You remember Sherlock Holmes don’t you? Holmes was the fictional consulting detective invented by Scottish physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes, as you know, is famous for cracking open difficult cases and solving them with almost magical abilities.
So, grab your inspector’s hat and let’s play Sherlock Holmes for just a moment. We’re going to do a little spying today and see if the “Sherlock” in you can turn up a few profit clues lurking all around.
This is the shortest course to the profit-land in this crazy fun business. The direct marketing or “mail order” business as we affectingly call it have a “secret” way of “spying” on the competition. It’s called “seeding.”
Very simply, seeding is where you get on other businesses mailing list
… for the sole purpose of snooping and finding out what’s going on in your selected marketplace.
This does several things for you.
First, you’ll start receiving offers from the company you inquired about plus competing companies. And these offers can be golden to you by seeing exactly who’s mailing what.
You’ll see firsthand what their winners are, how the copy reads, what offers are hot and ideas will start to catch fire.
And if you go the extra yard and actually buy something, you’ll experience firsthand how you were treated, what upsells they offer, and how they run the customer service side of the business.
Simply put, this is one of the best direct marketing educations you can get. And best of all… it won’t cost you a fortune.
Basically, you get a master’s level marketing education for the mere cost of a postage stamp and the time it takes to “sign up.”
Pretty damn cool, right? As my late marketing mentor Melvin Powers once told me, “There are no secrets in the mail order business.”
You’ll be tuned in to ‘real world-real time’ marketing methods and strategies. This is one of the best ways to stay up-to-date with powerful trends and effective marketing that’s cutting edge.
Seeding gives you another huge benefit…
… A swipe file right at your fingertips.
What’s that, you say? Swipe file? YES! Swipe File!
What’s a swipe file? Hey, I’m glad you asked.
A swipe file is a collection of marketing pieces that have a proven history of positive results. These ads are bringing in bucket loads of profits, leads, store visits or whatever action the ad is asking from the customer.
But how do you know if these ads are profitable or not? It’s not really that hard to figure this out… and you don’t have to guess.
If you see a marketing promotion (advertisement, sales letter, squeeze page, etc.) that runs over and over or is mailed over and over, then you’ll know for sure it’s a winner.
Most marketers, especially direct response type businesses loath wasting money. Again, if you see an ad repeated over and over again, you can rest assured that it’s making money for the advertiser.
Once you start building your swipe file you’ll want to see how you’re marketing stacks up to the competition. Ideas gleamed from your swipe file could be used to improve your marketing.
There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. In direct marketing (or mail order), you have learned that there are no secrets. Everything is laid out there for you.
And by the way, did I mention swiping is legit… it’s sharply slices a huge portion of the learning curve!
Let me tell you a quick story about one of the most successful, profitable and effective direct marketing promotions to hit during the 20th Century.
It was 1974 and Martin Conroy was commissioned to write a sales letter to sell subscriptions for the Wall Street Journal.
No big deal, right? After all it was only two pages printed front to back… a mere 780-word letter.
But here’s the thing. Did you know that one of the most successful and profitable sales letter ever written…
This super-successful sales letter mailed for 28-years with almost no changes to the original copy. It raked in over an estimated TWO BILLION DOLLARS in gross revenues!
Take one of the most famous copywriting controls, The Wall Street Letter written by the late Martin Conroy. He in fact swiped it from a sales letter written many years before.
So what was the secret to this mega-success letter?
The secret, according to industry insiders, is that Conroy relied on a little-known “trick” to cheat his way to writing the pitch.
It’s helpful to know that Conroy’s letter was not beaten until 2002. It was beaten in two consecutive tests… the first test Conroy’s letter was beaten by less than 10%. The second by a huge 24%.
The second letter was written by copywriting legend Mal Decker.
So, the question is how did Mal Decker come up with a letter to beat the ‘unbeatable’ control?
The answer… again… it’s surprisingly simple… and you my friend can use this ethical “cheat” to produce blockbuster ads, web pages, sales letters, and just about any marketing piece you need to write.
Now I’m not saying its OK for you to straight out copy the ad word for word. Not at all… I’m saying it’s fine to borrow or swipe ideas, concepts and compelling parts that intrigue you and adapt them to your marketing.
Swiping is a great way to infuse new life in old copy and can often lead to more sales and leads.
So start your swipe file today and let the ideas flow.