Dead writer’s A-pile rant
Right now I'm hip deep in a mailing.
No, not email.
Old fashioned, paper-and-ink-and-postage-stamps letters.
I've got stacks of papers all over my basement office. My fingers are sore from folding paper. I've got writer's cramp from scribbling addresses with a ball point pen.
Why go to all this trouble—especially hand-addressing every single envelope?
Well, I have a tiny list of people that I want to reach—129, to be exact. And each letter I send has the potential to bring in 10s of thousands of dollars in sales.
I'm doing everything in my power to make sure my letter stays OUT of the “B-pile” and lands squarely in the “A-pile.”
The A-pile vs. B-pile concept was a favorite rant of the late Gary Halbert, a copywriting legend.
He explained it like this:
People sort their mail standing over the trash can. And as soon as they catch the stink of a sales pitch—BAM, into the trash it goes.
RATES ARE GOING UP SOON!!! (See ya.)
YOU'RE ALREADY APPROVED!!! (Goodbye.)
EVERYTHING MUST GO!!! (Same to you.)
That's the fate of B-pile mail.
Most of it never even gets opened.
Or if it is, it's tossed as soon as the cascade of slick brochures tumbles out…
To get your letter read, you have to get past this visceral “Oh, yuck” reflex.
And the best way to do that is to get your message into the “A-pile.”
What does A-pile mail look like?
Well, it's stuff like bills and statements—anything that seems too important or scary to just pitch.
Then there's the mail you actually want to open. Packages from Amazon. Your favorite magazine or newsletter. Personal notes from friends and family.
A-pile mail gets opened and carefully examined.
And in many cases, you're actually excited to see what's inside.
That's why each of the letters I'm sending looks like personal correspondence.
Plain white business envelope. Simple letter with the recipient's first name, individually signed. Hand-written address and return address. Real first class stamp.
Exactly like a person would send—not a soulless corporate conglomerate.
This same principle applies to your online marketing—especially email.
Because your subscribers have the same “A-pile, B-pile” filter up as they plow through their inbox. And deleting emails is even easier than tossing a postcard in the trash.
Make your emails look like a note from a close friend, and you'll get more opens, more clicks—and more sales.
P.S. My Email Marketing Cheatsheet shows 4 ways to make sure your emails land in the A-pile.
Grab it here: https://joshuaearl.com/email-marketing-cheatsheet