Branding Or Direct Response Marketing, Which Is Best For Your Internet Business?
By Ralf Skirr.
There are primarily two schools of thought on advertising:
- Brand-building, and
- Direct response advertising.
What is brand-building?
The brand-building model of advertising is generally used by large corporations to create an awareness of their brand.
The result brand marketers are hoping for is that, when the time comes to buy that type of product or service, the prospect will think of their brand first.
For example, when you see an advertisement for a coffee brand on TV, they don’t expect you to jump up, run to 7/11, and get a pack of coffee.
But they hope that when you are in need of coffee next time, you will grab their package instead of any competing brand.
Brand slogans, jingles, and the like are frequently used with branding ads for specifically that purpose.
Brand-building, however, is expensive, time-consuming, and requires a lot of brand equity and trust over time before people make decisions to buy from them.
Large corporations typically spend millions of dollars in advertising costs in order to blanket their target audience with as much exposure as possible.
Direct marketers, however, have their doubts if brand building is money well spent.
The Right Choice? Maybe a bad one for AT&T.
In the 90’s AT&T had their million dollar slogan: “The Right Choice.”
Would you or I buy from AT&T because THEY TOLD us they were the right choice? Not me. Not you. Not anyone.
They’re not using it anymore.
Like many big companies changing course all the time, they’re generally having a problem developing their brand identity. Just see what they spent their advertising millions on over the years, changing their focus all the time:
Your world. Delivered (2005)
- The world’s networking company (2004)
- Talk is Good (2003)
- Innovative Networks.Innovative Thinking. (2001)
- Right Now (2001)
- We Bring the World Closer (1982)
- Reach Out and Touch Someone (1981)
Army Strong, a $200 Million Brand Building Slogan.
In fact, the US Army paid $200 million to a marketing firm to come up with their new slogan: Army Strong.
That’s $100 million a word!
I’m willing to bet if they took that $200 million and invested it in direct response advertising, they would have gotten a LOT more bang for their buck.
Can you imagine if you dumped a ton of money into an advertising agency and they produced results for you like the AT&T slogan, or the Army slogan?
Well, hopefully you didn’t do that, but if you did, there is still hope. There is a completely effective way to market your business and get real results.
What is direct response advertising?
Direct response ads are designed to get prospects to take some specific action right there and then.
Remember what I said above about brand-building: the idea is that the customer REMEMBERS the brand when he needs the service or product. He is not supposed to ACT when he sees the ad.
With a direct response ad you want the customer to whip out the credit card and buy right away!
Because if they put the ad aside and do something else, the chances are much smaller that they’ll come back later and buy.
With direct response advertising, you’ll frequently see scarcity selling tactics used to get them to act immediately.
- “Call within the next 10 minutes…”
- “Only the next 200 people to sign-up will qualify…”
- “The price goes up this weekend…”
You get the idea. You’ll also find a clear call to action in direct response ads.
- “Register now to start your membership immediately.”
- “Simply check off which report you’d like and return the postage-paid postcard today.”
Direct response advertisers can usually track sales from any given ad to the penny. (That is by the way what the whole ‘split testing’ category at internet business mastermind is about: Tracking the success of your ads, sales letters and squeeze pages, and then optimizing it for better conversion.)
Whether it’s a coupon to be clipped, a special phone number to call, or a business reply card, everything in direct response marketing is coded and tracked.
Why direct response marketing is cheap and easy for an internet business.
You probably figured out by now that I’m an advocate of direct response.
It gets results and you can track how the results were accomplished.
In the ‘old days’ of snail mail direct marketing a huge amount of work and money was involved to get any direct response sales letter out. You had to mail a statistically large enough group for any ad to find out if it would be successful.
Then all the incoming sales and customer inquiries had to be tracked manually. Then you had to manually analyze which parts of your promotions made you money, and where you lost money.
For your internet business it’s so much cheaper and easier.
It’s cheap because you don’t have to print 200,000 letters, and even better, you don’t have to stamp them. You’ll just put up a web site and drive traffic to it.
It’s easy because all the tracking and analyzing is done on autopilot. You don’t have to do it manually.
The only only thing you need is a serious split testing script. That’s a one time investment, and once you have it you can test as many sales letters, ads, and squeeze pages as you like for years to come.
By ‘serious’ split testing script I mean serious. Don’t go for half baked spit testing scripts. Your split testing script will increase your business more than any other software you will ever buy.
The only work and time involved is to enter a few variations of what you want to test to your split testing script. Once that is setup, the script will do the work on autopilot. It will monitor your direct response campaigns 24/7 and increase your conversions without you lifting a finger.
Once you see how direct response advertising combined with split testing boots your income, you won’t think about buying ads for branding much anymore.