize your letter if possible.
  26. Use a P.S. to cite a benefit, deadline, or extra detail.
  27. Use your brochure to add credibility.
  28. Use brochure tables, charts, diagrams, and visuals to support your claims.
  29. Design your brochure for easy reading.
  30. Use clear benefit heads and subheads in your brochure.
  31. Include all features and specifics in your brochure text.
  32. Include complete ordering information in your brochure.
  33. Test your package with no brochure.
  34. Use a stand-alone order form.
  35. Restate your offer on the order form.
  36. Include an acceptance statement.
  37. Make your order form easy to fill out and return.
  38. Highlight the deadline.
  39. Make your order form look valuable.
  40. Refer to the order form as something more valuable.
  41. Consider extra order forms for passalongs.
  42. Order something from yourself to discover how to make ordering easier.
  43. Offer a fax response option for businesses.
  44. Use your order form to highlight last-minute specials.
  45. Preprint your customer’s name and address to simplify ordering.
  46. Restate your guarantee on the order form.
  47. Offer a toll-free number for faster orders.
  48. Avoid a two-sided order form.
  49. Use the back of your order form for support information only.
  50. Give clear, simple ordering directions.
  51. Include a BRE if you ask for confidential information.
  52. Pay the postage on reply cards.
  53. Feature compelling testimonials.
  54. Edit testimonials carefully and honestly.
  55. Prefer many short quotes over a few long quotes.
  56. Group testimonials to increase impact.
  57. Use names, titles, and locations to increase testimonial credibility.
  58. Turn a good testimonial into a lift letter.
  59. Use a testimonial as a headline or benefit statement.
  60. Show people using your product or service.
  61. Give case histories of your best customers.
  62. Display a seal of approval or rating.
  63. Cite favorable reviews.
  64. Cite media coverage.
  65. Back up your offer with a strong guarantee.
  66. State your guarantee in the strongest possible terms.
  67. Keep your guarantee conditions to a minimum.
  68. Make your guarantee a prominent package element.
  69. Replace your conditional guarantee with an unconditional guarantee.
  70. Strengthen your guarantee with a signature.
  71. Extend your guarantee for as long as possible.
  72. Make your guarantee look official.
  73. Avoid asterisks and legal-looking tiny type.
  74. Reinforce your guarantee with a merchandise return label.
  75. Encourage involvement with a quiz or checklist.
  76. Emphasize exclusivity with a membership card.
  77. Add fun with a rub-off or hidden message.
  78. Answer objections or highlight a benefit with a lift letter.
  79. Increase credibility with a testimonial insert.
  80. Answer questions or objections with a Q&A insert.
  81. Prove your product superiority with a sample.
  82. Share supporting information with an article reprint.
  83. Deliver a quick pitch with an ad reprint.
  84. Announce last-minute news with a buckslip.
  85. Offer a premium on a buckslip.
  86. Draw attention with a yellow sticky note.
  87. Include company name, address, and phone number on every piece.
  88. Establish a solid control before testing elements.
  89. Test one element at a time.
  90. Run statistically valid tests.
  91. Retest anything that shows a significant change.
  92. Track results meticulously.
  93. Train your people on the importance of tracking.
  94. Analyze your results in writing.
  95. Use your test results to determine creative strategy.
  96. Keep using your control until you beat it.
  97. Test.
  98. Test.
  99. Test some more.

Copyright © 2003 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.

________________________________________________________________

Dean Rieck is a top-ranked freelance direct mail and direct marketing copywriter. He has been called “the best direct response strategist and copywriter” in America. Dean offers complete copywriting and design services for direct mail, B2B, print, sales lead generation, sales letters, e-mail and online marketing, and radio advertising. For more tips on improving your direct response advertising results, subscribe to Dean’s free direct marketing newsletter at www.DirectCreative.com.

For your postcard design and printing needs, please visit Salon Pro Marketing

Shiva Introduces the Ultrasonic Hot Razor

The new Ultrasonic Hot Razor is the most significant advancement in razor cutting to date and is without a doubt a must have tool that will revolutionize razor cutting as we know it! The heated blade combined with ultrasonic vibration produce a clean and easy cut through wet or dry hair and a sealing of the cuticle that avoids split ends and frizziness.

Create amazing new looks with unbelievable texture. Effortless cutting gives you enhanced control and precision.

Your choice of 3 different cutting options:

  • Heated Vibrating Blade
  • Vibrate Only and Regular Cut.
  • The tool itself is lightweight and incredibly easy and fun
  • Comes with a DC adaptor
  • Ultra-thin cord.

Experience for yourself the revolutionary new tool that is shaking the foundations of the razor cutting world!

Suggested Retail Price:

$34.95

About SHIVA: Nature’s Purest Ingredients- Shiva is dedicated to manufacturing environmentally conscious – premium quality hair care products that deliver superior performance.   Each and every bottle of Shiva hair care begins with our carefully selected organically grown botanical ingredients and is bottled in recyclable single layer packaging. Our commitment to Green earth friendly technologies, eco-friendly ingredients, love for animals (never animal tested) and passion for innovative hair care is what makes Shiva the leader in responsible hair care.

For additional information visit www.shivalab.com or call 800.622.1330

A Short Menu of Profitable Direct Mail Formats


By Dean Rieck

One of the beauties of direct mail is that it allows you to send people just about anything you can print. Your creative options are virtually endless. And while the standard envelope package is usually considered the most effective, there are plenty of other formats you can test.

Often an alternate format will increase response. But even if your response ends up being lower, many formats let you deliver your message at a reduced cost while maintaining enough response to offset the difference and give you more net profit. Here are a few format ideas:

* Reduce costs with a self-mailer. It offers low cost and a quick read, good for quickly recognized content. It also helps speed response because it’s not as in-depth as a full package and looks more urgent and newsy. To make a self-mailer work at peak efficiency, combine elements of a standard direct mail package and a print ad. Include a strong headline in bold type, copy in easy-to-read sections, strong visuals, clear offer, reply card, toll-free number, message or mini-letter printed near the recipient’s address, feature list, testimonials, guarantee, and other elements as needed.

* Signal exclusivity with an invitation. To make an offer special, you can issue an invitation in the appropriate format, usually a smaller envelope and letter on high-quality paper. This works best for offers targeted to high-income prospects, professionals, and executive level positions; for events such as conferences, meetings, and presentations; or for offers that need a quality feel.

* Add urgency with a telegram. This is a good idea that is, unfortunately, wildly overused. It can be little more than an envelope design, such as “Urgent Gram,” “Speed Gram,” or some variation. Or it might be an envelope and letter combo resembling an actual telegram printed on yellow paper with tractor-feed holes down the sides of the letter. One way to make this format work is to create your own urgent-looking envelope for fulfillment materials. This allows the envelope to get noticed and assures that the contents will be relevant and interesting instead of boilerplate.

* Create an official look with a snap-pack. This format is often used for official notices or statements, so it gives your ad message the same feel. And because the recipient has to rip open the edge of the envelope and pull out the contents, it creates involvement. It’s good for generating inquiries or for organizations with recognizable and trusted names. It has been used with particular success in the nonprofit sector to deliver what appears to be an urgent, cheap appeal for funds.

* Generate quick leads with a postcard. Direct sales are possible with postcards but only for simple offers, such as magazine subscriptions. They are much better for building traffic for local retail or for generating inquiries for familiar services, such as real estate or carpet cleaning. However, because response is so easy, lead quality is often low. But it’s worth testing. Just remember to telegraph your message with a clear benefit headline, strong and tangible offer, a picture of what you’re offering, lean copy, and a bold call to action.

* Use dimensional mailings cautiously. Boxes, bags, tubes, folders, and other unusual formats are great for getting attention. But while there are plenty of examples of successful campaigns, these formats are usually misused, wasting money on a novel format when a standard format could deliver a more powerful message and net a greater response or profit. Most of the dimensional mailings I have seen are simply a way for ad agencies to jack up their fee and cover up the fact that they don’t have anything to say about a product or service.

* When in doubt, use an envelope package. The classic direct mail package consists of an outer envelope (usually #10, 6″x9″, or 9″x12″), a letter, brochure, reply card or order form, maybe one or more inserts, and a reply envelope. The reason this format is a standard is that it has been developed, tested, and perfected over many years. And it works. Test other formats but don’t be different just to be different.

* Test formats head-to-head. The important point in format testing is to keep the offer, copy, graphics, and all creative elements as similar as possible so that you are testing the format itself and not a new creative treatment. And always test a new format in a head-to-head mailing with the old format. Never make a change until you have proven results.

Copyright © 2003 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.

Dean Rieck is a top-ranked freelance direct mail and direct marketing copywriter. He has been called “the best direct response strategist and copywriter” in America. Dean offers complete copywriting and design services for direct mail, B2B, print, sales lead generation, sales letters, e-mail and online marketing, and radio advertising. For more tips on improving your direct response advertising results, subscribe to Dean’s free direct marketing newsletter.

If you are looking for a great resource for postacrd design and printing please visit Salon Pro Marketing

Let Direct Mail Invite New Customers or Revive Old Ones!

“Why do you cook with the oven door cracked open?”

It seemed like a logical thing to ask, but my wife gave me one of those “that’s a stupid question” looks, as if I was wondering why she breathes or shops. “Because that’s the way I’ve always done it, that’s why.”

Not that it mattered, but I was curious. And hungry. It was Thanksgiving, she had been cooking all day, the oven was billowing heat like mad, and it was taking forever for that bird to cook! She patiently informed me that her mother cooked with the oven door ajar. That’s the way she learned.

“But why?” I persisted.

“Well,” she admitted, “I really don’t know. My mother was a good cook, and that’s the way she did it.”

When the relatives came over later, I asked about it and someone said, “Oh, that? Her mother had this tiny little oven. Her pans didn’t fit, and the door wouldn’t close. Took all day to cook a turkey.”

Even though my wife’s oven was big enough, the open door cooking technique was passed down mother to daughter, though the reason for it was forgotten.

Now don’t laugh.

You may be doing the same thing in your direct mail. Because we’re such a rule-happy industry, and we pass down our wisdom from one generation to the next, we’re especially prone to follow the leader without thinking things through ourselves. This often leads to ideas and traditions that are just as meaningless or counterproductive as cooking your turkey with the oven open.

So here are seven persistent myths that could be causing you to “undercook” your direct mail:

Myth #1 — Your goal is to sell to as many people as possible.

People talk about response rates as if the object is to achieve the highest percentage possible. It’s not. Your goal is to maximize profits. The response numbers are tools for analysis and comparison. They are not a goal. It’s relatively easy to pump up a response rate if all you want is a higher number. Just give away something free. But if your net profit drops, what’s the point?

If you try to sell to 100% of your list, you will actually reduce response because your message will be diluted in its attempt to be all-inclusive. The most productive mailings talk boldly and directly to the ideal buyer. If that’s just 1% of your list, then forget about the other 99%. Sell to the people who want to buy what you’re selling. The rest are irrelevant.

As an exercise, try to reverse your thinking about selling to buyers. Consider what you should do to eliminate non-buyers — those who are not interested, don’t have the money, aren’t ready to make a decision, or will not make a good long-term customer.

Myth #2 — You can force action with clever techniques.

Don’t get too enamored of your own communication prowess. You can’t make people do anything they don’t want to do. You can’t force a sale. All you can do is get the right offer into the right hands at the right time and use the techniques in your creative tool box to make the transaction as attractive and easy as possible.

Trying to force a sale can lead you to dry, overused techniques. Instead, try to make a genuine effort to be helpful and relevant. For example, if you’re a bank wanting to increase deposits, don’t just send out a sales letter that barks, “Open your new account today!” Offer a free booklet that educates your customers about how to use your services, perhaps with a title like “How to earn more interest with your money.”

And remember to remove the barriers to buying. People want to buy things. However, if there’s a good reason not to part with their money, they won’t, no matter how persuasive you are.

The fastest way to succeed is to remove the physical, emotional, and financial reasons not to buy before you tinker with creative elements. Don’t just club them in the head with verbiage; make it real and tangible. The introduction of the 800 number, for example, did more for selling success than any flowery 8-page letter because it was a tangible way to make response free, easy, and fast.

Myth #3 — You must turn all features into benefits.

Don’t be too hasty. There are some market segments that thrive on features. It’s part of the “enthusiast” mentality, where dwelling on the objects of affection is the whole point of the experience.

Dedicated wood workers bask in details about carbide-tipped saw blades and chisel sharpening angles. Serious mutual fund investors wallow in verbiage about modern portfolio theory and decile rankings. Avid car buffs revel in talk about horsepower and torque.

This doesn’t mean you forget about benefits. There’s an old saying: People don’t want drills; they want holes. Okay, but for the enthusiast, while you want to talk about the beautifully straight holes, you don’t want to forget about the drill. For many people, the features are a big part of the benefits.

Myth #4 — General advertising techniques don’t work in direct marketing.

Don’t you believe it. Many of the most prominent direct marketers came up through the ranks selling books, magazines, and informational products to readers and a core audience of direct mail responsive buyers. There was no need for a carefully crafted image or for more subtle psychological techniques.

But today, almost every industry is using direct mail at one time or another. Imagine an investment firm sending you a mailer with screaming headlines, big red stickers, and promises of retiring rich. I’m not going to invest with a company like that. Are you? I might be frivolous about subscribing to Trout Fishing Today, but not about buying stocks and bonds. That’s serious business, and I want to deal with a company that looks serious.

Or let’s say you’re generating inquiries for an assisted living facility. Your copy goes on at length about your attention to detail and the happy, carefree atmosphere. But the brochure looks cheap, and the photos are snapshots full of frowning old folks sitting in shadowy rooms. A schlocky look makes people think you’re a schlocky operation.

Image is important. To ignore it is arrogant and shortsighted. It’s true that image doesn’t sell. Only words can do that. But people give a higher belief rating to what they see than to what they read. So the image must match or exceed expectations. Otherwise, the words will be ignored.

Myth #5 — The best way to succeed is to imitate others.

A very dangerous myth indeed. It rests on the “Efficient Marketing” theory. That’s the idea that all mailers are smart, careful testers. And if a mailing works, they’ll keep mailing it until it stops working. If it doesn’t work, they’ll stop mailing it.

Nice theory. But it’s not reliable. Direct marketers are no more smart or careful than anyone else in business. Many don’t run well-constructed, thorough tests. Some don’t test much at all. People often replace successful mailings for no other reason than they’re bored with them. And many businesses that don’t rely on direct marketing for the bulk of their income routinely keep unsuccessful mailings in the mail stream because it makes little difference to the bottom line.

The dictum “copy smart” is recited again and again. And it’s certainly good to see what competitors are doing and borrow whatever you think might be successful. But don’t rely on that tactic 100%. Every product, service, business, list, and offer is different.

Myth #6 — All direct marketing rules are tested and trustworthy.

This is a corollary to Myth #5. And it’s utter hogwash. We often act like our carefully crafted rules are handed down to us from on high, carved in stone tablets. But many are nothing more than personal preference or ideas based on narrow experience.

One guru I know professes that “fear” is the only appeal you need. The simplicity is appealing. And his background is in insurance and financial services, so his preference for the fear appeal is understandable. It’s just not appropriate for every mailing.

Another guru preaches that all envelopes should be plain. However, his experience is limited to selling lists for business mailings. I don’t know that he’s ever created a single direct mail package, let alone one for consumers. People do get teaser-happy when creating envelopes, but sometimes a good teaser is exactly what you need.

Remember, people make the rules. And you have to carefully consider who those people are and what their experience is. Plus, as I mentioned in Myth #5, people seldom test as carefully as you might think. So you can’t regard any rule as more than a rule of thumb. Many “proven” test results are merely exaggerated or misinterpreted anecdotal evidence.

Myth #7 — Great creative begins with a “concept.”

This is a carryover from the world of general advertising, where business has to be pitched and exorbitant fees have to be justified. The tool of choice for all this pitching and justification? The creative concept.

Early in my practice, I worked with a major agency that locked me in a room with a designer at the start of every project so we could brainstorm concepts before worrying about details, such as why people might want to buy the product. Without exception, every one of those mailings bit the dust because of so much concern for abstract concepts and too little concern for tangible benefits.

I have nothing against general advertising. I think the ongoing debate about whether direct or general advertising is better is just silly. Is a hammer “better” than a shovel? Well, it depends on whether you want to pound nails or dig holes, doesn’t it?

In the world of general or mass market advertising, your job is to create awareness and establish brand preferences for purchases later on. A memorable, well-thought-out concept can indeed help. But direct marketing is about selling directly to customers, not later but now. Perhaps you need a “big idea,” an overall sense of what you need to do to make a sale. But you don’t need a “creative” concept.

There are plenty more myths, of course. I could write a hundred articles. The idea, though, is that you have to consider everything you read, hear, and see with at least a little skepticism. You have to question tradition.

In the end, there’s no substitute for thinking for yourself.

By the way, after a few heated arguments (no pun intended), my wife tried cooking with the oven door closed. She’s reduced her turkey time by several hours. And the bird tastes better, too. Now if I can just figure out why she cuts sandwiches diagonally and puts peanut butter in the refrigerator.

Copyright (c) Dean Rieck. All rights reserved. Dean has been called “…the best direct response strategist and copywriter” in America. For more marketing tips, and to sign up for a free newsletter, visit Dean’s Direct Marketing Learning Center. <http://www.directcreative.com/learning-center.html>

Need a direct a postcard designed and printed ? Salon Pro Marketing handles full color printing of business cards and a whole lot more. We help you set up an effective direct mail marketing plan and we are unique in that we truly care about your results and helping you grow your business.

Funny or Die’s Presidential Reunion