Blog Activity

  • Turn Your “Follower” Relationships into Business and Profit


    2013, January

    Branding and dialogue are excellent first steps – but they don’t pay the rent.  

    To me, customer acquisition is getting somebody to buy from you for the very first time. Customer retention is getting a person who was bought from you at least one time to buy from you again. 

    Branding is getting your product or service to be a part of the decision set when members of your targeted market segment want to purchase the product or service you sell.

    Today, with an emphasis placed on gaining social media "followers," or being "liked," or in some other way engaging with your online suspects, prospects and customers, we need to understand that these efforts cost money and must be measured in terms of revenue and renewability. 

    Consider the amount of thought and effort put into understanding how you can improve your results from a direct mail campaign by just one or two tenths of a percent. You test offers, formats, headlines, and so many others variables in a structured fashion where you can measure and attribute results to tested variables. Consider how you test different mailing lists, and segments of lists to maximize your results.

    It is important to put the same effort and pay attention to the same details when engaging with your followers and other "fan-based" constituents.

    Closed mouths don’t get fed

    Many businesses today are handling their "followers" with kid gloves. They seem to be hesitant to use time-tested techniques to commercialize relationships.

    It is important to recognize that your "followers" chose to initiate a relationship with your business. So you can consider them real prospects, and many of them may already be your customers. You have the opportunity to grow your relationship with them.

    Ask for the order

    A good place to begin is by segmenting your "followers." First, find your customers by matching transactional data. For everyone you can’t identify, ask them how they perceive of their relationship. You can do this directly with a poll, or a survey, or using more subtle tactics. 

    Some marketers will express concern about alienating people in the delicate world of social media. To me, the reality is people will either want to solidify their relationship with you or they won’t. History dictates some of these people will never buy from you. The ones who truly have an interest in your company, products and services will respond to your efforts. This will empower you with knowledge you can use.

    Now you should be on familiar ground. Now that your “followers” are organized by segment, develop strategies for each segment and work your magic.

    Cultivating your “followers” has significant advantages

    Your cost to develop new customers from these prospects will be lower than a traditional acquisition effort since the names are essentially free, and there is already some basic bonding between you and them, which bodes well for anticipated response rates. 

    For retention, or getting your “following” current customers to buy again, social media represents another touch point where you can make an offer, with the added advantage of enhance customer insight from your interactive dialogue.  This makes me wonder: Should we create a new model called XRFM, where a person’s “expressed interest” might prove more predictive than RFM alone?  

    Once you recognize the value of commercializing relationships with your “followers;” once you realize that a good number of them will be responsive to your efforts; and once you accept the fact that many “followers” are going to never become customers; then you will be able to test the value of marketing to the “follower” segments and calculate whether your branding efforts to attract and engage “followers” are significant to your business.


    Myron Gould
    Myron Gould's picture

    Myron Gould is a Professor of Marketing and Management at New York University, and consults on business planning and strategy development. Reach him at, or on Twitter @nyuprof or @bplanwritercom.

  • What You Need to Know About DRTV Today


    2014, February

    Today, $150 billion of consumer products in the U.S. are sold through DRTV, and between 20% and 40% of TV households buy from DRTV.

    1.    So, what is DRTV? And what's the difference between DRTV and regular TV? 

    Direct response television is a form of marketing used to generate responses from prospective consumers, as a direct result of the marketing campaign. DRTV is often broken down into three subcategories: lead generation, product direct sales, or service direct sales. The difference between DRTV and traditional TV is as simple as a URL or 1-800 number. Media that has been designated DR based on the presence of a URL or 1-800 number can be purchased at a discount, versus standard TV advertising (brand advertising), thus ensuring media efficiencies. On average, DR prices are 30-50% lower.

    2.    Who uses DRTV? 

    Chances are you've seen the old “yell-and-sell” infomercials, with pitchmen like Billy Mays, but those days have passed, and DRTV has taken on an entirely new tone. Today, it's used by more brands than you probably realize: Estee Lauder, American Express, L'Oreal, Bose, KitchenAid, Capital One, Hanes, Keurig, Vanity Fair, Dyson, Garnier, Fab, Travelocity, Playtex, ShoeDazzle, Maybelline, and many more.

    3.    Why DRTV? 

    Direct response television is a highly effective customer acquisition medium that offers broad exposure to build your brand while driving response and measurable sales. Tracking and measuring performance can be drilled down to the level of individual airings, allowing brands to cost effectively reach a segmented audience based on daypart, channel, location, or type of programming.

    4.    What should I know before considering DRTV?

    Step one is getting to know your customers and their journey. It is mission critical to know where your customers spend, what they watch, and how they are influenced by various media: print, radio, TV, direct mail, out-of-home, mobile, and social. Use data-driven insight, research tools, and emerging technology to create a holistic view of your consumer. Recognize that the overarching goal of DRTV campaigns is to either push continuity programs or drive to retail—or a combination of the two. Not only are these the areas that hold the greatest potential for profit, they are crucial to developing a business model that remains effective at scale.  

    5.    Give me a few hints! What are the keys to success?

    One major key to success is creating a seamless customer experience between TV, online, and retail, by streamlining messaging, creative, and in-store signage. To do so, you must surround customers with relevant messaging to ensure a frictionless path to purchase. In addition, establish metrics and benchmarks that ensure a clear line of sight to success. Savvy marketers will consistently test their campaigns to not only mitigate risk but constantly optimize campaigns to drive the highest possible level of ROI, retail impact, and scalability. 


    Monica Smith
    Monica Smith's picture

    Monica C. Smith is founder and CEO of Marketsmith, Inc., and a recent luncheon speaker at DMCNY.  Reach her at

  • Claire Burns - DMCNY Member profile


    2013, May

    Q:  Now that you’ve been a member, and a sponsor, of DMCNY for a year, what would you say are the benefits of supporting our club? 

    A: Being a member of DMCNY has been great. We've been thrilled to connect with other members whose services compliment ours. The luncheons and evening events have featured so many dynamic speakers who have explored all aspects of traditional direct marketing as well as email marketing, which has helped us become better experts in this field. 

    Q:  Tell me about your career.  How did you get into direct and email marketing in the first place?

    A: I've been in client services for 12 years in various industries. Prior to Emma, I was in background screening which is an industry void of creativity.  So I was quite interested in moving to a field where I could not only use my creative strengths but also be part of an industry that was fast growing. Emma was the perfect fit. I started as a compliance officer to learn the technical side of email, and then transitioned to account management to help some of our larger clients. 

    Q:  What’s going on at Emma?  Any things our membership should know about?

    A: I'm lucky to see a number of great success stories, but one sticks out in particular. One of the accounts I manage, Mario Batali, had a pretty impressive year. They moved to Emma last spring after having not a lot of success with their previous email campaigns. I worked with them to find their focus through better design and mailing strategy.  After the better part of a year of thoughtful and consistent emailing, we compared the success of their holiday mailings to the year prior. They had a 57% increase in opens and a 64% increase on clicks on their licensee ads. They were thrilled. 

    Q:  What do you see as some of the challenges and new directions where email marketing is headed?

    A: There's been a shift of focus since I started with Emma five years ago. While spam is still prevalent, it's not the biggest enemy of your mailing's success any more. Now, we must focus on how your email can stand out among all the other credible emails. The consumer is smarter, so the marketer must rise to the challenge by making their content relevant and personalized. Personalization has gone beyond a mere "Hi, [Claire]."  Now you need to consider your messaging strategy carefully, sending them content specific to their interests and at a frequency they respond to. You need to give them options on your signup form and honor their selections. It may mean an extra step of work on your end, but the result is an appreciative and engaged audience.

    Q:  What is the most important thing to consider when looking at your email marketing plan?

    A: Before working with any new account, my first question is: Why are you doing email marketing?   Many jumped into email because everyone else was doing it.  It's essential to understand the why so you can gauge your success.  Then, your mailing calendar, content plan and mailing expectations will all fall into place. This type of focus and consideration will undoubtedly be appreciated by your audience and readers, and result in better ROI.  


    Claire Burns
    Claire Burns's picture

    Emma, a new sponsor of DMCNY, is an innovative email marketing services provider.  Postings’s Ruth P. Stevens spoke with Claire Burns, who enthusiastically manages Emma’s relationship with our club. 

  • Drive Business Results With LinkedIn


    2013, May

    In today’s rapidly evolving world we must adapt, or risk falling by the wayside. Online connections will never replace real-world contact, but you can leverage your relationships online to drive tangible results in the real world. LinkedIn, with over 200 million users worldwide, can be used to make sales contacts, find decision makers, land a new gig or reach out to the next valuable employee. To get the most value from LinkedIn, here are three key points to consider.

    1) Are you an anonymous user?

    Don’t be! LinkedIn is a tool for professionals. When you’re looking at a profile, make sure that person can see that you viewed their profile. Whether you are in sales and looking at a key decision-maker, or you just applied for a job and are checking out the HR manager, this is a great way to draw attention to yourself, but in a professional way. Your reconnaissance could potentially turn into a conversation that may drive the result you are looking for.

    Quick Hints:
    - Click “Settings” from the drop-down menu under your name in the upper right hand side of any screen.          
    - Click “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
    -  Select the top option.
    - Voila! No more anonymous user.

    2) What have you done, and what are your skills?

    Whether you looking to expand your business, or on a job search, your profile needs to be as up to date and robust as possible. Make sure that you’ve fully listed your work history. There are no space constraints in your profile, so “more is more.” List every position you have had, plus any technical skills. This does not mean you should do a “keyword dump,” whereby you cram words in unnaturally.  But do make sure that everything you can do is listed, so you can be found by people doing keyword searches.  The moment you are going to need LinkedIn is not the time to be making your updates, so get going now.

    Quick Hints:
    - Endorsements are a great way to get noticed. When you’ve listed your skills, people will be able to endorse you. - This makes you more credible.
    - If you want to drive traffic to your profile, giving endorsements to others can be a great way of motivating people to look at you.
    - Don’t over endorse people, as it can come across as less credible, even spammy.

    3) Have you connected?

    Think of the benefits of a robust LinkedIn network. When you have mutual connections, you can see more information about people you are not connected with directly. Regularly sharing content on LinkedIn gives increased engagement and recognition.  One of the best tools to build your network is the “Import Contacts” feature. By clicking on “Contacts” and then “Add Connections,” you will be prompted to input your email data. While I don’t suggest you blindly send out a request to connect with everyone who has ever emailed you, this can be a great way to find those diamonds in the rough.

    Quick Hints:
    - When extending an invitation to connect, take a minute to write a personalized message, instead of using the pre-canned message provided by LinkedIn.
    - Adding a few details, like how you met or why you are connecting, will increase the chance of a response.  


    Brian Murray
    Brian Murray's picture

    Brian Murray, director of talent with Likeable Media, invites you to connect with him via and

  • 9 Rules for Writing Video Sales Letters


    2013, May

    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: 

    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.” 


    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