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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***Handling requests for free advice***
Not sure how to handle it when prospects want to pick your
brains without offering to pay you?
One of my blog readers tells the following story:
“In my former life, I practiced law. A mentor gave me some
valuable advice: never offer free consultations. He said, ‘even
if they just pay you in hotdogs, get something’. Here is where
this pay-by-hot-dogs thing came from:
“A potential client walked in off the street claiming not to
have the funds to pay for an hour consultation. My mentor said,
‘let’s walk down the street while we talk. You can buy me a
hot dog’. The free consultation was as long as the time it took
for them to walk to the street vendor, pay for the dog, and walk
back to the lawyer’s office.
“Rule of Thumb: If he (the lawyer) wasn’t able to answer the
guy’s questions in that time, he would let him know the cost of
a paid follow up session. I thought that was genius.” I think
***Ted Nicholas’s 5 secrets of business success***
Ted Nicholas is one of the nicest guys I know and certainly one
of the most successful direct marketers who ever lived.
Here are 5 suggestions from Ted on how to be more successful in
1—Develop a sense of urgency about your business and your life
– set your alarm clock for an early hour and get out of bed.
2—Fall in love with your product or service – you simply
cannot be super-successful without great passion for what you do.
3—Include your life’s experience in sales copy – it makes
you a real person and far more believable to the reader.
4—Do your toughest task first each day – not last.
5—Never stop learning – especially marketing copy and sales
Source: The Success Margin, 7/20/09.
***Using false logic in copy***
A copywriting technique shared by freelancer Robert Lerose is to
give your prospect a “false choice.” Example: “Do you want
to follow Wall Street … or do you want to do better?”
Why it works: the false choice immediately sets up a conflict in
your prospect that can only be resolved by reading your sales
copy. In the example above, using the emotions of fear and greed
increased the emotional impact, says Lerose. It also implies that
the letter writer can show you how to do better than Wall Street.
Source: Audience Development, 8/09, p. 32.
***Triple response to online subscriber surveys***
According to marketing consultant Wendy Montesdeoca, offering a
free bonus report as an incentive can triple response when you
survey your online subscribers.
Tip: A subject line relating to the content of the free bonus
report will generate more response than a subject line talking
about the survey.
Example: In a split test, the subject line (a) “5 must-know
secrets to making money” generated a 3X higher click-through
rate than the subject line (b) “Annual subscriber survey and
In addition, 2X as many subscribers responding to (a) completed
the survey as did those responding to (b).
Source: Wendy Montesdeoca, www.precisionmarketingmedia.com
***The 4 characteristics of good writing***
According to best-selling nonfiction author Mary Pipher, good
1—Facilitates the making of connections in a way that inspires
openheartedness, thinking, talking, and action.
2—Enlarges readers’ knowledge of the world or empowers them
to act for the common good.
3—Connects people to one another, to other living creatures,
to stories and ideas, and to action.
4—Allows readers to see the world from a new perspective.
Source: Mary Pipher, “Writing to Change the World”
(Riverhead, 2006), p. 7.
***Outsource production of your online videos***
It’s no secret that video sells on the Internet. Now you can
outsource production of your online videos to Pixability and
their new video production service.
How it works: They send you a FlipCam. You shoot video footage
and send it back in a pre-paid envelope. They turn it into an online
video with music, titles, and your logo. You can use the video for
promotions, events, viral marketing, newsletters, YouTube, and
more. Click here for details:
***4 ways to keep existing clients***
1—Keep talking … stay in touch and maintain a healthy
2—Maintain quality … if you are providing your clients with
anything less than the best, you will most likely lose them.
3—Add value … by really understanding your client’s
business and goals.
4—Push your brand … make sure you are maintaining your
Source: Words from Woody, Fall 2009, p. 1.
***Help people follow you on Twitter***
If your Twitter screen name isn’t your real name, people who
look for you on Twitter because they’ve read about you or heard
you speak may not be able to find you.
Solution: make it easy for people to find you on Twitter by
adding your first and last name to your Profile, which you can
access under the Settings tab. This way, when someone does a
search on Twitter, you’re easily found.
Source: Dianna Huff, “25 Tips for Using Twitter for
***5 ways to get your web site ranked higher on Google***
Search engine optimization expert Don Kaufmann gives these
guidelines for getting your web site ranked higher on Google:
1—Always be adding new content … Google ranks sites higher
when they are frequently updated.
2—List your site on the top niche directories and
subdirectories in your industry.
3—Use longer copy – a minimum length of 250 words per web
4—Post online videos – since its acquisition of YouTube,
Google places greater ranking emphasis on video.
5—Add credibility icons – start with trade association
membership icons or the Better Business Bureau logo.
Source: “Search Engine Position Paper,” www.clicktru.com
***PowerPoint tips for webinar speakers***
When creating PowerPoint presentations to be used in webinars,
make sure the slides are legible.
How to check: view your sides in PowerPoint at 40% to simulate
the reading experience your attendees will have.
Type size tips: use larger type than you would when creating
PowerPoints for an in-person audience.
Recommendation on minimum type size for slides: 18 point.
Source: “Setting Up Your PowerPoint Presentation”, ON24.
***3 ways to get free PR***
What kinds of stories get editors to read and print your press
releases? Here are 3 proven ideas:
1—Surveys … survey your list and send out a press release
highlighting the results. Editors like new information, and all
survey results are by definition new information.
2—Lists … editors know their readers like lists; e.g., “10
reasons why,” “7 ways to,” “5 tips for,” etc.
3—Case studies … these are “product success stories”
telling how an individual or organization solved a particular
problem using your product, service, or idea.
Source: Vocus White Paper, “Public Relations Strategies.”
***A space-saving filing trick***
When you put a thick sheaf of papers in a hanging file, the
papers tend to curl into a cylinder, making it difficult to
locate papers in the file and taking more space in the file
Solution: take the entire stack of paper in your hands and fold
once horizontally, then put back in the file. The fold prevents
the paper from curling into a tube.
***Get maximum mileage out of blogging***
To get the most value from blogging, repurpose your blog posts.
For instance, book marketer Peyton Stafford says she may quote
the same book review in several places or essentially use the
same promotion several times.
I do the same thing with my content; e.g., I excerpt articles
from my e-zine and reuse them as blog posts. I also recycle blog
posts and comments as sections of my books.
Source: IPBA Independent, 9/09, p. 11.
***The most valuable ability a copywriter can have***
Many people mistakenly feel the most valuable ability a
copywriter can have is a deep understanding of the product.
That’s important, but far more important is the ability to
understand the prospect – her needs, fears, concerns, interests,
If your client is a brilliant economist publishing a stock
newsletter aimed at the average investor, write your copy for
average investors – not brilliant economists.
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***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.