One of my favorite things about running Audacious Ink is the spam I get in the comments section. You rarely see them because WordPress, the little miracle genius it is, knows if something is spam and filters it. Still, I like to go in and look at what’s there. It’s a lesson in bad marketing. Whatever they are doing, do the opposite: copy written in broken English, insulting or offensive headlines, or worse, headlines that don’t make sense, and most of all, are hitting the wrong target.
I get lots of porn and Viagra spam. I’m a woman interested in marketing with a hankering for Boston Terriers. Do I strike you as your typical Viagra popping porn-lover? Yeah, on second thought, don’t answer that question. I’ve never been a fan of spam, but who is? I like the meat better than the email variety, and frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever had the meat. That’s how much I dislike spam. Don’t get me wrong: I see the value of a direct marketing campaign, especially in a well-thought out plan. But why can’t these spammers get it right? Why have they not learned the big lesson of the successful direct marketers: know your target and hit it.
Obviously, these people are sending out blindly. I am sure my friend who writes a blog for mothers in Beverly Hills gets the viagra spam, as does my West Hollywood pal with her design blog. Why would anyone waste good viagra on us? Scratch that question. A better question is why are there still direct marketers out there who are not bothering to take time to do their homework and find the right audience, say, maybe men who visit porn sites, or even sport sites. You know, something that would indicate that they are a man and not a wine-swilling, dog-mom who ponders the right social media placement for her clients more than she thinks about girls gone wild?
It’s easy enough, so here is my simple five-step plan for a good direct marketing campaign. Pardon me if it is too simplistic, but I’m trying to make a point here about doing some basic homework and following some basic tenets:
- Know your audience and cultivate a list of tier one, tier two and tier three targets, through webinars, trade shows, emails sent via your website and from positive responses from other campaigns you’ve done. If you sell diamonds to retailers, then they are your target, right? If you want to sell viagra, don’t sell it to grandmothers, children, and testy marketers who might blog about you. Find the people who need it most: Middle-Aged Men. Generally speaking, women are not going to buy this pill for their men. Why? Men have egos, right? Women know not to cross that line. Not if they care about their sex life, which is why they would want Viagra to begin with.
- Write compelling copy that will not disgust your audience or make them hit the delete button. Answer this question: what is in it for them? That’s all any potential consumer wants to know. “What’s in it for me?”
- Don’t overwhelm them with repeated messages. Think about how often you want to get this message out and then trim that number down. Depending on what you are promoting, a repeat of two to three times usually suffices before they start to hate you (and they will, you are coming into their inbox uninvited), but be realistic and give them some breathing room. No one likes the hard sell. Seriously, you may think it works, but it doesn’t help with repeat business. Ask the guy at 24 Hour Fitness who has been trying to sell me a membership for a year.
- Go for appealing graphics. You may think that photos of Russian Mail Order Brides would be appealing enough graphics, and maybe for some men it is, but give your piece a nice, uncluttered layout. I feel like I’m in a prison cell when I look at some of the spam email I get, it is so over-crowded and noisy. Think like the military on a secret mission. Get in, and get out. Yes, you want to be noticed, but no, you don’t want to hit people over the head with a hammer. Unless you actually are on a secret military mission, then that may be necessary.
- Always give them a clear opt-out. Despite your best efforts at research, someone may make it on your mailing list that just doesn’t want to be there. Make it easy for them to opt out. Remember what my Grandmother always used to say: A Lady always knows when it is time to go. Be a Lady, even if you are a guy pushing Viagra.