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National Mail Order Association (NMOA)
Direct Marketing
and Mail Order

Alan Rosenspan's "Improve Your Response" Newsletter
Issue #20: April 2003 Edition


• Creative Resumes

• Wall Street Wonder

• You're Invited…

• Lift Note

• Classified Winners



Dear Friends,

It's been a busy two months…

I've completed speeches, seminars and consulting assignments in Toronto, Portland, San Francisco, New York, Kansas City, Chicago, Peoria, New Orleans, Greensboro, and Minneapolis.

I feel like I'm going door-to-door.

But here's what I found — direct marketing is booming.

I spent a day with David Oreck at Oreck Vacuums — and they've multiplied their business 10 fold through direct marketing. The poor economy hasn't slowed them down — they're doing even more and it's paying off for them.

Direct marketing is also paying off for other companies I've spent time with — including The Education Center, Par-a-dice Casino and Working Assets.

So congratulations — you're part of a growing, thriving and increasingly innovative industry — and the future looks even brighter.


Creative Resumes

I heard a radio interview with a man in Chicago who sent out 1,000 resumes without getting a single callback.

While I admire his perseverance — I have to wonder what his resume included. Because most resumes tend to look and sound almost exactly the same. But you can apply the same kind of creativity to your resume as you do to your direct marketing projects.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

1. Are you a high-energy person? Why not tape a small AAA battery to the top of your resume, or include a high-energy bar? Your envelope will definitely be opened — and your resume will stand out from the pack.

2. Do people appreciate your work? Instead of waiting to send references to a company, why not include a few testimonials directly on your resume? Put them right after your objectives — don't put them at the end, where people might possibly miss them.

3. Add a yellow Post-it. One woman handwrote "Excellent candidate. Please interview" on a Post-it note and placed it right on the top of her resume. She got the job.

4. Include a photo of yourself so they can put a face to your resume. But don't make it a standard headshot — be creative. Include a photo of yourself doing your favorite sport or hobby. You can write on the back — "This is what I do when I'm not creating business…"

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Wall Street Wonder

If you're not familiar with the "Two Young Men" package for the Wall Street Journal — you really should be. (If you'd like a copy of it, just e-mail me at

The letter tells the story of two young college graduates who return to their school for their 25th reunion. They're very much alike, but one of the men is very successful, the other is not.

What made the difference? The Wall Street Journal.

This letter is considered by many people to be the most successful package in direct marketing history, and has been directly responsible for over $1 billion dollars in revenues for the Wall Street Journal.

It's been their control since 1974 — absolutely unbeatable — until just now.

How did they do it — and how can you beat your control?

1. They doubled the size of the letter — from two pages to four. The new letter has the same theme, even the same opening, but it's substantially longer.

And one of the great truths of direct marketing is that longer letters work better.

2. The new package uses color photography.

If you have a high quality product, or you're priced that way — people expect full color presentation.

Remember, every time you send out a piece of direct mail — it's like you're sending out a sample of your company. In fact, it may be the only piece of your company that someone actually holds in their hands.

The new winning package was created by Malcolm Decker of Malcolm Decker and Associates. And you should be receiving one in your mailbox shortly.

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You're Invited...

People hate to be sold — but they love being invited. And "Invitation-style" mailings tend to do very well.

You can invite people to attend a seminar; to try your new product; to take advantage of a special offer; to see for themselves what your product can do for them.

It's not what you're inviting them to — it's the invitation format that almost always gets a good response.

We've used invitation mailings with great success for a number of clients including D&B Business Solutions, IBM, and the National Association of Fire Protection.

We try to make them look exactly like an invitation in size, format and even choice of language. The outer headline often has the simple words, "You're invited…"

If you've never tested this idea — you're invited to try it…

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Lift Notes

I call them the Wonder Bras of Direct Marketing.

They lift and separate. And they improve just about any package.

A lift note is a little extra enclosure you put in your direct mail. It can come in any shape or size. It's often folded over.

It doesn't cost a lot to include a lift note, but they generally increase response an average of 10% over the regular response rates to a package. For example, if you usually get a 2%, then a lift note may bring you to a 2.2% — not 12%!

If you do decide to use one, here are 5 suggestions:

1. Use the lift note to highlight the offer or the deadline.

2. Use the lift note to include a particularly powerful testimonial.

3. Have the lift note come from another person — who has a slightly different take on the benefits of the product, or urges you to act.

Magazine subscription packages have done this for years — usually as a special note from the publisher. They may say, "Open only if you decide not to subscribe" or "Here's an extra reason to subscribe now."

4. Use the lift note to address what may be stopping people from responding.

The credit card companies have been extremely successful with this. They often include a lift note that says, "Important. It's okay to have more than one MasterCard." It works.

If you're not sure what's stopping people from responding — test three or four lift notes along with your control, and see which one lifts the most.

5. Write the lift note in a different voice than the letter. I always picture the lift note as sitting on someone's shoulder, whispering encouragement in their ear. "C'mon…here's why you should respond."

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Classified Winners

Last newsletter, I challenged you to write a classified ad for an 8-week old black Labrador puppy that you want to give up for

We received a lot of very creative replies — and it was fascinating to see how you came up with so many different kinds of approaches.

Here are my favorites:

1. Heavy Petting Required!
Fetching young lass with pedigree reputation, seeks companion who enjoys long walks, constant cuddling, and warm, wet kisses. I'm loyal, affectionate, and ever so playful. Treat me right, and I'll love you unconditionally. So throw me a bone. I'll be the best friend you've ever had.

— Frank Magnera

(* Translation: I'm a lovely 8-week-old Labrador. I offer myself as guard, friend and companion in exchange for a little food and love. I will never ask for a raise or more holidays nor will I ever try to find a better place. I want to be your puppy)

— Gorka Garmendia Barcelona — SPAIN

3. Beautiful 8-Week Labrador Puppy Seeks to Adopt a Young Boy or Girl.
I am looking for a young boy or girl who's ready to share precious moments being my teacher, playmate and life long friend. Do you know who I could adopt?

— msawisky

4. Baby for Sale
She’s 8-week old with dreamy eyes and soft black fur. It’s heart breaking to send her away... but my lovely Labrador puppy has to go. If I find someone who’ll love her and look after her like me, I might give her up for adoption. Call 6985009.

— Kishore ED

5. BBLP Seeks Playful Partner
Like long walks on the beach and rolling around in an open field? Are you seeking a young companion so loyal he experiences separation anxiety even during short absences? Beautiful, black Labrador puppy, 8 weeks old, is hungry for your love. No strings. Call (xxx) xxx-xxxx


6. PUPPY LOVE — It's Not Just For Kids Anymore
Beautiful, black Labrador puppy, just eight weeks old seeks adoptive family or individual to love unconditionally. Gentle canine companion for young children or adults. The best things in life are free... to a good home. Call (xxx) xxx-xxxxx or email


7. Everywhere I go, women love me...and they love the one I'm with! What's my secret?
I'm cute. I'm loyal. And I'm a babe need of a loving home. If you've been thinking you'd like a lovable lifetime companion that doesn't ask for jewelry, I'm your guy...

I'm an adorable black Labrador puppy, ready for kisses and snuggles. Gentle, loving and just spirited enough to create fun every day of your life...with or without the babes.

Give me a howl at (000) 000-0000. Take me home now... I won't be waiting long!


I promised the winning answer a copy of my new book — Confessions of a Control Freak, but all of the above answers were great! So if I've used your answer — just send me an e-mail with your address, and I'll be happy to send you a free copy.

The real classified ad ran in The Atlanta Journal and produced over 15,000 responses.

It read:

Single Black Female

…seeks male companionship…I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pick-up truck, hunting, camping, cozy winter nights lying by the fire.

I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me.

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To unsubscribe, just send me an e-mail that says "Remove" and I will understand.

And why not pass along this e-mail to a friend or colleague?
Thank you.

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Phone: 781-784-8283