Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tales from the Little Red Truck: Our Worst Letter Ever

So yesterday I talked about A-abc's most successful sales letter--the free Infiltrometer analysis. Today I'll talk about our worst--the video duct cleaning letter.

When we first saw the video duct cleaning machine, it seemed like a great idea. We loved the fact that we could prove the results of our cleaning. Our clients loved it too. We sold a bunch of jobs, but not because of this letter.

Before sending out this piece, everyone who read it thought it was a winner. Not just based on that reading, but based on a comparison to other successful letters we had written, and other offers we ran for video duct cleaning. It incorporated a lot of the things we had done before, so there was good reason to think it would be successful.

We sent out a test mailing (which we always did, even if we thought it was perfect) and when the results came in, we were once again astounded.

It had a 0% response. That's right, nobody called.

You would think we would have destroyed every copy of this letter as quickly as possible. We may have tried, but at least one survived, and it's included below. Luckily, we had only sent it to a test of 1,000, so our loss wasn't great. Although testing was sometimes frustrating and time-consuming, it proved prudent on more than one occasion.

If there's one thing I know about advertising, it's that NOBODY knows what will work. You have to take the time to test your ads.

Normally we would change up the letter and send it again. I don't think we ever sent another letter for video duct cleaning though. Not because of the lack of success we had with our test, but because the video duct cleaning machine kept breaking down. We had to abandon that technology.

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