The Offer is more important than the Copy...
It's been said that...
"Success in direct mail is 40 percent lists, 40 percent offer and 20 percent everything else."
- Ed Mayer
Famous Last Words : About Offers, by Denny Hatch
The "copy" - the specific way you write everything - fits into the 20% of "everything else"...
That means if you want to make more sales, the quickest and easiest way is often to improve your offer...
I'm partly putting this up here to remind myself of this very important point!
You read copywriters, and you come across the notion that the copy is the be-all and end-all...
Whereas experience-wizened copywriters know that, the offer itself is actually much more important...
And we haven't even gotten to "the list" - which means the quality of the list, and also how well the list of prospects matches your offer...
Or in my best Glengarry Glen Ross Ed Harris voice,
"It's the leads. The whole thing is the leads, you understand me?"
However, it's often quicker and easier to change the offer (if you're the business owner), than it is to change the "list"... (But you need both!)
But Dr. Rice, that is copywriting heresy...I mean...come on now...
Well. Most of the millions of dollars of sales data I have seen shows that this 40/40/20 formula is right, most of the time...51% of anything is most, right?
It is as good as anything out there, but as you know, I'm a copy HISTORIAN, and my take on all of these so called formulas...is, maybe, they are mostly right.
Mayer's book was published in 1950, the data from his histories went back to the thirties...and then the BOOM of mail order in the 1950's aided that.
My cautionary advice about all things copywriting is...use them as frameworks, not FOUNDATIONS.
I think using the 40/40/20 idea is a good one, if laid upon the foundation of avatar want (demand) and TIMING.
It was pretty, pretty, pretty easy to sell those novelties of the 1950's we all look to as "great copy", but be it sea monkeys, ant farms, spud guns, hula hoops or Davy Crocket hats...the idea, appeasing the kids is no different than having them have a game boy or even cell phone today.
The demand to appease kids, as you are rapidly coming to understand, is a foundation which any marketer can build on.
Then the framework, maybe can follow some formula, to make things easy for the marketers. Some day in the future, when a young one gets an ice cream cone for the first time...it starts a chain reaction which lasts a lifetime...the demand is there, up to Ben, Jerry et al to get her to try one of their brands.
I note, today, there are or seems to be, a lot of COPYWRITERS being laid off and contracts ended by big FINANCIAL PUBLISHERS, just today in my email, got a letter from one of the S. FL guys...it seemed almost desperate.
Their OFFER for a subscription to a service which has historically performed as good as a coin toss, had a lot of copy technique, methodology and well, the fact copywriters are being let go...speaks louder than all the words they think they carefully craft.
And lets not forget, he was an expert in propaganda. I wonder if he followed this formula in propaganda too??
Why many financial newsletters seem to be struggling...
*Ashamed*... I actually don't know much (anything) about Ed Mayer!
I am impressed by your breadth of knowledge... I'm gonna have to learn more!
And... propaganda of course is fascinating, with a huge overlap with marketing and copywriting...
About the financial publishers... My perception I think is similar to yours! It's not a good time now for the financial newsletters...
I think the reason is because of how poorly the stock market has performed this year...
People have been getting their money out, until it looks like times will be good again (from a stock market point of view)...
If you're not investing in stocks, why would you subscribe to a newsletter about stocks? Of course, you wouldn't...
Another niche they've done well with the last few years is newsletters related to cryptocurrencies... But those have now tanked even worse...
These are tough times all around for many...
I came across this recent article...
The headline: Target profit plunges 90% as inflation-weary shoppers pull back
Good analysis. And why, NOW, you can really crank it up.
For almost a decade, Ed Mayer worked in and with the Gov't on Propaganda...during WW II and wrote or editied many pamphlets dropped behind enemy lines during the war, 1939 into the 50's. He was in his day, one of the leading seminar speakers, credited with teaching thousands of people all about the remote direct marketing business.
It BOOMED in the 50's and Ed was a hot ticket. He was a founding member of one of the direct marketing educational societies.
You would see a lot of latter day marketers who borrowed from his book as a framework for theirs.
I get some info from those inside, who are now outside, at some of the biggest and best known financial newsletters...and I think you are right.
But what is important, from your perspective (ah, is my HB showing he.he)..is...HOW to make money and HOW TO START A business ESPECIALLY a home based one...soars during these times.
As you are the modern day George Haylings, your newsletters, and even your books, which with a bit of editing could be sensational sellers...
NOW is a good time to be in the showing and helping people how to hold onto their money, make more of it, grow it outside of stockmarket, etc., etc.
Lucky you, right place, right time.
Don't make me drop a pamphlet in your back yard detailing the virutues of capitalism and information publishing, eh?
This is another "propagandist" / marketer...
Thanks for your kind words!
You've definitely made me more interested in reading more about Ed Mayer... which I plan to do!
The other person I've read about who was big in both propaganda and advertising is Edward Bernays... who's famous for getting women to smoke cigarettes back in the 1920s, tying smoking to the feminist movement, and branding cigarettes for women as "Torches of Freedom"...!
There's a lot of fascinating stuff here, in this overlap between advertising and marketing on one side, and propaganda on the other...
Their paths crossed more than once...
Both in Washington and on Madison Ave, they were well known to each other.
Both understood the power of ideas. Of words. Both spoken and written.
I think they make excellent reading for a foundation of mass persuasion and influence.
By the way Dien, any idea how many businesses you have uncovered over the years? I know of the books, and those have, what, over 150, so I'm thinking you must have nearly 500 or more on file? Just thinking of George Haylings and his 555 Little Known, etc., etc., business ideas.
Time for a book???? Yea!!
Re: Their paths crossed more than once...
I probably will (eventually) put together (another) book...
I feel my approach to this whole thing has finally "matured" and I'm at a place where I really know and like what I'm doing... :)
I would say there are over 500! I'm sure if you put all the pages together, there would be over 1,000 pages I've written on so many different businesses... (Especially if you count all the articles I also wrote for The Great Ideas Letter, the predecessor to my current newsletter...)
These are "full-sized" pages too...
George Haylings remains an inspiration...
I gotta say - I love finding out these ideas, and sharing them... :)
And I've been getting some great feedback lately too! :)
P.S. I plan to delve more deeply into my own study of propaganda in the future... and Blair Warren is another who should be mentioned as well, as his stuff is also very applicable, I feel!
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