Six Secrets to Copy That Sells
All the “insider” tips in the world mean little if the copy fails to engage your potential customer
In past blogs, I’ve discussed the value of direct mail campaigns in the modern digital world. Indeed, I’ll sing its praises from the rooftops because I know that it works.
But only when it’s done right.
To that end, I encourage my clients to secure the absolute best mailing lists for their target audience. And I always emphasize the importance of A/B testing. Plus, I advise them on the importance of compelling design and other facets of great direct response campaigns.
But all the “insider” tips in the world mean little if the copy fails to engage your potential customer.
Want to ensure your next direct response campaign hits it out of the park?
Take a look at my six tips for successful direct response copy.01.
Identify your audience
This is an essential first step for any direct mail endeavor and those who skip it are doomed to failure. Good copywriting is like a thoughtful conversation with the reader. And it’s hard to have a conversation if you don’t know who you’re talking to, right?
So, I encourage you to put on your researcher cap and nail down your customer profile. Knowing your potential customer’s age, gender, income and location will guarantee your messaging is relevant. Plus, it will influence the tone and style of the copywriting.
Grab the reader with can’t-ignore headings
We live in a world of skimmers. In fact, marketing experts say that five times more consumers read the headlines than the actual copy.
That means that your headings and subheads better be compelling if you want the piece to perform well. In general, I advise brevity; get to the point! Eight or fewer words are preferable.
Plus, it’s best to state the benefits first because that’s what readers are most concerned with.
The heartbeat of a direct mail campaign starts with a strong headline. It draws the reader in … and eliminates any thought of ignoring the piece. They say you have five seconds or less to grab the direct mail reader. Stellar headlines (and subheads!) are key.
Keep paragraphs short and sweet
Long paragraphs have their place in old classic novels, NOT direct mail pieces.
Much like headlines, direct mail paragraphs should be succinct and to the point; no longer then 2-3 sentences. Dense blocks of copy are overwhelming; and the general rule is that white space should comprise almost half of your piece.
Keep your messaging impactful by making sure every sentence in your paragraph supports the main point.
Beef up the benefits
My clients are often thrilled about their product’s many newfangled bells and whistles. So, it’s no wonder they want to focus on all those details.
But I caution against that. The reason? Customers are concerned about one thing: what’s in it for them. They want to know how your product/service will solve their problem and improve their life. Let me explain.
My first job writing direct response copy was for a national publisher who sold books through the mail. After a few months at the company, my boss called me into his office to go over some of the copy I wrote.
“Donna, you seem to think we sell books here,” Vin told me. Well, of course we did. That’s what publishing companies do, right?
We don’t sell books. We sell ways to help our readers save time, same money, and make their life easier.”
Once you’ve sold a prospect on what your product can do for them, the details help tip the scales on decision-making. When developing persuasive direct mail copy, put yourself in the reader’s shoes and ask: “what’s in it for me?”
Make them an offer that’s too good to refuse
Whatever your business, chances are there are plenty of other competitors. That means your offer has to stand out. Make it so valuable, your prospect is unlikely to turn it down. Words like “free” and “exclusive” are common go-to’s, but don’t forget to create a sense of urgency with your offer.
I also advise clients to offer a sense of security to the prospects by including language such as “risk-free” and “money-back-guarantee.”
Create a clear call to action
Once the customer is bowled over by the offer, a clear call to action must follow. This phrase is designed to tell your customers what they need to do next; such as a call, go online or visit a store.
It should be very clear what they need to do to claim your offer, which moves them through the sales funnel. Your CTA should be precise and easy to understand.
My final advice
Copy and design that sells focuses on what your target market wants, and how you can help them get it. Keep your copy simple, yet compelling. Clearly state what’s in it for them, make them an offer they can’t refuse, and provide a call-to-action that makes it easy for them to take the next step. These are the keys to a great direct response campaign!
In a future blog, I’ll discuss why split testing is also crucial for email campaigns (hello, subject lines!) landing pages, and more. Stay tuned…
With over 25 years’ experience as a nutritional supplement copywriter, I know the devil is in the details. When you hire Doyle Direct, you’re getting a team of expert alternative health copywriters, graphic designers, and marketers who can deliver a direct mail campaign that sells. Interested? Drop me a line at Donna@CopyByDoyle.com, and I’ll explain how we can help.