If you’re fond of legitimate loopholes most of the world is ignorant of… you’re about to discover a remarkable one.
Not some flash in the pan, not today’s shiny object, but a bonafide ASSET you can make bank with today… next month… and five years from now… stick around.
And if you could use…
A proven money making concept…
you can put into action NOW… no matter what business you’re in or where you’re located… you’re in the right place.
(Have you got ten minutes? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with Zoom meetings, .)
I’ll lay it on you in a few moments.
But first let me share this classic to whet your appetite. It’s early 1980’s vintage, Bob Levey’s Washington.
“There’s never been a foolproof way to get rich and there probably never will be. But there’s a scheme that comes closer than most, and it caught my fancy, even if it hasn’t struck the Russians the same way.
Gerre Jones, a newsletter editor hereabouts, wrote in a recent issue of Professional Marketing Report about a Bulgarian born scientist now living in Italy who regularly “stings” the Soviets — with mail.
All he does is to write one letter a week to a well known Soviet dissident. The scientist insures each letter for a $4 fee and sends it by registered mail. His only other costs are stationery, an envelope and some red sealing wax.
Of course, the Russian government refuses to deliver the letters to the dissident. So after a few months, when no return receipt has arrived, the scientist collects $320 in insurance money from the Italian postal service. The Italians in turn bill Moscow, and the Russians pay up — usually quite promptly, because they are afraid of being thrown out of the International Postal Union.
At $320 a week, the scientist grosses $16,640 a year. He figures he clears about $16,000, once he deducts expenses.
Using this system, the scientist “theorizes that the free world could thus bankrupt the Soviets in a relatively short time… with no shots fired, no armies called to duty and no bombers or missiles dispatched on their deadly missions,” Gerre Jones reports.
Only one hitch: the system won’t work if you mail letters to Soviet dissidents from the U.S. The Russians usually ignore bills that our government sends them for insured, undelivered mail. You would have to launch your weekly missives from a country the Russians consider unthreatening like Italy.
Still, for sheer vengeful cleverness, the Bulgarian born scientist has cooked up a nice scheme, hasn’t he?”
I wonder if there was a European business opportunity marketer who caught wind of this at the time. But why stop at one letter a week when you could mail ten?
Impromptu headline: “How writing a simple weekly letter to a Soviet dissident could make YOU rich!”
Alas, I’m several decades late and in the wrong country.
There’s something BIGGER, better and timeless — a response snatching loophole for the ages.
Stay with me.
Pandemic and shutdown… or not… as long as humans inhabit this spinning rock, BUYING… SELLING (and ways for getting rich) will continue no matter what.
And for marketers and copywriters — SELLING ONE TO MANY will always be our focus — it’s the magic of the multiplier effect.
Because whether you’re selling to just a handful of high value prospects or to a million consumers with a common interest, it all boils down to the enormous leverage of direct response and…
The world of the PRIVATE BUBBLE
between you and your prospect.
That’s the world of promise, possibility and the power to overcome almost any obstacle.
ONE sales message delivered to the RIGHT prospect at the RIGHT time can turn it all around.
Think about the power of one good sales message.
You can take your prospect…
- From problem to solution
- From confusion to clarity
- From desolation to consolation
- And from fear and doubt… to hope for the future
All in the span of a few printed pages or a screen full of characters.
Yes, especially in our upside-down world of pandemic and shutdown — your prospects desperately need light at the end of the tunnel, now more than ever.
It won’t stun you to know my preferred medium is direct mail.
In fact, I’ll stake it all on this.
No matter where you are or what you’re selling:
Direct mail is your ULTIMATE insurance policy
It was true in that remote and uneventful year known as 2019.
And it’s especially so today.
Direct mail is the ONLY media with guaranteed delivery and attention.
Moreover, YOU are always in control because with direct mail there’s:
— No ad approval
— No campaign suspensions
— No deplatforming
— No inbox jammed with clutter
— No spam filter
— No “distractor factor” of a hundred open browser tabs
And there are other benefits too.
If you seek the attention of..
Players with Money!
Direct mail is your ticket, since most marketers opt for the path of least resistance via the free medium of email.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’ll keep using email till they pry my cold, dead hands from the keyboard.
But there’s nothing like the IMPACT of a real paper and ink direct mail letter when marketing to high profile prospects.
First off, it declares YOU’RE a PLAYER yourself — not some supplicant concerned about a few cents.
Second, if your direct mail pitch strikes the RIGHT chord with your prospect, she now has something physical and quasi-permanent she can pick up again… unlike that 5-second email on a screen… gone with the click of a mouse.
But no matter the media, some things matter more than others, like: the 40-40-20 success formula.
What’s the 40-40-20 success formula?
Direct mail guru, Ed Mayer’s, maxim is as timeless as it is simple. The ratio of success in direct marketing is:
- 40% lists (finding the right prospects)
- 40% offer (a HOT product and proposition)
- 20% everything else (the creative copywriters spend time worrying about)
Admittedly, when Ed Mayer devised this brilliant breakdown in the 1960s, there was no digital channel.
And after invoking the ’60s… I can hear ’em now.
My young’uns in the living room (for the last eight months and counting) are quick to quip:
And I shoot back: “Not a boomer.”
Always followed by their constant refrain: “Okay, boomer!”
Guess that’s pandemic parenting.
But do you know what?
In spite of all the whizzbang wonders of digital these days, I’m sticking with the simplicity of the original formula.
How important is the 40-40-20 formula
to every living, breathing marketer on planet Earth?
And for any marketer who will ever sell anything to anyone?
It’s vital… it’s KEY… it’s Numero Uno!
Let’s imagine there’s a copywriter so mighty in the field of selling to bass fisherman, his copy absolutely SMASHES everyone who dares to challenge.
(Alright, I’m living out a fantasy here. Indulge me.)
Lesser writers — like a gym of amateur, lightweight boxers going up against the world heavyweight champion — are flattened in five seconds.
That happens to every challenger who tests the waters.
Now imagine, not only is this sport fishing copywriter so dominant in his market, but he promotes a product coveted by every bass fisherman worth his sea salt.
Topping it off, there’s an IRONCLAD patent on this product which STOPS every lowdown, creepy knockoff artist from marketing a competing product.
It doesn’t get any better than this.
Not so fast!
That’s where the 40-40-20 rule comes in.
It’s like a stool that needs three legs to stand — two are useless without the third.
Because guess what happens when…
The mightiest copywriter
promotes the market’s HOTTEST product…
to the WRONG list?
I’ll tell you.
No matter how cracking a product and promo, if it’s put in front of the WRONG audience, it’s dead on arrival.
– Home gardening offers sent to city dwellers
– Men’s health pitches mailed to women
– Gourmet sausage catalogs addressed to vegetarians
All like shooting blanks into an empty well.
The list factor in the 40-40-20 formula, though equal numerically to the offer factor, will always be Numero Uno.
Because a mediocre offer in the hands of the RIGHT prospect CLOBBERS a world class promotion reaching the wrong one.
Let’s say you’ve got a HOT as blazes offer and a solid list of mail order respondents who’ve previously bought a product or service JUST like yours.
You wisely opt for sending your prospects a direct mail sales pitch.
Maybe you’ve never mailed a direct mail solicitation for cold hard cash yet.
Perhaps, you’re a veteran who’s sent over a hundred million pieces.
Either way… what you’re about to discover may not at first sound…
…but when it comes to GRABBING RESPONSE with direct mail promotions, this one can potentially add millions to your bottom line over the course of your marketing lifetime.
And it all starts with the lowly envelope.
Let me explain.
This little known way of practically FORCING your prospects (and customers!) to OPEN the envelope you send to them is one of the world’s GREAT response getting loopholes.
If your envelope isn’t opened, the sale is LOST.
I’ve rambled on about this before, but let this non-boomer recap.
I’m flat out OBSESSED with direct mail and I’ve spent more than a million bucks over the years seeding my name (and aliases!) on direct mail buyer and prospect lists.
I’ve consulted and worked with hundreds of marketers and copywriters from all corners of the globe — from pumped-up newcomers, ready to conquer the world… to serial entrepreneurs, founders and copy chiefs.
Yet it never gets old.
The sheer excitement of receiving world class direct mail never fades.
– Do you think I don’t rejoice when a tabloid sized Dr. Sinatra magalog touches down in my mailbox?
– Do you imagine I’m not bug-eyed when the latest Stansberry bookalog hits home?
– Fancy that I’m not jumping for joy as a Great Courses catalog comes careening through the front door?
This able borrower has a long track record.
And Ogilvy’s timeless adage stills a larcenous heart:
“Originality is the most dangerous word in the lexicon of advertising.”
As much as I relish the production values in these mailings, I’m a bootstrap entrepreneur at heart.
And when I need to get a mailing out the door NOW, it’s a #10 envelope for me — the most commonly used envelope in the world.
The reasons are simple.
– No art department needed
– No lettershop required
– No long turn around time
And there’s the added satisfaction of putting those kids to work who keep ribbing me about being a boomer and all.
Just as the 40-40-20 formula crystallizes the SUCCESS ratio in direct marketing, so does this when it comes to envelope approaches.
Sneak Up vs. Junk Up
No confusion about which is which here.
The sneak up approach follows Gary Halbert’s precept and looks like a personal letter — perhaps from your old Aunt Edna — if you had an Aunt Edna.
And since the sneak up style bears no teaser copy on the envelope, the world’s fittest mail recipient won’t throw away unopened an envelope with “weight loss stunner.”
What defines sneak-up? The top envelope’s got:
– A hand addressed appearance
– Concealment of the identity of the sender… with a discreet return address and…
– Use of live stamp
Who sent it?
You’ve gotta OPEN the envelope to find out. Bingo! One of the big response crippling problems is solved.
And the bottom envelope?
The billboard sized font of the teaser copy — WEIGHT LOSS STUNNER — is something your neighbor can read from across the road.
That’s the “junk up” approach.
Bill Jayme, the ultra-refined, world beating copywriter, preferred the classier ring of “junque mail.”
For those of us who don’t have a dialed in list segment or offer for “eat one kind of fruit before meals,” we’ll stick with sneak up.
The problem with “sneak-up” envelopes
Prospects have been getting them for decades and can spot a camouflaged sales letter.
Most will recognize this is NOT a personal letter from dear Aunt Edna.
Here’s what gives it away.
– The handwriting font is a little too perfect
– The stamp isn’t 1st Class, but bulk rate
– And Aunt Edna most likely doesn’t use an intelligent barcode on her envelopes
What to do if you’re after MAXIMUM response… and virtually assuring your envelope gets OPENED?
Here it is.
The AIRMAIL envelope mailed domestically!
I’ve been sending airmail sales letters for close to two decades.
When traveling in far-flung places like:
– Vatican City
When abroad, I’m often compelled to drop what I’m doing and head for the nearest post office.
To send a batch of sales letters back the United States. It’s the only way to answer insomnia inducing questions like: “What effect does a Venezuelan postmark have on response rates.”
But of course, it’s not just the foreign postmark.
It’s the TOTAL ensemble with the:
– Trademark red, white and blue airmail border.
– Classic airmail mark with the multi-lingual: “Via Air Mail, Correo Aereo, Par Avion”
– Foreign live stamp
– REAL handwriting
And guess what?
Airmail envelopes can be mailed ACROSS TOWN just as routinely as to a foreign country… no matter where you live.
More on that in a moment.
But first the customary disclaimer.
I’m not an attorney (nor the Postmaster General) and I don’t play one on the Internet. If you need legal advice, find a qualified attorney in the place/s you do business for compliance with your local laws and regulations.
Glad that’s outta the way.
Where was I?
What mail recipient could resist opening THIS envelope!?
In a word:
My clients and I have mailed these packages on four continents… from 2-page warm-ups that direct recipients online… to full-blown 32-page sales letters.
These “airmail sneak-ups” are floating through postal systems far and wide today.
Recipients ALWAYS OPEN this mail piece, even though they do not recognize the sender.
Because when someone’s taken the trouble to send you a personal looking airmail letter from a far away land, it stokes CURIOSITY like nothing else.
You may know of Herschell Gordon Lewis‘ observation: “The only purpose of the carrier envelope, other than keeping its contents from spilling out onto the street, is to get itself opened.”
But there’s one thing Herschell’s trusty rule omits.
The INTRIGUE Factor!
The mail recipient should have a mild feeling of ASTONISHMENT when a letter lands in her hands.
And the same way you and I examine the sender field when an email hits our inbox, direct mail recipients first look at the return address on an envelope.
You may be wondering:
“So, what’s with the image of Simón Bolívar and the Ciudad Bolívar return address, Lawrence?”
It’s a return address I’ve used countless times.
As much as I’ve traveled in Venezuela, I’ve never set foot in Ciudad Bolívar. I’ve never even had a mail drop there.
Why use it?
I’m NOT interested in following convention…
with this often ignored part of the envelope — I’m after creating INTRIGUE and getting my envelope opened.
If you’re clever, there are countless ways to work things into the copy and no one’s ever claimed I’ve tricked them into opening an envelope.
And, YES, when you’re paying full freight for postage, you can put WHATEVER you want in the return address.
If you fancy a picture of George Washington in the return address area… and commence your sales letter with the oft told cherry tree myth… you’re free to do so.
Of course, in Venezuela, it’s El Libertador.
Bolívar statues are in every plaza, the currency is the Bolívar and the country is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Here I am with one of Venezuela’s most successful businessmen.
Nelson isn’t on any Forbes type list and likes it that way.
He operated a string of restaurants and shops in the western state of Táchira, on the border with Colombia.
People in the capital used to thumb their noses at “flyover folks” like Nelson.
But while the swells in Caracas were busy hitting the boutiques and expanding their collection of toys, Nelson sought out every traveler and tourist who crossed his path to buy their dollars.
Over twenty years of trading currency (at very favorable rates for the traveler) left Nelson one of the flushest fellows in the country when the Bolivar collapsed.
After years of hyperinflation in Venezuela, Nelson isn’t just millions of dollars richer than most everyone else… he’s millions of TIMES richer.
And many of the Caracas yuppies who scoffed at him now work as personal trainers in Colombia.
Back to more beloved airmail secrets… and tackling a common objection.
As long as you’re paying 1st Class postage:
No one can stop you from launching
a response grabbing Airmail campaign tomorrow…
I can’t tell you how many times people from all corners INSIST airmail envelopes are ONLY for foreign mail.
Since I can’t convince them otherwise, here’s what I do.
First I tell them: “Try sending an airmail letter to yourself.” Use whatever the normal postage is and wait a day or two to receive it.
If they’re still antsy about it I’ll tell them — as I recently did with a client in Perth: “If you don’t believe me, just contact Australia Post.”
They’ll get a reply like this:
That’s the loophole — most of the world is conditioned to the idea that airmail envelopes are only for foreign mail.
You can easily prove to yourself that’s not the case.
No matter where you call home, you’ll most likely get a reply like the one above, where the postal employee will tell you there is NOTHING against using an Airmail envelope within your own borders, but try to steer you for something faster like Express Post.
We’re NOT after speed… we’re after RESPONSE
But it’s hard to explain this to the local post office.
So don’t bother.
Your contribution to the overhead of your national postal service is what keeps them in business.
One parting admonition… whatever you do, DON’T go for a windowed envelope or use a meter mark.
Use a live 1st Class stamp just… like Aunt Edna would.
Yours for bolder response,
(The world’s most obsessed ad archivist)