Direct Marketing Copywriters in Ireland Take Heed – Why You Should Keep Your Message Simple

Direct marketing copywriters and advertising copywriters who depend on the written word to sell their clients’ products or services, take heed. An ERSI study conducted by the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) has shown that aa many as 55% of adults in Ireland are below Level 3 literacy, the minimal level of literacy “necessary for the demands of modern society”. This means that the majority of people in Ireland may be unable to read direct marketing text that is in any way complex or not laid out in a clear, straightforward manner. This doesn’t just mean that they may not get all the subtleties and complex details of written direct marketing promotional material and communications like these, this means that they may not understand direct marketing offers at all!

Of those surveyed, 25% are at what is called Level 1 literacy. This means very low literacy skills, where even short, simple instructions can’t be understood easily. Another 30% of people are at Level 2. At this level they can follow step by step instructions and basic prose but anything more complicated gives them difficulty. These are the people who adopted just enough literacy skills to get them through day to day life but could have difficulty with complex sentences or text and writing styles that they are not used to, including direct marketing buzz words and jargon.

It’s important to understand that people in these groups are certainly not stupid; a variety of reasons could be behind their poor reading ability. Often it can be as simple as bad eyesight or hearing difficulties. In other cases it could be due to sporadic school attendance or a lack of money for textbooks and materials. Whatever the reason people in this category are the majority in Ireland so direct marketing copywriters better take their needs into account when writing!

So what can be done? How can a direct marketing copywriter ensure that their words can be understood by the widest possible audience in Ireland? Well really the best thing to keep it simple. Short, snappy sentences work best, both to make the direct marketing message clear and to keep people interested. This is not only relevant to people at lower literacy levels but for everyone in Ireland.

Long drawn-out sentences can bore the average direct mail reader, even if they understand what you’re saying, and might make them skip on to something else, especially if they’re only marginally interested in your offer in the first place.

Titles in marketing brochures are especially in need of this kind of treatment. A title sets the tone for the piece and mentally prepares the reader for what’s to come. If a title is confusing or irrelevant then the reader may be bewildered when reading the marketing offer, wondering what exactly they are reading and how the product/service on offer relates to them.

Wonderfully clever, pun-filled titles, so loved by marketing copywriters in Ireland, may be great for the readers who actually get it but for the rest it’s just another source of frustration. Keep your direct marketing message in Ireland simple and keep it loud, that way everybody knows what you are saying and your message has the widest reach.

Literacy skills are not just about reading prose however; many people in Ireland have difficulty reading more technical information such as forms, diagrams and tables. Others have difficulties with basic numeracy skills such as adding figures or understanding percentages.

Finally, relevance is also a key to people understanding your direct marketing offer. The average Irish reader assumes that all information provided to them in a direct marketing offer is important. Going off on a tangent into another unrelated or unimportant topic for a short while is likely to cause great problems. People reading it will wonder how this connects with what they have read previously and are liable to become confused as to what you are trying to sell them.

This applies not only to text but to diagrams and pictures in direct marketing material too: if it’s not connected with the promotional message you are trying to give people then it should not be there! It may look very nice and add wonderfully to the feel of the page but if you’re trying to talk about healthcare, for example, and you use a picture of a yacht then your marketing message can get lost along the way.

For direct marketing offers in Ireland the best advice is to keep your message simple and keep it to the point. Short words, short sentences and short paragraphs work best; and remember: if it’s not adding something to the reader’s understanding of your offer then there’s a very good chance it’s taking something away.

Offline Businesses – The Most Effective Online Marketing Uses Direct Marketing Strategies

Direct marketing in the offline world has grown to huge proportions, becoming a very professional industry in which the biggest players are immensely successful. And these same direct marketing strategies and techniques are the hallmark of the most successful Internet marketing businesses, etc. In fact, every direct marketing professional should consider Internet marketing as a career or at least a sideline for additional income streams.

Direct mail pieces in the offline business world become email blasts online – and with more and more email programs now HTML capable, can be just as glossy and heavily designed as their offline counterpart. And just as direct marketers buy targeted leads or use location-based mail drops, Internet marketing pros rent email lists, buy solo ads and buy leads.

Direct marketing techniques also include classified ads and TV infomercials – online there are a number of classified-ad sites, some international and many based on certain locals. And video sharing sites are perfect for displaying TV-style commercials, infomercials, product demonstrations, etc.

And the ‘golden lists’ or the big Direct Mail houses, those lists of targeted leads that buy from them regularly, are no different than the customer lists online. Just as direct marketers have a pre-written series of e-mails and offers that go out to their previous customers on a regular basis, so too do online marketers who use pre-written autoresponder series to follow up with each purchaser.

If you own and/or operate an offline business in direct marketing, learn all you can about the strategies, tools and techniques being used by successful Internet marketing pros and use that knowledge to increase bottom line profits considerably. While some online regulations, like the anti-spam laws, make parts a little trickier in compliance, it’s more than made up for by the low cost of email blasts, the lack of lead time required for printing, and the free video hosting the video sharing sites provide. Start by putting every commercial and infomercial in your current library online at sites like YouTube, Viddler and Daily Motion and you’re already well on your way.

And if you’re currently working in the direct marketing industry with no equity in the company that employs you, consider starting a part-time job in online marketing and building it into your own full-time Internet marketing or affiliate marketing business. You have the skills so start investigating this low-startup-costs online industry for your own future today!

How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Marketing Lead Generation

If your sales team often complains about the leads they receive from your direct marketing campaigns – or if you’re frustrated with lackluster lead follow-up and low conversion rates – you may be unwittingly committing one of the seven deadly sins of direct marketing lead generation.

Here are the common mistakes business-to-business marketers make with lead generation and tips on how to avoid them:

1. Leads are not qualified.

Problem: All responses are sent to the sales force regardless of their potential value. Sales reps waste time chasing weak prospects because they don’t have the information to distinguish good leads from bad.

Solution: Ask questions on the direct mail reply form, the web response form, or via your call center to qualify prospects by their level of interest and authority to purchase. Share this information to help sales reps prioritize their efforts.

2. Leads are from the wrong prospects.

Problem: The mailing lists you used in your direct marketing campaign didn’t reach the right decision-makers, so responses came from people who probably can’t or won’t become buyers.

Solution: As you develop your direct marketing strategy, ask the sales team to pinpoint the demographics of an ideal buyer. Choose mailing lists to reach these decision-makers and add selection criteria to narrow the list down to people who most closely resemble your best customers.

3. Leads are too old.

Problem: It takes so long to forward leads to sales that prospects lose interest in the offer or forget they responded. By the time the sales rep reaches the prospect, the lead has gone cold.

Solution: Assess your lead distribution process from top to bottom to find out what’s slowing things down. Eliminate unnecessary steps or revamp the system to get leads to reps as fast as possible.

4. Lead data is sloppy.

Problem: The lead data you send to reps is incomplete or riddled with errors.

Solution: Set stricter guidelines about what information must be required before a lead is sent to a rep and review the data input process to assure data quality.

5. Too many leads are sent at once.

Problem: The sales force is overwhelmed with a large volume of leads they can’t efficiently handle in a reasonable timeframe.

Solution: Test your direct mail to a smaller list to gauge likely response. Plan the execution of the direct marketing campaign in stages to create a steady flow of leads rather than a flood.

6. Sales reps don’t know about the promotion.

Problem: Leads are sent to the sales team from a direct marketing campaign they know nothing about.

Solution: Get reps on board early in the process by alerting them to your upcoming direct marketing initiative. Seed them on the mailing list so they receive samples when the direct mail drops.

7. The sales team doesn’t have the right tools to follow up.

Problem: Responses come in before the proper sales demonstration materials have been created or sent to the sales team. While sales reps wait for product samples, sales collateral, or sales presentation kits, prospects may be hearing from your competitors.

Solution: Plan for the development of sales demonstration materials when creating your direct marketing strategy and don’t drop the mailing until reps have the tools they need to convert leads to sales.