Successful Direct Mail Marketing: The Bank Bag

By Travis Lee

What you’re about to read was first published in my monthly newsletter, The Copywriter’s Corner, September, 2010.  To get more information on it, visit this link.

This month’s S&D example comes from Inner Circle Member Pete Mitchell.  Pete is a master at product launches, and he’s incredible at creating celebrity status, big pay days, and PR awareness.  If you’re interested in a product launch, visit

OK, back to business.  This is a great direct mail promotion designed by Pete and he did a TON of things right in this letter.  You’ll want to download a copy of his letter inPDF format right here before continuing with this tip.

First, he didn’t recreate the wheel.  The headline, sub-head, and the first three paragraphs are swipes of the letter we created for the bank bag on the 3D Mail Swipe File CD we give FREE to prospects (You still have yours, right?  If not request on right here).  And don’t think I’m some genius either.  I swiped this from letter from a golden-oldie classic.  Check out this PDF right here.  Look familiar?  It should we talked about it just a few weeks ago.

This original letter was written by Martin Conroy decades ago.  At the time it was mailed regularly by the Wall Street Journal.  It compares the success of two college graduates.  Although the letter doesn’t claim that reading the Wall Street Journal made the difference (in fact, they say in the closing that they cannot promise that) the thought it is strongly suggested.  Author Denny Hatch called this letter, “the most successful single advertising in the history of the world.”  He estimates that the letter has been directly responsible for producing $1 billion in revenues for the Wall Street Journal. (“Million Dollar Mailings”, Dennison Hatch, Libbey Publishing, Inc.  Washington, DC, 1992).

The copy of this letter came from “The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of All Time,” by Richard Hodgson.  It’s out of print, but you can still find copies on Amazon and eBay.  If you’re a real student of copywriting, this is a must have in your library.  Pete tweaked it slightly for his use, and ran with it.

Notice that this is a follow up to an event where he met the prospect.  He clearly states that on the first page, even drawing the eye to it with bold typeface and an underline.

If you’re going to follow up, especially after a show or event, make sure you mention this.  Don’t take it for granted that they remember you.  As someone who goes to many events, show, seminars etc. I can tell you first hand I don’t remember even half the people I meet (though I’m trying to get better!)

He further tweaked it for his prospects, a female character for the women, male character for the men.  This is the simplest form of versioning.  Versioning means changing the copy/images/headlines etc. to match your targeted audience.  This may mean slight changes as Pete made here, or drastic changes.  Whether you have slight or drastic changes, it WILL make a huge difference.

All too often marketers play the “one size fits all” game, when, with just a few slight changes, the copy will ‘sing’ to your exact audience.  Not seen in this example, Pete took the versioning even further and wrote in REAL handwritten notes to specific people he spoke with at the event.  These clients could potentially be worth big bucks to Pete, so taking the time to write a few REAL handwritten notes is well worth the effort.

He also used his testimonials wisely.  You’ll notice three glowing testimonials on page two.  The first coming from an instructor at the event he met the prospect.  Notice he bolded that part, to bring attention to it.  If you have a glowing testimonial from an authoritative source, use it.  He also bolds the important sections of the testimonials to be sure you read exactly the parts he wants you to read.

We do at least two co-op marketing ventures with Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s circle each year for their live events.  For those I bust out a testimonial from Bill Glazer right up front, and follow up with a passage or two on 3D Mail from one of Dan Kennedy’s book, my big guns.  Is it an actual endorsement from Dan Kennedy?  No, but it’s implied.  And an implied endorsement is usually as good as a real one.

Finally, Pete has two small, but powerful bits of takeaway selling.  He brings up cost, which is likely “the elephant in the room” for his prospects.  He is up front and says he’s NOT the cheapest, and goes on to ask why you would you want to work with the cheapest.  In the P.S. he also does a bit of takeaway selling, adding he can only work with two new clients this year.  If I were Pete, I’d also mention the number of letters we sent out, just like this one, to make that number seem even smaller.  He may have even gone as far as to list all the other speakers and authors he sent the letter as a third page to his letter.  I can almost guarantee you that he would have received his 2 calls with that strategy alone (there’s a tip for you Pete).

The Results

In the direct response world, results rule.  Since he goes after high value “targets” he doesn’t mail out a ton like everyone else.  So far he’s received a 20% response to the Bank Bag, 10% to the Army Man mailer (2nd piece) and another 10% to the Foreign Bank note (which is the 3rd piece in the mail campaign).  Since these are worth so much to him, he doesn’t stop with a 3 piece campaign.  He will keep going until they become clients.  Not bad considering one client can be worth tens of thousands to him.

Incidentally, one of the guys who called him after the Foreign bank note (third step) said that his favorite was the bank bag. Funny how he didn’t call after the bank bag.  It took 2 more pieces to get the call. Pete says,  “Now I have a meeting with him that I’d put at 85% chance I’ll close.”  That deal should be worth big time money.  If that’s not a ringing endorsement for sequential, direct mail using 3D Mail, I don’t know what is!

Finally, An Opportunity You Can Put Right in the Bank!”

The bank bag is far and away our bestselling 3D Mailer.  Marketers all over the country have mailed over 350,000 of our bank bags since we introduced the product in 2008. Here are just a few sample headlines:

“Here’s an Idea You Can Take To The Bank”

“You’re Going To Need This To Carry Your Money To The Bank After Your Read My Letter”

“You’ll Save So Much Money With Your New Printers, You’ll Need This Bag to Carry All the Money to the Bank”

“WARNING:  Only Read This Letter If You Want To Fill This Bag With Money.”

The bank bag also works as a self-mailer.  Simply attach your mailing label to the back, unprinted side of the bag, tape down the zipper, and drop it in the mail.    Need some more inspiration?  Here are Sample letters you can use to get you started:

You can get 20% off when you use the Promo Code bankbag20.   See the bank bag mailers here.  You’ll want to add the bank bag to the cart then select “view cart.”  You can then add the promo code bankbag20.   Call 888-250-1834 or visit us online right here.

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