Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, and direct
You are getting this e-mail because you subscribed to it on
www.bly.com or because you are one of Bob’s clients, prospects,
seminar attendees, or book buyers. If you would prefer not to
receive further e-mails of this type, go to the bottom of this
message and click on “SafeUnsubscribe.”
Your subscription brings you one regular monthly issue, usually
at the beginning of the month, plus one or two supplementary
messages each week. These are typically either free tips or
personal recommendations for information products on marketing or
related topics. I review products before recommending them and in
many cases know the authors.
We do not rent or share your name with anybody. Feel free to
forward this issue to any peers, friends and associates you think
would benefit from its contents. They will thank you. So will I.
***3 ways to avoid being a “commodity copywriter”***
Copywriters who write content articles for Internet marketers
are a dime a dozen — and get paid appropriately. Here’s how
to avoid being yet another “commodity copywriter”:
1—Add value — offer your copywriting clients more than just
words on a screen; e.g., Internet marketing expertise, blogging
advice, Twitter campaigns.
2—Write copy that generates sales — any time the client can
make more money from what you write for them than they pay you to
write it, you can charge high fees. This is why direct response
copywriting is so lucrative.
3—Become an expert — tackle topics that are too complicated,
too difficult, or too specialized for most other copywriters;
gurus have much less competition than generalists.
***Copywriting specialist or generalist? The debate
I urge you to sign up for the upcoming free tele-seminar,
“Generalist vs. Specialist: Which Is Better in a Tough
Economy?” In what promises to be a lively session, top
copywriters Peter Bowerman and Michael Stelzner go head-to-head,
debating the pros and cons of being a specialist vs. a
I strongly suggest you grab a seat at this free online event,
scheduled for 9/17/09. Even though it’s free, you must be
registered to attend. Go here to learn more or to enroll now
while seats are still available:
***Great content for your newsletter — only 50 cents per
Whenever I am in a used bookstore or – even better — a
library selling old books, I look for and buy old business books.
At my local library, they are 50 cents each. If you are looking
for content for your e-zine, I urge you to do the same with books
related to your topic. Why?
Thumb through any old business book and I can virtually
guarantee that within 2 minutes, you’ll find at least one gem
– a great quote, a neat idea, a list of how-to tips – you can
use as a short article in your e-zine, on your blog, or in other
Example: the article below on putting signage on the top of
trucks came from a discarded book I bought from my local library
for 50 cents. I flipped through the book when I got home and
found the item in about 90 seconds.
***A new marketing idea: advertise to people who are high***
It’s common practice for business owners to paint the company
name and logo on the side of trucks and vans.
But if your business or its customers are located in a city, you
should also paint your company name, logo, and web site URL on
the tops of your trucks and vans. That way it will be seen by
prospects that are located on the second floor and higher of
Source: Mackay, Harvey, “Swim With the Sharks Without Being
Eaten Alive” (Fawcett, 1988), P. 86.
***5 tips for being interviewed on a radio show***
>> Have a goal for the interview – the most common one today
is to drive people to your web site.
>> Have a web address that’s easy to remember and spell – so
listeners won’t forget it after the interview.
>> Call-in on a landline – better voice quality and more
>> Listen to the show a few times before you get on – so you
know what to expect.
>> Have a pencil and paper in front of you during the interview
– so if a thought occurs, you can jot it down and be sure to
Source: Fred Gleeck Insights, 8/27/09.
***What are they saying about you online?***
Is your business being hurt by people who are trash-talking
about you or your product on blogs and web sites?
To find out what is being said about you online, do a full
search using your company name, brand, and product names on
Google, Bing, and Yahoo twice a month, advises marcom strategist
On Google, open a Google account and set up Google Alerts. These
are e-mails that Google sends you whenever a specific keyword or
phrase you specify – like your name — is used online.
Use the images, books, maps, and more links at the top of the
Google search page to see how your company and product names are
being used. Then click on “more options” to see online
reviews, forums, and related searches. Plus: check for mentions
of you on Digg, Delicious, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and
Source: Marcom Strategist, 7/10/09.
***Did you hear the one about the engineer?***
If you are an engineer like me – or you work with techies –
you may get a chuckle out of my favorite engineer jokes:
***7 reasons why visitors don’t buy from you online***
According to an e-tailing group survey, visitors don’t buy
online for 7 reasons:
1—High shipping charges – 46%.
2—Desire to comparison shop some more—37%.
3—Lack of money—36%.
4—Wanted to look for a coupon—27%.
5—Wanted to shop offline—26%.
6—Couldn’t find preferred payment option—24%.
7—Security concerns about ordering online—21%.
Action steps: test lowering your shipping and handling charges;
expand your payment options; test coupons on your shopping
carts; and make sure you have secure socket layer (SSL) security
logos on your site’s order forms and shopping cart. These
include VeriSign, Entrust, TRUSTe, and GoDaddy.
Source: eMarketer, 6/30/09.
***Smart ideas for increasing conversion rates on B2B landing
>> Keep the headline short and compelling – and include an
immediate benefit to the reader.
>> Experiment with different offers – white papers, demos,
free consultations, webinars, and other content – to see what
prospects view as most valuable.
>> The visual should be an image of your offer – for instance,
the cover of your free white paper.
>> Keep all or most of the content on your landing page above
the fold – to eliminate scrolling.
>> Establish credibility – add client testimonials, Better
Business Bureau logo, industry awards, security site badges
Source: “8 Quick Steps to Double B2B Conversions,” Pardot
***Why the Internet information marketing business is not as
crowded as you think***
Newbie Internet marketers despair that there is too much
competition on the web and therefore no room for them.
What they do not understand is that the information business is
not competitive in the way most other businesses are.
For instance, a consumer shops and makes a decision to buy a
certain model refrigerator. If he chooses my brand, I have his
money and all the other refrigerator manufacturers have lost the
chance to sell to him – at least until he needs a new fridge.
But consumers of info products are information junkies. They
will buy many e-books, DVDs and courses on a given topic. So if
your products, marketing, and reputation are good, they will buy
your information in addition to the info products of others, not
Tip: successful sellers of information products in your category
are great potential joint venture partners. Approach them and
***4 steps to making an effective apology***
1—Acknowledge that you are at fault and did something wrong.
2—Apologize for your actions and their negative consequences.
3—Ask “How can I make it right?”
4—Explain the steps you are taking to make sure it does not
Source: DePorter, Bobbi, “Quantum Success” (Learning Forum,
*** Asking too many questions reduces conversion rates ***
It’s no secret: experienced Internet marketers know that the
more questions you ask the prospect on an online reply form, the
fewer leads you generate.
According to Robert Williams, CEO of Conversive More,
approximately 20% of Internet users will abandon your squeeze
page or other web form for every field you require them to
Therefore, the fewer mandatory fields in your online reply form,
the higher the conversion rate. Recommendation: if you are
unwilling to reduce the number of fields on your response form,
at least consider making more of them optional rather than
Source: DM News, 10/20/08, p. 11.
***4 ways to make Google love your site***
According to Internet marketing guru Howie Jacobson, Google
ranks “authority” websites – sites that provide valuable
information on a topic — higher than ordinary websites.
Here are the 4 things you need to have an authority website:
1—High-quality content – valuable information that’s free
– and lots of it.
2—New material added all the time – so Google sees the site
is growing and staying current.
3—Easy-to-use site navigation – including a site map.
4—Inbound links to your site from other authority web sites in
the same niche.
Added bonus: having an authority website also helps position you
as a thought leader in your industry.
Source: Early to Rise, 7/1/09.
***Robert Fulgham’s home-improvement success secrets***
These tips from Robert Fulgham on succeeding with home
improvement projects are just as appropriate for entrepreneurs
building a business:
>> Try to work alone. An audience is rarely helpful.
>> Stay simple-minded. The simplest and most obvious solution is
often the best.
>> Always take credit for miracles.
>> If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.
>> If what you’ve done is stupid, but it works, it isn’t
Source: Robert Fulgham, “Maybe (Maybe Not),” Villard Books,
1993, p. 82.
***Quotation of the month***
“There’s something melancholy about late summer. The days
seem lazier than ever, but there’s also a growing sense of
haste, as if we need to start squeezing out every last drop of
the season before it’s too late … as if at every moment we
should be grilling outside, hitting the beach, taking walks,
enjoying ice cream, doing anything and everything outside before
fall unfortunately arrives.”
Source: “Sally Forth,” The Record, 8/15/09.
***Mark Amtower’s 10 success secrets***
In “Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes,” Mark
Amtower, my go-to guy for all things related to marketing to the
federal government, shares his battle-tested 10 laws for
surviving and thriving in any economy. These principles make
sense and they work, having taken Mark from just another D.C.
consultant to national prominence as one of the leading guru in
his niche, quoted in over 150 publications. For more information
or to order, click here now:
***Reprint my articles – free!***
Media, bloggers, marketers, editors, publishers, Web masters —
need powerful content on your Web site or blog? You can syndicate
or republish any of the articles you’ve read in Bob Bly Direct
Response Letter — for free! To view complete articles, visit our
newsletter archives at http://www.bly.com/archive/. Republishing our
articles is quick and easy. All you have to do is include author
attribution (byline/name of author) and following statement, “This
article appears courtesy of Bob Bly Direct Response Letter,” and
include a back-link to www.bly.com. That’s it!
***60-second commercial from Fern Dickey, Project 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 me 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.