Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct
February 6, 2017
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***Attend my 1Q/2Q 2017 writing and marketing workshops***
I’ll be giving a talk at Social Media World on “How to Create
Landing Pages That Convert Social Media Clicks into Traffic,
Leads, and Sales” on March 22 in San Diego, CA:
On March 31, I will present a webinar for Lorman Training on
“Business Writing Fundamentals,” showing attendees how to write
with clarity and precision to improve their business writing.
Register today and save $100:
Plus, I will be giving a presentation on how you can have the
best of both worlds as a freelance writer — writing what you are
passionate about plus making a six-figure annual income at the
same time — on May 5 at the American Society of Journalists and
Authors (ASJA) Conference:
***Do techies think they are smarter than you are?***
I am ashamed to admit this, but when I was going to college in
the 70s, students in science, technology, engineering, and math
(STEM) felt themselves to be smarter — or at least their fields
of study much more difficult — than their peers in English,
sociology, liberal arts, political science, and other “soft
subjects.” I believe this feeling of superiority in students and
practitioners in technical fields continues today.
The takeaway for marketers is to realize that, when you are
selling to STEM professionals, realize they take pride in who
they are, their accomplishments, and what they perceive to be
their superior abilities and intelligence. Subtle flattery in
particular is very effective in copy selling B2B products and
services to technical audiences.
***How to handle this common complaint from info product
If you sell info products, you will get e-mails from customers
who become almost enraged when they come across a web site URL
in your product that is no longer active.
How do I handle this? In my info marketing business, I sometimes
get customers who complain that I ripped them off because a URL
in the $30 e-book they bought from me is inactive.
I explain that the URL represents perhaps 0.1% of the content and
value in the book, and then offer to mail them a check for 3
cents to compensate them for the alleged rip-off. Everyone gets
the point and accepts the lesson in it, and no one has ever asked
for the 3 cents.
***My case against cold calling***
In a recent issue of the e-zine Yesware Monthly, the lead article
was “25 Cold Calling Tips You Need to Succeed.” I rewrote it to
have just one tip, and here it is: “If you are prospecting to
sell your own services, don’t make your own cold calls.”
If someone ELSE makes the call for you … well, then it can
work. Even then, though, I am not a fan of cold calling. And
here’s why: Prospects want to hire vendors they perceive as being
busy and successful, not desperate and needy. The late Howard
Shenson called this “the Busy Doctor Syndrome.”
If you are spending your time on the phone calling up strangers
and asking for work, does that convey the impression that you are
busy, successful, and in-demand — or desperate and needy?
***Why do some keynote speakers earn six figures for a 60-minute
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) has hired Peyton
Manning as the keynote speaker for their upcoming ProFood Tech
Conference in April. Manning’s fee for a talk is $100,000+ —
about double what the average American makes working for an
The value, of course, is not in the content of his talk on
“Winning Strategies” — good as it may be — but in attracting
more paid attendees who will go to the event because Manning is
there. IDFA should have asked me to speak instead; I would have
done it for a small fraction of Manning’s fee plus a year’s
supply of 2% milk. (I kid, of course.)
***Twas the night before Christmas***
On Christmas Eve, a small animal — I think it was a squirrel but
am not 100% sure; it MIGHT have been a cat — darted out into the
road in front of my car.
I had a choice: run over the animal and continue safely, or make
an emergency swerve to avoid hitting it. I swerved, hit a
telephone poll, and totaled my beloved 2008 Toyota Prius
(fortunately, I have a spare Prius).
Some people who hear this story think I am an idiot and should
just have run over the animal.
I tell them I had no time to think about it and had to make a
But if I had more time to make the decision … or the ability to
think 1,000X faster … I still would have done the same thing:
swerve and wreck my car rather than hurt an animal.
If that makes me stupid in your eyes, well, I hope it does not
lower your opinion of me TOO much.
And yes, I checked the sidewalk to make sure there was not a
pedestrian in sight.
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