The key to success in any business, and direct response in general, is to begin with a good product or service and market that product or service efficiently and effectively. With the following 99 tips and strategies, you will learn some of the best old school proven techniques that can help you to succeed in your home-based business.
1. Know your unique selling proposition. Create a simple and memorable positioning statement for your company. In one or two sentences, describe what distinguishes your business from the competition. Your positioning statement must appeal to your target audience.
2. Use that positioning statement in every written communication to customers.
3. Before you offer a new product or service, find out who your customers are and the best form of advertising to reach them.
4. Study the competition. Knowing your competitors will help define your strategy.
5. Know at all times what your competition is offering.
6. Always watch for important trends in the industry.
7. Some of the big success stories in business have resulted from finding a need (want) and filling it.
8. Keep your customers informed about your new products or services.
9. America is ever more diverse, with an estimated 80 million blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans and many more ethnic groups. Ignoring ethnic groups in marketing can be costly.
10. The success of your business will be largely affected by how well you have identified your potential market.
11. With the right marketing mix, one type of marketing effort supports the other and improves your chances for success.
12. Use PR to build your image and market your products. Send out press releases to make public aware of your business and its image.
13. Offer to write an article on your field for a newspaper or magazine. It can bring you valuable inquiries from prospects.
14. Stay on top of trends, and don’t be afraid to be the first to try something new.
15. How much money you can make depends on the quality of your products or services, the effectiveness and amount of your advertising, and your marketing efforts.
16. Your business will grow quickly if you provide a good service to your customers. Satisfied customers are your best guarantee of getting repeat business.
17. Don’t take your customers for granted — or your existing customers may become someone else’s new customers.
18. Work hard to maintain the loyalty of your existing customers. Offer them frequent discounts on select offers. Develop a follow up system to stay in regular contact with customers, so when they’re ready to buy again, they’ll think of you.
19. Handle any complaints the same day you receive them.
20. Treat all customers and prospects the way you would like to be treated.
21. Try to fill all orders and respond to all inquiries within 24 hours.
22. Don’t manipulate the prices of your products to make it appear that the customer is getting a price reduction when it’s not true. If you say that your product previously sold for $20 and now is $12, be absolutely sure that such is the case. Honesty always pays in the long run.
23. Never make any claim that cannot be substantiated by proof. You will be responsible even as an agent for another manufacturer or distributor.
24. Don’t fail to investigate the laws of your state regarding the sale of particular product. Most states require businesses to collect sales tax on products.
25. The Federal Trade Commission requires mail order purchases be shipped within 30 days after the company receives the order. However, you’ll have more satisfied customers and more repeat sales when you ship orders within 48 hours.
26. Run your business on the highest ethical level and treat your customers as you would like to be treated.
27. Honor your guarantees and send a refund to anyone who requests it.
28. Your business will likely to succeed if the offer is unique or exclusive or appealing to a large number of people.
29. Don’t spend too much time and effort creating the “perfect product.” If you don’t move fast, the market will pass you by. But never stop making your products better.
30. Keep alert for products that will trigger repeat orders.
31. Try to sell products that many people want.
32. Products offered at store counters are not generally suitable for direct response order.
33. Books are the ideal direct response product. Books carry a high markup. There’s no spoilage with books. You can mail books at a special low postage rate. And you can create and have full control over the marketing and distribution of your books. Above all, you can have hundreds of people selling your books. E-books are ideal direct response product with no production and shipping costs.
34. Consider offering how-to, and self-improvement books. You will have no problem finding millions of potential buyers.
35. According to Publishers Weekly, more books are being sold via mail-order (direct-response marketing) than in all the nation’s bookstores combined.
36. Think about what kind of information you could put on CD or DVD.
37. Launching a book involves investigating your market, creating a knockout product, and aggressively promoting it.
38. Before writing a book, visit your local bookstores. See what’s on the shelves and on the best-sellers list. Ask yourself what makes your book different. Talk to bookstore managers, book distributors, and follow the trends.
39. Don’t risk your reputation and your business by handling a product of questionable nature or value. There are too many good products around to sell without your having to handle any product that cannot be ethically sold.
40. You can start with a low-priced item if you want to, but try to sell a higher-priced offer as soon as you can for higher profits.
41. Never offer multi-level or pyramid schemes.
42. In order to increase your chances in direct-response marketing: 1. you must have a unique product — one which you develop yourself or have exclusive rights. 2. Your product must appeal to a large group of people. 3. Your product must have a high perceived value for what it cost to produce. 4. You must have the right promotional materials and good marketing plan to sell it cost effectively.
43. Testing is the most important part of marketing. Proceed cautiously until you test the product, the copy, and the advertising media or mailing list. Experiment by changing the headlines, copy, and size of your ads. After you find the winning combination, then you can roll out for a big marketing campaign. And you must continue the testing procedures if you want to increase your profit, for as long as you remain in business.
44. Key every ad you run, so you can determine the pulling power of each advertisement that you use.
45. Remember to always proceed slowly and test a proposition on a small scale before striking out with any considerable amount of capital.
46. Start your business online with your blogs, or through social media.
47. Free advertising can increase your business tremendously. It can be used alone or you can use it along with your paid advertising program.
48. Most publishers charge by the word for classified ads. Eliminate excess words and you can save enough money to pay for more ads.
49. Do not try to get orders directly from a classified ad unless you are asking for $3 or less. The few words in a classified ad are not enough to convince people to buy a high-priced item. Higher priced items should be sold using inquiry and follow-up classified ads, display ads, and direct mail for your offline advertising.
50. Follow up on those who send you requests for details on an offer. If they don’t send you an order right away, try again later by sending other follow ups. Contact your prospects for as long as it’s profitable.
51. Advertise consistently to expand your customer list.
52. To get an idea of the scope of mail order selling, look carefully through the advertising sections of any craft magazine, also trade journals, farm magazines, metropolitan newspapers, and notice how often those ads are repeated. You will get a good idea of what is successful and what is not.
53. Clip out classified and display ads that you feel are especially effective, and save them for future references.
54. Always try to give people honest value for their money. In fact, give them more than what they pay for your product.
55. Online advertising is the most cost effective way to test and market a product or a service.
56. Keep up with the new technology and use it to your advantage. Email, websites, social media, and blogs enable you to maintain close contact with a lot of people at a very low cost.
57. Design a website with customers in mind. The site should include lots of information about the benefits of your products or services.
58. Ask if visitors want to be notified about new products and services or special sales.
59. Monitor competitors’ websites. You may get ideas that will work for you as well.
60. Don’t think if you build a website the customers will come. You will have to promote the site everywhere. Execute an effective promotion plan. Register your site with as many search engines and directories as you can find. Include Web addresses on all print and broadcast advertising.
61. The best product to sell on the internet are computer related software and hardware, books and other information products.
62. The publications that pull well for mail order advertisers have a lot of mail order ads.
63. Don’t be frightened by early mistakes and losses. What you learn from them may be the very essence of your later success.
64. Your advertising must contain these four essential elements: It must attract attention, stimulate interest, arouse desire, and call for action.
65. Watch the ads in leading mail-order publications. Request for information and study the literature used to sell them.
66. The headline is responsible for more than 80% of the responses obtained from any advertisement. Five times as many people read a headline as they read the body of an ad.
67. Use big and bold headlines that promote the best benefit of your offer. Use other key benefits in your subheads.
68. Always use “style” in your letters and promotional materials. As an example, bold some things, CAPITALIZE others, put important points in “quotes,” and indent as necessary.
69. Use YOU approach in your sales literature. You and your are the two most common word on all successful direct response copy.
70. Your copy must be easy to read. Use short sentences and action words. Make every word pull its weight.
71. Keep your advertising copy simple. Write your copy as if you were marketing at the sixth grade educational level.
72. Use copy bullets to summarize important points.
73. Ads that sound too good to be true are generally not believable, even if true.
74. Believability is one of the most important parts of your copy. Never try to fool prospects by offering unbelievable promises or overnight riches.
75. Your copy must be sincere to get attention.
76. When personalization is used it will always lift response. The more you are able to customize your message to the potential buyers, the greater the response will be.
77. Always incorporate that magic word “Guaranteed” into your sales literature. It gives the potential buyers confidence to know that he can get his money back if he is dissatisfied with his purchase.
78. One way to get the prospects to act Now is to offer a free premium if orders received by a specific date. A premium item will always lift response. Product-related premiums work better than any others.
79. Using testimonials in your ads will increase response rates dramatically.
80. Always restate the offer, product features and benefits on the order form. This helps reinforce the purchase decision and increase the response rate.
81. A “P.S.” in your sales letter is the strongest copy point in the letter.
82. Photographs are better to use in your ads than illustration. Captions are also better to use below photographs than long explanations.
83. Writing direct response advertising sharpens your copywriting skills. Practice writing until you feel confident that you can write a winner.
84. Never staple your various sales pieces together. A test showed that the pieces mailed loose pulled 2 ½ times better than the circulars stapled.
85. Most of your direct mail package should include a sales letter, order form, circular, and reply envelope.
86. Try a direct mail newsletter. People tend to read newsletter, but may discard your sales pitch unread.
87. Be sure to always include a sales letter with your direct mail package. A direct mail package with a letter always pulls better than a direct mail package with only a brochure.
88. Be sure to sign all your outgoing letters. Letters without a signature makes a poor impression.
89. Should you use long letters or short letter? A four-page sales letter sent out by one firm pulled 6% response while their old one-page letter pulled only 2%. “The more you tell, the more you sell” is an old advertising maxim worth remembering.
90. What color should you consider for your brochure? Study shows that men respond better to blue and their second choice is red. Women respond better to pink and red.
91. Four color brochures outperform two color brochures by two to one. Two color brochures outperform one color brochures by over 50%.
92. How do you address your mail? For the best result type the recipient address. Using a label on a direct mail envelope will look like a junk mail and the recipient may discard it unopened.
93. Never use a rubber stamp for your return address. It will create a poor impression and rank you as an amateur.
94. First class postage always improves response when compared to third class postage.
95. Make it easy for a prospect to order. Always include an order form and a reply envelope in all your mailings.
96. A separate order form will usually out pull one that is printed on your circular and needs to be cut out.
97. Always code your order forms or coupons. This will help you to monitor where your replies are coming from.
98. Don’t send out any mailing on or near the first of the month. Mondays and holidays are also poor days for mail to arrive.
99. The best months to advertise are January, February, March, August, September, October, and November.
By Paul Ziglar – 2019 – Update 2020
Copyright © 2019-2020 Allied Publishing
For additional articles written by Paul Ziglar, see alliedpublishing.com/home-based-business. John Wright is the author of How to Start and Operate Your Own Profitable Business At Home.