21 Time-Tested and Proven Copywriting Tips, Tricks and Strategies Guaranteed to Help You Say Exactly What Your Prospect Needs to Hear In Order To Get Excited About Giving You Their Money

Hey You,

copywriting course

Is 10,622 words Too Much Love For You?

 

It’s Lewis a.k.a. Nerd #2 a.k.a. L.L. Cool Nerd.

I’m gonna break some rules today.

I’m going to talk about what I feel are the greatest copywriting courses I’ve ever gotten my hands on, resources that can allow you to radically transform how many people buy stuff from you and respond to your messages, and I’m not including any of the classics that everyone else refers to – Collier, Caples, Hopkins, Ogilvy, Lasker,  Schwab, etc.

Everything I’m referring you to is new school.

And even though these are all new school resources, I’m kinda of a bastard because while I’m recommending these 7 courses, you can’t put your hands easily on any of one of them, if at all. Sorry about that. I didn’t mean it that way when I compiled the list but that’s the way the cookie crumbled.

Now I’m a firm believer that there’s no school like the old school. I have great reverence for the O.G’s of copywriting. Everything I do with my copywriting  today is rooted in their findings.

And, in the same breath, in the interest of making the most efficient use of your most precious asset, time, I’m going to tell you to go read all the books by all of the past masters . . . only if you can’t find these 7 courses or after you’ve placed your hands on them, consumed them and fully own the wisdom inside of them.

From each of these courses I’m going to give you 3 of my quick favorite takeaways and you’ll see below in Time-Tested And Proven Copywriting Strategy #2, more about why I say to start with these courses before reading the classics.

Now let the show begin . . .

#1 Greatest Copywriting Course Of All Time:         Gary Bencivenga’s 100 Seminar

Just in case you aren’t familiar with who Gary is, let this endorsement from a fellow legend give you a peek into what this man is about . . .

“Other self-proclaimed experts really have made millions writing copy—most of it aimed at selling their own books, courses, and conferences, but rarely if ever competing against top writers in the real world.

“Only a handful of copywriters in our generation have ever competed at anywhere near Gary Bencivenga’s level over the long haul. And if our little fraternity held an election today, Gary would be unanimously elected King. Gary showed us the way, and we worship the ground he walks on.

“And as a bonus, Gary is the nicest, sweetest, most humble, and most generous guy you could ever hope to meet. Yeah, I admit it: I genuinely love Gary. I want to marry him and have ALL his babies.”

—Clayton Makepeace, superstar copywriter and publisher of The Total Package

The take-aways I’m giving you here are from the one-time and one-time only event that was packed with some of the greatest marketers and copywriters known to man who each ponied up $10,000 a piece to come to learn at the hand of a master. 

And in Gary’s words, here we go with . . .

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #1: Harness the Miracle of “Compound Knowledge”— with 1 Percent Weekly Improvement

You don’t have to improve your abilities 50 percent in one week—that’s too hard, too high a goal.

Just improve 1 percent per week, in whatever you’re doing—whether you’re playing the guitar or the piano or trying to be a better copywriter or marketer. If you can increase your ability 1 percent per week, it means that in a year, you’re at least 50 percent better than you are today.

In two years, you’re 100 percent better. Over time, that really compounds and you become a superstar. Or if you’re starting as a superstar, you become simply incredible at that rate of improvement, and it’s very easy to do.

The “Ad-a-Day” Program

One of the tools for doing that is what I call my ad-a-day program. Every single day, no matter what else you have to get done, read a good ad, or at least a portion of a good ad, so that you’re always keeping in your consciousness what great advertising is.


Do you see the vast wisdom in this simple advice?

Gary can give you two full days of everything he knows about copywriting and yet if you become overwhelmed because you don’t immediately apply it all right away and come to the point where you just throw up your hands and say, “Fuck It,” and gravitate towards comfort – which in essence could be listening/attending another course so you feel like you’re “improving” when in reality, you’re repeating the pattern of “consume and then bail” when it comes time to actually work it.

You and I do this because we don’t take on this 1% philosophy. We think that if we aren’t balls to wall doing all the exercises in the course, that we aren’t doing shit. We have two speeds – full steam ahead or nothing.

And guess what?

Full steam ahead either wears you out or is unrealistic if you have any kind of life. Yeah, maybe you’re inspired and you’ve got a burst in you, a week, a month, but eventually this is what causes you to stop taking action altogether on improving this skill you’d like to master.

When you can be OK with, better yet proud of only improving 1% a day, knowing this number will positively compound, you’re gonna defeat that part of your mind that wants to beat you up for not being the “best student” – you know, the Asian student who’s strict parents force them to spend hours a day studying.

If you can maintain that kind of “hours a day” discipline without having someone with their foot on your throat every day, more power to you. Most of us, even as kids never had that so we don’t even have the memory of ever working that hard to learn. 

This REALISTIC 1% philosophy is SO crucial to your becoming a better copywriter. The key though is consistency. Everyday. A lil’ ol 1%. That’s it – in an out.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #2:The Canadian Mountie’s Secret for Exploding Advertising Response

It was in 1904—May of 1904—that a famous meeting took place between two of the three great founders of modern advertising.  Albert Lasker, meeting with the first brilliant copywriter, John E. Kennedy, in 1904.

Albert Lasker was the son of a prosperous German immigrant. Albert could have pursued almost any career he wanted, because his father could have funded any ambition. He started out in journalism as a reporter. But his father disapproved, mainly because most of the reporters he knew were heavy drinkers. He urged his son to go into advertising, and Albert agreed, taking a job at the Lord & Thomas ad agency in Chicago in 1898, when he was just 18.

He started at the bottom, cleaning out spittoons, among other responsibilities. Within a few years he was the owner of the agency. He was such a go-getter. He was great in personal sales presentations. He could charm the birds out of the trees.

While Lasker was amazingly persuasive personally, he had no idea of how to translate this personal magnetism into advertising. This bewildered, even tortured, him. On one hand, he could see that the right advertising could skyrocket sales, making a company’s founders and key executives wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice.

On the other hand, he had no idea which specific factors were responsible for such occasional successes nor which other factors caused failure, which was much more common. Why did advertising work for some but not others? What were the critical factors for success, and how could they be harnessed to make success predictable and repeatable?

This all was a mystery to him, and he determined to find the answer, seeking out the opinions of the leading figures in advertising of his day.

Then one day in May of 1904, Lasker was sitting in the office of the owner of the company, Mr. Thomas. They were talking about business. A clerk brought in a note and handed it to the boss, Mr. Thomas.

The note read as follows. By the way, it’s interesting that modern advertising was launched by the little direct mail letter you’re about to see. It came from John E. Kennedy, a Canadian Mountie turned copywriter. His note read as follows:


“Dear Mr. Thomas,

I am in the saloon downstairs, and I can tell you what advertising is. I know that you don’t know. It will mean much to me to have you know what it is, and it will mean much to you. If you wish to know what advertising is, send the word ‘Yes’ down by messenger.”

Signed—John E. Kennedy

Remember, Kennedy was delivering this note to a captain of industry, the head of the third-largest ad agency in the world, so this took gumption. He must have been immensely sure of himself—a trait not uncommon among copywriters!

Also, please understand that this is not an urban myth. Being a trained journalist, Lasker recorded this event exactly as it happened. He also saved Kennedy’s note.

 

Upon reading the note, Mr. Thomas asked Lasker, “Have you ever heard of this man?”

Lasker said no. Thomas instantly dismissed it, probably assuming its author was just another crackpot who’d wandered into the saloon downstairs. He told Lasker, “The man must be crazy. I won’t waste any time on him.”

But Lasker burned with curiosity. He said, “Let me see him. What have we got to lose?”

The Most Important Three Words in the History of Advertising

So Lasker sent word down to Kennedy to come up to his office. Kennedy told Lasker that he’d heard of his reputation and of his quest, how Lasker had been asking all the heads of other agencies, “What is good advertising?” without getting a satisfactory answer.

“I have the answer,” said Kennedy. But first, Kennedy asked what Lasker thought advertising is. Being a journalist, Lasker replied that as close as he could figure it, advertising is news—news about a product.

Kennedy said, “No, news is a technique of presentation, but advertising is a very different thing. I can give it to you in three words.”

To which Lasker replied, “I am hungry. What are those three words?” Then Kennedy uttered the three words that have defined advertising ever
since.

“Advertising,” he said, “is salesmanship in print.” Those three words electrified Lasker. He instantly grasped their profound implications, and those three words quickly became the foundation of modern advertising.

Decades later, when David Ogilvy wrote his book, Ogilvy on Advertising, a great book, he said, “There has never been an improvement on that definition.”

Actually, there was a slight improvement, which came after Kennedy, from the third founding father of advertising, the all-time greatest king of copywriters, Claude Hopkins. He observed that since there are many different media, not just “print,” it’s more accurate to define advertising as “multiplied salesmanship”.

And this has been the gospel for direct marketers ever since, but not,
unfortunately, for many other advertisers.


I have not included any classic books like John Caples, “Tested Advertising Methods,” or Claude Hopkin’s “My Life In Advertising” (which I like better than Scientific Advertising) on my list here because I  believe the creators of the courses I’m referring to here have built everything they’ve done on the foundational wisdom of these founders.

Reading the classics can yield many a benefit, and you should do so if given the luxury of time, but in the case of you having to improve fast, any course taught by anyone who I’m listing here, has covered the bases and expanded on them for this new age we live in much as Claude Hopkins expanded on Kennedy’s definition above.

Gary is paying tribute here to what the essence is of what he’s spending two days teaching in his farewell seminar. If you don’t get this basic of the most basic principles down and banish from out of your head the idea that “Copywriting” is more about writing than it is about selling, you’re gonna struggle.

The genesis of improving your conversion rates is realizing and welcoming the idea that you’re the head salesman in charge in your business and then working daily, 1% at a time, towards improving your ability to persuade in person, print or pixel. 

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Secret #3: The Great Fisherman’s Secret

And once again, I’ll let Gary tell this story . . .

What You Can Learn from the Amazing True Story of Captain John Rade and His Greatest Secret for Catching Fish

To do this, I’m going to start each of these major sections with a story, in this case, a true story about a man named Captain John Rade. He’s a master fisherman who has a great secret to teach us about how to catch many more customers than our competitors.

Pauline and I have, for many years, owned a home out in Amagansett. For those of you not from New York, I’ll explain where that is.

Long Island is just east of where we are now in Manhattan. It’s 118 miles long and sticks out like a finger into the Atlantic. The very tip of Long Island is one of the world’s great fishing grounds. That’s because when fish migrate south in the cooler months or north in the warmer months, they must swim around the end of this big finger of land to get where they are going. They have to make their way around the point of Long Island, which is known as Montauk Point. And wherever you have lots of small fish migrating, you have big fish feeding on them, and feeding on the big fish, even bigger fish, and so on.

As a result of all this, world records for some of the largest fish ever caught of various species have been set by captains who fish out of Montauk.

As you’d expect, Montauk is a great center of many types of fishing boats— commercial fishing fleets, charter boats for hire by serious sports anglers, as well as the large “party fishing boats” that cater to weekend fishermen.

It’s a very interesting, lively harbor, and if you’re ever out toward the end of Long Island, you must see Montauk Point.

It’s also the home port of many legendary fishing captains, including, for example, Frank Mundus, the great white shark hunter who was the real-life inspiration for the character Quint in Jaws. For many years, Frank made his living catching great white sharks on rod and reel. That’s his idea of fun.

Famous as he is, Frank Mundus, and every other fishing captain out in Montauk, holds one man in awe. This is the man who towers above everyone in his ability to catch fish, and most will readily admit it.

His name is Captain John Rade.

In fact, the East Hampton Star, the major newspaper of the East End of Long Island, ran a story about him not long ago, entitled “John Rade, Maestro of Rod and Reel.” You can see him here with a typical day’s catch. Those are striped bass in his plastic bins.

To understand how good a fisherman this fellow is, you must know that government agencies regulate fishing. To protect this natural resource, they set limits on the number and size of fish that can been taken by any one fisherman. For sports anglers, that number is low, maybe just a few fish per angler, depending on the species.

For commercial fishermen who earn their living from the sea, the limits are much higher. They can catch hundreds or even thousands of pounds of fish per day, depending on the species.

I mention this because Captain John Rade is a commercial fisherman, someone who catches fish for a living, to sell to restaurants, fish markets, etc. But he is a very special and rare type of commercial fisherman. He is what they call a “pinhooker,” which means he doesn’t rely on the usual commercial fishing methods.

Unlike most commercial fishermen, he uses no giant nets, no long lines with hundreds of baited hooks, no big boats with crews of five or six mates, none of that. He just goes out on in his little put-put motorboat with a rod and reel and hooks his fish one at a time. Yet he manages to come home regularly with hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fish.

To put that in perspective, on a given Saturday in the summer, there’s the Viking Starship, which is a big boat, called a party boat, where any weekend angler can come on board for a day’s fishing. On a typical Saturday, the Viking Starship may take out 50 to 60 fishermen. John Rade will usually out fish all 50 to 60 fishermen combined, fishing in the same water.

The newspaper reporter who wrote this story about him asked, “Captain John, how do you do this? This is an astonishing feat, and you do it day in and day out.”

Mind you, this man catches fish not just when they’re biting. He will come in almost every day with hundreds of pounds of fish, more than 50 to 60 other anglers catch, and he does this through all seasons.

When asked “How do you do this?” he thought for a moment and said something profoundly important to us as marketers:

“Don’t Think Like a Fisherman, Think Like a Fish”

He said that he’s been a fisherman ever since he was a child, and there’s one guiding principle an old-timer once taught him to follow. Captain John Rade says that “when most fishermen go out to fish, they think like fishermen. When I go out, / think like a fish.”

Captain John Rade has devoted his whole life answering this question: “How can I think more like a fish? ”

Now let me ask you—as marketers, how much do we think like marketers and how little do we think like our prospects? You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

There are many parallels here. For example, John Rade will tell you that in a typical bait and tackle shop, fishermen will go in and want to buy lots of fancy, feathered lures and other gimcracks. But, he says, most of this stuff is designed to catch fishermen, not fish. Yet fishermen are always chasing these newfangled devices. They waste lots of money chasing fantasies because they are thinking like fishermen, not fish.

By contrast, John Rade doesn’t spend his time or money looking for magical solutions, investing in the latest fishing fads, or purchasing the hyped-up informational products written by those who make their living catching fishermen and not fish. (Starting to sound familiar?)

Instead, he patiently studies everything there is to know about the fish he wants to catch—what their life is like, when they’re hungry, what they like to eat as the seasons change, what bait is running in the water and attracting them on any given day, where they like to hang out, what makes them bite with abandon, what makes them lay low, how to catch the big ones and avoid the small, etc.

And the most important thing he studies is the ocean, the environment his quarry swims in. It’s the ocean that affects his target more than anything else. The ocean determines the temperature of the water, the currents, the depth at which the fish are swimming, the times they are likely to be hungry, etc.

By studying all this, by learning exactly how to think and feel like the fish he’s trying to catch and knowing exactly what their environment is like at all times, he manages to out fish, by enormous amounts, every other fisherman in Montauk, Long Island’s mecca for thousands of ardent, skilled fishermen.

What Can We Learn from This?

If we apply this same thinking, as I will now show you, you will take your success in marketing to a whole new level. If you can start thinking more like the fish instead of the fisherman, you will quickly begin to see incredible opportunities to improve your results in attracting and catching your prospects.


You see why I included this story?

You see why I’ve included only strategies, not tactics from Gary’s course?

You see why Gary felt it necessary to cover these strategies with a room full of pros who already know it all?

In case you don’t, I’ll tell you. These are the foundational philosophies that will support ALL of your efforts to become and stay persuasive in print, pixel, or person. If you ever get off the track of these fundamentals, you’ll be moving backwards instead of forwards.

If you can get your hands on this seminar, do it. You’ll forever be armed with all the basics you need to know about persuasion multiplied, explained in a very entertaining flow which makes the process of mastering them that much easier.

2nd Greatest Copywriting Course Of All Time: Eugene Schwartz – Rodale Presentation

Rodale, Boardroom, any and every heavy duty mailer (companies mailing out over one million copies of a  single salesletter) who was a big somebody, has hired Gene Schwartz because he’s known for putting words in a sequence that inspire people to write checks and fill out order forms with their credit card info on it and mail them in.

And besides being a hired gun, he was running his own information marketing company selling books through mail order. This is part of what made this guy such an amazing writer – he knew what the guys mailing felt when they were putting their ass on the line to spend a shit-ton of money to mail.

Most people who write  (especially life long low end writers) have never felt this feeling in their life and this is why they’ll half-assed write for you because they don’t share in profits and they feel they need your little fee you’re paying them more than a reputation and have never felt what it felt like to not only lose in a test, but in the same loss, lose all the money you had left in the world for marketing.

Pay very close attention to anything to Eugene Schwartz says about direct marketing. He is the muthafuckn’ truth.

This presentation I’m directing you towards today is where he spent an hour, maybe two, explaining to writers at Rodale Publishing, his personal insights into writing a sales promotion.

Three of key insights I’ve taken away and used in everything I now write are . . .

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #4: We Don’t Create, We Merely Reassemble

Up until the day of this presentation, no one ever would’ve ever said Eugene Schwartz wasn’t creative.

This was a guy who putting unique spins and compelling twists on even the most common or dull products. Spark plugs are one thing I can think of.

But he shocked this crowd by saying, “We don’t create anything. Only God creates. We just reassemble what’s available to us here on earth.”

This was a very powerful lesson for me back when I first heard it, as well as today. I imagine it took the wind out of the sails of cocky copywriters who thought of themselves as creative, but for me, he was merely acknowledging the truth as I knew it.

Nothing I know spontaneously arrived in my consciousness. Everything I think is the seed of something I’d been exposed to before. This is why thoughts in the Russian language don’t pop into my mind.

This premise helped me realize that I didn’t need to be born a certain way in order to be able to generate great concepts for copy.

If you followed Gary Bencivenga’s advice above and exposed your mind to to some new ideas everyday, it’d be like you were orgasming potent seed into your mind that had the chance of penetrating the egg of your previous  knowledge/experience/exposure to the world and this would increase the fertility of my ideas and eventually lead to you giving birth to hybrid breakthroughs consisting of both the old and new. 

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #5: Strategic Fucking Around Time

Eugene Schwartz found that a sure way to burn himself out was to sit hunched over a keyboard for hours at a time, despite the fact that many of his other colleagues engaged in this activity.

Maybe you’ve come to the same conclusion on your own.

So what Eugene did was make a little agreement with himself that he was only going to work for 33:33 at a time. He’d set an egg timer and for this block of time, he couldn’t leave his desk. He could do nothing and stare at the screen if he chose but he couldn’t mosey off nor work on anything but the project at hand, nor take phone calls or follow any other kind of distractions.

When the timer went off, he then would give himself permission to do whatever the fuck he felt like for 10 minutes, with one exception, no work.

Eben Pagan expanded on this thinking with his Wake Up Productive philosophy, working to 50 minute intervals, by connecting it with body rhythm technology he’d learned from Tony Schwartz.

I’ve fallen in love with the idea of working for set periods of time and then letting myself off the hook to go have fun for a little instead of trying to ram through projects and burning myself out.

Get a hold of the notes we took on Eben’s Wake Up Productive system here and you’ll see how he got all nerd on this strategy and improved upon it.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #6: Keep Your Finger On The Pulse Of Society

Are shallow, brain dead blockbuster hit movies that shatter box office records beneath you? If so, get over it. If you want to become a better copywriter.

Gene Schwartz believed that any movie that was just killing it week after week after week was doing so for a reason – it connected strongly with the deep set emotions of human beings.

He would go see these movies multiple times and figure out the dominant emotions/themes these directors/writers had tapped into and carry them over into any copy he was writing at the moment.

The cartoon, Puss In Boots, just opened last week and from what I understand is a smash hit. Without even seeing the movie, you can think of the themes it’s playing on – the underdog er, cat triumphing, heroic activities in the midst of an impossible journey, succeeding thinking it will give you a shot at the girls love, etc.

Can you see how all of these could serve as reasons why your prospect should be buying what you offer? Can you see how your product/service can be the vehicle that delivers these kinds of feelings?

Go indulge in the guilty pleasure and use this excuse to take Gary Bencivenga’s advice of improving 1% a day.

3rd Greatest Copywriting Course Of All Time : Ted Nicholas –  Magic Words That Grow Your Business

If print advertising, magazine or newspaper is something you’re already doing, or raring to do in the future, Ted Nicholas is your guy.

When he was really cranking running his businesses, there was no internet. Not like there is now. So he had to build the majority of his lists through print space ads and in this seminar you not only hear his copy suggestions for how to write these full page or fractional page ads but also how to get screaming deals on the space you buy.

And with all of your dumb competitors taking the shitty ads out of the newspapers and magazines and putting them on the internet, you better believe that if you’ve got a demographic that reads magazines and newspapers, you’re gonna have some eager ad reps needing advertisers to fill their pages who Ted’s techniques are gonna work even better on now.

Now let’s see what you can learn from this wizard . . .

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #7: How To Critique Your Own Ad

After every sentence he writes, he asks himself, “Is it hot? Is it exciting?” “Is it important but boring?” and, “Is it boring?”

Anything that falls under the “boring” department, you gotta get rid of. In the “Important but boring” department you’ve gotta work really hard to try to make them hot or exciting.

You want everything in an ad to be either hot or exciting.

If you buy advertising you’re paying for every word. You want every single word to carry it’s own weight. And remember, copy can never be too long. It can only be too boring. And most copy you’re ever gonna see puts people to sleep.

Think about the letters you get from your bank trying to upsell you. Isn’t that the dullest copy you’ve ever seen? You can tell a lawyer wrote it and a 17 person committee passed off on it and decided that no one would sue them for what it says and now you’ve got garbage because this letter will never get anyone to do what they want. Especially read it.

Insurance companies, banks, dentists, they’d all have a heart attack at copy written to get a response. It’s THAT different from what they use.

These are the questions people don’t ask. Clients don’t ask them and copywriters don’t ask them. You’ve gotta ask them.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #8: The Lowest Risk Form of Marketing Is Two Step Advertising

He runs space ads that generate leads, including full page ones and then sends the full page sales letter. Example . . .

Best-Selling Author Reveals Secrets To Making a Thousand Dollars a Day Publishing Books.” Publish books, special reports, video and audio tapes and newsletters. Cash in on selling information in todays booming information age. For more information call . . .”

Then the eight page salesletter shows up for the people who respond.

This way to advertise is very good because the advertising is economical. You can target very well in publications to readers who are interested in your products or services. You able to select a narrowed down prospect pool.

Ted started his business running a classified ad. You have to be very careful with these though. They look easy but they’re one of the toughest models to make work because they can be effective with business opportunities, car related stuff, real estate related, but for many other things, people aren’t cruising the classified ads to find them. You can’t sell to people who aren’t your prospects. So you’re throwing away money on classified ads.

On the other hand, fractional page ads can be placed in the part of a magazine or newspaper that you want to place them in, particularly, the newspaper. For that biz op ad above, you’d want that on the Financial page.

If you’re running an ad for a broader appealing ad, the best place to put it in the newspaper is the Entertainment page. This is where you’re gonna get the highest readership. This is a great place for a lot of offers.

Fractional page ad can be put where you want them. Classified ads can’t. The audience is one-third – the offer is one third – the copy is other third. And if all of these aren’t in sync an ad isn’t going to work.

This two-step model makes sure you’re only putting your more expensive part of your marketing – the salesletter into the right audiences hands.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #9: Six Subheads You Can Use Word for Word In Your Ads

1. What About You?

This is where you’re describing the benefits of your product or service and this phrase gets you’re reader involved.

2. A Full 30-Day No-Risk Trial

You’ll sell more of anything with a guarantee. And what’s always wonderful is that you’re always only one inexpensive test away from proving this to yourself.

This will especially work well in industries where people sweep their guarantee under the carpet. They know if they mess up they’ll make it right but they don’t make it a condition of your doing business with them. Putting this out boldly makes you unique in your field.

3. Don’t Hate Yourself For Missing Out

This would be towards the end of your salesletter.

You want people if anything, to feel like they’re taking an advantage of you. What really helps give this subhead some punch is if you’ve got a firm deadline in place and if you’ve created an outstanding, irresistible offer.

You need to generate a sense of urgency when you sell anything because people like to procrastinate and are uncertain in most decisions all the down to the dumb ones like, “What am I gonna eat for lunch?”

4. Start Now or . . .  Start Right Away

If you’re going to deliver a product/service fast, this a strong indicator that you’re going to be pushing their instant gratification buttons. This subhead helps you build a sense or urgency in your prospect.

5. Easy To Use

Everyone wants the path of least resistance.

But using this as a subhead, you’re making sure they don’t miss out on the fact that you’re catering to the lazy part of themselves. And whenever you’re putting together a product or a service you want to always show people easier way to get results and if it isn’t easy, you want to help them see it’s easier to do it than if they didn’t because if they don’t, they’re gonna be in big trouble.

6. Free Bonus

Help your urgency even more by offering something someone can get if they act fast – special reports, free books, people like free shit.

These subheads help break up blocks of copy and help pull your reader into your copy and Ted has found they’ve worked wonders for him.


Ted Nicholas is a legend in field of writing ads that make money. I can’t recommend his resources highly enough and if you’re going to be doing any kind of advertising in print, you be a fool to not crawl inside a full construction site porta potty if that was the only place you could find these audios. They’re that valuable.

4th Greatest Copywriting Course Of All Time: John Carlton – Simple Writing Workshop

John Carlton was one of my first copywriting mentors along with Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert.

John has earned the respect of any and all the elite copywriters alive on this list here, including the legendary Gary Bencivenga who besides his own, John’s copy was I believe, the only other copy he used as example of how to get the job done at his 100 seminar.

Not only is his balls to wall copywriting to be admired but also his writing for his newsletters and on his blog posts flow fast and furious with awesomeness you take to the bank.

In this spot I was tempted to insert John Carlton’s Kick Ass Copywriting Secrets but I came to the conclusion that Simple Writing Workshop has everything his flagship product did, and even more.

And now, on to . . .

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #10: Recognizing Your Prospect’s Attitude 

No matter who you’re writing for,  he’s skeptical, he doesn’t want to hear it, and you’re probably an interruption in his life.

Your audience is always looking for an out. When someone gets your ad, the first thing he looks for is a reason not to read what you have. 

In every ad, what you’re saying is effectively: “Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing that you have this problem, I’m…”

And whatever you say after that to a stranger who doesn’t know/trust you, thinks you have a hidden agenda, and will bolt the second he thinks you’re crazy, boring, or gonna try to sell him something is of major importance.

Most people don’t approach writing their opening with this in mind. They go at ASSUMING the person they’re putting their ad in front of is anxiously devouring every word they say, just because they’ve said it.

WRONG.

Keep this image of the nervous, bored, and rushed reader/viewer in mind and you’ll be well on your way to success with your advertising because you’ll be asking the self-correcting question Ted told you ask yourself above, “Is this boring?” at all times.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #11: Your Unique Sales Position (USP) Should Only Target Your Average Prospect 

You don’t need to worry about the people who aren’t in your target market – you don’t care what they think.

This is a problem many entrepreneurs have when they start letting people(friends and relatives) read their ads. These people are not the target audience and so more often than not, they give you bad advice, without even meaning to.

Questions like “What scares the person who’s actually coming to me and giving me money? What are they most concerned with? And how are they going to explain their buying decision to someone else?” are thoughts your USP can answer for your perfect prospect.

Answer these questions in your USP like Fed Ex did – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there tomorrow,” and you’ll be skyrocketing your sales.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #12: Breathe Life Into The Benefits Of What You Offer

Bullets in your copy are the place where you join features and benefits into a compelling outcome your prospect is inspired to experience.    

Here’s how Carlton describes them . . .

•  They can be a one-two punch of satisfying practical use … with a little tweak of shock and delight … plus the occasional direct assault on common senses.

•  Sometimes all it takes to flip the sale is one good bullet.

•  You want to paint pleasing pictures in his mind using action verbs. Create mini-stories.

•  You need to translate complex details into plain English. -> Can’t assume your prospect knows your market’s complex jargon. It’s better to over-explain than under-explain.

•  Make free-standing benefits come alive. -> Show your prospect through examples or curiosity why the benefit will make their life better.

Here’s Some Kick Ass Bullet Templates:  

•  Very easy tactic to double your profits overnight! (An astoundingly easy technique well used by smart businessmen … but ignored by 99% of other marketers!) 

Positioning statement is bolded. “How to double your profits overnight!” would be boring, “very easy tactic” is exciting. Parenthesis are like whispers/nudges. They explode the meaning.

•  Move like lightning through the 3 stages of guitar mastery: From “no clue at all” to “this is easy” in just a few short hours … and then on through “impress all your friends to the point you scare them”, straight to “ready for the stage”. (You’ll be jamming with other musicians before other rookies have even learned their first song!)

•  The amazing “Lazy Businessman’s 3-Step Shortcut” to creating your first worldclass ad. (How to quickly  turn your salesmanship skills into white-hot sales copy … even if you flunked English!)

•  The one envelope that no one in the history of civilization has ever NOT opened! 

This is blind, without specific feature.

•  How to hit ALL of her “long overdue” hot buttons … at the exact right moment. (And finally explore NEW spots of intense titillation she never knew she had!)

Most writers would stop at “buttons”, making it boring.

•  And guys–once you understand how every woman has slightly different “orgasm triggers” (which you can finally easily discover) …

Raises curiosity, leaves them hanging.

•  The “Customized Magic” technique that allows any man to become THE expert on sex with any specific woman. You’ll know her deepest desires and most sensitive shiver-inducing areas better than she knows them herself!

•  Are your sexual needs normal? The answer may shock the heck out of you …

•  A quickie “Idiot’s Guide” to consumer psychology! (Instantly understand exactly what makes your customer tick … and learn how to tickle his “consumer hot buttons” to the point of frenzy .)

  • How to sell yourself ! (Yes, these over-the-top salesmanship secrets will change every aspect of your life, no matter what you need – be it love, money, respect or a fresh start.)

Do you see how these all use the 1-2 punch pattern. They set you up with a jab of an idea and drive home the curiosity with the next sentence. Just remember to elaborate one step further when writing your bullets so that you make them work harder for you.

I’m pretty sure a new 5.0 version of this course will come out in the future and when it does, I highly you buy it for yourself. Even if you’re a pro, these fundamentals will serve to reinforce and spark new ideas for you. I promise.

5th Greatest Copywriting Course Of All Time: Clayton Makepeace – Ultimate Desktop Copy Coach

Clayton Makepeace has spent the last 35 years creating direct mail, internet and print promotions that have sold well over $1.5 billion-worth of nutritional supplements, as well as books and newsletters on personal finance, investment and health.

Plus as a direct marketing consultant, he’s helped four major direct marketing firms at least quadruple their sales and profits to well over $100 million dollars a year.

As a direct response copywriter, Clayton has created many red-hot direct mail controls that profitably mailed up to 90 million pieces each . . . Web-based customer acquisition campaigns that produce profits up to 445% . . . and customer file campaigns that spin off as much as $1 million per week.

All of this to say that Clayton is a bad muthafucker when it comes to getting people to say yes to an offer he’s written to them.

This Ultimate Desktop Copy Coach course consists of a gargantuan 1,068 pages worth on Clayton Makepeace’s discoveries and examples of what makes copy irresistible.

He calls it “The Makepeace Method For Out-thinking, Out-Selling, and Out-Earning Your Competition.”

And now let me show you three powerful lessons I learned from it . . .

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #13: Boost 5 Key Metrics By Just 30% Each And Triple Your Sales

This is do-able.

All you’re aiming for is a reasonable, easily achievable 30% boost in each of these five key metrics:

1. Increasing the number of new customer promotions per year . . .

2. Increasing the size of each new customer acquisition promotion . . .

3. Increasing the response rate to each of these promotions . . .

4. Increasing the number of times each customer orders per year, and . . .

5. Increasing the size of each of those orders.

So to increase the number of new customer acquisition promotions by 3o%, Clayton gives his clients a handful of tools and strategies that let them read response and react a couple of weeks sooner on each mailing.

Here’s an example – 

One of Clayton’s clients did about six major mailings each year to to rented mailing lists to attract new customers. He’d usually wait three weeks after he received his first order from a mailing to see which lists were working for him, then order more names from those lists and a handful of new tests, make any refinements he needed to the package that he wanted to test, then print and mail the next batch.

This process took around eight weeks at minimum – sometimes longer and this limited the client to only mailing six major customer acquisition mailings per year.

Clayton figured out that if they could shave a couple of weeks off of the time spent preparing each mailing – mailing every six weeks instead of every eight – the client could mail as many as nine times per year.

That’s a 50% increase that could bring the client 50% more new customers each year.

This same concept can be rolled over into how many times you launch in year. Could be re-openings or brand new products. Speed to market is the name of the game on or offline.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #14:  Why You Shouldn’t Be Too Concerned With Making a Profit With Your Customer Acquisition Efforts

Clayton once had a client who hired a new marketing director and told her that she would be reporting to Clayton.

During their first meeting with the new employee, Clayton gave her a few pointers. He said . . .

“Your prime objective is to produce as many new customers as possible every month. Your goal is to do this at break-even. For every dollar you put into the mail, we want one dollar back – AND a new customer. If you make a profit in a promotion designed to attract new customers of $2.00, $1.50, or $1.01 for each dollar you spend – that’s a bad thing. It means you didn’t mail enough promotion pieces or bring in as many new customers as you could have.

Clayton proceeded to show her how each new customer stayed with his client for an average of seven years and made even more purchases that brought in $500 in net profits each year.

This meant each new customer was worth $3,500 to his new client – and every new customer he didn’t get would cost his client $3,500 in profits down the road.

Clayton told her, “So, as far as your boss is concerned, losing money on a promotion now and then is forgivable. It just means you’re trying. Consistently breaking even will make you a hero. But consistently making profits on new customer acquisition promotions will get you fired.”

So right then and there Clayton established an aggressive new customer acquisition strategy designed to break even on each promotion . . .

He tested each new promotion package against the existing control in a special panel consisting of an nth-name selection (a geographically balanced portion) of each of their “A” lists.

If the new promotion won – if it produced a higher return on investment (ROI) than the control, Clayton looked at how every other list in his client’s universe had historically performed against those “A” lists and used the new package’s return on investment with his client’s “A” lists to project what is ROI would be if he mailed each “B” list in his universe.

Result: For every dollar his client mails, he gets one dollar back – and a new customer.

Over the next three years, Clayton quadrupled the number of paying customers on the client’s file – and because the client broke even on his average new customer promotion, each one of them cost him $0.

At the end of 36 months, those customers were handing the client more than $80 million dollars in sales and tens of millions in net profit each year.


Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #15: Optimizing The Lifetime Value Of Your Customers

Once Clayton got his clients to start doing bigger new customer promotions, more often, it was time to kick things up another notch by bumping up the number of times each customer orders, and how much he spent with the client on each transaction.

His clients, up until this time, had done what many other direct response marketers do: They simply mailed a couple of promotions to their entire customer list each month.

This is called “vertical” marketing. No matter who you are, no matter what kind of product you’ve purchased in the past, you get the same offers as everyone else on his file.

Not a terrible approach, but it’s possible to do better by combining vertical and horizontal marketing techniques.

Horizontal marketing treats each group of customers on your house file in ways that ensure optimum response and maximum order size. Horizontal marketing asks . . .

  • “What kind of product has this customer demonstrated a desire for before?” And then offers him an add-on that addresses the same desire or concern.
  • “Where is the customer in his life cycle with us?” And then sends him promotions that are compatible.
  • “What’s going on in my customer’s personal life?” And then sends him promotions that fit.

So in addition to vertical promotions sent to the entire file – the customers receive horizontal promotions:

A 60-day campaign for a President’s Circle promotion designed to make a quick second sale to his new customers in their first two months . . .

Upgrade mailings to buyers whose selection of products has demonstrated a particular desire or concern, offering a new add-on product that addresses that same issue . . .

Personalized “renewal,” “re-order” and “We-want-you-back” promotions at the appropriate times . . .

Special discounted offers on the customer’s birthday, anniversary, and other special times of the year.

Plus, for the vertical marketing, the entire file also gets two major mailings each month: One focusing on one of our hottest products, and another kind-of catalog mailing that invites customers to try anything in the product line at preferred prices.

Will this kind of comprehensive strategy – along with harder hitting sales copy – give you the bump in response, average sales, profits and customer lifetime value you’re looking for? Hell yeah!

The Truth Will Set You Free

These are strategies most people who call themselves copywriters never conceive of, yet, if they aren’t given thorough analysis, the best copy in the world can never ever defeat bad math neglecting this strategies creates.

This is why when if you ever want to hire a copywriter, it’s best to steer clear of guys/gals who see themselves purely as writers rather than marketers who can also write like a motherfucker.

Writers will never bring you business breakthroughs but an all star copy strategist well versed in marketing is worth their weight in gold because they’ll look at ALL the angles of how to make your words work harder for you.

And this course not only covers these big overarching strategies but also goes ocean deep into writing words that make love to your perfect prospect’s ear hole. Wrap your arms around it if you ever get the chance.

6th Greatest Copywriting Course Of All Time: Shaune Clarke – Copywriting Coaching Program

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Shaune Clarke.

And there’s a good chance you never will due to the fact that he’s focusing on training speakers now. That’s too bad for you. Especially if you’re interested in an off the beaten path, yet massively effective approach to improving your ability to write copy.

This guy’s process for group coaching over the phone alone is worth the price of admission for his audios. On this coaching program set I own he has internet marketing expert, Jason Moffatt paying him to learn what he knows and also the ninja copywriter, Ryan Healy, who prior to joining this coaching program, had written winning copy for the marketing God, Jay Abraham.

But here’s three of my favorite lessons I and these other experts, learned at the hand of Shaune Clarke . . .

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #16: The Power Of The Intimate Interview

The absolute most effective way to research your project is to use the techniques and questions answered during The Power of Intimate Interviews.  

In fact, a massive 90% of the information you need to write a killer ad will be dropped in your lap when you tap into the rich, emotional information that will add a whole new dimension to your copy.

This information gives you a deeper understanding of your target audience‘s needs and desires and how your product can fulfill them. You must learn how to interview satisfied prospects correctly. And when you do so, you‘ll find your remaining 10% of what you need with traditional research methods like books, periodicals, the internet, etc.

Most guru’s give you the opposite advice. They tell you to work the hard way, 90% of it from books, periodicals, the internet, etc., so that you end up with a bunch of dry data.

If you can get your hands on Shaune Clarke’s “Intimate Interviews” product, do it. You’ll learn everything you need to know on how to make sure you’re speaking directly to the heart of what your prospects fear and desire.

Next up . . .

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #17: The Power of Three

This suggestion is subtle yet strong.

There’s something about when things are written in three’s that’s far more compelling and easy on the eye than any other denomination. Look . . .

“The Makepeace Method For Out-Thinking, Out-Selling, and Out-Earning Your Competition.”

vs.

“The Makepeace Method For Out-Thinking, Out-Selling, Out-Performing and Out-Earning Your Competition.”

Can you feel that? It’s not an eye sore like if every word was misspelled, but it still doesn’t land smoothly on your consciousness. Look at it much simpler here . . .

Boom, boom, boom.

vs.

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

This works for paragraphs also . . .

We came. We saw. We conquered.

vs.

We came. We saw. We fought. We conquered.

Group you ideas into threes and you’ll be doing your readers a huge favor.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #18: Platinum vs. Gold Headlines

Shaune Clarke doesn’t like to use the term, “Sub-heads”, you know the sentence you insert to break up copy and hopefully suck your skimmers into certain sections of your ad.

He thinks this term relegates these oh-so important tools to being the step kids of your ad. And most of the time because people treat them with less love, the cheat them and make them far less compelling than they should be.

So instead he chooses to view the headline you use at the top of your salesletter as The Platinum Headline and the subheads as Gold Headlines.

This small change in your thinking will make a huge difference in what you decide to use to introduce your bullets, your guarantee, your close, your track record, your offer and all the other places you can insert a headline in the body copy of your letter to not only give your reader eye relief but to also excite them about what’s coming.


What I’ve given you here of Shaune’s insights is just the tip of the iceberg. Do yourself a favor and stalk the interwebz for his coaching product programs as well as his interviewing product. When you find them and bask in their gloriousness, I trust you’ll be shooting me a thank you note for turning you onto them.

And if you wanted to send me a gift, just know I’m totally open to being rewarded with hookers and coke.

7th Greatest Copywriting Course Of All Time: Dan Kennedy – 2005 $12,0oo Private Copy Training Seminar

Man, I can still remember listening this over and over and over again in Los Angeles.

At the time, I was working down the street from the Staples Center where the Lakers play and I’d have to drive in from Manhattan Beach into downtown with all that traffic on the 110 freeway. And Dan was with me a lot of those days on my headphones.

I had the CD’s but being that I’d paid a bundle for them and 10 people had paid $10,000 dollars a piece to go meet with Dan in this little hotel conference room for a couple days, I didn’t want to take the chance on scratching the CD’s or losing them so I burned them to my computer and put them on my MP3 player.

This is one course I very much regret not taking notes on yet. Dan in a room with 10 serious info-marketers, talking about their specific copy that Dan critiqued and then instructed on the mistakes made and how to fix them with the entire group. I absolutely love it.

I don’t think you’ll find it, but I wish you the best in doing so if you’re a fan of Kennedy’s copy strategies. Here’s a bit of what I picked up from this exclusive event . . .

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #19: The Copy Itself, The Words You Choose Only Account For Maybe 25% of the Response

At least a 1/4 of it is the “who,” the target, you’re going to and the other half is the cosmetics, the graphic appearance of it and the format in which it is presented.

Those two things and sabotage good copy or they can help you get better results from shitty copy.

How it’s printed, what it’s printed on, how it’s enveloped, all of these kinds of things are really, really important. A lot people talk about copy and a lot of copywriters work without thinking of this.

When you hire freelancers, 80% of em are delivering typed copy with no indication of what’s supposed to be bolded, highlighted, what should be in color, what should be in a sidebar, it moves from copywriter to graphic person with zero communication and there’s no telling if what it will end up looking like will facilitate and support the sale or not.

A Huge Error Everyone Makes In Direct Mail, Especially When Communicating With Their Own List, Is It Doesn’t Matter How Good The Copy Is If No One Reads It

A big portion of response is all about readership. You can have a 1% response rate that you’re not happy with, but only 20% of the people who got it read it. 80% of people never gave it chance. It never had an opportunity.

It’s the equivalent of the sales guy calling you and in the first five words, gets, “Sorry not interested, busy.” Boom. Doesn’t matter how good the script was. Doesn’t matter how good the person’s skill was. Doesn’t matter how good the offer was because you didn’t give it a chance. 

Kennedy’s best piece he’s ever sent as of this recording was to the National Speakers Association for a speaking business bootcamp. The package he mailed cost him $6.00 a piece to put together. It was a big shrink wrapped package and there was a salesletter in a sealed envelope, a CD of him conversationally reading the salesletter, a CD of a woman interviewing people who were wildly successful as a result of Dan’s advice, and he also guaranteed the salesletter on the outside – “If you find that this was a waste of time, I’ll pay you $25 bucks.” 100% of people who get this are gonna open it.

He mailed 6,000 of these, the majority of them to a cold list who maybe only knew his name but not much else. He had 200 registrations at over $2,000 dollars a pop . . .

So he invested $36,000 thousand dollars and got back $400,000 thousand dollars and that’s not even counting the selling of the tapes of the event to these people.

The only reason he got these amazing results is because he made damn sure the letter got opened so the pitch would have a chance of doing it’s job.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #20: When good copywriters go to beat a control, they focus on areas of big opportunity, not small opportunity

When smart copywriters are brought in to fix a letter that isn’t performing as well as it could be, they aren’t looking to create more work for themselves than is necessary. Especially on a piece that’s good, but not great.

You can nit pick every word. You can turn a piece that costs a $1 dollar and turn it into something now costs $50 dollars. But there’s always a few areas of big opportunity.

Guarantee is one. Using specific numbers, percentages or dollar amounts, are another. The whole first page and the last page – the beginning and the end are huge. You might not screw around much with the middle but where you close and where you open, that’s really important.

Time Tested and Proven Copywriting Strategy #21: Ninja Way To Lower Your Cancellations On Your Paid Newsletter When It Comes Time To Renew

Ben Altadonna, a client Dan does a lot of work for, sells a done-4-you newsletters to his chiropractor clients that they send to their patients and he has a ton of them on annual auto renewal – not monthly continuity.

So once a year their credit card gets whacked for several thousand dollars all at one time and they pre-agreed to it but as you might imagine, the screams can be heard without the telephone.

He was dealing with a huge loss factor and so he recruited Kennedy to help him and he cut the losses by half.

They did this with a three step campaign that precedes the hit on their credit card for $3,000 thousand dollars. The first is a, “Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary,” and enclosed is a plaque.

Everyone gets this plaque customized to them, “Excellence in patient communication,” and the letter says “We’d love to celebrate doing such a great job in educating your patients in the community with a newsletter, please hang this in a prominent place, take a picture of where you’ve hung it in your office and send it to us for the newsletter,” which a bunch of them did, they’ve got pictures them standing by it with their staff and their plaque they’ve put up on the wall.

Now again, this ain’t cheap, the weight alone is gonna be pricy. You send this out to several thousand people and you know you’re not gonna renew them all. And you’re including the letter that tells them that next month, you’re gonna have an anniversary party for them so watch out for it.

This second box arrives and it’s a Party-in-a-box. There’s balloons and noise makers and streamers and cookies for everybody and a party music CD, etc. This thing costs about $5 bucks.

And then in the third month they get the reminder that their credit card is getting whacked this month. But now they’ve guilted these guys heavily. The guy is a big schmuck if he cancels because he got his plaque, got his party, he ate the cookies, gathered the staff around and blew the balloons up, now to call and bail makes him a bigger schmuck than had none of this pre-framing occurred.

All of this led to a huge amount of money, 1/2 a million dollars going into the pockets of Altadonna that would’ve otherwise been gone without investing in this loss prevention process.

Losses are a significant source of opportunity in many businesses. Look for this in your own business and people you consult with and you can be the hero like Kennedy was in this situation.


Well, there you have it, some 10,522 words later you’ve got my list of what I consider to be the 7 greatest copywriting courses on the planet. I’d love to hear your opinion on these courses and what your personal top 7 would be. Please feel free to talk to me in the comment section below or email me at my email address if you want more privacy.

Talk soon,

Lewis LaLanne a.k.a Note Taking Nerd #2 a.k.a. L.L. Cool Nerd

Advertisements