Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct marketing.
August 7, 2014
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***Beware purchased e-mail lists***
If you get an offer in your e-mail to purchase an e-mail
marketing list for your next campaign, run, don’t walk.
It is rarely a good idea to send e-mail marketing messages to
purchased lists. You should only e-mail to legitimate opt-in
e-lists, meaning the people on the list have subscribed and
agreed to receive e-mail messages. And virtually 100% of the
time, opt-in e-lists are offered to marketers for rental only,
What’s the worst that could happen if you purchase an e-list?
When you send a campaign to e-mail addresses that either don’t
exist, or when a large percentage of recipients report your
e-mail as spam — because they have not opted in to get it — you
could lose access to your domain and your ISP could close your
Bottom line: stick to lists that were generated using proper
permission-based sign-ups and rented from a real list broker.
You can find list brokers under the Mailing List category on my
site’s vendor page:
Source: “20 Obvious and Not So Obvious E-Mail Marketing Mistakes
to Avoid,” Pinpoint.
***Stop making excuses***
One of my favorite quotations is from Ben Franklin, who said:
“People who are good at making excuses are seldom good at
Now business strategist Dan Waldschmidt offers these 6 tricks to
help you stop making excuses and forge a path to your goals:
1–Avoid the need to blame others for anything. Mean,
small-minded people know that they suck. That’s why they are so
cranky and eager to point out others’ mistakes.
2–Stop working on things that just don’t matter. Replace
trivial pursuits with activity toward your goal.
3–Refuse to wallow in self-doubt. You’re alive to succeed. Stop
comparing your current problems to your last 18 failures. They
are not the same.
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. When you start genuinely apologizing for being a bad
influence on those around you, you learn to stop whining and
***How long should blog posts be?***
According to Andy Crestodino of Orbit Media Studios, the ideal
length for a blog post written specifically to optimize search
engine rankings is 1,500 words.
An analysis from serpIQ found that longer text correlated with
higher rankings. MOZ analyzed 3,800 posts on their own blog, and
the longer posts attracted more links.
“Longer pages generally attract more links and these links
support a higher rank,” writes Dany. His findings are in sharp
contrast to the 300 to 500 words I am given as the length
specification by potential clients who want blog posts written.
***The secret to happiness revealed at last***
According to top speaker Brian Tracy, the key to happiness is to
dedicate yourself to the development of your natural talents and
abilities by doing it to the best of your abilities. “You can be
happy only when you are living your life in the very best way
possible,” says Tracy.
Brian’s action steps for achieving happiness: (1) define the
activities you really love and enjoy, and (2) organize your life
so you do more of them.
Source: Brian Tracy’s Success Newsletter, 4/1/14.
***Best time of day to do your social media posts***
–Pinterest: On Saturday from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 8 p.m.-11 p.m.
–LinkedIn: 7 a.m.-8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.-6 p.m.
–Google+: 9a.m.-11 a.m.
–Twitter: On weekends from 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
–Facebook: Weekdays 6 a.m.- 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
–Blog: Monday, Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m.
Disclaimer: This comes from Ragan; I have not tested it.
Source: Ragan PR Daily, 4/8/14.
***6 tips for boosting your personal productivity***
1–Do not multitask. Instead, focus on a single task for an
allotted amount of time.
2–If your job comes with constant interruptions that demand
your attention, take several deep breaths and then prioritize
3–Resist the urge to answer the phone every time it rings –
unless it’s your boss.
4–If someone asks you to drop what you’re doing to help with a
problem, it’s OK to tell them, “I’ll be finished with what I’m
doing in 10 minutes, then I’m all yours.”
5–When you get “stuck” in a task, change your physical
environment to stimulate your senses. Get up, take a walk
outside, and look at the flowers and the birds. Change what
you’re seeing. Or turn on some relaxing music that makes you
6–Delegate. Have compassion for yourself and reach out for help.
Source: Dr. Romie Mushtaq, www.BrainBodyBeauty.com
***Copywriting with music***
I keep a boom box on the shelf in my office and have two
cabinets filled with CDs. Reason: ambient sound affects my mood
and energy — and could work for you too:
** When I am thinking through a difficult copywriting problem, I
work in silence.
** For sustained concentration and deep thinking — classical.
** When I need to boost my energy, I play jazz or rock.
** I also use jazz, rock, country, and even show tunes as
background noise to keep my mood up on lighter writing tasks
such as content.
Research indicates there may be a link between music and brain
function: In a study at the University of Toronto, young
children given weekly music lessons experienced a small but
measurable increase in IQ.
Source: New Jersey Family, March 2014, p. 24.
***Speakers: never tell your audience not to do this***
Don’t say to your audience, “You don’t need to write anything
down or take photos; the presentation will be online later.”
“For many people the act of writing is an easy way to memorize
something they’ve heard,” says MaryEllen Tribby. Her advice:
allow people to do whatever they want during your presentations.
“Personally I love when folks take photos; I often see them on
many different social media sites,” she adds.
Source: Working Moms Only, 4/14/14.
***A tip for self-publishers***
If you are self-publishing your book as an e-book, Outskirts
Press advises you also offer it as a paperbound book for these 4
First, readers still love an old-fashioned read. For die-hard
book enthusiasts, there’s still nothing like a paperbound book.
Second, signed copies add value. An autographed hardcopy not
only makes a great keepsake for friends and family but it may
also be that extra push a stranger needs to make a purchase.
Third, you may not convince a news editor or a bookstore owner
to get on the computer to enter a promo code and download a
promotional copy, but you can usually get them to take a free
hardcopy from you.
If you can get a paper book into their hands right away, they’re
far more likely to review it, schedule an interview or put
copies of your book on the shelves.
Fourth, a paperbound book makes a better keepsake than a digital
edition. You probably would like your own archival copies,
right? Something in print is a nice, tangible backup to your
Tip: If you self-publish a Kindle e-book, use Amazon’s Create
Space feature to make it available as a print-on-demand (POD)
Source: Outskirts Press Newsletter, 4/15/14.
***Book of the month***
I highly recommend “Change Your Words, Change Your Worth: How to
Get a Job, a Promotion, and More by Speaking and Writing
Effectively” by Patricia Blaine.
There’s nothing new here, but I recommend the book anyway.
Reason: many writing books, including mine, have lists and
tables of words, phrases, etc. And “Change Your Words” has more
complete lists and tables than those other writing books,
including mine — making it a valuable addition to your library
of writing books.
***Quotation of the month***
“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a
poor hand well.” –Robert Louis Stevenson
Source: Steven Kayser, “The Greatest Words You’ve Never Heard,”
(Kayser Media Publishing, 2014), p. 167.
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