Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, and direct marketing.
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***Radio PR secrets***
The worst thing you can tell a radio talk show host when
answering her question is “It’s in my book.”
“I have found that some authors are reluctant to share the meat
of their book with their listeners, hoping the listener will run
out and buy the book,” says KTKK Radio host Linda Strasburg.
“The outcome is usually the opposite. When an author doesn’t
share some of his or her core insights, the listeners think the
book is weak and are reluctant to buy it. Over the years I have
discovered this as the number one reason people don’t sell more
books after interviews.”
Other radio interview tips from Linda:
>> Share with the audience unique, key tips and concepts to
remember and use. The more unique and applicable to the
listener’s life, the more memorable your interview will be.
>> Use a landline, non-speaker phone for your interview and turn
off the call waiting.
>> Do not have barking dogs, kids and other noise in the
background during the interview; it will not project the
professional image you want.
>> Listen for the commercials coming up that are indicated by
lead-in music; you have 30 seconds to complete your thought when
the music starts.
>> Near the end of the interview, you will have time to give
your Internet address and any additional promotional information
you want to share; the best Internet sites are easy to remember.
***Mobile e-mail marketing tip***
When sending e-mail messages to mobile devices, make sure the
font sizes are larger and the targets big enough to easily hit.
Include extra space around buttons and links to accommodate “fat
fingers.” (The average adult finger pad is 0.4 inch.)
Source: BtoB’s Interactive Marketing Guide, p. S6.
***How to build a better Web site***
If someone comes to a Web site and never returns, the marketers,
writers, and designers have failed. In direct marketing, this is
the equivalent of spending money to acquire a customer and never
making another offer – quite simply a lousy business model.
What can you do to your Web site to create dependency, so that
people will return over and over again?
For starters, create a vision statement and live up to it.
Refresh content often. Make content relevant, interesting, and
Ruthlessly self-edit, so that people’s time is not wasted. Hire
writers and designers with print discipline, who don’t wander
Source: Denny Hatch, Target Marketing, 4/17/12.
***Are you charging enough for your info products?***
The minimum price for physical information products can be
calculated using the “10:1 rule.”
This rule says the price of a physical product sold through
direct marketing must be at least 10 times your product cost.
Example: A set of DVDs that cost $8 per copy should sell for a
minimum of $80.
But that’s the minimum. If your information is worth more, and
buyers will pay more, then charge more.
Source: Speaker Fulfillment Services, News & Notes, Vol. 15,
***Does personalization pay off?***
A study from GI Direct, reported in the Talon Newsletter, found
that over 70% of adults surveyed said they are 5X more likely to
respond to properly personalized direct marketing offers vs.
My own experience is that personalization almost always
increases response rates, but not always sufficiently to pay
back the added cost of the personalization.
In b-to-b DM, the larger the company and the higher up on the
corporate ladder your prospect, the more likely personalization
is to pay off.
Conversely, middle managers, professionals, support staff,
salespeople, and small business owners respond well to
For business-to-consumer direct mail, personalization often pays
off in mortgage mailings, insurance, banking, credit cards, and
other financial services promotions … and also in mailings to
***How long should my e-book be?***
“How long should I make my e-books?” a new Internet info
marketer asked me.
Answer: for an e-book selling in the $19 to $39 range, the PDF
should be a minimum of 50 pages.
If it’s much shorter than 40 pages, your customers may think you
are not giving them enough “meat.”
A typeset PDF page is around 300 words. So when you are writing
your e-book, you know you have enough content when your Word
document is around 15,000 words.
***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, Issue #20,
***The 10 commandments of copywriting***
Over half a century ago, G. Lynn Sumners, who created the
classic Harry & David Fortune magazine ad (“Imagine Harry & Me
Advertising Our Pears in Fortune!”), put forth these 10 rules
for writing winning advertisements – all of which are still
1–Learn all about your proposition before you write anything
2–Organize your material from the viewpoint of the buyer’s
interests, not yours.
3–Decide to whom you are writing.
4–Keep it simple.
5–Use meaningful words and phrases – words that stir the
emotions, make the mouth water, make the heart beat faster.
6–Don’t try to be funny. Remember, the most serious of all
operations is separating a man from his money.
7–Make your copy specific – names, places, what happens to whom.
8–Prove your points.
9–Make copy long enough to tell your story – and quit.
10–Give your reader something to do and make it easy for him to
Source: G. Lynn Sumners, “How I Learned the Secrets of Success
***More (unintentionally) funny headlines***
“Homicide Victims Rarely Talk to Police”
“City Unsure Why the Sewer Smells”
“Meeting on Open Meetings is Closed”
“Puerto Rican Teen Named Mistress of the Universe”
“Statistics Show That Teen Pregnancy Drops Off Significantly
After Age 25”
“Meat Head Resigns”
“Miracle Cure Kills Fifth Patient”
***Book of the month***
One of the hot trends today is marketing with content. Now Jon
Wuebben has written a clear, comprehensive guide to content
marketing, “Content is Currency” (Nicholas Brealey Publishing).
In this book, you’ll learn how to write effective content that
is optimized for search, social media, and mobile devices. Jon’s
book covers podcasts, webinars, widgets, blog posts, articles,
YouTube videos, e-newsletters, and more. Click here for more
information or to order:
***Quotation of the month***
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or
bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than
yourself.” –Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata,” 1927.
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