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Saturday, October 10, 2009

I had a great opportunity this week to speak with an entrepreneur who owns a successful software company on the East Coast.  We spoke about a variety of topics but focused on direct response (DR).  I found our discussion so engaging (definite Kodak moment) that I thought I'd focus this post on the core aspects of a successful direct response campaign whether it's in print or online.

Test. Test. Test.  It might sound cliche but the fact of the matter is that there are lots and lots of web site owners and marketers out there who may test at first, but then leave it alone.  How do you expect to get any better if you're not constantly testing.  For example, if you are doing a standard online campaign with PPC, test multiple landing pages.  This is easy to do is you use Google Website Optimizer or some other split testing and multivariate testing tool.

The objective is to test everything.  Start with your headline which is the most important aspect of your landing page all the way down to the color of your buttons.  Don't assume anything.  In the world of direct response, a small lift in conversions can result in large revenue gains.

Measure, Measure, Measure. Getting started with your testing is where you need to begin. However, your testing is meaningless if you're not properly measuring each activity. Install Google Analytics on your web site and additional tracking if necessary. If you are focusing on affiliate marketing for example, you'll want to know which keywords are converting for you.  Consider tools like tracking 202 or redirect URLs to capture important data and information.

Scale. Scale. Scale.  Before you begin any direct response campaign, consider the concept of scale.  If you create a campaign and it's successful (aka profitable), do you have an opportunity to expand it?  If the answer is no or you think that future growth is limited, explore a different opportunity.  So often I see people who put in the work to make a promotion successful only to discover there aren't enough prospects or the niche is simply too small to make a reasonable return on.  Do this research before you begin.

Scaling campaigns, as noted by my discussion with the entrepreneur who founded a profitable software company, is often the most overlooked aspect of direct response marketing.  Don't get caught by surprise.  Focus on whether of not your campaign can scale before you begin.  Make sure to always test your campaigns and by all means necessary, measure your results!


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