The Boron Letters - Chapter 14



Monday, 9:05 AM

June 25, 1984


Dear Bond,

Today we are going to talk about that baggie full of dirt that we have attached to our real estate investment sales letter.

Now, listen up. While it is true that you must attract attention to your advertisements and sales letters, it is also true that your "attention grabber" should be relevant. It should tie in with your message. It should make sense.

Once upon a time there was a guy who wrote a series of articles for a magazine called "Printers Ink." I forget the guys pen name but he was very good. He wrote about how to improve DM & MO advertising.

Well, anyway, he once called an excellent example of how you should NOT attract attention. Check out this headline:


A Submarine

That Flies?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


And then, beneath that headline was the copy: "No, we don't have a submarine that flies but our pink pills, etc., etc."

A cheap shot. People resent this kind of fraud. Don't do it. If you put your mind to work you won't have to either. You can grab attention without "cheating", without making the reader feel ripped off. Which brings me right back to our dirt filled baggie.

Do you remember how I explained that the baggie has our reader wondering why you sent it to him? That he wants to know what's going on here? That we have his focused attention? Quality attention?

You say you do remember all that? Good. In that case, I'll proceed.

Now, here's how the letter will start off:



Dear Mr. Tiberion,


I am attaching a plastic baggie to the top of this letter for two important reasons:


First of all, what I have to say to you is very serious and I needed some way to be sure to get your attention.


And secondly, what is inside that baggie could very well be your passport to complete financial independence!


Why is this? The answer is simple: You see, what is inside that baggie is a very tiny amount of what is the most valuable thing on earth.


I'm talking about real estate and, in this case, Hawaiian Real Estate!


Yes, it's true. The sand inside that baggie was taken directly from a certain beach on the island of Maui and this particular beach is one of the few left that is open for purchase to private investors!


Here's what it's all about: blah, blah, blah, etc., etc., etc.



O.K., Bondodog, do you follow what I'm doing here? You see, what I did is I got his attention and then I tied my copy to my "attention grabber" in a relevant way that makes sense.

Now, if I were to continue writing this letter, I would use words that would make my reader "picture with pleasure" that beach in his mind. Before I was finished, he would be able to feel the sand in his toes, smell the fresh tang of the salt air, drink in the stars with his eyes and feel the warm friendly sun on his back.

Oddly enough, just a couple days ago, I received from Eric a copy of a sales letter he is writing to sell Hawaiian real estate. I am going to send Eric's letter to you real soon and I want you to read it and then imagine how much his letter could be improved by using all the little secrets (including the baggie) that we have just discussed.

Well oh well, what have we got so far? Let's see: we picked out our list, we know how to think about outside envelopes and return envelopes, we have thought up a way to get our reader's attention and we have the first couple paragraphs of our letter.

But, in most cases, we need more than a letter and a reply envelope. Yes, in most cases, it is good to include an order card and some type of printed brochure. I like to include an order card and a brochure with my sales letters. However, I do not like to let my reader see my order card, etc. as soon as he opens the envelope.

Do you know why? That's right. I don't want him to realize that I want to sell him something until I am well into my pitch. Here is something else you should know: Many people, when they read an ad, read it like this... What they do is, they read the headline first and then they go right to the order coupon.

The same is true with direct mail letters. If your reader sees your order card as soon as he opens your envelope, he will read it first to see what the deal is.

And, that's not good for us. It is true, of course, that we do want him to read our order card but we want him to read it at the proper time! And the proper time is after he has read our letter.


Now, how in the world do we include an order card and/or a sales brochure in our envelope and still hide it (temporarily) from our reader?

Believe it or not, it took me years to figure this out. And, just like the paperclip, it is so simple, you wonder why you didn't see it instantly.

Here's how I do it: What I do is, take an 8-1/2x11 piece of paper and cut it in half long ways.



(cut here)

-  -  -  -  - 


Next I fold the cut pieces in thirds like this:



(fold here)

-  -  - 



(fold here)

-  -  - 



Now, turn the piece around and write this on the back:



NOTE: Open this paper to find the special info mentioned in my letter.




OK, now, that which I have just written should be printed in blue ink and appear to be handwritten. Notice that it refers him to my letter and it is personalized with my initials.

Now here is what he will see when he finally opens that note:



Here Is The Info I Mentioned In My Letter!


~~~~~~~~     (Boxed

~~~~~~           Photo

~~~~~~~~       Here)




(Order Coupon)




O.K., kiddo, here is my final point for the day. Although I like my letters to be personal, in most cases, I also like them to be "businesslike personal".

And, that's why part of the package should be typeset and maybe contain some photographs. Your see, this adds an air of stability to your promotion. It makes you seem like a real business.

Again, I want to emphasize that in order to make it easy to order (and to credential our offer) we need stuff like order cards, brochures, photos, and typeset copy.

But, again, as I said, we want our reader to see this stuff at the proper time.


I Love You and Good Luck!



A couple things need to be updated regarding this letter.

To start with, computers have made it so BREs (Business Reply Envelopes) no longer are slowed very much for tabulating purposes. This letter was written before high-speed computers were so wide spread.

Also, this was written when phone calls other than local calls were costly and reply envelopes were more important. THEY STILL ARE, but when testing the phone order option, many times only being able to order over the phone works best and more and more the phone and internet are becoming the preferred ways to order..

With the phone, there is no delay and as pop says, "in sales, delay is death." The things that can happen between reading copy and sending a check in the mail is far greater than the things that can happen between reading the copy and picking up the phone.

The last note is that my dad preferred hiding the BRE in an envelope marked "Do not open until you have read my letter". More often than not he put an order coupon in there too.



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