A promo with "muscle" (What's in Kim's Mailbox continues...📪)

I get a lot of direct mail promos in my mailbox from Soundview and their nutritional supplement subsidiary Advanced Bionutritionals. They've also been one of my biggest clients for nearly 15 years. Over that time, I've written, at latest count, 17 different control packages for them (and that's not counting headline refreshes or other testing of an existing control into a new control). Some of these controls of mine have run for as long as 8 years--and then even been brought back to life after that and mailed some more (or converted into VSLs, sales pages, or Facebook promotions). But back to the company's main workhorse: direct mail. It's still going strong (as I can attest from the royalty payments, though online sales continue to grow, too). And it's interesting to see side-by-side the approach taken on the front cover of the promo I'm about to share with you versus the Dr. Sears one I featured yesterday and the Healthy Directions one from earlier today. A true "issuelog" look Soundview/Advanced Bionutritionals uses an "issuelog" look for most of their direct mail promotions. It's basically a magalog self-mailer but they don't just slap on a masthead at the top of the front cover. There's a table of contents, and generally no photos or graphics on the cover except for a headshot of the doctor/spokesperson. Many of the promos have a story lead, but not always (this hasn't typically been the case with my 17 past and current controls with them). But one thing they always do is speak to a more educated audience and further educate them as to why a particular supplement offers an advantage. These promos assume the prospect is already using supplements and has much greater awareness than the typical person on the street. Yet they always simplify what can be complex topics (try explaining what myelin is and how it affects your brainpower) and make them digestible and understandable at, ideally, an 8th grade level or less. That's just a bit of the "secret sauce" that makes these direct mail promos so successful. So let's take a look at one that landed in my mailbox while I was in not-so-sunny California last week. While I didn't write this one, I know it's been going strong for a while... What's in Kim's Mailbox? Below is the front cover of the "issuelog". One thing to note is the Dr. Sears and Healthy Directions magalogs both arrived flat (and thus cost a lot more to mail). But Soundview/Advanced Bionutritionals mails its "issuelogs" and magalogs folded vertically or horizontally in half. This allows them to mail at the cheaper letter rate instead. The key, not that I'm a postal expert but I am now thanks to Google, is to ensure that the piece isn't greater than 6 1/8 inches x 11 1/2 inches in either dimension. By folding the promo, you can get it either tall and narrow or mailing at about the same size as a 6x9 envelope. The other thing Soundview/Advanced Bionutritionals just about always does is refrain from putting any copy on that back cover that's visible on the outside when the promo is folded. There's just a "Your Spring 2019 Issue Enclosed" callout, or something along those lines, which continues the "issuelog" masquerade. Sometimes there's also a faux printed post-it note that tells the reader to open up and read what's inside. Then there's the return address and that's it. To figure out what it is, the prospect has to break the tabs and open it up. When they do, they see this on the front cover...

The main headline gets right into the heart of the problem: a loss of muscle mass with age. It's probably not something top of mind or keeping someone up at night, so the subhead helps set up the problem more...and paints a picture of what life can be like once this problem is solved by this product. There's a byline from the doctor (along with his head shot), which contributes to the "issuelog" look and brings instant credibility and believability to the promo. The opening copy is clearly from his point of view and goes almost immediately into a story, which hooks the reader in. Also, notice how the last sentence on the page has a break in it, so you have to turn the page to finish reading it. Also look at how that table of contents sidebar is packed with strong, intriguing fascinations. Some are so good they could be possible headlines (I think "the great whey protein hoax" may have been a previous control headline). Any one of these bullets serve to draw the reader inside the promo to any of the page numbers listed. Now let's move to looking at the offer and order form page of this promo, and you'll see how it differs from the offers we looked at for Dr. Sears and Healthy Directions...

There are 3 order options presented, the "best value" of 6 bottles, the "great value" of 3, and the "trial offer" of just 1. Free shipping is offered as a fast-response bonus, like we saw with the Healthy Directions offer. Notice there are no free special reports offered. In some cases, they were never offered to begin with, or they tested out of offering them. By eliminating the free reports, it eliminates some of the decision point agony that can end up killing the sale when someone is trying to decide if getting that extra report is worth the $$. Thus, even though there are 3 order options, the order form appears simple, clear, and streamlined. I'd add in the actual cost per bottle for the "best value" deal so you're not forcing the prospect to do the math and you can demonstrate the value. (I'm a math major, so I had no problem calculating it at $33.25 vs. $39.95 each). There's a bit of patriotism thrown in with the American flag and the statement that the product is formulated and manufactured in the USA (though that doesn't mean all of the ingredients necessarily come from the U.S.) There's also an equal push to get the prospect to order online or to call the toll-free number. I went to and it's a very strong landing page. But before you can see it, you need to enter your tracking code from the promo (try "PA503" if you want to check it out). The offer options (and cost per bottle for each) are very clearly presented. There are FAQs, the product formula, and a bunch of positive testimonials presented credibly as online reviews. And if you linger there a while instead of ordering, a pop-up appears offering a free report, "10 Signs You're Protein Deficient". Once you enter your name and email, you're now on their list to get a series of follow-up emails that nurture you as a lead and follow-up on getting you to buy. Of course, if you call instead, you may (or may not) get upsold to buying a higher quantity. But that often depends on what rep you get. By driving prospects online to order, there are other benefits--like capturing someone as a lead who may not otherwise had bought. You don't want to miss out on this rare opportunity... If you enjoy these kinds of copy analysis and control breakdowns, you're going to love the vast amount of insights you'll get in my new COPYWRITING VELOCITY Complete Virtual Program. You've got till Saturday to enjoy special introductory savings of $200. But you should grab your copy of this in-depth program ensure you've got a seat for the first of 4 LIVE weekly calls starting this Wednesday (with A-list copywriter Richard Armstrong as a special guest on our first one--he'll be breaking down 3 killer controls for financial and health). And as a bonus gift, you'll get a free one-on-one coaching call with me when you get both my COPYWRITING VELOCITY Complete Virtual Program AND sign up for the live coaching calls (with other upcoming guests Carline Anglade-Cole, "Big Jason" Henderson, and Lori Haller). Check out all the details right here, and I hope to see you on the calls soon. Yours for smarter marketing, Kim P.S. You don't want to miss out on the wealth of copywriting know-how and strategies in this up-to-the-minute, complete virtual program...the most in-depth training I've these live group coaching calls (and your special bonus call with me!) The deadline to get my COPYWRITING VELOCITY Complete Virtual Program at special $200 introductory savings is coming up fast--and grab your free private coaching session with me--is this Saturday. Go here for all the details. P.P.S. I have another "What's in Kim's Mailbox" coming your way tomorrow as part of this week's Copy Insiders...and I'll be featuring another promo from a major mailer we haven't looked at yet. You won't want to miss it.

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