Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing June 2008  Newsletter:

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U.S. Government Beefs Up Anti-Spam Rules.
By Michael Dinan
TMCnet Editor

Federal officials approved four new rule provisions to a sweeping 5-year-old law known as “CAN-SPAM,” the nation’s first bill designed to regulate commercial e-mails.

Part of CAN-SPAM - short for the Controlling the Assault of Non Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 - require the Federal Trade Commission to develop rules that would shield consumers from unwanted mobile phone spam.

The new rules effectively will make it easier for unwanted e-mail recipients to get off of lists and make it easier to identify who sends those e-mails.

Though analysts say the amount of sexually explicit spam has been reduced due to developing anti-spam applications, the so-called “mobile marketing” industry has grown at a pace commensurate with mobile technology itself.

A nonprofit group representing those marketers – the Denver-based Mobile Marketing Association (News - Alert) – has been close at hand while the FTC develops its new rules.

It isn’t clear what the association thinks of the FTC’s 4-0 decision in favor of the rules. A spokesperson for the organization could not immediately be reached.

In a public statement issued last week, the association President Laura Marriott (News - Alert) said marketers must be included when the government makes decisions about mobile devices, and pushed to allow the industry to move forward without government interference.

“We applaud the efforts of the FTC to allow representatives of the mobile ecosystem to be heard,” Marriott said. “The MMA is pleased with the industry's self-regulatory initiatives to reduce unsolicited messages, protect privacy and ensure a positive consumer experience.”

Specifically, the new rule provisions do the following:

1. An e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender.

2. The definition of "sender" was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out requirements.

3. A "sender" of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act's requirement that a commercial e-mail display a "valid physical postal address."

4. A definition of the term "person" was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM’s obligations are not limited to natural persons.

Direct Marketers: Is Your Copy Asking The Right Questions?

by Barry Densa.

One of the most famous questions ever asked in an ad was penned almost a century ago by copywriting legend Maxwell Sackheim. It read: Do you make these mistakes in English?

It was the headline for an ad that sold a rather pedestrian mail-order language course. Yet it worked so well, pulling in so much money, the company who owned it continued to run it for 40 long and successful years!

To be sure, a myriad of other headlines were tested, all using the same body copy, before that now famous winner was discovered. One competing headline even read: Do you make mistakes in English? Certainly close enough, you would think, but it failed miserably, as did all others.

It was only when that seemingly innocuous word “these” was finally inserted, that direct marketing history was made and a lesson for direct marketers was learned. Well, some endeavored to learn it, most never tried. They merely copied its form, without understanding why it worked so well. Even today, you’ll see that same headline in its innumerable permutations:

• Do you make these seven tactical mistakes on a first date?
• Do you make these errors when doing your own taxes?
• Do you make these blunders every time you write your own copy?

These copycat headlines will actually work... at least for a short while (particularly with those consumers who don’t get out very often). But as with most formulaic copy, it’s soon recognized as a trite, clichéd, over-used and unimaginative pitch that screams: Hey, look! Here’s my ad!

Nevertheless, the question remains, can asking a question in an ad increase sales? Some will argue vehemently that the use of a question is a non-starter, a pre-ordained copywriting disaster. Nevertheless, a question is a tool. And as with any tool, any copywriting strategy or tactic, if a question is not formulated and handled with proper caution, it could indeed do immeasurably more harm than good. Well, let me correct that: if you’re a direct marketer who tests you can measure precisely how much harm a poorly phrased question will do or how well a good one will work.

The secret to constructing a well-built, hard-working, money-sucking question:

For Max Sackheim the secret sauce in his brilliant question was intrigue and curiosity, both of which were lacking in:
Do you make mistakes in English? This question failed because it was a yes or no question, and a yes or no question should never (with qualifications) be asked in sales copy. Why? Because either of the two possible answers, yes or no, will effectively end the conversation you’re trying to conduct with the reader.

If the answer to a question is no, the reader will assume there’s no further reason to continue reading your letter. In other words, you asked, I answered, now good-bye. Similarly, if the answer is yes, the reader responds with a big: Yeah, so? (And again, he’s gone.) A yes/no question does not sink the barbed hook in the fish’s mouth.

Why then “these”?

By inserting the word “these” in his headline, Sackheim prevented the reader from answering yes or no. And, because the reader didn’t know what “these mistakes” were, he had to keep reading in order to find out. And that was the key to the ad’s success.

The first objective of any sales copy, from the headline on down, is to compel the reader to keep reading. Otherwise, how else will you get the chance to prove your product’s worth and ask for the order?

Never give the reader time to think about the answer. You want to do all the thinking, and answering, for the reader. You want to direct the conversation and provide the conclusions - always!

For example, if you ask a question that doesn’t either hint or overtly state that the answer will only be revealed by reading further, sorta like in these questions:

• How many times a day do you dream of becoming rich?
• When are you finally going to tell your boss to take this job and shove it?
• How much money have you lost in the stock market this year?

You’re, in effect, asking the reader to step away from your ad and discover the answer elsewhere.  You have lost his attention and you’ve broken the connection.  For an ad to be successful it can never be laid aside. It must be read in its entirety with rapt attention, growing interest, and compelling desire.

But, since there are exceptions to all rules, here is the only time answering “yes” to a question will move a sales conversation forward and not end it: If you can pose a question or numerous questions in such a way, where you know, and want, the answer to always be yes. You will be leading the reader into a state of blissful acceptance of your argument or contention and ultimately of your offer.

If your question is more or less rhetorical where you and the reader know the answer is yes, sorta like in these questions:

• Couldn’t you use an extra $10,000 in your bank account starting tomorrow?
• Wouldn’t you like to be your own boss, and never have to answer to anyone else again while doubling your income?

You’re, in effect, positioning yourself as the reader’s good buddy, you’re agreeing with him, and prompting him to agree with you. You’re standing beside him, confirming his deepest beliefs and/or suspicions. The more he answers yes to your “leading” questions and to your similarly orchestrated statements and contentions, the more inclined he will be, by sheer force of habit if nothing else, to say “YES!” when you ask him to purchase your product or service.

Get it? Questions? Yes, no?

Win Yankee and Mets Tickets!  

This is the final year the Yankees and Mets will play in their respective stadiums and Talon has great seats for you to win.

We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees and Mets!  To win, be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or email).  Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11.  One set per winner.  All games will have fantastic seat locations. 

  • Sunday June 8th, Yankees vs. The Kansas City Royals 1:05 PM.
  • Friday June 13, Mets vs. The Texas Rangers  7:10 PM.

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know by email:  mb@talon-mailing.com

To learn more about our company, please visit our web site: www.talon.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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Talon's Free Postage Rate Software With The New Postal Rates is Available by Download.

Designed and written by the Talon programming staff, this software is indispensable if you plan mailings, need to know the latest postal regulations, or require instant postage estimates.

To download a free copy click on this link:   Click here to download your free copy.

In this Issue:

U.S. Government Beefs Up Anti-Spam Rules.

Direct Marketers: Is Your Copy Asking The Right Questions?

Talon's Free Postage Software is Available by Download.

Yankee & Mets Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Links - Websites you probably haven't seen.

View Samples of our work.

Newsletter Archives

New Clients:

Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:

  • The Lighthouse

  • Proforma

  • ALP International

  • Gold Star

  • South Huntington UFSD

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

Phone number: 800-224-2242 - A most unusual link.    Call this number from your cell phone.  This free service called ChaCha, will allow you to verbally state your question and within a few minutes you will get an answer to your question via text message!

Salesgravy.com - The fastest growing B2B networking community for sales professionals. Meet the top salespeople in your industry here, find jobs and get sales tips.

Searchengines.com - Web tips, info & tutorials to help optimize your site & improve your search engine rankings.

Zabasearch.com -  Free people search engine that scours freely accessible public information and records. It's a free service, but you'll have to pay if you want more detailed information, such as background checks.

Spock.com - Another people search engine.  Spock is the world's leading people search engine. Find people you know by name, location, email or tag.

Dailywritingtips.com - Improve your writing skills with Daily Writing Tips. Grammar, spelling, misused words, business writing and more!  

Dooce.com - since 2001, Heather Armstrong has shared the details of her work life, pregnancy and post-natal depression with raw honesty and self-deprecation. She was sacked for blogging about her colleagues, but is now able to support her family from the site's advertising revenue alone.


Work Samples:

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Newsletters Archives:

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