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Bob Bly

Some time ago, I wrote a column “10 Marketing Books Actually Worth
Reading,” in which I recommended ten classic direct marketing books. Here are 11 of my favorite selections from the new crop of books on business persuasion:

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The motivating sequence

by Bob Bly on February 15, 2009 2:30pm

in Business Management

“Amateurs may talk about creativity, but professionals insist on structure,” copywriter Martin Chorich recently said to me. In direct marketing, structure is key: if your copy does not follow the formula for persuasion, it won’t work … no matter how creative…

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When I write copy, that audience is the prospect. But with SEO copywriting, you are pandering to another “audience” … the search engines … and not the reader. Here, in my opinion, is a much better approach to writing Web copy:

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Consumers today are extremely adept at detecting B.S. Conversely, people can sense when a person or organization is being honest and respond positively to that. This suggests the following guidelines for “truth in advertising” … in particular, honesty in direct marketing:

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Here are a few rules of thumb that can help you select the right format — traditional letter package, self-mailer, or postcard — for your next
mailing:

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 It’s no secret that direct marketing isn’t what it used to be. Costs are rising, response rates are falling, and it’s tougher today than a decade ago to get long-running controls in the mail. So, what’s wrong with direct marketing?

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In this column, I want to share with you the three most important things I’ve learned about writing winning e-mail marketing campaigns.

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The use of white papers as a marketing tool has skyrocketed in recent years — not only for selling information technology (IT), but also to promote a wide range of products and services beyond hardware and software.

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J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series, is the richest woman in Britain. Rowling revealed in a recent interview she had written the final chapter to book seven more than 15 years ago, before she had a publisher…

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Most Internet marketers I know who use landing pages to make direct sales online focus on conversion: getting the maximum number of visitors to the landing page to place an order for the product being advertised.

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In November 2006, at the annual conference of the American Writers and Artists, Inc., search engine optimization (SEO) copywriter Heather Lloyd-Martin shared her methodology for writing Web pages optimized for organic search.

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I may be wrong. I frequently am. But there are three Web metrics people seem overly concerned with that I just don’t worry about.

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During my nearly a quarter century as a copywriter and marketing consultant, I have observed that business owners and managers fall into one of four categories as far as their competence and skill in marketing is concerned.

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When I first got into direct marketing, I took a course in direct mail copywriting with legendary copywriter Milt Pierce at New York University. He explained a phenomenon called RECENCY, part
of a formula called “RFM” — for “recency, frequency, and monetary.”

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Your direct mail piece does well. Really well. Should you mail the same piece again? And when?

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Thanks to online chat rooms, forums, and discussion groups, you can now gain a quick understand of the mindset of virtually any market or group of prospects that uses or congregates on the Internet.

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It’s common knowledge that “free” is the most powerful word — and the most irresistible offer — in direct marketing. But can you guess the second-most powerful word or phrase — and the second most irresistible offer? It’s “one dollar.”

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Internet direct mail typically generates a response rate between 1 and 20 percent. The copy in your e-mail plays a big role in whether your e-marketing message ends up at the bottom or the top of that range. Here are 15 proven techniques…

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As we rapidly gain experience and test results from Internet direct mail, we are learning more every day about what works in this new medium. Here are some techniques that seem to be successful in increasing click-throughs and conversions.

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 “What works best in e-mail marketing?” I got asked for the umpteenth time the other day. “Long copy or short copy?” It’s a quandary for direct marketers much more so than general marketers. Here’s why:

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