Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct marketing.
February 2, 2015
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***In B2B marketing, does sales copy work better than content?***
Given the number of content marketing pundits who say
traditional copywriting is dead, the result of a survey by
Eccolo Media of B2B tech buyers, ranging from engineers to
C-level executives, may surprise them — and you.
The key finding: while more than 30% said white papers (content)
are influential in their purchasing decisions, nearly 40% said
product brochures and data sheets (sales copy) have greater
influence on their purchase decisions. Conclusion: B2B prospects
may tell you they love your free content, but your sales copy is
more effective at getting them to buy.
Source: Today@TargetMarketing, 1/9/15.
***May I teach you everything I know about succeeding as a
That’s what I intend to do at my upcoming weekend seminar
“Getting Clients: How to Start and Run a Successful Six-Figure
Freelance Copywriting Business” on March 20-22, 2015 in
Weehawken, NJ on the banks of the majestic Hudson River.
“I am appreciative of all the information you shared at the
‘Getting Clients’ conference in Baltimore last summer,” says
Cynthia Kincaid of Gahanna, Ohio. “You’ve helped me greatly in
getting started in this field and you continue to help me grow
professionally as a copywriter.”
Click here for details and to register. But I urge you to hurry:
we are limiting attendance to the first 60 people who register,
and when we did this seminar last year, we had to turn away a
lot of people because the seats filled quickly:
***Best colors for components of DM packages***
A traditional direct mail package has multiple components
including an outer envelope, sales letter, brochure, lift note,
and reply element.
When you are selling a high-end professional service to a
sophisticated audience, and want to convey an image of
professionalism, all components should be printed on the same
color paper stock; cream, ivory, and white are the top three
When you are selling mail order merchandise to consumers,
especially middle America, make each element in the package
colorful and a different color; e.g., a Kraft envelope, white
letter, four color brochure, lift note on robin’s egg blue
stock, order form on canary yellow. Reason: it makes each
element pop visually, compelling the recipient to handle and
look at all of them.
***Tip for Facebook advertising newbies***
When placing your ad on Facebook, click on the ad set menu
either in the live account or the Power Editor. Doing so will
allow you to choose who is served your FB ad by their interests
and behavior. Or, click on More Demographics when in live
account or Power Editor and you can select your audience by
income. Result: you are able to reach a target audience with FB
ads based on demographic and psychographic selections.
Source: Social Media Examiner, 1/26/15.
***Features vs. benefits in marketing to engineers***
The notion that only benefits should be in your copy and
features are boring and no one cares about them is nowhere less
true than in industrial marketing.
“The first thing an engineer wants to know is do your products,
parts, and components meet his or her design specifications and
standards?” writes industrial marketing consultant Achinta
Mitra. For example, simply state ‘Manufactured to ASME Code
standards, designed to handle up to 300 psig and 415o F.’ Don’t
try to embellish features with wordy benefits.”
Well, yes and no. I agree that the facts and specs are what
engineers look for first. But I know from long experience that
great industrial copy gives both the feature as well as the
benefit it delivers.
Source: Industrial Marketing Playbook , www.tiecas.com
***Why the Internet hasn’t killed print catalogs–yet***
I often say the death of direct mail has been greatly
exaggerated, and here’s more proof: according to management
consulting firm Kurt Salmon, 11.9 billion print catalogs were
mailed in the U.S. in 2014.
Reason: while many consumers order online for convenience or go
to a retail location to get the product right away, they enjoy
thumbing through catalogs to look at products and get ideas. In
addition, receiving a catalog reminds them of the availability
of a product or the existence of a merchant they otherwise would
have never remembered.
Source: Talon Newsletter, 1/15, p. 3.
***Sell with your newsletter***
Few things encourage readership loyalty for an online newsletter
like special promotions that can only be found in the
newsletter. Seven out of 10 Internet users say they have taken
advantage of a discount offer from a marketing e-mail.
Source: Today@TargetMarketing, 1/15/15
***5 tips on presenting price in your copy***
1–When a product is on sale, prominently show the price. Use
dollars, not percentages. Percentages aren’t easily calculated
in the mind — or worse, they are miscalculated in the mind and
you risk losing a sale.
2–Incrementally break down the price. Show it as the cost per
day, cost per use, or some other practical way to reveal
increments of the price. Example: an annual subscription to an
online database selling for $99 gives you “unlimited, 24X7
access for only 27 cents a day.”
3–Compare the price to an everyday item, such a cup of coffee,
a postage stamp, or lunch at a diner.
4–Compare to your competition. If you have a price advantage,
show it. If you don’t, then compare at a different level that
includes longer product life, more convenience, or other
5–Position the price presentation as a cost of not buying now.
In other words, show how the price could increase in the future,
or the loss that can happen by waiting. This positioning also
Source: Gary Hennerberg, Today@TargetMarketing, 1/21/15
***Long copy vs. short copy update***
A financial advisor was mailing a 2-page flier to invite people
to his free investment workshops, which he uses to find
prospects, a percentage of which become his clients after follow
He hired a freelance copywriter to write a new mailer. But when
the copy was put into a lay out, it was 4 pages instead of 2.
When the financial advisor showed the 4-page mailer to a
marketing expert in the investment niche, the guru told him it
would not work because it was too long and people are in a hurry
The advisor mailed the copy anyway. Result: the 4 pager
generated twice as many enrollments in the workshop as the 2
His conclusion: “When you are deciding what to do with the
million dollars you plan to invest, you will find the time to
read good long copy.”
So we know long works well in sales copy. But can it also work
in content, where the prevailing belief has long been that no
one reads long content and shorter is better? Joe Pulizzi,
founder of the Content Marketing Institute, writes: “Long-form
content is back. In some organizations’ blogs, we are seeing
blog posts eclipse the 2,000-word mark on a frequent basis.”
***Another copy cliché to avoid***
I urge you not to use the phrase “crushed it” in your e-mails,
social media posts, blog, newsletter, and other copy. Although
relatively new, “crush it” has already worn out its welcome from
overuse. In addition, it is braggy, egotistical, and arrogant,
if you are applying it to yourself or your product.
Banish “crushed it” from your vocabulary. It is, however, OK to
tell your reader that you hope THEY crush it. But not that you
***My 84th book is out!***
This month I published my 84th book, “The Blunt and Brutal Truth
About Business and Life: Observations, Facts, and Axioms from a
Cranky Curmudgeon.” It’s the latest collection of the best of my
weekly e-mail articles, to which you are a subscriber. If you
like my online essays, or are hoping to reread a particular
favorite, check out the book here:
***Save $500 on the next Information Marketing University
Fred Gleeck and I are giving a repeat performance of our popular
weekend boot camp on how to start and run a successful 6-figure
information marketing business, “Information Marketing
University.” For more information and to take advantage of the
$500 Early Bird discount while you still can, click here now:
The other day I woke up hungry for bacon and eggs, and asked my
wife if the bacon, which was open, was still good. Without
missing a beat she replied: “Good enough for YOU….”
***Quotation of the month***
“If you don’t saturate your life in a single quest, you’ll
dilute your focus to a point where becoming outstanding becomes
out of reach.”
Source: Early to Rise, 1/20/15.
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