A Bit of History

I live and breathe direct response copywriting! But that’s not my only interest… I do have a life, really!

I live on the beautiful South Coast of the UK in Dorset, known as the Jurassic Coast, with my husband Mark and our two dogs; Sukie and Freddie.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, ever since my school days. And I love the buzz of helping people achieve business success – and my copywriting certainly helps me to do that. (Read customers feedback)

My First ‘Writing’ Job

When I started in business in 1968, at the Royal Mail (now the Post Office, UK) organising postal routes for the mail, I had my first taste of ‘business writing’; part of my job was to send written replies to the public and, on occasions, MPs when they complained about lost or delayed letters and packages.

My writing style then – as laid down by my bosses – is a far cry from the compelling material I create today for my clients and my own business.

My first success in letter writing – and long letter writing at that – was completely unintentional. In 1974 I wrote a very detailed letter explaining why the rent increase proposed by a private landlord was totally unjustified. The landlord got his increase… all of £1 per month!

At that time I didn’t know there was such a career as copywriting, but I was extremely chuffed at the success of my letter!

My Other Passion

When I eventually moved into the IT Profession, specifically heading up customer software support and training departments, I discovered I love techie stuff! And I still do to this day.

From 1972 I found my forte in developing, writing and presenting IT training courses covering general office applications and accounting software, including MS Office, Pegasus and Tetra – a Unix based accounting system.

The 1980’s saw me bombing up and down the M6 running training sessions for a variety of companies including Brit Oil in Scotland.

After heading IT Training departments for different computer suppliers (including Phillips, SCC & Deverill), I was promoted to General Manager with Deverill, based in Poole, Dorset.

Then the recession hit and I became a casualty; just 6 weeks after getting married – that was some wedding present I can tell you!

But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise…

Out On My Own

In April 1991 I formed my own IT coaching business. After all, I had over 18 years experience of software support and training and had a well developed skill in creating written training material, which proved to be a great asset to the business. In fact my training material was purchased by other computer suppliers to use in their training courses.

In 1992 I qualified as a Dale Carnegie Instructor, further enhancing my communication and presentation skills. And I soon followed that up by taking NLP Practitioner training with Paul McKenna and Richard Bandler.

I developed my copywriting and marketing skills, in order to boost my own business. I made a point of studying the masters and successful experts in direct response marketing; testing ideas and techniques successfully on my own business. I wrote all the marketing material for my business and often helped business colleagues with the development of their marketing letters, adverts and campaigns.

I gradually moved towards providing marketing services (starting with multi-media ‘business cards’) in addition to the computer training.

After many successes and a particularly stunning 44.2% response for a direct response campaign I wrote for a local letting agent (described in my first book), I decided to follow my passion for writing and offer my copywriting services on a full time basis.

Promote Your Business was Born…

promote your business with direct response copywritingI changed the structure of my business to support this new copywriting service and renamed it Promote Your Business Ltd.

The wisdom of my decision to change direction was confirmed when the test letter I wrote in 2003 for another company, TFP Online, gained a 262% increase over the company’s previous mailings. I still write TFP’s mailing campaigns today.

Becoming An Author

Since then I’ve written and published four books… all are rated 5-star on Amazon. The first was ‘I Want to Buy Your Product… Have You Sent Me a Letter Yet?’ (2005); this was also turned into a successful audio programme in 2005.

The second book: ‘Beat The Recession: Proven Marketing Tactics’ was published in October 2008 and is a distillation of one year of posts (139 plus 14 downloadable gifts) taken from this blog.

The third, published in 2009, is Pocket Guide To Writing Profit-Boosting Sales Letters. It is a slim volume giving the essentials of how to write your own responsive sales letters.

In 2012 I published my fourth book – a revised and updated version of the first book. I asked my blog and book readers what title to use and got a resounding majority for the original title. So I updated it to ‘I Want To Buy Your Product.. Have You Sent Me A Sales Message Yet?’ to reflect the digital media material the new book contained.

It is difficult to be an expert in all areas – there’s a chance of ‘spreading yourself too thin’ – so I was delighted when four business colleagues; experts in their own field, agreed to contribute a chapter to the new book.

Andrew Knowles: Social Media
Samuel Adams: Email Marketing
Daren Northeast & Justin Cohen: Public Relations

Their input expanded the value of the book’s contents for its readers.

I’ve also produced numerous reports, articles and audio programmes – mainly on copywriting – and often speak at business conferences.

I love all things to do with marketing; specifically direct response marketing and avidly read dozens of books on the subject. Here’s my list of books worth reading

Leisure Time

My life-long hobby (apart from computers, yes… I’m still nuts about techie things 😉 ) is reading… both fiction and non-fiction and self-development through audio-programmes, DVDs, seminars and reading marketing books. I reckon my love of reading all types of publications gives me a good grounding for my writing skills.

Carol Bentley with her dogs Sukie & FreddieIn 2009 we adopted Sukie, a 14-week old rescue dog. As a result of taking her to obedience and agility training I have got involved with my local dog training club (Purbeck Agility Group). I now run Freestyle (dog dancing) classes for other club members.

In January 2014 Freddie joined our family. He and I won our first Heelwork to Music Competition at Findon Downs in February 2015!

(If you like dogs you can see us on Facebook: Purbeck Dog Dancing)