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A gracious way to get people to like you

Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:

Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct

March 3, 2017


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would benefit from its contents. They will thank you. So will I.


***Freelancers: Show off your work online***

Want to give prospects an easy way to evaluate your work? Then
create an online portfolio. It’s easy. Just add a Portfolio page
to your web site. It’s a great place to showcase your skills and

If you are a writer, designer, or photographer, your online
portfolio should contain a variety of samples — organized both by
medium or format (e.g., web sites, white papers) as well as by
product or industry (e.g., health, financial). This is what I do
on my portfolio page:


Each sample in the portfolio should have a link you can cut and
paste into an e-mail, allowing you to quickly and easily point
prospects to the samples you want them to see.

Source: ASJA Weekly, 2/21/2017


***Beware mistakes when translating copy into foreign

Kentucky Fried Chicken made a mistake during its translation
process in a big way. When the company opened its stores in
China, it accidentally translated “Finger Lickin’ Good” to “Eat
Your Fingers Off” — believe it or not!

Source: MarketItNews, 2/21/2017.


***5 tips for reaching B2B prospects with content they’ll

>> Offer credible, neutral information. Content from reliable,
independent sources matters to buyers. They want to know that the
information they are receiving is truthful and without bias.

>> Provide research and benchmarks. Purchasers want data. They
use this information to make a case to stakeholders. Give them
content that incorporates analyst insights, independent research,
and benchmark data to strengthen your position.

>> Keep it short. According to a survey from Demand Gen, 83% of
B2B buyers say they are overwhelmed with information and have
less time to wade through it all. They still rely on white
papers, but 88% say they prefer shorter versions of content.
>> Make it practical. Content that includes tips, evaluation
tools, and feedback from experts resonates with B2B readers. They
want ideas they can apply and test in their own businesses.

>> Include stories from peers. Case studies that feature peer
organizations help buyers see products and solutions in a
real-world context. Create case studies that show the successes
and challenges of a deployment. This will go a long way toward
building trust with potential customers.

Source: Business Marketing SmartBrief, 2/21/2017.


***An easy and much-appreciated way to get people to like you***

Speaker Jon Gordon says one way to get people to like you more is
to recognize them for their accomplishments.

“Make it real and personal,” writes Jon. “Send your employees and
co-workers a personal birthday card with a handwritten note, not
some electronic fake signature but a real note that shows you
took the time.

“Make it a point to acknowledge your colleagues every time they
do something right. Write notes, make calls, make a personal
visit, and give them a pat on the back.

“Send a note of congratulations when you hear a customer,
colleague, or family member enjoyed some kind of success. Of
course do this with your kids too. Praise their efforts.”

I am also a fan of sending a small gift in the mail along with
the note, such as a copy of one of your DVDs or books —
autographed, of course, with a business card tucked in between
the inside cover and the first page.

Source: Jon Gordon’s Weekly Newsletter, 2/27/2017.


***Blogging: how long, how often?***

According to an article in Ragan’s PR Daily (2/23/2017), the
average blog post is 1,000 words long and takes about 3 ¼ hours
to write. And the average blogger writes one post per week.


***On arguing with idiots***

Ever notice how angry, adamant, and even militant people get on
FB defending their positions? KM, an accomplished scientist,
wisely observes: “The strength of opinion is often inversely
correlated to the data.” And a long time ago, someone else first
observed that you can never win an argument with an irrational
person — and FB has more than its fair share of those.


***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:



***Reprint my articles — free!***

Media, bloggers, marketers, editors, publishers, Web masters —
need powerful content on your Web site or blog? You can
syndicate or republish any of the articles you’ve read in Bob
Bly’s Direct Response Letter — for free! To view complete
articles, visit our newsletter archives at www.bly.com/archive.
Republishing our articles is quick and easy. All you have to do
is include author attribution (byline/name of author) and the
following statement, “This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly’s
Direct Response Letter,” and include a back-link to
www.bly.com/reports. That’s it!

The things that matter most

This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly’s
Direct Response Letter,learn more about Bob
Bly and what he has to offer at the link


Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct

December 3,2016

***Focusing only on what is essential is the key to success***
In his book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Success”
(Crown Business, 2014), Greg McKeon writes:

“The overwhelming reality is that we live in a world where almost
everything is worthless and a very few things are exceptionally
valuable. Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying
to do it all can you make your highest contribution towards the
things that really matter.”

His recommendation: Pick the one or two things in the world that
matter most to you, and focus almost exclusively on them.
Jettison all else. Be narrow, niched, focused, and selective.

This is how I have lived for my entire adult life. Aside from
family, which is more important to me than anything else, I focus
nearly all my energy and effort on my work: copywriting, info
marketing, speaking, consulting, and book writing.

Some successful people are admirably well-rounded, but I am not
one of them. I am a dedicated workaholic, and aside from work and
family, I have chosen to take a pass on most other things in
life. If you see me as having achieved a reasonable level of
success and productivity, I must tell you that I owe it mostly to
being an Essentialist.


***Another reason why content farms suck***

Content farms or mills hire freelance writers to rapidly churn
out content, typically of inferior quality. They sell it, usually
at modest fees, to marketers who operate under the belief that
the more content they publish, the better, regardless of quality.
So why is all this bad:

Answer: The urgency and volume demanded forces the writers to
essentially copy and paste as much information as possible,
leaving their work unoriginal and duplicated.

When duplicate content is added to a web site at length, Google
and other search engines begin to find their experiences are not
meaningful, informative, or relevant — and therefore, that the
sites loaded with this duplicate content should not be indexed at
the top of search listings: It actually hurts your SEO rather
than helps!

Source: Today@TargetMarketing, 5/6/2016.


***Why freelance job sites suck***

With the exception of total newbies looking to get some samples
and clients under their belt, I tell freelance writers to avoid
elance and other job sites like the plague. Why?

“Thousands of talented — and not-so-talented — writers compete for
the same jobs, and it isn’t easy to get noticed among them,” says
freelancer Julie Petersen. “Clients willing to pay premium rates
rarely hunt for writers in these communities. Although anyone can
offer their writing services on the international market, the
average hourly rates here are low.” And with rare exception,
clients searching for writers on job sites are after one thing:
the lowest bid they can get.

Source: Range’s PR Daily, 5/6/2016.


***Make costly toner cartridges last longer***

How to make your printer toner cartridges last longer: When the
“toner low” light goes on, remove the cartridge, shake it for 30
seconds, and replace. You will get many more pages out of it.

Warning: When you shake, toner powder may leak a bit, so hold it
over your trash can while shaking; toner is difficult to remove
from your pants or rug.


***One way to simplify your social media marketing***

To stop social media from sucking up all your time, focus your
efforts on the platform that has the strongest ROI.

How to do this:

1–Compare conversion rates across all of your social media
2–Perform a side-by-side comparison of conversion rates and
channel cost.
3–Pick the single social channel that has the highest conversion
rates and ROI.
4–Increase your efforts and expenditures on that single platform.

Source: Social Media Examiner, 5/5/2016.


***Is your LinkedIn Profile optimized for search engines yet?***

Lots of people seem to forget that search engines rank people’s
LinkedIn profiles. So you should use relevant key words to help
your profile show up in the first list of search results.

Why? More than 414 million people are on LinkedIn today, and some
say the LinkedIn Profile has made the business card obsolete.
LinkedIn produces 80% of all B2B social media leads.

Source: PR Daily News Feed, 5/7/2016.


***When bad content happens to good marketing campaigns***

Content marketers hate producing puff pieces we know no one will
look at. They yield poor results. Often internal politics force
us to produce this content. Writing corporate-speak makes
creative pros feel like they are losing their edge.

Solution: Find the hidden story. It may be difficult, but many
times you can uncover something interesting about a seemingly
mundane or dull subject. Speechwriter Joseph Kelly has said there
is a kernel of fascination in everything humans have invented or
God has made.

Source: PR Daily News Feed, 5/17/2016.


***To get people to opt into your list, offer them a bribe***

A lead magnet is a gift you use to ‘sell’ people on joining your

You’re not going to have many takers if you simply put up a
subscription box that says, “Register here for my free

Instead you give them a free video, audio, or PDF. If you’re in
an ecommerce business, you could give them a 10% OFF coupon for
their first order.

Source: Internet Lifestyle Mentor, Terry Dean, 5/10/2016.


***The #1 key to success and happiness: choose a job you love***

“It is important to choose your job or career with great care,”
writes motivational author and speaker Brian Tracy. “The choice
of a job or occupation for which you are ideally suited comes
before anything else. If you try to work at something you don’t
enjoy or don’t believe in, you’ll never be happy, and you’ll
never be successful.

“The reason why choosing the right career, why doing what you
love to do is so important, is because unless you really care
about your work, you will never be motivated to persist at it
until you become excellent. And until you become excellent at
what you’re doing, you can’t move ahead.”

Source: Brian Tracy Success Newsletter, 7/13/2016.


***How to better manage your employees and virtual assistants***

Here are the 3 questions you must ask your staff and virtual
assistants every day:

1…What did you do today, and what were the results?

2…What were the problems and challenges?

3…Do you have any questions for me?

Source: The CEO’s Edge, 6/8/2016.


***Podcasting 101***

Here is everything you need to know to do podcasts but were
afraid to ask, courtesy of my podcasting guru David Doggett:



***Book of the month***

I highly recommend Gary Hennerberg’s new book, “Crack the
Customer Mind Code” (Morgan James, 2016). In it, he outlines a
proven 7-step process for generating more sales as well as the 12
types of customer personas and how to sell to each. Useful, easy
to read, and highly recommended — and Gary is an experienced,
successful direct marketer who knows his stuff:



***Quotation of the month***

“Thinking is the hardest work many people ever have to do, and
they don’t like to do any more of it than they can help.”
–Robert R. Updegraff

Source: “Obvious Adams: The Story of a Successful Business Man,”
A.W. Shaw Company, p. 51.

Overcoming writer’s block; steal your competitor’s customers; avoid this common PowerPoint mistake

This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly’s
Direct Response Letter,learn more about Bob
Bly and what he has to offer at the link


Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct

November 3,2016

***Force yourself to start your writing project***

How? Simple. “Put your rear in the chair and write,” says
Professor Kenna Griffin.

The only way to overcome procrastination is to force yourself
to do the writing. You can always fix it afterward, but you
can’t edit a page of nothing.

“Usually you’re pleasantly surprised when you discover that what
you wrote isn’t nearly as bad as you thought, and the process of
having written it did not, in fact, kill you,” says Griffin. “Even if
what you wrote is crap, you can fix it. You’ve written. That’s
what’s important.”

Source: PR Daily News Feed, 4/25/2016.


***How to steal customers from your competitors***

Visit competitors’ websites and check out their previous
customers. An easy way to tell who is buying the services you
offer is to check out the companies your competitors are doing
business with.

Many businesses will include a list of their most prominent
customers right on their website; sometimes they’ll even include
a testimonial with the name and title of the person they worked

You can contact the person listed on the site directly. This
might be a dead end if they are satisfied with their current
provider. But you never know. Competitors’ testimonials can also
inspire you to market your offering to markets you might never
have thought about targeting.

Source: YesData, 4/26/2016.


***Avoid PowerPoint “slide overload”***

The biggest mistake in PowerPoint presentations is putting too
much information on your slides. Solution: Avoid text, data, and
graphics that don’t clearly relate to your ideas.

Don’t bombard your audience with statistics and numbers that
dilute rather than strengthen your main points. Always make sure
that everything aids and does not distract from audience

Not only is clutter an issue with text, data, and graphics; it
works the same with ideas. If viewers have to spend time breaking
down and wading through multiple ideas, your visual misses its
target. One concept per slide allows the viewer to concentrate
and give his full attention.

Source: Booher Consultants, Communication Tip, 4/27/2016.


***One way to gain competitive advantage in your writing niche***

There are multiple ways to break into a specialized writing
niche, but the strongest, IMHO, is to have professional
experience or education in the topic. At the start of my
copywriting career in the late 1970s, my chemical engineering
degree gave me a huge advantage in my niche of industrial

Liz Alton, a freelance writer who successfully made the leap from
marketing writing into tech and finance content, says: “A
background in any field outside of writing is a huge asset
because it helps you move from ‘generic writer’ to subject matter
expert (SME) in the eyes of potential clients.” Her professional
background in business, garnered from previous full-time jobs,
helped her bridge the gap between genres when she was first
starting to transition between fields.

Source: ASJA Weekly, 4/29/2016.


***Add urgency to boost e-mail response rates***

Use words that invoke (some) anxiety. Think “hurry,” “now,” “go,”
and “final.” We’re programed to get stressed out when faced with
this sort of language; it tells us that we need to do a task
right away and that waiting around isn’t an option. And setting
apart each word with a period (e.g., Sale. Ends. Today.) amps up
the urgency even more.

Source: Emma E-Mail Marketing, 4/27/2016


***How to win customers and influence people***

The most effective way to influence people is to earn their
liking and respect, to appeal to the friendship factor. This
requires spending time with him, caring for him, and respecting

The more time you are willing to spend with the person, the
greater his tendency to trust you and to feel that you are
acting in his best interest.

Slow down when you first meet a person in a business or sales
situation. Take some time to build a relationship with him or her
before you proceed to business matters.

Appeal to the friendship factor that underlies all good business
and personal relationships. Ask questions about the person and
his or her life and concerns. Listen attentively to the answers.
Focus on the relationship first

Source: Brian Tracy’s Success Newsletter, 5/1/2016.


***Be straightforward and direct in your copy? Not always!***

We are taught in writing classes to be clear and direct. But as
Gary Hennerberg points out, the opposite approach — called
“misdirection” — can also work well in copywriting.

“Deliberate ambiguity can be a strategic copywriting tool,” says
Gary. “Use it for headlines and e-mail subject lines to stimulate
unresolved curiosity and the irresistible urge for the reader to
pause and want to learn more.”

But, be careful. There’s a fine line between drawing readers in
with ambiguous words creating unresolved curiosity, and repelling
them through simple vagueness or borderline deception.

Source: Today@TargetMarketing, 5/4/2016.


***Easy way to make your fiction stronger***

Want to make your fiction stronger? Give your main character a

Novelist Amina Gautier: “In many cases, omitting character
occupation comprises a missed opportunity for further character
development, plot construction, and inclusion of conflict. It
renders the character vague, the way failing to denote place in a
story makes it seem to occur nowhere.

“Occupation provides a foundation upon which a story can be built
as it calls for specificity and demands concrete details.
Determining what one’s character does for a living can help to
create a round character, a full and complex human.”

Source: Glimmer Train Bulletin 112.


***Book of the month***

Every direct marketer should read Bob Hacker’s book “Direct
Marketing Doesn’t Have to Make Sense, It Just Has to Make Money”
(Direct Marketing IQ, 2014). More than the usual collection of
rules and tips, the book delves into the various ways clients,
agencies, and graphic designers sabotage direct response
campaigns, turning them from potential winners into sure-fire
flops. And he tells you exactly what to do to prevent this:



***Quotation of the month***

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be what you’ve
always been.”
–Robert Ringer


***Reprint my articles — free!***

Media, bloggers, marketers, editors, publishers, Web masters —
need powerful content on your Web site or blog? You can
syndicate or republish any of the articles you’ve read in Bob
Bly’s Direct Response Letter — for free! To view complete
articles, visit our newsletter archives at www.bly.com/archive.
Republishing our articles is quick and easy. All you have to do
is include author attribution (byline/name of author) and the
following statement, “This article appears courtesy of Bob
Bly’s Direct Response Letter,” and include a back-link to
www.bly.com. That’s it!