Bob Bly?s Direct Response Letter
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to business-to-business, high-tech, industrial, Internet, and direct marketing.
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DO QUESTION HEADLINES WORK?
Of course they do. Steven Scott, a top direct response TV copywriter and director, says asking a question is one of the three most potent attention-getting openers for direct marketing promotions. (According to Scott, the other two are using the name of a person the prospect knows, such as a celebrity, and making a powerful statement.)
To be effective, the question headline must ask a question that the reader can empathize with or would like to see answered. Some examples:
?Do you make these mistakes in English? (Sherwin Cody)
?What do Japanese managers know that American managers sometimes lack?? (Bits & Pieces)
?When an employee gets sick, how long does it take your company to recover?? (Pilot Life Insurance)
?Do you close the bathroom door even when you?re the only one home?? (Psychology Today)
?Have you any of these decorating problems?? (Bigelow Carpets)
A complete discussion of the 8 types of headlines (including question headlines) may be found in chapter 2 of my book, The Copywriter?s Handbook, available at [amazon link here].
AND SPEAKING OF HEADLINES….
Here are some more fun headlines (I took these from John Forde?s Copywriter?s Roundtable):
Juvenile court to try shooting defendant
Plane too close to ground, crash probe told
Miners refuse to work after death
Stolen painting found by tree
If strike isn’t settled quickly, it may last a while
Cold wave linked to temperatures
Red tape holds up new bridge
Typhoon rips through cemetery; hundreds dead
New study of obesity looks for larger test group
Astronaut takes blame for gas in spacecraft
Kids make nutritious snacks
ATTENTION NEWSLETTER PUBLISHERS
On 6/3 in Washington DC I will be giving a talk at the Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Association Conference on how to make your newsletter indispensable to your subscribers — ?Make YOUR Publication the One They Can?t Live Without.?
This is an all-new presentation and I guarantee it will be worth your while. For more information on the NEPA Conference go to www.newsletters.org or call NEPA at 800-356-9302. Newsletter publishers, don?t miss this talk!
CHECK OUT MY NEW COLUMN — AND BE INCLUDED IN THE NEXT ONE!
After years of relative inactivity in writing for the trade press, during which I concentrated on books (for a full online catalog of my books go to www.bly.com and click on Books), I am again a columnist — this time for Subscription Marketing. My column focuses on direct mail marketing of newsletter subscriptions, although many of the techniques I discuss are applicable to direct mail for a broad range of products and industries. To subscribe to Subscription Marketing, call toll-free 800-783-4903.
Also, for an upcoming column on renewals, I?d like to hear from you about your renewal results. What is your renewal rate? How many renewal efforts are in your series? What is the response to each? What renewal pricing do you use? How big a discount? What renewal premiums or other incentives do you offer? Please e-mail email@example.com. Thanks!
BECOME A RECOGNIZED AUTHORITY IN YOUR FIELD
I just spoke a few days ago at the Westchester chapter of the Public Relations Society of America on ?How to Become a Recognized Authority in Your Field in 60 Days or Less? — based on my new book of the same title. The speech was professionally recorded (I use an audio company that does work for Bruce Springsteen) and is available for sale.
The retail price of the tape is $15 but mention you subscribe to this e-zine (The Direct Response Letter) and you get it for $10. We pay shipping & handling. Call Fern Dickey at 201-797-8105 and order tape #827 with your credit card. Or go to www.bly.com and click on Audiotapes.
You might also want to read the book. To order ?How to Become a Recognized Authority in Your Field? at 30% off the list price, go to [amazon link]
UPCOMING LEARNING ANNEX SEMINAR FOR FREELANCE WRITERS
I will be teaching my popular seminar ?Secrets of a Freelance Writer? at the Learning Annex in NYC on May 28 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. The program teaches you how to make $100,000 a year or more writing ads, brochures, Web sites, and other marketing materials for local and national clients. To register, call the Learning Annex at 212-371-0280.
The seminar is based on my book ?Secrets of a Freelance Writer? — which you can order for 30% off list price at [amazon link].
WEB SITE OF THE MONTH
Marketing genius Jay Abraham has a Web site well worth looking at — www.abraham.com.
There are way too many people giving marketing advice in books, articles, seminars, and on the Internet, but only a few of these have something fresh and worthwhile to teach us. Of these, Jay is perhaps the best — a real innovator in marketing. Just about anything he writes or recommends is worth reading.
VENDOR OF THE MONTH
Every so often a client asks me, ?We want to get out a direct mail campaign but we don?t have time to manage the project in house. Is there a freelance coordinator you can recommend who can handle our mailing from list rentals to the post office??
I highly recommend Paul Curtis, listed on the Vendors page of www.bly.com under ?Project and Traffic Management,? phone 201-684-0395. Paula has produced several mailings for me, and she is a real pro with an eye for detail. A merge/purge she recommended on one 25,000 piece saved me so much money in list rental fees, it more than paid her project management fee! If you need someone to coordinate a direct mail campaign for you, call Paula today.
RECENT AND CURRENT COPYWRITING PROJECTS (JUST A SAMPLING)
Direct mail package for Release 1.0 … e-mail marketing for Stealth Stocks … direct mail package for Engineered Software … brochures for Agfa … direct mail package for Outstanding Investments … direct mail package for Graphic Design Success ….
60-SECOND COMMERCIAL FROM FERN DICKEY, OFFICE MANAGER:
Bob is available on a limited basis for copywriting of direct mail packages, sales letters, brochures, 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 your industry and the type of copy you?re interested in seeing (ads, mailings, etc.), and if Bob is available to take your assignment, we?ll tailor a package of recent samples to fit your requirements. Call Fern Dickey at 201-797-8105 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Bly 22 E. Quackenbush Ave.
Copywriter/consultant Dumont, NJ 07628
email@example.com phone 201-385-1220
www.bly.com fax 201-385-1138