Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct marketing.
July 7, 2014
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***A little-known key to direct mail success***
Marketers argue over what aspect of direct mail — copy,
graphics, list, or offer — is most critical. But, according to
DM guru Craig Simpson, they often overlook another important
factor of DM success: choosing the right direct mail format for
your product and your market.
For example, if you are selling joint pain supplements, the most
successful type of format for that product category is the
magalog. But how can you find out the best format for your
product, offer, and market?
Find the biggest direct mail company in your niche and see what
they are mailing, advises Simpson. If you don’t know who the
biggest is, contact a list broker and ask. In financial
publishing, for instance, the biggest direct mailer is Agora, so
you should use the same formats they do.
It’s easy to get any company’s mailings: Just buy one of their
products and you will soon start getting most if not all their
***6 ways to stop making excuses and go for your goals***
Business strategist Dan Waldschmidt offers 6 suggestions for
jumping off the excuse train and forging the path to your goals.
1…Don’t blame others for anything.
2…Stop working on things that just don’t matter.
3…Do not wallow in self-doubt.
4… Ask yourself, “What can I do better next time?” And then do
it next time.
5… Proactively take time to do things that fuel your passion.
6…Apologize to yourself and those around you for having a bad
attitude. Do this once or twice and you’ll snap out of your funk
***Should you always write what you know?***
Not always, says author Beth Erickson, who suggests that you try
new markets, write whatever strikes your fancy, and if it makes
you more comfortable, use a pen name when experimenting with
subjects outside your primary focus.
I recommend an 80/20 ratio: Eighty percent of your writing
projects should be in familiar areas where you have skill,
expertise, and knowledge. Doing so ensures you are profitable on
a per-hour basis.
But 20% of your writing projects should be in new products, new
markets, new venues, or new forms. This keeps you fresh and
prevents you from getting bored.
I am probably more 90/10. But I would never be 100/0, for the
aforementioned risk of boredom and getting stale.
For instance, a writer whose work I admire, TB, writes
exclusively about the silver market.
Yes, he’s enviably efficient, productive, good, and respected.
But if I wrote about nothing but one subject 24/7, I would go
out of my skull.
Source: Writing Etc., 3/12/14.
***3 reasons why pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns fail***
1-Your target customers are not looking on search engines for
the types of products you sell.
2-The bid prices are so costly that PPC is too expensive for
your product category.
3-You do not properly manage the campaign or track its results.
Source: Entrepreneur, “Who Should Use PPC Advertising,” 3/11/14.
***Blogging for coaches and consultants made easy***
My colleague Brian Edmondson has released a short e-book
“Blogging for Coaches and Consultants Made Easy: How to Get More
Traffic, Build Your Platform, and Attract More Clients with a
Powerful Business Blog.”
Blogging is a popular content marketing channel for independent
professionals, and Brian’s book is excellent for those coaches
and consultants who either want to start blogging or generate
more tangible results from current blogging. Order on Amazon
***5 signs your web site needs work***
1–It has been 3 or more years since the last website overhaul,
so it isn’t built to accommodate new technologies including
mobile, 4G, oversize desktop monitors, tablets, and Windows 8.
2–Your web site isn’t responsive. If your website doesn’t
adjust to fit a plethora of different sized monitors and devices
you’re losing business.
3–Your web site has a splash page. Splash pages had a very
important role on the web during the late ’90s but it has been a
long time since anyone needed to be funneled between Netscape
and Internet Explorer in order to use and enjoy a website.
4–Your design looks outdated, using old-fashioned design
elements such as beveled edges, poorly thought-out gradients,
and animated gifs.
5–Your site is dependent on Flash, which had its day but
suffers from compatibility issues, search algorithm issues, and
long load times — making Flash more trouble than it’s worth.
Action step: Scrub your site of all signs of Flash and replace
Source: One Up Web Blog, 3/13/14.
***4 ways to overcome writer’s block***
Direct marketing maven Ted Nicholas offers these 4 tips for
overcoming writer’s block:
>> Do a non-writing activity so you have a clear mind for
>> Never write when you’re tired.
>> Never write when you’re busy. Says Ted: “I don’t think anyone
can write well when watching the clock.”
>> Don’t write in bits and pieces. Once you’ve turned on your
creative energy, you need to keep it flowing. “I don’t stop
until I complete a draft,” says Ted. “I try not to stop even for
Full disclosure: I am in total disagreement with the last tip,
as was the late Gene Schwartz. But Ted is one of the greats, so
I include it for your consideration.
I prefer to work on a job in one-hour increments until I tire of
writing that piece. I then put that project aside and
immediately turn to another one. I also find it energizing to
alternative between short writing projects — like this
e-newsletter — and long projects like half-hour-long video sales
Source: Today@TargetMarketing, 4/18/14.
***An easy way to increase your speaking profits: sell
Creating and selling a workbook — either at the back of the room
in public seminars, or up-front to the corporate client for
onsite training … is a great way to increase your speaking or
Workbooks are easier to write than books because there is less
content and more white space. For workshops, workbooks add
tremendous value for participants while also making your job as
workshop leader easier.
What to include in your workbooks: Supporting text to explain
exercises … fill in the blanks … easy questions … worksheets …
spreadsheets … thoughtful discussion questions that the reader
can answer … plenty of white space for writing.
Source: Stephanie Chandler, “The Notification Book Marketing
Plan,” Authority Publishing
***4 tips for designing e-mails for mobile devices***
1–Narrow the width of your e-mails to between 500 and 550 pixels
so mobile users don’t have to scroll left to right to read them.
2–Make body copy 13 points or larger so your e-mails will be
readable when the user’s mobile device resizes them.
3–Don’t include large pictures at the top of your e-mails,
because they push your content and messaging down.
4–Include extra space around buttons so it is easy for a fat
finger to click on it, and don’t clump too many links together
for the same reason.
Source: Reggie Brady, Target Marketing, 5/14, p. 10.
***Book of the month***
If you are an entrepreneur or would like to be, read Anthony
Hilb’s terrific little book, “Make Money with a Microbusiness.”
In it, you will discover:
** The power of microbusinesses explained — page 15.
** How your social life impacts your business success — page 31.
** Managing your time and work opportunities — page 37.
** The dangers of overextending yourself — page 45.
** A variety of businesses you can start today starting on page 57.
** How to evolve your business with technology rather than going
out of business as a result of rapidly changing technology — page 65.
** How to find more customers — page 99.
“A microbusiness is arguably one of the most flexible and
friendly business models,” says Hilb. “Owning a microbusiness can
be a full-time job, part-time job, or even work performed just a
few times a year. Many individuals have halted their full-time
job search when their microbusiness quickly became successful.”
Plus, starting a business at the micro level is often a great
way to start in the business world for those who do not have any
business experience. And, microbusiness often requires little to
no startup capital. For more information or to order, click here
***Quotation of the month***
“There is no teaching to compare with example.”
–Sir Robert Baden Powell
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