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Archive for December, 2009

Why are some people more successful than others?

December 30th, 2009 by Bob Bly

A lot of people who claim to be rich and successful ? and I say ?claim? because we don?t know for a fact that they are — act as if it?s all them ? and that luck had nothing to do with it.

But the fact is, there are 6 specific factors that contribute to anyone?s success or lack thereof ? and luck is clearly one of them:


Some people are just smarter than others.

Intelligence is a result of genetics and environment ? your upbringing.

Since heredity and the home you are born into are purely by chance, intelligence is largely a matter of luck.

By the way, by ?smart? I don?t mean ?book smart.?

I mean smart at anything that can make money ? whether it?s business, art, computers, or whatever.


Successful people are students for life.

They are constantly acquiring specific knowledge in their business or field — as well as a large storehouse of knowledge on all sorts of other topics.

As a rule, the more you learn, the more you earn.


The clich? about working smarter, not harder, is B.S.

Successful people work both smarter — and harder — than others.


Successful people have an attitude. But it?s not an attitude of ripping people off ? or making as much money as they can any way they can.

It?s an attitude of service: of giving their customers (and others) more value than they have any right to expect.

Many successful people are also goal-oriented, and it is important to them to become successful. So they focus their efforts on achievement of that goal.


We tend to be good at things we like and have an aptitude for.

Financially successful people just happen to have an aptitude and talent for things that make money.

Warren Buffett has said that the reason for his great wealth is that he was born with aptitudes and talents for which our society offers huge financial rewards.

Some of us are good at stuff, but not stuff that pays well. And if we pursue those interests exclusively, our incomes can be limited as a result.


As you can see, the key success factors of intelligence (#1) and aptitudes (#5) are determined mainly by chance ? and are largely beyond our control.

Yes, Warren Buffett studied finance, worked hard, and had the right attitude.

But he was also lucky, as is virtually every person who has achieved significant wealth, success, or accomplishment in life.

The honest ones admit this and are thankful.

Any rich or successful person who said luck had no part in his achievement is either in denial or unwilling to come clean.

Therefore, if you are successful, you should be humble, not arrogant and boastful.

After all, you were lucky. Right?


Category: General | 276 Comments »

Pepsi Quits Super Bowl

December 20th, 2009 by Bob Bly

After 23 consecutive years of advertising during the Super Bowl, Pepsi has finally said: “Enough!”

The cost of running a TV commercial during the Super Bowl last year was $3 million for a 30-second spot.

Can you imagine watching your commercial run knowing that each second just cost you another $100,000?

According to an article in the Record (12/18/09), Pepsi plans to shift the ad dollars to a new marketing effort that’s mostly online.

Can you imagine what you could accomplish with a $3 million marketing budget for your Internet business … or even a $100,000 budget?

I predict we’re going to continue to see a shift of ad dollars away from TV and into Internet.

As for Pepsi, I think they made the right move — don’t you agree?


Category: General | 79 Comments »

6 Tips on Marketing With Free Content

December 19th, 2009 by Bob Bly

It?s a business revolution: marketing with free content instead of sales pitches.

Except this ?revolution? has been going on for decades.

And here are some content marketing tricks I?ve found to be particularly effective:

1–Giving your free report an attractive or compelling title helps boost response rates when offering it as a premium.

Example: During the Clinton years, the American Spectator offered a special report ?Inside the Clinton White House? as a free gift to new subscribers.

2–Since so many marketers offer free reports, you may stand out by offering free content in other media; e.g., audio CDs, videos, software, online tools.

Here?s a way to quickly and easily create an effective information premium: promote a paid teleconference to your list and record it. Then duplicate it on audio CD and offer that as a bonus.

If you charged $79 for the teleconference, you can legitimately say the CD has a value of $79.That?s important, because the higher the perceived value of the free bonus, the greater the demand.

3–If you use free special reports as information premiums, put a price in the upper right corner of the front cover of each report.

Then set up a reports page on your Web site where visitors can purchase the reports for that price.

That way, when you give them away as free bonuses and specify the value, you can legitimately say: ?This report sells for $29 on our web site, but reply today and it?s yours free.?

4–Here?s a gimmick that works well: instead of using an 8 ? by 11-inch page size, make your report digest size (5 ? by 8 ?-inch page size).
Let?s say the report is tips about leadership. Print the title on the front cover in reverse ? white letters on a black background ? and call it ?The Little Black Book of Leadership Secrets.?

Reason: Both ?secrets? and ?little black book? create an aura of importance and exclusivity that makes people want the booklet.

5–If you are creating the free booklet to build your image as a thought leader in your industry, consider publishing it as a small paperback book.

Then, when you offer it free in your marketing, you can position your company as ?The Folks Who ?Wrote the Book?? on Topic X.

6– I?ve found that anything having to do with making money works well as a free information bonus.

For instance, a newsletter published as part of its subscription an annual salary survey of the industry it covered. When we offered reprints of last year?s salary survey to new subscribers, orders for new subscriptions increased 25%.


Category: General | 67 Comments »

From the Department of Redundancy Department….

December 16th, 2009 by Bob Bly

I am a little obsessive about misuse of language and tend to nitpik, I know.

For instance, a headline for a news story on today reads: “Is embalming really a necessity after death?”

“After death” is unnecessary in the sentence, because no one gets embalmed before death.

The headlline should read: “Is embalming necessary?”

Shorter and cleaner.


Category: General | 51 Comments »

In Praise of A/B Split Testing

December 9th, 2009 by Bob Bly

Despite all the sophisticated analytics and multi-variate testing tools at our disposal, sometimes the quickest and clearest way to answer a marketing question is with a good old-fashioned A/B split test.

For an online ad to build my online subscriber list, we tested two headlines:

A–“Earn $2,000 per week ‘working’ an hour a day”
B–“Earn $100,000 a year selling simple e-books online”

One outpulled the other by 25%.

Which do you think was the winner — and why?


Category: General | 206 Comments »

Social Media Consultants Selling “Snake Oil”?

December 6th, 2009 by Bob Bly

“Beware social media snake oil,” warns Stephen Baker in an article in Business Week (12/3/09).

According to the article, the benefits of social media are often nebulous — and the cost, contrary to what social media consultants and gurus claim, are far from zero.

“Employees encouraged to tap social networking sites can fritter away hours or worse, they can spill company secrets or harm corporate relationships by denigrating partners.”

As for social media consultants and gurus, Baker insists that “many are leading clients astray … [as] success is defined more often by number of Twitter followers, blog mentions, or YouTube hits than by traditional measures such as return on investment.”

Ironically, when asked for case studies to prove the effectiveness of social media, some of these consultants point to their own self-promotion rather than client success stories, which are few and far between. (That’s like me showing my own self-promotion sales letter for my copywriting services as my copywriting sample.)

Finally, says Baker, social networking does not make sense for every company.

Example: in the defense industry (where I once worked), where much of the revenue comes from the Department of Defense (DoD). Baker suggests the privacy-obsessed Pentagon “may not be thrilled with a supplier publicizing itself through Twitter.”


Category: Online Marketing | 54 Comments »

How Do You Spend Your Day?

December 4th, 2009 by Bob Bly

According to an article in Business Week Small Biz (12/09, p. 54), average entrepreneurs spend their days as follows:

>> Interruptions and recovery time — 28%.
>> Creation of productive content — 25%.
>> Meetings — 20%.
>> Information searches — 15%,
>> Thought and reflection — 12%.

I think my day looks more like this:

>> Creation of productive content — 55%.
>> Thought and reflection — 15%.
>> Meetings — 10%.
>> Information searches — 10%.
>> Interruptions and recovery — 10%.

How does YOUR day break down?


Category: General | 79 Comments »

What stage is your Internet marketing business at?

December 1st, 2009 by Bob Bly

In my view, Internet businesses fall into one of the following 6 levels:

** The first level is the ?getting ready to start? phase.

This is where you are spending an inordinate amount of time and money buying and studying Internet marketing courses ? but you aren?t actually selling anything online yet.

** In level 2, you dip your toe in the water. You take some actions that let you generate a few sales online.

The volume and dollar amount of these sales is small ? just a few extra dollars in your pocket each week.

** At level 3, you start making a modest number of sales on a steady basis, and your online revenues are a thousand dollars a month.

You?re not getting rich at this level. But to most of us, an extra twelve grand a year isn?t chickenfeed.

In essence, you have a highly profitable hobby. You are having fun and making money in your spare time.

** Your business builds until you reach level 4, which I define as a thousand dollars a week or more.

That translates into around $50,000 a year, a significant, though not life-changing, amount of money for most Americans.

At level 4, you can earn, working an hour or two a day, more than the average American makes in a year at a full-time job.

** At level 5, we go from a thousand dollars a week to a thousand dollars a day.

At level 5, your Internet business is making you well over $300,000 a year in passive income ? in the ballpark of what the President of the United States makes.

And you have reached the enviable position of being able to quit your job if you so desire ? because you make enough money on the Internet to support your family in a comfortable lifestyle.

** Level 6 is when your Internet marketing business grosses a million dollars a year or more. At level 6, you are starting to become rich, not just ?comfortable? or well off.

Which level are you at? And what level do you aspire to?


Category: General | 257 Comments »