“We sell…or else”
This pithy little quote was touted by advertising legend David Ogilvy.
Short and sweet, eh?
Ogilvy’s secret weapon was direct marketing – that is, any kind of marketing or advertising that seeks to generate an immediate and measurable response from those on the receiving end.
Now, some marketers (this writer not counted among them) will have you believe that direct response marketing is inferior to brand or image advertising.
Brand marketing means creating something that’s clever, memorable and sticks out in a person’s mind, rather than something that sells.
You see this all the time with TV and radio, advertising big name brands like Coca Cola. The ad usually involves a clever hook followed by the company slogan.
But there’s no call-to-action at the end that asks you to ring a number and order a case of coke.
While massive global behemoths like Coca Cola can throw millions of dollars at their brand advertising, you don’t have that luxury.
And that’s one problem with image marketing…. the expense. The other problem is it doesn’t get you sales.
Simply put, businesses go broke with brand advertising. Companies prosper with direct marketing.
It doesn’t matter if your marketing to scientists, engineers or business executives, taking your prospects through the sales cycle using direct marketing is how you get a sale.
And one piece of sales collateral that most high-tech companies use are brochures.
In fact, a survey conducted by Eccolo Inc. and summarised on a Kissmetrics blog post this month found that brochures were the primary content type consumed by technology buyers in the 6 months leading to a buying decision.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the article here.
This means getting your brochures up to scratch pronto.
Anyway, now that I’ve ranted on about the benefits of direct marketing, let’s talk about how you can do just that and make more sales as a result.
Maximizing response from your brochure
Ultimately, the key point to remember is that a brochure is a sales piece and should move your reader through the sales cycle, just like any other piece of content you put out.
So like any piece of direct marketing, your brochure should have a benefit headline, an attention-grabbing lead and a call-to-action.
This way, your brochures provide readers with all the necessary information about your solutions, and also serve as direct response pieces that ask them to do something.
The first thing you can do to encourage this is provide a call-to-action or ‘next step’ at the end.
The call to action should follow the “what-how-why” formula. You tell them what you want them to do, how they can do it and why they should do it (ie. what they’ll learn or what they’ll get from taking this next step).
And a great technique that will boost response is giving several options instead of just one.
You could ask them to download a free white paper, schedule a product demo, call a sales rep or visit your booth at the next tradeshow.
Another useful tip is to provide the physical mechanism of response.
This might be a physical reply card or even a specification sheet at the back of the brochure they can fill out and send in to get a customized quotation.
And one more thing…
Don’t forget you can also improve your brochure’s content so that it maximizes response from direct mail and ads. In fact, you should always design your brochures with this goal in mind.
One way you can do this is by giving your brochure a title that implies value.
Instead of a title like: “For a free brochure describing our solutions, call now”, try breaking the main body of the brochure into 7 points that provide useful tips. Then give your ad a title like: “For a free brochure outlining 7 ways XYZ technology solves all your experimental needs, call now….”
Finally, instead of calling it a brochure, try calling it a “resource guide” or “catalogue”. This lends added perceived value to the piece, increasing the chance people will respond.
Now, when your prospect sees an advertisement for the brochure, they’ll want to request a copy because the title is so compelling and provides actual value.
When you improve the content of your brochure and blend it with direct response techniques you’ll make them more effective and you’ll see a significant increase in response over the long run.
Until next week,