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Vitamin World mailer failure

(I’m a poet, and I don’t even know it mf!)

I strolled to my mailbox today and guess what I stumbled upon...

Yes, two pieces of junk mail, my favorite!

I don’t remember what the first was. I trashed it immediately.

But I kept the second one.


Because it was from Vitamin World. And while I don’t shop at Vitamin World, slanging supplements is how I make a good chunk of my income. Plus, I buy my fair share of supplements too.

Vitamin World sent me one of those “clever” mailers where some adhesive sticks the brochure together.

So I kept it to spy on my competition (and potentially reach out to Vitamin World to see if they needed a copywriter).

Guess what happened when I tried to open this thang:

I ripped it — LMAO.

Not so clever now Vitamin World!!! I can’t even read half the copy because my tearing abilities have impeccable aim.

And the way I ripped this mailer… it’s like I took a big, fat bite out of every single page in this 6-page brochure thing.

So, the thing became useless.

Anyway, here’s the point(s):

1. I don’t know how I got on their mailing list, but since I buy supplements it makes sense.

Weird and related lesson:

People who are buyers buy a ton of related stuff.

For example:

Since I buy supplements, I make a decent “lead” for Vitamin World. Most biz owners think that because someone buys a competitor’s product, they won’t buy yours. But that’s not true.

A buyer is a buyer is a buyer.

And the more they buy similar products, the more likely they are to buy yours.

2. Don’t get too clever with your promotions.

Nothing grinds me gears more than using silly puns in your marketing or trying to be too “clever.”

I’m not accusing Vitamin World of doing the former (remember, I can't even read it lol), but I am accusing them of the latter:

The adhesive was “clever” because it fits better in my mailbox. But none of that mattered as soon as I heard the page(s) go “TRRRRRR.”

3. My favorite Gary Halbert lesson: “A Pile” vs “B Pile”

My all-time favorite lesson from copywriting guru Gary Halbert is as follows:

He said when people look at their mail, they instantly separate the “A Pile” from the “B Pile.”

They trash the “B Pile” without so much of a glance. (This is what I did to the other mailer I got today… and what I normally would've done with the Vitamin World mailer.)


Because everything in the “B Pile” looks like marketing junk mail. Think brochures, flyers, inserts, you name it.

Remember: People loathe being sold to, but they love buying.

And they set aside the “A Pile” for when they have time to read it over.

What’s in the “A Pile,” you ask?

Bills, letters from family or friends, and other types of mailings that don’t scream, “I’m an ad!!!” all over them.

Which brings me to the rub:

Gary Halbert made (and lost… but that’s a story for another day) millions of dollars with direct mail.


He designed his envelopes as if they came from a friend. He wrote lengthy sales letters—sometimes 10 or even 20,000 words long—but he disguised them as if they were a letter from a friend.

In other words, he made sure his mail got into the “A Pile,” so people would at least open it. And once they opened it, he had a chance to turn them into buyers through the words he used.

Bringing this back to email…

This is why I prefer plain-text emails over heavily-designed ones.

Plain-text looks and feels like it’s from a friend. Heavily-designed ones scream “I’m an ad, please buy something!!”

A subscriber wrote in recently and asked me how to pick a niche where plain-text emails are used more than designed ones.

I gave her some suggestions like course creators, infoproducts, coaches, financial products, etc.

But, in my somewhat biased, yet true opinion:

I’ve yet to see a case where a more personal and plain-text approach works less effectively than a heavily-designed one.

Of course, brands who believe in heavily-designed emails will be harder to sell… but, if it works out, they’ll be even more indebted to you than if they already believed in a plain-text approach.

Just sumtin to think about.


Wanna stack cash like the US Treasury with emails?

Book a Discovery Call. If you have a proven offer and an email list, we might be able to do that.

(Okay, okay, I’m probably overselling this a bit… I mean… the US Treasury can print money out of thin air… and while we won’t be able to match their trillions—and TRILLIONS—we might get closer than you think.)

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