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Don’t make your prospect work too hard.

Their only job should be to respond… and it should be easy!

OK, so your prospect likes your little pieces, the game, the dance. All of your components are working with each other… the cover letter, lift note, check, main letter, order form, etc. Your website seamlessly links them through and through, guiding them along each step of the way. Now, how do we get them to respond, and to buy?

In direct mail, there’s a certain school that feels “involving” the prospect physically with less-related pieces is of value. You’ve probably received offers that included little stamps and scratch-off’s and “insert sticker here” devices. Obviously, the novelty of these does have a certain effect, especially for sweepstakes and record clubs and offers like these.

Keep It Sweet & Simple

I subscribe to a different school of thought on the pieces I create. I don’t want my prospect to have to do too much work to give me their money. Why make them jump through hoops unnecessarily? The pieces all work together and lead the customer to the sale. They don’t occupy or entertain my prospect unnecessarily.

When it comes time to make my call to action, my pitch – whether it’s to get them to leave their name or to create a purchase decision – I try to make my offer presentation so simple that a prospect could read the order form alone, and still understand the offer and how to respond.

Use Simple Offers Where Their Only “Pay Price To Action” Is To Buy NOW!

I like to use simple A-B-C, 1-2-3. Here’s all you do, etc. Likewise, if there’s more than one call to action in the close, I may make one by date (“Respond by December 31st and get…”).

There may be another close bonus based on order of response (“I have 14 copies of this book, so only the first 14…”), or possibly a limiting (take-away) close based on being in an early group (“open only to the first 65…”). All of these require fast action on their part… they have to “DO” something to get the deal, but it’s not superfluous… there’s a sense of urgency in each close.

Also, always, always, always give them a plausible explanation for the reason for the urgency. Things like the hotel’s capacity, only a certain number of items left (first-come, first-served), limited enrollment for quality instruction, etc., all add value by virtue of simply giving an explanation. When no reason is given, you’ve stopped dancing with them and the reader senses it’s a frivolous offer and there is no real urgency to respond… they feel they can “think about it”. Giving them a reasonable explanation (“to offset your increased transportation expenses…” “For a limited time, to allow anyone who hasn’t received this to get it at last year’s price…”) It’s not always as important that the reason be legitimate (any more than “putting sticker A on the red square on the order form”), what’s important is you present a reasonable explanation. Remember… they like to dance!

Carpe Diem!

Emerson Brantley

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