Copywriting Tip – John Carlton – Personalize Your Copy


Copywriting Tips: In this copywriting hotseat John Carlton shows how and why to personalize a letter

I want personalization. I’ve said this so many times it’s starting to grate on me. I keep getting people doing the “dear friend” thing. The “dear friend” thing comes from ancient direct response technology, when they couldn’t personalize. Now, we can.

Bob, how much more does it cost to personalize than to not personalize?

John: Three to five cents a letter. And, what do we bump up by just saying “dear Bob”, instead of “dear friend”?

Bob: It’s been so long since I’ve done a non-personalized letter that I couldn’t compare it for -you. I don’t do non-personalized letters any more.

John: But, it was a lot. It was easily 30 percent. Anybody misunderstand that? Personalize and you can get a bump of as much as 30 percent without doing a single other thing to your letter. And that is just saying “dear Bob” instead of “dear friend”.
What I often do is I’ll have “To: Bob Jones, From: John Carlton…Dear Bob”. And, I like to put his name in the headline. You can do that. They can print it. So, real quick…not more than 1 minute..how can you do it on the web?

Audience: Well, instead of coming to your sales letter they come to an opt-in page like I have, they could actually…The information that you get…

John: OK, OK. I get it. So, you have to add in another step to get their name. Somebody please, in this room, experiment with that and tell me if it hurts response. OK? Because, if you can, and I imagine you can do this in a cave man way…

Audience: I’ve already done something like that” I’ve done it with three websites. It decreased a little bit, the initial response, but the followup ultimately boosted.

John: You know what by what?

Audience: I had a 3% response on one site, and it went to 4%.

John: OK…20%, something like that.

Audience: That was without personalization, but when I personalized it, put that name in it, it went to like 5 1/2/%.

John: Oh, almost doubled. OK. Personalization, guys, it gets back to the “hey, bowlers”. If you are running an ad in a magazine or newspaper, you can’t do it, but think about ways to personalize it as much as you can…bring it down…”hey, bowlers”. “hey, left-handed bowlers” if that’s all you’re going after…”hey, arthritic bowler”.

I’m serious. That would do it. Say “are you not quite the guy you used to be? I’ve been bowling since I was 15 years old, and just last year I was wondering why I couldn’t get my thumb into the ball any more. The doctor told me, guess what, I have rheumatoid arthritis. I thought it was the end of my bowling career. It just broke my heart. However, I stumbled upon a secret that allows me to bowl 5 times a week, 3 games a week and I’ve upped my average 20 pins. Blah, Blah, Blah. OK?

Anybody got a question about personalization? Because I see it violated so much. It’s so important. If you can’t personalize with the name, get it as exact as you can, as to who you’re talking to. But, the best is the name. People love to hear their names.
I think, in my course I talked about having a product and being in a bus station somewhere, where people are just rushing hither and yon. The best thing you could say is “hey, Bob Smith, come on over here”, if you recognize the guy, Bob Smith. He would stop in the middle of a crowd…he would stop in the middle of a mob trying to escape a burning building.

If you don’t know him, how about “Hey, website owners”. Then, a lot of guys would say :”Yah, I own a website…what?” OK?

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