Assume Nothing

It’s completely coincidental that the mayor of Las Vegas and I share the exact same name … including our middle initial. But unlike me, that Carolyn G Goodman was elected to office and has a huge following in cyberspace. Unfortunately for her, I acquired the Twitter handle @carolyngoodman before she even discovered Twitter

It’s completely coincidental that the mayor of Las Vegas and I share the exact same name … including our middle initial. But unlike me, that Carolyn G Goodman was elected to office and has a huge following in cyberspace.

Unfortunately for her, I acquired the Twitter handle @carolyngoodman before she even discovered Twitter. And unfortunately for me, Madame Mayors’ followers (journalists, critics, and other LV lovers) tweet and reference Mayor Goodman by referencing my twitter handle regularly.

While I enjoy her spotlight for a nano-second, I always reply to the offending tweeter that they’ve referenced the wrong twitter handle, and they usually apologize and quickly do their homework and issue a correcting tweet.

It serves, however, as a great reminder that when pushing content, sending emails, lasering direct mail packages, etc., etc., you should assume nothing.

  • Don’t assume I know who you are when you call me to follow up on an email introduction or direct mail letter you sent. Over 800 emails a day land in my in-box. I don’t read them all, and if I do, it’s probably because they’re client or employee-related. Start the call by introducing yourself. Quickly state your business purpose and then move into your relationship building techniques. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to remind me about the email or direct mail package you sent me because clearly I didn’t see it/read it/absorb it.
  • Don’t assume I want a follow-up call from a tradeshow booth chat within 24 hours of the event. While you may want to “jump while the iron is hot,” I am overwhelmed with other issues since I’ve been away from my desk for a few days. Give me a few days to settle back into the routine and then call (if indeed I expressed an interest in your product/service and didn’t just stop by to drop off a business card to win the free iPad).
  • Don’t assume I want to be your friend on Facebook just because we do business together. Facebook plays a key role in my personal life, and I post regularly with family updates, photos of my dog and things I’m doing locally with friends. If you’re a business colleague, let’s stick to being friends through LinkedIn. Period.
  • Don’t assume I want to be added to your email/newsletter list just because I met you at a conference/trade show/friend’s party and we exchanged business cards. Spamming is no way to start a relationship.
  • Don’t assume I follow the genderization rules of your software program. While the name Carolyn is most likely female, all too often folks named Pat, Leslie, or Chris are offended by being addressed as “Mr.” in your direct mail letter or email. Just ask a boy named Sue.
  • Don’t assume I have interest in or empathy towards your organization/product/service. Starting an email or letter with factual information about your company is meaningless and more than likely to trigger an instant finger on the delete button or a careless toss in the recycle bin. Lead with a story, a benefit statement, a problem/solution … just don’t start by talking about yourself. To paraphrase the great Bob Hacker, all the reader cares about is, “What’s in it for me?”
  • Finally, don’t assume that I have a problem and I’ve just been waiting for your sales call in order to solve it. Do your homework. Understand my industry. Look for case studies within your organization that solve issues that I’m probably facing, because I’m in the same industry. Don’t start your call by asking me “a little bit about myself and my company.”

Net-net? Stop assuming and start doing your homework before you decide that I’m responsible for the woes of Las Vegas. Because if I am, I should be writing the script for The Hangover, Part 4.

The Direct Mail Formula for Great Online Video Series

Planning an online video is a bit like planning and writing a direct mail letter: It helps to have a formula. You need a framework and, perhaps most importantly, a plan to build engagement that leads to closing a sale or prompting a contribution. Today we share three tips for creating a series of online videos in a framework that could resemble chapters in a book. Each chapter builds on another, building confidence and desire from the viewer. The final chapter is where direct mail copywriting principles

Planning an online video is a bit like planning and writing a direct mail letter. It helps to have a formula. You need a framework and perhaps most importantly, a plan to build engagement that leads to closing a sale or prompting a contribution. Today we share three tips for creating a series of online videos in a framework that could resemble chapters in a book. Each chapter builds on another, building confidence and desire from the viewer. The final chapter is where direct mail copywriting principles can be effectively used to close the sale or contribution.

A framework can serve to break your message into segments, each standing on its own.

Viewers can take a mental break between videos as they figuratively turn the page to be taken to something new in the book in a future video.

In today’s video, you’ll learn about three steps you can use to shape your story in video. We also include tips on how to close the sale using direct mail best practices. As you get into the close of your video, it’s all about momentum. Keep it going. Keep it tight. Finish strong.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

When you have a considerable amount of information to share, dividing it into a framework can make it easier for your customers or prospects to follow your intended path to purchase. It engages the audience, and, when done properly, leads viewers to the conclusion that they should buy now.

This is the same principle we used recently to increase sales by 20 percent for an organization.

You may be familiar with the AIDA formula (Attention—Interest—Desire—Action) used by direct mail copywriters to sell and move readers to action. It can apply over time in a series of videos, too. Get the viewer’s attention, create desire, and build trust and confidence. Motivate the viewer to take action as the story or message unfolds, the viewer is ultimately prompted to take action and buy, or in the case of fundraising, make a donation.

Another bonus of a series of videos is that when distributed through social media, you can ask your viewers to “like” or pass along their impressions of each video. That creates the opportunity for your message to spread virally over the timespan of the series.

With these steps to build chapters along with these closing techniques, all designed to lead to sale, your online video messages are better positioned to sell more.

How Long Should A Video Be?

An experienced direct marketer knows the length of a direct mail letter is dictated by how long it takes to close the sale, generate the lead or get the contribution. Not surprisingly, there are those who believe a video should never be longer than 30 seconds or a minute. For those who bark “keep it short,” we suggest that you should replace those words with

An experienced direct marketer knows the length of a direct mail letter is dictated by how long it takes to close the sale, generate the lead, or get the contribution. Not surprisingly, there are those who believe a video should never be longer than 30 seconds or a minute. For those who bark “keep it short,” we suggest that you should replace those words with “keep it tight.”

Today’s message highlights how to use data from YouTube analytics (not merely someone’s well-meaning opinion) to determine how long your video should be. And we’ll also discuss five video formats—educational, product demonstration, fundraising, lead generation and case studies—with guidelines on the length of your message for each format.

Please share with us your comments, below, about your experience with video length. If your data dictates that a shorter video always works better, we’d like to hear about it.

(P.S. The Online Video Marketing Deep Dive webinar is coming on Oct. 24. Register here. It’s free! And if you have any questions that you would like us to cover, please send me and email).

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)