Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, and direct marketing.
September 2, 2010
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***Are your customers seeing red? If not, let them!***
Colors in products, packaging, and advertising can have a
tremendous effect on sales, notes Louis Cheskin, director of the
Cheskin Color Institute, in his classic book “The Cheskin System
for Business Success” (Frederick Fell Publishers).
For instance, a roadside restaurant was failing. So the owner
changed the color of its sign — “hot food served around the
clock” and the building’s roof — from blue to red. Result:
business increased almost 300%. Concludes Cheskin, “The word
‘hot’ in red is not the same as ‘hot’ in blue.”
Actions to take: try using red in the headlines of your landing
pages and on the outer envelope teasers of your direct mail
package. Do you notice a lift in response?
***International Freelancers Day***
Great news… you can watch free videos from me and 24 more
high-profile marketers and copywriters, as part of the
celebrations for International Freelancers Day. It’s an
incredible online event happening on Sept. 24 and 25 and
attendance is complimentary:
(And be sure to watch the 90-second video posted at the link
***It pays to advertise***
According to the Ad Council (admittedly not an objective source),
the following examples serve as proof of advertising’s
** The Smokey the Bear ad campaign — reduced the land destroyed
by forest fires each year from 22 million acres to 5 million
** The Crash Test Dummies campaign for the U.S. Department of
Transportation — increased seatbelt usage from 21% to 79% of
** “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” – reduced the
percentage of crashes caused by drunk driving from 60% to 45%.
** The “Take a Bite out of Crime” ads featuring crime dog McGruff
— persuaded 20 million Americans to join Neighborhood Watch.
** “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” ad campaign for the
United Negro College Fund – boosted enrollment of African
American students in college from 522,000 to 2.1 million.
Source: Daily News
***How to prevent typos in your copy***
According to an article in Customer Service Advantage,
spell-check fails to catch 7 out of 10 errors.
Therefore, you have to proofread your copy carefully. But that’s
difficult to do if you’ve already read the copy multiple times,
because your mind skips many words.
Solution: proofread your copy backward.
Why it works: the copy loses all meaning when read backward,
forcing you to notice each word more.
***A simple rule of thumb for copy length***
When deciding whether you need long copy or short – whether in a
landing page, e-mail, or sales letter – follow this simple rule:
short copy for generating leads, longer copy for generating
“As a general proposition, an ad in which you are seeking only
inquiries should be short, merely leading the reader down to the
free booklet and the coupon,” writes copywriter Robert Collier,
“whereas an ad in which you are attempting to make the actual
sale should be long enough to tell all about your offer.
“Some authorities will tell you to write only short, crisp ads,
with plenty of white space – others to crowd in every word you
can get. Both are wrong. There is no hard and fast rule as to how
long an ad should be, except that it should be long enough to
tell your story, but short enough to hold your reader’s
Source: Collier, Robert, “How to Make Money at Home in Spare Time
by Mail,” p. 154.
***How long should SEO web pages be?***
According to the white paper “Top 10 Considerations When Planning
a Web Site Redesign,” each page on a search engine optimized web
site should contain 200 to 500 words of text-based content.
Make sure none of the elements you want search engines to be able
to crawl (headlines, body copy, navigation) are image or
***Thought of the month***
This is the beginning of a new day. I have been given this day to
use as I will. I will use it for good, because I am exchanging a
day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone
forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for
it. I want it to be gain and not loss; good and not evil; success
and not failure—in order that I shall rejoice in the price that I
paid for it.
–Ira L. Kaplan, President, Servolift Eastern Corp
***10 powerful success principles***
1. Recognize and tell the truth.
2. Market your talents shamelessly.
3. Develop more character than you need.
4. Unhook yourself from the future.
5. Add value just for the joy of it.
6. Thrive on the details.
7. Deliver twice what you promise.
8. Affect others profoundly.
9. Become unconditionally constructive.
10. Master your craft.
Source: Thomas Leonard, “The 28 Principles of Attraction,”
**Collect past-due invoices faster***
When calling delinquent accounts, always tie the promise of
payment to a specific date.
For instance, if the customer says “We will send you a check by
Friday,” say, “Then we can expect your payment no later than next
Having an established deadline seems to increase collections.
**Find new products for your mail order business online**
The National Mail Order Association (NOMA) maintains an online
database of products suitable for catalogers and other direct
NOMA also has a “new product alert” service you can sign up for
to receive notification of available new products via e-mail at
***Reprint my articles – free!***
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Response Letter — for free! To view complete articles, visit our
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“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.