Thursday, November 4, 2010

Irresistible Sales Letters from David Ogilvy and Perry Marshall

David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, was a pioneer in direct-response advertising. And direct mail was his secret weapon.

He was so good, he even sold jets by mail.

Jets? Yes.

Here's how, from his book, Ogilvy on Advertising ...

Prospects for a new Cessna Citation business jet were sent carrier pigeons with an invitation to take a free ride in the jet. The recipients were asked to release the birds with their address tied to its leg. Some of the recipients ate the pigeons, but several returned alive, and at least one Citation was sold -- for $600,000.

Ogilvy's "homing pigeon sales letter" succeeded for several reasons.

Here are two: The recipients were qualified prospects (wealthy industrialists) and the letters (small boxes, actually, with birds inside) were too intriguing to ignore.

You can use these same two principles to improve any sales letter you send for your business.

Like Perry Marshall did ...

I just got the letter above -- with a clock included -- in the mail from Perry. 

In addition to an excellent set of headlines, Perry did exactly what David Ogilvy did: he targeted his prospects carefully (I'm a former client) and his letter is too intriguing to ignore.

What? You can't afford to mail clocks?

Sure you can. If your offer and audience are a match, as Perry's are.

This letter sells a coaching program for $3,888. I'd wager the clock and sales letter costs about $4 to mail, including postage. (You can buy clocks and other attention grabbers in bulk for pennies.)

List rental? $0 -- he's mailing to his house list of current/past clients and, probably, qualified prospects.

At $4 per letter, Perry needs only 1 sale per 972 letters to break even -- a conversions rate of less than .1%. Judging from the strength of his sales copy, however, he will likely convert at least 2% -- about 20 times his break-even amount, for a very nice return on investment.

How can you emulate Ogilvy and Marshall in your business?

Start by carefully selecting who gets your sales message -- current and past clients are best. Then mail a letter too intriguing to ignore.

(For more ideas like these, download Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)

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