What is direct marketing and direct mail?

I had a quick (not thought out) question about direct marketing come in today that I wanted to share.  Part of my business as a copywriter involves fielding (and weeding) out email requests like this.

First warning: his question was about as basic as it gets (why waste a professionals time when 2.2 seconds of search on Google would have answered your question?).

Second warning: no name – just a question on what is direct marketing and how much “does it cost to start”.  Again – all warning signs point to someone not concerned about wasting my time, nor prepared to actually DO anything. I know nothing about their business, their industry, their challenges, or anything else about them that would be remotely helpful.

I should have deleted the email, but decided to answer it quickly and use my answer as a quick educational piece.

My answer:

Direct mail is sending targeted promotional pieces designed to get potential clients to take an action.

That action may be to call you – to order – to visit a website, etc.

How you get started is a difficult one to answer.  There are a ton of books out there on how to get started (Dan Kennedy has some great inexpensive books on this).

You can take courses.

Or you can hire a professional.

I’ve been writing direct mail materials for 13 years – you can see testimonials here https://smallbusinesscopywriter.com/testimonials/

If you are interested in talking about this, I need to clear something up. I am a professional – this is my business – my full time business.  That means I don’t write for free (in hope you pay me one day – I get asked to do this weekly – the answer is always no).  I live in Canada, not India – so don’t expect to hire me for $4 an hour.  I am damn good at what I do and only write for those who are SERIOUS about getting results, and for those who actually have a marketing BUDGET.

If you are still interested in talking, let me know.


Now, I was too subtle and kind for this reply.  If I was not who I am, I would have been an ass in my response.  Not my thing, so I was decent about it – but pointed enough to undoubtedly scare him away.

There is ONE thing I wanted to point out in my response though.

This ONE thing is critically important to understand in your marketing.

The ONLY purpose of direct marketing is to elicit SOME kind of response.

I personally think ‘branding’ for the point of branding is a complete waste of time and money for the average small business.  You don’t have the budget to make a real impact through ‘branding’ if you’re a small business.

BUT, you CAN afford to do some very targeted direct marketing that has one specific goal – an ACTION.  

That may be to send them to a web page and optin to your newsletter (or signup to get a report, or cd, or ebook).

Maybe its to get them to call you (one of my clients got an 18% response rate from a COLD list when we implemented their goal as an initial call).  They wanted to go for the sale – which would have gotten NO response – instead we got the door opened to 18% of the people we targeted from ONE mailing piece.

THAT is a goal you should aim for!

Hopefully this gave you some thoughts and insights into the world of direct mail, direct marketing, and copywriting.


“If your life sucks, it’s because you suck” – 2 interesting stories today

Here’s a fact you need to know for 2013…

If you are only marketing online right now, you are completely IGNORING 60% of your prospects and clients!

How’s that for a wakeup call?

Epsilon just conducted a study of Americans and Canadians (2012 Channel Preference Study) to measure what buyers want from their suppliers… email or direct mail.

More than 60% of people surveyed actually want to see mail in their physical mailbox, not their email inbox!

75% of people surveyed say they PREFER direct mail over email because they can read the information at their convenience.

Not only that…

…73% of Americans and 62% of Canadians said they receive a lot of emails that they simply DO NOT OPEN.

You know it and I know it… the email inbox is cluttered and difficult to weed through.

But every year, fewer and fewer businesses are using direct mail.

So, if you are looking for an untapped marketing opportunity right NOW… add direct mail into your marketing mix!

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“If your life sucks, it’s because you suck”
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We all need a good scolding every once in a while… right?


Chief Clarence Louie

Chief Clarence Louie is the leader of the Osoyoos Indian Band.

From a young age, he has brought fresh ideas to the table to help his reserve clean up their act, and nurture their entrepreneurial spirit.

He is a no B.S. leader and is commonly hear reprimanding the whiners out there that like to blame everything about their life on someone else.

One of his common statements?

“If your life sucks, it’s because you suck”

Truth hurts!

It also works…

Since Louie founded the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corp. in the early 1980s, the reserve has launched more than half a dozen major projects, including a luxury resort, golf course and a construction company.

In late 2012, they landed a $200-million federal prison contract, bringing another 240 full-time jobs to the reserve’s new industrial park near Oliver, B.C.

Under Louie’s leadership, which started in 1985, Osoyoos Indian Band has gone from rags to riches, from Indian Affairs bankruptcy management to economic self-sufficiency.

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The lesson for today?
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We have a brand new year in front of us and the same-old-same-old is NOT the way to start your year.

Think about the untapped opportunities you have in front of you, like direct mail.

Add it into your marketing mix and you will see a boost in sales.

Not only that, add in new initiatives for the year like the Chief has, and through diversification, you can add more income streams and completely change how 2013 plays out vs how 2012 played out.

I love, love, love new and innovative marketing ideas.

It’s the reason I am heading to Austin Texas on Thursday for the Empower conference (https://www.marketingbeachbum.com)… it was a different initiative I added in 2012 and I absolutely LOVE the marketing training and cash flow it added to my life!

Think like the Chief and get aggressive in your plans for the year.

Have a great one.


PS: The 2013 Cash Flow Calendar is PACKED with innovative marketing ideas that work in both print and digital.

Pick up a copy of it (less than $0.30 a day!) and use it.

If you don’t make at least $5,000 extra by using it throughout 2013, I will return your investment.

Fair? Get yours here https://www.cashflowcalendars.com/2013cfc

Cash Flow Calendar and Marketing Plan for 2013

The 2013 Cash Flow Calendar and Annual Marketing Plan


My disastrous first attempt at information marketing

15 or so years ago I saw an ad in a newspaper.  Some guy in the city I was in was an expert in importing goods and was selling information on how to get into the business.

For a large fee, I signed up for his personal coaching and got resale rights on his manuals (if I recall – I had to buy them from him and could then sell direct).

The manual was mediocre – with some photocopied pages, some instructions on where to go to find exporters in the library – and how to make money selling the same manual.

His recommendation?


So I started placing ads in newspapers around the city I was in.

I quickly found that the smaller towns were MUCH great response than the larger.

More calls.

More orders.

I was on cloud nine.

I would take the call – take down their address – explain how COD (Charge on Delivery) went – and would mail them the book.

They would need to be home to pay for it once it arrived.

I got a whole bunch of ‘orders’!

Dozens of them to start – and the manual was ~ $79 or so.

Looking good, I thought.

Until I got back a TON of COD packages that were denied at the door by the so-called ‘customers’.

shameful attempt at information marketing


I quickly realized this COD thing was a bunch of bunk and I was pissing my money away having to pay for these packages to be mailed – but returned.

Fast forward 15 years.

I have been selling information products online for over a decade now.  No COD.  No 65% return rates.  No nonsense.

I have sold information products for weddings, pets, marketing, sales, lead generation, health, and a few other industries.

…and I love it.

Information marketing is an exceptional way to enhance your present business, or start a new one.

The market keeps getting bigger year after year with the internet.

People are reading more. Watching more videos.

Buyers are out there in droves when you know how to find them.

The point is two-fold:

* when you attempt something in marketing and fail – DON’T GIVE UP.  It doesn’t mean that marketing doesn’t work… it means THAT WAY of marketing didn’t work for YOU. It may have worked for others seamlessly… but not so for you. So pick yourself up and try a DIFFERENT way – or a different product.

* information marketing is an exceptional way to add cash flow into your life.  I do it through my https://www.marketingbeachbum.com business and love it! To a full time income and more in 90 days.  I have tested all kinds of on and offline marketing over the years. Some things worked for selling information – some were ‘learning experiences’.  The demand for information will ALWAYS be there and will constantly grow.

Find ways to build your knowledge of marketing online AND offline… and try different types of information products that enhance your present business or help you start a new business.

If you need a new income stream for 2013 –  get in touch with me at 403-259-4566 or sign up for the updates on https://www.marketingbeachbum.com


…NEVER give up.

There is always a way.

Only persistence and focus will help you uncover the path.

Have a great day.



The Spooky Truth about an audio I hid from you (till now that it’s free)

For 128 months now I have been cranking away in this crazy world of marketing, copywriting and advertising.troy white

To add to that… I am getting older and tend to forget about a thing or three.

I got the scare of my life when I was digging around looking for a file and found this most incredible audio interview I did with the amazing Joe Sugarman.

Have you seen the movie The Hangover?

The glasses the guys wear in that movie are BluBlockers… on of Joe’s success stories.

He has many… but BluBlocker Sunglasses have been a HUGE success story and tens of millions of pairs of BluBlockers were sold with Joe driving the marketing.

Joe has an incredible book called Advertising Secrets of the Written Word – get it.

But you also need to listen to this audio interview I did with Joe.  It remained buried away… now having risen from the dead and ready for your listening pleasure…


Download it – put it on your iPod or MP3 player – listen to it religiously.

It’s that good!

Joe tells the story of how he got his start in the marketing and copywriting world…

…and how you can leverage his amazing ability to weave stories into his ads.

Grab it while you can!

Happy Halloween.



A simple, sticky way to boost your marketing response by 200%

Fellow business builder,

Can you believe August is almost gone?

Yeesh!  That kinda flew by.

In between dealing with the insurance companies, estimators and police with our recent breakin, I found myself knee-deep in a brand new project for an exciting new client.

She has a program being released in a highly competitive field, and hired me to help her find ways to grow her sales as fast as humanly possible.

Now a few details on the project:

  • She is in Canada – and wants to focus on Canadian buyers (but the content applies to those who live pretty well anywhere)
  • She has an amazing story (she went from $0 to $3 million in her first 6 months), and then another $3 million in the next 12
  • She is selling training in a field that is oversaturated with “gurus” – but she has no goal to be one.  All she wants is to share the formula she used to create speed wealth like she did… rather than feeding people a little here – then upsell them to a little more – another upsell – a little more content, etc.  She wants to give it all at once – for a sizable premium
  • She is the real deal and has proven to me time and time again she overdelivers
  • She is only offering the program 3 more times and then is out of it

So, the foundation is set and I need to find out how to market her services, and who to market to.

We had discussed using online and offline media for maximum results in the timeline we set… and I think she really needs print materials mixed in to stand out from all the others.

One thing I really like the use of in print is the repositional lift notes

 (the little post-its that go on direct mail).

In Canada, we can use these on regular first class style mail, or on unaddressed bulk mail – – for no extra mailing cost.

They are nice touch, they stand out, and I was curious to what kind of responses people are getting to these. Canada Post just started allowing them a year ago, so the numbers would be in.

Fortunately, 3M Direct Response shared some numbers in a recent Direct Marketing newspaper…

“In Canada, we’ve been seeing 200 percent response rates compared with rates of 40 percent in the US, through USPS”200 percent growthin marketing response

Now we are talking!

Rogers Wireless also shared some numbers (one of our Canadian rip off artists for cell phones. Did you know Canada has one of the highest cell phone rates in the WORLD? I certainly do).

Anyhow, they did a recent direct mail campaign with addressed mail (first class) vs. unaddressed mail (bulk mail in Canada that can be sent to any house or business within a certain geographic area for $0.11 per piece).  They tested with and without the postit notes to see what response differences they would see.

The same copy and media pulled 200% more using the post it notes!

Considering the notes cost pennies to have printed by 3M, this is a must for anyone doing print mailings to their own lists, or to new generation campaigns.

3M has a whole section dedicated to direct mail tools they have – https://www.3m.com/market/office/directresponse/

Using a high quality hand written font, in a mailing where it makes sense someone would want to keep the postit as a reminder or for something to post on their fridge or desk, and success has been consistent.

I will let you know how this works for her… but with the major shopping season right around the corner, this would be a wise idea to look into for yourself as well!

The other area that is of critical importance for us in the campaigns we do is to build an online database using offline media.

She has no large list to work with – and just a few jv partners to call upon.

So we are starting from scratch in many ways.

How we are going to use print advertising and media

 to drive her online sales…

First thing of significant interest here is the recent Jupiter Research that shows 67% of online searchers actually are driven to search by OFFLINE channels. And half of that % is driven from print advertising.

To top that, note that print advertising generated more actual online sales than any other offline media.  30% of those who opened their wallet and made an online purchase came from offline print media.

Again, for this project – these are critically important numbers.

Some of the areas we will be testing for her campaigns leveraging offline media to drive online purchases…

  • Putting our key search terms right inside the advertisements.  In the Jupiter research, they found that a large number of online searchers do not go direct from an offline ad to a url.  In many cases they remember a tag line, a key word, or a slogan, and search on that first.  So we have already created a unique brand that is quite unforgettable in the Canadian market.

  • We are using the print ads as a “sneak-a-peek” view of the online experience they take part in.  Showing screen shots and snaps of the online experience in the offline print will tease them enough to get them to the site.  Once there we have much more flexibility with video, audio, animated demos, etc.

  • Using offline as a teaser and online as the educator.  The way we are testing this is to use short copy teasers in offline media to drive them to an online site with volumes of more detailed information on the company, the testimonials, the details of the offer, etc.

  • Online elaboration.  Some shorter testimonials are being used offline, but the real magic happens with the video testimonials that we can use on the website.  Video is so much more emotional than print, and seeing someone talk about their experiences has a much great chance of touching some emotional “hot buttons”.

(NOTE: Late last year I rolled out a product that was selling quite well.  I put up a 2 minute testimonial video and IMMEDIATELY saw conversions increase by over 210%.)

The last thing we did was go through her tiny database

and tried to cut out as much of the junk as we could.

A 1,000 person database of highly targeted people is MUCH better than a list of 100,000 untargeted.

A side benefit of a smaller list is that you can invest more in each package – and see a much higher response. 

Plus, with all the VDP offerings out there now, and a smaller list, we can do some very creative mailings for cheap (def. VDP = variable data personalization – having the persons key information merged into the printing).

Based on this 2007 report from Vertis, the more unusual your marketing looks, the better your results will be:

Which of the following makes

a difference in the mail you open?                         2001                           2005


Timing of the mail, and need for it at the time          58%                    69%

Package looks interesting                                         48%                    63%

Personalized with name on front                              58%                    59%

Special offer or discount                                           34%                    51%

Looks important                                                        37%                    49%

Dated material enclosed                                           24%                    33%


As you can see – the numbers have risen sharply.  People want to see more creative packaging and offers from you, and will return with more orders for you.

These numbers are very important both to online and offline buyers – people are people are people.

It’s up to all of us to put everything we can into making our mailings as applicable to the potential buyers as possible – then give them some REAL GOOD reasons to open up that email or mailing piece.  It will only work if they read it – and as we all know, it is getting tougher and tougher to get emails and print opened.

I will report in with you what happens here.

As you have seen, the process we are going through on this project is the same process every single one of you should be considering for your future campaigns as well!

To your success!


PS: If you seriously want a step-by-step blueprint to get YOU making a serious online income from home… join me in the Empower Network.

This is a very unique program that combines a very powerful sales system, some of the best training I have seen online, and a great revenue model where you keep 100% of the sales you make.

I know you have a lot to choose from right now.

But, if I can give you the biggest and best piece of advice I learned from the past 10 years online… it’s that you need to START with a proven affiliate system that converts AND trains you at the same time.

Plus, if you decide to work with me on this – I will give you $500 of my own products to help you get started right away.

Let me know your thoughts and questions.



Sneaky photo trick worked wonders…32% took action (case study)

Here is a great example of creative marketing and exceptional results.

Imagine getting a postcard in the mail – customized to you… with a Porsche in YOUR driveway.

Got your attention yet?

Damn rights… .especially if the Porsche isn’t yours!porsche-creative-marketing

Here’s how they got a 32% response rate with this highly personalized campaign



PS: If you are also curious how a bed-ridden gal turned $25 into $33,000 in just 90 days… have a peak at this