You don’t get business you don’t ask for.
Truer words were never spoken, but how many science marketers fail to ask for the business? This is a rhetorical question, because I already know the answer: too many!
Moving your prospects through your sales cycle – by continually asking them to do something – is crucial. This is the hallmark of direct marketing: always asking your reader to take that step.
For instance, most brochures aren’t used as direct response tools. Instead, they’re used purely as branding or image pieces, or they’re used to provide product information – and product information only.
While there’s nothing wrong with using your brochure to give your buyers the information they need, it should still also move them to take action.
Improve your brochures with direct marketing
The first thing you can do to encourage this is provide a call-to-action (CTA) or ‘next step’ at the end. In a sales brochure, the call-to-action should follow the “what-how-why” formula. You tell them what you want them to do, how they can do it, and why they should do it (ie. what they’ll learn or what they’ll get from taking this next step). Check out this resource for more CTA info.
A great technique for boosting response is giving several options for the CTA, instead of just one. For example, you could ask them to do two or more of the following: download a free white paper, schedule a product demo, call a sales rep or visit your booth at the next tradeshow.
The number of CTA’s you include should depend on where the piece is appearing, however. For instance, an onsite publication like a Show Daily would be a great opportunity to include both your booth information (as attendees themselves will be reading it), and a way to get your materials should they not have time for a visit.
Another useful tip is to provide the physical mechanism of response. This might be a physical reply card, or even a specification sheet at the back of the brochure they can fill out and send in to get a customized quotation.
While this may seem antiquated, physical mail is a much more personal medium, compared to online and digital methods such as email and social media. According to the Data & Marketing Association (formerly the Direct Marketing Association), engagement with print mail is growing as clutter declines. In fact, they say that even though direct mail volumes have been declining 1.9% year-over-year since 2005, spending on this medium is still up, and over 2.5 billion coupons were redeemed via this marketing tactic.
Improve Your Brochures with the Right Content
Don’t forget: you can also improve your brochure’s content so it maximizes response when you promote it. In fact, you should always design your brochures with this goal in mind.
One way you can do this is by giving your brochure a title that implies value, and then promote this value in your emails, ads and so on. Instead of saying, “For a free brochure describing our solutions, call now”, try breaking the main body of the brochure into seven points that provide useful tips. Then give your ad a title like: “For a free brochure outlining 7 ways XYZ technology solves all your experimental needs, call now….”
Finally, instead of calling it a brochure, try calling it a “resource guide” or “catalogue”. This lends added perceived value to the piece, increasing the chance people will respond.
When you improve the content of your brochure and blend it with direct response techniques, you’ll make them more effective, and you’ll see a significant increase in response over the long run.
Try this with your next resource guide and see the results for yourself!
About the Author
Colm O’Regan is a scientist and technical copywriter. He helps marketers in science and technology companies attract and keep more customers through their written marketing communications.
Click here to download a free copy of his resource guide, “The Secret to Writing White Papers that Accelerate Lead Generation”.Keywords: direct mail, marketing to scientists, sales, sales collateral, writing tips