Blog Activity

  • Thinking Outside the Box with Content Marketing

    Issue: 

    May, 2013

    I’m a dyed-in-the-wool direct marketer, so this is going to sound like heresy.  I propose to champion an indirect method of marketing and selling, namely content marketing.  You’re probably thinking, “What, no call to action?” or “Where’s the ROI for indirect marketing?”

    But let’s take a close look at content marketing. To an email marketer, content marketing actually makes a lot of sense.  In fact, compelling and engaging content and content-based offers are methods that are very effective in convincing your audience to act.

    So, what is content marketing? 

    Content marketing is the technique of creating, curating and distributing relevant and valuable information to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and well-understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

    If I haven’t grabbed you yet, notice that the definition is all about targeted marketing to drive profitable actions.  That’s not so far afield of direct marketing!

    I’ll address content creation in a moment, but let me first explain content curation.  This aspect of content marketing allows a company to cull ideas available from a myriad of sources, decide on the most important resources, and package the information with the company’s point of view in mind.  As an example, if I wanted to position my company as an expert in direct marketing, I’d research credible sources, select authoritative information and then put my own spin on why direct marketing is valuable.  I would also be careful to credit my sources.

    Why should you care about content marketing?

    Content marketing allows you to reach your target audiences in new and different ways, among them:

    •       Content marketing helps you attract additional audiences, by building trust and credibility. Lots of people don’t want to be hit over the head with a heavy hammer these days.  Traditional marketing communications may not work with this kind of prospect.  

    •       You’ll drive more traffic to your website.  Search engines are increasingly tweaking their algorithms to give sites credit for credible content.

    •       Content marketing addresses your sales funnel in engaging ways, by providing the right message to the right people at the right time.

    How to become an effective content marketer

    Every company has content.  You probably have as blog posts, videos, presentations, photos, webinars, marketing collateral, press releases, industry articles and white papers already in hand. 

    Here are the top ten content marketing vehicles.  I’ll bet you are already using at least half of these already.  Consider testing even more.

    1.       Social media—a great way to get your content shared and to get your audience engaged.

    2.       E-newsletters—a perfect vehicle to build and deepen relationships with those who want to hear from you.

    3.       Articles on your website.  Well-written articles let you address issues, trends and topics of interest to targeted audiences.

    4.       Press releases and clips.   Today, your audience of influencers is no longer just journalists. You need to be cultivating anyone online who accesses search engines, RSS feeds or social media for information on a topic of interest.

    5.       Blog posts.  A blog offers an easy way to present short chunks of frequently refreshed web content.

    6.       Videos.  Video is hot!  Possibly the most powerful vehicle for engaging customers and prospects. 

    7.       Print magazines and catalogs.  Direct marketers have been in the business of providing content for years.

    8.       Infographics—which present complex information quickly and clearly.  A perfect opportunity for content curation.

    9.       White papers.  Used primarily by B-to-B marketers, white papers deliver thought leadership on a topic of interest.  They can also present research, provide product usage tips, or highlight a particular product or service.

    10.   Webinars, webcasts and podcasts—which give marketers the opportunity to capture attention and present products and services.  When archived, their influence grows with time. 

    I am going to assume you do have content already available in your company.  Now it’s time to re-purpose or re-package your content for a minimum of three marketing channels.  Content marketing is about leveraging information so that your audience may find you on social media, on your site, from search engines or via links from external sites.  So take up the challenge.  This stuff is really direct marketing!

    Author: 

    Reggie Brady
    Reggie Brady's picture

    Reggie Brady is president of Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions, a direct and email marketing consultancy.  Reach her at 203-838-8138 or reggie@reggiebrady.com

  • Sales Executive Wanted

    Action Mailers
    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Action Mailers, a large well established letter-shop located in the Philadelphia PA area is seeking a sales executive to cover the greater New York City area. The successful candidate must have a minimum of three years experience in direct mail lettershop. The ideal candidate will be currently performing outside sales in the direct mail industry. Individuals that are currently employed as an inside salesperson or a direct mail production person will also be considered.

    Excellent salary/commission and benefits. Equal opportunity employer.

    Please e mail your résumé to lmills@actionmailer.com

     

     

  • 29th Annual Event

    Start making your plans to attend the 2013 Silver Apple Awards Gala — New York's most prestigious event for Direct and Interactive marketers.

    We will hold the presentation and dinner at New York's glorious Edison Ballroom. It won't be the same if you're not there!


    Support scholarships for direct and interactive marketing education — and enjoy a gala evening with colleagues, clients and friends. But hurry, tables and tickets go fast! All tables and tickets include open service cocktail reception, dinner, wine service and dessert.

    Learn more: 2013 Honorees Bios | Past List of Honorees | Advertising Reservation Form | Photos


    Individual Tickets

    DMCNY members — $225
    Non-Members — $265


    Table Sponsorships

    Tables of 10:

    Benefactor - $2,250

    Patron - $3,200 includes a full page in the Commemorative Program

    Foundation Sponsor - $5,500 includes a full page in the Commemorative Program, a $1,000 scholarship to the school of your choice, and podium recognition

    Leadership Sponsor - 2 tables of 10 - $8,000 includes a full page in the Commemorative Program, a $2,000 scholarship to the school of your choice, podium recognition and Reception signage


    Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities

    High profile opportunities for your company to support the honorees and direct marketing educational programs.
    Complete Sponsorship Specifics.

    Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 6:00pm
  • 9 Rules for Writing Video Sales Letters

    Issue: 

    May, 2013

    The “next big thing” in online video is video sales letters. 

    Here’s how it works.  Prospects are sent a short email inviting them to view an onlinr video on a subject of interest. The email copy teases the subject to generate interest and maximize click-through rates. 

    When the prospect click on the link, a video begins. The sales message is delivered both via audio and visually. 

    The video often contains a PowerPoint showing paragraphs of the audio copy as it is being narrated.  Another option is the “talking head” – a video of the narrator speaking, and sometimes drawing notes or charts on a white board. 

    Another appealing option is to include cartoons that are drawn as you watch, illustrating the sales points.  To see a short sample of a cartoon-style video I am using to sell a new ebook, visit this URL: www.addvideo2yoursite.com 

    Video clips can be short, but for direct-response marketing, video sales letters typically run 15 to 25 minutes; the script is around 3,000 to 3,500 words. 

    A key difference between video sales letters and static (landing pages or print) sales letters is this: A prospect may read a conventional text sales letters several times, and can go back to reread portions if desired. And they often do. But the prospect will only watch a video sales letter once. 

    That in mind, here are some guidelines for writing effective video sales letters: 

    1— The way to begin is to grab audience attention with a statement that breaks them out of their normal pattern, says my colleague David Jenyes. Surprise them. Shake them up.. 

    2— Tell an engaging story that sweeps the listener along with it. Superstar marketer Michael Masterson calls this the “velvet slide.”  

    3— Keep it simple. The “information density” – the number of facts per page – should be about 20% less than a text-based promotion.  

    4— Use short sentences and especially short words. I don’t use any word longer than 9 letters.

    5— Use short paragraphs – a couple of sentences is typical. This makes the text on the video easier to read.  

    6— If you want to dramatize or prove a copy claim or fact, you can insert a chart or graph into the video presentation. Even if the prospect only has a few seconds to view it, charts and graphs give the impression that your point is well backed up. 

    7— You can concisely state the problem your product solves in the lead of the video sales letter, but be sure to explain the solution within the first minute or two.  If you wait too long to get to the solution, you risk having the prospect click away in boredom.  

    8— Don’t use more than two numbers in a sentence. If you do, round off at least one of them. 

    9— The tone of the copy should be positive and enthusiastic because the prospect heas a voice reading the text. But it should also sound authoritative.

    When I talk about video sales letters, invariably I hear the objection, “They’re too long! I always click away. Who would sit there for 20 minutes and watch?” 

    Answer: Plenty of people. How do I know? Testing shows repeatedly that video sales letters usually generate higher conversion rates than static landing pages.

     If you still object to video sales letters because you just don’t like them, I quote this advice from ace copywriter Peter Beutel: “Don’t let personal preference get in the way.” 

    Author: 

    Robert Bly
    Robert Bly's picture

    Bob Bly, a direct-response copywriter for more than 30 years, is the author of 80 books, including The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt). Reach him at rwbly@bly.com

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