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Archive for November, 2010

Yours FREE — My Gift to You!

November 30th, 2010 by Bob Bly


Did the above headline catch your attention?

I wrote it to demonstrate this issue?s marketing lesson: The word ?FREE? is the most powerful word in direct marketing.

Always has been. Still is today. Will still be 10 years from now, in my opinion.

?I saw someone use FREE effectively on Ebay recently,? copywriter Charlie Byrne told me in an e-mail the other day. ?Rocker Jimmy Buffett is coming to town. His fans love to party ? especially with Corona beer, the one you squeeze limes into.?

There are MANY tickets for the concert on sale on Ebay. If you look at the listings, you’ll see:

?Buffett Tickets for sale!?
?Jimmy Buffett – Good seats.?
?Buffett Tix for sale.?
…ad infinitum…

But one clever person wrote:

?Buffett Tickets + Free Corona and Limes!!!?

If you buy the tickets, he throws in a $10 gift certificate for the local Florida supermarket chain.

Charlie adds: ?I noticed his ad got MANY more ?hits? than all the others ? another demonstration of the power of a FREE offer.?

In his new book, ?How to Turn Words Into Money,? millionaire entrepreneur and master direct marketer Ted Nicholas devotes quite a bit of space to discussing the power of FREE.

?I?ve never sold anything that didn?t sell better after offering free bonuses and gifts,? says Ted. ?Free is the most powerful word in the English language. If you?re not using gifts and bonuses in your marketing operations now, your sales in many cases will go up 2, 3, and 4 times.?

One of my friends worked in a medical ad agency. The clients were large pharmaceutical manufacturers targeting doctors with promotions about new drugs.

The agency used direct mail to invite doctors to free seminars (called ?symposia?) ? educational programs about the diseases the drugs treated, designed to get the doctors to prescribe the drug as treatment for the diseases.

The agency split-tested a straightforward invitation vs. a version that offered a free gift ? a pocket day planner ? as an incentive to attend the event. The wholesale cost of the pocket calendar, including imprint of the client?s logo, was about $1 each.

The invitations offering doctors the free $1 pocket calendar generated 6 times the response from doctors (all of whom back then were making handsome six-figure annual incomes) than the invitation that didn?t offer the free gift.

That?s 6 times the results ? just because of the offer of a little free gift ? something the doctor might very well toss in the trash if it arrived unsolicited in the mail.

I get asked at least once a week the following question: ?Bob, hasn?t free lost its power??

The person asking the question is concerned that, because of overuse and increasing sophistication of readers, FREE is not effective any more.

My answer is always this: FREE alone is not enough today to make a promotion profitable. In the early days of direct marketing, perhaps it was.

But now there are so many people advertising FREE, that simply saying FREE does not make you stand out. You need something more, like a powerful benefit or unique selling proposition ? or a masterfully written promotion.

But once you have those things, combine them with a FREE offer. Saying ?free? still, even today, increases response significantly vs. the same copy without stressing a free offer.

Bottom line: FREE still works in advertising. Use FREE for yourself and see!


Category: General | 56 Comments »

How Much Work is Social Media?

November 12th, 2010 by Bob Bly

According to an article in Direct Marketing News (11/10, p. 14), the majority of marketers use social media, on average, 6 hours a week.

How much time do YOU spend on social media?


Category: General | 82 Comments »

Top 7 Reasons Why Anyone Can Succeed as a ?How-To? Content Writer And Make Money Online

November 4th, 2010 by Bob Bly

Excerpted from my new book, How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit.

1. It?s easy to get started in how-to writing: ?How-to writing provides a quicker, surer entry into publication than many other writing categories. Vast hordes dream of writing the Great
American Novel, but the group of writers who dream of writing the Great American Guide to Growing a Greener Lawn is a bit smaller.?

2. How-to writing pays extremely well: ?Some of the best-selling books of all time are how-to books. If you follow the plan in How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit, I think you can realistically get to the $100,000 to $200,000 a year income level within 12 to 24 months.?

3. You don?t need to be the world?s greatest writer: ?To succeed as a how-to, do-it-yourself, or self-help author, you don?t have to be the next Shakespeare or even the next Stephen King. Can you explain something or teach a skill in a clear, organized, entertaining fashion? Then you can succeed as a how-to writer.?

4. You don?t need to be the leading guru in your field: ?You do not need to be the leading practitioner, scholar, or expert in your field to write a book about it. As noted by author and speaker Fred Gleeck, you only need know more about your subject than 90 percent of the people out there. ?Don?t worry about the other 10 percent; they?re not your market anyway,? says Fred.?

5. Whether you know it or not, you have unique knowledge to share with a paying audience: ?If you think you are not an expert in any subject, I doubt that?s really true. Every person has unique skills, training, and experiences. You are an ?expert? in your life and many of the things that make up your life.?

6. Even when information is free, demand for knowledge is high: ?Even in a world dominated by Google, the wisdom, knowledge, and guidance people are seeking are in short supply. As librarian Richard Yates once observed, ?We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.? As a result, the public?s appetite for how-to material is insatiable, and?despite the Internet user?s mantra that ?information should be free??readers eagerly open their wallets to obtain it.?

7. The guided step-by-step plan in How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit shows you everything you need to do to be a success: ?By following the comprehensive plan laid out in this book, you can earn a comfortable six-figure annual income from your writing. And you can do it when and where you want, while writing what interests and pleases you. You can work at home?no boss, no commute, no suit and tie, no alarm clock.?

For more information visit:


Category: Online Marketing, Writing, Writing and the Internet | 107 Comments »