The Boron Letters - Chapter 22

 

 

Tuesday, 10:35 AM

July 3, 1984

 

 

Dear Bond,

O.K. Buddy, here we go again. That section on propositions and an "excuse for a deal" was quite interesting, wasn't it?

You know, I think my letters are getting a little bit random but that's O.K. I sort of think it's good to write about what pops into my mind, at least for right now, and then maybe we can review all these letters later and make something out of them that's more cohesive.

So anyway, today I'm going to start by telling you about a little trick that will improve your copywriting. And that little trick is to read your copy out loud. What happens when you read your copy out loud is that you will verbally stumble over all the places that are not smooth. Then, of course, what you do, is rewrite the rough spots and read the copy out loud again. And, what you do, is you keep repeating this process till your copy is completely smooth and you can read it without stumbling at all.

You see, advertising writing needs to be the best writing of all. It needs to flow from start to finish without a bump or a bubble.

Now, do you remember how I told you to write out in your own handwriting good ads and DM pieces written by other people? You do remember? Good. Well, what I want to tell you here is that you should also read those same ads and DM pieces out loud. You see, by doing this writing and reading aloud of good material you will find that the process of writing good ads will be internally imprinted on your nerves, muscle fibers, brain cells and every fiber of your being.

So, the message is clear: Get yourself a collection of good ads and DM pieces and read them aloud and copy them in your own handwriting.

So, now what? Here I am stuck again. But not for long. What happened during my last break is I put together a deal and I think maybe it would be a good idea at this point to talk a little about the business of mail order. Here's how some of my deals work:

What I am doing is going through the SRDS list book and looking for mailing lists that I think will yield a good profit if exploited properly.

O.K., after I have identified the list I want to go after I then start thinking about a product to sell to that list. By the way, I am especially interested in selling paper and ink and, specifically, written reports that solve a problem for the people on the mailing list. Here are some tentative titles of reports that will give you an idea of what I mean:

 

"How To Raise Your Child's I.Q. Before It Is Even Born!"

(for expectant mothers)

 

"How To Fix Your Car To Get 50% More Miles Per Gallon!"

(for owners of gas guzzlers)

 

"How To Collect From Social Security At Any Age!"

(I already did this one and made $800,000.00 from it.)

 

And so on. Well, after I have identified the list and come up with the idea for the product, I then discuss this project with one of my bankers. If he likes the project (and they nearly always do) what they do is they put up roughly about $5,000.00 to get everything going. This five thousand is used to develop the report I want to sell, to rent the test names, to pay all costs of the test, etc.

Then what happens is I create the DM promotion and have Blade put it into the mail. Now then, one of three things will happen.

1. It will be a decided loser.

2. It will be a decided winner.

3. It will be marginal.

If it is a decided loser my "banker" will have lost his $5,000.00. If it is a decided winner my banker will then put up perhaps another $50,000 and we will mail approximately 100,000 pieces to get the ball rolling. Then, after that, we will finance the rest of the mailing from our cash flow and my banker and I will split the profit.

Very clean. Very neat. Very straight.

What if it's marginal? Well, in that case we will discuss the project again and make a judgment as to whether or not it makes sense to risk another $5,000 for another test.

Whatever. That's the way it works and it's a nice simple way of doing business. Well, Bondy, I'm going to stop for now. I am having a pretty sad day. Don't worry though, I'm O.K., just a little heartsick.

Such is life.

Here I am at the top of the hill in the library and once again I'm stuck for a subject. I think a lot of it is because I have {word deleted} on my mind.

Right now, it seems to me that I feel like outlining the steps to direct mail success so that's what I'm going to do.

Step 1 - Find a hot market (mailing list)

Step 2 - Find or create a product (preferably paper and ink) to sell to that market.

Step 3 - Create a direct mail promotion that describes the product (or service) and the benefits of owning the same.

Step 4 - Make a test mailing (1,000 to 5,000 pieces)

Step 5 - Analyze results

Step 6 - If results are good, mail 20,000 to 100,000 more letters

Step 7 - If results are still good, start rolling out and taking care of business

You know, it's really a simple procedure.

If you use good common sense, your chances of success are excellent. Where people go wrong is by making it too complicated. Actually, this is only one of the ways people go wrong and it occurs to me that it would be helpful to enumerate the most common reasons for MO & DM failure.

And, toward this end I'm going to tell you about a little discussion I had just a couple hours ago. What happened is I was settling down writing an earlier portion of this letter when a friend of mine told me he wanted to chat with me in private. (Chat! Isn't that nifty word to describe a prison conversation?)

Anyway, what he wanted to talk about was that a friend of his had invented a gizmo that lets you make stuff out of wood the same way a key-making machine lets you make keys out of blank metal. (Actually, I don't fully understand what this thing does, but no matter.)

In any case, he wants me to take a look at the papers on this thing and see if I think it is worth promoting because the guy who invented this thing isn't following through with it because he can make so much more money smuggling dope.

Of all things! Oh my! Well, what I told him is I would be glad to help. However, I also told him that he was making the single most common mistake made by people who want to break into the MO business.

What is that mistake? The mistake is finding or developing a product FIRST and then looking for a market to sell it to. This is backasswards.

You Must Always

Find A Market First...

And Then Concentrate On A Product!

Products are a dime a dozen. They are important but much less crucial to success than finding a hot market. I'll tell you this: A guy with a new product cannot always find a hot market for that product but a guy who has uncovered a HOT MARKET can always find a product to fill the needs of that market.

I Love You And Good Luck!

Dad

   
   

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