Posts from the ‘Marketing’ Category

The Top 8 Direct Marketing Offers of All Time

by Dean Rieck

Offers are the heart of all direct response advertising. An offer is not just a statement of your price, it’s the deal you’re making. It’s the total of what the customer gets plus what the customer has to do or pay to get it. By making an offer, you’re saying, “You do this for me, and I’ll do this for you.”  mail Pictures, Images and Photos

Naturally, the better your offer is, the better your response will be. Raising response is not your only concern, of course. For example, it may be more profitable to get a lower response from a more loyal group of buyers. Or perhaps you want orders to come in faster. Or you may need to lower your cost per sale.

In most cases, though, it’s best to start by getting your response rate high, then adjusting your offer over time to maximize your profits. Every offer you make has different characteristics. So, it pays to test.

Here are eight offers that have proven themselves over the years. They almost always raise your response rate:

  • Free Trial. This may be the best offer ever devised. A customer can try out your product free and without obligation for 10 days, 15 days, 30 days, or more. The time frame should fit the product. This offer removes risk for the prospect, overcomes inertia, and works with just about any product.
  • Money-Back Guarantee. This is perhaps the second best offer. A customer pays upfront but, if dissatisfied, can return the item for a full refund. Like the free trial, this offer removes risk but allows you to use customer inertia to your benefit since few people will take the trouble to return something.
  • Free Gift. When you offer a freebie your customer wants, your offer will usually outpull a discount offer of similar value. That’s because a gift is a more tangible benefit. This also has the advantage of not devaluing your product with a price reduction.

  • Limited Time. An offer with a time limit gets more response than an offer without one. You can display an exact date or suggest a response time frame, such as 14 days or 30 days. This forces a decision. And the faster you can force a decision, the more likely it will be in your favor.  

  • Yes/No. You ask your prospect to respond positively or negatively, usually by affixing a “yes” stamp or a “no” stamp or by checking one of two boxes. This offer is involving and usually pulls more response than an offer that does not offer a “no” option. It works because it clarifies the need for a decision right away.
  • Negative Option. This pulls better than positive option offers. You offer a free trial or a special deal on a product then automatically ship future merchandise unless the customer specifically takes an action to refuse. Just make sure this arrangement is clear. People become very unhappy when you start shipping and billing for items they didn’t know they were ordering.
  • Credit Card Payment. Nothing is easier than paying with plastic. These days, there’s no reason not to accept payment this way by phone, mail, fax, or the Internet. In fact, this has moved beyond an offer and has become an expectation.
  • Sweepstakes. This increases your order volume if you’re selling easy-to-understand impulse items. However, these customers aren’t loyal, and you may find yourself forever trapped in an endless cycle of contests.

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 http://www.DirectCreative.com.

If you are looking for a resource to design and print your business card or direct mail , please go to Salon Pro Marketing

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Building Your Salon/Day Spa’s Service Statement

David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done,” wrote, “If it’s only in your head your dead.” So how does that sentence apply to customer service?

Your salon/day spa may already have a mission statement and/or a vision statement. An enlightened owner/manager knows employees/associates need to see both the bigger picture and feel the salon/day spa heading in that direction.

You also know the challenge of keeping the troops focused on client service and uses various tools to do just that.

A service strategy statement that describes what you are ultimately accomplishing with and for clients helps your team members understand the true purpose of the work they do.

It’s a tool that when well done can:

  • Ensure your employees are working with the same idea of “what’s really important here.”
  • Give employees a snapshot summary of the salon/spa’s mission or vision.
  • Give customer contact/service providers a point of reference for their day-to-day decision-making.
  • Help people understand the rationale for salon/day spa policies so they have confidence in resolving one time or unusual situations.
  • Give people insight into your salon/day spa’s key indicators (the things that are measured).

Why would you want to create a service statement in the first place?

  • If you don’t have a clear definition of what good service means, then the odds of your salon/day spa achieving it are about 30%.
  • If you have a general definition, then the odds are about 50-50%.
  • If you have a specific definition, clearly defined in the context of both the client and the employee, and if it is well communicated, and tied into standards and indicators, your chances of achieving good service increase to about 90%.

What should a service statement look like?

  • Clear: It should be to the point, and understandable.
  • Actionable: It should communicate ways to satisfy, impress, and retain your clients.
  • Consistent: It should support the mission and vision.
  • Helpful: It should guide your employees, showing them what to do, how do it, and why. It should not make them roll their eyes and laugh silently to themselves.

How do you create one? First by including both your clients and employees in the process and by:

  • Identifying your target customer
  • Identifying your core contribution to that customer
  • Deciding what you want to be “famous” for

Like anything else, a service strategy is a tool that is meant to be used. If it simply sits in your toolbox, it will never achieve the purpose for which you designed it.

David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done,” wrote, “If it’s only in your head your dead.” So how does that sentence apply to customer service?

Your salon/day spa may already have a mission statement and/or a vision statement. An enlightened owner/manager knows employees/associates need to see both the bigger picture and feel the salon/day spa heading in that direction.

You also know the challenge of keeping the troops focused on client service and uses various tools to do just that.

A service strategy statement that describes what you are ultimately accomplishing with and for clients helps your team members understand the true purpose of the work they do.

It’s a tool that when well done can:

  • Ensure your employees are working with the same idea of “what’s really important here.”
  • Give employees a snapshot summary of the salon/spa’s mission or vision.
  • Give customer contact/service providers a point of reference for their day-to-day decision-making.
  • Help people understand the rationale for salon/day spa policies so they have confidence in resolving one time or unusual situations.
  • Give people insight into your salon/day spa’s key indicators (the things that are measured).

Why would you want to create a service statement in the first place?

  • If you don’t have a clear definition of what good service means, then the odds of your salon/day spa achieving it are about 30%.
  • If you have a general definition, then the odds are about 50-50%.
  • If you have a specific definition, clearly defined in the context of both the client and the employee, and if it is well communicated, and tied into standards and indicators, your chances of achieving good service increase to about 90%.

What should a service statement look like?

  • Clear: It should be to the point, and understandable.
  • Actionable: It should communicate ways to satisfy, impress, and retain your clients.
  • Consistent: It should support the mission and vision.
  • Helpful: It should guide your employees, showing them what to do, how do it, and why. It should not make them roll their eyes and laugh silently to themselves.

How do you create one? First by including both your clients and employees in the process and by:

  • Identifying your target customer
  • Identifying your core contribution to that customer
  • Deciding what you want to be “famous” for

Like anything else, a service strategy is a tool that is meant to be used. If it simply sits in your toolbox, it will never achieve the purpose for which you designed it.

Andrew Finkelstein, President of the Beauty Resource, is a successful New York City-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach who helps professional beauty businesses get more clients. Andrew’s E-zine The Finkelstein Report is the beauty industry’s #1 marketing resource with free articles, marketing tools, and valuable advice for salons and day spas owners. Contact Andrew at http://www.thebeautyresource.com or 212-831-2421 x202

A Short Menu of Profitable Direct Mail Formats

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 at http://www.DirectCreative.com.

If you are considering postcards, please visit  Salon Pro Marketing

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