Direct, short, and impersonal targetted mail?

9 replies
What do you think of this sort of copy:

Dear [name of business owner]

I noticed [your business] does not have [type of service I am offering]. Here's what I can offer you:

[bullet points of specific features]

All this for only [relatively very low price]

What's the catch? There simply isn't one. We have been providing online services to local businesses for [length of time] and now have the infrastructure to make such an offer viable.

[a couple of sentences about why this increases revenue]

All the best,

[signature]

That is the basic outline of 100 letters I have ready to send. I feel instinctively that this sort of directness would attract more responses than a friendlier tone, or a longer outline of benefits. I'm pretty new to marketing my own services and I'm trying to position myself as a business that offers online marketing services to small businesses at a very affordable rate.

Any comments are appreciated.
#direct #impersonal #mail #short #targetted
  • Profile picture of the author Hugh Thyer
    Try an attention grabbing headline.

    Make it read like a personable letter. It doesn't need to be like you're talking to one of your friends, but it should come across as if you sat down to write to just one person.

    When you tell them they're missing an online presence build the pain of them not having it.

    I'd consider using a grabber to boost response. In this case it's probably a problem that's costing them money. So attach a dollar coin or note.

    Dear Joe,

    As you can see I've attached a one dollar note to this letter. I've done this for two important reasons.
    First, I wanted to grab your attention, and I think I've done that.

    And second I want to draw attention to the fact you're probably missing out on a whole lot of money which should be coming your way. So I thought a dollar note would be a great way to demonstrate my point.

    Because I've noticed that your business doesn't have an online presence. This could be costing you money. Serious money. Research by <whoever> has shown that 73% of consumers begin researching their buying decisions online. And if you're not there, you're missing a huge chunk of the market.

    It also means your competitors, even the ones who have a simple online presence are getting money which SHOULD be yours.

    etc

    Hugh
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    Ever wondered how copywriters work with their clients? I've answered that very question in detail-> www.salescomefirst.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    My thoughts are most business owners don't know why they need what you're offering. I imagine a postcard campaign with a kind of "Want to make more money? Call me for a free consultation!" angle would work better, but I could be wrong.

    -Daniel
    Signature

    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      NowMadam, I'm going to come from a different angle than Hugh and Daniel,
      my cousins across the water...

      here's why...

      you are touting the solution before you explain that you know
      and clearly understand their problem.

      I gave an example of a letter that gets 4o% of the people who get it,
      phone back, and 100% of those buy, in the offline forum.

      The writer of it is not a copywriter by profession,
      he just took the principals of Ari Garper's cold calling training
      and used them in print.

      The writer goes into detail on the problem facing his prospects,
      diffuses all pressure and is obvious he knows the subject.

      Sound like, look like the others these business owners receive in the mail,
      then you get trashed like them too.

      So take a look at the example, and commentary in this thread...

      http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...those-buy.html

      Enjoy!
      Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author NowMadam
    Thanks fore the replies. Sorry, I should have said in the OP that the service I was offering was a website (hosting, design, and domain) to businesses that advertise but don't have websites. So it is the type of service that all businesses would already be aware of (I assume) and maybe don't have because they think it is too complicated/expensive. I didn't mention that because I wanted to talk in general, but I'm wondering if your answers are still valid when offering that kind of well known, obvious service?

    Basically, I can't shake the feeling that attention grabbing tactics and shows of empathy would put people off by making them feel manipulated - and I'm wondering how common this very direct approach I'm trying is? I sent those letters off to test just now, as it doesn't really matter since it is not a very profitable offer anyway, but I'm wondering if anybody has had clear success using that style?

    Maybe I've just spent to long reading marketing copy, but I immediately feel insulted when somebody uses a tactic to get my attention in an offer other than a clear description of its value. I guess I'm trying to stand out by not trying to stand out.
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    • Profile picture of the author Hugh Thyer
      You DO want to get their attention. If they don't read the letter they won't buy.

      If they do read it, but you don't engage them they wont buy.

      There's a reason top copywriters use certain tactics to maximise response. They work.

      And I'm sure you want maximum response, right?

      Many copywriters become immune to great copy because we look at it from a technical point of view, rather than consider how someone who never sees this type of letter will view it.

      I might suggest that your could view what you do differently.

      'Manipulation' can be a good thing, or a bad thing. It's wrong to manipulate someone into buying something they don't need. But if they need your services, and you're going to get them a great result you're doing them a favour by getting them to buy. Correct?

      So think in terms of maximising response, not manipulating people.

      PS Thanks for the fantastic letter Ewen. It's a great example of buildig pain to demonstrate the need for your services. You really need to be in tune with your market. And the more you personalise your letter with their name and industry, the better.
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      Ever wondered how copywriters work with their clients? I've answered that very question in detail-> www.salescomefirst.com
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  • Profile picture of the author pbrite
    I followed the links to that offline marketing letter. That was a good resource. I just started doing business with a friend and offered to get his website up and rolling plus provide copy for his front page. He's doing something related to real estate. I used examples from that letter to write the copy because it was just too valuable NOT to use.
    Signature

    You are an expert. You know how to write. But how do you get started for free?
    Writing Jobs From Home, that's how

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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by pbrite View Post

      I used examples from that letter to write the copy because it was just too valuable NOT to use.
      Thanks for coming back and telling how much you value that letter.

      Wonder if NowMadam does too, like you, Hugh, and all the others that thanked me?

      Best,
      Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author CabTenson
    1. You introduce pricing WAY too early.

    Originally Posted by NowMadam View Post

    What do you think of this sort of copy:
    That is the basic outline of 100 letters I have ready to send. I feel instinctively that this sort of directness would attract more responses
    2. You are basically telling us that this approach hasn't worked as much as you like, but you instinctively feel it should. If it doesn't work, that means you're operating on a false assumption or doing something wrong.

    Originally Posted by NowMadam View Post

    I feel instinctively that this sort of directness would attract more responses than a friendlier tone, or a longer outline of benefits.
    3. What makes you think people walk to talk to robots who don't care about them? If you don't show that you care about them, why would they give you money? Haven't you noticed that when given the choice being working with someone they like and someone who is most qualified, people always choose the one they like? The last thing I would want to do is be stuck communicating with you all day.

    4. Initial friendliness does not mean insincerity. You think it's insincere because you're grumpy, but some people really do believe in the service they offer and therefore come across as happy and enthusiastic in their cold emails.

    Originally Posted by NowMadam View Post

    So it is the type of service that all businesses would already be aware of (I assume) and maybe don't have because they think it is too complicated/expensive. I didn't mention that because I wanted to talk in general, but I'm wondering if your answers are still valid when offering that kind of well known, obvious service?
    5. It's obvious to you, not obvious to your customers. They shouldn't have to think at all when reading this email. You need to lay out what you do and how it actually helps them. Believe it or not, they won't make that mental leap on their own.

    Originally Posted by NowMadam View Post

    Basically, I can't shake the feeling that attention grabbing tactics and shows of empathy would put people off by making them feel manipulated - and I'm wondering how common this very direct approach I'm trying is?
    6. Whether you like it or not, selling is part of your job. If you think selling is manipulation, then you're not going to be very good at it. It doesn't mean you need a hard sell, but then again if you go for the soft sell you have to be more likeable.

    Originally Posted by NowMadam View Post

    I sent those letters off to test just now, as it doesn't really matter since it is not a very profitable offer anyway, but I'm wondering if anybody has had clear success using that style?
    7. I'm sure people have succeeded by being direct, but your email hasn't work for a reason. It doesn't get anyone's attention and it makes you sound like you're just out for yourself.

    Originally Posted by NowMadam View Post

    Maybe I've just spent to long reading marketing copy, but I immediately feel insulted when somebody uses a tactic to get my attention in an offer other than a clear description of its value. I guess I'm trying to stand out by not trying to stand out.
    8. You definitely want to stand out, but I don't think you've stumbled on the right solution yet. Play around with the idea of avoiding salesy copy, but also play around with friendly copy. Some people go outrageous, like a copywriter named Neville who sends out flirty emails to prospective female clients (something ridiculous like "Hey SeXy,..."--I don't recommend this for you, but you get what I mean). Email is a great testing ground.

    -Caleb

    P.S. I'm trying to help, even if it comes across as harsh.
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  • Profile picture of the author NowMadam
    Hi, thanks for all the responses, some people are sounding a bit defensive but I'm in on way trying to devalue copywriting as an art and science. I just became interested in this direct "robotic" tactic because I have worked for marketing departments in the past and they are all about the friendly sales letter, so I was simply attempting to stand out and seem so confident in my value that I have no need to even try to make friends, LOL.

    I sent the letters on Wednesday afternoon and have had two people get back to me so far (Saturday now), one I have closed (unless he flakes when he gets an agreement to sign) and upsold with an SEO package (he was desperate to find an affordable alternative to paying fees for a page listing on directory sites) and the other one was so quirky I couldn't get her to commit to anything (but she claimed she'd call back next week). So I am seeing some sort of result already, and do feel this writing technique has potential, at least when offering a service like very cheap web design. The great thing about letters is the paper could sit on a desk for a couple of weeks before they get back to me, so I might see a nice little trickle of business owners for a while...

    It is totally illegal to send unsolicited e-mails in my country for any purpose, so I can't really test this stuff like that, unfortunately. But because I got one sale and two responses in two days after sending letters I do believe it can attract a certain type of business owner. I guess if I don't get at least ten sales from this I probably won't try it again, but it really makes sense to me why this would work. A lot of business owners are scared of getting scammed so these sorts of offers can scare them, and when there's no attempt at friendliness it might relax them a little... Does nobody else agree with this?

    Thanks again for the replies. Please don't think I made this thread asking for advice and then just ignored everything - I was mostly just trying to get a discussion on "unfriendly" sales letters going, and always planned to send the letters regardless of responses. I do feel I have a slither of evidence this tactic isn't totally hopeless and, as I say, if I get a 10% close rate I'll continue attempting it for this type of service.
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