Knowing how much to say with your direct marketing messages is a challenge—one that has troubled marketing experts for years. If you don’t say enough, you’ve wasted your time because your audience won’t have enough information to respond. But what if you say too much?
How can your direct marketing say too much? Let’s look at a couple of times when “more is less” in direct marketing.
Providing More Information Than Your Audience Wants
There’s an old direct mail adage (that applies to all kinds of marketing efforts) that says: “You know your copy is too long when your audience stops reading.” The point of this adage is that there’s no magic number of words or length of copy that works every time. If you’re telling people things that are interesting and helpful to them, they’ll keep reading. If you bore your audience with the features of your product or services, they will stop reading. By the way, if you’re looking for some tips on how to improve your message, check out How to Write Great Direct Mail Content.
A conundrum some businesses face is that some of their prospects actually do want additional information (features, technical information, pricing, etc.). So how can you accommodate them without losing the part of your audience who isn’t interested in that (at least not right now)?
That’s the beauty of the Internet! You can provide a link to more specific information that allows your audience to go there if they want to. If they’re not interested, you can still engage them with the information they want. Here’s how it could work. Click here if you want more information about how to integrate your direct mail and multi-channel marketing efforts. Some will click on this because it’s what they’re interested in. Others won’t—and can move on to other information that’s more important to them.
Giving Away Valuable Information
Sometimes companies (especially those who consult) want to provide helpful information, but don’t want to give away what brings them their livelihood. After all, if you give away all your expertise for free, why would someone pay you for it? It’s a bit of a delicate dance, and it can vary from industry to industry.
If you happen to be a homebuilder, for instance, you can provide lots of information about the different aspects of building a custom home. You can talk about design, construction, materials, schedules, pricing, and more. But it’s very unlikely that a potential client will glean everything he or she needs to know in order to act as the general contractor and build his or her own house.
The same could be said for a financial planner. A planner could talk about certain theories of financial planning, risks, opportunities, and even financial vehicles that someone could use to achieve certain financial goals. It’s helpful information, but it’s unlikely that most people would then feel confident to launch out on their own.
The idea is to share enough information to establish yourself as an expert and to address specific concerns that your audience has. It’s not your job to educate or train them to take your place. And frankly, most people aren’t looking for that.
So what’s the key to determining how much is too much? Don’t give people more than they want to know and don’t give them more than they need to know. Give them enough to address their immediate needs—and get them to engage with you for your expertise.