Direct Mail Consultant, Copywriter, and Coach Direct Mail Consultant, Copywriter, and Coach Direct Mail Consultant, Copywriter, and Coach Direct Mail Consultant, Copywriter, and Coach
Direct Mail Consultant, Copywriter, and Coach Ask Dr. Direct | Direct Mail Consultant, Copywriter, and Coach Email Alan Rosenspan | Free Consultation Direct Mail Consultant, Copywriter, and Coach


About Alan Rosenspan

How We Work

Client List & Projects

Beat the Control

Seminars & Speeches

Awards & Recognition

Recent Publications

Free Newsletter

101 Ways to Improve Response


Contact Us

Free Book

Read more »

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

Alan Rosenspan’s "Improve Your Response" Newsletter
Issue # 27: MARCH 2004


1. The Frugal Sharpei
2. Knowledge is Power
3. The Q&A Segue
4. EZQuestionnaire
5. Numbers Don’t Lie
6. "Rocket Ray"

Dear Friends,

I’m off to do a series of seminars in Australia — and then a week later, in the Ukraine — but I wanted to share a few things with you before I leave.

By the way — do you still like the newsletter? Is there anything about it you would change? What do you like best? What don’t you like?

Your comments and feedback are enormously valuable and important to me — so please e-mail me and let me know what you think. My e-mail address is

All the best to you,


The Frugal Sharpei

When you think about involvement devices in direct mail — your mind usually goes to stickers, scratch-offs or questionnaires.

And these all work very well.

But sometimes your entire direct marketing program can be based on involvement. And I can’t think of a better example than a program my agency did for the dog food "Kibbles & Bits."

Before we began working on the program, we found research that showed there were three distinct types of dog owners. If you own a dog, see which category you fit into.

Category One were people who said, "The dog’s a dog." This group fed their dog dry dog food, and the dog slept in the yard or the basement.

The second category were people who said, "The dog’s a member of the family." This group fed their dogs canned dog food, and the dog slept in the bedroom.

Then there was the third group. We called them "doters" because they positively doted on their dogs. These were the people who said, "I don’t understand. I cooked him liver and onions just the way he always likes it. But he only ate half..."

"Maybe he’s mad at me!"

Here the dog wasn’t only a member of the family — but the most important member. So we directed our program right at the dogs.

We started a newsletter written just for dogs. We had a letters to the editor column, entitled "Speak!" We featured a recipe column, not by the Frugal Gourmet, but rather The Frugal Sharpei.

The program was uncommonly successful, and we received hundreds of letters -- not from owners, but "from" the dogs!

Direct mail about dog food -- how dull! -- became something our prospects looked forward to. In a way, it wasn’t direct mail, because most direct mail just wants to sell you something. This made you smile, and got you involved.

Back to Top of Page

Knowledge is Power

My friend Ken Wax is one of America’ leading sales trainers. (You can view his website at

He recently came out with a remarkable idea about selling that also applies to direct marketing. And it’s so simple:

"People buy from people who know more than they do."

Think about it for a moment. If you have an ordinary cold, you can douse yourself with decongestants, try to get some rest and wait it out. But if your nose suddenly swells up to five times it’s normal size, you need to see a doctor. Because he or she knows more about medicine.

If something simple goes wrong with your car, you may be able to fix it yourself. But if it’s serious — you have to go to an auto mechanic. Why? Because he or she knows more about fixing cars.

These aren’t perfect analogies — because even if you know what’s wrong with your car, you probably don’t have a lift in your garage. But the point is still valid.

How does this apply to direct marketing? If you know more about your product, your company, your clients and the market — you will never have to worry about your job.

Back to Top of Page

The Q&A Segue

Most websites have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) area. They are a very effective way to anticipate and address questions a prospect may have; and also overcome possible objections.

They work even better in a direct mail package.

If you’re selling a complicated product or service, it is always a good idea to have a Question & Answer panel in your brochure, or even on the back of your letter.

This forces you to think like a prospect. What questions might they have? What might prevent them from responding? What will reassure them?

A Q&A also enables you to present information in quick nuggets — and that’s how people like to receive it (USA Today is a perfect example.)

I have a special technique for the last question of the Q&A that has worked very well for me. I call it "The Q&A Segue."

No matter what I’m writing about — from cars to computers to credit cards — my last question is always the same. I always write a version of:

Q. Sounds great! How do I respond?

What I’m trying to do is plant the idea that they should respond to this mailing. And my last answer always tell them exactly what I want them to do — and how to do it.

Why not try this idea in your next direct mail package?

Back to Top of Page


As I’ve written before, surveys are an excellent direct marketing tool. And an on-line survey can be even more effective.
The reasons why are:

1. You can make it interactive.

People can take your on-line questionnaire or survey and then click to find out (A) how their answers compare with other people (B) their "score," or (C) anything else.

2. You can link it directly to your site.

If one of your questions says, "Would you be interested in learning more?" you don’t have to wait for them to send it back.

You can instantly link them to your website or a micro-site you have developed, and bring them along in the sales process that much faster.

3. You can ask more questions.

One of the advantages of an on-line questionnaire is that the person can’t immediately see how long it is. Therefore, they may be more willing to continue and complete a longer questionnaire.

Now it’s easy to create an on-line survey for your company at www.

They guide you through each step from "Creating the Survey" to "Tracking Your Respondents."

But the best part is — it’s free! EZQuestionnaire offers a free basic membership, where you can create a customized survey using their template and post it online.

You can also opt for their Corporate Membership at $49 a month and create unlimited surveys and additional data management tools. The corporate membership also allows the survey to be online for an unlimited period.

Back to Top of Page

Numbers Don’t Lie

In my corporate seminars, I talk about how it’s not enough to simply list your benefits and claims in your direct mail and advertising.

You have to prove them.

People are more skeptical of corporations and advertising than ever before. In fact, in a recent study, business people ranked below lawyers and even (gulp!) politicians.

One of the best ways to enhance credibility is by using specific numbers in your claims. Let me give you an example:

Which sounds more credible?

"Makes Your Computer Run Faster,"


"Makes Your Computer Run 32% Faster"

However, Marcia Yudkin, a leading marketing consultant, adds another important point. She cites a recent experiment which tested the impact of a chart with numerical data versus the information in a simple storytelling form.

More than twice as many readers absorbed the information when it was presented in a story rather than a chart.

Her advice: "Numbers don’t lie, but they also don’t persuasively communicate your message on their own. Weave them into a story or supplement a numerical chart with text that drives their drama home."

Back to Top of Page

"Rocket Ray"

If you ever attend a presentation by "Rocket Ray" Jutkins – you’ll remember it the rest of your life.

Ray is an original. He often comes riding in on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, roaring down the center aisle and up onto the stage, and then leaps off to give a spell-binding presentation.

Ray’s been in more countries than Colin Powell, and he always gives an unforgettable seminar. In fact, in some of the places I’ve traveled to, the first question they ask me is, "Do you know Ray Jutkins?" Ray is the author of the classic, "Power Direct Marketing," and one of the smartest and most knowledgeable direct marketers I know.

Here are some of his words of advice:

"Write to people, not companies. People make decisions, companies don’t. People are the actors in daily life, the drama of the office, factory and home."

"Never, but NEVER talk down to your audience. Look them straight in the eye, aim at them directly. Or even better, look up to them."

"Tell your audience more than once what to do - REPEAT the message. McGraw-Hill says to repeat your offer 7 times. Repeat your offer and encourage your reader to accept it several times in your letter, in the P.S., in the brochure, flyer, insert, order form or response card"

"It’s amazing how 50% off makes you feel 100% better – guaranteed."Unfortunately, Ray is very ill right now – so if you know him, or you’ve heard him speak, I’m sure he would be grateful to hear from you. You can e-mail him at

We Respect Your Privacy

Please let me remind you that your name and/or e-mail address will never be shared, sold, circulated, or passed along to anyone else.

To unsubscribe, just send me an e-mail that says "Remove" and I will understand. And please feel free to forward this newsletter on to a friend or business associate.

Thank you, Alan

Back to Top of Page | Back to First Page of Newsletters Section


© Alan Rosenspan & Associates
5 Post Office Square
Sharon, MA 02067
Phone: 781-784-8283