Direct Response Copywriter on Advertorials

The more things change, the more they stay the same ... right?

Before the Internet was around, I used to write advertorials for magazines and newspapers. An advertorial, if you’re not familiar with the concept, is an article that’s really an advertisement. Or you could view an advertorial as an advertisement that looks like an article. You will usually see the words “advertorial” or “paid advertisement” somewhere on the page. You would usually see a 500 word article plus a couple of photos.

Advertorials were often part of a “special advertising section” but could also be stand-alones. In print, advertorials were effective and they helped drive leads and sales. Advertorials somewhat disappeared when online advertising got going. Advertisers simply sent traffic straight to landing pages and squeeze pages.

However, about five years ago, the advertorial started to make a comeback. Why? Two reasons.

One … Google and the networks mandated them (in a way). Two … they improved conversion.

The CTA in the advertorial is usually to get to the sales page. As a result, traffic going to the sales page is warmed up and this increases conversion. As a direct response copywriter, I write a TON of advertorials. One of the best aspects of the advertorial is testing.

For one client, I wrote close to 500 versions of an advertorial … constantly changing headlines, photos, and other copy elements. Most advertorials failed to improve conversion over the control but the few that worked made a huge difference to the bottom line.

The real key to advertorials is testing all the many different copy approaches. For example I once used the testimonial approach and it produced a jump in conversion of over 30%. That’s a big result.

I liked writing advertorials before the arrival of the Internet. I like writing them today … especially because I enjoy all the testing. Every direct response copywriter needs to understand how to write advertorials … then test like crazy.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

Direct Response Copywriter on What It's All About Part 4

I know it's not always trendy to say something like this ... but I'll say it anyway.

Good things happen when a business sells more stuff.

I've worked for/with some really great companies. I've also worked for some really awful companies. I have worked with people I thought were great but turned out to be crooked, lying, sleaze-buckets. Scum.

So I understand when people generally dislike businesess and capitalism.

I strive to work with clients who do business with integrity ... the type of companies that are fair and would stand behind a guarantee.

When a good company sells more products and/or services, it can hire more people and provide those people with more opportunity. It expands. It markets more products. It helps to grow the economy. It generates prosperity.

As a direct response copywriter, I love the actual writing part of the work. I also enjoy marketing myself. But I get a huge sense of satisfaction knowing that I'm helping, in my own small way, to help the company grow and prosper. Entrepreneurs take big risks and I'm happy when they sell more stuff ... everyone benefits.

Direct response marketing and direct response copywriting are ultimately all about prosperity.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

Direct Response Copywriter on What It's All About Part 3

In the last blog, I wrote about a marketing problem I encountered a few weeks ago while on vacation.

So let’s get into what direct marketing and direct response copywriting is all about.

With a different approach, a more direct approach, the ski instructors I wrote about in the last blog would have all been working that day; they would have had skiers to instruct. They would have earned money that day.

As a direct response copywriter, I have only one task: write copy that generates revenue for my clients. Yes … I do this ethically and I don’t make stuff up but the ultimate goal is to help my clients get leads and revenue. No copywriter needs to make stuff up.

As such, my copy has helped my clients be wildly successful. One client has grown from 6 employees to almost 60. Another client became the fastest-growing company in the region where I live. One client has clients who are increasing leads by 300 and 400 percent.

My copy doesn’t always work but I have lots of success stories. And I fully admit my role is just one of several important parts in the sales chain. But let’s think about the real results: prosperity for my clients … jobs … economic success … economic growth … and more.

So, ultimately, that’s what direct marketing is all about. The success of clients. They pay me to grow revenue and the value of the business.

Of course, as a direct marketing writer, I’m constantly straddling the line between success and failure. One the one hand, I’m striving to beat the control and it’s great when that happens. Conversely, projects can sometimes fail. But in direct response, we take failure and learn and move forward. In the branding world, nobody knows what works and what doesn’t.

Direct marketing and direct response copywriting is, ultimately, all about prosperity.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

Direct Response Copywriter on What It's All About Part 2

In the last blog, I introduced a series of blogs about what direct response copywriting is all about.

And I promised a story. Here you go ...

A few weeks ago, I visited a famous ski resort. I have visited this resort every year for 12 years in a row. I’m in the database. I have always taken at least one ski lesson per trip. It’s in the database.

At one part of the resort, several ski instructors optimistically wait every morning for skiers to show up and take lessons. The instructors are among the world’s best. They are independent contractors and work is never guaranteed. No skiers. No money.

You’ll find anywhere from 4-8 instructors at the meet-up but I’ve only ever seen 2 … at most … get work for the day.

The resort knows a couple of things about me:

  • I visit at least once a year so I like the resort.
  • I have always taken lessons.

I'm a prime target ... a REPEAT BUYER ... so ...

You might have thought I would have received an email (or 5) encouraging me to take lessons just after I booked my trip. You would have thought the telephone booking agent would have upsold me to some discount lessons.

No emails. No upsell.

However, I always get a survey AFTER my visit asking me about my lesson.

Too late, team.

Two years ago, to generate more revenue, the marketing people doubled the price of the lesson and re-branded the name of the lessons. But it's exactly the same instruction.

That’s Post Office pricing strategy.

If the marketing people decide to put this direct response copywriter – or any competent direct marketer – in charge of getting those ski instructors a ton of business, I would follow these steps.

  1. Look at inventory and demand over the last several years to determine pricing.
  2. Create a segmented database of people who have taken lessons.
  3. Marry that list to the list of people who have booked trips.
  4. Send emails to the new list … with a special and aggressive offer.
  5. Measure the results.

Even with the most basic email platform, like MailChimp, I could organize this.

Admittedly, I have simplified the steps. But I should have received several emails giving me the opportunity to take lessons at well below the “rack” rate. There was plenty of inventory and it was the end of the season. I'm sure the instructors and the resort would rather have some business than none.

The fact I didn’t get any emails selling lessons? Rookie mistake and epic marketing fail.

Why bother with the steps above?

I’ll answer the question in the next blog.

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One problem … from my view as a guest/customer, the resort is more focused on branding, image, and the “trendy” marketing tactics (like Twitter) than direct marketing. The result? World-class ski instructors not getting any work.

More soon …

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

Direct Response Copywriter on What It's All About. Part 1.

Marketing – especially direct marketing – is hard. It’s not for the weak and it’s not for people who want to win prizes and look good.

Every serious direct marketer – and direct response copywriter – has looked really really bad; they have suffered epic failures. And because we direct marketers and direct marketing writers are accountable down to the last penny, we always know what’s working and what’s not. Those who live in the branding and “image” world are never accountable … or at least not like us.

Perhaps this leads to the somewhat obvious question. Why bother with direct response marketing if failure is part of the equation? The answer depends on how you look at direct response.

I’ve had sales pages convert at 5% … which is really, really high. But that also means a 95% failure rate.

So with such a high failure rate – if you look at direct marketing that way – you might ask the obvious question, “why bother?”

In this series of blogs, I’m going to write about the power of direct response marketing and the real reasons it’s so vitally important.

You lot in the branding world won’t enjoy this series of blogs … especially if you like the lack of accountability in your world and view direct response marketing as somewhat crass.

However, after reading this series, you’ll understand direct response marketing with much more clarity.

Something that happened recently motivated me to write this series. And in the next blog, I’ll detail exactly what transpired and why it pushed me to write.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.