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All of your advertising must be direct response

I have three young kids of my own, and my family’s on several mailings lists from different camps in our area. Believe it or not, we received a camp brochure today WITHOUT an enrollment form included. I shook my head and trashed the whole thing. I’ll bet most of the other families who got the brochure did the same.

The lesson here is, all of your advertising must be direct response. “Direct response” means you must tell your prospects what you want them to do when they get your mailing piece, see your ad, etc..

Let’s say your sending out postcards. Printing your camp’s name and some photos would be nice. But it won’t help you get any kids. Not unless you tell the person getting the postcard what to do, anyway.

Do you want them to go to your website? Come to your open house? Call now?

Whatever it is you want them to do, tell them. People can’t read your mind. And even if they could, most of them are too lazy to do anything without a push anyway.

Here’s a few words and phrases you might use on your postcard:

  • Pick up the phone and call right now
  • Limited space available — sign up for camp today
  • Use the attached enrollment form to enroll today
  • Go to our website now!

Let’s face it. If your promotional stuff isn’t direct response — if you don’t tell your prospects what you want them to do — they’ll decide for themselves what to do instead.

Just like me when I decided to trash the brochure today.

I won’t tell you the camp’s name or the camp director’s name who sent me the brochure. It doesn’t matter and you’re smarter than he is.

But this camp’s mistake is a good reminder for all of us: Not including an enrollment form in your camp brochure is just stupid. And making all your advertising direct response is a cardinal sin.

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