Response rates getting you down?

By Jenny Orr on October 19th, 2010

Do great creative ideas = great response? Well, it definitely helps. But if the call-to-action is weak, your chances of prospects knocking your door down are slim. Too often we get caught up in the clever folds of a direct mail piece, the brilliant flash animation of a web banner, the tedious styling of a photo shoot, all to forget the purpose of this multi-faceted dog and pony get people to actually respond! Sometimes clients almost seem afraid that people WILL respond. Almost like they aren’t quite sure if they will measure up to the unique positioning for which the communication has touted them. Or even worse, they don’t have enough support in place to properly handle the response – but that’s another blog.So here are just a few call-to-action tips that, when combined with a creative single-minded message sent to the right audience, could actually turn into sales.

1. The call-to-action needs to stand out. Don’t hide it within body copy. Give it its own space. Make it bold. A different color. Whatever, just make it stand out.1b. But don’t make it stand out more than the main message. Sometimes people try to make the call-to-action the main message. Remember you have to sell the benefit before asking to respond.2. Offer an incentive when appropriate. When budget allows, offer an incentive that supports your concept, but be sure it’s not something that will cheapen your brand. There’s nothing worse than responding to something that looks awesome in the photo and then you’re disappointed when you receive it. A negative response is worse than no response at all.3. Give a deadline to respond. For instance, “...Call before Dec. 10 to set up a meeting and we’ll bring you <this really cool thing>.”4. Make it easy for the prospect by giving them several different ways to respond. Some people prefer to text, some prefer to call, some prefer to email, etc.... Give them as many options as possible.5. If you’re not really expecting to sell something right away, but are just trying to engage the prospect to start a relationship, you may want to send them to a “landing page” which visually and conceptually ties into your campaign. Here you can also ask for more information so that you can better speak to this prospect next time. Also, give them some new, more detailed information rather than just reiterating what you’ve already communicated in the initial communication. If you said, “To learn more visit...” then give them something new to learn. Don’t waste their time.6. Don’t be afraid to repeat the call-to-action. Especially on a brochure or direct mail piece that might have a few different panels or folds.I think that about sums it up. And if they still don’t respond to printed pieces or online communications, follow up phone calls could be the answer.