Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Archive for May, 2009

Pre-Testing Copy on Your Blog

May 26th, 2009 by Bob Bly

I am not a huge fan of copy pre-testing with focus groups, surveys, or other methods soliciting subjective opinions.

It’s not that these opinions aren’t interesting. They are. It’s that what people SAY they like in advertising vs. what they actually respond to are two different things.

But let’s try it. Below are 3 possible headlines for a course on getting started in Internet information marketing.

Which do you like best — and why?

A–Make $4,000 a week on the Internet.

B–Make $1 million a year on the Internet.

C–Make $1 million on the Internet in just 36 hours.

Or would you completely rewrite, and if so, what would YOUR headline be?


Category: General | 57 Comments »

The 3 Biggest Myths About Internet Marketing

May 24th, 2009 by Bob Bly

Myth #1: It’s easy.

Reality: It’s a lot easier and more fun than most of the careers and businesses you can do. But it isn’t really easy. To paraphrase Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, if it was THAT easy, EVERYBODY would be doing it.

Myth #2: It’s the lazy man’s way to riches — no work.

Reality: Because online marketing generates passive income, it is much less work than many other businesses ONCE IT GETS GOING.

But it takes an enormous amount of work to get it set up and started at the beginning.

Myth #3: You’ll make a million dollars within 12 months.

Reality: Maybe you will. Most of us don’t.

“But Bob, what about all those Internet marketing promoters whose online ads SAY they are making a zillion dollars a week?”

To quote my friend Fred Gleeck: “The only numbers you can really know and trust are your own.”

Am I saying that perhaps some of these promoters exaggerate their success?

I don’t really know HOW much money they make. And neither do you. So I follow Fred’s dictum and you should too.

Now, do you agree with the above?

What has been your experience and degree of satisfaction with the “Get rich on the Internet” programs you’ve purchased and conferences you’ve attended?

Any other Internet marketing myths or lies you’d like to puncture here?

Be my guest!


Category: Online Marketing | 65 Comments »

Copywriting: Difficult or Easy?

May 19th, 2009 by Bob Bly

On 5/15/09, Susanna K. Hutcheson said on this blog that copywriting is a skill that takes many decades of learning and doing before one is truly a master at it.

On the other hand, many of the superstars in Internet marketing — a key skill of which is writing (of both copy and content) — are barely out of diapers.

Which would lead one to conclude that copywriting is fairly easy and can be learned rather quickly.

I am increasingly ambivalent about this question.

At times, I read copy by the top pros (Clayton Makepeace, Frank Joseph) that dazzles me and turns me green with envy — and I conclude that copywriting is a skill that, after 3 decades, I am just starting to get the hang of (and that I have so long to go in my training!).

On the other hand, I have also seen writing from younger folks that has me pretty damned impressed (and also some that makes me cringe, which I almost never see from the masters).

So what’s the truth here?

A–Susanna is right: it takes decades to master the skill of copywriting.

B–Copywriting is easy. Any idiot can do it.

C–Copywriting is a skill that can be learned. Yes, it takes practice. But it’s not brain surgery.

D–Other (fill in your answer here):__________________________________________

My view is that writing in general and copywriting in particular is like learning to play the piano: easy to do poorly; exceedingly difficult to do well.


Category: Writing | 55 Comments »

Prove Your Claims

May 15th, 2009 by Bob Bly

A motivational speaker just sent me a free review copy of his new book, published earlier this month.

A banner on the front cover proclaims the book is an “international best-seller.”

Yet when I check it online, the book is ranked #292,514 on Amazon.

Surely, if this just-published book were in fact an international bestseller, it would be at least in the top 100,000 on Amazon right now, no?

Does the author realize how silly, or at least unbelievable, his claim to bestsellerdom looks to the intelligent reader who bothers to check?

Or is his assumption that people today are so naive they will believe anything correct?

My experience, by the way, is the opposite: people are more skeptical than ever today, and their B.S. detectors have never been more accurate.


Category: General | 55 Comments »

Improving Sales Lead Quality

May 6th, 2009 by Bob Bly

What is a “quality” sales lead?

For me, a high quality sales lead is someone who:

A–Already knows who I am.

B–Is predisposed to hiring me.

C–Does not shop for copywriting services looking for the low bid.

Of course, not all self-promotion and marketing generates sales leads of equal quality.

For my freelance copywriting services, the best sources of quality sales leads, in order, are:

1–Referrals from clients and others.

2–Marketers who know and read my books or articles (a lot of them say they also read my blog, but it is the books and articles that prompt them to call me).

3–My e-newsletter subscribers.

4–People who have attended one of my seminars or talks.

5–Direct mail-generated leads.

Of these, the referrals and book readers are nearly neck and neck for the top spot.

The marketing channels that generate the LOWEST quality sales leads for me (price shoppers or those unschooled in the value of copy) are in order):

1–Organic search (means they are shopping for copywriters and therefore not predisposed to hire me vs. anyone else).

2–Classified or space ads in marketing publications.

3–Directories (e.g., Who’s Charging What) — they attract shoppers.

Would you rate the sources of your best and worst quality sales leads similar to me?

Or is your experience different?

Note: I did not rank PPC because I do not advertise my copywriting services online. And I don’t include social networking because I really don’t use it much, though I have started Twittering.


Category: General | 56 Comments »