All the New, Paying Customers
You Could Ever Want – For Free!

What’s that you say?

… Your direct mail promos are dragging in the dirt?

… Your Internet promos barely bring in enough new blood to keep body and soul together?

… Is that what’s worrying you, Sparky?

Well, worry no more! This simple innovation can have you attracting thousands of new, paying customers every month from now on – FOR FREE!

Dear Business-Builder,

OK – so I’m an old bugger.

When I wrote my first direct mail promotion, Nixon was in the White House, “The Godfather” was shattering box-office records and Elvis was alive, kicking and skinny.

In those days, nobody had a clue what a personal computer or FedEx was. Saying “Let me fax you” would have probably gotten your face slapped.

And that lack of technology meant the time, cost and back-breaking effort involved in creating a direct mail promotion were truly brain-boggling.

No computers meant we had to retype each new draft of every job from beginning to end.

No FedEx or fax machines meant we had to allow weeks on each job just for sending drafts back and forth between copywriters, artists and clients.

And no graphics software meant every jot and tittle had to be precariously glued to a layout board by hand – and then re-glued when it inevitably fell off on the trip to the printer.

Altogether, you could figure a typical #10 envelope promotion (envelope teaser copy, 8-page sales letter, lift note, flyer and response device) would take a month to get to final draft … another month to design … and another month or so to print and mail.

I may be old, but I’m crafty …

 … And so in 1980 – when I realized computers meant never having to retype an entire letter again, I bought an Apple II.

And I was one of the first people I know to own a LISA in 1983 … a Mac in 1984 … a DOS-based PC in 1985 … a series of 286, 386, 486 and finally Pentium-based Windows machines …

 … And in 1991, I launched Health & Healing by a swimming pool in Huntington Beach, California on a Tandy laptop.

Point is, I have eagerly bought every chunk of hardware or software that I so much as suspected might be helpful. If it saves time or lets me focus more intensely on the power of my ad copy, I want it!

Today, in my personal offices here in North Carolina, we have a massive server, a gaggle of powerful work stations and laptops that connect to our network from anywhere on the planet.

Where I once hunched and squinted at a 12" monochrome Lisa screen, I can now spread the work across acres of virtual desktop: A 32" monitor flanked by two 24-inchers!

Plus, we have peripherals out the wazzoo: Five network printers, two scanners, a computer-driven fax machine, three high-rez digital cameras, a complete computerized audio studio, a projector for presentations …

 … And all the software needed to write and design direct mail promotions, print ads, Web pages and HTML e-mails for our clients.

Armed with all this great technology, I can have a moneymaking idea in the shower … write a promo in the morning … design it in the afternoon … and upload it to my printer or to the WWW by quitting time …

 … And it all cost about HALF of what CompuGraphics charged for a single typesetting system twenty years ago!

Adapt or Die

No doubt about it: Staying on the cutting edge of technology is essential for every business owner, marketing exec, copywriter and designer in the direct marketing industry.

And I'm not just talking about getting all the cool new toys that save you time and money and help us focus more intensely on our work.

Understanding each new marketing channel as it comes along can save your professional life.

I'm living proof it's true.

See, just four years ago, direct mail was still red-hot for my main client and me. We expected each new promotion to pull 300% or 400% of cost on its first outing to rented lists.

As a result, we were mailing up to 18 million pieces per year to promote a single newsletter and adding as many as 15,000 new subscribers per month.

Meanwhile, our competitors were lucky if they could mail one-tenth as many promotions for each newsletter in their stables.

At the time, the fact that our competitors weren't doing nearly as well didn't bother us a bit. But there was a problem …

Since we were the only financial newsletter publishers mailing to the entire investment newsletter universe – and since our competitors were no longer bringing significant numbers of new subscribers into our universe – we eventually saturated our market.

And when we did, our response rates began dropping, too.

Today, I'd throw confetti if I got a 150% to 200% ROI for that client – or for any investment newsletter publisher for that matter.

And just the other day I learned that a promotion mailed by a friend of mine only generated 23% of what it cost him to mail it.


Think that's bad? Get this: In 2003, I could expect each financial newsletter I promoted, to hand me royalties of nearly $1 million a year.

Today, with the very strongest packages out there mailing only a couple million pieces, the best you could hope for is a $100,000 payday.

That's nearly a 90% pay cut!

Fortunately for me (and my creditors), I kept up with technology. When information publishers began making inroads through Internet and Web marketing, I watched them like a hawk.

I went to school on every technique I could find that seemed to be generating new leads and new customers for publishers on the Web.

And every month for the last few years, I’ve been creating fewer and fewer direct mail promotions …

 … And more and more promotions for the World Wide Web.

Three Reasons Why You Can't Afford
NOT to Master Internet Marketing Now

Now, I’m not one of those geeks who claim that the Internet is the solution to all of our problems.

But for us marketers, I count three reasons why the monster medium some call the “World Wide Waste of time” truly can be a godsend.

1. It’s as Cheap as All Get-Out: While it costs me up to six cents to put a direct mail promotion into a prospect’s hands, I can reach the same guy on the Web for a penny or two – and in many cases, free.

That simple fact delinks risk and reward in ways we could only have dreamed about in the ‘80s!

While the potential rewards of Internet promotion are every bit as great, the cost – and therefore the inherent risk – is a fraction of what you assume in direct mail.

2. Guaranteed Winners, Anyone? When the dust settles after a direct mail promo, you basically know five facts about your effort:

  1. How much you spent …
  2. How many folks received your promotion …
  3. How many folks responded …
  4. How much money they spent with you, and …
  5. How much money you made or lost on the mailing.

But wouldn’t it also be nice to know at what point in your promotion the buyers actually made their purchase decision?

Or even better – to know at precisely what point non-buyers decided to turn your promotion into a birdcage liner?

I would have killed for that kind of info on my direct mail promotions!

In online marketing, you can know all that and more!

This is big stuff: See, if your direct mail package fails to beat the control on its first outing, you’ve just wasted a month of your life – your package will probably never be mailed again.

But if you knew precisely at which point in the copy you lost your prospects, you could simply …

Repair or replace the weak links in your sales copy and offer …

Continue testing until you had a winner …

And then keep on refining your message until you have an out-of-the-park grand slam!

That’s the stuff dreams are made of!

3. Faster Moolah: Unlike the U.S. Postal Service which takes two to three weeks to deliver bulk mail, the Internet lets me deliver my sales message and begin generating sales instantly.

Plus, in direct mail, some 20% to 40% of your orders come back to you by snail-mail – which means it’ll be another long week before you have that money to gleefully toss into the air and rub all over your body.

When you promote on the Web, the celebration can commence instantly!

Where Web Marketers Often Go Wrong

For years, I’ve been told that to build a successful online business, you should spend as little as possible to convince folks to sign up for a free e-zine, and then wait patiently for some of them to buy something from you.

Put simply …

You spray opt-in forms (or links to your opt-in forms) to a free e-zine to the greatest number of people possible at the lowest cost possible …

Sign up as many subscribers as possible for your free e-zine …

Slavishly provide 24-karat content for weeks and months on-end, and …

Pray that some of your free subscribers will eventually buy something from you and become customers.

But does this "Spray-and-Pray" model really work?

Sure does! I have good friends who have used it to build huge databases and to sell tens of millions of dollars-worth of stuff into them.

The way I see it though, this spray-and-pray model has major drawbacks for aggressive, growth-obsessed marketers like me:

1. Spray-and-Pray can't provide detailed results data quickly enough to let you leverage your successes or cut your failures short.

Sure – you know how many leads (opt-ins) each promotion generates immediately … you can know how much each lead cost you … and you can know – generally – how much your average lead will spend with you over time.

But you can not immediately know how many leads from each new source will ultimately make a purchase … how large that purchase will be … or when it will occur.

What’s worse, you won’t know for months – up to a year or even more – after the initial promotion!

And that's not good – because …

Leads from one campaign or one source may become customers only 20% as often as leads from another source …

Or they may make purchases that are, on average, 50% smaller than leads from other sources …

Or they may demand refunds two or three times more often than leads from another source …

Or once they become customers, they may buy only 20% as often.

So – with the cost of driving traffic to your landing pages and websites rising – how do you know which affiliates, e-mail lists, and banner ads will grow your profits the fastest?

How do you know which promotions and sources deserve your greatest efforts and expenditures?

How do you know which leads aren’t worth your time, trouble or investment?

The honest truth is, you don't!

And that means you wind up wasting enormous amounts of time and money targeting inferior prospects …

 … While spending far too little on promotions to folks who are ready, willing and eager to spend money with you right now!

2. Spray-and-Pray takes too long to reimburse you for the cost of driving traffic to your site. In direct mail, your objectives are:

  1. To spend as much money as possible to generate new customers at break-even or better, and …
  2. To leverage the higher response rates produced in promotions to your customers to generate profits.

Spray-and-Pray takes just the opposite track:

Because it doesn't produce immediate revenue to offset the cost of acquiring e-mail addresses …

 … It seeks to spend as little money as possible to generate non-buying leads …

 … And that severely limits the number of new names you can add to your database each month.

3. Spray-and-Pray equals delayed gratification and profits. In direct mail, every new name you generate has already made that first purchase with you – and is ready, willing and able to spend ever-higher amounts of money with you.

But because 100% of your Spray-and-Pray leads are non-buyers, it will be weeks before any of them make their first, small purchase with you …

More weeks until they make an intermediate purchase …

And still more months before any of them splurge on your biggest-ticket items.

This has the unfortunate effect of pushing money you could have made this year into next year – and lowering your revenues and profits in the process.

The Key to Explosive Sales
and Profit Growth

A few months ago, a client asked me to create an online campaign to generate maximum numbers of subscribers for his free e-zine every month.

Now at the time, the client was driving prospects to a landing page that simply offered a free subscription to his e-zine.

Once the prospect subscribed, he was directed to a “thank-you” page that contained a welcome letter and a link to the current issue.

No effort was made to sell the prospect a single thing!

Now I don’t mind telling you: As a “go-for-the-jugular” salesman in print, that soft-sell approach left me feeling queasy.

As a practical results-oriented marketing guy, the lack of an immediate and measurable return on investment gave me gas.

And the whole lackadaisical, “strolling down the garden path, sniffing flowers with our prospects” approach made me want to wretch.

Hell. This was worse than bad marketing. It was downright UNAMERICAN!

As I contemplated the state of the client's Web-based customer acquisition efforts, three simple facts struck me …

  1. To generate huge numbers of new e-zine subscribers, my client would need to drive truly massive numbers of prospects to his opt-in page.
  2. To create that massive traffic, he’d need to spend huge amounts of money on banner ads, e-mail blasts and even ads in other media.
  3. And the only way he could possibly justify that kind of investment would be if he knew for a fact that every dollar he spent to create traffic came back to him immediately.

And so I called Daniel Levis – the brilliant copywriter and web marketing genius I’ve chosen to work with on Internet promotions for my health and investment clients – and asked …

“What would happen if we created a multi-step web-based experience that generated both opt-ins and revenues – all in one sitting?”

By the end of the call, we had our plan:

First, we’d create a kick-butt advertorial promotion – a long-copy “online magalog” on a subject that our best prospects care deeply about …

Second, we’d create a series of hard-selling e-mail blasts, banners and e-zine ads trumpeting all the red-hot life-changing info and advice in our magalog – all the reasons why readers would benefit from reading it immediately …

Third, after giving the reader tremendous value in our online magalog – practical, actionable information and advice that brought real value to his life – we would offer him a comprehensive free report on the same subject with even greater value for a nominal price. Say, around $29.95 …

Fourth, we would offer buyers and non-buyers alike a 50%-off subscription to the client’s $99 print newsletter on the subject …

Fifth, we would qualify buyers and non-buyers for telephone sales of his high-priced premium services, and …

Sixth, when all else failed, we would offer non-buyers a free subscription to the client’s daily e-zine on the subject.

Doing it this way, our client would have a shot of recouping every penny he spent generating traffic to our online magalog.

Plus, he’d know instantly – within 48 hours – which traffic-building promos were paying their own way and which weren’t. Heck. He might even make a profit on some of them!

And since anyone who paid $29.95 for his special report … and/or more for his print newsletter would be a far better prospect for his higher-priced back-end products, we’d be bringing that revenue forward.

Finally, the fact that prospects got to read his report … see his track record … and see that others really were paying serious money for the guy’s advice meant that we’d probably generate far more subs for his free e-zine than his old model ever did.

And so we wrote the whole thing up for him – and delivered 85 single-spaced pages of banner and e-zine ads … HTML e-mail blasts … and the 25-page online magalog selling the report …

We crafted the bump pages selling the newsletter subscription and qualifying prospects for his high-priced services and the wait pages to handle attempted escapes …

And we delivered the shopping cart copy … the download center copy … and even a ten-step e-mail campaign designed to re-sell the newsletter to folks who had signed up for the free e-zine but had not made a purchase.

Is It Working? Is It EVER!

Of course, contractual obligations forbid me from telling you who the client is or how well our little brainstorm is working …

 … But suffice it to say, the client is generating more opt-ins for his e-zine than ever, AND recouping the money he spends to create traffic within hours of each expenditure.

Plus, he now has us creating a similar campaign on a different subject each and every month!

By summer, the client will have SIX of these things all driving tens of thousands of new report buyers … print newsletter subscribers … and highly qualified e-zine subs his way – all at break-even or better!

Why Not Have It All?

Food for thought: If you’re a business owner or marketing exec looking for ways to build your e-list as cheaply as possible, why not take a think about how you could afford to spend millions to capture huge market share on the Web at break-even or better?

And if you’re a copywriter, why not have a sit-down with your best clients and show them how hiring you to combine the best direct mail and Internet marketing strategies could make them filthy, stinking rich?

Yours for Bigger Winners, More Often,
Clayton Makepeace Signature
Clayton Makepeace
Publisher & Editor

Looking for past issues of The Total Package? Click here for our archives.

Want to share or reprint this article? Feel free. Just give us full attribution and a link to our Home Page when you do.

Attribution Statement: This article was first published in The Total Package. To sign-up to receive your own FREE subscription to The Total Package and claim four FREE money making e-books go to

This entry was posted in Archives. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to All the New, Paying Customers
You Could Ever Want – For Free!

  1. Andrew Cavanagh says:

    I think the most effective system I\’ve seen so far for converting a free email subscriber into an instant profit stream is Mike Filsaime\’s butterfly marketing system.

    Mike pioneered having a free tightly niched highly valuable gift for sign ups then an immediate series of one time offers and a downsell as soon as a prospect turned down a one time offer.

    He would also follow up by email with more content and more offers.

    The great power in making a sale immediately after your subscriber signs up is being able to quickly multiply your revenue stream.

    If each new subscriber makes you an average of $1 or $2 in net profits immediately then you can start spending $1 to $2 to acquire a subscriber.

    You barely even need a budget to do it.

    Of course the method isn\’t limited to paying for new subscribers to come to your site.

    You can also create a very attractive affiliate program and do joint ventures with players in your niche who have large email lists or substantial ongoing traffic (or both).

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  2. Clayton,

    This is definitely an all-time favorite of mine… would be interested to know if you’re following the exact same method now that you’ve had numerous months MORE of experience online?


  3. mark says:


    I think a lot of the problem is that as more people have become internet surfers…they slowly but painfully realize there are so many hyped promises for ebooks etc. that are just rehashes of free info available on other websites that they have become tired of clicking on websites or reading email letters that go on for what seems like forever.
    In my opinion…the only ones who buy into the long drawn-out sales letters are the ones who study them in order to create their own…or order to find a magic secret.
    The old days writers wrote ads to sell real products…now so many of them write ads to sell info on how to write ads…or create mailing lists…or how to hypnotize buyers, etc.The internet is changing and the guru’s of the past need to modernize their techniques…and not complain because their golden parachutes have holes in them.
    I write ads (nowhere near as good as yours) but mine sell actual products (not ebooks or courses).

    Oh well, enough of my rants…love your site.

  4. Bo says:

    Hi Clayton,

    I had a quick search for "online magalog". There are no good examples out there. What did you mean by an online magalog?

  5. Eric says:

    @Andrew Cavanagh,
     Have you ever been to those developing countries like Haiti?. A commercial bus that is meant is carry 100 passangers end up  transporting 180. 

    Let’s say 80 were supposed to sit comfortably, and the rest of them could stand up holding onto something.

    But in the case of developing countries,  a bus meant to transport 100 passangers end up transporting 180 passangers.

    Everyone is packed together like "sardine" in a can. Now picture the weather to be aroung 120 degrees.

    Now try to hawk your merchandize in this type of enviroment. Everyone is sweating like pigs, people don’t have a chance to breath,  little kids are irritable, a few goats are   tied behind the bus,  one or two hens are hanging round, now you are getting the picture?

    Hey, at the same time, the conductor is trying to squeeze his way through as he collects his "fares".

    Now can you make any sense out of someone trying to sell you stuff in this type of enviroment? That is worse than than "getto marketing"

    ***PBS show these stuff in developing countries. Watch it at times!

    That is how mike’s butterfly style of markting is.

    Clayton is at least more civilized. You have a breadthing space to think, make rational decision.

    Guess what, clayton is even  offering you valuable information for FREE.

    You probably feel guilty if you don’t buy the product anyway becasue the guy had already offered you tons of valuable stuff that is even worth more than the product he is introducing to anyway.

    I think people want to  be educated before they buy stuff.

    You know!

    I think magalog is kind of like a mini-catalog. Only in  html or pdf format. Now I am not sure though. I am not really a copywriter yet!

    Register with Carline Anglade-Cole , she has some good ones.
    Hey, I am sure the experts in this forum can do better. This is just my own little 1 cent input!

  6. Marcelino Latorre says:

    I love your sense of humor..

    Thank you for you generousity, your noble forbearing spirit is OH SO admirable.


  7. Tony says:

    A magalog is a magazine/catalog.  Basically it’s a magazine with advertisements for your products all over it.  Similar to the ebooks you get nowadays.  You get an ebook and find a million affiliate links in it, it’s a pretty much a…magalog.

  8. Hello Clayton and everyone :)


    Seriously, I have been working on my clients website and copy for months, writing better copy and so on. Generating leads and getting great results – when it comes to my sites, they have taken a back burner. Like the onions on a bar-be-que, you know the ones pushed to the back of the hotplate to make room for the new meat to be cooked? Not burnt – lacking the attention they deserve.

    To top it off, I have not put up anything to sell. I am a member of some really cool affiliate sites and have some ideas of my own. Fear can be a pain in the bottom for stopping ideas and so on. Lets be truthful here Susan, you know that you can make a fantastic  living off the internet. You were just to "Chicken" to have a proper go..not quite true. Time for study is over and action into plan

    Ok, I am putting my plan into action and by telling you folk, I am also putting myself out there to stick to it.

    I have the excellent product The Ultimate Desktop Copy Coach by Tony Flores, which is a fabulous product and I am learning cool stuff all the time.

    I have taken down the notes as suggested by Clayton and using them with my action plan.

    I threw out my old-to-do list as the stuff on it was time consuming and never got done! There were always reasons why I didn’t do it and so on. Yes four young children do keep me very busy, they dont stop me from doing my work that I love.

    So no more excuses from me!

    Thanks again Clayton!

    All the best everyone for a wonderful season and happy New Year!

    Sue in Aus
    New Blog:

  9. Hi Clayton – its me again :)

    Re-reading this article at 4:00am Monday morning, its been an eye opener.

    For ages now, I have been getting annoyed with the results I have been achieving.

    Not that they have been bad by any means – for what I have, I am doing ok. Room for improvement.

    Spray and pay – has always urked me – rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, I know that it has worked for many people and still does.

    With my main marketing, I need to figure out specifics and do a re-haul. Its a new year coming – I have goals I want to achieve and leaving things as they are won’t get them moving.

    People are obviously interested in my products/resources as that is one of the main areas of interest indicated by the web stats.

    My thing is to now – get these online, get off my fear factor and get something out there. I am not timid by nature and need to develop some working relationships – joint partners.

    Affiliate products are good – working which to use and what not to use. I am not going to have crappy content for my readers – call me a snob lol

    Well thats enough for me…

    Thank you all for interesting reading and ideas throughout the years.

    To a creative and prosperous 2009,

    Sue in Aus

  10. Tanya says:


    You said, “Third, after giving the reader tremendous value …we would offer him a comprehensive free report on the same subject with even greater value for a nominal price. Say, around $29.95″.

    I didn’t understand if the phrase “free report” was a typo. If the report costs $29.95, it isn’t free. Right?

    Is the special report offered through the magalog or is it a later step?

    Thanks for clarifying.


  11. Really informative post. Excellent.

Leave a Reply to Eric Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>