The Irrepressible Joe Sugarman
Tell a Story If Possible
Everybody loves a good story, be it about Peter Rabbit or King Lear. And the direct mail letter, with its unique person-to-person format—is the perfect vehicle for a story. And stories get read. The letter I wrote to launch the Cousteau Society twenty-some years ago has survived hundreds of tests against it. When I last heard, it was still being mailed in some form or other. The original of this direct mail Methuselah started out with this lead: "A friend once told me a curious story I would like to share with you..." —Harry Walsh, Freelance copywriter
If you have trouble reading Sugarman's BluBlocker copy in the media player, click here and you will find this brilliant copy in an easy-to-read format.
How strong is Sugarman's lede sentence?
Type it into Google, and you'll find at least five other marketers who swiped this line verbatim.
Takeaways to Consider
- "Direct marketing is intimate advertising." —Stan Rapp
- "What makes a letter seem 'personal' is the sense that one gets of being in the presence of the writer ... that a real person sat down and wrote you a real letter." —Richard Armstrong
- "Use a story if possible. Everybody loves a good story, be it about Peter Rabbit or King Lear. And the direct mail letter, with its unique person-to-person format—is the perfect vehicle for a story. And stories get read." —Harry Walsh
- Joe Sugarman once told me when he introduced the toll-free 800 number, top people in the industry were aghast. It was too radical, they told him.
- If it makes sense, test radical. You might leave the competition eating your dust.
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