Get a Better Direct Marketing Response Rate Using Storytelling Techniques

One of the most famous direct response ads of all times is John Caples’ masterful “They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano But When I Started to Play! –” Written in 1925 to advertise the U.S. School of Music’s correspondence course, it remains a timeless classic of direct response marketing, and a powerful demonstration of how the art of storytelling can improve direct marketing response rates.Anatomy of a Successful Direct Response AdBy today’s standards, it’s quite long – much longer, in fact, than most modern audiences will sit still for. But it weaves a magic spell over the reader, drawing you into the tale of the man who was laughed at and who eventually had the last laugh, thanks to the U.S. School of Music’s correspondence course.The ad successfully uses the following storytelling techniques:
The headline instantly touches on an emotional nerve. “They laughed – ” How many of us have been laughed at by the faceless, nameless “they”? Pretty much everyone at one time or another has been on the receiving end of derisive laughter! And who doesn’t want it to end? Caples, one of the best copywriters of all time, draws the reader right into the story.
A setup: The story is told and we view the events unfolding through dialogue and story.
The punchline: We’re already emotionally invested in our hero. Will he play and confirm what the crowd thinks, that he’s just a bumbling fool, an inept musician? No! He sits and plays Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. It’s a well chosen work for the ad. Not only is it a beautiful work, it is one familiar to most people who can immediately hear it in their minds. It’s also a difficult piece but one that a skilled amateur could certainly play. In other words, it’s a stretch but not a crazy stretch to imagine that you can play such a work.
And the call to action: The ad ends with a strong call to action, a free booklet, and the standard direct marketing components to enable easy and fast responses to the ad.Using Storytelling Techniques in Your Marketing MaterialsTo run such a long print advertisement in a newspaper or magazine today would be costly. But what about the internet? So many so-called ‘squeeze pages’ for E books and information products ramble on with hysterical, hard hitting copy, yet fail to tell a compelling story.People naturally gravitate towards stories. There’s a reason that stories such as myths, folklore and legends have passed down to use throughout the ages. The human mind and heart wants to latch onto the emotional resonance in a story. Our brains are hard wired to find and make sense of the story in what we are told. Finding your product, service, or company story and weaving a magic tale around it evokes an emotional response, tapping into the customer’s right-brained, intuitive, creative mind. Skillfully including product features, as Caples does in this ad, then taps into the logical left-brained mind and completes and seals the sale.Look with a fresh eye at what you’re selling. Whether it’s a piece of exquisite artwork or plumbing supplies, what story does it tell?
You don’t have to make up a tale like Caples did in his ad. One of the most successful company “stories” I heard about was a car wash chain in California who spun a great story around their new recycling equipment that cleaned and recycled water from the car wash, thus reducing their environmental impact and saving water, something very important to drought-conscious Californians. The funny thing is that recycling gray water was mandated by law, so the car wash wasn’t doing anything differently from what their competitors were doing – they just figured out how to tell a better story about it!
Think about your brand as if it were a myth or an archetype. If that’s too highfalutin for you, think about it like a Disney fairy tale. Are you Cinderella rising from rags to riches or are you Hansel and Gretel, using cleverness and creativity to save the day for your clients? There are many branding with archetypes workshops and books. See if anything resonates or appeals to you.
Ask a sympathetic friend to spend some time listening to you tell the story of how your product developed. Or use the stuffed animal exercise. Take a stuffed animal, sit it on your desk, and pretend to talk to it (or speak aloud to it as long as your family won’t think you’re crazy). Write down what you say, then let it ‘cool’ and don’t read it for several days. Go back to it. Does your brand story speak coherently and from the heart? Evoke emotion? Weave a story the way Caples did? No – then revise, rewrite, and try again.The power of storytelling is an ancient power that can be harnessed to improve direct marketing response rates. Don’t settle for humdrum, feature-heavy copy on your websites, brochures, postcards and more. Weave a magic spell with words and create a compelling tale that draws customers in. Once they’re into the story, they can’t help but want to know what happens next, and respond not merely with logic but with brand loyalty.The entire ad, including the full copy, of the famous 1925 John Caples ad may be found at Power Writing.

Marketing Channels: Don’t Toss Your Trusted Tools

I have a confession to make, and I freely admit that it’s a symptom of being male: whenever I’m at the home improvement store, I find an excuse to wander through the power tool section and dream of adding the latest gizmo to my crowded workbench.

Of course, when I bring that shiny new toy — er, tool — home, I don’t toss all my older tools in the trash. While that new laser-equipped radial cross-cutting veeblefetzer may be great for handling certain tasks, there are many times when the trusty claw hammer I bought as a teenager is the perfect choice for the job.

That’s why I’m puzzled when I see how companies and organizations react to new marketing opportunities and channels. Presented with a shiny new toy — er, tool — they’re quick to devote most of their resources to it, and to discard the time-honored tactics they’ve been using.

Even in these days of YouTube and Facebook (and whatever the kids are using and the adults are weeks away from discovering), what many business owners and managers see as old-fashioned strategies and tactics still work quite well. In fact, as your competitors make those lemming-like moves to abandon or dramatically reduce their presence in those other channels, sticking with “traditional” tactics may be even more powerful.

The key is to look at each new tool as an enhancement to your toolbox, not as a replacement for something you’ve already been using. That Facebook fan page may be a great way to connect with customers on an informal basis, but you may still need a presence in magazines that reach the decision-makers in your industry. A viral video may create a huge sensation that drives 50,000 people to your website in a single week, but it may be that 90 percent of your sales still happen because of conversations at trade shows.

By adding those new tools, you broaden your reach, and may actually connect with the same audiences in more ways. That’s a lesson that savvy bankers have learned. Way back when ATMs first emerged on the scene, many bankers saw them as a way to reduce the number of tellers. But they discovered that customers who used ATMs still liked to come to teller windows at times. The same is true for online banking and the ability to check transactions with smart phones. The smart bankers in the crowd recognize that customers appreciate those multiple avenues of contact, and that very few customers limit themselves to just one.

You can also use lessons learned and knowledge acquired from “traditional” media to add power and effectiveness to newer media channels. For example, it always amazes me when people dismiss anything related to direct-response advertising as archaic and useless. The folks who truly understand direct response are the most consistently successful marketers. They have tested and verified every message and variable, and are remarkably accurate at projecting rates of return on projects. They know what kind of language turns prospects off, and which words stop them in their tracks. It comes as no surprise that companies who have been longtime leaders in direct-response channels have successfully migrated their strategies into newer media.

Why do I mention that? Because I’ve received so many marketing emails from companies and organizations who seem to be ignorant of everything the direct-response folks have taught us. Yes, there’s a huge physical difference between a three-paragraph email and a four-page direct mail letter, but both have the same goal: connecting with the reader and motivating him or her to a specific action. Companies ignore that hard-earned wisdom at their peril.

“All-or-nothing” approaches rarely work well in marketing. Instead, the most successful marketers employ multiple channels to present their messages, tailoring their messages and tactics to the nature of each channel, and connecting them effectively. By weaving those channels together, they allow each individual contact to lead to others, and ensure that every touchpoint supports the message and overall objectives.

Don’t make the mistake of discarding strategies that performed five, ten or twenty years ago as obsolete or useless. Instead, consider them as familiar tools that have a place in your marketing efforts. After all, there’s a big difference between making a one-time splash and delivering successful long-term performance.

How to wear a Saree

Some more popular types of sarees worn in this region are batik sarees in Sri Lanka, as well as handloom and cotton. Many sarees that come from this region boast of being handmade and you can find beautiful sarees wherever you find handmade items in Sri Lanka.

The traditional Indian saree is a beautiful and elegant piece of clothing that can be worn in many different ways. The most common way to wear it is the four-region style, which consists of wearing the saree with its end tucked into the petticoat. Here are different ways you could wear your saree.

Four-region style: Tucking one end on top of the other and securing both ends with a pin or safety pin.
Half sari: One side draped over shoulder and pinned at waist (most commonly seen among celebrities).
Full Sari: Both sides draped around body, secured by pins at waist level.
Half Dupatta Style: One side of dupatta draped over shoulder and pinned at waist level.
Miss World style: One end is tucked into petticoat or wrapped around once, while the other is left loose hanging down below knee-level.
Shoulder Style: The saree draping one shoulder with a blouse worn beneath it.
Multi-region Style (Cocktail Saree): Two ends are tucked in front; another two ends are tied up to make a knot.
Three-Region Stye (Nivi Sari): Tucked across chest/waist area with both loose ends falling on either side like an umbrella.
Half Nivi: One half of the saree falls down and the other section of the saree is worn draped over the shoulder or waist, to form a sling.
Casual Saree: One end is tied around the waist and other loose ends are left hanging.
Straight drape style: One pleat is kept intact at one place while other pleats are spread evenly on either side of legs.
Kandyan saree: Worn in Sri Lanka. This is generally worn tightly around the waist with the fall of the saree folded and pinned to the shoulder to fall down in a straight line.