Gary Halbert Came By Last Night...

by max5ty
27 replies
Soaked...

Halbert was whining...

cause it was pouring rain outside...plus Ogilvy had parked his Rolls Royce taking up three spots in the driveway.

Halbert asked him if the clock had been so loud that he'd lost his sense of how to park. Ogilvy didn't find that amusing since he'd written the ad about the loudest thing in the car at 60 miles per hour was the clock. He reminded Halbert how he was the only guy he knew that had to write an ad in the paper to find a woman.

Victor Schwab was his usual grumpy self even though he'd had three cups of coffee before he got there.

We'd planned the meeting last month.

Wanted to get together and brainstorm a post here on the forum that would help you make some big money this year.

Finally, round about 9 P.M. Maxwell Sakheim reminded everyone how he'd made a fortune off his "Gloucester Fisherman" story. Victor Scwabb still grumpy, reminded Sakheim how he'd been the one to first hire Sakheim as his secretary and probably started his career as a copywriter.

Hopkins was visibly upset as he kept tapping his fingers rather loudly on the table.

Rosser Reeves liked the "story" idea but reminded us how since he invented the USP idea so make sure the story included one...after all, he'd made Listerine a household name.

Napoleon Hill showed up late talking about how his carriage wheel had broke. Who the heck rides in a carriage anymore Caples asked.

Round about midnight Halbert was obviously drunk. Said he was broke again so he needed to have another seminar (his secret weapon for raising some quick cash). Robert Collier became upset and told Gary to please try and focus on the matter at hand.

A little after 2 A.M. we finally drafted a post. Here it is:

To you:

yes you. As you're sitting there reading this we've got some great news.

Regardless of the economy or your personal situation, you can make a fortune this year using this secret.

Napoleon Hill wants to remind you he wrote his famous book "Think And Grow Rich", during the great depression. It's sold over a hundred million copies and made more millionaires than any other book in history.

He also wanted to remind you his friend Charles Scwabb turned the steel industry into a multi-billion dollar industry all during the bleakest times in the world using this.

Caples wants to remind you that during the depression he wrote the ad that has been copied and copied and copied. "They all laughed when I sat down at the piano...But when I started to play!"

Hopkins wants to remind you how he was hired by a company started by a 34-year-old and turned it into the number 1 selling beer company in the world by telling a story about how they used filtered water.

Leo Burnett wants to remind you he built one of the world's greatest advertising agencies...all during the great depression using this.

anyways, here's the secret we want you to know--

Stories...

Nothing ever gets through your potential customers' minds like a story.

Words tell stories sell.

You can study every copywriting formula ever written (which is ok), but take your favorite formula and incorporate it into a story.

You can read a sales letter that drones on and on with the all the proper formulas...usually putting you into a coma, but the same info, when put into an interesting story, can hold your attention.

Want to be a good copywriter? Learn how to tell a good story.

So much advertising now. A good story is memorable and sneaks into your customer's mind.

If you can write a good story, you win over your competitors.

Make everything you write this year a story.

A little imagination and creativity are all it takes to be successful.

If you haven't read "Think And Grow Rich" you probably won't understand this post...

and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

Have a successful year!
#gary #halbert #night
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

    Soaked...

    Halbert was whining...

    cause it was pouring rain outside...plus Ogilvy had parked his Rolls Royce taking up three spots in the driveway.

    Halbert asked him if the clock had been so loud that he'd lost his sense of how to park. Ogilvy didn't find that amusing since he'd written the ad about the loudest thing in the car at 60 miles per hour was the clock. He reminded Halbert how he was the only guy he knew that had to write an ad in the paper to find a woman.

    Victor Schwab was his usual grumpy self even though he'd had three cups of coffee before he got there.

    We'd planned the meeting last month.

    Wanted to get together and brainstorm a post here on the forum that would help you make some big money this year.

    Finally, round about 9 P.M. Maxwell Sakheim reminded everyone how he'd made a fortune off his "Gloucester Fisherman" story. Victor Scwabb still grumpy, reminded Sakheim how he'd been the one to first hire Sakheim as his secretary and probably started his career as a copywriter.

    Hopkins was visibly upset as he kept tapping his fingers rather loudly on the table.

    Rosser Reeves liked the "story" idea but reminded us how since he invented the USP idea to make sure the story included one...after all, he'd made Listerine a household name.

    Napoleon Hill showed up late talking about how his carriage wheel had broke. Who the heck rides in a carriage anymore Caples asked.

    Round about midnight Halbert was obviously drunk. Said he was broke again so he needed to have another seminar (his secret weapon for raising some quick cash). Robert Collier became upset and told Gary to please try and focus on the matter at hand.

    A little after 2 A.M. we finally drafted a post. Here it is:

    To you:

    yes you. As you're sitting there reading this we've got some great news.

    Regardless of the economy or your personal situation, you can make a fortune this year using this secret.

    Napoleon Hill wants to remind you he wrote his famous book "Think and grow rich", during the great depression. It's sold over a hundred million copies and made more millionaires than any other book in history.

    He also wanted to remind you his friend Charles Scwabb turned the steel industry into a multi-billion dollar industry all during the bleakest times in the world using this.

    Caples wants to remind you that during the depression he wrote the ad that has been copied and copied and copied. "They all laughed when I sat down at the piano...But when I started to play!"

    Hopkins wants to remind you how he was hired by a company started by a 34-year-old and turned it into the number 1 selling beer company in the world by telling a story about how they used filtered water.

    Leo Burnett wants to remind you he built one of the world's greatest advertising agencies...all during the great depression using this.

    anyways, here's the secret we want you to know--

    Stories...

    Nothing ever gets through your potential customers' minds like a story.

    Words tell stories sell.

    You can study every copywriting formula ever written (which is ok), but take your favorite formula and incorporate it into a story.

    You can read a sales letter that drones on and on with the all the proper formulas...usually putting you into a coma, but the same info, when put into an interesting story, can hold your attention.

    Want to be a good copywriter? Learn how to tell a good story.

    So much advertising now. A good story is memorable and sneaks into your customer's mind.

    If you can write a good story, you win over your competitors.

    Make everything you write this year a story.

    A little imagination and creativity are all it takes to be successful.

    If you haven't read "Think And Grow Rich" you probably won't understand this post...

    and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

    Have a successful year!
    It tickles me that I got every "inside reference" about the greats of copy.

    Truly, I've learned more about high end selling, by reading books on copywriting (and writing my own sales copy) than by any other method.

    Much success to you.
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    • Profile picture of the author max5ty
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      It tickles me that I got every "inside reference" about the greats of copy.

      Truly, I've learned more about high end selling, by reading books on copywriting (and writing my own sales copy) than by any other method.

      Much success to you.
      Thanks Claude for your comment.

      It's interesting that a lot of these greats of copy made a lot of products we use today household names...all during the Great Depression when times were a lot tougher.

      Most copywriters (on this forum) don't use mail, and they don't place ads in major newspapers and magazines. It was common back when and the cost of failure was much higher.

      Times and methods change (although people don't).

      I think one of the biggest challenges today is simply getting your prospects attention.

      Everybody loves a good story. It has been scientifically proven that stories have a way of sneaking into the mind and bypassing the brains attempt to combat the message with logic.

      If you can tell a good story, you can make a fortune.

      Originally Posted by Princess Balestra View Post

      Gotta figure how all stories got beginnings, middles an' endings.

      Evry time we visit the movies, we all get that scenario -- plus mebbe nachos & kissin' if'n we been spectacularly diligent.
      Thanks Balestra...

      When someone studies how to write a movie script, they also learn a lot about storytelling...the two obviously go together.

      More copywriters should not only read the usual mumbo-jumbo about formulas and all, but they should also study storytelling and movie producing.

      I wish more of these sales videos that get made daily would be more like a movie. Something interesting and exciting with all the things that make an interesting story (plot, etc.)...

      then maybe I could eat nachos and all while I'm watching them.
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      • Profile picture of the author ThePromotionalGuy
        Hellor Max5ty,

        Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

        When someone studies how to write a movie script, they also learn a lot about storytelling...the two obviously go together.

        More copywriters should not only read the usual mumbo-jumbo about formulas and all, but they should also study storytelling and movie producing.

        I wish more of these sales videos that get made daily would be more like a movie. Something interesting and exciting with all the things that make an interesting story (plot, etc.)...

        then maybe I could eat nachos and all while I'm watching them.
        When it comes to storytelling, I can only speak for myself about the events that happened last summer.

        It started off as our weekly no shopping day drive, for the Mrs. and I.

        But as luck or fate has it, while cruising down SR 60 westbound, just past the roadside fruit and vegetable stand, that's when I spotted it out of the corner of my left eye, and immediately made an erratic U-turn at the next intersection.

        Which of course the driver behind me with his horn blaring and waving that familiar one-finger salute and the wife to my right yelling, "LOOK OUT!" neither were expecting that maneuver and all I could do was say, "I'm sorry, but did you see what's hiding in those trees?"

        I had driven past this place many times and never noticed it before. As I rolled up to the entrance, I couldn't believe my eyes. Hidden back among the trees, far back from the roadway, I had stumbled upon, an old, old bookstore. And not just any ole bookstore.

        As you entered, and as far back as the eye could see, there was this warehouse of books. Scores of books lining the walls, from floor to ceiling. And there was something very different about this store. You could smell the books in the air, the echoing sounds of pages being turned could be heard, and an eerie silence covered the room, to the point, that not even the noise from the traffic outside could penetrate these very walls.

        As we strolled through the narrow, shoulder-wide, aisles, there were discount books, new release books, DIY books, home and family books, and if I were a gambler, I'd bet there were books on just about any topic or subject had I been looking.

        But at some point, I made a turn to the left, and my Queen to her right. When each of us looked back, we agreed to meet near the entrance once we finished...umm....you know..."Just looking."

        "Just looking" that's code for "How many books am I going to buy this time?"

        As we approached the check out, this time I only had four books that caught my interest. But, to my bride's shock, I was nearly empty handed. (Usually I've got books stuffed up under each arm) And when she read the topics she scoffed, "Storytelling and Script-writing, you don't need any book to teach you how to do that. You do that already!"

        "What do you mean?" I asked. (I have no training with these writing disciplines)

        She went on and said, "You come from a show business background, and during your days as a performer your performances were scripted and you rehearsed them, and rehearsed them, and rehearsed them. And you've always been able to spin a tale or two that make people laugh, cry, think or buy."

        But I, who must always get the last word in, said "true, but I don't know how to write a story or script and pretending will only take me so far."

        Chinchilla
        Signature
        Looking For A Classic Copywriting Book? I'm Selling My Copywriting Book Library.

        Many hard to find books available. If interested send me the title you're looking for in a P.M.
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        • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
          Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

          But I, who must always get the last word in, "true, but I don't know how to write a story or script and pretending will only take me so far."
          As a former professional actor myself, I have always known that there can't be great performers and performances, without exceptional scripts. Every great play or movie, as well as the performances within, begins with the written word.

          That said, it's hard to know just how great a script actually is until a talented director and a brilliant actor work their magic.

          Let's hear it for the actors. lol
          Signature

          "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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          • Profile picture of the author ThePromotionalGuy
            What Saith Thee OptedIn?

            Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

            As a former professional actor myself, I have always known that there can't be great performers and performances, without exceptional scripts. Every great play or movie, as well as the performances within, begins with the written word.

            That said, it's hard to know just how great a script actually is until a talented director and a brilliant actor work their magic.

            Let's hear it for the actors. lol
            Just a former professional actor.

            Not a Thespian?

            E gad.

            What's this forum coming to?

            Chinchilla
            Signature
            Looking For A Classic Copywriting Book? I'm Selling My Copywriting Book Library.

            Many hard to find books available. If interested send me the title you're looking for in a P.M.
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            • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
              Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

              What Saith Thee OptedIn?


              Just a former professional actor.

              Not a Thespian?
              No. Once you get your union card, you must hand in your thespian card. Only college actors call themselves thespians. :-)

              I spent the day looking for a video my sister recorded of a bit I did on Guiding Light where I was dressed as Baby New Years in only a diaper and sash.

              It wasn't long after that, that I bailed, while I still had at least a shred of self-respect, remaining. lol
              Signature

              "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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              • Profile picture of the author ThePromotionalGuy
                Hellor OptedIn,
                Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

                No. Once you get your union card, you must hand in your thespian card. Only college actors call themselves thespians. :-)

                I spent the day looking for a video my sister recorded of a bit I did on Guiding Light where I was dressed as Baby New Years in only a diaper and sash.

                It wasn't long after that, that I bailed, while I still had at least a shred of self-respect, remaining. lol
                Don't know what's worse you dressed as Baby New Years or me walking behind an elephant, in a Hollywood parade, with a really, really, really wide shovel.

                Thankfully the straw keeps it ALL together. Eewwww

                That's show biz baby!!!

                Chinchilla
                Signature
                Looking For A Classic Copywriting Book? I'm Selling My Copywriting Book Library.

                Many hard to find books available. If interested send me the title you're looking for in a P.M.
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                • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
                  Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

                  Don't know what's worse you dressed as Baby New Years or me walking behind an elephant, in a Hollywood parade, with a really, really, really wide shovel.
                  Well, at least I was paid union scale.

                  Did you get anything beyond, "All you can eat?" :-)
                  Signature

                  "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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  • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
    Gotta figure how all stories got beginnings, middles an' endings.

    Evry time we visit the movies, we all get that scenario -- plus mebbe nachos & kissin' if'n we been spectacularly diligent.

    For anywan ain't parta no grander plot, narrative resolves into past, present & fyooture.

    Past is fulla stories already done an' dusted.

    Some blight our hearts; some elevate our spirits.

    We got no powah over this stuff than maxo elevatory skips into tamara from whichevah place we currently stand.

    Truth is, any advertisin' shitshowah messes with our downhomest frickin' convictions ain't gowin' noplace.

    So if'n there gonna be rockets blasted off into sum fyooture beyond (fulla succor!), can we fix up the launchpad sumplace smart?

    Like, yeah -- prolly we can get from here to there, no problem.

    Rocket loads me fulla potential exotica, an' she fires so sweet from outta my home town silo ...

    Hey, so where she gowin'?

    Cos I invested so much in procreational WHAMMO sparkin' outta her way lofted ass ...

    So what you promisin' for MOI?

    Jooly 2019 Princess gal gotta feed on sumthin' ... same as evrywan else.

    So gimme my sure as f*ck feet here on the ground, show me sum twinkly star juicin' out on my idiosyncratically stoopid WANNA WANNA, an' FFS write me out an unbent narrative line between the two as kinda makes it easy for Moi to step out with enthoosiasm sparkin' outta my asshole.

    It is beyond doubt that we all kissin' ice an' exotic flooids as we swirl in a WANNA WANNA cocktail glass.

    Prolly copywritin' is figurin' always how we eacha us got a panorama in flux.

    WHAT I GOT, WHAT I AM ... uh oh ... so kinda subject to an IDC FFS kinda Universe gonna happen out long after you rotted the f*ck out.

    WHAT I MEBBE COULD BE ... uh oh ... turns out the copy guys hit your Gee That's For Me Spot.

    Anyways, we nowan empowered to figure what 2019 means less'n we walk out into her immaculately vulnerable twilights an' dawns as they roll calendar certainty into that weirdsily delish place ain't happened yet.

    Evrywan gowin' there ... whethah they read this post or not -- an' as a writer person I would wanna figure always on what steps out into the void these assembled suckers an' f*ckers actschwlly wanna take.

    An' bcs what?
    Signature

    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    @ThePromotionalGuy: Great story!

    I have way too many books. Was going to organize them one day but after dilly-dallying around, and after the second beer, I gave up.

    Mostly use Audible from Amazon these days to just listen to a book while someone reads it to me. Was listening to Think And Grow Rich the other day which is why I wrote the post...that and was wasting time since it was easier than working on what I should have been working on.

    @Optedin: "That said, it's hard to know just how great a script actually is until a talented director and a brilliant actor work their magic."

    Agree with that.

    Somewhere on here once upon a time, we were having a discussion about using a script for phone sales (which I'm not a big fan of), but

    someone had said they sound too scripted.

    I made the comment that I'd never heard someone leave a theatre and remark how they loved the movie, but it would have been better if they didn't use a script.

    A good salesperson, like a good actor, knows how to take a script and make it sound natural.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    The best stories include persuasion elements.

    Check out this sales letter. The writer intermixes parts of his pitch with a story about his personal journey.

    https://www.awai.com/p/is/cop/

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      The best stories include persuasion elements.

      Check out this sales letter. The writer intermixes parts of his pitch with a story about his personal journey.

      https://www.awai.com/p/is/cop/

      Alex
      Good example, thanks Alex. Kind of long winded for my tastes. Consider the Joe Karbo LAZY MAN'S ad. Told his story in a few brief paragraphs, right up front.

      Here's how they start:
      -------
      Too Busy Earning a Living to Make any Money?
      You think you got problems?

      Well, I remember when a bank turned me down for a $200 loan. Now I lend money to the bank-- Certificates of Deposit at $100,000 a crack.

      I remember the day a car dealer got nervous because I was a couple of months behind in my payments--and repossessed my car. Now I own a Rolls Royce. I paid $43,000 for it--cash.

      I remember the day my wife phoned me, crying, because the landlord showed up at the house, demanding his rent--and we didn't have the money to pay it.

      Now we own five homes.

      ______

      Quite a story in those 3 paragraphs.

      And this:
      -----
      The Lazy Man's Way to Riches

      I used to work hard. The 18 hour days. The 7-day weeks.

      But I didn't start making big money until I did less-a lot less.

      For example this ad took about 2 hours to write.With a little luck, it should earn me 50, maybe a hundred thousand dollars.

      ____

      Stories are great and work. But in today's attention deficit time, go back to the future with Joe Karbo who had limited space to work with so had to cut his stories, like Hemingway, to the bare bones essentials.

      Joe was a master of the BRIDGE, you are here, buy this go there.

      BEFORE- I couldn't pay the rent. ACTION- buy this product. AFTER. I own 5 homes.

      Great story, Beginning, middle, end. Hero's journey.

      In as few words as is necessary.

      GordonJ

      PS. I've seen that promotion from AWAI, a hundred times, and have yet to read it all the way through, although, it does very well for them.

      Also, maybe later, I'll tell the story about the real phone call Gary Halbert made to me. He said, "I hear you turned down Ben. I knew you were a dumbass." CLICK. Hung up on me before I could say a word

      Wasn't the worse name Gary ever called me, but it was the shortest one sided conversation ever, albeit, most talks with him tended to be one sided (him calling me various names, many with shit in front of them; bird, weasel, hole, head, etc.)
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

        Good example, thanks Alex. Kind of long winded for my tastes. Consider the Joe Karbo LAZY MAN'S ad. Told his story in a few brief paragraphs, right up front.

        Here's how they start:
        -------
        Too Busy Earning a Living to Make any Money?
        You think you got problems?

        Well, I remember when a bank turned me down for a $200 loan. Now I lend money to the bank-- Certificates of Deposit at $100,000 a crack.

        I remember the day a car dealer got nervous because I was a couple of months behind in my payments--and repossessed my car. Now I own a Rolls Royce. I paid $43,000 for it--cash.

        I remember the day my wife phoned me, crying, because the landlord showed up at the house, demanding his rent--and we didn't have the money to pay it.

        Now we own five homes.

        ______

        Quite a story in those 3 paragraphs.

        And this:
        -----
        The Lazy Man's Way to Riches

        I used to work hard. The 18 hour days. The 7-day weeks.

        But I didn't start making big money until I did less-a lot less.

        For example this ad took about 2 hours to write.With a little luck, it should earn me 50, maybe a hundred thousand dollars.

        ____

        Stories are great and work. But in today's attention deficit time, go back to the future with Joe Karbo who had limited space to work with so had to cut his stories, like Hemingway, to the bare bones essentials.

        Joe was a master of the BRIDGE, you are here, buy this go there.

        BEFORE- I couldn't pay the rent. ACTION- buy this product. AFTER. I own 5 homes.

        Great story, Beginning, middle, end. Hero's journey.

        In as few words as is necessary.

        GordonJ

        PS. I've seen that promotion from AWAI, a hundred times, and have yet to read it all the way through, although, it does very well for them.

        Also, maybe later, I'll tell the story about the real phone call Gary Halbert made to me. He said, "I hear you turned down Ben. I knew you were a dumbass." CLICK. Hung up on me before I could say a word

        Wasn't the worse name Gary ever called me, but it was the shortest one sided conversation ever, albeit, most talks with him tended to be one sided (him calling me various names, many with shit in front of them; bird, weasel, hole, head, etc.)
        Probably one of the best sales letters ever.

        A lot of story behind that letter.

        If I remember right, he was driving down the road when the idea for the letter occurred to him. He pulled over and wrote the whole letter on the side of the road (maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like I read that somewhere).

        Joe Karbo - The Lazy Man's Way To Riches - Tom Butler-Bowdon

        Would like to hear your stories about Halbert sometime.
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        • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          Probably one of the best sales letters ever.

          A lot of story behind that letter.

          If I remember right, he was driving down the road when the idea for the letter occurred to him. He pulled over and wrote the whole letter on the side of the road (maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like I read that somewhere).

          Joe Karbo - The Lazy Man's Way To Riches - Tom Butler-Bowdon

          Would like to hear your stories about Halbert sometime.
          One of these days, I'll share some stories. As for Joe, when I was meeting with him weekly, he having taking a shine to a fellow sailor and freely offered his time, told me, the letter WAS written in about an hour...after days of letting things gel, and the car idea, was actually about headline. His first few ideas were more like the longer headline, not about the Lazy Man, which by the way, Joe was as far away from as anyone can get.

          Odd thing, for me, we seldom talked about his business, a lot of boats, sailing, acting, which Joe did, and other things.

          He introduced me to the HOTSHEET, he rec'd a one piece of paper sales list weekly, for which he paid 20 bux a week for. I guess there were only about 200 mailed out to S. CA boat owners, most of whom belonged to a boating/yacht club organization. Keep in mind, a yacht back then was a lot smaller than what we think of today. Anyhow, the list was the REDUCED prices on boats for sale, which wouldn't come out until Sat. publicly. He and the other 199 people got theirs on Thur.

          I asked him why he didn't publish it, 20 x 200 was a pretty decent take for one piece of paper, a stamp and an envelope. He replied, "It would cost me more money in time lost attending to my business, I'm happy to pay the 20 bux."

          He also rec'd weekly HOTSHEETS, and again, before FAX, in the mail for closeouts, liquidations and going out of business sales. Joe made a pretty penny flipping "junk".

          I didn't know what gold I had. I was a college student, and wasn't all that interested in the MAIL ORDER business back then, sheesh, Halbert was right, I was a dumb ass.

          GordonJ
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

        Good example, thanks Alex. Kind of long winded for my tastes. Consider the Joe Karbo LAZY MAN'S ad. Told his story in a few brief paragraphs, right up front.
        Gordon,

        I share your admiration for the copywriters of old who had to deliver their pitch in a limited amount of space. The pithy manner in which they got their message across.

        Reading old magazine ads has taught me a lot over the years.

        You know how newbie copywriters ask, "How many words should a sales letter be?" We usually answer, "As many as it takes to sell the item."

        I believe that, and it makes me wonder. Suppose the copywriters of old weren't constrained and could write as many words as they wanted?

        IMO, they would have sold even more product than they actually did.

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
          Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post


          I believe that, and it makes me wonder. Suppose the copywriters of old weren't constrained and could write as many words as they wanted?

          IMO, they would have sold even more product than they actually did.

          Alex
          Maybe. There were guys who tested this. One of the first was Harvey Brody, who wrote one of the first very long sales letter, mailed out as a booklet of, I think, it was 32 pages. A forerunner to the MAGALOG.

          Also, Jay Abraham, ran his 8 or 12 page ad (not sure) for his apprentice (PROTEGE) program, where if memory serves he was charging 12 thousand bux?

          Harvey's product was for a 500 dollar course. At the time, it was one of the more expensive mail order information products on the market.

          There were other long sales letters, and most of them that I recall were for HIGH TICKET items. Back then, paper and ink was cheap, mail was cheap, it was about (and still is) the cost of getting a customer.

          I once had a 12 page sales letter written in 1923 for a course in Copywriting, although it was called advertising. They used small classified ads in magazines, then sent out this very long (for that time) sales letter to sell their courses. They offered a COD (cash on delivery) and a pay as you go plan. I won't swear to this one, but I think I had a long sales letter from the Schumaker (Quaker Oats) company dated in the late 1880's, they were one of the early post civil war, marketing companies to use modern innovation in their promotions, including things inside boxes, stamps, and long sales letters mailed to entrants in one of their contest promotions.

          So, I think there is evidence to support the idea, SOME of the greats could have sold even more with longer promotions, and on the flip side, like Optedin pointed out,

          today, maybe some of those long winded sales letter should TEST versions which are much, much shorter. Sure AWAI does good with that letter, but might they do just as well or better with something much shorter? Only TESTING would give the right answer.

          GordonJ

          If allowed, here is a pic of a 2 page spread in Aug. 1923 ARGOSY MAG. Compare to AWAI or others offering how to write copy.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
            Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post


            Today, maybe some of those long winded sales letter should TEST versions which are much, much shorter. Sure AWAI does good with that letter, but might they do just as well or better with something much shorter? Only TESTING would give the right answer.
            Yah, that's the bottom line.

            Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      The best stories include persuasion elements.
      OMG. I had to force myself to read that until I screamed and quit. What part of the first 10 paragraphs have you not seen a variation of in any two-bit sales letter ever put together?

      I get it. Maybe the Gold was further in. Well, that copy would NEVER get me to where it may be hidden. That was just plain bad. Totally predictable.

      Maybe it's me. I've become very jaded in my old age and it takes something spectacular to impress me. This didn't come anywhere near that level.

      Just my 2¢.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

        OMG. I had to force myself to read that until I screamed and quit. What part of the first 10 paragraphs have you not seen a variation of in any two-bit sales letter ever put together?

        I get it. Maybe the Gold was further in. Well, that copy would NEVER get me to where it may be hidden. That was just plain bad. Totally predictable.

        Maybe it's me. I've become very jaded in my old age and it takes something spectacular to impress me. This didn't come anywhere near that level.

        Just my 2¢.
        Yeah, it's you.

        The letter has done very well for AWAI.

        Copywriters put their personal feelings aside when analyzing a sales letter. We consider how the target market will react to a promotion.

        Are you a copywriter? Have you ever been one?

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
          Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

          Are you a copywriter? Have you ever been one
          I've written all my own copy for 50 years, when active in business, during that time span. I've done OK with it. Be honest, anyone can call themselves a copywriter, but most who think they're so great, shouldn't. I've encountered too many that are pompous asses. They act like they're friggin' neurosurgeons. lol

          That said, If I'm a 'target,' that crap missed the mark by a mile. The fact that it has done well proves a point, but I'm not sure it was the one you are so confident of.

          Like I said, "I don't impress, easily" and crap is in the eye of the beholder. If everyone responding to the same things, there'd only be one sales letter - ever. I don't have time to get past the regurgitated tripe to find what you are so impressed by.

          If you can't hook me in the first paragraph or two, why would I what to read further? Isn't that a basic tenet of copywriting? Life is short.

          Sorry I don't agree with you. You'll just have to accept that. We are all allowed to have our own opinions, right? :-)
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          • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
            Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

            I've written all my own copy for 50 years, when active in business, during that time span. I've done OK with it. Be honest, anyone can call themselves a copywriter, but most who think they're so great, shouldn't. I've encountered too many that are pompous asses. They act like they're friggin' neurosurgeons. lol

            That said, If I'm a 'target,' that crap missed the mark by a mile. The fact that it has done well proves a point, but I'm not sure it was the one you are so confident of.

            Like I said, "I don't impress, easily" and crap is in the eye of the beholder. If everyone responding to the same things, there'd only be one sales letter - ever. I don't have time to get past the regurgitated tripe to find what you are so impressed by.

            If you can't hook me in the first paragraph or two, why would I what to read further? Isn't that a basic tenet of copywriting? Life is short.

            Sorry I don't agree with you. You'll just have to accept that. We are all allowed to have our own opinions, right? :-)
            I get it. You wrote copy for your own stuff... things you were interested in.

            You aren't the target for the letter I posted, and because you're not a copywriter, you don't have the patience to read through the parts that bore you.

            That's fine.

            I just needed to understand where you were coming from.

            Alex

            PS - Some here made the same mistake when they first came to this board. They essentially called video sales letters crap. They were of course coming to that conclusion based on their perspective.

            As we've seen, video sales letters have brought in billions of dollars.

            So if you don't want to give a informed opinion of a sales letter, that is, of course your choice.
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            • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
              Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

              I get it. You wrote copy for your own stuff... things you were interested in.
              Correct. I guess 'copywriters' will take any job that pays.

              You aren't the target for the letter I posted, and because you're not a copywriter, you don't have the patience to read through the parts that bore you.
              So the question becomes, why would anyone? Are you implying that parts that bored me wouldn't bore anyone with an IQ over room temperature? I guess that could be true. I could agree that had I never seen any of that copy a million times, it might pique my interest. But, my question is, who hasn't seen it a million times?

              That's fine.
              OK. :-)

              I just needed to understand where you were coming from.
              Cool. When you figure that out - do let me know. I rarely know where I'm coming from, or, for that matter, where the hell I'm headed.

              PS - Some here made the same mistake when they first came to this board. They essentially called video sales letters crap. They were of course coming to that conclusion based on their perspective.
              If you're talking about the type that put words on the screen and then a voiceover reads the words, aloud - like I never made it past 5th grade, then, no - I won't watch those either. I find them intellectually insulting and they make my hair catch fire.

              As we've seen, video sales letters have brought in billions of dollars.
              As has every type of advertising known to man, once we got past scribbling on cave walls.

              So if you don't want to give a informed opinion of a sales letter, that is, of course your choice.
              I gave you an informed opinion. You simply choose to denigrate my opinion because it doesn't coincide with yours. That is, of course, your choice. :-)
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

        OMG. I had to force myself to read that until I screamed and quit. What part of the first 10 paragraphs have you not seen a variation of in any two-bit sales letter ever put together?

        I get it. Maybe the Gold was further in. Well, that copy would NEVER get me to where it may be hidden. That was just plain bad. Totally predictable.

        Maybe it's me. I've become very jaded in my old age and it takes something spectacular to impress me. This didn't come anywhere near that level.

        Just my 2¢.
        My Friend.
        You already know what I'm going to say, as do the other guys here that know their
        business.

        1) You aren't the customer. We see the world with open eyes. We know what's behind the curtain, how the sausage is made, that wrestling is an act, how the magician's trick is done. What is old hat to you is a burning revelation to the first time reader.

        As an actor, you did the same play until you could do it in your sleep. I did the same presentation 12,000 times. But it was always the first time the prospect saw it...and the first time the prospect reads the sales letter.

        2) The sales letter had two reading paths. The rapid reader could read the bolded sub heads, and decide where to read in depth. Each sub headline is an entry point. The sales letter may have been too long, if there were no breaks. But there are breaks.



        From a salesman, I can tell you the benefit of a long (if strongly written) sales letter.

        In my business of selling vacuum cleaners, most dealers think they are doing a sales presentation if they spend 5 minutes with a customer. And that can be true if...the customer stopped in with the idea of buying already....and if it's a very inexpensive vacuum cleaner.

        My in home sales presentations lasted 2...sometimes 3 hours. Why? They had strong sales resistance when I met them, and my vacuum cleaner cost about 20 times what an average vacuum cleaner cost.

        So...why did it mater how long it took? It mattered because they needed time to get comfortable with the idea of buying. It takes time for the mental changes to take place where spending a lot of money (whatever that means to them) sounds plausible.
        It takes time for the idea of buying to sink in.

        Sure, some people make faster decisions, and there is a reader path for them. But most need to be seduced.

        Selling by long form sales letter..or a longer sales presentation...is an act of seduction.

        And even if they want to "buy", they want you to take them to dinner first...they want to be "courted" so they can feel like they have standards. The longer sales letter is dating.

        Anyway, just a thought.
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      • Profile picture of the author splitTest
        Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

        OMG. I had to force myself to read that until I screamed and quit. What part of the first 10 paragraphs have you not seen a variation of in any two-bit sales letter ever put together?

        I get it. Maybe the Gold was further in. Well, that copy would NEVER get me to where it may be hidden. That was just plain bad. Totally predictable.

        Maybe it's me. I've become very jaded in my old age and it takes something spectacular to impress me. This didn't come anywhere near that level.

        Just my 2¢.
        I understand where you're coming from. I have the same reactions to some classic sales letters.

        I think sometimes it can be difficult to spot what makes a great letter, if you're a "hard sell" yourself.

        Maybe the best way to look at it is to separate the words from the methods of persuasion at work in the letter.

        Greed, hope, addressing the reservations, testimonials, painting vivid pictures, etc. -- and knowing your audience -- makes that a powerful sell piece.

        People who already know the field of copywriting probably aren't the ideal market for that letter.

        On the other hand, dreamers who don't know the field -- but believe they have writing talent -- can be swept away by a letter like that.

        As always, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your intended audience.
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        • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
          Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

          As always, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your intended audience.
          Excellent observations, all. Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
    Thing 'bout actin' is ...

    ain't no point throwin' on the pancake less'n house is full.

    Otherwise, singularly persuasive acumen turns to totally embarrassin' flour & albumen.
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    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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    • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
      Originally Posted by Princess Balestra View Post

      Thing 'bout actin' is ...

      ain't no point throwin' on the pancake less'n house is full.

      Otherwise, singularly persuasive acumen turns to totally embarrassin' flour & albumen.
      A professional always gives their all, regardless of the audience size. That's not to say that I have never delivered a soliloquy, while contemplating what I was going to have on my after-show pizza. :-)
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