Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, and direct marketing.
July 1, 2013
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***How many characters per line of type?***
According to an article from the Baymard Institute, maximum ease
of readability for web copy is achieved when your lines of type
have between 50 and 75 characters each.
If a line of text is too long, the reader’s eye will have a hard
time focusing on the text. If a line is too short, the eye will
have to travel back and forth too often, breaking the reader’s
***Rules for writing title tags***
Write a title tag for every page on your site. Title tags are a
significant ranking factor, as they help Google understand the
content of a page and the search terms to which it is relevant.
Some tips for writing title tags that get Google’s attention:
–Make the title tag 70 characters or fewer.
–Start with a key word that accurately summarizes the contents
of the page.
–Put the brand name at the start of the home page title tag.
–Include a USP, call to action, or both.
***The trouble with e-mail deliverability***
According to the Direct Marketing Association, 25% of e-mails do
not reach the recipient’s inbox. The solution is to separate
your e-mail stream by sending your e-mail from multiple IP
addresses. Lack of separation causes roughly 80% of e-mail
Running all of your e-mail programs on one IP address can cause
deliverability issues because when one mail stream runs into
trouble with an ISP, it prevents ALL of your e-mail campaigns
from reaching the inbox. A failure in one campaign can cause
gridlock for the rest of your programs.
Source: Yesmail white paper, “10 Email Deliverability Myths
***10 ways to share content with your prospects***
According to direct marketing consultant Reggie Brady, here are
the top 10 content marketing vehicles:
3—Articles on your web site.
7—Print magazines and catalogs.
10—Webinars and podcasts.
Source: Reggie Brady, “Thinking Outside the Box,” DMCNY
Postings, 5/13, p. 11.
***No success without action***
Entrepreneur Ali Brown says to take action on opportunities when
they appear. Of course, action involves risk. You might have to
hire more people to help with a new client. You’ll need time to
research that prospective business partner. Or figure out how to
hire that amazing new mentor.
“It’s up to YOU to take action when the path is revealed,” says
Ali. “The universe is supporting you, and each step will bring
you closer to your dreams.”
Source: Ali Brown e-newsletter, 6/6/13
***6 keys to a pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign***
1—The offer – e.g., “Free consultation” vs. “Free special report”
2—The call to action – e.g., “Call now” vs. “Click here”
3—Credibility – e.g., “Since 1996” vs. “BBB accredited”
4—Ad headline – e.g., “Solve packaging problems” vs. “Low-price
5—Display URLs – customized URLs sometimes boost click-through
6—Price – e.g., “Only $35” vs. “30% off”
Source: Brad Shorr, Content Marketing Institute, 6/6/13.
***9 tips for writing better video sales letters***
The Direct Marketing Club of New York recently published, in
their member newsletter, my new article “9 Rules for Writing
Video Sales Letters.” Now you can read it online here at no
charge, even if you are not a DMCNY member:
***More tips on sending e-mail to mobile devices***
>> Human thumbs are not as accurate as a computer mouse.
Therefore, your call to action should be at least 44 X 44 pixels.
>> Font size on most smart phones should be 13 pixels.
>> Be bold. Use color, images, and typography to be visually
compelling and engaging.
>> Because the screen size is small, keep the messages simple
Source: Fernando Espejel, “Send Smart,” Target Marketing, 6/13,
***Tracking where web visitors come from***
You can track where traffic to your web site comes from by
adding “UTM” parameters to your site. These are tags that you
add to your URL. When a visitor clicks on a site with UTM tags,
these tags are sent back to Google Analytics for tracking. Click
here to learn more details. It’s free info; there’s nothing to
***What’s better: intelligence or wisdom?***
“I like the humorous observation that intelligence is knowing
that a tomato is a fruit while wisdom is knowing not to put it
in a fruit salad,” says my colleague, sales guru Michael Dalton
He notes that while you may be the world’s most intelligent
person, it doesn’t mean you have the requisite wisdom to execute
every aspect of your business plan. Example: Many entrepreneurs
got A’s in English but do not have the ability to write compelling
“You would be well advised to seek experienced and talented
experts to help you execute the critical aspects of your
business and marketing plan,” Michael advises. “Look at it this
way: Would you rather be lost in the woods with Albert Einstein
or Daniel Boone?”
Source: Salesdog.com, 6/12/13.
***The trouble with social media***
The main drawback to social media, at least from my point of
view, is that it takes too much time.
According to a survey by the Social Media Examiner, 62% of
marketers spend 6 hours a week or more on social media … and
nearly 36% spend 11 or more hour weekly on social media.
If you spend 11 hours a week doing social media, and your
billing rate is $150, and you work 50 weeks a year, social media
is costing you $82,500 a year – many times more than I have ever
spent to market myself in any year of my career.
Source: 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
***Promoting sales events via e-mail***
When using e-mail to promote sales events, feature a single
product with a significant discount. If you can’t accommodate a
daily frequency, this could be the deal of the week rather than
Use prominent “Share with Your Network” links to encourage your
subscribers to spread the word! Make sure you have enough
inventory. Be prepared to handle an out-of-stock item by
offering a similar product at a similar price.
Source: Bronto white paper, “The Top 12 Marketing Tips for the
***Quotation of the month***
“Clever plays on words and attempts to be funny in advertising
usually fall flat. There is a place for cleverness and humor,
but it is a rare product that can win more customers through
–Maxwell Sakheim, “7 Deadly Sins of Advertising”
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