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A Willing Participant, Inc.  /  Chicago, Illinois  /  markb@awillingparticipant.com  /  (312) 775-2266

The Perfect Balance Between Branding and Direct Response: 4 More Tips

February 7, 2019

 

Last week we discussed three crucial aspects of results-driven marketing campaigns that combine elements of both branding and direct response.

 

While those principles lay a solid foundation, they must be complemented by four more essential rules to ensure your campaign is effective.

 

Let's explore these four additional fundamentals for striking the perfect balance between branding and direct response.

 

1. Keep it Personal

 

Branded or not, the best direct response campaigns still use targeted, relevant, personalized offers to generate response.

 

This isn't at odds with branding; rather, it should complement the brand, enabling you to add personality and dimension.

 

2. Make it All About "You"

 

By that, I don't mean talk about yourself by using the words "we" or "us" over and over.

 

Instead, make every piece of your campaign focused on the reader.

 

The easiest way to do this is to start headlines with "you," "your" and "you're" to immediately keep the reader involved.

 

The brand is here to lend credibility to your sales proposition.

 

3. Make a Visual Impact, and Back it Up with Strong Copy

 

By visual, I don't necessarily mean bright colors, giant images or cool graphics.

 

Sure, use those if you have them, but use them the right way.

 

Use them to tell the story of your brand and have the copy complement that to show the reader why it's relevant to them.

 

What if you don't have a catalog of images? Even better.

 

It forces you to tell the story in a visual way using type or call-outs, both of which are proven techniques to drive response.

 

4. Keep it Simple and Speak Clearly

 

Too often, we see marketers get so wrapped up in "brand speak" that the recipient never gets the chance to see what they were trying to sell them.

 

One former client used to have us add in a 50-word paragraph to every communication before we could start selling the offer.

 

It was four or so sentences all about the company and how they really valued the reader's time and business and how...

 

I mean, wow. You value me, but you're going to talk all about yourself?

 

Not surprisingly, response suffered greatly.

 

They ignored rules No. 1 and No. 2 (and, if you remember, rule No. 1 from last week's post).

 

You're much better off getting to the point quickly and using supplemental copy to introduce the strengths of the brand's attributes in a more subtle way.

 

For example, let's say a company has been around for decades, offering some of the finest leather gloves around. Their artisans work tirelessly to find the best materials, and they guarantee everything they make.

 

Which approach is better, then? Which gets the higher response?

 

We truly value your business and that's why we're proud to be your choice when it comes to finding the best leather. It's been true for over 30 years, as our family has...

 

Or...

 

Right now, because you shopped with us before, you can save 25% on your next order. It's our "thank you" for helping us reach our 30th anniversary. And if you're ever unhappy with your order, you know you can return it for a full refund, no questions asked.

 

Sure, the second one is longer, but it brings the reader in right way and tells her what's in it for her. And the brand? It's right there, embedded in the sales offer, adding credibility to the message... as it should.

 

There's only one caveat: every situation, every brand, every direct response campaign is unique.

 

Over the years, we've seen it all. Sometimes, you can do everything right and it still doesn't work. Sometimes, you skip a few rules, and you end up hitting a home run.

 

The trick, I hope you can see, is immersing yourself in the brand—and tried and true direct response techniques—and seeing if you can find that perfect balance.

 

Ideally, you'd be able to test to get there, but that's not always possible.

 

In those instances, use the seven rules as your guide and you'll be on your way to making every campaign a brand-building, direct response success.

 

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