I have received an enormous amount of e-mails
from people trying to guess why each of the three letters I
recently put on my website were so successful. (The letters
in Parts I, II and II of "Can You Guess?") Today, I'm going
to talk about the first of those letters which was written
for the Eye Centers of Tennessee.
As I mentioned before, out of all the
replies I received regarding those newsletters (Parts I, II
and III), a small percentage of my subscribers hit the
answer right on the head, another small percentage didn't
have a clue, and most of the guesses fell somewhere in the
middle (meaning they were partially right about what made
those letters successful).
A lot of you attributed the excellence of
the letter written for the Eye Centers of Tennessee to the
dollar bill attached as a grabber. Let me explain something:
Attaching a dollar bill to the top of a letter to get
someone's attention is what I call a "multiplier". In other
words, it is very likely to multiply the effectiveness of
the letter. But if the letter isn't already effective,
just sticking a dollar bill on the first page won't make it
profitable. Know this:
You Can't Multiply Zeros!
Other subscribers wrote saying the letter
was effective because it was mailed to people with the
proper demographics which made them most likely to need the
service. Well, as near as possible, the letter will be
mailed (hopefully for years to come) to people with the
proper demographics. However, any profitable promotion has
to be mailed to people who are real prospects for
what you are selling if it is to have a chance of making it
work. So, if it a profitable sales letter, it's pretty much
a given the letter is already being mailed to the people who
are actually prospects for what you are selling.
The REAL reason the Eye Centers'
letter worked... the really "stand out" feature of this
letter over most other letters... can be summed up in one
Specific, detailed proof.
Ray Mays, the Director of the Eye Centers of
Tennessee, gave me substantial help with that letter. How
so? He provided me with an enormous amount of detailed
information. Information which went a long way to prove the
extraordinary lengths Dr. Patterson goes through to provide
all his patients with the best possible care... and... the
extraordinary lengths Dr. Patterson goes through to ensure
all his operations are as safe as possible. I used a great
deal of what Ray Mays had already written about the
specifics of how Dr. Patterson conducts his medical
practice, word-for-word. I used most of it unchanged. And
Ray Mays deserves as much credit for the success of that
letter as I do. He provided me with nearly all the
"ammunition" I needed to write the letter. My primary job
was to properly sequence and "showcase" this ammunition so
that it would get noticed and read by the target
However, even though Ray Mays provided me
with all this invaluable ammunition, you know what else I
did? I had Dr. Patterson treat me exactly as though I were a
new patient. I filled out the admitting forms, allowed
myself to have my eyes examined by his staff, and went
through the whole routine just as though I were a real new
patient getting ready to find out if I was a candidate for
It also didn't hurt that I, myself, have had
two eye surgeries. One of which involved the removal of a
cataract (which is Dr. Patterson's specialty).
Many of my readers were shrewd enough to
mention the letter was, in many ways, similar to the famous
"Schlitz Beer Letter" written by Claude Hopkins decades ago.
What Claude Hopkins did when he was preparing the
advertisement for Schlitz Beer was dramatize the lengths the
company went through to create their beer in a 100% sterile
environment. Other beer companies probably did the same
things to ensure the sterility of their product... but...
To Inform The
About All These
Probably other eye surgeons use some of the
same procedures Dr. Patterson uses to ensure the safety and
effectiveness of their operations... but... they miss the
mark by not informing their patients about all this.
Remember, I said the Eye Centers' letter is
not only a good example of proof, I said it was specific,
detailed proof. Here's just a few examples of what I
Where The Procedures Are Performed
Dr. Patterson performs all eye
surgeries in an ambulatory surgery center which
is licensed by the State of Tennessee and
certified by the U.S. Government. The surgery
center is built to the exact same standards
required for open-heart surgery or brain
surgery. For example, Dr. Patterson's surgery
Humidity Control: Of all the
variables involved with a sterile environment
and successful Cataract surgery, humidity is one
of the biggest. If the humidity was too high, or
low, infectious spores could grow or mutate and
be carried around the room by human movement.
But Dr. Patterson has gone to
extraordinary measures to control humidity in
his facility. You see, during construction, the
contractors placed a layer of rubberized asphalt
laminated to a polyethylene film under the
concrete slab to prevent vapor from seeping up
through the concrete floor.
Plus, he also uses a
combination humidifier/dehumidifier system to
add or remove moisture from the air as
Dust and Airborne Particles:
Obviously dust and other airborne particles can
Just like humidity, invisible
dust or airborne particles may come in contact
with the eye during surgery and cause an
infection later on. This is why the air in the
room is exchanged a minimum of two times every
five minutes. Dr. Patterson's system for doing
this is one of the most advanced of its kind,
and also includes a HEPA filtration system which
filters the dust and particles out of the air at
the same time.
Temperature Control: In
conjunction with humidity control, temperature
control is important in consistent successful
outcomes. Dr. Patterson maintains a constant 68°
in the room at all times. The surgery center
features a digitally controlled heating,
ventilation and air conditioning system with
graphical software and telelink modem. Dr.
Patterson controls the temperature to plus or
minus 1/10 (one-tenth) of a degree.
General Cleanliness: In order
to maintain general cleanliness and sterility,
the room has to be constructed with special
flooring and paint. Why? So it can withstand the
harsh cleaning agents required to maintain a
Dr. Patterson's floor covering
is an operating room grade, low porous vinyl and
the walls are covered with an epoxy-based paint.
The ceiling is constructed with a
non-particulate material with a vinyl veneer
which enables the ceiling to be cleaned.
Dr. Patterson is a stickler
for maintaining cleanliness in his operating
room and insists the cleaning schedule be
followed religiously. And because he goes to
these kinds of lengths to make sure there is
absolutely no infectious particles in his
theatre, many of his patients enjoy a speedy
What Happens If The Power Goes Out?
There is always someone who
asks, "What happens if the power goes out during
my surgery?" That is a question Dr. Patterson
can easily answer.
Dr. Patterson has a 150
Kilowatt, 480 Volt, 3 Phase backup generator. If
you are like me, you have no idea what that
means. But what I do know is, within 4-seconds
of losing power, Dr. Patterson's whole building
is up and running with full power... and... it
can continue like this for 24-hours.
There are a lot of other factors which
contribute to the successfulness of the Eye Centers' letter... but...
specific, detailed proof is the stand out feature of the
I'd like to congratulate those of you who
got the answer 100% correct. And I applaud ALL of you for
sending in your guesses. Whether 100% correct, somewhat
correct, or not even a clue, you took the time to read the
letter, dissect it, and send me your guesses. I hope this has been a
profitable educational experience for everybody who reads my
newsletters and my website.
In my next posting, I'm going to explain what made the ad featured in "Can You Guess Part III?"
so effective. I'm saving the answer to "Can You Guess Part
II?" (A Valentine for Jessica) because the answer which makes
that piece of writing so successful is...
Very Unusual And
To Figure Out!
Gary C. Halbert