Direct Marketing Copywriters in Ireland Take Heed – Why You Should Keep Your Message Simple

Direct marketing copywriters and advertising copywriters who depend on the written word to sell their clients’ products or services, take heed. An ERSI study conducted by the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) has shown that aa many as 55% of adults in Ireland are below Level 3 literacy, the minimal level of literacy “necessary for the demands of modern society”. This means that the majority of people in Ireland may be unable to read direct marketing text that is in any way complex or not laid out in a clear, straightforward manner. This doesn’t just mean that they may not get all the subtleties and complex details of written direct marketing promotional material and communications like these, this means that they may not understand direct marketing offers at all!

Of those surveyed, 25% are at what is called Level 1 literacy. This means very low literacy skills, where even short, simple instructions can’t be understood easily. Another 30% of people are at Level 2. At this level they can follow step by step instructions and basic prose but anything more complicated gives them difficulty. These are the people who adopted just enough literacy skills to get them through day to day life but could have difficulty with complex sentences or text and writing styles that they are not used to, including direct marketing buzz words and jargon.

It’s important to understand that people in these groups are certainly not stupid; a variety of reasons could be behind their poor reading ability. Often it can be as simple as bad eyesight or hearing difficulties. In other cases it could be due to sporadic school attendance or a lack of money for textbooks and materials. Whatever the reason people in this category are the majority in Ireland so direct marketing copywriters better take their needs into account when writing!

So what can be done? How can a direct marketing copywriter ensure that their words can be understood by the widest possible audience in Ireland? Well really the best thing to keep it simple. Short, snappy sentences work best, both to make the direct marketing message clear and to keep people interested. This is not only relevant to people at lower literacy levels but for everyone in Ireland.

Long drawn-out sentences can bore the average direct mail reader, even if they understand what you’re saying, and might make them skip on to something else, especially if they’re only marginally interested in your offer in the first place.

Titles in marketing brochures are especially in need of this kind of treatment. A title sets the tone for the piece and mentally prepares the reader for what’s to come. If a title is confusing or irrelevant then the reader may be bewildered when reading the marketing offer, wondering what exactly they are reading and how the product/service on offer relates to them.

Wonderfully clever, pun-filled titles, so loved by marketing copywriters in Ireland, may be great for the readers who actually get it but for the rest it’s just another source of frustration. Keep your direct marketing message in Ireland simple and keep it loud, that way everybody knows what you are saying and your message has the widest reach.

Literacy skills are not just about reading prose however; many people in Ireland have difficulty reading more technical information such as forms, diagrams and tables. Others have difficulties with basic numeracy skills such as adding figures or understanding percentages.

Finally, relevance is also a key to people understanding your direct marketing offer. The average Irish reader assumes that all information provided to them in a direct marketing offer is important. Going off on a tangent into another unrelated or unimportant topic for a short while is likely to cause great problems. People reading it will wonder how this connects with what they have read previously and are liable to become confused as to what you are trying to sell them.

This applies not only to text but to diagrams and pictures in direct marketing material too: if it’s not connected with the promotional message you are trying to give people then it should not be there! It may look very nice and add wonderfully to the feel of the page but if you’re trying to talk about healthcare, for example, and you use a picture of a yacht then your marketing message can get lost along the way.

For direct marketing offers in Ireland the best advice is to keep your message simple and keep it to the point. Short words, short sentences and short paragraphs work best; and remember: if it’s not adding something to the reader’s understanding of your offer then there’s a very good chance it’s taking something away.

The Importance of Using Marketing Strategies

Whether you are in a small, medium or large business, you’d do well with a marketing strategy. Companies that want to excel in today’s competitive economy require not just any marketing strategy but the best they can find, whether in-house, customized or out-sourced.

There are many types of strategies to promote your company products or services. There are simple or sophisticated strategies which have been proven, and can be easily applied to most organizations.

Campaigns are different from strategies; a marketing strategy is an approach to market or promote the business products or services to confirm transactions that will keep the company viable. It can also be called a plan which is used to give the company an added advantage or project a more attractive image to its intended buyers of its products or services.

Purpose of Marketing Strategy
A strategy must bring in the sales when implemented; otherwise, it is a failed strategy. Time, effort and money are wasted which are considered losses to the company. Different strategies are employed not only for the different products and services of the company, but also target at different market segment or users. Hence, it is important to identify what the focus of your strategy is.

Marketing strategies Media
Some marketing strategies include print campaigns like advertisements in the newspaper or billboards. These are meant to instill awareness of the company’s products and services to a larger audience. Nowadays, the Internet provides a most conducive platform as part of the company’s strategies. Some companies may choose the television or radio media to execute their strategies if they are focusing on certain types of audience for their goods and services. For example, companies which manufacture household products may choose to market their products through the television medium as a commercial which targets housewives.

Factors involved in Marketing Strategies
Whichever strategy you may choose for your company’s products or services, you will need to consider the item to be promoted, the targeted audience or buyer, the duration of the strategy, the budget and the expected results. At times the company may be able to use a strategy for several of its products and services while at other times, not.

There must be a specific audience identified to that chosen item to be promoted so that, that specific category of buyers will be tuned in on the promotion. A marketing strategy cannot go on and on as the target audience may feel bored with it or develop negative feelings or opinions about the company’s status.

There must be a budget to work on a specific strategy for a specific product or service identified for promotion as there may be other products and services which will demand the same attention and priority for good sales. A specific budget is also necessary to ensure that the strategy does not exceed the expected expenses to promote the identified product as the bottom line is to recoup these expenses and more.

Hence, the most important aspect of a marketing strategy is the expected results. The strategy employed should bring in more revenue to the company which covers the expenses expended on that particular product or service.

Direct Marketing and the Human Factor

As I roamed from room to room this morning opening my curtains to another glorious day, I realized that it was going to be another one of “those” days. You know the ones I am talking about, where the mind would rather be sitting on a beach, taking a hike in the mountains or fishing on a cool inland lake instead of where it should be: working on creating an article everyone wants to talk about.

I flipped open my computer screen, took a sip of coffee and looked at the rainy scene out of my window. No inspiration there: although my garden does need a bit of work. Speaking of work, as I scan through my overnight batch of emails something catches my eye.

In an article on The Digital Nirvana guest contributor Julie Sullivan talks about her thoughts on the true meaning of direct marketing. Aha! That is something near and dear to my heart. Thank you Julie!

She wonders why marketers and advertisers only see direct mail as the advertising tool being used to describe what direct marketing is. Not to dismiss the abilities of a good direct mail campaign (I happen to think it is important) but most advertisers shudder at the thought of using direct mail. They would rather spend advertising dollars on other forms of marketing. While I will not go into the benefits of using direct mail here, I will say that marketers need to realize that all advertising effort is, in actuality, direct marketing.

As Julie states, direct marketing really has two main principles:
1. Engage in a one-to-one dialogue with your target audience
2. Require your target audience to take some sort of action-call, click, move, you name it.

Think about that for a moment. It does not matter what form it takes or what mediums are used to advertise a message, ALL advertising is direct marketing. Each message is directed to a targeted audience hoping they will take notice of the offer. Once that happens the advertising goal is to take that call-to-action. Otherwise what is the point of advertising to begin with?

Marketers and advertisers should begin to embrace the idea of direct marketing in all its forms instead of sticking their collective noses up in the air. Sorry guys but study after study proves that people want to be treated as human beings with thoughts, feelings and desires (point one above) instead of being treated as a number on a profit and loss sheet. When a business acknowledges that fact and show it, they have taken that first important step toward the ultimate goal (point two above).

Marketers spend a lot of time and money researching what draws people into noticing an advertisement. Sounds, colors, movement, social values, analytics, jingles, catch phrases et al are tested and reviewed over and over again. If there was no value in attracting the notice of the public (direct) to put across a message (marketing) then why would any organization bother to begin with?

It is time for the advertising world to stop dismissing the idea of direct marketing as something old and past its prime. Instead see it as a time tested method that will always be in demand. Unless and until technology does the thinking and purchasing for us, never forget the human factor.