Jim Straw Interview (The Secrets of a Direct Marketing Legend)
Learn the Little Known Truth of How a Legendary Marketing Genius Created Over $400,000,000 in Sales!
Let me ask you a question…when it comes to direct marketing, who do you follow? Just about every day, there are guides that pop up pushing the latest and greatest marketing strategies. Unfortunately, many of those so-called guru’s don’t practice what they preach.
There’s one guy that does and I highly respect him. He truly preaches through his own experiences. In fact, he’s been doing so for over 40 years.
Here are some facts about him:
- He’s built a customer base of over 700,000
- He’s written well over 700 books, booklets, manuals, reports, courses, and articles …all from his own experiences.
- He was the first direct marketer to sell a $100 product through mail order..and that was in the early ’70s! That was back when the highest priced product was $19.95!
- He was the first mail order marketer that accepted credit card orders
- He’s sold over 400 million dollars worth of products and services through direct mail.
- …and he’s even a member of Mensa! If you haven’t guessed who this marketing master is……it’s the legendary Jim Straw!
In this interview, you’ll find the answers to questions from readers…just like you…as well as questions from yours truly. You’ll learn about paid newsletters and how Jim created his fortune using direct mail.
I hope that you enjoy the interview!
The Jim Straw Interview
This interview was completed on July 3, 2008, and originally offered as a private report to my clients. I found out from a friend that Jim passed away on December 3, 2012. I’m truly grateful for having the opportunity to interview my mentor. RIP Jim.
Many of the original links are no longer active. I linked out to the archived pages on Archive.org. You can also find Jim’s last book “Mustard Seeds, Shovels, & Mountains” on Amazon.com.
Charles @ infoSpike: Jim, I’d like to thank you for taking part in this interview.
If you were to start a paid newsletter in a new market, what steps would you take offline and online to market it?
Jim Straw: Rather than repeating myself, you may read the article I wrote about publishing a newsletter at:
That article refers mainly to an off-line newsletter but the same holds true for an online ezine.
Charles @ infoSpike: When I come across an interesting offer in the mail, I typically do research online.
Sometimes I buy from an online source instead (which can be different than the mail source). Have you seen a change in mail order sales since the internet came out? Have there been any changes in your mail order business system?
Jim Straw: Back in October 1999, I set up my website when my paper and ink subscribers started asking where they could find my products online. It was originally not much more than a catalog of my products. My website was profitable within the first 30 days and had covered all of my costs with a profit by January 2000.
Over the next 5 years (2000 to 2005) I watched as my mail order marketing was hit hard as more and more of my subscribers went to the Internet. Almost everyone in direct mail marketing was suffering – but – my Internet marketing efforts took up the slack and produce profits for me.
Today, I do very, very little direct mail — BUT …
Today, with most of the wannabee marketers turning to Internet marketing; over mail order, there are fewer and fewer people in the mail-order business. For that reason; with less “junk” mail be mailed, there has been a resurgence in direct mail response.
Since people are getting less and less mail, they are taking more time to read the offers they do receive. That leads to more orders for those few who are now increasing their mailings.
It appears people are more trusting of direct mail offers than they are of email offers.
The same methods I used over the years are now far more effective than they were back then.
Charles @ infoSpike: Every now and then, I get emails asking how they can make their sites more attractive to pull in sales. I know for a fact that you’ve had tons of success selling subscriptions, as well as generating sales as an affiliate. So whether a person is selling subscriptions or doing affiliate marketing, what’s your view on improving aesthetics to boost sales conversions?
Jim Straw: Every month I receive at least a dozen offers to “upgrade” my ugly website with graphics, fancy borders, and loads of color – but …
When I check out the websites with all the fancy stuff, I find that they can’t come close to competing with my ugly … mostly words only … website.
If you are looking for an affiliate program that can put real dollars in your pocket, check out our program:
This is an archive page and it is no longer active. Learn more about affiliate marketing.
We are, also, now one of the hottest “business opportunities” websites on the Internet … ranked #7 … with a Traffic ranking among all sites of 14,903 – and – a Link popularity ranking of 48,824
Charles @ infoSpike: Postcards, sales flyers, or salesletters… how do you decide on which one to use?
Jim Straw: You don’t. You let your customers tell you which works best for your offers.
Try everything … postcards, sales flyers, salesletters … test, Test, TEST. Then, test some more.
Charles @ infoSpike: In the past, you’ve mentioned the use of sales flyers. I’ve seen a bunch of sales flyers, but many of the ones that I’ve seen look as if they were designed by graphic designers (not marketers). What are the effective components of a sales flyer and do you have any examples?
Jim Straw: Trying to answer that question would be like Muhammed Ali trying to tell you “how to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”
Read, study, learn and finally understand the arts (and sciences) of copywriting.
You’ll find out how I do it at:
Charles @ infoSpike: I read that it took you a few years to test and reposition a product in the market place before you could sell it well. I think there are many marketers online that would test a campaign out using pay-per-click advertising and give up after several hundred or thousand clicks if a campaign wasn’t profitable.
How do you decide how long you should test an offer before you dump it?
Jim Straw: There is really no rule to determine how long to keep testing.
If I totally believe that a product is absolutely necessary in the marketplace, I may keep testing it until I figure out how to interest people in that product.
On the other hand, if the product is less necessary to the success of my readers, I would probably test it a dozen times or so – but – I would retest it again in a year or so.
Charles @ infoSpike: I’ve seen advertisements for nationwide/regional classifieds.
(ie. http://www.nationwideadvertising.com) Have you tried any of these out with success? What’s your opinion?
Jim Straw: I have used them … some were successful, others were not.
What you have to do is keep testing classified ads in smaller local areas until you have an ad that produces a significant response. Then, place that classified ads in the nationwide/regional classified ads.
It is the strength of the ad; not where it is placed, that makes the difference.
Charles @ infoSpike: If you have any more suggestions on how a person can start marketing their online business offline, please share more.
Jim Straw: If you order my Mail order Marketing course …
The course is no longer available. Archived link:
https://web.archive.org/web/20121206235408/www.businesslyceum.com/mailorder.html… you will also receive a copy of “Unlimited Wealth Online Using Offline Methods” … by John Griffin (328 pages). — With this awesome report in your hands, you will be able to marry and meld the phenomenal power of direct mail with the speed and ease of the Internet!
Charles @ infoSpike: Jim, I’d like to thank you for your time and the wealth of wisdom that you’ve shared with us today!
Again, thanks for checking out this classic interview with the legendary Jim Straw.
Using Direct Response Marketing Strategies on the Internet
While Jim has provided a lot of his classic offline marketing strategies, he was also a great online marketer. He applied classic direct marketing concepts to his website and email marketing system to increase his sales using the internet.
If you’re looking for a way to get more sales using the internet, here are the 2 solutions that I recommend:
- Aweber – Email marketing automation system. This system will allow you to easily communicate with your prospects and customers online. It supports email address collection, email broadcasts, and sequential email follow-ups. They also have a great email marketing e-Course that you can grab for free.
- SiteGround’s Managed WordPress blog hosting – this website platform will allow you to build up web traffic to your products and services. Out of all of the affordable hosting plans out there, SiteGround has offered me the best customer service and stability!