More than ever CMOs are facing increased scrutiny when it comes to how they spend their marketing budgets. This is particularly true for small- and medium-sized businesses who require a significant ROI on every single advertising dollar to stay afloat. Because of this, traditional brand advertising is taking a back seat to direct response advertising.
You’ve probably figured out the hard way that it’s rather difficult to measure traditional brand advertising. Not so with direct response. These ads are far more tangible and easier to track, which is priceless to cost-conscious marketers. But with this obvious benefit comes a whole new set of best practices that advertisers can use to manage their direct response campaigns and optimize their revenue potential.
In order to manage the unique challenges and achieve real campaign optimization, as well as increase that revenue, marketers must focus on a few key campaign components:
Consistently Test for Performance
If your goal is to maximize your return on investment, then recognize now a critical advertising truth: One size never fits all. Ever. For this reason you had better get very comfortable with the idea of testing. Here’s your new chant: test, refine, optimize. Say it with me… test, refine, optimize.
Your direct response ads will live on different channels. What works on the radio may not work on TV or in your local newspaper or in a direct mail campaign. What performs well on one may bomb on another, so routinely test, refine, and optimize.
Track and Analyze Your Leads
If you have no tools in place to track and analyze your leads, then most of the money spent on your campaigns is for nothing. You’ve got to be able to figure out where your leads came from and if they are converting well or not. Once you’re able to track and analyze, create a report of your campaign’s performance so you may take actionable steps to correct what isn’t working.
Cost and Long-Term Value
Before you begin crafting your direct response campaign you’ll need to determine what you can realistically afford to pay for each lead and subsequent sale, or risk running into trouble down the road. When figuring this cost, make sure to consider the long-term value of each customer and brainstorm ways you can pull even more revenue out of each. These figures should be factored into your upfront marketing costs.
Once your campaigns have been launched, take another look at your metrics to be sure your financial projections on long-term customer value were correct.
Be Sure Your Copy Is On Point
Direct response copy is very different from every other form of copy. Where an article or blog post is meant to educate, and a branded commercial is meant to briefly get viewer attention and subliminally plant an idea, a direct response ad is designed to lead the reader to make a buying decision right then and there. The goal of direct response advertising is getting the prospect to take immediate action. And the best part is direct response copy can be easily tested and adjusted to significantly improve the outcome.
As David Olgilvy once said, “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”
Communicate Clearly with Your Media Buyer
Communication is obviously important to any campaign, but it’s particularly important in direct response. When branding is the goal, you have more time to see if the campaign has reached its objective. When immediate sales are the goal, and constant adjustment is critical to reach that ROI, keeping your media buyer in the loop with every change is essential.
Be sure to clearly communicate your expectations such as targets and budget with your buyer, and be open to their feedback, edits and ideas. A good media buyer will have more insights into which media and channels will offer more revenue potential. Constant communication will ensure you hit your campaign’s goals.
These guidelines will help you plan your next direct response campaigns so they actually get the desired response.