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The 2019 probiotic revolution (What's in Kim's Mailbox continues...📪)

SPECIAL ISSUE May 30, 2019


Those of you familiar with my background story know I first got started in the supplement business back when I worked as a marketer for Phillips Publishing. At the time Phillips was at least two or three times as big as Agora Publishing. Now, it's been broken up into bits and pieces, some of which have now been acquired by Agora. What's more, Agora is now several times bigger than Phillips was in its heyday. And thus goes the circle of life in the world of direct response! One of the funnest things I ever got to do as a marketer was to launch Phillips' nutritional supplement subsidiary when I was the ripe old age of 31. I even got to name the company. I wrote all the initial launch copy. I oversaw the logo and label design. And I put together the back-end marketing strategy and implemented it before we sold our first "Forward Plus Daily Regimen", a 14-pill-a-day supplement program. Being a publishing company with a subscription-based model, and supplements being a consumable product, the crucial question on the table as we planned the launch of our supplement subsidiary was this: "What are you going to do once you get the first order to get them to reorder?" Answering this crucial question posed to me by the company's leadership and implementing the right strategies as a result was a big part of growing the supplement business so fast and making it the most profitable division in the company. The company I'm talking about is Healthy Directions. They've circled through several different owners since Tom Phillips sold them many years ago. They used to be a lot heavier into direct mail--in fact, at one time they were probably the biggest mailer of supplement offers. Long before they got into acquisition direct mail to bring in buyers, I ran the marketing, and eventually the operations as well, for Healthy Directions' first 3 years. And because we focused on building customer relationships and nurturing the "back end" with an autoship option and lots of mailings and package inserts, myself and my team were able to grow this little supplement start-up to more than $23 million in sales (that's more than $38 million in today's dollars) within the first 3 years. And that was by going to just ONE in-house list! It's a whole different company now, one I haven't done much work with the past few years as they've slowed down their direct mail efforts and changed owners once more. But I'm on their mailing list since I've purchased supplements from previous magalogs before (something you should do, too, if you want to get their mailings, sparse as they may be). And while I was vacationing in the Caribbean, this magalog I haven't seen before arrived in my mailbox... What's in Kim's Mailbox? The following slimmed-down magalog arrived flat. It's the same height but about an inch narrower than a typical 8 1/2 x 11 magalog. It's quasi-posing as a journal with the masthead at the top. But it doesn't try too hard to maintain that illusion. Take a look...

The main headline and the photo put you right in the middle of the action, so to speak. It gets you "pre-experiencing" the main benefits of the product before you even know what it is. The choice of photo helps also since the man is looking right at you, drawing you in (it's always best to choose photos with this kind of eye contact). The subhead copy mentions "probiotics", which acts as a kind of hook. When a product (like probiotics) reaches a higher stage of market sophistication, mentioning it directly is a way to call out prospects who currently use a similar product. In this case, this will speak to people currently using a probiotic, or considering taking one. Key to this approach, though, is to immediately set your product apart in some way by demonstrating its newer, better mechanism. Here in the subhead it's talking about "a new revolution in probiotics" and tying it immediately to an improved result. I want to mention a few other things that are working well with this front cover. The first is the very clean, uncluttered look. By not being overly busy, it makes it look more valuable and credible. The eye goes where you want it to go. The flow is easy to follow. Second, there's a "cliffhanger" at the end of the subhead and practically forces you to turn the page...not just to page 2, but to page 3 (which of course, you have to read page 2 first to understand, so by then you're really hooked into reading.) Now let's skip ahead to the offer/order form page for this probiotic supplement. This page is a great example of an even more simplified and streamlined offer than the Dr. Sears one we looked at yesterday...

Just like the main headline on the front cover, the acceptance copy after the giant "YES!" future paces the benefits the prospect will enjoy by ordering the product. Removal of risk is happening right after that by briefly re-mentioning the guarantee. The offer is very simple. There's one price point--a discounted $24.99 per bottle. The only decision to make is how many bottles you want. You're not forced into choosing between 1 or 3 bottles, or even 6...although there's a "max" of 6, which puts the idea into your head that maybe that would be a good number to order. The free gift incentives are yours regardless of the number of bottles, so there's no stalled-out agonizing at the crucial moment over choices that could kill the sale. However, I'm not sure if the $10 savings certificate is helping or hurting, as it could make the prospect buy fewer bottles or just one, and then use the certificate to get another later after they try it and decide they like it. I'd test not including it to see what happens (although it's entirely possible they already did that and this won). While there's no hard and fast deadline (this is direct mail, so hard to do unless you push the date way out), there is the fast-response bonus of free shipping--always a popular incentive online or off--if you order in the next 7 days. And the prominence of the toll-free number at the top and bottom of the order page, along with the friendly telephone rep photo, encourages the prospect to call in their order--which most will likely do anyway. This, of course, gives the reps the chance to upsell the number of bottles, and also cross-sell a related product. (Note: I didn't call for this promo, but I did once a while ago, and know they do upselling and cross-selling...but by the third upsell/cross-sell it felt like too much). All of these offer structures and order form copy/design tactics I'm featuring here and in other "What's in Kim's Mailbox" emails can and should be lifted and applied to online order form pages as well, by the way. Rule #1 of funnel upsells (for supplements but also cookbooks, financial advice, and just about anything else): people are always most likely to go for buying more of what they're already buying. Those "old school" direct mailers have been doing these kind of funnel upsells for decades. It's what we did way back when I helped launch Healthy Directions, and how we built that into such a fast-growing and profitable business from the start. In the few decades since I left Phillips and climbed my way to the top of the copywriting "ladder", I've fine-tuned my process for writing successful direct response promotions. Everything from how I do research to coming up with the "big idea" to writing headlines, leads, fascinations, and those crucial offers and closes is included in my new COPYWRITING VELOCITY Complete Virtual Program. You've got till June 1st to enjoy special introductory savings of $200 on this in-depth copywriting training program that can accelerate your copy prowess whether you're just starting out or already cranking out controls. And the first of 4 LIVE weekly group calls are starting this coming Wednesday, June 5th. This is your chance to join A-list copywriters Richard Armstrong and Carline Anglade-Cole, email expert "Big Jason" Henderson, design genius Lori Haller, and yours truly on copy breakdowns, copy critiques, "hot seats", and much more. I'm super-excited for these calls--the things these special guests shared that are working right now on the second day of my live event (the recordings of which are only available to the attendees)--were pure gold...and they're going to share them on these calls as well. Plus the dual team of Carline and I doing live copy critiques on submitted promos is truly not to be missed! Now, here's an extra special bonus gift: when you get my COPYWRITING VELOCITY Complete Virtual Program AND sign up for the live coaching calls, you'll get a FREE one-on-one coaching call with me! We'll go a full half-hour and we can talk about whatever you like, whether it's finding better clients, negotiating higher fees or royalty deals, or getting direct feedback from me on your copy or "big idea". The sooner you act, the sooner you'll get to book your personal call with me...and the sooner you'll get access to the wealth of copywriting know-how and strategies in this up-to-the-minute, complete virtual program...the most in-depth training I've done. June 1st is right around the corner (it's this Saturday), so please don't miss out! Yours for smarter marketing, Kim P.S. Take a look at the newly-updated details about my COPYWRITING VELOCITY Complete Virtual Program (including the new "group calls only" option). If you haven't gotten it yet and/or signed up for the not-to-be-missed live group coaching calls with me and my special guests--and you'd like to have a FREE one-on-one coaching session with yours truly--be sure to act as soon as possible. You'll find all the details right here. 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 maybe another one on its way before then, too! So keep an eye out.

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