Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct marketing.
March 2, 2015
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***This is it — last chance***
From March 20 – 22, 2015 I will be giving the final
“performance” of my popular weekend seminar, “Getting
Copywriting Clients,” in Weehawken, NJ on the banks of the
majestic Hudson River.
“Just a note about the seminar,” writes FC, who took it in July
of 2014. “It was excellent and crammed with useful information
for building a business — it was a beneficial experience.”
Peter Kavanagh, also present at the Baltimore weekend, said, “I
am now a six-figure copywriter. I can’t imagine finding any of
this success without your advice and guidance. You’ve had an
enormous influence on my life and I just wanted to say thanks.”
There are a few seats still available for March. For more
information and to register, click here now:
***Writing copy to fit the space in magalogs and other print
Online, there’s no limit to the space you have for copy, but in
print, you are limited by the room on the paper. Here are
approximate average word counts for common print promotions:
>>Tabloids — 400-600 words per page.
>> Magalogs — 500 words per page.
>> Digests — 250 words per page.
>> Nonfiction trade books — 400 words per page.
>> PDF e-books — 300 words per page.
>> Long-copy full-page mail order ads — 500-750 words.
>> Sales letters — 300 words per page.
>> Standard-size postcards — 100-150 words.
These are the maximum words counts, and using them results in a
page fairly dense with copy, which is a common practice in
direct response. In brand advertising and B2B, advertisers use
far fewer words because they like white space, not understanding
that white space is wasted and does not sell.
As for tabloids, word count is variable. If you filled the page
solid with text like a newspaper, you could fit a thousand
words. But most tabloids are designed with plenty of graphics,
so word count is variable.
***About writing in someone else’s voice***
Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
But when writing copy or content for a client or employer, you
may have to change your tone, or your language, or your format,
or a million other things to make a piece of writing better, But
none of that should inhibit the inherent “you-ness” of what you
write, advises HubSpot.
“Don’t try to adopt someone else’s voice, even if it sounds
really, really good,” they recommend. “They’re better at being
them than you are, anyway.”
Source: Hubspot report, The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing
***The trouble with general advertising***
“A few years ago, a dot-com company generated attention with a
TV commercial in which hamsters were shot out of a cannon. Do
you remember what it was selling? Neither do I. The company soon
folded. That ‘clever’ but ineffective ad is sadly representative
of much of the stuff that’s produced in ‘general’
advertising — that is, advertising for TV, radio, magazines,
billboards, and so on. Its creators can get away with it
because, surprisingly enough, no good methods exist to measure
the effect of that specific ad on sales.”
–Don Hauptman, copywriter, writing in The New Individualist,
***Info products make money for you even when you are not
“When you provide a personalized service in exchange for money,
you divide yourself,” said the late mail order info marketer
Jerry Buchanan. “You have only so many hours in a day, so you
can take only a finite number of customers.
“When you write and publish a book of helpful nature to an
infinite number of people, you are then multiplying yourself.
Your sales are not limited by the number of hours in a day. Same
applies to selling any mass-produced product.” He of course is
referring to passive income — earning money independent of hours
Jerry was a pioneer in info marketing in the pre-Internet era
and much admired by so many of us. For me he was a kind mentor
and friend. He got his start selling a short report on how to
rid your yard of moles and gophers which he promoted with
Source: Towers Club U.S.A. Newsletter, 11/77, p.1.
***Go beyond benefits and talk about “results”***
We are taught to stress benefits in our copy, but Terry Dean
suggests going one step above ordinary benefits and stressing
the results your buyer will get using your product.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re offering a product or a
service, you have to deliver the results,” says Dean. “Your
customers buy because of the end results and how those results
make them feel.”
Dean advises marketers to make the biggest, boldest promise they
can legally and ethically deliver.
“What kind of difference will these results make in your
client’s life?” he asks. “How much are the results worth? Is
there any way you can improve the results you’re delivering with
an even more valuable offer?”
Source: Terry Dean newsletter, 2/3/15.
***What Isaac Asimov and I have in common***
Prolific author Isaac Asimov was once being interviewed by
Barbara Walters, who asked him, “What would you do if the doctor
gave you only six months to live?” “Type faster,” he replied.
***My 84th book is out!****
Last 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, of which you are a
subscriber. If you like my online essays, or are hoping to find
a particular favorite, check out the book here:
***Quotation of the month***
“Some birds are meant to be saved. Their feathers are just too
–Stephen King, “The Shawshank Redemption”
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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
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