Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct marketing.
May 1, 2014
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***My upcoming speaking engagement***
I’ll be giving a workshop on writing copy for
business-to-business lead generation at AWAI’s 2014 B2B
Copywriting Intensive in Phoenix, Arizona, June 1 – 4, 2014. In
my session, you will discover:
>> The 10 commandments of winning B2B lead generation marketing
>> Does direct mail still work like gangbusters in generating B2B
>> 6 steps to creating irresistible business-to-business offers.
>> 10 ways to make yourself indispensable to your B2B copywriting
>> The secret to doubling your response rates with free content
For more information on the AWAI B2B Copywriting Intensive, click
***What works best in driving traffic – short copy or long copy?***
When using direct mail to drive traffic to a web site or URL,
short copy works better than long copy. That’s the finding of DM
expert Craig Simpson, who sends out at least 100 mailings a year
that drive prospects online.
Craig reports best results for driving web traffic are generated
with postcards, tear sheets, small self-mailers, and check
letters. Avoid using magalogs, long-copy DM packages, and
digests; you don’t need a 12-page sales letter to drive prospects
online for a free report.
“You have to make sure the length of your copy matches your call
to action,” says Craig. “So, a long sales letter is not necessary
for driving prospects online. The cost to mail out a long-form
sales piece usually outweighs the return when you are driving
***Importance of branding is vastly overstated***
Big consumer products companies and Madison Avenue ad agencies
are obsessed with branding. But a new study from Duke University
shows that, surprisingly (at least to me), consumers shopping
online are not influenced much by brands.
According to the Duke survey of online shoppers, 16.8% are
looking for a low price vs. only 6.6% care about the brand.
Quality is the most important factor in online product selection,
cited by 31.0% of those surveyed. Also important: service (17.9%)
and trust (18.7%).
Source: eMarketer, 3/4/14.
***Online ads and landing pages should use similar wording***
Check the bounce rates on the landing pages you’d like to
generate more business. If they’re too high and conversions are
too low, you may have a message match problem.
To know for sure, look at the ads pointing to that page that
receive the highest click through rates. Does your page use
similar language to what’s in the ad? Do the images in display
ads re-appear on the landing page? If you miss the mark on this,
your landing pages are destined to fail.
Reason: 9 times out of 10, messages in the ad don’t correspond
directly to what’s on the page.
The ad images differ from primary landing page images. Ad
headlines don’t correspond to landing page headlines and the
page, generally speaking, is not what the user expected when they
clicked the ad.
Editor’s note: I call this correspondence “online copy
continuity.” Simply put, if your online ad headline says “Make
Money as a Nanny,” the landing page the respondent arrives on
should have the same headline.
***The awful truth about web pages with rotating banners***
Using rotating banners on your home page? Don’t: Research shows
that rotating banners, while aesthetically pleasing to the viewer, are less
effective than a standard, static home page with fixed copy the user
can read at a glance, and not wait for it to be gradually revealed as the
Reason: People get impatient and click away. The key message has
to be instantly displayed at a glance. See this article on why
rotating banners don’t work.
***Bob’s new book—just published!***
My 83rd book, “87 Secrets of Outrageous Business Success: How to
Reach Your Goals and Have Fun Doing It,” has just been published
by Morgan James.
In it, you’ll find 87 of my most popular weekly e-mail essays
never before collected in book form. Including:
** What’s working in direct mail today – page 35.
** Avoid these hidden dangers of working a 9 to 5 job – page 152.
** 38 great headlines for your copy swipe file – page 88.
** 7 ways to ask for and get higher prices and fees – page 92.
** The 5 mistakes I wish I hadn’t made in my business, career,
and life – page 239.
** And more….
For more information or to order on Amazon , click here now:
***5 tips for getting past tough times***
Speaker Shawn Anderson says that extra-mile people who transition
positively through life’s toughest moments practice at least one
of these five regrouping strategies:
1. They don’t quit on life. Huge mistakes might have been made,
but the world continues. People who have walked successfully over
life’s hot-coal moments always keep going.
2. They live day-by-day, focusing on the now. They don’t let
thoughts of how they’re going to deal with tomorrow defeat them.
3. They find support. By forging relationships with positive,
move-forward type people, survivors trigger positive energy to
flow back into their lives.
4. They get involved again. Extra-mile people transcend life’s
tragedies by not choosing isolation when life knocks them down.
5. They remain optimistic. They don’t let negative self-talk rule
their brains, and they make sure not to surrender to negative,
***How to write the close of your online videos***
At the end of the video, embed a call to action to a landing page
or other resource. Ask your viewers to do something: watch the
next video, download a white paper, attend a webinar, or learn
more. Thinking about a call to action will also get you in the
frame of mind to consider how any one video is integrated into
and complements your overall marketing mix.
Source: Marketing Maven, 2/27/14.
***Easy way to increase e-mail deliverability****
If you are an e-mail marketer, and people on your e-list are not
getting your e-mails, one reason may be that they have set their
spam filters, firewalls, or browser security too high. The
solution: advise your subscribers to use a different browser –
one you know works better – or to lower their security settings.
***The power of negative thinking***
In his book “Breakthrough Copywriting,” copywriting ace David
Garfinkel teaches a persuasion principle he calls “negative
optism,” which he defines as “the optimal use of negative
thinking in your copy.”
Here are the steps to writing copy based on negative optism:
1–Acknowledge the negative thoughts and emotions the prospect
may be thinking or feeling; e.g., “You think you got problems.
I’m sure you do. We all have problems. I remember …”
2–Validate these negatives by talking about your own experience
or about someone else’s experience. Talk about how hopeless and
overwhelmed you felt.
Note: If you can’t talk about it from your own personal
experience, don’t make something up. Find someone who had this
experience, understand what it was, and talk about it from their
point of view.
3–Reveal that you found a solution and then transition by
promising to share your solution with your prospect.
To order “Breakthrough Copywriting” on Amazon, just click here
***Book of the month***
Veteran marketer Robert Skrob has written a useful book on a
topic I have not seen covered in a book before: marketing your
small business through joint ventures with associations whose
members are your target audience. It’s full of innovative and
actionable tips. And you’ll like that you can get this paperback
free by clicking here now:
***Quotation of the month***
“Entrepreneurs are among the most optimistic people you’ll ever
meet. They have a can-do attitude, a strong desire to succeed,
and an incredible work ethic – willing to do anything to build a
business that supports their dream lifestyle.”
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***Our 60-second commercial***
Bob Bly is available on a limited basis for copywriting of
landing pages, direct mail packages, video sales letters,
brochures, white papers, 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 copy you’re interested in seeing
(ads, landing pages, etc.) and if Bob is available to take on
your assignment, we’ll tailor a package of recent samples to fit
your requirements. Call Bob Bly at 973-263-0562 or e-mail
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If you liked this essay, and want to read 75 more just like it, get
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Cowboy — and Other Grumblings from a Cranky Curmudgeon,”
which you can order here: