Makepeace Copy Tips

March 5, 2018 | Author: Ian Found | Category: Mail, Direct Marketing, Marketing, Advertising, Business
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Clayron Makepeace Copywriting tips....


NOTE: This information is yours with the permission of the author, master copywriter Clayton Makepeace. His website is His teaching is direct, to the point, and memorable. I invite you to visit his site, read his blog and invest as much as you can afford in his materials. Now sit back, get out your under-liner, and enjoy a visit with the Master…

Grab Your Prospect By The Eyeballs! • Three Powerful Formulas For Writing A Killer Headline … • Four Ways To Supercharge Your Headlines … • A Six-Question “Litmus Test” For Headlines You’re Working On Now… • And 21 Non-Rules Of Great Copywriting!

Your headline is #1 Don’t get me wrong: Every part of your sales message is important. Your opening is crucial. Your presentation -- of product benefits … of proof and credibility elements … of the offer and premiums … of your guarantee …and of your closing, “ask-forthe-sale” copy -- are all critical. But of all the things you do to produce a sale, nothing equals your headline when it comes to pushing response through the roof.

In my 37 years in this business, I’ve often seen great new headlines produce 25%, 35%, even 45% lift s in response and ROI. And of course, I’ve seen them add months – even a year or more – to the lifespan of an aging control. Why are heads so important? Two reasons: FIRST, your headline is the demurely raised eyebrow … the whisper in the ear … the tap on the shoulder … or the shrieking air raid siren (remember those?) that at the moment of impact, make it impossible for your prospect to look at anyone but you – or more precisely, anyone’s ad but yours. SECOND, your headline is the gateway to your sales copy. More than that: It’s the sales copy that persuades your prospect to read your sales copy. In short, great headlines have only two functions: 1. To grab your reader’s attention, and 2. To convert that attention to readership of your sales message. When you study the most effective headlines ever written, you can’t help but notice that each one accomplishes these twin tasks by offering the reader a BRIBE: A compelling practical and/or emotional benefit in exchange for reading your sales message. Whether explicit or implicit, shouted or whispered, the best heads you’ll ever read – or write – will be a proposed transaction: “Read this,” they say, “and this very specific, very wonderful thing will happen for you.”

The World’s 3 Most Powerful Headline Techniques There is no “right way” to write a killer head. In fact there are as many headline techniques as there are copywriters, products and services, benefits and consumer emotions to be addressed. Let’s take a look at three of the most powerful headline techniques ever – approaches that have produced huge winners for John Caples, Gary Bencivenga, Jim Rutz, Bob Hutchinson, Arthur Johnson – and yes, for me, too … 1. PURE BENEFIT HEADLINES present only the primary practical benefit offered by the product. Some examples … Who else wants a whiter wash – with no hard work? ***** Great new discovery kills kitchen odors quick – makes indoor air “country-fresh” ***** Super Spy Lets You See Through Walls, Fences, and Locked Doors ***** “Who Else Wants to Get At Least TWO TIMES RICHER In This Bear Market?” *****

“What’s Wrong With Getting Richer QUICKER?” ***** NOTE: Once upon a time, pure benefit headlines were all the rage. They were a huge leap forward from the days when most ads had no headline, or simply touted a product feature. But today, in our over-advertised-to society, our prospects are being offered identical benefits by dozens, scores, or hundreds of competing advertisers. Unless the benefit you’re offering is truly unique – or presented in a very unique and intriguing way - you’ll probably need to do more than just present or imply a benefit to win. Here’s how John Carlton turned a benefit lead into something absolutely unique and made his ad a must-read: Amazing Secret Discovered By One-Legged Golfer Adds 50 Yards to Your Drives, Eliminates Hooks and Slices … and Can Slash Up to 10 Strokes From Your Game Almost Overnight ***** 2. PURE EMOTION HEADS directly address the emotional need, frustration or fear that the product’s primary benefit addresses – only hinting at the practical benefit. Examples … Lies, Lies, Lies Why we investors are fed up with everyone lying to us! But getting RICH is the best revenge!! *****

Tell The “Health Police” To Take A Flying Leap – And Return To Life’s GUILTIEST PLEASURES! ***** You can laugh at money worries – if you follow this simple plan ***** NOTE: Pure emotion leads have always worked very well for me. But ONLY when they are followed immediately with a strong presentation of the benefits you’re promising the prospect in return for reading your copy and (ultimately) buying your product. 3. COMBINED BENEFIT/EMOTION HEADS present the product’s chief benefit and either imply or state the emotional payoff for the reader. For example … They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play … ***** Laugh All The Way To The Gas Pump! How rising gas prices can make you up to 307% richer in 2005 ***** To men who want to Quit Work some day *****

FORBIDDEN CURES! Remarkable Cures CENSORED By Knife-Happy Surgeons and Greedy Drug Companies: Medically Proven Remedies That Heal Without Drugs or Surgery! ***** The Amazing Face-Lift -In-a-Jar Used by Hollywood Stars Who Don’t Want Plastic Surgery ***** Join millions who are saying … “Thanks For NOTHING, Wall Street – I’d Rather Do It MYSELF!” ***** 10 Ways To Grow MUCH RICHER Without Touching A SINGLE STOCK ***** To me, these kinds of combined benefit/emotion leads are the best of all worlds, and have given me some of the biggest winners of my career.

Four Easy Ways To Supercharge Any Headline Regardless of whether your headline is pure benefit, pure emotion, or a combination of the two, there are dozens of ways to give it greater selling power. 1. Present a proposition: Great propositions make a statement that the reader already believes and tantalizes him with the implications of that statement.

For example … For every illness, there is a country where it simply doesn’t exist … ***** A Healthier BRAIN Is the Best Doctor Your BODY Will Ever Have! ***** Introducing the single greatest health breakthrough of our generation. ***** As soon as you realize that Wall Street is wrong, wrong, WRONG … You’ll get rich, rich, RICH! ***** 2. Propose a transaction: Transaction leads add credibility to your headline benefit by disclosing that you’re asking something from the reader in turn for the promised benefit. For example … Read This Now … Or Kiss Your Money GOODBYE! ***** If you’ve got 20 minutes a month, I guarantee to work a financial miracle in your life! *****

Give me 90 days and I’ll help you disease-proof your body and add many good years to your life! ***** 3. Use specificity to create credibility: Include specific facts that make your headline instantly credible, or connect it to a current news event for credibility. For example … 1,384 “ENRONS” Are Now Racing Towards BANKRUPTCY ***** Shameless Two-Faced S.O.B.s! ***** While urging YOU to buy their shares, MICROSOFT executives are quietly dumping BILLIONS of dollars-worth of their company’s stock! ***** Has Greenspan Lost His Mind? ***** 4. Get the prospect’s natural curiosity working for you: Intrigue and curiosity heads tease the benefit or begin the conversation by telling a fascinating story. For example … How I Made a Fortune With a ‘Fool Idea’ *****

How a Bald-Headed Barber Helped Save My Hair ***** How Doctors Stay Well While Treating Sick People All Day ***** “Weiss Better Shut the F@!# Up or Get a BODYGUARD.” ***** The Great Vitamin Hoax ***** Are you and your doctor making these common mistakes with your health? *****

Six Questions To Help Give YOU Bigger Winners, More Often Why not try this: Sit down with a headline you’re working on now. Then, ask yourself these six questions: 1. Does your headline offer the reader a reward for reading your sales copy? 2. What specifics could you add to make your headline more intriguing and believable? 3. Does your headline trigger a strong, actionable emotion the reader already has about the subject at hand?

4. Does your headline present a proposition that will instantly get your prospect nodding his or her head? 5. Could your headline benefit from the inclusion of a proposed transaction? 6. Could you add an element of intrigue to drive the prospect into your opening copy? Spend 15 minutes on it and I’ll bet you’ll come up with something great!

How To Create A Killer Ad 21 Tips, Tricks and Tactics: Key Lessons Learned from 37 Years in the Trenches (No “Rules,” Though – I Hate Rules!)


ometimes, I get flummoxed.

Like a few years back – when the president of Phillips Publishing asked me to answer questions his group publishers and marketing managers had about copywriting. It was in the early 1990s, and Phillips’ president was the legendary Bob King – a truly great man, and one of the sharpest marketing minds I have ever known. As I remember, the first question his people asked was, “How do you know the difference between good sales copy and bad copy?”

Hence, my flummoxation: These were executives with degrees in marketing from major universities – marketing hot shots who hired copywriters every single day … critiqued our copy and dictated changes to us – and the one thing they wanted to know was …

“How can I spot powerful sales copy when I see it?” My mind reeled. I was so caught off-guard, I just blurted out the first thing that went through my mind: “You don’t know it,” I said, “You feel it.” I explained that consumers almost never buy things because it is logical to do so – and that the vast majority of purchases made in this country are made because they satisfy an emotional need. So to be great, sales copy must connect with the prospect’s most powerful resident emotions – whether positive or negative – and demonstrate how reading the copy and buying the product will fulfill or assuage those desires or fears. That’s why, I explained, instead of merely thinking through the writing, editing and review process, I feel my way through – making sure that the “tingle factor” intensifies with every passing paragraph until I literally can’t wait to order. I explained how every sales message is like a chain designed to meet the reader at the point of his need … and then lead him, step by step, link by link, to the order form. I showed them how the chain is only as strong as its weakest link: How the minute you lose the “tingle factor,” the reader gets bored, you lose him …and the chain breaks.

How if something you say feels unbelievable to him …the chain breaks. And how if you confuse him by losing your clarity of vision …the chain breaks. I also pointed out that, even if you make sure that every link in the chain is unbreakable, your copy is also only as strong as its strongest link. The more compelling each section is, the greater your response and average order will be. And here, once again, feeling my way through lets me strengthen even the strongest sections of my copy. I thought it was a pretty good answer. I still do. In fact, if you haven’t had the experience of reading your copy aloud, sensing how each passage feels to you, sensing how it’s likely to feel to the prospect, I highly recommend it. But as I watched the young guns’ faces, I could tell that I had raised more questions than I answered for them. They needed something more tangible from me. They needed a checklist – a handful of nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts tactics to look for. And so, in a belated attempt to improve on my decade-old answer, allow me to offer 21 ways to spot strong copy – and to help make the ads, direct mail packages and Internet promotions you’re working on bigger winners for you. THESE ARE NOT RULES. I hate rules. But they’re great “non rules” – guidelines that have paid off for me time and time again in my 37 years in the direct response trenches – and that I’m confident will strengthen your ad copy as well …

Non-Rule #1: BE somebody! We tend to be skeptical, even suspicious of information given us by a corporation. We welcome – indeed, we seek out – advice from qualified guides and advocates who have our best interests at heart. And we welcome advice from someone who has solved a problem that we’re struggling with. Putting a friendly and/or highly qualified human face on copy – and speaking in that person’s voice – will ramp up the impact of your sales messages by an order of magnitude. Non-Rule #2: Address your prospect directly. Here, you actually get two maxims for the price of one: 1. Talk to your reader: Instead of talking about how “we” age … how “we” encounter various health problems, talk to the reader about her life … her future … and most importantly, her feelings. Use the word “YOU” as often as is humanly possible throughout your text. Remember: Your prospect really couldn’t give a flip about you, your company, your product or anything else. The prospect is interested in the prospect! 2. Talk about the reader: Yes, it’s true that x million Americans have heart attacks each year. But saying it that way, you’re not talking about her; you’re talking about x million other folks. Find ways to personalize these kinds of statistics: “As an American over age 40, your chances are one in x of having a heart attack this year.” Wow. Now, you’ve got my attention!

Non-Rule #3: Be personal. I often begin by closing my eyes and imagining that I’m talking to a friend about the subject at hand. How would I begin the conversation? What would I say? What would he say? What would I say back? I would not refer to myself in the plural: “We want to help you …” I’d say, “Here – let me help you …” Non-Rule #4: Identify with your prospect. Gary Bencivenga did this beautifully with his “Why we investors are fed up …” deck in his all-time classic “Lies, Lies, Lies!” package. Instantly, in the prospect’s mind, the person addressing him was transformed from a salesman into “a regular guy” – someone just like him. Tell the reader what you have in common. Let him know that you empathize: You’ve been there. Reveal a non-fatal weakness or a petty frustration that the two of you might share. Anything that puts you on the reader’s level will endear him to you and engender trust between you. Non-Rule #5: Put a face on the enemy. Why has the reader failed to solve this problem or fulfill this desire? Were all the other products he’s tried ineffective? Were the “experts” who gave him advice wrong? Is someone intentionally using him?

This is a rich emotional vein – so mine it! But instead of droning on about how unfair banks are, personalize it. Talk about how greedy bankers do this or that to the reader. Or about how callous drug company execs trick his doctor into prescribing costly and dangerous things that often don’t work. Non-Rule #6: Prove every point. Never ask your reader to accept any claim at face value. Always include proof elements that suspend his disbelief with every claim. Some of the best credibility devices include: 1. Study data from respected sources 2. Expert testimonials 3. User testimonials 4. Statements that support your point from a major periodical – The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. Non-Rule #7: Don’t fear the occasional obvious overstatement. No, I’m not suggesting that you should exaggerate when describing what your product does. But I ofen use an obvious overthe-top phrase to demonstrate how intensely my client feels about a particular point. Once in a health promotion, for example, I wrote, “Some surgeons are so greedy, they’ll gladly cut a hole right through you – just to get to your wallet!”

Was it true? Who knows? No, I didn’t have a story about a surgeon who had literally cut through a patient to reach his wallet in my substantiation files. I did know, however, that many of my readers had had hysterectomies, mastectomies and other surgical procedures that were later determined to be unnecessary – and that line of copy got every one of them emotionally involved and on my side. Non-Rule #8: Speak colloquially. I try to speak to my prospects as they’re used to being spoken to. Yes, that means I oft en dangle my participles and other parts (of speech). So what? I’m trying to communicate here – not trying to pass an English exam. To mock the sticklers who were constantly correcting his prepared speeches, Winston Churchill once declared, “A dangling participle is something up with which I will not put.” Pretty much says it all … Non-Rule #9: All jargon is NOT evil! Many coaches say you should avoid technical terms and industry jargon altogether. Baloney. The selective use of jargon comes in handy lots of times when I’m writing – like … • When the jargon’s meaning is familiar to the reader – especially investors and medical patients – I’m respecting his intelligence; speaking a language he understands and is comfortable with.

• When the jargon is being spoken – sparingly – by an expert, it demonstrates the expert’s, well … expertise. We expect doctors to be proficient in the use of medical jargon and brokers to use investment terminology. If the term is obscure though, I’ll include a quick explanation and then move on. Non-Rule #10: Figures of speech are wonderful! Early on, I was told to avoid cliches, sayings, analogies, aphorisms, proverbs, adages and so on. But why? If you had a face-to-face conversation with your prospect, wouldn’t you hear tons of these figures of speech? Doesn’t the use of these favorite sayings instantly say, “Hey – I’m not a salesman; I’m just like you!”? Don’t they get your prospect smiling? And don’t most of them instantly communicate something that it would otherwise take us a sentence or more? If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good figure of speech should be worth at least one hundred. So go ahead: Experiment! If a figure of speech helps you communicate faster or drive a point home harder – and if you’re absolutely sure that its meaning will be instantly grasped by your prospect – go for it! Of course, writing copy that’s just one cliche after another might be a slippery slope. Your client may even say that your promo is a basket case. That would be a close shave! You might end up feeling as dumb as a bag of Hammers.

But on the other hand, choosing the right spots to communicate quickly with an idiom could turn out to be your bread and butter. Who knows? Maybe you’ll wind up richer than Midas! Rule #11: Put the 75 most powerful words and phrases in the English language to work for you. Use these freely (no charge) when craft ing headlines, subheads, and throughout your copy: Amazing










First Time Ever

It’s here



Just Arrived

At Last


Last Chance








How to…



How I …




Never Before



Nothing To Lose





Your Profits















Send No Money










And of course, the




Right Away


award-winner …





The Truth About



Another thing: Some words and phrases are wimps. The limpwristed, namby-pambies of the writing universe. “Can” … “could” … “should” … “might” … “may” … “ought to” … “seeks to” … “has the potential to” … “In my opinion” … and all the rest of these sissies should be banned from your copy whenever possible. Tell your prospect what your product will do. If the legal beagle or compliance officer complains, make a phone call and haggle. Example: YOU WRITE: “These investments are guaranteed to soar when interest rates rise.”

COMPLIANCE VERSION: “These investments could possibly have the potential to soar when interest rates rise – maybe.” COMPROMISE: “These investments have the power to soar when interest rates rise.” Non-Rule #12: Squint. Squinting makes the individual letters and words indecipherable and I’m left with just the pattern the paragraphs make on the page. As I study the page, I’m asking myself, “At first glance, does this feel easy-to-read and inviting? Or is it covered with long, dense paragraphs that will only discourage my reader?” Then I … • Jump in and break long paragraphs into shorter ones – even one-line paragraphs when I can … • Identify spots where the thing is crying out for a break – a sidebar or indented paragraph, for example – and then work them in … • Look for opportunities to turn a long block of copy into a string of pearls (like these). • I look for a series of benefits, steps in a procedure or other copy points that I can precede with bullets, numbers, letters, etc.

You can present horrifying alternatives … • Ages your body: Fluoride has been shown to damage your chromosomes and block the enzymes needed to repair your DNA. • Poisons your brain: Laboratory subjects given tiny doses of fluoride for a year showed an increased intake of aluminum in the brain, and the formation of beta amyloidal deposits which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Five Chinese studies have documented a lowering of IQ in children exposed to fluoride! … Or, billboard benefits, as with these fascinations from a recent promotion for Your Money Report: • The #1 Secret of Landlords Who Get RICH: Doing this one thing can mean the difference between fat profits and a devastating loss! Page xx • Flipping For A Fortune? WATCH OUT! Ingenious strategy lets you make a bundle without ever owning a single property. BUT, it could also get you sued – or worse! Essential advice: Page xx • Beware of These “Landlord Landmines!” 3 easy ways to sidestep costly landlord/tenant traps. Page xx … Or, create a label. This series, “7 Guilty Secrets Drug Companies Do NOT Want You To Know” was also touted on the cover of the piece as a reason to read the piece:

FACT #1: Drug Companies Kill Tens of Thousands Each Year: Many of today’s most-often prescribed medications are not only useless, but extremely dangerous – crippling and killing as many Americans each year as died in the 18 years of the Vietnam war. FACT #2: They Do It Knowingly – For Money: The ultra-rich U.S. drug industry – the single most profitable businesses in America – is guilty of using bogus research, distorted reporting, and bald-faced lies to push deadly and ineffective drugs onto unsuspecting doctors and patients. Non-Rule #13: Go for precision and power. A lot of experts say you should use short words. Write as if the prospect is an eighth-grader. Some anal-retentive rule addicts have even gone so far as to instruct students to add up all the letters in each paragraph and divide by the number of words, and make sure that the average word is no more than five letters long! Utter nonsense! Here’s what I do … • If a long word means precisely the same thing and carries the same emotional coloring as a shorter word, I’ll go with the shorter word.

I can’t stand to read or even talk to people who use longer words when shorter ones will do just fine: Who says “facilitate” when all they mean is “help” or “ease” … “compensate” when they mean “pay” … “Individual” when they mean a “guy” or a “gal” or “person” … or “sufficient” when they mean “enough!” Nine times out of ten, I’ve found that people who write or talk like that are trying to hide something. Like massive insecurities. Or the fact that they have no idea what they’re talking about. To quote William Zinsser’s advice in his classic, On Writing Well: “Beware, then, of the long word that is no better than the short word: ‘numerous’ (many), ‘facilitate’ (ease), ‘individual’ (man or woman), ‘remainder’ (rest), ‘initial’ (first), ‘implement’ (do), ‘sufficient’ (enough), ‘attempt’ (try), ‘referred to as’ (called), and hundreds more.” • But if a longer word – or even an entire phrase – more precisely conveys my meaning or more effectively invokes the emotion I’m going for, then the longer word it is! Non-Rule #14: Short sentences rule! This is a particular weakness of mine – I tend to string too many thoughts together … use hyphens and ellipses and other devices to connect them; and only wind up turning sentences into entire paragraphs in which the prospect eventually gets lost or has to read it twice. (Damn – did it again!)

I don’t worry too much about it on my first drafts. That’s when I’m just trying to get everything out on paper. I try to fix my runons when I’m editing, later on. As I edit my copy, I try to keep this advice in mind from the classic book on writing, The Elements of Style: “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. “This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” Non-Rule #15: Count commas. I view commas as warning flags in my copy. Sure – they could be there for a good reason: Like showing the proofreader that I do, in fact, know a thing or two about proper punctuation. But often times, commas are a big red flag that tells me that I’ve got a run-on on my hands. Or even worse, they scream, “HEY, BOZO! You wrote this sentence UPSIDE DOWN!” Consider … “With only the finest of intentions, Clayton wrote his example.” That comma in the above sentence is a dead giveaway that something’s out of kilter. Wouldn’t it read faster if I merely said… “Clayton wrote his example with only the finest of intentions.”

Non-Rule #16: Use connecting words at the beginning of paragraphs. In addition to communicating, every paragraph of great copy should also make a sale: It should “sell” the prospect on the idea of reading the next paragraph. Early on, I learned that using conjunctions and other connecting words at the beginning of paragraphs was a simple way to keep the momentum going: “And” … “Plus” … “But” … “Furthermore” … “Moreover” … “What’s more” … “And there’s more:” … “Even worse,” for example. Hint: I like “and” better than “but.” “And” is positive. “But” is negative. I look for “buts” and try to replace them with “ands” wherever I can. Non-Rule #17: Look for shortcuts to keep the momentum going. I make liberal use of contractions. After all - it’s how people talk! In fact, the only time I write “does not” instead of “doesn’t” is when the “not” is crucial to my meaning. And if it’s really crucial, I’ll add emphasis to it with an underline, italicizing it, capitalizing it, and in some cases, all of the above. Non-Rule #18: Be specific. Every generality in your text is a landmine. That will kill you. Instead of merely saying “you’ll save time,” tell your prospect precisely how much time he’ll save.

Don’t say, “Buy now and save!” Say, “You SAVE $99 by calling within the next 10 minutes!” I actually read through each draft looking for excuses to add specifics to fully dimensionalize every problem and every promise. Non-Rule #19: Consider the question. Some folks think that asking the prospect a question – either in a headline or elsewhere in your copy is a mistake. “After all,” they say, “Declarative sentences are strong; questions are weak. And besides, how do you really know how the prospect will answer?” But sometimes questions aren’t weak. Sometimes, they’re hypothetical – and make a very strong declarative statement. A headline I wrote for Louis Navallier – a head that mailed successfully for more than a year – once asked … What’s wrong with getting richer QUICKER? The copy went on to say: I’ve made money slow, and I’ve made money fast. Believe me: Fast is better! That head wasn’t a really question. It was a cry of defiance from impatient investors who were sick and tired of being told to cool their jets. In the pre-head of a recent direct mail piece for Your Money Report, I wrote … Suspicious of corporate CEOs who lie about their earnings?

Fed up with stockbrokers who tout lousy stocks – and get rich even when you don’t? Impatiently waiting for the profits Wall Street promises you – but never delivers? It’s time for you to join millions of your fellow Americans who grew rich when they finally said … “Thanks for nothing, Wall Street – I’d Rather Do It MYSELF!” Used properly, questions can often be used to demonstrate that you already know and empathize with the answer. And they can also be a great way to demonstrate the horrifying alternative – as I did in this P.S. for an investment newsletter … “P.S. What if I’m right? What if I really can help you avoid losses and even profit when tech stocks tumble? How will you feel, licking your wounds and knowing that if you had just said, ‘YES,’ to this generous offer, you could have made a killing? “Please – for your sake – let me hear from you today. If I can’t help you, my service costs you nothing. If I can, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.” Non-Rule #20: When in doubt, cut it out. After I’ve completed a draft I often realize that my best lead is buried a few paragraphs down in the copy. Moving or deleting the first few paragraphs – or even the first page – would get us off to a much faster start.

Another weakness of mine: Excessive repetition. I tend to overwrite key paragraphs, or write a key paragraph several different ways. Second drafts are the perfect time to spot this needless repetition and condense several graphs into one, short, punchy one. Non-Rule #21: Break the rules! Never let the fact that a particular technique is frowned upon prevent you from using it. Follow every road that opens up before you as you write. Explore every unbeaten path. Don’t let that left -brained party-pooper who lives inside you kill what could be a great idea before you’ve had time to fully develop it. Even if you later decide that it doesn’t work, you’ve learned something. And if it does work, you’ve made a breakthrough. Breakthroughs are what make you rich.

Direct Marketing Glossary ACTION DEVICES: Copy planted throughout a direct mail package that urges the reader to respond immediately – typically by calling a toll-free telephone number or completing and returning the response device (order form). ACTIVES: 1) Members or subscribers who have not yet expired. 2) Customers who have made purchases within a given time frame. In many companies, active customers are defined as customers who have made a purchase in the preceding 12 months. ACQUISITION COST: The cost associated with generating a new customer. Example: If we spend $500 to mail 1000 pieces and get a 1% return that’s 10 customers – our Acquisition Cost is $50 per customer. ATTRITION: A reduction in response to a promotion or mail list due to repeated use. AVERAGE UNIT OF SALE: also, Average Sale (AS) Total revenue divided by the number of orders generated by a promotion. Also abbreviated as “AUS,” this number is often used by marketers to gauge the effectiveness of copy in selling prospects on placing larger orders. BACK-END: The sale of additional products after a new customer has made his first purchase. BANGTAIL ENVELOPE: An envelope with an extended flap or extra flap containing the response device.

BILL ENCLOSURE: Promotional material enclosed with a bill, an invoice or a statement. BINGO CARD: Reply card inserted in a publication. Used by readers to request literature from companies whose products and services are either advertised or mentioned in editorial columns. BOUNCE BACK: A flyer or other promotional material designed for insertion into a package in which products are delivered. BRC: Business Reply Card. BRE: Business Reply Envelope. BREAK-EVEN: The amount of revenue a promotion must generate in order to offset marketing costs. In some cases, direct marketers may also include fulfillment costs in the break-even calculation. BURST: A graphic device often used next to photographs of products or premiums, containing value or offer statements: “A $39 Value, FREE!” CELL(S): A portion of a promotion used for testing purposes. When testing several headlines for example, each headline is mailed to a set number of names. These names are referred to as a cell. CODING: A series of letters and or numbers printed on response devices that tell the marketer which list and/or creative test cell generated each order. COPY: The sales message used by direct response marketers to compel prospects to purchase their products and services.

COST PER INQUIRY (CPI): Total cost of a lead production promotion divided by the number of leads or inquiries generated. COST PER ORDER (CPO): Total cost of promotion divided by the number of orders generated. COST PER THOUSAND (CPM): 1)Total cost of a promotion divided by how many thousands of impressions were made. A mailing costing $100,000 that mails to 200,000 prospects has a CPM of $500/M ($500 per thousand). 2) CPM is also applied to components of total promotion cost, such as mail list rental, printing costs, postage costs, etc. CROSS-SELLING: Selling a promotion across the board to other demographic lists within the house. CUSTOMER RECORD: A computerized record of a customer’s name, address, telephone number, credit card numbers, buying history, etc. DATABASE: A collection of customer records containing vital information about each customer or prospect. DATABASE MARKETING: Also known as House File Marketing. Promotions that are sent to existing customers. DE-DUPE: A process by which duplicate names are removed from a mail list prior to mailing. De-duping is also called a “merge-purge,” as names from all lists to be used are merged into one large file and then the duplicates are purged in order to cut postage costs.

DEMOGRAPHIC: The characteristics of human populations and population segments that contain key facts such as age, education, income and sex in order to identify consumer markets. DIRECT MARKETING: Promotions that target a specific audience based upon demographic and/or psychographic traits. DIRECT RESPONSE MARKETING: Promotions that solicit an immediate, measurable response from recipients. DOUBLING DATE: The date at which a marketer typically has received half of the total revenue a promotion will produce. Doubling dates are used to predict the final result of each list and creative test cell in a mailing, thus enabling marketers to plan subsequent promotions more quickly. DUMMY NAME: A name inserted into a mailing list that enables marketers to track how the list is being used. Marketers will typically plant dummy or “seed” names on their own customer files to ensure that list renters are using the file in accordance with list rental agreements. Marketers will also plant dummy names on competitors’ files in order to monitor how competitors are promoting to their customers as well as to see the promotions sent to the file by other list renters. EXCHANGE: An agreement between mailers to exchange an equal quantity of mailing list names. EXPIRE: A customer or subscriber who is no longer active. FULFILLMENT: The delivery of the product or service to the customer.

GEOGRAPHIC: Selection or division of a mail list or other advertising medium along geographic lines. Geographic selects may be by state, county, metro area, city or zip code. GUARANTEE: Typically a promise to refund a customer’s money if he or she is less than satisfied. HOUSE FILE: A mailing list containing records of all active customers, expired customers and inquirers. INBOUND TELEMARKETING: The process of handling incoming calls from customers or prospects. INQUIRER: A prospect who has requested more information about a product or service. INSERT: Promotional piece placed in an outgoing package or invoice. INSTALLMENT BUYER: A person who has ordered goods or services, but pays for them in periodic installments. INTEGRATED MARKETING: A combination of two or more forms of marketing used to sell a product or service (e.g. a direct mail campaign combined with a series of television commercials). KEY CODE (KEY): Group of letters and/or numbers, colors, or other markings, used to measure the specific effectiveness of media, lists, advertisements, offers, etc. LETTERSHOP/MAILHOUSE: Company which performs the mechanical details involved with mailing including addressing, imprinting, collating, inserting materials into envelopes, etc.

LIFETIME VALUE: The total revenue a customer will generate for a company. May be expressed as total gross revenue or total net revenue. LIFT LETTER: Usually a smaller note or letter inserted with the main sales letter to emphasize a particular sales point. LIST SELECTS: Processes of segregating smaller groups within a list. Typical list selects might be by sex, geographic selects, or other selects based upon the amount customers have spent, largest purchase, etc. MAIL DATE: The date a mailing is delivered to the post office for processing. MAIL ORDER BUYER: Someone who orders and pays for a product through the mail. MAIL PREFERENCE SCHEME (MPS): A service where consumers can request to have their names taken off or added to lists. MARGIN: The gross profit on sales derived by subtracting the cost of goods sold from gross revenue. MATTE FINISH: Dull paper finish without gloss. MERGE-PURGE: See “De-Dupe.” NEGATIVE OPTION: A buying plan in which a club member or customer agrees to accept and pay for products or services announced in advance at regular intervals. The customers can stop the company shipping the products only if they notify them, within a reasonable time after announcement, not to ship.

NESTING: Placing one enclosure within another before inserting them into a mailing envelope. NET NAME ARRANGEMENT: An agreement where the list owner agrees to accept adjusted payment for less than the total names shipped to the list user. (e.g. pay for total names mailed after duplicates are eliminated). NEW CUSTOMER ACQUISITION: Promotions designed to attract new customers. NIXIE: Undeliverable names on a mailing list. NTH NAME: Method of selecting names from a larger file to create a smaller but geographically similar file. If a large file has 100,000 names and a mailer wants to test only 20,000 of them, the list would be sorted by zip code and every fifth name would be selected for testing. OFFER: All of the factors included in the proposition being made to a prospect or customer – including price, quantity, length of subscription or membership, discounts, free gifts, guarantees, etc. OUTBOUND TELEMARKETING: Calls that are placed by a marketer, as opposed to inbound telemarketing where the customer calls in first. PACKAGE: A direct mail promotion piece. Can refer to an envelope containing several components or a self-mailer. PACKAGE INSERT: Any promotional piece included in a mailed offer. It may be for different products from the same company, or for products and services from other companies.

PACKAGE TEST: A test of one or more elements of a promotion piece against another. PERSONALIZATION: The use of the prospect’s name, address or other information in the text of a promotion. PIGGY-BACK: An offer that hitches a free ride with another offer. POLY-BAG/POLY-WRAP/PLASTIC WRAP: See through plastic bag used instead of an envelope for mailing. POP-UP: A Web page that pops up on top of the page a prospect is viewing. POP-UNDER: A Web page appearing beneath a page being viewed, which becomes visible as that page is closed. POSITIVE ACCEPTANCE STATEMENT: A recitation of a product’s most compelling benefits, often used at the beginning of response device copy or order form. PREMIUM: A free item offered to a potential buyer. PROSPECT: A potential buyer for a product or service who has yet to make a purchase. PSYCHOGRAPHICS: While demographics describe objective facts about customers such as age, educational level, marital status, etc., psychographics describe preferences, interests, hobbies, and buying patterns. PURGE: The process of removing duplicates and other unwanted names and addresses from a list or lists.

RECENCY: The latest recorded information about a company or customer on a customer list, in relation to purchasing or other recorded activity. RENEWAL: A subscription that has been renewed prior to it expiring or within six months after that date. RESPONSE RATE: Number of responses received as a percentage of the total number of advertising impressions or pieces mailed. RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): Total net profit of a promotion divided by the cost of the promotion. An ROI of 100% indicates that the mailer broke even. RFA: Acronym for Recency, Frequency and Amount. RFA codes are used to select small groups of buyers on a larger file. A marketer may choose, for example to mail only to customers who have bought within the last 90 days (Recency), have bought three times in the last year (Frequency) and who have spent a certain amount of money with the company or on each sale (Amount). ROLLOUT: After testing a campaign, to continue it. Rollouts are typically larger than the test mailing and include promotion to larger list segments or entire list universes. ROYALTIES: A fee generally paid to give incentives to copywriters, based on number of direct mail packages mailed. Typical royalties vary between $10/M and $50/M. SEED: A name inserted deliberately into a list to monitor unauthorized list usage. See also “dummy”.

SELF-MAILER: Any promotion that is mailed without a carrier envelope. SPLIT TEST: Representative samples from the same list, used for package tests, or to test homogeneity of the list. STATEMENT STUFFER: Printed piece inserted in an envelope carrying a customer’s statement of account. STEP UP: Special premiums used to get a mail order buyer to increase his unit of purchase. TELEMARKETING: Using telecommunications in sales and marketing efforts. TEST PANEL: A term used to identify each of the parts or samples in a split test. TILL FORBID: An order by a customer which is to continue until the customer advises you to stop. Till forbid can also be abbreviated to “TF”. UNIVERSE: Total number of those who might be able to be included in a mailing list; all of whom fit a single set of specifications. WHITE MAIL: A response to a promotion, complaint, comment or other mail that does not contain a key code and therefore the test panel is not known. Also refers to an outbound mailing that is disguised to resemble personally addressed correspondence, i.e., live stamp and individual (non corporate) return address.

Recommended Reading Breakthrough Advertising – Gene Schwartz Successful Direct Marketing Methods – Bob Stone Reality in Advertising – Rosser Reeves Tested Advertising Methods – John Caples Ogilvy on Advertising – David Ogilvy Confessions of an Advertising Man – David Ogilvy The Copywriter’s Handbook – Robert W. Bly My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising – Claude Hopkins

How to Write a Good Advertisement – Victor Schwab Robert Collier Letter Book – Robert Collier Positioning – Al Ries, Jack Trout Reason Why Advertising – John E. Kennedy Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing – Drayton Bird How to Write Sales Letters that Sell – Drayton Bird Looking Out for #1 – Robert J. Ringer Psychocybernetics – Maxwell Maltz

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