Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response
to business-to-business, high-tech, and direct
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*** How to get the customer’s e-mail address
when she orders***
Many customers are reluctant to give their e-mail
address, wanting to avoid cluttering their inbox
with e-mail marketing messages.
Best way to get the customer’s e-mail address:
explain that you need it to deliver value-added
extras and service available to them only online.
Example: I recently ordered an audio program from
The Teaching Company ? a company that sells
recorded lectures by top college
professors — by calling their 800 number.
After taking my order, the operator asked,
“May I have your e-mail address so we can
send you additional course materials
prepared for you by your professor?”
***Do you make this mistake in English?***
I often get letters that begin something like
“As a subscriber to XYZ magazine, I want to offer
you a special discount on ABC.”
This common error is called a dangling modifier.
Are you making it?
The modifier is the phrase “As a subscriber to XYZ
magazine.” It refers to “you”… the recipient…
yet it is incorrectly placed next to “I,” the
letter writer… which is not the subject it
is intended to describe (modify).
To correct this error, write:
“As a subscriber to XYZ magazine, you are
entitled to a special discount on ABC.”
This way, the subject, “you,” appears directly
after the modifier describing it.
***Save $500 on the first and only Bob Bly
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Fred Gleeck Productions is sponsoring a 3-day
event, “The World’s Best-Kept Copywriting Secrets
Boot Camp,” featuring Bob Bly, to be held
February 24-26 in Las Vegas.
By enrolling online now, you save $500. Early Bird
discount expires 1/26/06. Reply today and you also
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For more information and to register,
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***Why Internet marketing guru Perry Marshall
I was surprised when I received in my postal
mail a marketing newsletter by my friend Perry
Marshall, the well-known pay-per-click expert.
And so I sent Perry this question via e-mail:
“With you being an Internet guru, why do you go to
the trouble and expense of printing and mailing
The Perry Marshall Marketing Letter in hard copy,
when you could just e-mail it to your list with
the click of a mouse?”
Perry replied: “Great question. It’s because I
believe that, no matter how you slice it, a real
physical print newsletter is inherently more
valuable than a PDF version.
“As a matter of fact, with few exceptions, PDF
versions of my newsletters aren’t even made
available. A real snail mail copy, bound and
stapled together, is easier to take with
you, easier to read in bed, more tangible
than an electronic version — which translates,
I think, to more loyal subscribers and people
paying more attention.”
Perry’s surprising conclusion: “Electronic will
never replace real paper and ink.”
***Should you be podcasting?***
Yes, says my friend copywriter Joan Damico, a
podcasting enthusiast. As Joan explains:
“Podcasting means distributing an MP3 audio file
that can be downloaded from a website or from any
RSS feed to an iPod or MP3 compatible device.
It can also be played from your desktop
using Windows Media Player.
“People download music all the time. Now they
can download a podcast. What does it do for them?
It’s like a 5-minute radio spot. They can use
it as a teaser to sell other information products,
offer it as a call to action on a direct or e-mail
marketing program, or turn it into a 5-minute
“Podcasting is fast becoming one of the hottest
topics in marketing. Yahoo has recently added
this service to their community and others are
quickly hopping on the bandwagon.”
***What never to put in a subject line***
Direct marketing firm 21st Century Marketing says
you should avoid using “free,” “save,” “urgent,”
“important,” “$$$,” and text in all caps in the
subject line of your e-mail marketing message.
Reason: these words and symbols may make your
message look like spam. Also, many online portals,
like AOL, use filters to block mail with these
items in the subject line.
Source: “An Insider’s Guide to E-Mail Marketing,”
21st Century Marketing.
***Recommended vendor of the month***
The great Kate Spector, who was my client at Weka
Publishing, and also handled direct marketing for
Book of the Month Club and Columbia House Video
Library, has now gone into business as a freelancer.
You can hire Kate to manage your entire direct
mail project from start to finish ? from strategic
planning and budgeting, to list plans and
creative, to production and mailing.
You can call Kate at 203-968-9655 or e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d make my inquiries now,
as I believe her schedule will fill up fast.
***Upcoming speaking engagement***
On December 8, I’ll be giving my workshop “What’s
Working in E-Mail Marketing Today” at the
Newsletter and Electronic Publisher Association’s
(NEPA) Marketing Conference in Orlando, Florida.
For more information or to register, click below:
***Educational marketing trumps traditional sales
The findings of the industry’s first major study
of white paper writers are revealed in a new
report titled “2005 White Paper Writer
More than 500 white paper writers participated in
the study, sponsored by WhitePaperSource.com.
One of the most significant findings was that
writers overwhelmingly indicated that white papers
should educate. “The fact that 96% of white paper
writers feel that white papers should be educational
is profound because the vast majority of white papers
are not educational. Instead they are hard sell
documents cloaked as white papers,” commented
Michael Stelzner, author of the study.
A full copy of the survey is available free of
charge until December 31, 2005 at
***60-second commercial from Fern Dickey,
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 email@example.com
22 E. Quackenbush Ave.
Dumont, NJ 07628