Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
usiness-to-business, high-tech, and direct marketing.
February 2, 2012
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***How long should an SEO web page 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
Make sure none of the elements you want search engines to find
(headlines, body copy, navigation) are image or flash-based.
***How to determine your budget for online advertising***
To determine your online advertising budget, your first step is
to determine what you can afford to pay for each new name you
add to your list.
To determine the value of new names, divide annual online
revenues by the number of subscribers. Example: If your 20,000
online subscribers account for $300,000 in annual sales, your
subscriber value is $15 per name per year.
List-building campaigns should ideally pay back their cost
within 6 months or sooner. Therefore, if your names are worth
$15 per year each, you can afford to spend up to $7.50 per
subscriber to acquire new names.
***What you can’t say in nutritional supplement copy***
The one thing you absolutely can’t say when selling dietary
supplements is that they can treat or cure a disease.
Solution: substitute the euphemisms below for the disease, and
then say “promote” or “optimize” or “improve” instead of “cure”
or “treat” or “prevent.”
Unacceptable: “Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Better: “Improves memory.”
Other recommended disease euphemisms: “joint pain” instead of
arthritis … “blood sugar problems” instead of diabetes … “bone
loss” instead of osteoporosis … “abnormal cell growth” instead
of cancer … “low energy” instead of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Source: Carline Anglade-Cole’s Copy Star,
***The Secret Reason Many Home Businesses Fail***
According to my colleague, Sarah Clachar, a professional health
writer and educator, many home businesses fail or don’t go very
far for reasons that aren’t business-related.
“Health problems are a major contributor to small business
failure,” Clachar explains. “An estimated 1 in 6 small business
bankruptcies are due to personal issues like illness or divorce.
It’s why business leaders like Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Walker,
MaryEllen Tribby and Michael Masterson place so much importance
on their own health. They know they need to keep in shape to
keep their business going.”
To make it easier to stay healthy while running your business,
Clachar advocates integrating activity into your workday. And
she’s created a terrific system for doing so. Unlike most health
programs, she’s tailored it just for solopreneurs and home
business owners. You can get the full how-to report by clicking
***Words that work in headlines***
Here are some words and phrases that, according to advertising
great Ted Nicholas, work especially well in headlines:
Announcing … Secrets of … Facts you … Advice to … Protect … Do
you … Yes … Love … Hate … How much … How would you … Only …
Free … You … How to … New … Now … Amazing … Breakthroughs … At
last … Life … Discover … Bargains … Sale … Free.
Source: “Success in the Sun,” Ted Nicholas seminar, Tampa, FL.
***3 vendor management tactics to avoid***
Here are 3 things customers often do to vendors to save money
and gain control. Unfortunately, they have the opposite effect,
causing the vendor to resent the customer and not care about
doing their work:
>> Paying vendors late – this may improve your cash flow. But
vendors give priority treatment to customers who pay their bills
>> Haggling over price – yes, you may be able to drive the price
down if the vendor needs the work. But too much negotiating can
have an adverse effect on the relationship.
>> Showing the vendor who’s the boss – yes, you are the boss.
You are the customer. You are in charge. But don’t treat vendors
like children, morons, or slaves.
The common perception is that employees require motivation but
vendors do not. Unfortunately, it’s not true. Vendors are people
too. And your treatment of them influences their treatment of
Source: Gene Marks, Home Business Magazine.
***Which products are easiest to sell online?***
According to Internet entrepreneurs Brock Felt and Buck Rizvi,
products sold online can be divided into four categories:
1 – Products that alleviate the prospect’s pain.
2 – Products that solve a problem.
3 – Products that give or enable pleasure.
4 – Products that prevent a problem or condition.
Of these, #1 and #2 are the easiest to sell, because people feel
an urgent need to solve the problem or get rid of the pain.
Pleasure is desirable but its attainment is less urgent, making
products in category #3 more difficult to sell.
Products in category #4 are the most difficult to sell –
because, as health marketers have long known, people will buy
cure but not prevention.
Source: ETR Internet Marketing Conference.
***What size ad is best?***
In print advertising, size doesn’t matter nearly as much as
frequency. For instance, a quarter-page ad will generate
approximately half the response of a full-page ad. Therefore,
it’s better to run a quarter-page ad four times than a full-page
Source: “The 50 Greatest Retail Advertising Tips, Tricks, and
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***Quotation of the month***
“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”
–Chaz Palminteri, “A Bronx Tale”
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