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"Cut-Throat, Killer" Advertising

Here are "Cut-Throat" Terrorist
Advertising Techniques To Give You An Unfair
Advantage Against Your Competition!

By Sales Promoters Paradise.  Reprinted by permission.  Original at

No, marketing and advertising are not synonymous. Advertising should be only one part of your marketing plan. Most people will agree however, advertising is probably the most important segment.

Unless your advertising produces potential customers to whom you can sell, or produces sales directly... then every other portion of your marketing efforts is money down the drain.

If you don't get anything else from this, please pay attention to the following two points. They are probably the two most important pieces of information you'll ever learn in promoting your business.

1. Unless your advertising budget is one million dollars or more per year... the ONLY type advertising you can EVER afford is DIRECT RESPONSE advertising.

2. Whatever advertising you do run should always be SALESMANSHIP. A print ad should be salesmanship in print. A radio or TV ad should be broadcast salesmanship.

Don't worry about promoting your image. No one will notice anyway unless you make the news as criminal or such. You can not afford to run ads to boost your image!

OK, let's get down to business on killer, profit producing advertising.

Print Advertising

Your print ads must be DIFFERENT from ads run by the "average bear" if you are to succeed.

Although there is a small passionate group who buys newspapers and magazines just so they can read the classified ads... hardly anyone buys reading material for the display advertising content. People usually buy newspapers and magazines for news... and editorial material. And! News or editorial material is just what your ad should look like!

Write your ad just as you would a news article. If you didn't take journalism courses in college, no problem. Go to the library and check out some books on news article writing.

Probably the best way to come up with the content of a good ad for your business is to tape record yourself making a sale to an actual customer. Have the tape transcribed and use the material for your "news article" advertisement.

Make the ad conversational just as you talk. It will be a lot more interesting than regular stilted written prose.

The most important line of your ad is the headline. Depending on the position your ad gets in the newspaper or magazine, hundreds of people will see your headline for every one person who actually reads your ad.

Headlines should "reach out and GRAB a browsing reader's attention. Then your headline has one purpose and one purpose only... to convince him or her they should read the first sentence of your ad. Then the first sentence of the body copy in the ad should convince them to keep reading.

Since they're so important, let's examine headlines a little closer. In direct response advertising which is tracked for profitability... changing a headline has been known to increase the response to the ad by 2100%!

Best producing headlines usually ask a provocative question or promise a major benefit in a provocative manner.

Here are some top dollar producing headlines from years gone by... not necessarily in order of response.

They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano

They Grinned When the Waiter Spoke to Me in French

It's A Shame For YOU Not To Make Good Money - When I Do It So Easily!

It's Crazy That A High School Graduate Would Make This Much Money!

Does Uncle Sam Owe You Money You Don't Even Know About?

Do You Make These Mistakes In English...?

Lawyer Reveals Legal Loopholes That Make Money!

What's Your Best Chance To Make Money In Real Estate Today? The Answer Below May Surprise You!

To People Who Want To Write - But Can't Get Started.

The Amazing Blackjack Secret Of A Las Vegas Mystery Man!

Now Any Auto Repair Job Can Be "Duck Soup" For You!

Why Some People Almost Always Make Money In The Stock Market.

If You Can Read And Write Simple English, I'll Show You How To Make Real Money Selling Words!

How To Make Money Writing Short Paragraphs

The Inside Story Of A Business That Requires So Little Of Anything, You Could Run It Out Of A Phone Booth!

How I Made A Fortune With A "Fool Idea!"

World Poker Champ Sells Secrets For $9.95

Remember When You Could Have Picked Up A Good Piece Of Real Estate For A Song - And Didn't?

How a Fool Stunt Made Me a Star Salesman

What's Wrong In This Picture?

How I Improved My Memory In One Evening

I Gambled A Postage Stamp And Won $35,840 in 2 Years!

Any of the above headlines could get attention for an ad. Notice that almost everyone of them could be a NEWS headline in your daily newspaper!

Write your complete ad to appear as a newspaper or magazine feature article. You'll ALWAYS do much better than with an ad which leaves no doubt from the git-go that it is an attempt to sell something.

Next, let's look at something else we can make different about your ad in order to get it noticed.

Go out and buy today's USA Today newspaper... any day. Now, lay it down flat on a table and start to flip the pages. Try to focus your eyes just past the surface of the paper so the actual type is slightly blurred. What's the first thing that catches your attention in their layout?

Did you notice that some of the articles are "shaded", typed on a darker background than the type surrounding it? Caught your eye didn't it? In fact, it jumped right out and grabbed you!

Back in the mid 1980s when USA Today first came out, I noticed the fact that the shaded articles caught my attention. I immediately wrote a small two column by five inch ad for a magazine. I ran the ad against exactly the same ad without the shading in a "split run" test. That means that half the issues of the magazine that month had one of the ads, and the other half the other ad.

The shaded ad produced 43% more response than the unshaded one... both on the same page and in the same position!

Over the years since then, I have tested the shaded layout many, many times in dozens of publications. The shaded ad has never failed to pull at least 30% better response than an unshaded one.

Of course, if everyone discovered this secret and started running shaded ads, then an ad with lots of white space would probably beat the shaded one. It would be the different ad then.

If you've read a newspaper or magazine in the past few years you've seen the shaded ad running which sells a book about Vinegar and Honey home remedies. The ad is running everywhere so you know it is successful.

Several years ago as a consultant to the publisher of that book, I gave him the secret of shading an ad to increase his response. Lately, this publisher's copywriter has come up with a new twist on the idea. The ad now runs consistently shaded, BUT, with the headline placed in a square white space RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AD!


No, that wasn't my idea... I wish it had been. My hat is off to that copywriter. It is the best instance of "Killer Advertising" I've seen in awhile.

OK, by now you should have learned this about print ads.

1. The headline is the most important line in the ad. 2. Your ad should always appear as much like a news article as you can make it. 3. A "shaded" ad will always out pull an unshaded one.

All else being equal, a small two column by five or six inch ad will be more profitable per dollar spent than a larger ad.

If your ad is larger... say it's enough copy to cover a space 7 X 10 inches or so... consider formatting it "long and skinny" if it is going to run in a newspaper. If you can make it at least an inch or so longer than one half the depth of the newspaper.... your headline will always be showing when the paper is face up. What you're attempting to do is to get your headline "above the fold" in the newspaper.

Many times however, you can buy 7 X 10 inch space in newspapers at a "remnant" or "standby" rate. If you bargain correctly, you can get such a space at 50% or more off regular rate card prices. Go with the 7 X 10 format when you can make such a saving. The long skinny ad to get the headline above the fold will not pay the extra cost in this case.

Another way to catch attention with a print ad is to put a numbered or "bulleted" list of at least three short items somewhere in the ad. Take a black pen and put a check mark by each item on your camera ready copy.

Make your check just the least bit "squiggly", and large enough so there's no doubt it's made by a pen and not a type set check mark. You want it to appear that someone has actually taken a pen and checked off the items!

When Mrs. Jones picks up her morning paper and flips by the page with your ad on it... you want her first reaction to be, "HEY, who the heck has had my paper before me and marked on it with a pen?"

It's very effective in drawing attention to your ad in general, and especially to the numbered or bulleted items in the ad. The bulleted items, of course, should always be the major benefits of your product.

When you run a relatively large ad... a few small one inch ads scattered through out the paper telling readers to see your large ad on page xx will almost always pay off. The small ads should have the same headline as your larger ad. Many times the same trick will also work great in a magazine ad.

Classified ads in the same paper or magazine calling attention to your larger ad can also be a money maker.

The best way to use classified ads however, is to run a "teaser" ad and ask the customer to call a telephone number for a "free recorded message" about whatever is being advertised. Offer a free report, checklist, etc., and try to get the caller to leave his or her name on your answering machine after they listen to the recorded message.

Follow up with a personal phone call, direct mail, or both when appropriate. This technique is especially effective when your ad budget is really "skinny".

Next, let's look at your telephone book yellow page ad. Yes, it's a print ad too, just like a newspaper or magazine ad. What does yours look like? Like everyone else's yellow page ad?

I was afraid of that. What would make anyone looking for "widgets" see your ad before they see any other, and call your phone number or visit your store if "widgets" are your product?

Yellow Page advertising usually tends to be the most expensive advertising a small business runs. Everything we've said about newspaper and magazine ads apply double ditto to your yellow page ad.

Several times I've seen conventional yellow page ads for a small business reformatted to look like a news article. We would put a provocative headline on it and shade it, and it pulled over 300% more business than last years "all the same" ad! That's lots of difference, to say the least.

Make your yellow page ad a DIRECT RESPONSE ad. Offer a free booklet, free consultation, or something if the prospect will just call your phone number or stop by your business. You can key the ad by having them ask for an imaginary extension number or person.

Most small businesses give no thought to their yellow page ad until the ad rep calls and starts trying to get them to renew their last year ad, or to double the size of the ad they've been running. Whether you increase the size of your ad from year to year or not, put some thought into your yellow page ad LONG BEFORE the ad rep calls you.

It is very unlikely that a yellow page ad rep will write and typeset a killer ad for your business. Write it yourself or hire a "killer" copywriter to do it for you. Have your ad typeset and camera-ready... ready to send to the ad rep when he or she calls!

Now... while we're on the subject of yellow page advertising... here is a real "terrorist tactic" we've seen as very effective in almost COMPLETELY ELIMINATING your competitor's yellow page ads.

You simply run a small newspaper ad, offering something FREE if a customer will bring in an original copy of your competitor's yellow page ad. Make the item you're giving away valuable and desirable enough and your competitor's ad will be torn out of every residential and pay phone, phone directory in town!

We've seen this terrorist tactic work and work well for pizza kitchens, steak houses, pharmacies, carpet cleaning, and painting contractors. There's no reason it won't do as well for YOUR business. (Just make SURE your competitor's ad is NOT on the same page as your own ad before you do this!)

Radio & TV Advertising

Radio & TV advertising usually isn't profitable for a small business person. You can change that statement in your case however, by using what I'm about to tell you.

First of all, what does a radio or TV do more of than anything else?

It makes NOISE doesn't it. Continual noise! Infernal noise! So what do we do to catch a person's attention when we run a broadcast ad of any kind?

We first broadcast some SILENCE! Remember the old song "Silence Is Golden"? No? You aren't that old? OK, just take my word for it that it was a great song... and, that silence will make money for you in a radio or TV ad.

In mid 1995, there was a thirty second ad running every day on network TV. It was a deaf-mute woman advertising Bayer aspirin. Ordinarily, a TV or radio station will not sell you thirty seconds of silence. I suppose Bayer was powerful enough to get the networks to make an exception.

VERY few ads get my attention on TV. This one did. Every time the silence came on, I looked to see if something is wrong with the TV. And, the ad has my attention!

I wouldn't go so far as to run a whole ad in silence, but five or six seconds at the beginning of the ad is enough to get attention on radio or TV. You may have to "twist your broadcast ad rep's arm" to get them to sell you even five or ten seconds of silence, but it can be done.

Next, you should buy as short an ad on broadcast as the station will sell you... fifteen seconds or thirty seconds. What should it say?

It should do the same thing your small ads and classifieds do in the newspaper... it should tell the viewer or listener about your big ad in the newspaper and tell them to be sure to look for it. On TV, you can even show them the ad. Tell them what page it's on, whether you're on TV or radio.

You should, of course, attempt to target your audience with your TV or radio ad. All else being equal, a talk radio program is the only type radio program you should consider. And you should attempt to have the talk show host read your ad instead of a regular station ad person.

If you buy ad time on any music radio station, you're usually wasting your money unless you can buy "drive time" in the morning or evening, even if it is more expensive.

News time is usually the best time to advertise on TV. Put an ad together, give it to your TV station, and ask them to put it "on hold". One day when extremely bad weather is approaching your area, ask your TV ad rep to run the ad before or after the evening weather broadcast. Your ad will get more viewers then than at any other time.

Direct Mail

Junk mail. Terrible isn't it? Yes, some people will tell you it is, but it can be oh so profitable if used correctly.

Newspapers originated the term "junk mail" because direct mail advertising is, of course, in competition for the ad dollars THEY like to get and it takes money out of THEIR pocket.

Both newspapers and magazines will tell you about all the trees that junk mail wastes. That's pure, unadulterated "Texas Fertilizer"... commonly known as B.S. What they don't tell you is that ads in newspapers and magazines wastes FOUR TIMES more trees (IF YOU CONSIDER ADVERTISING A WASTE) than does direct mail!

Neither do the newspapers and magazines tell you that paper is probably the most beneficial waste deposited in landfills. In just a few years, nature turns paper into soil... which then grows more trees to make more paper for direct mail, newspaper, and magazines.

Best of all, trees are a renewable resource. With today's modern forestry management methods, more trees are grown every year than are being used! This is especially true of the type trees being used to produce paper.

But, I'll have to agree with the newspapers, much of today's direct mail is pure and simple JUNK. Follow the instructions you are about to learn however, and YOUR direct mail will never be classed as junk.

That portion of direct mail which isn't junk... is oh, so effective... and PROFITABLE. Here is a statistic for you. Only two percent of all the advertising dollars spent in the U.S. are spent on direct mail. BUT... that small percentage of advertising produces a whopping TWENTY PERCENT of all merchandise sold in this nation... over 100 billion dollars every year and climbing!

The first thing a direct mail "package" has to do is to get itself opened. This is the primary job of the envelope. If it has a bunch of "teasers" and other blurb on the outside... it's a dead give away that it is junk mail. Statistics tell us over half of such mail is thrown away unopened!

Make your envelope look like a letter from the addressee's "Aunt Minnie"... or a letter from the business person's lawyer, stock broker, etc. It should be designed to look like ANYTHING but advertising.

Will the recipient be upset, or assume a negative attitude toward you when he or she is fooled and "forced" to open your letter? Maybe... maybe not. Depends on the power of your headline on the direct mail piece, and how well you have targeted your potential buyer. But, I assure you that tests have proven time and again that the method is profitable.

But, we now go back to our theory of, "every rule is made to be broken... just make sure you know what the rules are before you try it."

Personally I've never used a "teaser" on the outside of a direct mail envelope. However, one of the most successful direct mail copywriters in the nation is Bill Jayme. Bill's classic winner of all time is probably his promotion for 'Psychology Today' magazine. A bold teaser on the front of the envelope asks you the question, "Do you always close the bathroom door when you're home alone?" The promotion has been active for years now, and is still a money maker.

Jayme's promotion for 'Psychology Today's newsletter, 'Behavioral Sciences' is also a winner with the teaser which reads:

"WARNING: The enclosed materials may be construed as being of an arousing nature."

Even after some eighteen percent are returned unopened with a notation requesting to be taken off the mailing list... (they're afraid it's porno) the rest go on to be a VERY profitable promotion. There is absolutely nothing sexually arousing in the mailing, as is probably intimated by the teaser.

A sales letter is the most important piece inside a direct mail "package". Your sales letter should be just that... a letter. You should write it as if you were writing a letter to your own mother. Make it personal and chatty... and it will be read.

Your letter should be written in old fashioned courier twelve point typewriter type... even if you do have a new laser printer with a hundred and forty five fancy fonts. A direct mail sales letter is not the place to use those fancy fonts, good buddy! All laser printers have a Courier 12 font. Use it!

Test after test has shown that a letter which looks like it was written on a typewriter, will always pull more response than one that is typeset and the right side of the letter justified. Never ever justify (make even) the right edge of a sales letter! Leave it ragged.

With a data base and mail merge program on a PC type computer and a small laser printer... you have the perfect set up for personalizing all your direct mail.

Yes, people are jaded toward the ten million dollar sweepstake letters with their name typeset all over it in boxcar size letters. Even there however, it produces more business than its cost, or you can be assured the ten million dollar give-away folks wouldn't go to the expense. These people rent my mailing lists year in and year out... and you can be assured they are savy to what works and what doesn't in direct mail.

Where personalization REALLY works however is when you turn on your computer and have your laser printer spit out eight to ten pages a minute of:

Dear Mrs. Jones,

Thank you for visiting our store last Wednesday. I'm writing to let you know that the window awnings you looked at are going to be on sale for 40% off next week!

They would look fabulous on the front of your already beautiful home there on Evangeline Street.

Give me a call as soon as you get this and I'll put a pair of them away for you in your choice of colors.

Yes, friend, that type letter will produce, and produce, and produce. It just doesn't know when to quit! A state governor was elected last election by using these methods. Not only did he get elected, but he raised the money for his campaign with these same methods.

Using the voter registration rolls, it was simple enough for him to personalize every letter with the voters name, address, and place of employment. It was very effective when that voter got a personal letter from the guy the day before the election... even mentioning something about the voters concerns with his job!

It's difficult to compete against this:

Dear Suzie,

I sure hope you can get off early enough from your job there at Motorola to go by the polls and vote for me tomorrow.

As you know, I'm the only candidate that will.... bla blah bla....

Can't lose!

Here's a recent personal experience with PERSONALIZED direct mail. After marketing our first "Clinton Cook Book" produced from the recipes and memorabilia of the President's family and friends in Hope, Arkansas... we went looking for a follow-up product to sell those who had bought it.

We finally decided on a bigger and better memorabilia cook book and set out to sell it to our list of buyers via direct mail. The new book sold for $14.95 plus $2 shipping and a "two-fer" offer was made directly on the order form for a second book at $10 post paid.

Our initial efforts with a "regular" unpersonalized direct mail letter brought a super profitable response of 9% with a full 50% of the buyers ordering two books.

Could we improve on those already great results?

Yes, it was easy. Take a look at the following sales letter. It's only personalized in three places and with only two elements. The addressee's name is used in the salutation and in paragraph six. Their city of residence is used in paragraph two.

Hope Arkansas

Monday morning February 14, 1994

Dear Mrs. Jones,

THANK YOU! for ordering our book, "Recipes From Hope, Arkansas - Birthplace of Bill Clinton", last year.

We HOPE that you have enjoyed reading and using it there in Chicago as much as we enjoyed putting it together here in the President's birthplace.

We have recently completed a companion volume entitled, "Downhome Food Fit For A President... Recipes & More From A Place Called Hope." It has a beautiful gold cover with a full color picture of President Clinton showing through an oval cut-out in the cover.

Although a few photos and mementos are duplicated from the first volume, most are new and have never before been published. All the recipes are original to the new book.

We are especially proud of several family pictures of President Clinton's Blythe family ancestors going back to the nineteenth century. The old photos were in pretty bad condition, but we had them computer enhanced, and they came out great.

There is also a six-generation family tree of the President which is very informative. It shows SIXTEEN different family names (other than Clinton and Blythe) to whom the President is related. Could one of those sixteen family names be somewhere in the Jones family tree? It's quite possible. At any rate, we're sure you'll find it interesting to compare!

You'll also enjoy preparing and tasting the mouth-watering, downhome country recipes included in the book.

"Downhome Food Fit For A President..." was hot off the press last week. We only had a limited number printed, so to be sure you get one, please let me hear from you right away. Just complete the enclosed pink order form and return it along with your remittance in the pre-addressed envelope. Your copy will be on its way immediately.

Sincerely yours,

Tim Web,

We've made those instances of personalization bold in this example so you can easily see them. They were NOT made bold in the actual letters mailed to our Clinton Cook Book buyers. We wanted it to look as much as possible like we sat down at our old typewriter and individually typed each and every letter.

The letter boosted our response to a mind boggling 17.4% and the percentage of "two-fer" orders remained at 50%! Practically ALL of the increase went directly to our profit line since all the variable costs had long been covered in our 9% results without personalizing. The bottom line was that those three words of personalization almost TRIPLED our net profit!!

Once you set it up, the ONLY extra cost in a personalized letter over a regular letter is that it slows down inserting a little because you have to be VERY careful to get the correct letter in each envelope. (If you send Mrs. Smith's letter to Mrs. Jones... all your efforts are for naught!)

Depending on what business you're in, your average sale and average margin, etc... a "dollar bill letter" can be VERY effective in direct mail. You paper clip a real dollar bill to the top of the letter and start your letter with something like:

Dear Mr. Smith,

As you can see, I have attached a real, live U.S. Dollar bill to the top of this letter. Why have I done this? Actually, there are two reasons:

#1. I have something very important to tell you and I needed some way to make sure this letter would catch your attention.

#2. And secondly, since what I am writing about concerns money, I thought using a dollar bill as a little "financial eye-catcher" was especially appropriate.

Anyway, here is what it's all about:

That's powerful. I've known a couple of businesses to have to get a larger bank bag to carry their money to the bank after using such a campaign. That letter WILL get your prospect's attention.

We even helped a bank fill up their vaults with CD money using such a letter!

I've seen figures which show that sending a cold prospect a dollar bill letter can quadruple the ordinary results from a phone call to the prospect selling anything. That is, you give the prospect a couple of days after he has received the letter and you telephone him or her.

Then it's: "Hello, is this Mr. Smith, Mr. Dick Smith? Yes, this is Sam Jones down at the Chevrolet place. I'm the one who sent you that letter the other day with the dollar bill attached... you remember getting it?"

You've got ol' Dick hooked, for sure - for sure! Your usual spiel in getting Dick Smith into a brand new Chevrolet and a commission in your pocket is going to be four times more effective since you've sent the dollar bill letter. It will work just as effectively for insurance, banking, investment services..., or whatever in financial services.

Try it.

A life insurance agent we know makes an excellent income by mailing only about 20 such "dollar bill" letters each month. He does his homework and figures how much the premiums on life policies will rise on his target person's birthday. His mailing says:

"Will you trade one hour of your time for $1.00 each day for the rest of your life?"

"On July 14th, your insurance rates go up $1.00 per day forever!"

The letter continues with a short spiel asking the recipient to call... and then he of course, phones the recipient in three or four days if he doesn't hear from him.

Along this same line is a mailing a pharmacist with whom we worked, sent to doctors in his town. He sent a SILVER DOLLAR (now worth several dollars, of course) to each with the message:

"We know your time is valuable. But we'd like to buy one minute. We've enclosed payment in advance. The following message will take sixty seconds to read...."

The mailing was a solid winner.

One excellent use of direct mail is to get a person's attention in order to set up a personal sales call, or a telephone call which actually closes the sale. The more important (in their own mind) a person is in a large company, the more difficult it is to get in to see them... or even to get them on the telephone.

To get such a person's attention, send them something DIFFERENT!... Something that isn't ordinarily sent through the mail. Mail them something UNPACKAGED... just tie or paste a mailing label and postage on it... and put it in the mail.

I once mailed a brick to the chairman of the board of the "National Enquirer". I was attempting to get the Enquirer's advertising director on the phone... and it had been impossible. A dozen red roses to the ad director (a female) and a brick to the chairman made an impression. She returned my call immediately!

During the 1992 presidential campaign, Ross Perot told a little story on TV one night... about how you couldn't get the attention of the self serving idgits serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. He went on to tell how when he was a boy, his dad worked with mules... and that the only way to get a mule's attention when they were stubborn, was with a 2 X 4 (piece of lumber) across their head.

Perot went on to wonder if the people of this nation could get the government's attention if they mailed 2 X 4s to Washington.

"Now, I'm not suggesting you do such a thing", he intoned in his familiar nasal diction, "but...."

WOW! As you can imagine, Perot's constituents complied and complied "in spades"... or rather in "lumber." The following week it took EIGHT... eighteen-wheeler truck and trailer combinations to remove the pieces of 2 X 4 that Perot's people had mailed to the House of Representatives!

The two examples above are, of course, not how you want to mail to your sales prospects..., you certainly don't want to antagonize anyone..., but you get the idea.

One salesperson we know found out the size shoe worn by his sales target. (You'd use this only in selling high end merchandise, of course.) The sales person bought an expensive pair of running shoes, tied a tag on one of them, applied postage and dropped it in the mail to his target. The message on the back of the tag was something to the effect: "Just wanted to get my foot in your door. I'll call your secretary for an appointment later this week and will bring you the other shoe when we meet."

It worked!

Mailing such an item is also especially effective if the item mailed is a sample of what you are selling.

Bricks, flooring, lumber, and many other such items are great to mail when they are your product. Again, for best effect do NOT wrap the object... just attach a mailing label along with necessary postage and drop it in the mail.

One of the most unusual... and super successful mailings we've been privy to was homing pigeons. When Cessna Aircraft first came out with their executive jet, they mailed 800 homing pigeons to 800 CEOs of Fortune magazine's top companies.

Each bird was in a cage with a note attached which read something like this: "If you want more information, let loose this homing bird who will bring your request flying to us and we will have our key man come to see you about the new Cessna executive jet" or "If you want the cage and bird picked up, call us toll free at 1-800-555-1212 and we will have a messenger come and take the bird away."

The total cost of the promotion was about $15,000. Was it successful? Well, following are the result stats. See what you think?

Of the 800 birds mailed... 114 flew back to their aviary with the message, "Call me."

Of those 114 CEOs, FOUR of them bought jets at ONE MILLION DOLLARS EACH or more. You just won't see many $15,000 direct mail promotions gross four million dollars plus!

If your product is big ticket merchandise where it is economically feasible, consider producing your promotion on either audio or video tape and mailing the tapes. In our experience, at least eighty percent of recipients will at least "start" listening to an audio tape which arrives in the mail. And, practically EVERYONE will at least start watching a video tape. They just can't resist seeing what's on it.

Earlier in this chapter, we mentioned running a "split run" ad in a newspaper or magazine. Split runs can be very effective in testing anything you want to test about your ads and or your offer. This lets YOUR CUSTOMER tell you which headline or which body copy to use, and even the price you should charge for your product or service.

Direct mail is just as effective as split run print ads and usually much easier to arrange. You must mail several thousand pieces on each side of the split however, for the test to be statistically significant.

"How many should that be," you ask?

Well, this is something direct mail people have argued over for years. Statisticians can usually tell you to the nth. I like to figure out how many pieces I need to mail to get at least forty responses on each side of the test, and mail that number.

In other words, if your direct mail is pulling about two percent... or twenty orders per thousand pieces mailed... mail at least two thousand pieces. Then the results will be statistically significant and carry the same weight in your later use of what ever you're testing.

Here are some "timing" tips you'll find profitable in planning your direct mail.

When I first became heavily involved in direct mail, an old pro told me:

"Never send out a direct mail promotion during the month of April. The income tax deadline in the middle of the month sours results for the entire month."

"Naw man... no way", I thought. "People who are my target market don't pay taxes on April 15th..., they all get a tax refund... and they got it weeks ago. Income tax time won't have any effect on my mailing results."

Wow... was I ever wrong. It seems that all the publicity of the stupid tax deadline on April 15th puts everyone in the nation into a hateful, simmering, negative mood..., whether they have to pay taxes on that date or not. It took a couple of years to teach me that direct mail sent out in April pulls only about HALF what it does in other months... all else being equal.

You'll be wise to refrain from ANY kind of advertising breaking a week either side of the tax deadline!

Also, never mail the week before a national holiday.

Watch yourself on mailings and other advertising the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June. The school terms are usually ending about that time and much of the country has vacation on its mind. (Could be an advantage of course, if your business pertains to vacationing.)

Although it's sometime difficult to predict an exact day of mail delivery, try to have your direct mail delivered on Tuesday or Wednesday. These are always "small mail" days and your mail arriving either of those days will not have to compete with as many other pieces of mail for attention.

Monday is absolutely the worst day for your direct mail to arrive at a prospects home or office. Fridays are almost as bad... everyone has, "what am I gonna do this weekend" on their minds.

All the above timing rules have their exceptions, of course, depending on what you're selling.

While we're on the subject of direct mail, don't forget the importance of your customer and prospect mailing list. A good response mailing list is many times the most valuable "hidden" asset a company owns. It can be swapped or rented to others for a good income and never bother your use of it.

When your list is up to several thousand on computer, call a mailing list broker and tell him what you have. Ask what he can do with the list. If no brokers are listed in your local yellow pages, go to the library and look one up in the yellow pages for your nearest big city.

Profitable Bits & Pieces

Many, if not most direct response ads you see offer:

1. a free bonus if you respond within a limited time.
2. a second item at a reduced cost when ordered with the primary item. (known in the trade as a "two-fer" offer.)

I'm often asked what can be expected of those two sub-offers in an ad. My experience is that about the most you can expect from either is a twenty percent boost of your results. Yes, I've seen a few out do the twenty percent mark, but those which do are few and far between.

The twenty percent increase in response can be cumulative... that is... using a free bonus and a two-fer can increase your results by a whopping forty percent!

The free bonus offer, ("you're going to get, absolutely FREE, a gold gidget when you send for your gizmo within the next ten days") helps overcome the inertia factor. Unless your customer orders NOW... he or she isn't likely to order at all. Everyone who orders, of course, gets the free bonus no matter when they order. That will save you moocho correspondence and complaints.

The two-fer offer increases your average order quite a bit, but increases your average PROFIT per order tremendously. Usually the second item can be shipped for very little, if any additional postage. Considering that your variable costs are already covered in their order for the first item, the money you receive for the second item is almost all profit!

When writing a headline, always put quote marks around it. Personally, I've never been able to see a difference in a split run test using quotes or no quotes. But, when powerhouse copywriters such as Gary Halbert and Ted Nicholas say they've seen up to a thirty percent advantage for headlines enclosed in quotes... you won't ever catch me not using quotes.

Always price your product with a figure ending in seven... $19.97, $9.97, $97, etc. In a direct response ad, it will outdo a five every time!

This article on "Cut-Throat, Killer" Advertising is only a small sample of the dozens of unique business promotion ideas, tips, and techniques you'll find at The Sales Promoters Paradise

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