Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response
to business-to-business, high-tech, industrial,
Internet, and direct marketing.
September 4, 2002
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HEADLINE CLINIC: BENEFITS + CURIOSITY = WINNER
Promising a benefit is one way to get people to
read your promotion. Arousing curiosity is another.
But the strongest is to combine them.
You create a positive expectation while making
your piece irresistible.
One way to do this: In a direct mail outer
envelope teaser, promise the benefit up front –
but tell the reader that the solution, product,
or service advertised inside is NOT the one
they think or expect.
Here’s an example from a successful direct mail
package promoting a stock market newsletter
(before the tech-stock meltdown):
“The one Internet stock you must own now.
(Hint: It’s NOT the one you think!)”
Why did this work?
Before the dot.com collapse, “The one Internet
stock you must own now” was appealing –
implying that a real winner was inside.
But if this were the entire teaser, the skeptical
reader would think, “Sure, they’re going to tell
me about amazon.com, eBay, Yahoo, or something else
I already know … the same old stuff.”
The second part of the teaser — “Hint: It’s NOT
the one you think!” — makes the reader think,
“Hey, maybe it’s NOT amazon.com, eBay, or Yahoo.
I wonder what it could be? I’d better open it up
and find out.”
This package was a control until it became dated
(the editor stopped touting the stock).
HOW TO WRITE COPY THE WAY YOUR PROSPECTS TALK
Copywriters are always searching for those perfect
words that will help sell a product or service by
painting a favorable picture in a prospect’s mind.
However, no one, until now, has ever taken the
approach of determining what specific words and
phrases have worked best in terms of selling to,
negotiating with, or motivating specific
After 20 years of research entailing over 12,000
interviews, The Brooks Group has put together a
set of profiles showing what words in copy work
best for specific target audiences. These guides
cover how to write to lawyers, doctors, accountants,
entrepreneurs, engineers, CEOs, CFOs, and dozens
of other markets.
If you wanted to write a sales letter or advertisement
for a certain group of career professionals, doesn’t
it make sense to know the specific words and phrases
that most appealed to that group? I’ve read most of
these guides and they are a goldmine; I wouldn’t part
with my collection for a new BMW! For more information,
click on: www.thewordsthatsell.com.
RECOMMENDED VENDOR OF THE MONTH
When it comes to getting good online mailing lists,
there are all sorts of alternatives to traditional
list rentals — ads in e-zines, banners on Web sites,
cost per acquisition (CPA) deals, swaps, you name it.
And if you want help sorting out what’s available
and making the deal, I recommend you call Sarah Stambler
Sarah specializes in locating untapped resources –
lists and advertising opportunities you cannot find
by traditional means. She scours the universe for
niche-specific publications, e-letters and e-zines,
book publishers, associations, portals, directories,
Web sites, conferences, and special reports.
Acting on your behalf, E-Tactics will research,
negotiate, and seal deals with companies that have
lists of buyers and prospects. These could include
list rentals or swaps, exposure on a publication’s
Web site, and PR or sponsorship possibilities.
This work is performed on a fixed-fee basis.
Programs start at $1,500 with price based on
how many opportunities you want to pursue.
For more information, call Sarah Stambler toll-free
at 800-348-8090 or 212-222-1713.
Or click on www.e-tactics.com.
URGENT! KEEP THOSE CARDS AND LETTERS COMING!
I hate to bug you nice folks, but to remind you,
I have two urgent requests I’m hoping you can help me
out with. I need:
* Samples of successful postcard marketing for an
article I am writing for Inside Direct Mail.
* Examples of all kinds of business letters for a
letter-writing handbook I am writing for John
Wiley & Sons.
You can send your material via:
1. e-mail — firstname.lastname@example.org
2. fax — 201-385-1138
3. Mail: Bob Bly, 22 E. Quackenbush Avenue,
Dumont, NJ 07628
As always, if I use your material, you get full
credit, of course.
WEB SITE OF THE MONTH
This Web site for copywriters lists more than 1,000
words and phrases that sell. A handy idea starter
for writing e-mail subject lines, ad headlines,
envelope teasers, and more. Click on the link below:
FREE ONE-PAGE NEWSLETTER TELECLASS
Want to increase sales, reduce costs and drive Web
site traffic? Then sign up for Roger C. Parker’s
free one-hour teleseminar, Promoting Your Business
With a One-Page Newsletter.
Date: September 8, 2002. Time: 8 PM EST.
You’ll learn the Ten Commands of One-Page Newsletters,
how to choose a focus and title for your newsletter,
and how to leverage profits in print and online.
Register by visiting www.OnePageNewsletter.com,
by calling 603-742-9673 or e-mailing OnePageNews@aol.com.
E-ZINE OF THE MONTH — YOURS FREE!
Everyone who writes, edits, or approves copy should
sign up for John Forde’s free e-zine, The Copywriter’s
Roundtable. Every issue is packed with copywriting
wisdom that’s a level above the ordinary.
For your free subscription, visit www.jackforde.com.
You will be glad you did.
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 email@example.com.
22 E. Quackenbush Ave.
Dumont, NJ 07628