First, if you’re not doing direct response advertising, you are wasting money. An average direct response ad will outperform a ‘brilliant’ award-winning image ad every time. A good direct response copywriter working from home in his (or her) underwear can write a sales message that, when delivered to the right prospects, will sell circles around anything a fancy New York Ad Agency with a team of ‘creatives’ and an army of ‘award-winning’ graphic artists can produce.
And by the way... if you happen to run one of those award-winning agencies... and care to have a friendly little contest, split-testing your entire agency against my copywriting ... by all means, just give me a call. Now with that said and my testosterone under control... let’s get down to business.
Here are the primary reasons why most marketing and advertising underperforms:
1. The message is weak. Limp. Lackluster. Boring. Lacks authority. Is all about image with no substance. Makes claims with no proof. Focuses on the company, product or spokesperson and not the prospects’ fears, concerns, wishes, wants, needs or desires. Fails to mention almost EVERYTHING a prospect may care about. - And because of these problems, (anyone of which is enough to slaughter your response), the message has a tiny impact compared to what can be done.
2. The message is loud. Abrasive. Hyperbolic. Overbearing. Braggadocios. In-your-face. Unbelievable. Insulting. Threatening. Or so far over the top it would offend an ex-con biker carrying a Glock and a shotgun.
Others structural reasons for underperformance include:
- The message fails to connect with prospects.
- It fails to hold attention.
- It is disorganized.
- It’s weak not strong.
- It fails to engage emotion.
- It fails to demonstrate believable authority.
- It fails to present an air-tight, rock-solid, logical sales argument.
- It fails to detail how much the prospect suffers now... and fails to detail how much better their life will be when they have your product or service.
- It fails to distinguish you from your competitors.
- It fails to get the prospect to realize that YOU and YOU ALONE understand them and can help them get what they want.
- It fails to respect the prospect’s intelligence.
- It fails to make an offer, or makes a weak offer instead of a strong irresistible one.
- It fails to reverse the risk.
- It fails to make a call to action with clear instructions on what to do next and what to expect after they do it.
- It fails to create urgency.
- If fails to give people a good reason to click, call or come by now.
- It’s a structural train wreck that lacks key elements that make direct response copy thought provoking, memorable and persuasive.
How effective is your message? Do your messages hold your prospects attention? Do they get excited? Are your prospects riveted? Do they read every word? Do they respond? Contact you? Buy? Does your message get your prospects to see your product as THE solution to their problem, the best way to get what they want? Does your sales message make your prospects feel like they’d have to be crazy to not do business with you? Does your message convert lookers into buyers?
The better your message connects with your prospects the more business you do.
Example: A Houston law firm losing business to competitors asked for help. They were sending about 50 letters a week to prospective clients. But due to competition, the letters, which once worked well, were pulling in fewer clients. The problem was not competition. The problem was the message. It was 100% company-focused. It didn’t stand out. It sounded like every competitors letter. All about the esteemed law firm proudly serving clients for 25 years. And so on.
I trashed the stuffy lawyer letter and replaced it with a 4-page Special Report printed on BRIGHT YELLOW PAPER that got noticed. When the message and how it showed up changed, the results changed. The new Report on bright yellow paper with the controversial title - Tricks & Traps Insurance Companies Use To Cheat Accident Victims Out Of Their Lawful Settlement – brought in 500% more business every week than the original letter. This resulted in over $2 million in attorney fees net to the law firm over the next 18 months.
The lead partner in the firm calculated that not going to stronger direct response marketing years sooner had cost the firm millions of dollars. This is another example of the-fortune-not- made on business-not-done.