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Double your direct mail response rate

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From: Bob Bly
Subject: Double your direct mail response rate
Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to business-to-business, high-tech, industrial, Internet, and direct marketing. August, 2004
You are getting this e-mail because you subscribed to it on or because you are one of Bob’s clients, prospects, seminar attendees, or book buyers. If you would prefer not to receive further e-mails of this type, go to, enter your e-mail address, and hit Unsubscribe.

And feel free to forward this issue to any peers, friends and associates you think would benefit from its contents. They will thank you. So will I.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, 52% of consumers purchase products advertised in the mail.

Unfortunately, that also means that a whopping 48% of consumers – nearly half the U.S. population – NEVER buy through the mail!

So if you compile a list of prospects, as so many marketers do, the statistical probability is that half of the people on the list never buy through the mail – and therefore won’t respond to direct mail packages which ask for an order.

The solution: When doing mail order selling, ask your broker to recommend only “response lists” reaching your target market.

A “response list” is a list of mail order customers ? people who have purchased products through direct response.

Tip: Look for response lists of people who have responded to the same promotional channel you are using.

For instance, a list of people who have purchased through direct mail typically will generate a greater response to your direct mail package than a response list of people who were sold through telemarketing or online.

Just using a response list means you have eliminated the half of Americans who do not purchase through the mail from your mailing list, which should effectively – at a minimum – double your response vs. compiled lists.

According to media scholar Eric Alterman, the people who have the best chance of becoming media pundits may be the ones who know the least about their topic.

His theory: “Believe it or not, ignorance is actually an advantage, since it allows you to ignore the inherent complexity of any given problem with a concise quip and a clear conscience.” Yikes!

Among the key attributes of a pundit: the ability to communicate in short sentences, projecting a pleasing personality, and a willingness to speak knowingly about matters which one knows little or nothing.

Source: Across the Board, August 2004, p. 7.

Want to know what your copywriter colleagues really charge for their work? Find out by participating in a revealing online survey sponsored by veteran copywriter Chris Marlow.

Chris has lined up 100 copywriters to participate in her first “Economic Survey for Copywriters,” but is looking for more (anonymous) participants.

When you complete the survey you’ll get a link to the results that you can view for free until August 15. This is an unusual opportunity to discover what services your fellow copywriters offer, what they earn, how they conduct business, and more.

To participate in this fast and easy survey, go to:

1. Bursts-Bursts are star like shapes that can be used throughout the design of a direct mail package. They contain type that highlights the offer or free item and are placed next to an image of the offer or free item. Red or bright yellow colored bursts stand out the most in a direct mail package.

2. Letters-A letter may be used in a direct mail effort as a separate piece for a component package or may appear on the inside front cover of a magalog or special report. When designing a letter, you should make it feel personalized. Some ways to accomplish this are: use Courier type (which looks like a typewriter font), show a photo of whomever the letter is from, or give it a stationery look with “From the desk of…” at the top of the letter. And, always use a handwritten signature to close the letter.

3. Folios-A “folio” is the space where the page number appears, typically located at the bottom of each page in a magalog or special report. This is a key place to run a web address and/or an 800 phone number. This information is then repeated on each page of the magalog or special report, which makes it very easy for the customer to order. The folio space can also be used to highlight the name of the product or a special offer.

4. Free Bonus-When offering the customer a “free bonus,” show an image of the bonus
throughout the package. Keep the look of the bonus consistent (i.e.: color, design element, type treatment, etc.) throughout. Show it again on the order form to remind the customer of the free bonus incentive when ordering.

5. Credit Card Icons-In the payment method section of an order form there is typically an option to pay by credit card. Use credit card icons (pictures of the credit cards offered) instead of writing out the name of each credit card. This gives the customer a visual reference to help her quickly and easily choose the preferred credit card payment.

Source: Jennifer Osterhouse Graphic Design, phone 410-798-8585, e-mail:

According to a survey by the National Endowment for the Arts, only 56.5% of adult Americans read a book from 8/01 to 8/02 vs. 60.9% during the same period 10 years ago. That means more than 4 out of 10 American adults do not read even one book during the year.

(Ironically, almost without exception, every self-made millionaire I’ve interviewed over the last quarter of a century has been a voracious reader, with many reading a book or week or more.)

Source: Publisher’s Weekly, 7/12/04, p. 5.

“What is going on, I believe, is a shortened national attention span. People have lost patience, endurance, tolerance for the lengthy, possibly even the leisurely, presentation of culture, teaching, entertainment, and much else. Some say television has helped bring this about. When on their nightly news major networks promise an ‘in-depth report,’ they mean between 90 seconds and two minutes.”
–Joseph Epstein

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 6/23/04

Ted Nicholas is a top marketing pro who has generated over $4 billion in revenues for his clients — as well as the hundreds of millions of dollars in products of his own he has sold.

At last, Ted has condensed all of his direct marketing knowledge into one single
resource: “How to Turn Words into Money.”

It’s an incredible guide that you MUST read. I loved it and recommend it without reservation. To order, click on the link below:

I give “How to Turn Words Into Money” my highest 5-star rating. It’s surely one of the best marketing guides you will find ANYWHERE this year!

Although I sometimes become an “affiliate” for certain publishers (meaning I get a percentage of the sales I generate for their books or products), I NEVER recommend a book or program in this e-zine or in e-mails to my list that I don’t absolutely love and believe you will benefit greatly from reading. And I never recommend a product either solely or primarily for the commission.

If you think it’s somehow wrong for an e-newsletter publisher to accept an affiliate commission for book sales he generates through his recommendations, then you think every Web site that offers books sold through an link is unethical too – since is one of the biggest affiliate programs in the world and pays 15% on each sale.

I will be on a panel with marketing consultant Ruth Stevens speaking about e-mail marketing at List Vision, New York City, August 11, 2004. To register call the Direct Marketing Association at 212-790-1500 or visit:

Also, I will be giving a teleconference with Maria Andreu on “How to Become a Recognized Expert in Your Field” on August 2, 2004 from 1pm to 2pm EST. To register, click below:

Bob is available on a limited basis for copywriting of direct mail packages, 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, mailings, etc.), and if Bob is available to take your assignment, we’ll tailor a package of recent samples to fit your requirements. Call Fern Dickey at 201-797-8105 or e-mail
Bob Bly 22 E. Quackenbush Ave.
Copywriter/consultant Dumont, NJ 07628 phone 201-385-1220 fax 201-385-1138

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