Responsive Advertising Blog

Unlocking the Secret Code to DRTV

4 minute read

Your web traffic skyrockets. Phones are ringing off the hook. Money starts pouring in.

A moment ago, it was business as usual. Your digital marketing was giving you a hard fought trickle of sales. The numbers were looking softer every day.

Then, your first Direct Response TV spot aired and everything changed. 

An unprecedented spike of consumer engagement crashes into your business. Within minutes, a whirlwind of prospects turn into a storm of paying customers.

DRTV has always had the power to take your business from zero to profit in seconds, but how it gets you there has changed. The days of counting phone calls to get the complete profitability picture are over. More people are responding to Direct Response advertising than ever before, but they’re responding however they want. The frenzy is so massive that it complicates results reporting for even the most seasoned marketers. It raises the question…

The skyrocketing activity from TV is exciting, but how do I know if it’s actually working!?

The first part of the secret code may not be a secret to everyone. You’ve probably seen it in action if you’ve ever watched a DRTV spot.

The promo code.

The anchor that tethers your customer to the spot that brought them to you. A short, memorable combination of letters and numbers that appear in the banner of your TV spot. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that can take the guesswork out of reporting when used effectively. Harnessing its power correctly is the key to unlocking the rest of the secret code.

Promo Codes: A Silver Bullet?

If you’re hoping the promo code will give you the complete profitability picture the way unique 800 numbers used to, consider your hopes dashed. No matter what you do, not everyone who sees your promo code will enter it at checkout. Some audiences are more meticulous about entering promo codes than others and it varies considerably by product category. It also can’t account for customers who respond to your ad but take a unique path to purchase.

Having a promo code in place is invaluable for measuring relative performance no matter what. They can give you invaluable data even with a very small spend in a tiny market. However, the more you can encourage customers to enter their promo code, the more complete your profitability picture will be.

Here are four secrets to maximizing the effectiveness of your promo code strategy:

  1. Tie your promo code to a jaw-dropping offer. One key to encouraging a high promo code compliancy rate is to feature an incredibly compelling offer. The better the offer, the more likely your customer is to enter the code to make sure they get it.

    A great offer has always been the cornerstone of a successful DR campaign. It’s a great persuasion piece and gives your prospect a reason to act now. Don’t bury the offer in your ad copy. Celebrate it and make it clear as crystal that your prospect should enter the Promo Code to unlock the offer.
  1. Collect the code late in the conversion funnel. Our data shows that it’s best to prompt your prospects to enter their promo code as one of the last steps before they place an order. If it comes too early, there’s a higher chance your prospect will leave your site in search of other promo codes, muddying the data. Or, if they’ve forgotten the code, they may not follow through with the purchase if they think they need one to even get started.

    Having it later in the funnel mitigates this pitfall and increases compliancy for a couple reasons. First, the more information your prospect enters, the more committed they are to completing the order. They’ll be less likely to leave your site in search of other codes if promo code entry is at the end. Second, if your site is prominently supporting your TV offer, by the time your customer reaches promo code entry, they’ll already know they’re getting the right offer. They’ll be more likely to convert with or without actually entering their promo code.
  1. Beware of code thieves. Your prospects aren’t the only ones watching your TV spots. There are companies out there who are watching for your promo codes and stealing them so they can essentially sell them to their customers.

    It may seem like a positive to have outside companies using your codes to send you business, but it rapidly undermines the role your promo code is designed to play. It’s essential to have a strategy in place to prevent thieves from corrupting your data.
  1. Harness the Power of Relative Performance. The promo code’s key objective is to accurately give you relative performance data to inform budget, media and creative decision-making. Some advertisers may not realize just how powerful that can be. It enables a chain reaction of testing that can grow your business dramatically.

    The first variable is isolating TV’s overall impact on your bottom line. With a small spend you’ll determine how much you can profitably spend in TV. You knew your business’ relative performance prior to launch, now after launch you get to establish a new baseline.

    Your initial spend will reveal creative and media breakthroughs that’ll open up new opportunities for profitable spend. Knowing the exact performance, to the dollar, of a particular creative or media intersection is less important than knowing that one is performing 10 times better than the others. Giving the new winners the lion’s share of your budget moving forward sets you up for the next test, putting you into a perpetual cycle of improvement.

    Assign unique promo codes by creative and media intersection and you’ll know exactly where to allocate your budget moving forward to get the maximum return.

    Measuring relative performance will shift your focus away from pitting channels against each other and more toward identifying the next step you can take to improve the big picture. That may mean testing spend itself as a variable. Isolate the impact of spending more or less in a channel, watch to see the impact, and adjust accordingly once you see the impact it has on your bottom line.

Starting the chain reaction of increasingly profitable testing is a thousand times easier when you launch with an agency that already has tens of thousands of tests under their belt. At Marketing Architects, we’ve been testing constantly for more than 17 years. We have everything you need under one roof to launch campaigns in radio and TV with the online optimization to get them working together.

If you want see skyrocketing web traffic, phones ringing off the hook, and money from a storm of new customers pouring into your business, we need to talk. We can set you up with a winning promo code strategy that’ll show you just how profitable TV can be.

Paul Jackson

By Paul Jackson

Chief Media Officer

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