Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, and direct marketing.
June 3, 2013
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***How to always sound wise and avoid sounding stupid***
In one of his novels, the late Robert B. Parker had his
detective Spenser say of his friend Hawk: “Hawk always knows
what he’s talking about. Not because he knows everything, but
because he only talks about things he knows.”
If you want to be confident and stand on firm ground when you
speak or argue, take a cue from Parker and only talk about what
My smart subscriber DK refuses to be pulled into arguing about
things he doesn’t know. He tells the person who wants to engage
him in an argument, “I can’t offer you an opinion as I don’t
know enough about the topic we’re discussing.” I love that.
Most people, by comparison, feel compelled to articulate
opinions on topics they know little or nothing about, and their
ignorance is often revealed as a result.
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***What pulls best: emotion or logic?***
Emotional appeal works best when you want people to take a
desired action. Excitement, urgency … whatever feeling might
inspire them to take action, giving people hard-core data will
usually not have the same effect.
A 2007 study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University tested
response to different appeals for donations for people in dire
living situations in Africa. The first appeal gave elaborate
statistics on the dislocation of millions of people, food
shortages, and the scarcity of rain in the region.
The second appeal talked about the story of a particular girl
who was starving in Zambia. A picture of the girl was sent
alongside, and students were requested to send donations
directly for her.
While the fact-focused appeal got students to donate $1.14 on an
average, the amount rose to an average of $2.38 for the
story-based appeal. A third appeal that contained both the story
and the statistics collected $1.43 on an average.
Source: The WordStream blog, 5/2/13.
***Put a picture on the outer envelope***
When most of us consider a teaser for a direct mail envelope, we
think only in terms of copy. But overlooking the use of visuals
may be an error.
A blogger at KD Mailing and Fulfillment writes, “When I worked
at Better Homes and Gardens, we offered a series of books about
decorating. I knew showing a beautifully decorated room quickly
would lift response. So, I took the brochure and scaled it down
and used the money we saved to pay for a glamour photo of a den
on the outer envelope. Response was almost 20% higher than a
white envelope with just teaser copy.”
***The 5/10/85 rule***
Copywriter and marketing consultant Jerry Jones says that no
matter what cross-section of the population you analyze, they
will sort themselves into 5%, 10%, and 85%.
For example, 5% of your customers are doing great and can buy
anything you offer. About 10% will respond and be able to buy.
And 85% will say they cannot buy, either because they think they
can’t afford it or are not motivated enough to get the result
Source: The Direct Mail Profit Insider, 5/13, p. 1.
***The 3 Rs of content optimization***
What do you do when your content becomes out of date? You have 3
>> Reorganize – take existing content and restructure it in a
way that is more useful to your prospects.
>> Rewrite – companies often find it useful to rewrite content
when it is either dated or has been exhausted due to a high
level of previous consumption.
>> Retire – every piece of content has a shelf life. You cannot
use the same content indefinitely.
Source: Marketo white paper, Creating Content That Sells
***Improving e-mail deliverability***
If you are an Internet marketer, coach, or copywriter, use an
autoresponder system designed to maximize delivery of
Not all systems are engineered with that kind of deliverability
in mind. The big e-mail services tend to focus their marketing
efforts on big companies and small businesses, neither of which
send high-risk emails. So those email services don’t need to
spend the money to create a system that takes into account
But there are email service providers that were designed for
such advanced e-mail marketers. All three of these autoresponder
systems were designed for information marketers, Internet
marketers, and coaches.
They all send high-risk emails and allow you to import your list
without having to re-confirm your subscribers. So you can easily
switch from your current email system to SendReach,
OfficeAutoPilot and SendPepper.
Source: Blake King, Today @ Target Marketing, 5/29/13.
***Honesty is the best policy in marketing***
Honesty is what will make you a fortune, says an article in
Wealth Magnet, not only in e-mail marketing, but in life as
well. Honesty is vital: you should be yourself all the time,
meaning your capture page should offer something real that
people would actually get after they give their e-mail.
Your e-mails should build trust, and this would happen by
sending people honest materials. You might want to show them you
made $10,000 in a week, yet if you didn’t – don’t lie to them.
Simply send them something else you achieved, like collecting
ten leads in a day and a way for them to do the same.
Lying to your subscribers is the worst option when it comes to
e-mail marketing. There is too much fakeness online nowadays.
People recognize it the minute they see it, besides it is not
cool at all.
Source: Wealth Magnet, 3/26/13.
***Designing mobile-ready e-mails***
Here is a checklist for producing e-mails your prospects can
easily view on their mobiles:
>> Provide customers with the most relevant clickable content in
a mobile environment.
>> E-mail width should be less than the screen width of the
mobile device it is being displayed on.
>> Font is at least 13px for text and 25px for headlines.
>> You have touch-friendly buttons – a minimum of 29 X 44px with
>> Your e-mail looks good on both IOS and Android.
Source: StrongMail white paper, Mobile Optimization Success
***The 7 most effective lead generation tactics***
According to marketing expert David Scott, these are the 7 most
effective ways to generate leads:
1—Search engine marketing.
2—Social media advertising.
3—Display ads on external web sites.
Source: eM+C Daily, 5/22/13.
***Quotation of the month***
“Luck is most often accompanied with knowing what you are
–Robert Knot, “Ironhorse,” G.P. Putman’s Sons, 2013, p. 98.
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