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Garden Tillers by mail.

You Sold WHAT Through the Mail?

Would you buy this $2500 garden tiller through the mail, sight-unseen, with a full cash deposit six weeks in advance, from a company half way across the country?

That's exactly what hundreds of thousands of buyers did, years ago, when I helped the creative team at Garden Way, makers of the famous Troy-Bilt Roto Tiller -- Power Composter. If you're a serious gardener, you know what I'm talking about. If you're not... well, that shows the power and focus of our direct marketing efforts which aimed only at the people who needed such a device.

But whether you are trying to sell a tiller for $2,500, a building addition for $10,000, a pen or other imprinted advertising specialty item for $1.95, or most other products and services, the secrets learned from direct-response marketing can help you. We sold power equipment, books, garden items and had a catalog with hundreds of items. Call me for details and tips that you can put to work right now!

Lyman P. Wood, marketing pioneer.

Lyman P Wood and his Troy-Bilt tiller

Lyman was like the guy behind the curtain in The Wizard Of OZ. You probably never heard of him, but he was a genius who had a profound impact on direct marketing in America. His companies sold over $5 Billion of goods and services, mostly via marketing directly to the end customer.

He started at J. Walter Thompson in NYC, then moved to the country. He sold prayers by mail, as well as rabbits feet for luck, plus lots of books; he sold dreams and the means to achieve them. Soldiers returning from WWII adopted his and Ed & Carolyn Robinsons' Have-More Plan and planted family gardens.

Lyman started the Garden Way group of companies (Troy-Bilt, Carts, Publishing, Research, Living Centers, Gardeners Supply) and Country Home Products. and supported many non-profits.

He was a great mentor. If you'd like to read the book about his marketing success, please contact

Direct Marketing and How to Sell to the Right Customers for Less

You've seen the mail in your box, the pay-per-click pop-up ads online, the phone calls and emails, and the pushy ads on late night TV admonishing you to, "But wait... there's more!"

You know what? Those ads are there because they work! Poorly done, it's "junk mail" or wasted ad space. GOOD direct marketing aims at the right prospect, so it doesn't waste the time of recipients nor the world's resources, and it's effective because it focuses on the people who are most interested.

Direct marketing is both an art and a science. What you see is the creative efforts of a writer, an artist, or an on-screen personality. What you don't see are the market research, demographics and data analysis that went into the background. You may not be aware of the constant testing of new concepts against the control, the test comparisons between new venues and old, or the constant refining of proposition, price, colors, words, and the hundred other subtle aspects of a sales pitch.

Some Basic Direct Marketing Tips
(see me, Choppy Wicker, for more)

Measure the results of every single ad. What is the cost-per-response, and the cost-per-order? Track results for years and do more of what works and less of what doesn't.
Determine the lifetime value of various classes of customers; you'll be surprised at how much you can actually afford to spend to get a new one, and keep old ones.
Try living the life of your customers so that you understand their perspective and can truly understand the Voice Of The Customer. When you think like they do, rather than as a sales manager, you'll get their attention and their business.
Hire creative professionals who can write the best headlines and sales pitch; then test their work against what you've been using before.
How to test results? See us for dozens of ways to identify and measure which ad, letter, blog or other bit of advertising was the key that resulted in a sale. For tips on how to set your Pricing and calculate your advertising results, see our page Entrepreneur's Tool Kit.
Integrity is essential. Advertise honestly, use real testimonials, give a great warranty, and treat every customer as king (see House Rules, at upper right.)

A Few Kind Words From A Past President
(Choppy's employer back in the 1970's)

“Our business was based on using consumer-direct marketing to sell high-ticket products and keep the customers satisfied. As a marketer, Choppy quickly became skilled at copywriting, which is the art and science of selling via letters, ads, and the printed and spoken word. He wrote marketing communications that came from the heart because he took the time to walk in the shoes of our customers and came to know their needs and wants. He developed a strong record of successful ads, mailings and marketing campaigns that drew in thousands of fresh orders for our products.

“Choppy not only became a master at this craft, but innovated a whole new market that resulted in $15 million in additional annual sales to customers who already owned our main product. His team of people created and managed what became the industry’s leading example of caring for the customer, proving that investments in goodwill could produce a huge ROI. They published a national newspaper that went to all customers (eventually over a million) four times per year, plus numerous special letters and campaigns that built our revenues and profits.”

--Ed Scofield, co-President, Garden Way/ Troy-Bilt

Back to more Portfolio Case Histories!
(Or go forward to Next Page to see Gold In The Filing Cabinet.)


It's More Than
Just "Mail-Order"

In 1888, Richard Sears first started what was to soon become the famous Sears Roebuck catalog. Americans discovered they could shop from the convenience of their homes and get great values.

Today you can also directly shop online, or with a telemarketer, on your iPhone web browser, and others. But regardless of whether it's via TV, mail, email, the Web, Twitter, or your friend's viral blog, it's the message that counts.

It's also important that your message be consistent with what your local retail presence is doing. See two examples of that on this site at Sales Channels and Dot-Com.

Why Customer Service Is Your Best Investment

Remember the last time you received outstanding service or products from a company? You probably told some of your friends.

But remember when you got very poor service from a different company? You undoubtedly told a LOT of your friends.

In the direct response business, the House Rules above are the key to building a happy and enthusiastic customer base that literally goes out and finds new customers for you.

See details on our Gold In The Filing Cabinet page for lessons that can help you gain a huge Return On Investment.

Even heavy furnaces can be sold by mail.

Hot Furnaces sold by direct response mail and telemarketing.
See full details at Hot Furnaces page.

Next Step to Profits
(518) 753-9528

Sherwood Marketing
A division of the Sherwood Farm Group
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Johnsonville, NY 12094

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