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Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting
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Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
Web Sites & Advertising

Published by
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriting

April, 2002
Volume: 17 Number: 4

Five common email advertising mistakes
and how to avoid them


As any direct marketing pro knows, email marketing can be an
affordable and increasingly targetable communications

What's more, it can give you answers to important
marketing questions super fast. Want to test a new offer
or product price-point? No sweat. Send out a split-test
electronic blast and in no time the marketplace will tell
you what to do.

Another thing I really like about electronic mail is that
it's very flexible, and you can use it to meet all kinds
of marketing challenges. For example, you can use this media

* Get prospects to request a White Paper
* Encourage the use of your downloaded software
* Ask for the sale after a free download
* Cross sell your product
* Upsell to higher-priced products
* Generate sign-ups for an online conference
* Garner customer testimonials

And that's just for starters.

Of course, there's a catch . . . You have to write your
letter right. That means avoiding the pitfalls that
await the unwary. Here's a list of five mistakes that
I urge you to avoid making. Get all the details right
and you can make electronic mail make money for you!

*** Mistake #1: Using a weak "Subject" line

It doesn't matter how compelling your email offer is,
or how brilliantly your message is written. If your
subject line isn't working right, your letter will never
get opened and your campaign will be a failure.

Subject lines should be kept short. (Never exceed forty
characters including spaces.) This means that every
subject line must communicate extremely quickly and have
a little punch. Flat or cute is bad. Examples:

BAD SUBJECT LINE: Who's minding the store? Security info.

GOOD SUBJECT LINE: Five ways to prevent store theft

GOOD SUBJECT LINE: Stop store thieves in their tracks

GOOD SUBJECT LINE: Don't let thieves steal you blind

*** Mistake #2: Burying your Web address.

This mistake is pretty obvious but people make it all
the time. They stick their URL at the end of the letter
and don't include one near the top of their message.
Wrong. Some folks don't want to plow through all your
copy. They're ready to click through right to your site.
Make it easy for them to do so!

*** Mistake #3: Failing to identify the reader's pain

Don't start your email by enumerating every feature and
benefit of your product. (You're not writing a data
sheet!) One effective way to roll into your message is
to prove to your prospects IMMEDIATELY that you
understand exactly what they're up against -- that you
have the perfect answer to their problem. Here's an example
of a classic problem/solution lead-in format:

"Dear Physician:

Have you ever been sued for malpractice?

I hope not, because it can be a terrible, devastating

If YOU are concerned about protecting your practice,
your income, and your reputation, download our free
report immediately. It's called "Five Steps You Can Take
Now To Avoid A Malpractice Lawsuit" and you can download
it free right now at:


*** Mistake #4: Keeping the letter too short.

Some people have a terrible fear that their email advertising letter won't
get read so they write two short paragraphs and run for
the hills.

Don't be so afraid! Prospects WILL read it if
there is valuable information for them. The typical
email advertising letters I write run a good seven or eight paragraphs in
length . . . often with bullets too. They work just fine.

Don't forget, if as I mentioned above, you drop a URL in
early, prospects can click through without reading every
single word. Some people, though, like to read what
you've got to say and you shouldn't shortchange them.

*** Mistake #5: Writing in a boring, flat style.

This is a big no-no. As I often say, you have to write
with a little energy and sense of fun. Example: Take a
look at this email advertising letter I wrote for Shockwave. When I sat
down to write this letter, I imagined that I was sending
a note to a 21-year-old sitting in his messy dorm room.

"SUBJECT: Shockmachine is FREE and it's AWESOME!

Hey, have we got something for YOU.

Shockmachine. Free. Now.

It's dynamite, and it's waiting for you at:


Why does Shockmachine deserve a place on YOUR hard

Well, first of all Shockmachine is free so it will cost
you absolutely nada. (Not a bad selling point!)"

Fun to write! Sometimes, when you add a little attitude,
you can cut through the clutter and get the reader on
your side. Then you're halfway home!

I can help you improve your sales letter - Contact Me Here

Tips on writing email advertising by Ivan Levison.


Are you a software marketer?

Don't miss a terrific book written by my friend Rick
Chapman. It's called:

"The Product Marketing Handbook For Software"

Rick's book covers every aspect of software marketing,
from collateral to trade shows. Detailed stories examine
actual software marketing successes and disasters. (You
even get a free CD that includes a sample software
marketing budget.) Don't miss it!

Go to http://www.Aegis-Resources.com and check it out.

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