Direct Mail Marketing Question

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby performer » December 28th, 2015, 3:16 pm

AJM wrote:Zzzzzz



Oops! I typed out this fairly long post and when I went to submit it I found the topic had been locked. I really don't want to waste this entire post and since it is really on a different topic entirely although using the post in question as an example I hope Richard will allow me to start a new topic. Again, I am only interested in this from a direct mail marketing matter, nothing else.

It refers to the interminable Erdnase thread and particularly the last post by Sworn Lip(s). It is indeed a very long post but it does give me an opportunity to get some feedback on something I have always wondered about. I haven't the slightest interest in Erdnase except for a mild curiosity over the matter. However, I am very interested in the art of direct mail and I do a lot of it. It seems to be an art in itself.

There are two schools of thought on the matter. One is that short letters are the way to go since long letters will not be read. However, there is an opposing school of thought that says that although it is true that most people will not read the long letters the people who are the best prospects, in other words the people who are REALLY interested in the subject will read the letter no matter how long it is.

Now I know that there are many people on this forum who ARE interested in Erdnase so that gives me a great opportunity to find out who actually has read the above post by sworn lip(s). Or in fact any of his long posts. I am not interested in Erdnase so I personally haven't read it. But I AM interested to see who has read it or will read it from beginning to end. I am doing this not because I am interested in the topic but I would like to see if the theory that those who are interested in a subject will take the time to read the whole thing.

Again I reiterate that I am doing this from an interest in marketing rather than an interest in Erdnase whom I don't give a stuff about. So my question is:
Who has read the last long post from Sworn Lips or intends to do so?

Again, I do not want to talk about Erdnase. I merely want to gauge people's patience in reading long messages in a subject that they are actually interested in.

Tom Sawyer
Posts: 317
Joined: January 7th, 2012, 6:44 pm

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby Tom Sawyer » December 29th, 2015, 6:42 pm

Mark, you raised some highly interesting and important issues there. I am a little surprised that no one has replied yet.

Since I am trying to sell certain stuff, and since I am allegedly interested in Erdnase, and since some of the stuff I want to sell is Erdnase stuff, your post had a lot of relevance for me. Below are a few observations which are pretty subjective.

One advertising maxim that made sense to me was that one tends to sell more when one provides more information. So, a lot of sales letters are more like booklets.

Part of the theory is that those who wish to buy may jump right to the order form. Those who are on the fence can read the whole letter if they want to.

Of course, the best way to find an answer provisionally is to do a “test,” sending two or more different sales letters to comparable groups and comparing the response.

For me, that is highly impractical.

Furthermore, even though I have not done formal testing regarding Erdnase, I have the impression that sales of my Erdnase book have not been much influenced by me trying persuade people to buy. It’s almost as though the buyers would have bought at pretty much the same rate regardless of what I said about the book.

I don’t know if that is true, but I certainly perceive it to be true to a large extent. In one post on my Erdnase blog when I asked for a showing of interest regarding my Sachs book, I even said:

Since I tried to describe my new Erdnase book in some detail, and since I do not believe that the effort taken had much influence on people’s decisions, I am not at this time even going to bother describing the [Sachs] book.


I tend to think that the area of magic books in general, and magic-history books in particular, have their own rules of thumb, some of which I probably know and others I probably do not. I do think that a lot of the purchases of magic books have to do with a feeling of “participation” that buyers sometimes feel.

The main specific question you posed had to do with who has read a certain long post. I might answer that as to myself in a future post.

--Tom Sawyer
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.

observer
Posts: 342
Joined: August 31st, 2014, 5:32 am
Favorite Magician: Harry Kellar - Charlie Miller - Paul Rosini - Jay Marshall
Location: Chicago

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby observer » December 29th, 2015, 7:31 pm

I used to get those Marketing Guru style letters, loonnnngggg pages that folded over four or five times, with lots of highlighting and different typefaces, plus extra special bits on glossy paper that slipped out onto the floor so I had to bend over and pick them up.

I'd skim through them sometimes, just because I wondered "does the person who sent this have anything of interest to say?" but they never did so I mostly just threw them away unopened. (They were always easy to recognize by the "IMPORTANT MESSAGE ENCLOSED!" printed on the envelope.)

It's been years now, is anybody still getting them?

Oh, and as a market research data point: personally I much prefer the "elevator speech" approach when people are trying to sell me stuff.

EDIT: I have almost no interest in Erdnase the book, and no interest whatsoever in Erdnase the person.
Last edited by observer on December 29th, 2015, 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby performer » December 29th, 2015, 7:53 pm

I will reply to this later. For now I would really like to know who read or intended to read the long post by sworn lips. But I want to qualify that by asking those who are specifically interested in Erdnase.

Just one other thing about getting people to open envelopes. I have a very good system for that which works very well. It is a laborious system but I find worth the effort for certain markets.

Handwritten envelopes. No labels. No computer print outs. No fancy envelopes with messages written on them. No typing. Nothing. Just a plain white envelope, regular stamp and no fancy return address. No company name. Either no return address or if you want to track the letters that don't arrive then just your own name and address. Perhaps only just the address with no name. And I use a plain rubber stamp for that rather than have the return address printed.

Oddly enough the less professional the envelope looks the more chance you have of it getting opened.

performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby performer » December 29th, 2015, 8:12 pm

Oh, one more thing. Tom mentioned "testing". Well I can certainly see why he would be reluctant to test. Testing is expensive. But I learned a long time ago that not testing was more expensive. You always have to test on a continuous basis and probably for ever and ever.

The simplest thing such as the colour of the paper or the inclusion of a single word or phrase can have an impact.

I am no expert on this stuff but I know that you have to test continually. Expensive but necessary.

Still, a hell of a lot easier for someone as aged and decrepit as myself who does not understand computers and how to market with them. Quite frankly it makes me ill and gives me a headache.

Incidentally, I have always been impressed with Harry Lorayne's advertising copy. It is almost as if he hired a professional copyrighter to do it but I am pretty sure it is his own work.

User avatar
Chas Nigh
Posts: 186
Joined: March 24th, 2008, 10:45 pm
Location: California

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby Chas Nigh » December 29th, 2015, 8:23 pm

Mark, you've done it again! I'm still laughing.

brianarudolph
Posts: 394
Joined: February 26th, 2012, 9:22 pm

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby brianarudolph » December 29th, 2015, 9:09 pm

A friend of mine who is an advertising professional told me several years ago that the five or six page letter from American Express pitching its platinum card was (and apparently still is to this day) considered the most effective piece of direct mail marketing ever written and sent. So by extension I presume that there must be something very concrete to the "those who are really interested will read long pieces" theory.

observer
Posts: 342
Joined: August 31st, 2014, 5:32 am
Favorite Magician: Harry Kellar - Charlie Miller - Paul Rosini - Jay Marshall
Location: Chicago

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby observer » December 29th, 2015, 9:37 pm

brianarudolph wrote:A friend of mine who is an advertising professional told me several years ago that the five or six page letter from American Express pitching its platinum card was (and apparently still is to this day) considered the most effective piece of direct mail marketing ever written and sent. So by extension I presume that there must be something very concrete to the "those who are really interested will read long pieces" theory.



So much depends on the product being pitched ... ?



(emphasis added)

performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby performer » December 29th, 2015, 9:53 pm

Chas Nigh wrote:Mark, you've done it again! I'm still laughing.


Eh? I was trying to be serious!

performer
Posts: 3052
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Direct Mail Marketing Question

Postby performer » December 29th, 2015, 10:02 pm

observer wrote:
brianarudolph wrote:A friend of mine who is an advertising professional told me several years ago that the five or six page letter from American Express pitching its platinum card was (and apparently still is to this day) considered the most effective piece of direct mail marketing ever written and sent. So by extension I presume that there must be something very concrete to the "those who are really interested will read long pieces" theory.



So much depends on the product being pitched ... ?



(emphasis added)


I think it depends on the interest in the product being pitched. The trick (no pun intended) is to target the long letter to people who are liable to be interested in that topic. And the more expensive the product the longer the letter had better be.

The letter is your salesman. If you sent a live salesman out to see a prospect you would hardly tell him to limit himself to a certain amount of words.

The idea is to sell to the people you think are the right punters for that product. For example I wouldn't try to sell books on atheism to members of the gospel section of the Magic Cafe for example. They won't be interested whether you send them a short letter or a long one.

Now I am no expert on this. If I were I wouldn't be asking the question in the first place. However, On balance I think the long letter is the way to go providing you send it to the correct list. The list is paramount. I do know that.


Return to “General”