Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, and direct marketing.
December 9, 2010
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***Can you use “free” in your subject line?***
The experts at MailerMailer.com analyzed over 300,000 keywords in
Their finding: “free” was one of the top subject lines that get
prospects to open e-mails, despite spam filters.
For retailers, “free shipping” gets prospects to click through.
Other words that get prospects to open e-mails: events, news,
newsletter, sale, tonight, and update.
***4 steps to stronger e-zines***
Best-selling author Michael Masterson gives the following tips
for writing strong content for your e-newsletter:
1. The quality of the ideas presented is paramount. A reader may
sign up for an ezine for many different reasons but he will
continue to read it only if he feels that his time invested in
reading is yielding valuable ideas. Valuable in this context
means provocative, memorable and useful.
2. Less is better than more. If you overwhelm the reader with
ideas — even valuable ideas — he will come away from the
reading experience emotionally neutralized. That happens because
the reader recognizes subconsciously that he has taken in more
information than he can possibly act upon. Being comprehensive
therefore is not the virtue some writers and publishers think it
3. Specificity is key. Unsubstantiated claims and promises may
attract your readers’ attention but you will never win their
trust unless you back up those claims and promises with
4. Stories sell the heart. Facts sell the brain. Don’t forget that
the job of good writing is to appeal as much to the readers’
emotional intelligence as it is to provide them with rational
***How many columns should be in your layout?***
Graphic designer Lori Haller gives the following guideline for
choosing the number of columns in your layout:
** One column going across the page looks and reads like a
** A two-column design looks more like a report.
** Three columns begin to feel like a magazine.
Source: AWAI 2010 Boot Camp
***The 6 basic types of leads***
The “lead” is the beginning of your promotion – the copy on page
Michael Masterson and John Forde have categorized leads into six
1-The offer lead.
Puts the offer up front. Only works if the offer is strong.
Example: “Special Introductory Offer Just for You.”
Makes a big promise to the reader.
Example: “You Can Grow New Hair.”
States a problem and positions the product as the solution.
Example: “Do You Make These Mistakes in English?”
Hints at a secret to be revealed.
Example: “What Never, Ever to Eat on an Airplane.”
Boldly states a dramatic fact or claim.
Example: “Why Most 20th Century Diseases Will Soon Become
Tells an intriguing story.
Example: “They Thought I Was Crazy to Ship Live Main Lobsters as
Far as 1,800 Miles from the Ocean.”
Tip: Leads 1, 2, and 3 work best when your audience has a high
awareness of the product or the problem it solves. Use leads 4,
5, and 6 when they do not.
Source: AWAI 2010 Boot Camp.
***4 steps to increasing customer value***
1-Call some of your customers … take 30 minutes a day, 5 days a
week to call your customers and say hi.
2-Leave personal voice mails for your customers … you can leave
messages on their mobile phone using www.slydial.com.
3-Send out physical thank-yous … send a thank-you letter after
the first purchase, and another the next month.
4-Make yourself strategically available at live events … have
special times you will be available at the bar 1 or 2 nights of a
multi-day training event. Do lunch or dinner with your most
Source: TNT Marketing, 11/10, p. 2.
***Make your web site mobile***
To make your web site easier to read on the small screens of
mobile devices, streamline text files and images. Reduce the size
of text files by eliminating white space. Reduce the file size of
images. Once you have identified the traffic as coming from a
mobile, selectively send site content based on the data volumes
the mobile devices can support.
Keep server connections to a minimum. While full desktop browsers
can handle a large number of parallel connections, mobile
browsers benefit from sites that create fewer connections. Use
fewer hosts to minimize the number of connections.
Source: Target Marketing, 12/10, p. 33.
***How much time should you spend on marketing?***
Marketing Mentor Ilise Benun suggests dedicating 20% of your time
— one day per week — to business development, if you want to
get steady, high-quality clients in 2011.
If you need help keeping your marketing efforts on track for
2011, check out Marketing Mentor’s 2011 Calendar Bundle for
Creative Professionals. It includes an eCalendar that outlines
all of your marketing tasks for the year ahead (and syncs with
your iCal, Google calendar, Outlook or any other electronic
calendar), PLUS a printed marketing plan and journal that gives
more instruction and insight. Check it out here:
***8 simple rules for repeat sales***
On his blog, sales guru Mike Sigers gave the following tips for
generating repeat sales from your customers:
1. Give them what they asked for — close doesn’t count, exact
does — not once, but every time.
2. Deliver quality — don’t bother delivering inferior product.
3. Don’t oversell them — convincing them to take a chance on
selling two year’s worth of product in one year’s time is the
fast lane to being a one-time supplier.
4. Become a valued team member — go above and beyond or don’t go
5. Keep them informed — let them know about delays, pricing
issues, and potential problems well in advance of the rumor
mongers (your competition).
6. Tell the truth — don’t become overly enthusiastic and stretch
the truth, even if your honesty costs you the sale.
7. Show appreciation for past sales — e.g., nice golf courses,
2-hour lunches, and leisurely steak dinners.
8. Show interest — either you invest your time thinking about
their company and how you can help them — or your competitor
***Quick PC repair tip***
Has this ever happened: you slide your mouse over your desktop
but the cursor on the screen lags behind?
If you have a mouse with a track ball, unscrew the plastic ring
on the bottom. Take out the ball. Wash gently with warm water and
a little soap, rinse, dry, and put back.
If you have an optical mouse, wipe the entire bottom with a
tissue carefully. Look for and remove any dirt and gunk.
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***60-second commercial from Bob Bly***
I am 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. Please
call for a FREE copy of my 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 I am available to
take on your assignment, I’ll tailor a package of recent samples
to fit your requirements. Call me at 201-505-9451 or e-mail