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About Direct Creative

About Projects and Fees

About Dean Rieck

About Direct Marketing

What is Direct Creative? When you need copy or consultation, it's me because I write every word and advise you personally. When you need design or other creative services, it's me plus some very capable partners. Think of Direct Creative as your on-call creative department for direct response advertising. You get more direct response expertise than most ad agencies plus the flexibility and simplicity of a project-by-project, freelance relationship. Back to Top

What services do you offer? Copywriting, graphic design, and consultation are the primary services. However, you can call me for a wide variety of services related to direct response advertising, including creative critiques, lead generation, radio ad production, and more. Back to Top

Is direct mail one of your specialties? Yes. Direct mail represents a significant portion of what I do because it's one of the best ways to target responsive buyers, generate leads, and raise funds. I've created hundreds of successful mailings for large and small businesses in a wide variety of industries. My wide experience gives me the objectivity that is vital to solve problems quickly and meet goals creatively. Back to Top

Do you handle print ads? Absolutely. Though space has become more expensive, it's still a great way to sell if you have the right products and a smart media buyer. From a creative standpoint, the key to response is benefit-driven copy and design that encourages reading. Back to Top

What experience do you have with e-marketing? Web sites, e-mail letters, SEO, e-newsletters, kiosks or landing pages, you name it. And with my direct response expertise, I can help you set up a smart, efficient testing program to find what works best. Back to Top

What about DRTV and radio? Yes. I started out in radio and TV, so I have unique, practical experience to bring to your broadcast ads. I can write both TV and radio scripts and can produce complete, ready-to-air radio ads for a very reasonable cost. Back to Top

Do you handle brochures and other sales materials? Sure do. These "behind the scenes" workhorses may not seem too sexy, but they're often where the real action is. Product sheets, brochures, sales aids, trade show materials, videos, newsletters, whatever you need. Back to Top

How far ahead do I need to schedule projects? The more lead time, the better. Regular clients often have me booked months in advance. Rush work is often possible, depending on the size and nature of the project. But be advised that a rush charge may apply if special, last-minute scheduling is needed. Back to Top

What is your typical turnaround time? The average is as little as 2 weeks for copy, 4 weeks for copy and design once I begin working on it. It could be more or less, depending on my schedule and the complexity of the project. Getting on my schedule far in advance is the key to meeting your schedule. Back to Top

How much do you charge? That depends on the project. Tell me what you need done and I'll provide recommendations and an estimate on the total fee before doing any work. I try to operate on a flat fee basis, so unless you make a significant change, the estimate is what you'll pay. My rule is, if you don't surprise me with extra revisions or add-ons, I won't surprise you with a higher invoice. Back to Top

What are your business terms? First-time clients sign a contract and pay 50% upfront with the balance due within 30 days of completion. Established clients are generally billed at the end of the project with the entire fee due within 30 days. Back to Top

Are revisions included? Yes. The first draft of copy and design is usually solid, but two rounds of minor changes are always included to get things perfect. Back to Top

Do you do spec work? No. There's too much demand to justify working for free. Don't even ask. Back to Top

How do we begin? Call 614-882-8823. We'll discuss your goals and schedule. Simple as that. Back to Top

Who are you? I'm a copywriter, designer, direct marketing consultant and president of Direct Creative, a direct marketing creative firm based in Westerville, a thriving suburb of Columbus, the capital city of Ohio. I've made sales, generated leads, and raised funds for over 200 businesses in the U.S., England, and Canada. Back to Top

What is your background? I've learned everything I know from practical, hands-on experience in a variety of media and industries. I've been a sales rep, fundraiser, copywriter, television producer, and advertising consultant. Eventually I got the bright idea to start my own business and use my expertise for selling and communicating to help other businesses improve response to their direct marketing efforts. Back to Top

What clients have you worked with? American Express, Bank One, Bayer, BellSouth, Beltone, Compton's, CompuServe, Discover Magazine, Fortune Magazine, HFC/Beneficial, Indianapolis Colts, Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune, National Science Foundation, NCR, The New York Times, Public Broadcasting System, Rodale, Ross Products, Southern Bell, Sprint, USA Today — over 200 clients to date. Back to Top

Have you written any books? Yes, but unfortunately none have my name on the spine. I've written, edited, and contributed to a total of 22 books, all anonymously, including Professional Selling and Marketing in a Global Economy. I also wrote the Direct Insights column for Direct Marketing Magazine and the Creative Checklist in DM News for nine years. My articles and advice have also appeared in dozens of other publications around the world. Back to Top

Do you accept speaking engagements? Occasionally. I've been a featured speaker at The Direct Marketing Academy, the Fisher College of Business, The Columbus Writer's Conference, CompuServe's PR & Marketing Forum, the McDonough Business Leadership Symposium, the Fawcette Center for Tomorrow, and other venues. DM clubs are always begging me to speak, but I have to put my paying clients first. Back to Top

What kind of response can I expect? There is no such thing as an "average" response rate. Response varies with every product, market, medium, and offer. Some businesses thrive on a fraction of a percent. Some businesses can't turn a profit unless they're pulling double digits. Only testing will reveal what is most profitable for you. Back to Top

What's the key to improving response? Three things. Testing, testing, and testing. But you have to test smart. Too many marketers just throw things against the wall to see what sticks. But a careful testing plan will test the right things in the right way and will enable you to learn something significant from each and every test. If you don't learn anything, you have to start from scratch with every marketing effort. And that's a waste of money. Back to Top

What are the most common direct marketing mistakes? Not testing properly is the most common mistake. But a close second is not spending enough time with offers. All things being equal, the offer you make will have more impact on response than any other creative element of your promotion. There are more than 100 basic offers and infinite combinations and variations. Back to Top

Which is more important, making sales or branding? If you don't have sales, you'll go out of business and won't have a brand. So, ultimately, making sales is more important. But there's no real discrepancy between making sales and building a brand. The branding vs. sales argument is used as an excuse for doing advertising that doesn't work. After all, what better way to build your brand than to put your products into the hands of customers again and again and again? Back to Top

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