Simple Yet Ingenious
24 Proven Marketing Rules to help you score a direct hit
Marketing is traditionally known as a haven for “creative types.” And those types often come up with some rather creative “rules” for doing business. Some of the rules may seem pretty silly, but they work! And there’s nothing silly about that. Following are two dozen proven marketing rules that can help you improve your sales.
1 - If you’ve included a list of things in your advertisement or brochure, you should have an odd number on the list—3, 5, 7, etc. Just as when arranging pictures on a wall, asymmetry attracts the eye.
2 - When you’re doing a mailing, a first class stamp will out pull metered or bulk mail. The letter is more likely to get opened when it has the appearance of “legitimate” mail. With business-to-business mail, however, metered mail can also be effective.
3 - Certain colors are more effective—or have a certain kind of impact—on customers. Red suggests action and immediacy. Yellow can have the same effect. Blue and green are “calm” colors— effective in a company brochure where you want to establish an image, but not so effective when you’re looking for action or response. Red and black have been identified as the highest-pulling, two-color combination there is!
4 - When pricing your products, don’t round-up the numbers. Studies have shown that customers respond better to a price like USD19.98, for instance, than they would to USD20.00.
5 - Always include a “P.S.” in a sales letter. Why? Next to the headline, it’s the most-read part of any letter and customers tend to read it first. This is where you should restate your offer in clear, compelling terms.
6 - Include three options on your response card: “Yes,” “No,” and “Maybe.” “Maybe” responses help you identify future prospects; the multiple options have also been shown to increase orders; an added benefit? If you’re using a rented list, even the responses that come back marked “no” or “maybe” can be added to your database for future prospecting.
7 - If you print a picture, include a caption. A picture may be “worth 1000 words,” but it helps to add ten to twenty of your own! Tie the caption to your sales message.
8 - Avoid humor. Humor is very personal— what one person thinks is funny, another may not. When you use humor, you also risk offending someone and your advertisement quickly loses impact when it becomes “old.”
9 - Don’t try to sell more than one thing at a time. The less complicated your offer, the greater the likelihood that you’ll get a prospect to make a “Yes” decision. Asking the prospect to choose between too many options creates confusion and may result in a “no-decision” decision.
10 - The phrase “free gift” may be redundant, but it works. “Free” is, without a doubt, the most powerful word in the copywriter’s arsenal. Try it.
11 - A large or irregularly shaped direct mail piece will get results. It stands out from the rest of the mail and cries out ...”Look at Me!” Even better is a three-dimensional, bulky mailer. Prospects can’t help but open a package that obviously has “something in it.”
12 - When you’re composing a headline, always include the word “you.” It helps to answer the customer’s number one question of “what’s in it for me?”
13 - Watch your packaging. A package or direct mail piece that looks too expensive will turn prospects off.
14 - Tell customers specifically what to do. Provide step-by-step instructions for your customers. You won’t be “insulting,” you’ll be helpful. Customers are busy people. The more direct guidance you can provide them, the more likely you are to receive a response.
15 - Be careful about asking questions in your headline. If the customer can answer the question “no,” they’re not likely to keep reading. For instance, “Wouldn’t you like to see our new equipment?” A customer could easily respond, “No,” and throw your piece in the circular file.
16 - “Window” envelopes, where the name and address show a clear, glassine window, out pull closed envelopes.
17 - If you’re sending a mailing out first class, print “first class” on the envelope. It emphasizes the importance of what’s inside.
18 - Set a “deadline” for response. “Place your order before January 1 to take advantage of this limited time offer.” A deadline creates a sense of urgency and gives the impression that if the customer doesn’t order now, he/she may not have another chance. (Make sure your internal order entry people understand that the “deadline” is in name only—you don’t want them turning down orders that come in “late.”)
19 - Pre-address your order form with not only your address, but the customer’s name and address as well. Anything you can do to make it easier to order will increase your response.
20 - Include plenty of “dingbats” in your copy. Dingbats are little symbols like arrows, bullets, checkmarks, starbursts etc. These symbols help to break up copy, can be used to highlight important sales points, and are a great way to add interest to your printed piece.
21 - Don’t use all upper case letters in a headline. It may give a bold impression, but it’s too difficult to read.
22 - If you market through a catalog, place a price tag on that catalog. It creates a sense of “value” for the customer who receives one “free” in the mail or is handed one by one of your employees.
23 - Always use a name with a testimonial. If possible, include a company name and a city; the ultimate? Include a photograph along with this information. The more you can do to make the testimonial-giver “real” to your prospective customers, the more impact the testimonial will have.
24 - Your best customers are your best customers. Silly but true. The people, who have purchased from you in the past, are the people who are most likely to purchase yet again.