Direct Marketing Disasters: 3 Non-Copywriting Mistakes That Kill Sales (It’s Just the Copywriter)

When you work with clients it can become all too clear that bad copywriting is not the only source of failure in marketing. However, in a classic case of CYA its can be the unfortunate soul brought in to write the copy who shoulders all of the blame when a project fails and also is the undisputed hero when it all succeeds.

Neither is actually the case. The copy is always the most obvious piece of any marketing activity but it is not the only piece.

Here are three other ways any given marketing campaign can fail even with the most brilliant copy:

1) Poor Or Absent Market Selection. Not selecting a target market at all or doing such a poor job of it that you are unable to target it effectively. Most business are not actually in the business of selling to everyone. We don’t sell laundry powder or disposable razors, etc. In most cases there are limits on who we sell to. So being crystal clear about who you are selling to makes the world of difference.

Amazing as it may seem, just getting crystal clear about who you are selling to makes a world of difference to the other people working on your marketing. Matching message to market makes a huge difference to response rates. I’ve seen response rates more than 4X just by simply using laser targeting of markets and matching the message appropriately.

2) Inappropriate Selection And Use Of Media. There are many ways to take great copy and then ruin it with inappropriate or inadequate media. I’ve had clients take strong copy, cut it up and then try and send it as a chopped up sales letter only to see it fail.

Not surprising, because you don’t send one letter to 100 people and expect an avalanche of business. Considering the hurdles involved in getting the sale, I’d have been impressed with an enquiry.

Another supplier of ours sends a 2 page brochure for their marketing services and expects that to impress their prospective clients.

It shows unrealistic expectations. Conversely, I will spend several hundred dollars following up with clients when the cost of sale allows this. The follow up makes a considerable return on investment. It’s when you want massive returns off of small spends that you get in trouble.

3) A terrible offer. Not enough effort invested in coming up with a slam dunk offer will affect the response rates of a campaign. You need an irresistible offer, not an offer that is too good to be true. Cos if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Irresistible offers are good enough to be true and they gnaw away at people until they respond.