Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct marketing.
May 4, 2015
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***Why you should be humble***
According to best-selling author Michael Masterson, one of the
most successful guys I know, humble people are well liked and
get more cooperation from others, because they don’t try to
force people to accept their ideas.
In addition, humble people learn faster, because they are able
to ask questions and make mistakes without embarrassment –
which makes good teachers and mentors want to help them.
Source: Michael Masterson, “The Pledge” (John Wiley & Sons,
2011), p. 111.
***Are you ready for a “laptop lifestyle”?***
If you still haven’t cracked the code for your online business…
Or if you just want to add another source of income… Or
maybe you just can’t stand your boss anymore and you know
there has to be a better way…
It just doesn’t matter if you have a big business or a small
business or are just starting out. If you’re ready to start living
the Laptop Lifestyle as early as in the next 7 days I urge you
to check out “The Secrets of Living the Laptop Lifestyle” now:
***Marketing to millennials***
Millenials (those born from 1981-2000):
–Believe relationships are more important than the
–Desire open, authentic, constant, and real-time information.
–Want to offer opinions and input on how work gets done.
–Seek mentors and leaders who will guide and appreciate
–Want to make a difference at work.
–Dislike playing political games.
–Are highly tech savvy.
–Like to save and make money.
–Are entrepreneurially inclined.
Source: Deanne DeMarco, “Generation Gaps” (Parkside Publishing,
2014), p. 25.
***How to avoid being snarky online***
Do you ever find yourself writing comments that are rude, angry,
insulting, or offensive online? There is no payoff in being an
Internet butthead. Solution: Pick up the phone, dial the
person’s number, and when he answers, say those things to his
face. If you find you cannot because it embarrasses or shames
you, then don’t write them either. Remember, there are lots of
cowards on the Internet hiding behind keyboards.
***Best hours to call business associates***
I called a freelance writer whom I wanted to hire to edit an
e-book and when she answered she told me testily, “It is 5am
here in Arizona.”
Sorry, but it’s not the customer’s job to keep track of the time
zone you live in. If you don’t want to be awakened early in the
morning or disturbed in the evening by a phone call, switch the
phone to voice mail. Your phone should be answered 24/7, whether
by you or a recording.
She made me feel guilty, and I was not: I contend the error was
hers, not mine. Shame on her.
***Direct mail dead? Not hardly. Print rules!***
According to an article in Target Marketing magazine, 79% of
consumers say they act on direct mail immediately, and 56%
stated that they found print marketing to be the most
trustworthy of all media channels.
One reason direct mail thrives is the myth of digital killing
print is simply not true. In 2014, more than 8 out of 10
American adults said they would rather read a magazine in print
than online. Two thirds prefer paperbound books to e-books.
Young people are no exception to the widespread preference for
print over digital: In a report by JWT, almost 8 out of 10
millennials said print makes them feel more connected than
Sources: Iron Mountain; Direct Mail for the Modern Marketer,
Target Marketing, 2/19/15.
***Another argument against HTML e-newsletters***
Weighing in on the debate of text vs. HTML for online
newsletters, subscriber MN writes:
“Bob, I prefer the text e-mail format you use over everything
else out on the net. It is clean, crisp, to the point, and does
not waste my time with constant ‘closes’ or fluff. It is a
‘personal’ letter to me from someone I admire, but may never
meet. That, of course, is my opinion and what the format means
***My latest book is out***
If you are a regular reader of my twice-weekly e-mail articles,
you might enjoy my new paperback and Kindle e-book collection:
“The Blunt and Brutal Truth About Business and Life:
Observations, Facts, and Rules from a Cranky Curmudgeon.”
In its pages, you will discover: the awful truth about goal
setting … why you should never work on spec … 7 hottest trends
in B2B marketing … how to become indispensable to your clients …
are customer surveys a waste of time … 9 rules for writing
money-making video sales letters … and much more. Available on
***Narrow your niche***
If you want to succeed in a niche with a lot of competition, a
winning strategy is to target a segment of the market, not the
Example: there are many consultants who teach presentation
skills. Hayley Foster has captured a segment of the presentation
skills market by positioning herself as “the short talk expert”
and even more specifically in coaching people to give TEDx
***Video trailers for selling books***
Marketing author Stuart Atkins explains how to generate book
sales using video trailers: “You have to target video preview
ads to the right audiences through an Adwords video campaign and
Facebook boost posts. You then insert the Order Now landing page
link in your ads to the video.”
Atkins also uploaded his video book trailer to his Amazon author
page. The cost per view (CPV) is far cheaper than a standard
Adwords text or banner ad campaign: 2 to 7 cents per.
He has tied his video book trailer into his Google Adsense
account “so I can get ad placement revenue from Google.”
Warning: When you monetize a video for YouTube, they sometimes
take a close look to make sure all music and content is fully
Atkins hired a video production company to produce, compile, and
do the graphics. His wife did the taping with a Canon D5 Mark 3
DSLR. You can watch his video book trailer here:
***Free blogging guide***
A new e-book, “How to Start a Blog,” shows beginners how to blog
effectively. It covers: how to set up a blog … how to create and
manage a self-hosted WordPress blog … how to write great blog
content … ways to promote your blog … monetizing your blog … and
more. And, it’s free!
Download the free blogging book here:
***Everybody’s a critic***
Subscriber Alan reports: “I attended an evening with
author/humorist David Sedaris last night at the Count Basie
Theater in Red Bank. Towards the end of his readings he shared a
few anecdotes re: his many book signings after such evenings
over the past few years.
“In one particular instance a woman who had waited in line quite
a while said to him ‘You know, you’re a rather obscure author. I
told several of my friends I was coming to this evening’s event
and not one of them even knew who you were!’
“He thought for brief moment about how he should respond, then
simply replied, ‘Oh, and what have you written?’ Last night’s
audience loved it and I’m still chuckling over that one.”
***A solution to the free advice problem***
When people call experts for free advice and the experts put a
limit on the time they spend replying — or don’t reply at all — the
callers feel put off and offended.
Andrea Gold and Gary Yamamoto, experts in the professional
speaking business, solved this problem by publishing a book “The
Business of Successful Speaking.” Says Andrea, “Now when an
aspiring speaker calls, we recommend the book, which costs $30.
Those who choose to purchase value our time. Always be willing
to charge for your expertise.”
Source: Andrea Gold and Gary Yamamoto, “Authors Who Speak Sell
More Books” (Cypress Mountain Books, 2014), p. 6.
***Quotation of the month***
“The problem with writing nowadays is that people under 50 don’t
know anything about the past, so you have to explain everything.
Not only do you have to explain the Chicago Renaissance: you
have to explain the Italian Renaissance, too. It really is
almost that awful.”
Source: Kurt Vonnegut Letters (Delacorte Press, 2012), p. 314.
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***Our 60-second commercial***
Bob Bly is available on a limited basis for copywriting of
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brochures, white papers, ads, e-mail marketing campaigns, PR
materials, and Web pages. We recommend you call for a FREE copy
of our updated Copywriting Information Kit. Just let us know
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