Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving
response to business-to-business, high-tech,
industrial, Internet, and direct marketing.
August , 2003
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DON’T TOUCH THAT “FROM” LINE!
Subscriber John Dunbar says that when sending
out a regular e-zine (like this one) to your list,
you should never vary the “from” line.
“I recommend that you use the same ?From’ in
your periodic e-mails. When you change them,
however slightly, e-mail spam-filters will set
them aside. Many computer users set up automatic spam
filters. Those e-mails that are approved, like
‘email@example.com,’ are initially approved.
Then along comes ‘Bob_Bly@ureach.com’ followed
by ‘Bob-Bly@ureach.com.’ These second two are then
set aside by the filter, marked as spam, and await
your later approval. This advice can help make sure
your e-zines get to their intended recipients.”
8 RULES FOR WRITING ONLINE
1. Write for surfers and scanners.
2. Provide information quickly and easily.
3. Think both verbally and visually.
4. Cut copy in half.
5. Use lots of lists and bullets.
6. Write in chunks.
7. Use hyperlinks.
8. Give readers a chance to talk back (feedback).
Source: Don Ranly, www.ranly.com, presented at NEPA, 3/3/03
USE A “JOHNSON BOX” FOR DIRECT MAIL IMPACT
Sixty years ago, Frank H. Johnson was looking for
a way to increase the impact of his sales letters.
He decided that instead of forcing readers to
wade through a mass of copy before making the offer,
he would highlight the offer in a centered rectangular
box placed at the very top of the letter
above the salutation. The results were terrific,
and the “Johnson Box” has been going strong ever since.
Copywriter Ivan Levison shares some tips you can
use for putting a Johnson Box to work the RIGHT way:
1. Put the right content in the box. What should
you include there? The offer. The main product benefit.
2. Use it in the right kind of letter. If you’re
writing a non-personalized letter that’s going
out bulk rate in a window envelope using teaser copy,
a Johnson Box will fit right in.
3. Make it the right size. If you’re mailing an
8 1/2″ x 11″ letter (folded twice down to 3 5/8″)
you want the Johnson Box and AT LEAST the salutation
line to appear above the fold.
4. Use an appropriate box shape. You can make
the box out of asterisks or use a fine-ruled line.
For added impact, throw a screened-back second color
inside the box.
5. Use a box in the body of the letter.
There’s no law that says you can’t throw
your guarantee into a small box somewhere within
the letter. Or a few testimonials. Or a short
excerpt from a glowing product review.
6. Show your fulfillment piece in a box or
at the top of your letter. If you’re offering
a report, guide, White Paper, Executive Summary,
whatever, use a picture of it.
Source: “The Levison Letter.” For a free subscription
to this valuable e-zine, click on the link below:
MAKE SURE YOUR GUARANTEE MAKES SENSE (MANY DON’T)
A number of publishers offer lifetime guarantees.
They permit the subscriber to cancel at any time
and receive a prorated refund on
But if you offer both a bill-me option as well as
payment with order, such a lifetime guarantee
actually gives the customer an incentive NOT
to pay up front.
Say the customer checks the “bill-me” option for
a monthly magazine, gets his first issue, and then
writes “cancel” on his invoice.
The publisher doesn’t send him a bill for one issue,
nor does the publisher ask for the
magazine back. So the customer gets a free issue.
But if the customer pays in advance, then cancels
after the first issue, he gets a refund for 11/12th
of the subscription price (the 11 unmailed issues)
and therefore ends up paying for the issue received.
Why should the bill-me customer get a free issue,
but not the payment-with-order customer? It doesn’t
make sense, considering a cash-with-order
customer is more desirable than a bill-me order.
Solution: Offer a money-back guarantee within the
first 30 days, then prorated refund thereafter.
THE ROYAL ROAD TO RICHES
What do Tom Peters, Michael Hammer, and Peter Drucker
have in common? They’re all rich ? and they’re all
consultants. Now you can earn $50,000 to $250,000
a year or more as an independent consultant,
full or part-time. For details, click below:
A $1,970 FREE GIFT FOR YOU!
Help my good friend Joe Vitale make his latest book
a best-seller and he’ll give you $1,970.39 in freebies.
One look at the title of his new book and you’ll
leap to get it. One look at the 19-some freebies
he’ll give you and you’ll drool to get it.
Get details by sending e-mail to
UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT
My next speaking engagement is at the Merit Direct
Co-op, July 10, where I will be giving two talks:
“World’s Best-Kept Copywriting Secrets” and
“What’s Working in E-Mail Marketing Today.”
For more information call Merit Direct at
BOB’S NEW COLUMN IN WRITER’S DIGEST MAGAZINE
Starting in the Fall I’ll be writing a column
every other month (six times a year) for Writer’s
Digest magazine. The topic: “The Six-Figure Writer”
— how to make $100,000 a year or more as a freelance
writer. To subscribe, call Writer’s Digest
at (513) 531-2690.
If you are a freelance writer, you can also have
me coach you personally through AWAI’s Selling
Yourself program. For more information, go to:
STUCK ON A CREATIVE WRITING PROJECT?
Award-winning playwright Doug Motel coaches writers
and creative people through the process of completing
their projects. You can find out more at his Web site.
Tell Doug I sent you and your first coaching session
RECENT COPYWRITING AND CONSULTING PROJECTS
(JUST A SAMPLING)
Direct mail for Agora Publishing … The Closeout
Club … Forbes … KCI … Kiplinger …
Harvard Business School Publishing …
Nightingale-Conant … NIBM … Studebaker-Worthington
… BMA … Modern Cleaning Systems …
Pacific Coast Funding …
60-SECOND COMMERCIAL FROM FERN DICKEY, OFFICE MANAGER:
Bob is available on a limited basis for copywriting
of direct mail packages, sales letters, 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 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.
22 E. Quackenbush Ave.
Dumont, NJ 07628