Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Answers to E-Mail I.Q. Challenge

December 14th, 2004 by Bob Bly

The subject line ?Free Direct Mail Encyclopedia? outpulled ?Boost Sales, Increase Profits, and Expand Market Awareness? by 25%.

Three lessons we can learn from this:

1. Just changing the subject line can dramatically increase e-mail response rates.

2. You never know which subject line or headline is the winner until you test it. (The reasons some of you gave for why A would win seemed to me equally as valid and strong as the reasons others gave for B.)

3. The increase in response from the pulling power of ?free? more than outweighs any decline in response that may occur from ?free? triggering spam filters.

To download your free bonus prize ? my $29 report on improving online marketing results — go to and click on Reports.

By the way, this is a classic example of A/B split testing: test two approaches, and see which works best.

Don?t debate the merits of copy by arguing around a conference table. Test it and learn definitively which headline works best.

This is the basic philosophy that separates direct marketing from general advertising ? and by the way, it?s completely in keeping with the Cluetrain and blogging philosophies of marketing as conversation:

Don?t tell the market what you think sells. The market will tell YOU what they will buy.

P.S. If you guessed B instead of A, don?t feel bad. I often guess wrong on these challenges myself ? which is why I encourage clients to test more than one approach.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 14th, 2004 at 9:46 am and is filed under Online Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

73 responses about “Answers to E-Mail I.Q. Challenge”

  1. Shelle Castles-Melton said:

    Notice how no one thanked you yet Bob?? Hmmm… maybe no one has been here yet though. Thanks for the test quiz. I would have flunked if it had been a real test and not a test of the emergency broadcast copywriters system. Blessings!

  2. Shelle Castles-Melton said:

    OMG! Thank you Bob! I really hope that no one has stopped by yet and that’s why you haven’t received any thank you’s yet. BLESS YOU! Now I have some awesome reading to go through over the holidays! YAY!

  3. Jay Lipe said:

    Great stuff. Looks like your blog is a good way to fine tune testing alternatives for headlines. The feedback you received on both headlines seemed to be well worth the 10 minutes I’m guessing) it took you to generate the blog post. But you’re right, we marketers can’t ever forget that the market is the final decider…

    Thanks for a fun exercise.

  4. RichW said:

    I’d imagine that response rate could have been much higher. Using the word *FREE* is a tricky one to use in context given the sensitivity of many spam filters. Granted ER uses opt-in lists, but even then, since they’re mailing primarily to corporate settings with sophisticated filtering, you can bet that not all messages with that offer are reaching the inbox. For that reason alone I’d have bet even money on B, so I’d say A is even more powerful than Bob suggests.

  5. Brett Cooper said:

    Another thought: not only is A more specific but it’s clearly substantive and different. Though many of us may have a direct mail encyclopedia, we know that it is a valuable resource that you usually pay money for. It has a definite implied value. B, on the other hand, is vague and so you’re liable to assume the worst about it. Personally, I would assume that B is either a standard sales pitch (I get enough of those, thanks) or a standard website advertisement. Neither of these is exciting, unusual or implying immediate value to me. So I’ll click where the value is…

  6. lenny said:

    I’m interesting in mp3 music and spend most of my spare time by visiting different music sites. This one is really good. I found a lot of pretty things here. Thanks

  7. bitch fucked hot said:

    bitch fucked hot

    Actual articles about bitch fucked hot and more.

  8. Morgan said:

    Just make sure you take the word “free” out of your e-mail subject line.

  9. Sumit Sharma said:

    I’m interesting in mp3 music and spend most of my spare time by visiting different music sites. This one is really good. I found a lot of pretty things here. Thanks

  10. Alan said:

    Another thought: not only is A more specific but it’s clearly substantive and different. Though many of us may have a direct mail encyclopedia, we know that it is a valuable resource that you usually pay money for. It has a definite implied value. B, on the other hand, is vague and so you’re liable to assume the worst about it. Personally, I would assume that B is either a standard sales pitch (I get enough of those, thanks) or a standard website advertisement. Neither of these is exciting, unusual or implying immediate value to me. So I’ll click where the value is…

  11. 500 juegos para divertirse said:

    Very good article. I just found your blog and wanted to say that i really enjoyed reading your recent articles. I would like more information about this, because it is very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Diana said:

    Awesome article! It’s a 100 % pure satisfaction to understand it. Congratulation! Well done! I am waiting for more texts.

  13. Lexy said:

    Hi there everyone! It’s very cool content. I’m astonished that you are so qualified. I don’t respect you!

  14. Angelica said:

    Congratulation on creating fantastic information! I ought to declare that the review is a high grade articles and it meets all kinds of standards. Well-done.

  15. Quinn said:

    Hi. Here is a question for everybody who seek premium excellence material. Will you try to find an additional site? If you question me I will state absolutely no. That site is greatest for myself!

  16. Ava said:

    Dear author! Thanks a lot for staying here and publishing so actually reports. There is a person who love it and mention cheers!

  17. Penny said:

    In my viewpoint, not countless bloggers have so many concepts to create unique, absorbing articles. I value doing it and I wish you did not lose the motivation to make the new ones!

  18. Tilda said:

    I totally agree with the previous audience. I believe the fantastic motivation and good opinions are great basis to compose high excellence content.

  19. Chanel said:

    I have always thought about how to make top excellence content and submit them on the blog. Now I must state that the work is not for me. I keep it for professional authors.

  20. Olivia said:

    It really is very challenging to compose a pro messages in a short time period and nevertheless posses heads full of ideas to generate latest ones. I need declare that the blogger is a expert writer.

  21. Mia said:

    Right now here is a light question to question – how to produce such a excellent review? It shows almost all ingredients what make a close content. There is a catching name and fascinating information. Well done!

  22. Sarah said:

    I ought to accept that truly 1 of the most worthwhile posts I have actually understand. It is also properly penned. I’m an British teacher so I know what I suggest.

  23. Jessa said:

    Good piece! It actually is a pure enjoyment to look over it. Congratulation! Well done! I am waiting for additional messages

  24. rita riya said:

    To promote business marketing is the good thing. The products should be ideal and fresh. Good products should be sold. They should have proper idea about the business and the product. They should be well firm in selling the product.helpful hints

  25. Mumbai-Escorts said:

    A mind blowing article. Very well written and it made me to think about this topic more deeper way. Keep posting such a good article like this.

  26. dd said:

    I am very comfortable and pleased to come here mahjong dimensions online Thank you very much. Do you like to you then click here on this link.

  27. kathleen swafford said:

    Thanks for sharing such a great configuration guide. It is really helpful to updates Spiderman hoodie and manages web contents easily.

  28. Rajesh said:


  29. xonegoxe said:

    thank you very much for this

  30. ip admin said:

    We utilized every one of the connectors on Speedtest, on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz tests, to perceive how the transfer speed got influenced. This likewise uncovered issues with the extender’s backhaul arrangement. Notwithstanding the throughput estimated, we were additionally ready to perceive how inactivity gets influenced by means of the ping request timeout. We next connected a network clog model of synchronous gaming and streaming video on the network, all going through the extender. The game is Medal of Honor: Pacific Theater, played on high game settings with a 720p goals, estimated by means of FRAPS programming to quantitate normal, minimum and greatest edge rates, with each of the extender arrangements, and a correlation with baseline.

  31. tubidy mp3 said:

    Enjoy downloading Doyas?ya mp3 with us.

  32. raheel said:

    hi how are you? google

  33. Honor MagicWatch 2 said: Honor MagicWatch 2

  34. Filmmusik klingelton runterladen said:

    Thank you so much, great post.

  35. Maschinengewehr said:

    Nice article and great info. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  36. Sukhpreet Singh said:

    Nice article

  37. Nouman Shakeel said:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts
    fb status

  38. cowoneerere said:

    Dylan Cozens steps onto the ice this week at the Westerner Park Centrium with one goal in mind repeating as a gold medalist World Juniors online at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. Forty seven players have arrived in Red Deer with a similar goal, simply hoping to represent Canada at junior hockey’s premier event next month.

  39. gicerexxreboerre said:

    Canelo Alvarez dropped a game Liam Smith three times and knocked him Canelo vs Smith Fight tickets out with a body shot in the ninth round to claim the WBO Junior Middleweight Championship in front of fans on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

  40. rerfedfqazxswere said:

    The Ultimate Fighting Championship means UFC is a heart-throbbing name for martial art lovers. All fans are waiting eagerly for the real battle. Are you a big fan of martial art UFC 257 Poirier live online Then don’t miss the chance of watching this great fight. The great fighting will be the 257th and UFC 257 live. Now let’s have final a look at all the detailed information about the program. Who is going to fight, when it’s going to happen, and so on.

  41. jeexaazwibwewe said:

    Garcia, who’s relatively untested as a fighter in the lightweight division, will take on two time world title challenger and Olympic gold medallist Campbell in a WBC lightweight title Luke Campbell vs Ryan Garcia live eliminator.Garcia and Campbell signed the deal to fight earlier this year, with Golden Boy Promotions to promote the event.There’s been a lot of talk and he’s clearly a very highly regarded fighter, but I’m going to prove that this is far too much, far too soon and that I’m on a completely different level.

  42. vinifsgds said:

    Logan Paul recently took to social media and trolled Floyd Mayweather, who he’s scheduled to face in a special Paul Mayweather Fight time exhibition fight on February 20, 2020. The YouTuber, who’s more than 6 feet tall, took aim at Mayweather’s 5ft 8in frame in a doctored picture.

  43. ???? ????? ??? ???? said:

    great blog, keep it coming!!

  44. voyesdsqnah said:

    The 2021 Super Rugby season is the 26th season of Super Rugby, an annual men’s Super Rugby Trans Tasman international rugby union tournament organised by SANZAAR involving teams from Australia and New Zealand.

  45. FIX said:

    QuickBooks ProAdvisor Login
    quickbooks has stopped working error
    Deleting a payment from a Deposit from QuickBooks
    Sage 50 Not Enough Memory

  46. seesshgfds said:

    All the fans who waits for a long time to exhibition bout fight Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul, will surely enjoy a series of epic fights. The Floyd vs Paul Fight PPV is planned Can I watch the Logan Paul Mayweather fight? to occur on 20 February 2021. Floyd Mayweather will fight Logan Paul in a massive exhibition bout in February. After some verbal back and forth between the pair on social media, a deal was struck to see the 50-0 superstar take on the 0-1 YouTuber.

  47. osdsgsds said:

    The AMA Supercross World Championship is going to be held Can you watch Supercross live online? at NRG Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, Daytona International Speedway, State Farm Stadium, AT&T Stadium.

  48. osdsghdgs said:

    There have been preliminary discussions of Tszyu appearing Tim Tszyu vs Dennis Hogan on the proposed fight card later this year featuring undisputed lightweight and Ring Magazine champion Teofimo Lopez taking on George Kambosos, Jr.

  49. dsqdssersds said:

    The 2021 IIHF World Championship is scheduled to take place from 21 May to 6 June 2021. It was originally to be co-hosted iihf world championship live online by Minsk, Belarus and Riga, Latvia, as the IIHF announced on 19 May 2017. Their joint bid won by a very tight margin against the Finnish bid with the cities of Tampere and Helsinki.

  50. ToniBanks said:

    Vielen Dank für Ihren Artikel, sehr guter Artikel. Interessieren Sie sich gerade für Para Tonos Celular Yotonos ?

  51. lagovsds said:

    Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury could be broadcast by two different networks Fury Joshua live on tv in both the UK and USA as organisers look to work out a compromise which ensures the fight gets over the line.

  52. sdfggahgsfa said:

    The Sydney Roosters is an Australian professional rugby league football Can I watch NRL Roosters live online club based in the Eastern Suburbs (Sydney). The club competes in the National Rugby League (NRL) competition and is one of the oldest and most successful.

  53. DallasFrancis said:

    Scratch you, the address that provides the latest completely free 2021 ringtones, immediately access to bring back your phone.

  54. xetsdsaxsds said:

    Paul Gallen vs Lucas Browne Live Online. Lucas Browne vs Paul Gallen Full Fight Card TV Channel. It’s finally announced Gallen fight The Most wanted and exciting Heavyweight Boxing as the Lucas Browne is set to open the season on April 21 with a Time.

  55. tinamsds said:

    The first press conference for the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren Triller Paul vs Askren live boxing card is set to take place Friday in Las Vegas, and MMA Fighting will have live video of the proceedings.

  56. yatedasds said:

    Power bank A power bank is a portable device that can supply power from its built-in battery through a USB port. A battery pack is a set of any number of (preferably) identical Buy jump starter car power bank batteries or individual battery cells. Power bank definition. Power banks, sometimes speed as powerbanks, can be defined as portable batteries that use circuitry to control any power in and power bank.

  57. lesdhilsds said:

    An entertainment expert who has successfully maneuvered through a range stream Lopez vs Kambosos Jnr of projects in a variety of different fields, Snoop secured his spot as a fan favorite

  58. vewevsds said:

    Their combination of young talent, music, entertainment and special matchups is setting a new standard for our sport, McBride fight online and my return to the ring for this fight is one that everyone, myself included, will enjoy, and I am proud to help take this to the next level.

  59. leyisdsvemsds said:

    Fiji is one of the few countries where rugby union is the main sport. Watch All Blacks Fiji rugby online There are approximately 80,000 registered players from a total population of around 950,000.

  60. leyivesds said:

    The competition was postponed to reduce pressure on the public services in affected countries and allow for the completion Euro 2021 Soccer of domestic leagues that had been suspended. The tournament will still retain the name “UEFA Euro 2020”.

  61. Tiam said:

    thanks for this and you can go transplant centers and french institutes

  62. desasasa said:

    Warren Gatland agreed to take charge of the team for the third successive Lions tour South Africa live stream time, with both parties agreeing to the deal. Gatland was officially unveiled as the 2021 coach on 12 June 2019.

  63. mebapsdsd said:

    Head coach Mike Friday has named a traveling squad of 14 including captain Madison Hughes, who returns alongside Rugby on TV USA 2021 Carlin Isles after missing the Madrid Sevens in February. Houston SaberCats winger Malacchi Esdale is the only uncapped player in the group.

  64. DownBeach Remodeling said:

    nice post
    Home Builders Linwood NJ

  65. Corwin said:

    Pugs for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale near me,teacup pug,pug for sale,pug puppies for sale,miniature pugpug puppies,pugs for sale near me,pugs for sale near me,pugs puppies,black pugs for saleteacup pug puppies for sale,pugs for sale,baby pugs for sale,mini pug,teacup puppies for sale near me,pug puppy for sale utah,pug puppy for sale near me,pug puppy for sale cheap,pug puppy for sale ohio,pug puppy for sale in tennessee,pug puppy for sale massachusetts,pug puppy for sale illinois,pug puppy for sale in pa,pug puppy for sale texas,pug puppy for sale az,pug puppy for sale arkansas,pug puppy for sale atlanta,pug puppy for sale adelaide,pug puppy for sale australia,pug puppies for sale alberta,pug puppies for sale austin texas,

  66. robert said:

  67. haoaswsdsd said:

    On Monday at the UCI Urban World Championships in Montpellier, France, her dream took another step forward. Her solid bmx world championships live opening run and a score of 80 in the BMX Freestyle Park finals was good enough for fifth place in the final standings, placing her third overall in the U.S. team rankings.

  68. resasds said:

    With Woodley a five time UFC champion, he is taking a bit of a risk fighting Paul in the boxing ring, especially seeing Woodley Paul fight video as the American YouTuber has won his last three pro boxing fights.

  69. pomawsds said:

    Mayor Bowser is excited to welcome this major international rugby test match to Washington, D.C.,” said Deputy Mayor usa v NZ Rugby game for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio.

  70. jediwendfd said:

    Since beginning play in 1892, the program claims 18 national championships, ALA vs MSST including 13 wire service national titles in the poll-era, and five other titles before the poll era.

  71. Nathan said:

    At our Nursery, we stand behind our guarantee, our custd our puppies! We go to great efforts to ensure that our puppies and dogs are healthy and socialized with an excellent demeanor that is native to the breed of each puppy. Bringing home a new puppy is a wonderful experience involving the whole family.

    pug puppy | pug puppy for sale | pugs for sale near me | pug puppies for sale under $500 near me | pug puppies for sale under $500 | pug puppies for sale | baby pug | pugs for sale | white pug | pugs for sale | pug for sale | pug breeders near me | black pug puppies | black pug puppies for sale | teacup Pug For Sale | french bulldog puppy|french bulldog for sale|french bulldog puppies for sale|frenchie for sale|french bulldogs for sale | frenchie puppies for sale | frenchies for sale | french bulldog puppy for sale

  72. Mosconi Cup 2021 Live said:

    The Mosconi Cup 2020 was primarily scheduled to the Alexandra Palace, London. But because of the covid-19, it had to be moved to The Ricoh Arena in Coventry with the whole event. The whole competition was so exciting and outstanding that everybody over there will remember the excitement for a long time. After a series of twists and unbelievable moments, Team Europe won the Crown in 2020 after two years in American hands.

  73. Puppy Bowl 2022 said:

    The Puppy Bowl is not just for entertaining people around the world, The intrinsic purpose of the show is to raise awareness about endangered pets globally and rescue abandoned animals.

Leave a Reply