Kids and direct response writers have something in common: they both understand the power of clear and simple communication. Getting their point across loud and clear is a definite skill that kids possess when they want something “right now!” For a more effective message, apply some of these same principles to your next project.
On a recent family vacation in Florida, I listened as my two eldest children were bickering. My oldest child, Morgan, kept telling my second oldest child, Mason, “Stop copying everything I say!” (You know how kids play this “game” to annoy each other.)
Mason chimed back, “Stop mimicking everything I say.”
Morgan responded back, “Huh, mimicking is not the same as copying.”
I interrupted, “Yes, in this case it is.”
Upon which Mason said, “See Morgan, it IS the same. ‘Mimicking’ is just an adult word that they say instead of ‘copying.'”
Selecting Just the Right Words
Which brings me to the subject at hand, the power of words, specifically, the right words and how they can profoundly impact your direct marketing success.
For instance, in direct response copy there is a big difference in the following phrases:
Learn how to become wealthy beyond your dreams.
Discover how to become wealthy beyond your dreams.
Learning implies work and a degree of difficulty. To discover is to come upon something by accident, to be lucky, and implies ease and no work at all.
And that’s just a single word. Direct response writers understand and know that even changing one word can strengthen your direct response prose dramatically, impacting results positively. They understand the power of compelling, benefit driven headlines and how to craft copy that stops you and gets you to read on and, more importantly, respond and act quickly.
A direct response writer understands that you sell the offer, not the product or service while simultaneously building credibility and asking for the order. They understand that their job is to sell and understand the psychology of human behavior.
Consider the following newspaper headlines:
Protect your family for $25 yearly.
(This is not a misprint, read on to find out how.)
Protect your family for $25 yearly.
While both are compelling, the first headline addresses the question in our prospects mind “This sounds too good to be true,” eliminating doubt and reinforcing that it is indeed true, establishing credibility and subconsciously getting the reader to read on further for more information.
More readers will want to know “how can I protect my family for such a small amount of money.” In this case, adding a simple phrase makes a big difference.
A true direct response writer knows the power of clear and simple communication.
They do not tire of words like “free”, “new”, “now” or “you”. They wield this clout in each piece of mail they write to grab new leads…every site they help build to get hits on the Web…each print ad they run to pull in new sales. Read these words over, and you should know what we mean when we say that we like to put their skill to the test.
In fact, the paragraph you just read is created from single syllable words. (Is that cool or what?). Clear communication should not be complex.
Direct response copywriters know that we need to tell the readers what to do:
Respond by June 13th
by completing the enclosed reply card
or dialing, toll-free, 1-800-YOU-RULE
to receive your 10% discount.
Direct response writers also know the power of testing and analyzing results. Make no mistake, you can be a great writer, but that does not make you a direct response writer. By combining the right offer, with the right words, adding some psychological principles, and understanding selling and the sales process, you can help your clients and companies succeed.
So, the next time you’re out and about town, listen to the kids as they talk to each other.
We’d be wise to copy – that is, mimic the way they interact from time to time.
Grant A. Johnson
Johnson Direct LLC