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#101 Make it Easy to Order
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia , PA
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

#101 Blog Post - Tuesday, July 14, 2020

 Posted by Denny Hatch

Denny Hatch's Ultimate 19-Point Checklist
Above Are Folks Suffering from No Orders
We love Broadway theater—especially musicals.  When Hamilton opened, it was sold out for months. Eventually it was not sold out, because ticket prices were raised to $849.

If Peggy and I were to see Hamilton live, the ticket cost—plus round-trip Amtrak from Philly to New York, dinner at Sardi’s and a hotel room—would take the cost up to $2000+. As pensioners, we opted out.
Hamilton Comes to the Home Screen 
When Coronavirus-19 took over the planet, Broadway shut down. The entire cast of Hamilton was thrown outta work.  Lin-Manuel Miranda — who wrote, composed and starred in Hamilton—cut a deal with Disney to market the film and TV rights. On two consecutive nights performances had been filmed in the Richard Rogers Theater, à la the Metropolitan Opera “Met Live in HD.”

Our Set-up at Home 
When we downsized from a 5-story row house to a two-bedroom rental apartment, we splurged and bought a flat-screen LG smart TV and signed up for Xfininty/Comcast service with its array of 200+ channels, thousands of movies plus thousands more videos on YouTube.

In addition, we acquired one of the first voice-activated remotes.  Press the “talk” button, ask for a show, movie or specific channel, and up it pops. If scheduled in the future, press the red “Record” button and it’s captured for our viewing pleasure whenever we care to see it.

Most of the stuff is free as part of the Comcast subscription. Sometimes movies and specials cost extra (e.g. rent for $3.99). We click okay and the charge shows up on our next bill. Easy peasy.

Buying Additional Services 
When we ask to see programs not in the Xfinity/Comcast repertoire, they pop up onscreen. If a subscription to a new distributor is required, the price and terms are posted. Peggy goes into the computer, does her quick magic and we’re in. The cost appears in our next Xfinity bill.

Not So with Hamilton 
With lotsa hype, the debut of Hamilton was announced for July 3rd. I clicked on it and we were allowed to see the trailer. But in order to see the actual show, we had to sign up for Disney+.

The deal killer: we bought and paid for a subscription to Disney+ and were told we could see Hamilton streaming on our computer (or laptop or iPhone).
Hamilton on my dinky computer? WTF?
We Googled Hamilton Xfinity-Disney and here’s what came up:

To start watching Hamilton, you can subscribe to Disney+ today for $6.99 a month or $69.99 per year. Or you can get the service as a part of a special value bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99 a month in total. Disney+ is available to watch through the following
   • Roku streaming devices
   • TVs with built-in Roku
   • Apple TV iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch models
   • Android phones
   • Android TV devices
   • Google Chromecast
   • Xbox One
   • PlayStation 4
   • Sony TVs with built-in Android
   • See our list of the best streaming devices

Peggy—who is very technically savvy—spent 1-1/2 hours going all over the Internet trying to discover how to get Hamilton onto our LG flat-screen TV. No dice.

Our guess is Disney and Xfinity/Comcast are at war. Normally I would dive into the Internet and find what's going and report it. But it doesn't matter. I'm not going to get inside a corporate pissing match and choose sides. We want to see Hamilton

Finally Peggy’s sister told us we could buy something called Fire TV Stick for $49.99 from Amazon and could get Hamilton up on our LG TV.
The Fire TV Stick arrived. We’re not quite sure what to do with it. Normally we’d put in a call to Jay Hummel, our computer whiz to come over and set us up. Alas, he is on Coronavirus-19 lockdown—as are we.
I am writing this on Bastille Day, July 14, 2020. Hamilton is still a gleam in our eye.  Meanwhile, we’re out $57.98. 

Disney has our money. Amazon's Fire TV Stick has our money. We have no idea how to see Hamilton. Xfinity/Comcast hornswoggled us.

NEVER EVER do this to your prospects and customers! 

Denny’s 19-Point Checklist for
A Flawless Ordering Process
1.  “Always make it easy to order.” —Elsworth S. Howell, CEO Grolier Enterprises

2. The order mechanism stands between you and the sale (or donation).

3. Always ask for an order, donation or a response of some kind. Otherwise the recipient will have no reason to reply. If you receive no replies, you’ll never know whether the message or mailing ever went out or if the ad appeared in print.

Malcolm Decker on the Order Form 
4. “The order form should be so simple an idiot can understand it.”

5.  “Whether digital or print, give the order mechanism more time and effort per square inch than any other element of the promotion. It’s time well spent. It’s the net that secures the trout, so it can’t have any holes in it.”

6. Create the order form in conjunction with the people who do your online order processing, telephone sales, white mail and print response as well as your customer service team.
7. Give them the final vote. It must be simple, clear, direct and—if you can possibly imagine it—foolproof. Use the combined talents of your most clever people to write it, but make sure even a fool can understand it.
8. The order form should also sell.

9. But basically it has a particular job to do: It should reprise the essence of the entire sales effort in the reader’s voice. That is, the writer (salesperson) has had his say, and now the prospect (customer) responds in the first person. (“Yes, send me . . . I understand that I will receive. . . “)

9. The order form should contain absolutely nothing new. It should stand on its own feet and crystallize everything that’s gone before it. Its purpose is to speed the action and close the deal.

10. Beware of lawyers and bean counters mucking up your offer and order form with a barrage of disclaimers and footnotes in gray sans serif mouse-type causing your customers to say, “The hell with it!”  
11. When asking for credit card information never use a reply postcard. Always include a BRE (pre-paid Business Reply Envelope). Credit card information on the back of a postcard can be stolen and sold all over the world within minutes.

12. Make it easy to respond and order by mail, by phone, by click-thru online or by fax—whichever is most convenient for the customer.

13. Every step of the ordering process must be checked out. For example, dial the 800 phone number in your print and online ads to make sure it’s correct everywhere it appears.
14. People hate waiting for a phone to be answered and/or an automated voice saying, “Your call is important to us. All our representatives are busy with other customers. Please stay on the line... blah, blah, blah." Make sure your phones are answered by a live, trained representative no later than the second ring. 

15. If you are running a TV commercial, expect a huge spike in orders at that moment in time. Sign up a back-up inbound telemarketing company to handle the overflow. Always alert all telemarketers to the precise date and time of your schedule so telephone sales reps are standing by to handle the overflow.
16. All your telephone sales reps (TSRs) must be knowledgeable about your product or service and be able to answer all questions. It is imperative to provide customer service (or order intake) personnel with copies of sales material (brochures, print ads, infomercial, etc.), so they know what specific offer/product the caller is talking about—as well as immediate access to actual product samples — so they can answer questions knowledgably.
17. The people who represent you on the phone and online can enhance—or destroy—your reputation. Have “secret shoppers” call your 800-number and or chat lines to test the training of your reps regarding patience, knowledge and tact. 

18. When you feature a web address for a reply, do not use your general home page. Instead, set up a special satellite landing page that directly relates to the specific offer.
19. If you supply the general home page, it forces the prospect to rattle around searching for the specific offer and order mechanism. At which point you’ve probably lost the order.

Takeaway to Consider
• Let me share with you a story. By the time he was 18, Curt Strohacker had owned 18 automobiles. In 1978 he invested $500 to form The Eastwood Company, a mail order catalog offering more than 2,000 tools, paints and parts for amateur and professional restorers of beloved antique cars—hundreds of models going back 50 years and more.

In the early years, Strohacker would get 30 orders a day. A decade later he was generating 1000+ orders a day. His inbound telemarketers were wildly overworked. What’s more, his telephone reps became de facto experts and consultants giving advice on every aspect of car restoration and suggesting precisely what was needed. When inbound orders spiked — say as the result of a TV commercial — bells rang throughout the building and knowledgeable executives, warehouse workers and buyers beetled down to the telephones and became TSRs. He had to do something, or customers and prospects would desert like rats and go elsewhere!

The story of Curt Strohacker creating a powerful in-house technically oriented telephone sales and fulfillment operation is fascinating. You’re invited to check it out. 


Word Count: #1594

You Are Invited to Meet Denny Hatch.

At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.


Denny Hatch
The St. James
200 West Washington Square, #3007
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-644-9526 (Rings on my desk) 

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