For decades, many researchers and freelance copywriters have demonstrated the same immutable fact: A two-step, or multi-step, advertising program produces many times more sales than ads that attempt to get people to buy from a single exposure to a marketing message.

What is a two-step program? When your ad promises a fee DVD, a free tape, a free booklet, a free report, a free ebook or free information of any kind, you are applying the two-step technique because you are attempting to make the sale on the back end rather than up front.

As I said, we now have decades of research proving that two-step ads bring in more sales. In one study, five million inquiries received by 165 firms were analyzed over a 12 year period. The study concluded that buyers are many times more likely to purchase if they have been exposed to two or more marketing messages.

This means that your ad is the first exposure. The free information you send out is the second. Subsequent mailings just increase the likelihood a person will buy even more.

But the benefit a marketer receives from a two-step program doesn’t stop there. Few companies can stay in business long if their customers make only a single purchase. The two-step process creates a database of qualified and interested potential and repeat buyers.

Smart marketers know that the money is in their customer lists. By recontacting these same people over time with new offers, new products, information about sales and special promotions, and even additional free information packages, their databases can generate considerable long-term profits and sales.

And best of all, since the largest expense was that very first ad, the cost per sale of all this new business keeps going down.

Contrast this to the marketer who puts up a single ad that attempts to make a sale from one exposure to her message. Yes, some sales will come in if the copy is well written, the right audience is precisely targeted and the stars are in perfect alignment.

But these marketers only get one bite at the apple. Either people buy right then or they don’t.

They don’t get the feeling of value your customers receive when they get your free information (which also creates a slight sense of obligation to you), they don’t get exposed to your offer multiple times, they don’t receive information about your other products, sales and special promotions.

And they probably don’t even remember that marketer’s name five seconds after they read her ad.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

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