Celebrating Our 30th Anniversary!
It was October 1984 when Denny and I launched the premiere issue of Who's Mailing What! Back then, it was a paid newsletter that analyzed direct mail and included a members-only archive service.
Can you imagine ... the first issue was typed on a Selectric typewriter! It included an analysis of a new Yankee control mailing by legendary Walter Weintz, an insurance mailing from American Express/Firemen's Fund, an "emergency " appeal from Planned Parenthood and so much more.
But of all the mailings Denny wrote about over the years, the most successful advertisement "in the history of the world" was Martin Conroy's "Two Young Men" letter for the Wall Street Journal. [To learn more about Grand Controls and why you should care, watch the video above. But, in a nutshell, a Grand Control is marketing gold.]
Denny has summarized how you can apply some of the "Two Young Men" secrets to your own efforts. What follows applies to direct mail, email, space advertising — in fact everything in print and digital — letters, business plans, whitepapers, articles, memos, blogs, press releases, etc.
- "Short words. Short sentences. Short paragraphs." —Andrew J. Byrne, freelancer
- "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, freelancer
- Skip a line between paragraphs.
- "After two or three inches of copy, insert your first crosshead, and thereafter pepper crossheads throughout. They keep the reader marching forward. Make some of them interrogative, to excite curiosity in the next run of copy." —David Ogilvy, advertising legend
- "An ingenious sequence of boldly displayed crossheads can deliver the substance of your entire pitch to glancers who are too lazy to wade through the text." —David Ogilvy
- Use a real signature by a real person in the writer's own handwriting
So there you have it.
Related story: WMW! Tutorial: Controls