Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct marketing.
November 3, 2014
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***Have only one call to action on your landing page***
Make sure your landing pages have only one call to action each.
You don’t want to confuse visitors with the opportunity to
subscribe to your mailing list and purchase a product on the
If your goal is to get mailing list subscribers, then make the
page’s call to action the opt-in form. Sell them a product in
your next series of e-mails. If your goal is to get the visitor
to buy, then make the page’s call to action an Add to Cart
Source: Pinpointe white paper, “Conversion-Optimized Landing
***Web marketing made easy***
According to consultant Bob McCarthy, the foundation of your web
marketing doesn’t take much — just 5 basic items:
1–A web site. “There is no debate here, says Bob. “If you’re in
business, you need a website. It could be simple — just a few
pages — but you need to have a presence on the web.
2–A downloadable PDF report. Ideally, you want a lead magnet
– an educational how-to report or tips sheet — something that has
an appeal to your target audience. If you don’t have a lead magnet,
find something that visitors will want to download.
3–A form page or landing page. When people are ready to
download your report, you need to give them a way to take action.
4–A lead capture system. After the form is filled out, you need
some way to process that contact information, confirm the e-mail
address, and deliver the download.
5–An e-mail service. After the leads are collected, you need an
automated process for consistent follow up.
Source: The Direct Response Coach, 6/24/14.
***3 easy ways to get unstuck when stuck on a task***
1–If you are stuck for more than 15 minutes, switch tasks.
2–Instead of working on the problem continuously for hours,
schedule shorter, more frequent sessions over several days.
3–Keep a list of problem tasks and glance at it when not at
work; a new context can lead to a fresh perspective.
Source: Ron Friedman, Harvard Business Review blog, 7/9/14.
**Qualify your prospects with BANT***
>> Budget — what are they willing to spend to buy the product or
>> Authority — who needs to be involved in the purchase decision?
>> Need — what needs or conditions must exist before your
product would be of value to the potential customer?
>> Timing — How soon will the buying decision be made?
Source: John Coe, The Fundamentals of B2B Sales and Marketing,
McGraw-Hill, p. 127.
***10 marketing tactics Americans say they despise***
1–Direct mail that looks like it has a bill, fake check, or is
2–Pop-up ads on web sites.
3–Ads for nutritional supplements with exaggerated claims.
4–Videos you have to sit through before reaching web content.
5–Products advertised as “made in America” that are not.
6–Free offers with strings attached.
7–TV ads louder than the program.
8–Ads targeted based on purchases, demographics, or behavior.
9–Product placement in movies and TV.
Source: Consumer Reports, 6/14, p. 11.
***Beware the customer who asks the price right away***
Watch out for prospects who ask about price right up front.
Sometimes, even before saying hello, buyers ask about price.
Often this is a sign that the prospect is a price shopper and
the primary factor in her purchase decision is getting the
lowest price. Not the kind of client you want to have.
Talking about price too soon puts the entire focus on money.
While salespeople can’t ignore the question, most buyers — other
than price shoppers — will accept the explanation that more has
to be learned about their specific needs before price can be
Source: Customer Experience Insight, 7/8/14.
***Ideal length for white papers***
White paper guru Gordon Graham says the sweet spot for white
papers is 6 to 8 pages of content. Add a front cover, contents
page, and about the company and you’re up to a total document of
10 or 11 pages. But what about those who say that readers want
much shorter white papers today?
“Many marketing people today want to achieve the impact of a
great white paper, without making the investment to develop one,
and without asking their prospects to deal with a substantial
document,” says Gordon. “But I don’t believe there’s any
shortcut.” Graham says that anything with less than 4-5 solid
pages of content is hard to call a “white paper” because there
just isn’t the space to develop much of an argument. He adds,
“The trouble with a 2-3 pager is that it almost always becomes a
brochure or data sheet, without much capacity for reframing an
issue, redrawing a market space, or helping a business person
understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.
“To me that’s the real definition of a white paper. So I’d say
for sure, cut the flab and make your white papers as concise as
possible. But don’t think 3 pages is going to do the same job as
6 or 8.”
***Why you cannot leave out the sales letter from your direct
There is an old saying that a direct mail package without a
sales letter is not at all a direct mail package … it’s just a
brochure in an envelope.
To answer your question: Yes, every direct mail package should
include a letter. As Peggy Hatch, publisher of Target Marketing
explains: “A letter is the one opportunity for the writer to
make an emotional connection with the reader. All else in the
package — circular, invitation, order mechanism — are rational.”
Self-mailers of course do not have letters, but I often design
one panel of my self-mailers as a faux letter. Reason: the copy
framed as a letter makes more of a personal and emotional
connection than the more sterile promotional segments of the
Source: Peggy Hatch, Target Marketing, 7/9/14
***Best colors to use on your landing pages***
On my sales pages the type is black with blue and red used as
second color, mainly in heads and subheads, for emphasis. My web
master also uses brown, gray, green, and sometimes orange as a
background color for the screen surrounding the sales copy; the
copy itself is on white.
According to marketing guru Debbie Allen, associations for these
colors are as follows:
** Black — seriousness, authority, power, and boldness.
** Blue — trustworthiness, success, security, authority, seriousness,
** Red — excitement, strength, love, passion, impulse, action,
** White — purity, cleanliness, devotion, simplicity.
** Orange — celebration, fun, youth, affordability, excitement.
** Green — health, freedom, freshness, healing, and nature.
** Brown — earth, nature, simplicity, richness, and helpfulness.
** Gray — authority, professionalism, earnestness, and practicality.
Note: I was surprised not to see green associated with wealth
and money. It made sense to see orange associated with
affordability, as fliers for sales and discounts are often
printed in orange.
Source: Debbie Allen newsletter, 7/15/14.
***What you need to know about keywords and PPC advertising***
The more popular the keyword, the more cost per click (CPC) it’s
going to have. So it’s very important to do your keyword
research before you start selecting your keywords as you’re
setting up your campaign. The lite version of Keywordspy.com is
free, but you can also upgrade to the full version and see more
results and have more capabilities for a monthly fee. Google
used to have its Keyword External Tool, which has since morphed
into Google AdWords Keyword Planner. You need a Gmail account to
access this free tool. Either of these tools will allow you to
enter keywords or keyword phrases and then view popularity
(actual search results), as well as what the average CPCs are.
This is important for your keyword selection and bidding.
You can also type in your “core” or focus keywords and get
additional ad group/keyword ideas. To help refine your search
terms, you can also choose broad match, broad match modifier,
phrase match, exact match, and negative match.
Source: Wendy Montes de Oca, Target Marketing, 7/29/14.
***Quotation of the month***
“People who are good at making excuses are seldom good at
anything else.” –Ben Franklin
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