Several years ago, I was extremely fortunate to work with Jim McLean, the extremely successful golf teacher. And well before that, McLean was fortunate to work with a golfer named Jackie Burke who won The Masters in 1956 and is enjoying a long and fruitful career in golf and business. I still work with Jim McLean on various projects.
Burke told McLean “I never saw a persistent man fail.”
These words stuck with McLean and they have stuck with me. I think about the word “persistence” almost every day.
The more I think about it, the more I believe that direct marketing and direct response copywriting success comes down to persistence.
Last week, a company I know very well asked me to write a presentation to help them improve one part of their business that’s not going very well. It should be going well. It's a great offer to the perfect audience.
In looking at how they market this particular product, I noticed something pretty obvious. There’s only one touchpoint to market this product. Once someone says “no” then that’s it. So I simply said, in my presentation, “that first 'no' must not be the end of the conversation, it should be the beginning.”
I’m a direct response copywriter, so I’m going to tell you the copy and the message are important. Vital, even. But with 7-10 touchpoints instead of 1, guess what’s going to happen?
Someone I know once referred to this consistency as “polite persistence” and that’s a phrase I like very much.
There’s a lot of failure in direct marketing. We fail a ton. But the top direct marketers keep going and keep pounding away. They also keep testing. It’s all about persistence. It’s not a concept that branding people understand because they can’t measure anything. A campaign lasts for a defined period and that's that.
Dan Kennedy said that most people give up when there’s the first sign of a headwind. And he’s right. Many people fail because they’re not persistent. I’m a direct response copywriter which ultimately means I’m in sales. The great salespeople and the great marketers know that 99% of sales begin with the word “no.”
But they also understand that’s just the beginning of the journey that ultimately leads to a “yes.” If you have the right market, the right offer, and the right direct response copywriter, then persistence will pay off.