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Direct Marketing

Direct marketing

Direct marketing means sending a sales message directly to the person most likely to make the buying decision, and cutting out the retailer in the middle. It’s a very effective way to sell high-price and specialist titles.

As titles of mass-market interest tend to have lower prices, it can be difficult to make direct marketing pay – although if you can reach people who love books, and persuade them to buy lots at the same time, then it can work well.

Direct marketing also includes telemarketing, ‘off-the-page’ advertising (advertising space with a coupon for the reader to fill in), website promotions and house-to-house calling – any method of getting the potential purchaser to say ‘yes’ directly to the producer.

Effective direct marketing copy is divided into smallish paragraphs, uses a simple vocabulary and is quite repetitive, because the market will seldom read anything from start to finish, preferring to ‘dot around’. There is a real art to writing an effective direct mail piece, so before you protest that what you have been sent to look at does not reflect your book, do compare it with other direct mail shots.

If you are asked to help

Writing direct marketing materials is a very specific art, but mastery here will help you when writing many other promotional pieces. The basic principles are as follows:

  • You must provide enough information to enable the customer to make a buying decision, so any questions that a customer could answer by looking at the product – were they in a bookshop – must be addressed. These include how the information was put together, the format, the quality of the binding, and so on
  • Repeat yourself. No mailshot is read from start to finish; readers tend to dip in and out. It follows that the key selling points must be repeated so that they are not missed, although without using the same words each time
  • Divide up the information so that it is easy to read. Space is what draws the eye in, not densely packed text.

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Book marketing: what happens and when? 

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