Prospecting with Scissors

By Bob Bly

Though I don’t think I invented it, I’m one of an extremely small group of people who use this little-known marketing channel to stay in touch with clients and prospects.

I call it “strategic clipping.”

How it works is simple….

Whenever you come across an article in a magazine or newspaper that is relevant to one of your client’s businesses — or even his or her hobbies or personal life — tear or clip it out of the publication … and mail it to the client.

It sounds trivial. Almost ridiculous for me to call it a marketing channel.

But in fact, it’s one of the most effective relationship-building tools ever devised.

First, here’s how I do it.

I don’t deliberately research material to clip and send to clients.

But in the course of your reading, you will come across many such items weekly.

A lot of people look at a relevant article and think, “Bill would be interested in this; maybe I should send it to him.”

But because they are busy, they don’t.

I do. It’s easy, because my strategic clipping method is fast and efficient … and takes almost none of my time.

When I see an article for Bill, I cut it out of the publication with scissors.

I handwrite in pen a quick note at the top: “Bill — FYI – Bob Bly.” That’s it. Scribbled in seconds.

I then hand it to my assistant and say, “Please mail this to Bill Jones at Acme Solar Energy.”

And that’s it. My assistant does the work.

No need for me to take time out of my hectic day to find Bill’s postal address, hunt for a stamp and envelope, put the article in the envelope, seal the envelope, affix the stamp, and drive to the post office to drop it in the mail.

If I didn’t have an assistant and had to do it myself, I probably would not use strategic clipping. But fortunately, I do. (Every solopreneur should.)

Why is strategic clipping so effective? For 3 reasons:

First, the content is extremely targeted and relevant to the recipient.

Second, it has a personal touch — especially the handwritten note — and it shows people you are thinking of them.

Third, in our digital age where people are bombarded by email, getting a piece of paper in the mail stands out.

The only drawback to strategic clipping is: it’s hit and miss. If I don’t come across an article of interest to Bill, he doesn’t get a clip.

My solution to that flaw in the clipping system is to augment it by publishing a regular e-newsletter.

An e-newsletter is not as customized and personal as a strategic clip.

But the regularity of sending a monthly or weekly newsletter helps build top of mind awareness.

It also ensures that your prospects, clients, and customers hear from you on a continual basis.

Strategic clipping works online too!

When I get an e-newsletter in my inbox containing a relevant article, I immediately forward it to the appropriate person, also with a brief message — “Bill – FYI … thought this might interest you — Bob Bly.”

Easy as pie.

About the Author

Bob Bly has been an independent copywriter, consultant, and speaker for over 35 years. His clients include IBM, AT&T, The Motley Fool, Forbes, Intuit, Nortel, and Medical Economics. He is the author of more than 90 books including The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt).

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MaryEllen About MaryEllen

MaryEllen Tribby has helped thousands of people start a new business or grow their existing ones. MaryEllen is the Founder and CEO of, the world’s leading newsletter and website for the empowerment of the working mom. Prior to founding WMO, MaryEllen was Publisher & CEO of Early to Rise and President of Weiss Research where she added millions to their bottom lines in just a few months. She also ran divisions at Forbes, Times Mirror Magazines, and Crain’s New York Business. MaryEllen is the best-selling author of Reinventing the Entrepreneur: Turning Your Dream Business into a Reality and co-author (with Michael Masterson) of Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions For Your Business.