Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter: Resources, ideas, and tips for
improving response to business-to-business, high-tech, and
December 1, 2011
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***Ideal length for audio scripts***
Nightingale-Conant and some other info marketers script their
audio products. If you do the same, how long should your script
Typically each CD should run about an hour. Since we talk at a
rate of 100 to 120 words per minute, figure 6,000 to 7,000 words
in your audio script per CD.
If there are 6 CDs in your program, total length is around
35,000 to 40,000 words. By comparison, a 200-page nonfiction
book has about 80,000 words.
***Upcoming speaking engagement***
I’ll be speaking in Miami on December 9th at the meeting of the
Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA), on “How
to Engage Customers Once They Are On Your Web Site.” For more
information, visit www.sipaonline.com.
***A simple trick for increasing print ad response***
After you make the offer at the close of your copy, restate it
and put a box around the restated offer. It seems redundant but
experience shows that repeating and highlighting the offer
***Quick way to bond with your prospects***
Find out what trade association your prospects belong to and
join as a member or (if that’s not allowed) an associate member
(usually permitted for vendors). Then cite your membership on
your web site and other copy promoting your services.
When years ago I specialized in writing for chemical equipment
manufacturers, I was a member of the American Institute of
Chemical Engineers. Still am.
***How to handle people who want free advice***
Speaker Patricia Fripp suggests you say something like the
following: “I charge X dollars an hour for consulting. I will
give you 5 free minutes starting now.” Then start the clock and
give them 5 minutes. End the call when the time has been used
up. Not only does this prevent callers from rambling on and on,
but it establishes that the free advice you are giving them has
***Book authors: get great testimonials online***
When you write your book, offer something free to the reader
that they must e-mail you to request. This could be a password
to a members-only web site or a free report.
Reason: when readers e-mail you for the freebie, most will also
take a sentence or two to praise you book, giving you a
ready-made file of positive book blurbs. If your book sells on
Amazon, you can also find reader comments there.
***Do B2B marketers sell to companies or people?***
I would have said “people.” But Terry Jukes, CEO of B2B Direct
Marketing Intelligence, a direct response consulting firm,
“In B2B, a customer is a site first and a person second,” says
Jukes. Reason: turnover rate of company personnel is greater
than 25% a year. Also, notes Jukes, “Central purchasing erodes
value of person tracking.”
Terry gives three suggestions for generating more B2B sales:
1. At customer sites with 250 or more employees, do periodic
mailings to update your contact list within the company.
2. Real buyers often hide in larger sites. But there are ways to
find them: warranty cards, product evaluation questionnaires
(offer a bonus gift for completion), e-mail order and shipping
confirmation, and birthday recognition programs.
3. Create a preferred supplier relationship that can withstand
the turnover in people at a customer site by telling them they
are a “loyal buyer” and rewarding them for it.
For instance, you can offer a loyal customer discount based on
longevity (number of years they have been buying from you),
frequency (number of orders per year), or dollar amount (total
amount of money spent).
Source: Merit Direct Coop.
***Improving customer service at the check-out line in your
When giving change to retail customers, do not, as most cashiers
do, hand them the receipt, coins, and bills all at once.
Reason: the customer already has one hand occupied holding the
item purchased, making it awkward and difficult to separate
these three other items.
A better practice for your cashiers:
1. First, put the receipt in the bag for the customer instead of
handing it to him.
2. Next, give him the coins, and wait until he puts them in his
3. Then, hand him the bills, which he will put in his wallet.
***Best typefaces for sales letters***
An old rule of thumb for designing direct mail letters is to, as
much as possible, make it look like a personal letter.
But in 2011, what typefaces best achieve that objective?
When sending sales letters to prospects age 60 and older, use
New Courier or Prestige Elite for the body, Arial Black or
Impact for the headline.
But for letters aimed at the 40-and-under crowd, use Times Roman
or another PC typeface for the body, and again, Arial Black or
Impact for heads.
Reason: to older prospects, who grew up in an era of IBM
Selectrics, New Courier and Prestige Elite, the two most popular
Selectric typefaces, remind them of typewritten, personal
Younger prospects, however, don’t remember typewritten letters –
and so to them, New Courier and Prestige Elite convey no
particular feel or impression: they just look funny.
Popular PC typefaces like Times Roman are what these young
people are used to seeing on everything – personal letters
***No-cost Google Ad Words campaigns***
This may put all those Google consultants out of business: When
you open a Google account, Google will help you build your Ad
Words campaign for free! And who knows more about Google than
Google? For more information call: 866-2-Google.
***Quotation of the month***
“Life is so much longer than any of our enthusiasms.” –Tim Parks
Source: New York Review of Books, 9/29/11, p. 37.
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***Our 60-second commercial***
Bob Bly is available on a limited basis for copywriting of
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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 us know your industry and the type of
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package of recent samples to fit your requirements. Call Bob Bly
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