Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, and direct marketing.
June 15, 2010
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***How to set goals***
Writing in Inner Realm magazine, personal coach Sande Foster
outlines 4 steps for effective goal-setting:
1. Set a success goal. What’s your purpose, your overall
direction? Determine what you need to get started.
2. Determine what you are willing to give up. What price will you
have to pay? How much time will it take away from the things you
like to do?
3. Write a clear statement of what you want. Write down the steps
to achieve your goal. Include in your plan some way to measure
4. Read your written statement every morning and before you go to
bed. See yourself achieving your goal. Experience the satisfaction
of reaching your goal.
***Why discounting works so well***
When selling, keep in mind that your prospects like to get a
bargain: According to a Roper Starch poll, 7 out of 10 adults
surveyed say they feel satisfied, even excited, when they get a
really good deal.
Source: American Demographics magazine
***Create your positioning statement***
If you want to get your message across, it has to be memorable.
The purpose of a Positioning Statement is to create a short
message that people will remember.
The first sentence tells people what your service is and how they
will benefit from it. The second sentence tells how your service
is different from that of other firms.
The formula goes like this:
• [Name of firm] is a [category] firm that helps [primary clients]
reach [primary benefits].
• Unlike other [category] firms, [name of firm] specializes in
“ABC is an architectural firm that helps medium-sized businesses
find and renovate unique commercial spaces. Unlike other
architectural firms, ABC specializes in this type of renovation.”
Using this simple formula, you can get at the essential
description of what your firm does that’s different from other
firms, and make your message more memorable.
Source: PSMJ newsletter
***Should you charge for shipping and handling online?***
According to a recent study of online buyers, 43% of online
buyers abandoned their orders at checkout. The most common
reason, cited by 48% of those surveyed, was that shipping was too
Two solutions suggested by the study:
1. Offer free shipping.
2. Give buyers a choice of delivery options (12% of consumers
said they will not buy from online companies that do not offer
multiple delivery options).
Source: “Increase Sales With Online Buyers,” United States Postal
***A little-known trick for picking effective domain names***
Most of us tend to pick a domain name that is a variation of our
name or company (e.g., www.bly.com, www.ibm.com) or area of
My friend, Internet marketing guru Fred Gleeck, says a better
strategy is to pick a domain that is easy for people to remember
without writing it down.
Example: to promote an engine additive that improves gas mileage,
Gleeck reserved www.savegaslikecrazy.com.
Financial guru Doug Roberts promotes himself through speeches,
but audience members had difficulty remembering the URL for his
Since his investment method is based on following the Federal
Reserve, he reserved the domain name www.followthefed.com, and
that’s the one he gives during his talks. It is so much easier to
***5 ways to turn more leads into sales***
The late Ray Jutkins, a great marketing teacher, gave these 5
rules for more effective inquiry follow-up:
1. Answer every inquiry, no matter how “bad” it may seem. You
never know who may buy from you tomorrow, even though today they
2. When you answer, make it with a personal letter. A letter will
improve your response.
3. No matter what you send in response — do it quickly. Take no
longer than 48 hours … sooner if possible.
4. Be warm and friendly. Write your answer and present your
message as if you care. You do, so express that caring.
5. Reply completely and fully. Do not tease. Give your prospect
what you promised you would. Give them what they expect.
***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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
***Testing your price? Watch “the number on the left”***
In a price of $40, the number or digit on the left is 4, and the
digit on the right is zero.
Be careful when changing the left digit. Example: a service
business found no price resistance raising price five dollars
from $40 to $45.
But when they raised price another five dollars from $45 to $50,
they encountered huge resistance.
Source: Marlene Jensen, “The Tao of Pricing,”
***Why send direct mail to people who don’t respond to it?***
According to the U.S. Postal Service, 52% of consumers purchase
products advertised in the mail.
Unfortunately, that also means that a whopping 48% of consumers –
nearly half the U.S. population – never buy through the mail!
So if you compile a list of prospects, as so many marketers do,
the statistical probability is that half of the people on the
list never buy through the mail – and therefore won’t respond to
direct mail packages which ask for an order.
The solution: When doing mail order selling, ask your broker to
recommend only “response lists” reaching your target market.
A “response list” is a list of mail order customers … people who
have purchased products through direct response.
Just using a response list means you have eliminated the half of
Americans who do not purchase through the mail from your mailing
list, which should effectively – at a minimum – double your
response vs. compiled lists.
***Quotation of the week***
“Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much
matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life.
If you haven’t had that, what have you had?”
–Henry James (1843-1916)
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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 email@example.com.