How would you beat this promo?

Dear Business-Builder,

Biowell's Oculind

Click above to read the package.

Let’s say your phone just rang.  The VP/Marketing of Biowell wants you to beat this direct mail control for his Oculind product.

He’s mailing these promotions at break-even or better but he figures you can give him a lift in response.

Your prospects will be supplement buyers and alternative health newsletter subscribers.  About 75% of Biowell’s customers are men.  Average age: 65.

So where would you start? 

I love these kinds of exercises – they’re a great opportunity for all of us to learn and to teach each other.  So just scroll down and let’s get started!

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

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30 Responses to How would you beat this promo?

  1. I probably wouldn’t open the envelope of this package.
    First, I CAN think of many things more devastating than going blind as I get older, like senility, so the headline feels a bit condescending. And if I were going blind the type is so small I wouldn’t be able to read it anyway. Lastly, why would learning the “european secret” change my “outlook on life forever”? How distraught am I assumed to be?

  2. Doug says:

    1.Could test using a specific number of days
    where it says, “In Only Days”

    e.g. “In Only 8 Days”

    *Giving the specific number of days projected before the potential to see results makes the claim more believable because now there is a concrete, real number attached to it.

    2. Could You Think of Your Future Any More Devasted Than Going Blind Before You Have the Chance to See It?

    Notice the changes there?

    Here’s why:

    *This way, the future isn’t something far away and nebulous,
    but is actually brought home right to our prospect where they are invited and forced to think about their own future and the risk of never even being able to see it, literally.)

    *They now have ownership of their future -Your Future-,
    It’s no longer just “the future” but has become your own

    *Having now taken ownership of their very own future, they must now be confronted with the task of imagining going
    blind before they have the chance to see their own future

    and what could be worse?

    After just a brief look, those changes could prove to be worth testing for the reasons given.

    1. Specific number of days makes the claim more believable.

    Increased believability increases trust which suspends skepticism/sales resistance and makes the claim seem from a more credible source.

    2. Confronting the prospect with the question which forces him to think about his own future instead of just the future in general,

    makes the appeal immediately more personal which is the most powerful level we can communicate with our prospect.

    3. Giving the prospect ownership of his future by saying
    “your” future instead of “the” future,

    means the fear of loss comes into play the second he
    takes ownership of it and to avoid the pain of going
    blind before given the opportunity to see his future,

    he needs a way out.

    4. This makes the prospect painfully aware of the problem of going blind before seeing his future.

    5. This has agitated the problem which is the risk and fear of going blind before having the chance to see his future.

    6. Now that the problem is introduced early and has been agitated in his awareness, he is desperately seeking a way out of this problem of the worst case scenario.

    7. Since he is now seeking the way out, it creates more desire for the solution, which is where the product is introduced.

    8. Again, giving the prospect the feeling of owning the product in the copy using future pacing coupled with the fear of losing his sight and pushing with the benefits of sharper, clearer, more focused vision…

    should be the right balance of moving away from the problem and pushing toward the solution…

    the balance between aggravating the problem and channeling desire to the product as the solution.

    It could be worth testing these changes.

  3. Sean says:

    [Envelope: As large as will fit]

    Will YOU Be Able To Read This Next Month?

    There are 20 MILLION men who thought they would too.

    Unfortunately, a common eyesight killer is causing 1,000′s to go blind every month – and you could be next.

    See the checklist on page 6 inside


    Are You Part of This Hidden Epidemic Slowly Robbing the Eyesight of 20 Million American Men?


    If you wear reading glasses, bifocals, contacts or just don’t see as well as you used to, there’s a reason and a solution.


    That’s all the time I can spend on this…

    Thanks for the practice,

    Sean M.

  4. Al says:

    Thanks Clayton for the interesting exercise here!

    I think the most important thing is to make the package itself be more valuable…yes capture the reader’s attention with a great headline like Sean said above…and then let the reader know you will give them valuable secret info for free just by opening this package. use a few bullets on the envelope to do this: how the pain of itching burning eyes can be soothed away by this simple almost unknown remedy (see page 3)

    doctors in Europe have advanced the techniques for eyesight restoration (see page 4 for how you can have the sight of a twenty year old again!)

    That bullet reveals there is a mechanism behind all this.

    Bullets like that tell the reader this package will give them valuable info…it is not just a sales pitch (you can probably come up with better ones than I)

    I would also give some thought into what the dominant emotions are for someone losing their eyesight: imagine how sad it would be not to be able to see your grandkids anymore; imagine how frustrating it would be to do the simple day-to-day activities you used to be able to easily do; imagine just how frightening life would become if you started losing your sight…

    So I would probably come up with a headline that clearly evoked the dominant emotions(s). I mean this is the urgent problem right?

    Doing the above would help grab that reader by the eyeballs and suck them in to opening the package. Of course, respect for the reader’s problem must come through as well on the cover.

    Thanks for the fun Clayton!

  5. Dale says:

    I would start with a teaser on the outside of the envelope.
    Example: Important information your Doctor Doesn’t want you to know.

    New Headline.
    How Would You Feel If You Could Not See Your Grand Children?

    A Deadline. “Act in the next two days for introductory price.”

    Add pictures of Children, Puppies and a Good looking woman… What If You couldn’t See this (Puppies) …or This (Grand Children) …OR (Bikini Girl.) What Would you do to keep these visions?

    Just a few ideas from a quick look.


  6. DaveC says:

    Why constantly remind the buyer of blindness with the name?

    The copy is clunky and doesn’t seem to flow… of course lack of flow and the numerous grammatical errors don’t prevent it from selling… both mean very little — only my opinion is worth less. Curious how well it pulled.

  7. Russ Banister says:

    Hi Clayton,

    First, I would scrap the entire “Prevention” approach and come at it from a “Cure” angle. (From my past experience, Cures outsell Preventions.)

    After having a look at some of the testimonials, (are we even allowed to say that word anymore – Grrr!) there are one or two that would make excellent Teaser copy. For instance…

    “Eliminate Night Blindness in 17 Days”

    64% of males over age 65 report the real reason they give up driving at night isn’t because the feel too old to go out… but because they just can’t see well enough to drive safely.

    See page 4 for a quick test you can take to find out if you should be driving at night.

    Then, the headline and lead would carry on with that theme. As I was reading through the testimonials in the ad, the most often stated result was better night vision. Obviously, that must be an issue for people that age.

    Like Sean, I can’t spend much more time on this, but it was fun to participate!

    Thanks Clayton,


  8. Dave G says:

    My first suggestion is for much more provocative messafe on the outside of the envelope, as has been suggested.
    Eg; Are you doing nothing to ensure your eyesight as you age? Imagine you no longer see the world in all its glory.
    Secret information inside, open immediately.
    Testimonials from real users would help immensely. There is limited credibility in author claims w/o independent verification.
    Just a couple ideas.

  9. mark says:

    Never Fear Blindness Again — At Any Age!

    Discover The Same European Secret Enjoyed By These Satisfied Customers Who’ve Restored Their Failing Eyesight to Perfect, Crystal Clear Vision…

    Here are just a few of the thousands of actual results reported to us by satisfied customers…

    “Fear of Blindness Lifted!” Anna N, Or

    “Now Reading Glasses Are No Longer Needed” Natalie P, Ca

    “Colors Feel Brighter after 2 weeks” Della C. Wi

    “In Less Than 2 Weeks…Astonishing Improvement in Night Vision” Benjamin O, Il

    “Put away glasses at age 85!” Gerald S, Mi

    “No More Itchy Eyes” Jim H, Fl

    And, so forth…


    The problem I see in the original was that it had a weak headline/promise and the body copy didn’t offer any convincing proof.

    Also, I have no idea or research that tells me if, in fact, people with failing eyesight “fear blindness”. So, I’ve just guessed that there is some research that says this is part of their self talk.

    Also, without more research I can’t be sure if this headline over promises or would run afoul of FDA. But if I had this to re-write you can be sure I’d want to know that.

    Finally, not sure why these real people’s full names weren’t used.

  10. Henry says:

    The Headline has 2 problems,

    1- It’s overkill. People aren’t worried about going blind just because they need reading glasses. Address their real fear, missing out or looking “old,” not being completely disabled.

    2- There’s too much going on. It needs to focus on a single idea.

    Off the top of my head:

    “Reading without eye-glasses at my age?” Breakthrough research reveals…

    How To Re-Inflate Your Worn Out Eyeballs

    Leading Scientist say it’s not age that has you reaching for those spectacles, but a depletion of 3 key minerals that has sucked the vision out of your eyes.

    I haven’t had time to read the whole thing, but I would suggest they take out “Biowell can honestly say…” Never challenge your own credibility by hinting that you might not be “honestly” saying something else.

  11. Mark says:

    Reads more like a JAMA abstract. Chock full of features, but where are the benefits?

    The message is blurred: blindness prevention or vision enhancement? The envelope, headline and sub-heads argue for the former.

    Where is the story that tugs at a buyer’s emotion? Where is the salesmanship?

    I would construct a Biowell reader composite character, elaborate on his passions — golf, travel, romantic adventures, art, grandkids, whatever — and build a compelling case for how Oculind gives them more of what they want and less of what they don’t. (That product name doesn’t help sell, does it?)

  12. Ron Surface says:

    What struck me most was the lack of proof.

    They made all these statements about European research but didn’t quote one study to back up their claims, at least none that I could find.

    They also claimed their product would bust up plaque and strenthen the optical nerve, but again, nothing to back it up.

    They mentioned the great scientific minds at their company but left it at that – could have offered a bio. or something for one of them.

    They said the product had ‘nothing in common’ with vitamins found in the drug store or internet, but didn’t say how or why it was different, other than it was pharmaceutical grade. Lot’s of vitamins are pharmaceutical grade.



  13. Kathleen says:

    Dear Clayton,
    As an individual with poor eyesight, I have worried about going blind since I was eight years old. I’d walk around the house in the dark or with my eyes closed just to prepare myself for the inevitability. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet. But despite my entrenched fear of one day going blind, this package would not tempt me to read past the disconnected headline(s). Actually, I probably wouldn’t have even opened the envelope.

    The Envelope: Chances are the teaser question will elicit many responses other than the one intended. And there’s too much going on. Where’s the idea you want your reader to focus on?

    The Headline: Again, too many ideas running around and the “Proven Over…” just doesn’t flow at all. Maybe try something like “Sharper, Clearer Vision an Be Yours Within ## Days While You Protect Yourself from Future Vision Problems” – try to be more specific about how long it will take to see results.

    The Lead: I’d start the lead with paragraph (I guess it is #5) “What if you couldn’t watch your favorite…” But I would start the paragraph with “What if you couldn’t clearly see the faces of your grandchildren or friends. What if you couldn’t watch your favorite movies… could not longer read… thread a needle, crochet or knit…or pay your bills.” Follow with the next paragraphs. This would start the piece by engagin the emotions that already exist within one with poor or failing eyesight – then it leads right into the story of discovery. I might work the first 4 paragraphs later in the body. But the red subhead could be worked into the lead.

    On another note – on layout just because I’ve been a graphic designer for over 17 years. I believe you could increase response greatly just by changing the layout. Firstly, buy the designer a copy of one of Colin Wheildon’s Type and Layout books. Unless the purpose is to tire the eyes, there is too much red. I wouldn’t use red at all. Wheildon would probably score this piece very low on the comprehensibility scale. Secondly, the layout fights the “taught from toddlerhood” natural course of reading by dividing the lead into 2 sections. Simply move the center box to the right one column so the fold doesn’t cut any paragraphs in half and pull the second column of the lead next to the first column. Currently, the eye is being pulled all over the page trying to figure out what it’s supposed to read first or next. There’s a lot more, but my final comment falls on the Order Device. Why would a designer obscure the best offer by putting a relatively heavy screen behind it making it the hardest to read?

    Ok – thanks for the opportunity to critique the sample.

    – Kathleen

  14. Helmut says:

    Henry is right: it’s overkill, hyperbole. Therefore nobody will accept it as true. Nobody fears to be blind in the near future because of eye problems he got at his age. It’s the same with smoking and getting cancer, bronchitis,clotted veins in the next time.

    And the unbelievable goes on in the copy: It is impossible to offer so many promises for all old people with eye disturbances of very different origin.

    Who are the european scientists, what did they find, to what extent with each ingredient? Badly missing how much of each in one capsule? and why is this advised medicinally?

    The overall argumentation repeats, is not coherent, is not leading the client to a convincing conclusion.

    And then very stiff prices are deflating the build-up will to buy. Those prices must be explained!


  15. Walter Daniels says:

    I have to agree with Kathleen’s suggestions, but go a little further. I would dump the first couple of pages completely. Assuming that the PDF accurately mirrors the actual piece, it is indeed hard to read, and doesn’t “move” the piece. I had to wade through several pages of material that kept saying the same things, until i got to anything that actually did the job. It’s as if the “author” decided to throw ten shovels full, against a wall (at the reader), in the hope of enough sticking to make the sale.
    To me, this is the equivalent of the obnoxious sales person, continually trying to make a sale, instead of letting the buyer have the information needed. and then decide. IOW, I think the piece is in desperate need of a good editing.

  16. Bryan Aucremanne says:

    Don’t have the knowledge(YET!)to comment about the ad.Earlier today,I went to my opthamologist.He said macular degeneration was happening to me.He told me take Bausch & Lomb PreserVision w/lutein but NOT VITAMIN A!B&L makes both kinds(w/Vit.A & w/o Vit.A).
    He explained that vitamin A is harmful to people that have the onset of mascular degeneration.A recent finding showed an increase in lung cancer from beta carotene(Vit.A).If that turns up in your research what would you do?

  17. Jeff says:

    Like many others, the first thing I see is an opportunity to get more people to open the envelope… or, all else is lost.

    I look for buried copy somewhere in a offer that should be moved up to the headline or in this case the teaser copy on the envelope. I found within this letter, copy I would move to the envelope and test:

    You have this problem right now! Doctors say “20 million Americans” are affected. Researchers call it a “Hidden Epidemic” That Sneaks Up On You . . .

    I would add this to the end: SAVE YOURSELF NOW!

    This would then require an entire rewrite of the initial healines and first paragraph.

  18. benny says:

    New head on OE and letter: Breaking News … How to Restore 20/20 VISION in as Little as 17 Days!

  19. Michael Schofield says:

    I am just starting to learn copywriting but I will give it a shot based on what I know.

    I would definitely start with he teaser copy on the envelope. What stands out to me is there is no specificity to the demographics, ie. “About 75% of Biowell’s customers are men. Average age: 65.” Also there is no call to action, it doesn’t tell the reader to open the package. I would change it to something like this:

    (lead) Could you be next….

    30 Million Men Over 60 Are Blind Or Have Failing Eyesight

    Discover the European Secret Which Prevents You From Becoming a Victim to Blindness…Restore Your Failing Eyesight to Perfect, Crystal Clear Vision Today…Thousands Have Benefited From It and So Can You!

    Just Tear Open This Package to Get In On The Secret Before It Is Too Late…..

    (of course the statistic in the headline would have to be real)

    Now looking inside of the package, Second Paragraph, First Sentence…

    “If you add just one supplement to your current health habits, it should definitely be for your eyes.”

    If I think about and look at it from the perspective of the seniors in my life they already are taking like 10 different medications and supplements why would they want to take one more. I think this sentence would instantly bring up a picture of them gulping down a bunch of pills and might be a turn off. I wouldn’t want to ask them to gulp down one more pill this early until I had lead them further into the copy to make sure they were engaged.

    Also i would strike paragraph 3 or remove the mention of the product this early before I even informed them why the ingredients were important. I would wait until after I had explained them. Besides the copy in the middle takes care of introducing the product rather nicely. This paragraph just feels out of place to me it could be moved to later on in the copy.

    What is with all the RED it makes everything harder to read very hard on the eyes and distracting. I thought blue or black was best used for print?

    On page three the line “men and women like you” should be changed to just “men like you” (women could be targeted in a separate mailing written just for them) Also the statistic about “people between the age of 35 and 40″ should be bumped up to maybe “50 to 70″ if this statistic is available.

    On page 5 first paragraph…I got stuck on the last sentence that reads “Please be very careful not to waste your money on products….” while reading the ad. I’m not sure why, but the sentence sounds condescending to me. The paragraphs on page 4 rather nicely explain why Oculind Plus is superior to regular supplements and vitamins. I think the claims stand up on their own without this cheap shot.

    The testimonials, I noticed there are 4 testimonials with pics of men and 6 with women. The last page is just 1 man and 3 women. If men are being targeted in this ad, I would think you would want to have more testimonials with men pictured. Also maybe one of the women could be younger. At the risk of sounding like a pig, I haven’t met a old man alive that does not like to look at beautiful young women. Ha ha. I think a testimonial with a pic of a younger women would conjure up the image of the prospect checking out babes with his new and improved eyesight. Just a thought.

    Finally the offer and coupon. Too many choices and no sense of urgency. There are 7 different choices on the last page. Maybe I am wrong but who would buy a 13 month supply on a unproven supplement, even with the unlimited time guarantee, probably not many. I would get rid of this one first.

    The strongest one I think is the 3 month supply “Special Introductory Price” maybe this should be offered for a limited time and maybe offer a free report or heck a free 3 issue (or more) subscription to Bowell’s alternative health news letter if they order by phone by a certain date.

    Next, in the coupon, I would concentrate on getting them to buy a just a 1 month supply to get them to try the product. If it is as fast acting as they claim and has amazing results, then the prospect will be hooked before their first bottle is completely consumed and will be calling begging for more. Call them up or send out a letter by day 20 asking them to buy more, hit them with the 13 month supply at $499 (offer a payment plan for those that do not want to spend all of that cash up front) and they will be glad to pay it. I would get rid of all of the other offers and just use the extra space to highlight the money back guarantee and maybe reiterate the strongest benefit.

    Well, if you made it this far thanks for listening to the ramblings of a newbie. I might be wrong on my assessment but at least I gave it a shot. Wow, I feel I have learned a lot so far. Hopefully, I learned the right things.



  20. Shane Arthur says:

    Doug’s #2 is great.

    Sean’s “next month” addition is great.

    I’d go with pure curiosity on the envelope. Something like:

    If you can read this, you’re…

  21. I would change the headline to something like “Don’t Just Live to See Your Grandkids…Make Sure You Live AND See Them”. I would do a story lead to really personalize the results from using the product. It’s really easy to get bogged down in all the pharmaceutical jargon with a product like this. A story would lend a more conversational tone to the package and personalize it.

  22. Clayton,

    Although I do not have the time to read the whole package, one thing I noticed right away: The promotion failed to build a personal connection with the reader before launching into the sales pitch.

    All the different symptoms of failing eye sight, and their effect on daily living, should come first so that the reader knows the writer completely understand their problem(s). (Pick the most common of those problems and use it for the envelope teaser copy.) Then emphasize that some of those symptoms are the beginning of blindness.

    This approach will also establish who the entire range of potential users is.

    Thanks, and keep the exercises coming!

  23. Sharon A. says:

    The first thing I would do is scrap the question on the envelope. I HAVE lost almost 50% vision in one eye, but I can think of lots of things more devastating then that. If I got that promo, I would read the envelope and promptly chuck it in the garbage. They are leaving themselves wide open to rejection.
    The piece is very tedious to read. I would cut it almost in half and do a complete rewrite. I would open the piece with a story instead of making the reader slog through two pages of pointless prattle. There is no hook to pull the reader into the piece; and it doesn’t move–just plods along. I had a headache before I finished deciphering it.
    Two other questions; Are the testimonials supposed to demonstrate the benefits? Also, if the ideal client is a male in his 60s, then why on earth are they sending it to Wendy???

  24. David Graska says:

    1. I’d Start with narrowing down who is specifically being written to and what is the specific problem being addressed. I think the promotion is too broad. Blindness? Eye problems? Prevention? I’d go with eye problem and forget the prevention except as maybe an afterthought. What is it? Once a focus is selected, THEN the envelope copy and headline can be written to highlite that fear/problem. What is scaring people who are the prime prospects for this product? I’d like to see the characteristics of the the people who are ordering–why? What is it doing for them? What is driving them to try this product? How about writing some copy that addresses those questions/concerns?
    2. I wonder is the product is any good–does it really do anything? If so, the testimonials good be considerably improved by having a longer time frame than a few days or a couple of weeks useage. How about someone using the product for several months and continuing to show benefits from use?
    3. Copy jumps around a lot and seems disjointed to me. Statements are made in the same paragraph that don’t relate and track with the previous one.
    4. I’d tone down the hype–start out with a disclaimer that doesn’t work for everyone–maybe won’t for you, but here’s what it has done for a lot of people. Only way you’ll know if it works for you is to give it a try and your trial is totally on our dime. Here’s what you should expect (IF it does work for you)and if you don’t see/feel these things happening, then you may be one of the people it don’t work for you (sorry–but now you know and don’t have to be wondering) please return empty bottle so we can refund your money.
    5. I’d list the kinds of problems that people had who were getting help/relief with a statement that if you have this/these problems, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
    6. Got to do better with the scientif/proof support. That looked anemic to me.
    7. Would hit eye problems hard and how you can get relief.

  25. Barnabas Ng says:

    In my opinion, the promotion for the product and the reasons of taking the product are all over the place. It is like taking two steps forward and then takes a step backwards as the reader goes down the promotion.
    If I were to write the promotion, here is how it will flow…

    a)Paint a lifestyle of a 65 years old person which the reader will agree (e.g. playing with grandchildren, vacation, meeting families and friends, etc)

    b)Ask him if all these comes to a stop, how will it affect him…mentioned few things that he will able to relate.

    c)Tell him how failing eyesight can make him lose his current lifestyle
    I. Why it concerns the reader and his family
    II. Why it is important for the reader to know this
    III. How will it affect the reader

    d)If possible, tell him why he needs to understand this issue…urgently

    e)What he has been enjoying could soon be coming to an end if he continues to ignore the facts…

    f)Provide the solution: the product.
    This should include (which is already in the promotion):
    i. How the product cure/prevents it
    ii. Why this product is superior to competitor (if there is any)
    iii. Testimonials – reinstate the show his current can be protected if he takes action now – using the product
    iv. Results from users
    v. Any side effects
    vi. Any specialist/doctors’ review

    g)Guarantee, call to action

  26. Joe C says:

    What I think would hurt response is a web address on a direct mail piece. Why give a reader a reason to go off in another direction and be swallowed up by the web. They will start checking eye care sites and defuse the dr objective .

  27. Rebecca says:

    Proof relies on “results are not typical” testimonials. The FCC changed things on December 1, 2009, and “results not typical” is no longer acceptable.

    Other means of credibility-building like charts and statistics, track record, expert testimony could help.

    What it really needs an emotional hook for the 75% male target audience, average age 65. Here’s a rough attempt:

    Tested European Secret Lets You Maintain–Even Improve–Your Eye Sight As You Age
    -Night blindness won’t prevent you from driving so you can keep in touch with friends and family
    -Your buddies will rely on you to track long drives from the tee
    -No more frustration reading fine-print financials (You’ll soon feel like you did when you were picking your first winners).

    Thanks, Clayton.

  28. Hi Clayton,

    I haven’t read every word of the package – I seldom do for these types of mailings – AND I’M A MAN WHO WEARS GLASSES AND HAS VERY POOR EYESIGHT IN ONE EYE. I’m a bit younger than the average age though.

    Here’s why I would toss the package (and what would convince me not to):

    1. The envelope headline doesn’t grab me at all. I’m half-blind as it is, and I lead a very capable existence. As a FEAR motivator, it doesn’t grab me at all.

    A TINY print headline like “Can You Read This?”, and then below in BIGGER text: “If you struggled to read the above line, you need to open this envelope, and take the actions recommended in the enclosed document.”

    2. If I have to send you a mail order, I have to PAY for the postage? … Too much hassle.

    Make the reply envelope a “postage paid” one.

    3. PINK! RED ON PINK!! Ugh!, and @#$% Ugh! Perhaps it’s because they want to target more women. But even my wife hates the color mix. FAIL!

    Please, please, please! Change the color to a soft blue or even a light shade of green. JUST NOT PINK!

    4. The reading was tedious and boring. I stopped after the first few paragraphs.

    I don’t know how I would fix that … yet! This one will take a lot more thought. I like some of the suggestions above.

    5. I think testimonials are great. Some of them are very effective in this package. But I stopped reading them after the 10th one. I think the volume of testimonials was overdone. After a point, I wondered if they were just making them up.

    6. The “TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK TODAY…” sidebar.
    What the heck is “Monocular Diplopia”? The same goes for “Hypertensive Retinopathy.”

    If you are going to send a promotion to the man-on-the-street, use layman’s terms – not medical jargon.

    The last sidebar point “All Other Eye Problems” is misleading and a stupid “catch all” item that should be left out completely. I don’t suppose these capsules will correct a squint, or a severed optic nerve, or a collapsed retina, … ?

    This is just my 2 cents worth. I hope it helps.

  29. Tamara Stromquist says:

    Interesting that a Biowell package was analyzed. I tried one of their liquid products a while back and felt no success from it and it tasted PUTRID. So they may have more serious problems than lack of panache with copywriting.

    As long as companies honor their return guarantee I don’t have a major problem with them. Occasionally even I am tempted to try some product that may or may not be snake oil. ;-) One can admire a well-written campaign even if one doubts the authenticity.

  30. Len says:

    Hi everyone. Len Bailey here – one of Clayton’s copywriters at ResponseINK.

    As you know, Clayton has been extra busy the past few weeks – both writing for our clients and planning a BIG surprise for you (watch for the announcement on Friday).

    Then there were the holidays … the series of snowstorms (which I personally moved away from New Hampshire to get away from) … and about a hundred other things that popped up along the way.

    All of this has conspired to keep Clayton busier than a one-armed paper hanger …so I hope you wont’ mind my jumping in to give some feedback.

    That said, let’s dive right in…

    After looking over the original piece and reading through your comments above, the first thing I have to say is:


    There are a lot of solid ideas in the posts above. Many of you highlighted major weaknesses and offered solid solutions. Others identified areas where testing could very likely improve results.

    You scoured the package, leaving virtually no stone unturned: Teaser … headlines … proof elements … dominant resident emotions … even design elements.

    And for the most part, your observations are right on the money.

    Physically, this piece measured about 5.5″ x 8.5″ – so it’s going to stand out in most people’s mailboxes. That alone probably helped its open rate. And it’s a good thing … because as many of you noted, the teaser copy is nowhere near as strong as it should be.

    Like Stacey, I can think of plenty of things more devastating than going blind: war… starvation … disease … dimentia … homelessness … and the loss of loved ones — just to name a few. And with THAT in mind, it’s unlikely the product being pitched is going to change my outlook on life.

    So the who teaser premise is weak.

    Plus, it’s poorly designed. I’m all for testing white space on an envelope … but when I do, there’s no way I’d put that many words in caps. The headline and mustache? Sure, if doing so helps them stand out. But for heaven’s sake, put the paragraph in between them in good ol’ “sentence case.”

    And make sure each line breaks at the end of a thought (or appears to). In this case, I’d put the line breaks after “European Secret,” “crystal-clear vision,” and “so can you!”

    Of course, that’s if I were going to use the existing teaser copy — which I wouldn’t.

    Instead, I’d rework it based on a dominant emotion (probably frustration at my failing eyesight and need to wear reading glasses) or even go with a testimonial. As Mark pointed out, there are plenty in the package that could easily be adapted.

    And like several of you suggested, I’d be sure to tell the prospect to open the package … either with bullets or a direct statement.

    Once I fixed the teaser copy, I’d rework the headline and lead to match and expand upon it. And when I was done writing … I’d go back through the copy — ALL the copy — and trim out anything that slows it down or doesn’t belong.

    And if the copy mentions any studies, rest assured there’d be footnotes telling the reader where he can read them for himself. Most won’t bother (some will), but it’s a huge credibility boost. Because you’re essentially telling the prospect, “Go ahead and check — you’ll find Im’ telling the truth.”

    Even better … I’d also include a graphic of one (or better yet, several) of the studies.

    And speaking of graphics… I’d also suggest some design changes. Like bumping up the font size to something my prospect can actually read, and swapping out the black-text-on-red backgrounds for something easier on the eyes. (Talk about hitting your prospect where it hurts!)

    Plus, you can bet dollars to donuts I’d fix the shading on the order form, so that the first (and thus, most desirable) option is easy to read. If the client wants it to stand out, we’ll put a starburst or some marginalia next to it. But make sure the customer can read it!

    Actually, I’d go one step farther … and put the emphasis on the “special introductory price” offer.

    However, after saying all the above … there ARE some things this package does have going for it.

    First: Physical dimensions — as I mentioned earlier, it’s likely to stand out from the rest of the prospect’s mail.

    Second: The prospect doesn’t have to hunt around to find the order form. It’s right there, at the end… and except for the issue mentioned above, its design isn’t bad. I’d bump up the font size and fix the shading issue, but overall it has enough for the customer to easily fill out. (However, I WOULD change the dashed-line box into a simple dashed line across the top of the order form with “cut here and mail today!”)

    Third, the company’s toll-free phone number and website are included on every spread.

    Fourth: The piece has plenty of testimonials. And while they don’t list the customer’s full name, that’s okay. Many industries (such as investment newsletters) typically don’t, out of respect for their customers’ privacy.

    Fifth: Money-back guarantee. While it could be worded better, it’s big, bold, and easy to find.

    Sixth: Company Pledge – Again, it could be worded better … but just having it there is a step up from many pieces I see in the mail.

    Seventh: Free shipping on orders of three bottles or more. $7.95 may not be much of a savings, but it’s likely to help push some fence-sitters over the edge.

    Once again, great job everyone!

    Len Bailey

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