The Fitness Test That Led Me To Sequential Mailing Gold.

Direct response copywriting sequential mailing by Mylk Copy

“Four-point-three, Anthony!” my P.E. teacher yelled. I stumbled off the basketball court, fighting hard to catch my breath. I was running the Beep Test. If you’ve never heard of the Beep Test, I’ll get you up to speed now. 

The Beep Test is where people run back and forth between two points, twenty metres apart. The people must maintain a running speed that is determined by a pre-set tone — a ‘beep’ sound. The running speed increases as the test progresses over 21 levels. Depending on where you finish, you receive a score. In my case, I dropped out at level four-point-three. Ugh.

Even today, so many years later, I still remember the look of pity my P.E. teacher shot my way as he wrote down my score. I was now branded physically unfit by the education system. I still remember how cut I felt.  That number—four-point-three—played on my mind for weeks. Could I really be this unfit? 

As much as I tried to twist my thoughts, string together one excuse after another, the truth was … I was all fat, no muscle. And with summer school holidays approaching, I couldn’t bear the thought of five weeks by the pool or at the beach looking like a stacked hamburger. I decided to do something about it and signed up for my local gym. (Thanks for the membership, Mum.) 

One session turned into two. Two into three. Then another. And another. Gym members noticed my dedication and, soon enough, I was known around the gym floor. For five weeks straight, I exercised like a mad man. My source of inspiration, motivation and information stemmed from one place: fitness magazines.

I devoured every mag I could get my hands on. Some mags were dedicated to bodybuilding. Some were dedicated to general fitness. But the one thing they had in common was the adverts. The supplement ads were unapologetically hardcore. Two brands, EAS and MuscleTech, had the best advertising I ever laid eyes on.

Here’s one of MuscleTech’s finest examples:

MuscleTech Supplement Advert Mylk Copy Melbourne Sequential Mailing Post

Notice how it reads SPECIAL 4-PAGE REPORT? Classic, long-form supplement advertising.

And here’s one for EAS Myoplex.

Each line of copy tapped into some primitive urge to become bigger and stronger, to leave your puny self behind and tap into your muscular potential. Before I had even reached the end of the ad, I would go to Mum, hat in hand, coaxing her to buy some Myoplex for me. She caved.

Months after getting my first Myoplex order, I received a sales letter from EAS. Their pitch was: massive sale, up to 40 per cent off, buy now and save. I tossed it away. A few weeks later, I received more mail from EAS. It was the same two-page sales pitch but with mark-ups and scribbles all over it. I didn’t budge.

Then, another couple of weeks later, I received a third piece of mail pitching me again. Who the hell did EAS think they were? Damn good marketers are who they were. This time, I read the sales letter line-by-line. The offers were Godfather-like … too good to refuse. I bought big and made off like a bandit.

Little did I know at the time, EAS was a juggernaut in the supplement industry. At the helm of this beast was Bill Philips — a bodybuilder and a razor-sharp marketing man. He assembled a dream team of direct response marketers and copywriters. And that same team was behind those sales letters I received.

It’s reported that Bill’s three-letter sequential mailing minted a cool $4.5 million in extra sales. Not bad for one double-sided piece of paper.

What’s more, sequential mailings aren’t anything new. The best direct response (DR) marketers have used this tactic since the 90s. But with the rise of email in the mid-2000s, many of those same DR marketers transitioned from offline to online. And sequential mailing was replaced by two, three, even four-part emails.

The money-making magic of sequential mailings.

What makes this tactic so powerful is that you can ‘mine’ your list for all its worth. Rather than paying to find new customers, you can re-market to those same people who haven’t bought yet.

For example, say you have a red-hot offer and a subscriber list of 1,000 people. The first mailer introduces the offer/discount. If readers don’t act, mail them again saying something along the lines of, This is the second notice we’re sending you about … and you launch into the same pitch.

The people who don’t purchase from the second mailing, send them the same letter a third them. This time you open with something along the lines of, This is your third and final notice … and make the same pitch again but tweak the offer to increase urgency. 

The easiest way to tweak the sales letter is with scribbles and strikethroughs designed to make it appear as if someone scribed it by hand. Doing this offers a personal touch to an otherwise cold form of communication.

Perhaps you’re thinking this all sounds too easy. But the best, most profitable tactics are the simplest ones to execute. In this case, put your fingers to the keyboard and fire off the same sales letter multiple times. It’s no wonder Bill Phillips made fat sales helping people get thin using this tactic.

And speaking of losing weight, when school resumed after the summer holidays, I had to repeat the Beep Test. As I shuffled off the basketball court gasping for air, I glanced over at my P.E. teacher. He was silent for a moment, then he spoke up, “Impressive!” as he jotted down my score on his clipboard. I ran a twelve-point-two.

Mylk Copy Copywriter Melbourne email sign up box
Get crates of fresh, nutritious Mylk delivered to your inbox, free.

Sign up below. You’ll receive our latest articles and content, without the sales sleaziness. Promise!

Want no bullsh*t copywriting and marketing tips, tricks and hacks delivered to your inbox?

Sign up below, friend.

We don’t sell your data. There’s a special place reserved in hell for companies that do that.