Rieck's Response Letter from Direct Creative at www.DirectCreative.com
October 2007
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Rieck's Response Letter is a publication of Direct Creative

Contact: Dean Rieck
Phone: 614-882-8823
E-mail: Dean@DirectCreative.com

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Quote of the Month

"Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic." -Dave Barry


AWAI Teleconference draws copywriters from around the world!
I was recently named Copywriting Genius of the Month by American Writers & Artists. I was also invited to share my expertise during a worldwide teleconference recently. Despite the fact that I lost my voice and croaked through much of the interview, the overall response was outstanding. We had copywriters attending from around the world, including Canada, Australia, Afghanistan, England, and all parts of the U.S.

Direct Creative Web site gets a tune-up.
It looks about the same, but my site has had some work done "under the hood" to make it easier to read and easier to expand. Consultants are always the last to follow their own advice, and these fixes have been a long time coming. An easier to read font, more line spacing, simpler code, and other changes will make it more pleasant for visitors. And I plan to add a LOT more content in the months ahead. You'll already see more articles and resources in the Direct Marketing Learning Center. If you have any comments or suggestions, let me know.

Welcome to new subscribers!
Subscriptions have nearly doubled for Rieck's Response Letter in the past month. And I'd just like to welcome everyone aboard.

A note about the FREE Report: If you're a new subscriber, you probably downloaded your free report, 99 Easy Ways to Boost Your Direct Mail Response. But I don't want my older subscribers to feel slighted. If you want the report, please e-mail me and I'll send it to you.

Response Booster

Try a free trial offer.

This may be the best offer ever devised. You simply allow customers to try your product or service free and without obligation for 10 days, 15 days, 30 days, or more. The time frame should fit the product. A free trial is often combined with a negative option so that the purchase becomes automatic at the end of the trial period unless the customer cancels the order.

It's a little more work and a bit riskier for you, since it can mean more returns. But by removing all risk, you're betting that your sales will be higher in the long run. It's a good bet.

Quick Tips

Are you using a deadline?
This is such a powerful technique, it's odd that so many don't use it. I have to convince some of my clients to try it. If you can't bring yourself to commit to a specific date, use a faux deadline, such as "Reply within the next 14 days."

Plain envelopes work!
More and more, I'm seeing how envelopes without a single word of teaser copy can outperform an envelope with teaser copy. Why? Two reasons. First, it's hard to write a good teaser. Any flaw in the message will prevent someone from opening the envelope. Second, a plain envelope creates curiosity. Once you get someone to open it, all the other pieces inside start to work, which gives you better odds for delivering the right message. It's worth a test.

Don't forget customer service.
I discussed this with a fellow columnist from DM News recently. The state of customer service today is appalling. No matter how much people love your products, if you treat them poorly when they need help, they'll hold a grudge forever. And they'll tell everyone they know. Direct marketing is no longer about quick hits. You have to think long term.

The USPS has a great Web site. Finally.
The USPS used to have a terrible site. (See just how bad with the Wayback Machine.) But over the years, they've come around nicely. The current USPS Web site is far more user-friendly and has a ton of information for mailers. You can access pretty much everything they have, including the entire Direct Mail Manual online. Check it out.

Tell people "why" to make more sales.
A researcher asked to cut in line at a photocopy machine. For some people he just asked to cut in without a reason. For others, he gave a reason such as, "I'm in a hurry." Without fail, when he gave a reason, he got significantly more "yes" responses. The lesson? Always give a reason for your offer. "Why are we making you this offer? Because ..."


How to Generate Sales Leads

Generating leads is a smart way to support your sales staff and make their efforts more efficient. A good lead generation program can lower your sales costs and raise your sales revenue.

Here are the basics of making lead generation work for your company:

  • Offer something free. This is the key to any successful lead generation program. Whether you use direct mail, print ads, radio, television, or other media, you must offer something free to get prospects to raise their hands and say, "I'm interested in this." You can offer just about anything — free booklet, free gift, free survey, free sample, free catalog, free inspection, free consultation, or anything else that's related to your product or service.
  • Help your prospect solve a problem. Forget positioning pieces and other pomp and circumstance. Give your offer value. For someone having tax problems, offering a "free tax reduction kit" is more appealing and relevant than "a free brochure about the XYZ Accounting Firm." Try to solve particular problems.
  • Stay focused on getting the lead. Don't get carried away with the creative aspects of designing a mail piece or ad. Keep your message as simple and lean as possible. The idea is to peak your prospect's interest in the free thing you are offering and get a request for it. Don't talk about your company, then tack on an offer. Focus the whole message on the free thing you are offering.
  • Gather the information you need to make a sale. The only reason for offering something free is to get a name, address, phone number, and other information to build your database. So make sure your reply device asks for the necessary data. Be careful if you ask for e-mail response, though, because the prospect may not give you everything you need. And if you want to direct a prospect to your Web site, create a special URL that will ask for contact information first, otherwise your prospect will wander around your site and leave without providing the data you want.
  • Follow up fast. Hot leads cool off quickly. When you get an inquiry, send the freebie immediately. Then get the lead into the hands of your sales force pronto.

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Dean Rieck is an internationally respected copywriter, designer, and consultant who has created direct mail and ads for more than 200 clients.

Phone: 614-882-8823
E-mail: Dean@DirectCreative.com
Web: www.DirectCreative.com

Copyright 2007 Dean Rieck. All Rights Reserved.