Achieving Direct Response Offer Consistency

“Consistency is key,” they say. It’s an adage that’s beautifully applied to the practice of direct response marketing—and when it’s done right, it can lead to measurable increases in performance and sales. “Consistency in what?” you may ask. That’s what we’re here to explore.

We’re not talking about brand consistency here. Not exactly. We’re talking about consistency in your direct response offers. While brand consistency plays an important role in building familiarity and trust in your name, products, and services—overarching all of your marketing and sales messages—it’s consistency in your offer-specific messaging and creative that helps drive action and brings you the campaign results you’re aiming for.

But First, Campaign Consistency
Between big-picture brand consistency and the more fine-tuned offer-level consistency is campaign consistency. In other words, how you’re positioning sales messages to appeal to customers who may be interested in certain products, services, or content offerings—no matter what channels they’re using to research, shop, connect, and engage with you.

Let’s say your company, ABC, is about to launch a new product: a glow-in-the-dark version of your standard widget. You’ll publicize this launch with a marketing campaign deployed on your website, via email, Google PPC ads, and Facebook posts. This multi-channel promotional approach to “getting the word out” is essential—and so is providing a seamless (consistent!) experience across channels to support sales.

Here’s why: it’s hard to know where and when a customer is going to convert! According to data compiled by Marketing Week, consumers today use an average of almost six touch-points when buying an item; 15 years ago, they typically used just two.

When a customer is out there looking to buy a glow-in-the-dark-widget, exploring the web and engaging with your branded content, you want to attract their attention (again and again and again) and make an impression with reinforced messages. “Ah, there’s that new product from ABC! I’ve spotted that a couple of times now and it looks great. Maybe I’ll give it a try.”

At this point in their journey—could be when they’re on Facebook or checking their email—they’re ready to convert. You’ll want to make it as easy as possible to “buy now” with an offer that goes the distance. Not one that stops them in their tracks.

Direct Response Offers: On A Mission to Convert
Think of each direct response offer as a “micro brand/campaign experience.” Your offers are developed and created according to brand guidelines, ensuring they’re on-point strategically and aesthetically. They’re part of a campaign, with performance goals to meet. Their messaging, creative, and overall look and feel are consistent with your brand identity and the campaign at large, but they carry out a mission of consistency all their own.

That mission? To take a customer from offer awareness and interest to decision and action.

And here, indeed, consistency is key.

Once your customer is confronted with your offer, you can’t let anything confuse them interfere with their efforts to take action on your offer—to click, dial, or reply—and see it through to the end. Here are the two key offer elements you’ll want to consider for consistency’s sake:

Copy. All offer assets (e.g. the ad, social post, postcard, landing page, and thank-you page) need to, essentially, say the same thing. This can be achieved through consistent language and messaging used across headlines and subject lines, subheads, body copy and the CTAs.

For example, if your glow-in-the-dark widget’s Facebook ad offer says, “Get 15% off your purchase of a glow-in-the-dark widget,” the headline of your landing page shouldn’t say, “Check out our line of widgets,” or “Save big money on widgets.” This might be confusing and lead to a bounce. It should contain the words, “Get 15% off your purchase of a glow-in-the-dark widget” so your customer knows they’re in the right place to—yes—get 15% off their purchase of a glow-in-the-dark widget.

Design. Your offer’s creative should be engineered to take your customer from point A to B to C. This might mean reading the ad copy to clicking the CTA button to downloading their glow-in-the-dark widget coupon code.

As we addressed above, your offer design is likely consistent with your other campaign materials, which are consistent with your brand guidelines. Your offer’s design can support a conversion-driving congruency by using the same fonts, colors, and images across offer assets.

For example, if your glow-in-the-dark widget’s Facebook ad offer has a navy blue background and bright yellow headline copy in the Futura font, the landing page shouldn’t confuse people with a pink background and red headline copy in the Didot font. Again, this might lead to a bounce off the page, even if the copy itself is consistent.

But interestingly, there are times when inconsistency in offer design actually works better. As you’ll learn in The Importance of Design Consistency in Direct Mail…or Not, it’s best practice to avoid making assumptions and test your offers to find out what actually works.

To learn more about what it takes to achieve consistent results with your direct response marketing efforts, contact us today.