More Directly to the Point

In which we are urged to get right to the point in written correspondence. A letter received this week. From an investment company.  Playing the "fear" card boldly.

Be patient. Read the letter that follows.  Notice your reactions. Then, read the brief commentary that follows.


Bear Market Survival

Strategies to help you recover and potentially profit from
one of the worst market crashes since 1931

Town Center Restaurant

Mr. Nick Miller
163 College Road
Concord, MA 01742

If you have any growth investments that have been affected by the markets decline or if you or a loved one worry about long term care expenses, it’s more important ever to learn how to turn things around. This may be your opportunity.  ABC Securities,  one of the nation’s largest retail brokerage firms, cordially invites you to attend an Investment Workshop at the Town Center Restaurant  Topics will include:

  • Investments that move with stocks and offer principal protection
  • Identifying hidden investment fees that can cost you thousands every single year
  • Methods to potentially eliminate fees and help increase income
  • A low cost method of long term care protection —
  • High quality bonds that can pay more than the markets 15 year average return.
This is an educational advanced financial workshop with no
attempt to sell specific products and there is no cost to attend. 

Your presenter will be Mr. Axel Crankcase, Senior Vice President, Investment Officer. Mr Crankcase has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry.  Axel has counseled hundreds of retirees and pre-retirees on strategies designed to optimize growth and make their money last. Elder Care Attorney Dewey Howe will also present. Dewey’s focus is in helping seniors protect their life savings – even if they are currently in a care facility. Skilled care can run as much as $10,000 a month. The information Dewey will share could save you or loved ones thousands.

You’ll receive details on …. blah blah blah blah blah…

You will leave with specific actionable ideas on how to … blah blah blah blah blah


Four points about the letter.

First –  Pick a strong trigger event.

Look at the bold faced print, starting at the top.  Bear Market Survival… worst market crashes… Those are both strong, current, and emotional. Good stuff.

However… be careful about associated references and offers. 

Free dinner? Combined with the Great Depression reference, “free dinner” brings to mind, “Hey, Buddy, can you spare a dime?”, with bread line and soup kitchen out the back at Town Center Restaurant.

Second – Bold faced type draws the eye… align content with trigger event.

The next eye catchers are the bold bullets.  I am so drawn to them, I completely skip over the first paragraph.

These, however, are a complete mismash. For example:

  • “reducing hidden fees” is not high on my list for recovering the 43% of value lost in my investments.
  • I’m not clear how long term care protection connects to “recovering from stock market crash” unless I’ve suffered strokes or a severe heart attacks while reading my monthly portfolio reports.

Third – Forget text that’s longer than 2 or three lines. Nobody reads it. Use bullets.

The paragraphs before and after the bold-faced bullets are fog-filled, eye-glazing, flump.  Don’t go there. Use bullet points, text underlining,  and headlines.

Fourth – Express your talking points in your clients’ language.

Read the bold bullets above, one more time, and then read the ones that follow. Direct language is good. Since I’m one of their prospects, I (personally) would be attracted by more direct, plain-spoken language that sounds like me, speaking:

  • Will the Dow go to 5,000… and what can I do now, in case it does?
  • Should I liquidate everything now or stay the course?
  • Can we trust any of the “investment advisors” who brought us and our country the brink of financial ruin?
  • If I or my wife have a stroke  as we read about the  bonuses being paid to the aforementioned investment advisors at ABC Securities,  how can we pay our nursing home bills since our investments are worth virtually nothing?
  • What do fixed income elderly retired folks do now? [Ten ways to prepare  puppy chow!]


  • Choose emotionally-charged TRIGGER EVENTs,
  • bold important text
  • align talking points with the trigger event
  • use bullets instead of sentences nobody reads
  • use direct language.

These days, folks don’t want to read a bunch of palaver. Get  boldly and briefly right to the point.

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