Improve Your Response Newsletter
Issue # 59: Spring 2009 Edition
1. Play the Numbers
2. Are You Linked In?
3. Creativity in Job Hunting
4. What's Your USP?
5. Webinars Are Us
6. Investment Advice
7. You Are Here
Unemployment is up to 9.8% in Massachusetts, and a lot of my friends (and clients) have been laid off.
It will get better – but until it does, I want to share with you my thoughts about finding a job. And some creative ways to go about it.
By the way, if you are currently looking for a job, I would be happy to review your cover letter or resume for you at absolutely no cost. Just send it to me at ARosenspan@aol.com
All the best, Alan
Play The Numbers
As you know, most direct mail and e-mail response rates are down this year – and most large companies budget for a .5 response.
That means that if you want to get 100 responders – you'll need to send out 20,000 letters or e-mails. If you want 500 responders, your quantity will have to go up to 100,000.
But what if you were interested in getting only one response?
That's exactly the position you're in when you're looking for a job – you only need one positive response. Only one company has to hire you, in order for your "campaign" to be effective.
So using the .5 projected response rate, you'd need to send out 200 letters and/or e–mails.
But how many of us do that? How many of us treat job hunting as a direct marketing program? And how many send out a few letters...call a few people...and then settle back and then complain "no one is hiring"?
You need to treat job–hunting as a job. The more time and effort and creativity you put into it, the more likely you are to be successful.
And once again – you only need one response. I wish you the best of luck.
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Are you Linked in?
Social media offers you a great way to network and uncover job opportunities.
I just wrote an article about it for Inside Direct Mail, and I'd like to share some of the highlights with you.
LinkedIn is one of the premier business sites, with over 35 million users. It enables you to connect with people you may have lost touch with; and who are now in a position to do you some good.
They may be able to recommend you and your work; and "introduce" you to people you should know, or should know you. LinkedIn also allows you to post questions that relate to:
Promoting your services
LinkedIn will also show you which companies your connections work at (or previously worked at) and include a description of the company. So you can ask one of your connections about working there and explore job opportunities.
And LinkedIn also has a fascinating feature called Network Statistics where you can see how many connections are in your network; how many connections they have; and also how many connections their connections have.
In other words, using LinkedIn, I can contact over 32,600 people who are connected to one of my connections. (Your total may be higher.)
Network Statistics also shows me how many of my connections are in which areas of the country. And also which specific industries they are in.
Other social networks include Twitter, Facebook, Pownce, Jaiku and Plurk.
(Other sites that sound like they may be real but aren't include Twitch, Burp and Floose. Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
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Creativity in Job Hunting
I've written about this before – but these times call for even more creative solutions. Here are five ideas which you may want to try:
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 right 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 I know put a Post–it note right on the top of her resume. Shehandwrote "Excellent candidate.Please interview." She got the job.
4. Add another dimension to your resume. Once again, you're looking for just one response – and dimensional mail can be so effective.
What can you send people along with your resume? Just about anything...
A waste paper basket – for them to discard all the other resumes they will receive (other than yours.)
A calendar – with your name written–in for your interview. Your letter can add "If that date is not convenient, please let me know when I can come in."
Anything that makes you stand out, and positions you as a clever person and someone they would like to meet.
5. Send out a press–release. I just received this one from a highly creative copywriter, Phil Schlaeger. Phil sent me the following e–mail, which absolutely got my attention:
Subject: Agency press release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
For further information
Sharon Agency Lands Prominent Copywriter
SHARON, MA (March 16) – Alan Rosenspan & Associates, a direct marketing and consulting firm based in Sharon, announced here today it has reached a working agreement with Phil Schlaeger, one of the most accomplished direct marketing copywriters in Southern California.
Alan Rosenspan, president of the agency, said a decision had not been made yet whether Schlaeger would be put on staff or used on a freelance basis.
"Right now we're just thrilled to have his talent available to us," said Rosenspan, speaking from the agency's office at 5 Post Office Square. "It's not every day that a three time Caples international finalist falls into your lap. Phil is going to be a big, big help to us."
Rosenspan said he was taken aback by Schlaeger's affordability. "It was less than we thought," he said. "Phil came down quite a bit because he really wanted to work with us."
Schlaeger moved to Southern California less than two years ago, capping a dazzling copywriting career that began at Doubleday Direct in New York.
While freelancing in New York he wrote the first–ever corporate history book for Mott's. Ingrid Kallan, creative director at Bookspan, who worked with Schlaeger, called him "a rare talent combining superb writing with real marketing insight."
As far as I know, Phil is still available, so you might want to contact him at email@example.com
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What's Your USP?
Back in 1961, Rosser Reeves wrote one of the best books ever on advertising, called "Reality in Advertising."
Reeves was the Chairman of the Ted Bates advertising agency, and disliked "image advertising." Instead, he believed that every product needed a USP – a Unique Selling Proposition.
This must be a specific benefit, either unique in the category, or at least not communicated by it's competitors.
A classic example was for Schaefer Beer, which I used to work on (and drink) back at Ogilvy & Mather.
What can you say about beer that hasn't been said a million times before?
Schaefer came up with a campaign about it's bottles being "steam–cleaned for freshness."
Sounds pretty good but guess what? There's absolutely no other way to clean a beerbottle. But no one else was saying that. So that became the USP.
Now this all may sound like typical advertising malarkey to you – but the principle is important. What makes you unique? What can you bring to my organization that another person can't?
My own USP is that I can almost always improve response. So everything I do to promote myself is based along those lines. My direct mail seminar is called "Improve Your Direct Mail in One Day – Guara nteed." And the free booklet available on my website is 101 Ways to Improve Your Response.
So what's your USP?
It may help to think of yourself as a brand. Now what makes your brand special, different, or better? (For more on this, please see the last article in this newsletter, "You Are Here")
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Webinars Are Us
I have two webinars coming up, which may interest you. The first is for Inside Direct Mail on April 23rd called "21 Ways to Get Your Envelope Opened." Here's a brief description:
Your direct mail doesn't have a prayer – unless they open the envelope.
Getting people inside the envelope is the first and most important job of any direct mail package; yet too little attention is paid to what should and what shouldn't be included.
And what's worse – many mailers use a similar envelope every time they mail. They are literally training prospects to throw them away.
You'll learn 21 specific techniques to test to make opening your envelope irresistible.
You'll discover a simple double–perforation that has doubled response for several major clients.
You'll uncover the single biggest mistake you can make on your outside envelope – that instantly dooms it to failure.
You'll see the single most successful OE teaser in the world – which achieved a double digit response rate
You'll learn how to do windows, in more creative ways than you ever thought possible.
To register, simply go to www.insidedirectmail.com
I am also doing a webinar on Creative Strategy for the DMA on May 14th. Here's a description of it. You can get more information at www.the–dma.org
Successful direct marketing begins (o r ends!) with a smart, timely, realistic creative strategy. And in these difficult economic times, having the right strategy is even more important than ever.
This webinar will show you how to identify the 5 key ingredients of strategy that can make or break a direct marketing program. So you'll know whether it will work or not before it even begins.
You'll know the 3 biggest mistakes that most direct marketers make – and how to avoid them. You'll get 7 proven direct marketing techniques, and when to use them. Plus additional innovative tips and techniques that you can put to use right away – in your next direct mail package, email or other media.
You'll learn where to focus your energy and imagination – to develop a creative strategy with the highest potential for success.
You'll discover the one simple step you can take right now – that can virtually double the response to your next program.
You'll find out the most important part of a direct marketing program (it's not what you think it is) and why you ignore it at your peril.
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Volunteering is another great way to build your network – and do some good when you're un or under–employed. I've spent the past three years working with The Jewish Children's Museum of New York, which is a remarkable place that teaches tolerance to all religions and all races.
I was just honored with their "Humanitarian" Award. They asked me to say a few words, which I thought I would share with you:
Thank you for your kind words. You may think of me as a marketing expert, but there is another20area that I am truly proud of.
And that's my investments.
We are all going through difficult economic times. And your investments have probably lost a lot of value.
Unlike Warren Buffet, every single one of my investments have brought me back bigger returns than I could have ever imagined. And so – at the risk of insider trading – I'd like to share a few of them with you.
I have invested time – in working with charities and organizations whose causes I believe in. Time Warner stock is down over 50% – my time has only been enriched many times over.
I have invested blood – my wife and both my children give blood to Children's Hospital in Boston every two months. I have even persuaded my friends to come along and donate.
Pharmaceutical stocks are way down – my investment has added value to the lives of many children.
I have invested energy – in the things that really matter; spending time with my family and friends, and helping others as much as possible.
I have invested in myself. I've never stopped trying to learn, grow and improve myself. I read in my field, outside my field, and I take adult education courses.
Finally, like many of you, I have invested time, energy, and money in The Jewish Children's Museum – an investment that will pay off for all of us, in the form of tolerance, understanding, and hopefully peace – for many, many years to come.
And we all will share in the dividends.
So in these difficult economic times, the best advice I can possibly give you is:
Keep on investing.
P.S. How have you invested? I'd love to hear your own experiences, and what you've done that you are proud of.
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You Are Here
The following has nothing to do with direct marketing – but I hope it makes you think.
In almost every mall, there's a directory and there's often a map of all the stores and locations. And there's usually an arrow – that says what? You are here. And I always react the same way.
Of course, I'm here – I'm looking at the map!
But then I started thinking. I am here. But what does that mean? I'm alive. But how did I get here? What am I doing here? And where will I be next?
So it occurred to me – if I have these questions, maybe you have them as well. And I would be delighted to hear your answers to any of them – just e–mail me at ARosenspan@aol.com.
1. What are you doing here?
2. Are you living, or are you just taking up space?
3. Are you looking for a job? Are you currently working but looking for a new job? How come?
4. What's the best part of your day at work? What's the worst part? Do you work for an unusual boss?
5. Do you believe that work is the most important thing you do?
6. What's more important? Family? What do you like best about being part of your family? Do you have any family traditions – things you do differently?
7. Would you like to have a closer relationship with your family? What's stopping you?
8. Do you believe love is more important?
9. How many times have you been in love? Are you in love right now?
10. Do you believe friendship is most important?
11. When's the last time you made a new friend? How did you do it?
12. What have you done that makes you a good friend?
13. What's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
14. Do you have a truly close friend? For how long?
15. What have you done that you are most proud of in your life?
16. Something maybe your partner or your kids don0t know?
17. Where were you recently?
18. What was life like for you 20 years ago, 10 years ago, last year at this time? Better? Worse? Would you go back if you could?
19. What was your happiest moment in the past week? The past month? The past year?!
20. What are you most grateful for?
21. What makes you unique?
22. What have you done that most people haven't done?
23. Do you have an unusual hobby? How often do you do it?
24. Have you ever won anything? Have you ever been given an award?
25. Do you know how to do something really well?
26. Where else have you been?
27. Have you switched careers? Why? Was it a good move?
28. Which countries have you been to? Which would you recommend? Which would you avoid?
29. Did you ever have any embarrassing moments?
30. Where's the one place you'd like to go, but haven't been?
31. What's stopping you?
32. Where are you going?
33. What's on your "Bucket List"?
34. Where do you expect to be in 5 years? 10 years?
35. What else do you want to accomplish in your life?
36. What do you want more of? What do you want less of?
37. What's the one thing you want people to say about you – after you've gone?
You are here
Answer these questions, and maybe you can answer the question of where you are, what's important to you, and where you're going.
But let me leave you with one more thought.
The more you can live in the moment, the more you will come to see how you can control what yo u do, what happens to you, and how you spend and enjoy the time you have.
Because right now, you are here.
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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 www.alanrosenspan.com
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
Alan Rosenspan & Associates
5 Post Office Square Suite 8
Sharon, MA 02067
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Sharon, MA 02067