More and more businesses are investing larger percentages of their advertising budgets in direct response advertising for four simple reasons:
- lt works.
- It's affordable.
- You can test different parts of your ad, your package or your list to determine what works best for your dealership.
- You can measure results easily and quickly.
Direct response is not so much a kind of media as it is a method of advertising. Any ad that asks the prospect to respond directly to you is a direct response ad. For example, your newspaper coupon ads are one kind of direct response advertising. Door hangers and postcards which promote specific offers and which include response cards or your phone number are another kind of direct response advertising as well.
One of the more popular media in which you can use direct response advertising is the U.S. Mail. In fact, it is so popular that many people actually think that direct mail is the only kind of direct response advertising that there is.
There are some distinct advantages to direct mail over other forms of media. When you use direct mail, you can send your message specifically to highly qualified prospects. To find the right names for your list, you work with list brokers or you develop your own list. You can develop your own list by building a tickler file.
Its easy to build a tickler file. Every time someone calls or walks into your dealership, your employees ask for that person; name, address and phone number. Whenever you send out a mailing, you include these names on your list.
When you work with a list broker you tell him exactly what kind of people you want to reach. For example, you might tell the broker that you only want people on your list who:
- live in a particular zip code
- are between the ages of 30 and 50
- own their own home that was built before 1980
- have a single or combined family income of more than $50,000 per year
Because you send your advertising message only to qualified prospects, you save money when you use direct mail. You know you're paying only to reach people who might be very interested in replacing their windows. In fact, a good list is so important that experts say that 40% of the success of any direct mail package is dependent upon the quality of the list
The next 40% depends on the offer. When you use a direct response ad in any media, you must include an offer, and that offer must have an expiration date. The stronger the offer, the better your response will be. The expiration date should not be too far in the future or your prospects will not be motivated to act promptly.
The final 20% depends upon the creative execution of the mailing. If your ads are well designed and well written, your response will be stronger. In direct mail, there is another axiom you should be aware of: Copy is king. Your direct mail packages should be well written and full of great information. One of the most beneficial and powerful advantages of direct response is that you can easily measure your results. Because the prospect responds directly to you usually by mail or by phone, it's easy to keep track of your results. But perhaps the best reason to use direct response is that you can test and constantly reshape your direct response advertising to produce consistently better results.
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