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 # 44: Summer Issue

1. Double Your Sales
2. No One Will Read It
3. Sell More of Less
4. DM is Alive and Well
5. New Tool for Copywriters
6. Review Your Website
7. The Beauty of Direct Mail

belgiumDear Friends,

I feel like Johnny Cash, singing "I've been everywhere, man..."

...but I probably look more like Willie Nelson.

This past month, I've logged in about 10,000 miles — with three two-day seminars, two one-day seminars and a speech in Belgium.

I had the opportunity to work with and learn from some terrific companies, including Moore-Wallace, TDS Telecom, and CameleOne in Brussels.

And along the way, I've picked up a lot of useful information, which I'd like to share with you in this issue.

Have a great summer.


Double Your Sales

Just in time for my July 4th barbecue — I ordered The American Celebration Combo from Omaha Steaks.

This consisted of about 10 pounds of meat, a cookbook and six steak knives for only $59.99. It seemed like a good deal to me - and I can understand why they described this was a special limited offer!

Except it wasn't.

When I called in to order, the Omaha Steaks representative asked, "Would you like two at this special price?" And a lot of people say "sure!"

One of the best reasons to encourage prospects and customers to call in is that you can upsell and cross sell them. Upsell means to increase the amount of their order — which is what Omaha Steaks was doing. Cross sell means to sell them something else.

And if you're not doing both of these — you're missing out on some of the most powerful tools in direct marketing.

The fast food companies are the masters of these techniques. They can get you to buy 40% more food by just asking whether you want to "super size" it or make it a "biggie."

They also cross sell you by always asking, "Would you like fries with that?" In fact, if you walked into a McDonalds and ordered just fries — your server will probably still ask:

"Would you like fires with that?"

top of page

No One Will Read It

I have an ad on my wall for GEICO car insurance. The headline reads:

"No one wants to read a long ad about car insurance. So we made this a long ad about saving money."

Isn't that great? Let's take it one step further — "no one will read a long ad or direct mail package about your product. But they will read about the benefits of your product."

And that's exactly why it's so important to sell benefits and not just features.

You probably already know this — but it might be worth repeating. A feature is what a product is or has. A benefit is what it does for the person using it.

Think about washing powder. The features are that it comes in a box, it's poisonous, it's granular — but the benefit is clean clothing. And the benefit of that is that you will feel clean and fresh.

A recent ad for Harley Davidson motorcycles had over a dozen creative benefits. It read:

"A new Harley-Davidson motorcycle starts at $6,595. Spending this kind of change gets you a couple of things free...oohs and aahs. 4 million miles of open road. Excuse for being late. Excuse for being early. 103 years of street cred. Phone numbers. Great stories. Tanning booth. Blow-dryer. 5 billion stars. Tight bond with Rand and McNally. A desire to start a black t-shirt collection. And thousands of brothers and sisters."

top of page

Sell More of Less

There's a new marketing book out that focuses on technology and niche marketing.

It's call "The Long Tail. Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More." And it's written by Chris Anderson, who is the editor of Wired magazine.

Anderson argues against the 80/20 principle — which I just discussed in a recent Newsletter.

He explains that technology now allows companies to sell a small number of items to more people - and still be profitable. The book uses DVD rentals as an example.

At Blockbuster stores, 90% of their rental business comes from new movies. So with limited space, they have to offer more new movies than anything else.

But at Netflix, the online movie rental company, 70% of all their rentals come from old movies — including specialty films, documentaries, and obscure movies that Blockbuster just can't afford to stock.

Anderson describes this as "the long tail" — the continuation of a selling curve that stretches out further out than ever before.

My recommendation is to get the book and see how niche marketing might apply to your business.

top of page

DM is Alive and Well

In my last issue of this Newsletter, I asked — and you answered.

My question was "Are response rates going down in your company, your industry or your country? And if so, why do you think that's true?"

Here are three excerpts from the dozens of responses I received:

"Response rates dropping? Well. . . frankly we're doing better than ever with response. We are finding direct mail marketing to continue to be the gold standard for marketing our services.

It is a combination of the direct mail and then the seminars, one on ones, or direct personal contact with our field reps that makes the "sale".
— Anne McVeigh

"Yes, response rates are in decline, but I attribute that to the vast, and I mean sea-to-shining-sea vast, amount of poor direct mail being done.

"Also, lack of testing continues to be a major problem; specifically the lack of the right kind of testing. Try as we may, there are no shortcuts in this great discipline. Failure in this business is a given, but that's okay as long as you take what you learn and apply it to more testing. If you don't fail you need to test more. Period.

"The magic pill does not exist. The magic formula, however, does: testing. We just achieved a 7% response rate for a non-profit client by doing good direct marketing. Results still can be yours. They're just a test or two away. In fact, declining response rates shouldn't get the serious direct marketer down; therein are the opportunities, the challenges, that make this business what it should be. Fun.

— Grant Johnson,
President of Johnson Direct

Here are ten reasons why Direct Mail will continue to grow:

1. Ease of shopping. Not only is shopping by direct mail, catalogue or Internet a great convenience but also other innovations like credit cards, toll-free numbers, overnight delivery have helped make them increasingly popular and convenient.

2. Today there are more dual income families. This has drastically changed the work pattern. — With more money to spend but less time to shop, many have turned to the above convenient methods.

3. The teen market is huge for convenience shopping but now with the ever-expanding over-50 population becoming more familiar with computers and with their buying power, many of them are also opting for convenience shopping. Some catalogues have shown record sales this year.

4. Sales people are a diminishing breed because of skyrocketing cost of sales calls. It costs an average of over $200 just to make a sales call and doesn't guarantee that the call will be successful.

5. Direct marketing's ability to micro market with regard to who responds to what, when and how is a big factor for its continuing growth.

6. List availability and better segmentation techniques have helped produce better strategic ways to target, measure, model and analyze data and behavior. These analytical tools and methods have allowed many companies to lift response and improve profitability.

7. The influx of new players, from technocrats to better creative types, has helped improve both the science and the art side of the business.

8. Continuing fragmentation of consumer markets, multiple channels and media options have made it harder to capture audiences by traditional mass media advertising.

This in turn has forced companies to direct more marketing dollars towards more targeted methods. Today more then 50% of all marketing dollars is allocated to direct marketing.

9. Call Centers, the Internet and other integrated options that aid in collecting valuable data and client information have sparked new ways to use direct mail.

10. Direct marketing is the only tactile medium. It allows one to send material that can be sampled, felt, smelled or touched.

— Billy

top of page

New Tool for Copywriters

You know the rule — K.I.S.S. — keep it simple, silly. But how can you be sure you're keeping your copy simple?

Simply go to:

You'll be visiting the Obsidian Studios website, where you'll find a great tool to evaluate your copy. You simply drop in any text, and the website analyzes it for readability.

It will tell you everything from the average amount of words per sentence, to the average number of syllables per word! And it will determine which grade level it is written for.

For example, if you use 20 words per sentence with 1.5 syllables per word, you'll receive a Flesch Reading Ease Score of 60-70 — which corresponds to the 8th/9th grade English level.

This is probably where you want your copy to score.

It's not that people can't read at a higher level. It's just that you want to make it as easy as possible for them.

Just for fun, I analyzed this Newsletter, and it scored a 7.15, which means it's slightly above the optimal reading level.

top of page

Review Your Website

There's a service that allows people to evaluate your website and post a review about it.

It's called and it allows marketers to get feedback about their sites, and consumers to know more about a site before they make a purchase.

My website has recently been added to their list — so if you have any comments — you are welcome to post them at

And you can add your own website to their list by visiting

By the way, their website also lists the 100 most popular websites. Here are the top ten in order of number of visitors.


top of page

The Beauty of DM

Robbins Brandt Richter is a modest-sized direct marketing agency in New Zealand with world-class creative strategy and creative.

They recently did a multi-phased campaign with Victoria Forrest of New Zealand Post to catch people's attention and dramatize the capabilities of direct mail.

It was called "The Beauty of Direct Mail" and here are just a few of the ideas they used:

  • They sent out a razor pack — "a short, sharp reminder that DM could shave thousands off your marketing costs."
  • They sent out a garter belt pack and talked about how DM could pull your campaign together.
  • They sent our breath mints — with the message "DM lets you get closer to your customers." The copy on each package was also wonderful. For the breath mint mailer, they wrote:

Dear <Name,>

Expect sales of Listerine and Tic-Tacs to increase this week. Our latest "Beauty of Direct Mail" pack talks about using direct communications to get closer to customers.

As a personal, two-way medium, direct marketing can help marketers engage and understand their target audience. If you have any questions or queries, contact us and we'll be happy to chew them over.

Did it work?

The campaign was so successful, it was entered in the 2006 Echo Awards this year - where I had the privilege to judge it as one of the best in the world.

top of page

Opt out, Opt in, Opportunity

1. Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to a friend or business associate. I'd appreciate it.

2. You can access all our back-issues on our website at

3. To unsubscribe, just send me an e-mail that says, "Remove."

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.

Thank you,


Alan Rosenspan & Associates
281 Needham Street
Newton, MA 02464
Tel: 617-559-0999
Fax: 617-559-0996

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