Ben Settle

  • Book & Tabloid Newsletter Publisher
  • Email Supremacist
  • Alt-Copywriter
  • Software Investor
  • Pulp Novelist

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File under: Copywriting & Sales Letters

A true story from the advertising ghetto:

Last week, a faithful and no-doubt sincere and well-meaning and well-intentioned “Email Players” subscriber (i.e. not a troll) gave Yours Crotchety unsolicited advice that not only contradicts 100 years of direct response marketing and billions of dollars in space ad testing over the time… but was a gloriously shining example of the Email Players Rule:

“If you want to know how the deer thinks, ask the hunter, not the deer.”

(Props to comedian Dante Nero for that ditty)

Anyway, what was this unsolicited advice?

To do a better job of clearly defining which pages in “Email Players” are advertisements and which aren’t, to make it easier to read, by doing things like hiding the header and footer on those pages, or putting a box around the the ads like you’d see in a magazine or newspaper which has both informative copy and advertising.

Now I don’t know his exact situation or experiences.

But I do know these three things:

1. He said his advice was based on owning a magazine and as a reader of my newsletter

(i.e. the deer)

2. He did not say his advice was based on paying for ads and testing them and analyzing the results

(i.e. the hunter)

3. I dialed up the “make your ads look as much like the editorial as possible” rule of direct response advertising to 11 in the September issue’s ads — going even more obnoxiously against the unsolicited advice above.

Here’s some context:

I started toying with embedding full page ads inside the newsletter — where before I’d just include a long sales letter for something — in June.

And the June issue’s ads were obviously “ads.”

I even made the stipulation they had to be what I call “Sea-Monkey Advertising.”

(i.e. inspired by the old, brilliant Sea-Monkey comicbook ads.)

The July issue’s ads were, too, although not nearly as much.

And, even the August issue’s ads were obvious ads.

But the upcoming September issue that goes to the printer in a few days?

Well, Troo-Bulleeber, let’s just say, if anyone thought the August issue ads were hard to read because they weren’t obviously defined as advertising… then September’s issue will give them even a hotter case of heartburn over it.

But, even its ads will be merely another feeler to see what works best.

I have some doozies I’ll be running in the coming months that will not only be obvious advertising (not even trying to hide the fact), but prime examples of infotainment that makes even Sea-Monkey ads look prestigious, and not something laying in the gutter of what Marvel Comics once described as “the advertising ghetto” (where, incidentally, all the best direct response advertising can be found, in my opinion…) And it could very well be they handily beat all my sneaky disguised content advertising.

All of which brings me back to the rub:

When you’re hungry and you need to eat or starve, don’t ask the deer how to hunt it, ask the hunter.

You’ll catch more deer.

Eat more heartily.

And, save a lot of ammo.

Whatever the case, if you want to subscribe to “Email Players” in time to get the September issue, you’ll have to hurry.

I’m sending it to the printer later this week.

To get in on time, run (knees to chest!) don’t walk to:

Ben Settle

  • Book & Tabloid Newsletter Publisher
  • Email Supremacist
  • Alt-Copywriter
  • Software Investor
  • Pulp Novelist

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