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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WORLD’S MOST VALUABLE NETWORKING SECRET
In his new book “How to Market to High-Net-Worth
Households” (The Business Institute), my
friend Paul Karasik gives a great networking
technique ? the “You know how/what I do” statement.
The first part begins with, “You know how.”
The second part begins with, “What I do is.”
Example (for a financial planner): “YOU KNOW HOW
lots of divorced women are overwhelmed with the
responsibility of dealing with their finances.
WHAT I DO IS provide safe investment opportunities
so they can stop worrying and get
their lives back on track.”
Why this works: (a) It focuses on the prospect,
not your company, product, or service, (b)
it leads with a point of self-interest to the
prospect, (c) it establishes both empathy
and authority (i.e., showing that you understand
the listener’s situation better than others
in your profession), and (d) it stresses benefits,
Action step: Compose a “You know how/what I do”
statement for your business and test it out the
next time someone asks you, “What do
Note: Paul can be found on the Web at
DON’T WASTE TIME VISITING UNQUALIFIED PROSPECTS
A common tactic used to increase response
to direct mail is to offer something free,
such as a free report or free consultation.
In the case of the free report, it doesn’t cost
much to send out a booklet or article reprint.
So even if some people respond to your mailing
just to get the freebie, no big deal.
But what about if you offer a free consultation,
evaluation, or estimate? It takes you time to provide
that kind of freebie, especially if it requires
a face-to-face meeting with the prospect.
That face-to-face meeting may be your goal,
but it’s only worth your time with a serious
prospect. To drive 2 hours to see someone
who just wants the freebie is a waste of time.
How can you prevent it?
Use the words “if you qualify” in your letter.
For instance: “Call now, and if you qualify,
you will get a free appraisal of what your
business is worth in today’s market.”
With the “if you qualify” clause, you are not
obligated to give everyone a free appraisal.
You can pick and choose who gets it, making
appointments only with solid prospects and
passing on the freebie seekers. That can
save you a lot of time and aggravation.
A NEW WAY TO BREAK THROUGH THE E-MAIL CLUTTER
The problem: tons of spam cluttering your prospects’
e-mail box means they are less likely than ever
to read and reply to your e-mail
But according to a survey from www.quris.com,
customers do value and read two specific types
of e-mails: (1) transaction confirmations
and (2) account status updates.
Suggestion: Since these e-mails get read, why
not add a promotional message or special
offer ? with a link to a landing page ? to your
transaction and account-related e-mails,
measure the response, and see whether it works
Source: Internet Marketing Report, 10/15/03, p. 8
SHOULD YOU PUT YOUR URL ON YOUR OUTER ENVELOPE?
A small but growing number of direct marketers
are putting their Web site address on the outer
envelope of their direct mail packages.
Those that argue in favor of it say: “Some folks
today want to get to you right away. Why force
them to open the outer envelope and hunt
for your URL in the letter or on the reply
form? Put it right on the outer envelope!”
Those against it counter: “How can you ask
for the order or inquiry before you’ve even
sold the reader on the product?
It is a distraction, and it doesn’t work.”
I’d like to hear from anyone who has tested
putting your Web site URL on your outer envelopes,
especially if you have measured the results
or better yet, split test envelopes with
and without the URL. Just e-mail your
comments to me at email@example.com. Thanks!
HOW TO PROOFREAD BETTER THAN YOUR SPELL-CHECKER
Every PC user knows that spell-checkers are lousy
at catching words out of context. For instance,
a major accounting firm recently sent
a proposal to a Fortune 500 client.
On the cover they identified themselves
as: “Certified Pubic Accountants.”
“Can you teach my people an effective way
to proofread so they find errors the
spell-checker misses?” the accounting
firm’s training director asked me.
The secret is this: Proofread the document
backwards. You’ll catch many typos you’d
otherwise miss ? especially this is
not the first time you’re reading the document.
Why this works: When you proofread backwards,
you focus on each word individually. Also,
the copy has no meaning when read backwards,
so your attention is on the individual
words and their spelling; you don’t
get caught up in the content itself.
WHAT’S WORKING IN DIRECT MAIL TODAY?
I’ll be presenting an audio conference
“Direct Mail: There’s No Silver Bullet,
but Here’s 7 Great Ideas” this month
for Progressive Business Publications.
In this 60-minute program, you’ll discover:
– Specific strategies that are working in
direct mail today.
– Words that consistently sell and others
that are “campaign killers.”
– Proven examples of high-performance copy.
– Results of direct mail testing: what’s worked
and what hasn’t.
– Answers to your most challenging direct
Date: November 5, 2003. Time: 12 to 1:30pm.
To register call toll-free 800-964-6033 or visit:
WEB SITES OF THE MONTH
Reader Sarah Stambler recommends MediaPost,
a Web site with tons of free content about
advertising and the media industry.
She also recommends Corante ? “a very
good montage of articles on lots of
cutting-edge high-technology areas.”
Click on: http://www.corante.com
And visit Sarah for more good online
marketing ideas at http://www.e-tactics.com
MAKE YOUR BOOK THE #1 BEST-SELLER ON AMAZON.COM
Now it’s easier than ever to start off your book
promotion campaign as a best-selling author.
You’ll get booked on TV, radio, and newspaper
interviews faster than everyone else.
My friends Randy Gilbert and Fred Gleeck have
created a step-by-step, A-to-Z guide that
shows you how to make your book a #1
best-seller on amazon.com in just 28 days.
It’s legal, ethical, and doesn’t involve any scam
(like buying your own book in volume).
For details, click on the link below:
HOW TO GET A CRASHED PC UP AND RUNNING AGAIN — FAST!
If you work in a small office without an IT
department, you know how frustrating and
paralyzing it can be to have your PC crash.
I’ve found a real treasure in Rescue.com,
a nationwide PC repair firm that specializes
in emergency service with guaranteed
Call them up, and they are there within
60 minutes and working on the problem.
Their work is top-notch. They are not
cheap, but they are fairly priced
considering the speed and quality
of the service they render.
If you are in the NY/NY metro area,
call Josh Kaplan, owner of the local
franchise, and tell him I sent you:
In other parts of the country,
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