What's The Best Sales Letter You've Ever Read?

42 replies
I know it's many rockin' sales letters in the marketplace, both present as well as in the past. But what's the best sales letter you've ever read? And why?

Taking into account it made gobs of money,what elements made it the best in your opinion?
#letter #read #sales
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Halbert's "High School Student Loses Almost 600 Pounds And Now Devotes His Life To Helping Others Get Skinny!" letter.

    I like the persuasion elements he used and the way he put them together.

    It's at: http://www.hardtofindads.com/home. Click on the "Gary Halbert Classic Advertisements & Promotions" link, and it's the second one from the left on the top row.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author RSMarketing
      *BUMP* I'd Like to hear more opinions the Best Sales Letter You've Ever Read?

      Any one have any "I was researching a niche and came across this sales letter that made me want to buy, and I'm not even interested in that niche" stories?


      Rich
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    • Profile picture of the author Elion Makkink
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      Halbert's "High School Student Loses Almost 600 Pounds And Now Devotes His Life To Helping Others Get Skinny!" letter.

      I like the persuasion elements he used and the way he put them together.

      It's at: http://www.hardtofindads.com/home. Click on the "Gary Halbert Classic Advertisements & Promotions" link, and it's the second one from the left on the top row.

      Alex
      Nice one, thanks!
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      Elion Makkink

      SEO & Content Marketing Consultant

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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        My favorite sales letter is the one for Admiral Byrd's $10,000 polar expedition.

        I love the way it frankly talks about the danger, even of dying, and then also sells it as exclusive and the way it is so up front about the cost. Its tone is perfect throughout - manly and warning, without ever getting hypey. And it sold the expedition out.

        I have it in the collection The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of All Time.

        Here is a copy of the letter online, along with interesting background on the mailing:
        The Admiral Byrd Society Sales Letter (Copywriter: Hank Burnett)

        Marcia Yudkin
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      • It was also in the book...

        "The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of All Time" by Richard Hodgson.

        A letter selling cigars (some of the best ever copywriting - particularly when it went into all the adventures it took to find the "right" tobacco).

        The whole piece did everything you could ever want a "pitch" to do and it was amazingly successful.

        Years ago, I remember reading it and thinking - "That is just brilliant"

        I wish I could post it for you all to read - but I've "lost" the book.

        Be worth buying it again just for that letter and the one that Marcia mentioned.


        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author ASCW
          Ghetto Counter Attacks with Diallo Fraizer

          Pretty sure Carlton wrote it.

          My favorite part of the ad is this
          A nifty little "gut-check and sweep" that will land a huge man on his ass quickly and with very little effort. You decide if he'll ever get up again.
          But more specifically...

          You decide if he'll ever get up again.
          That's so hardcore.
          F yeah!

          The Haikuta long form sales letter is also one of my favorites. It's in Swarez's book.
          My favorite line from that ad is
          "He easily could have killed anyone in the room."

          Oh man I just can't get enough!
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesboulay
    Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

    I know it's many rockin' sales letters in the marketplace, both present as well as in the past. But what's the best sales letter you've ever read? And why?

    Taking into account it made gobs of money,what elements made it the best in your opinion?
    I was actually re-reading it the other day to find out why I bought it, and I'll be damned if I can remember it lol. The author took an offensive approach of sorts. He started by telling me I'd be wasting time if I was not going to answer the questions he was about to ask me.
    He then hit something on a psychological level by asking "You wouldn't be reading this if what you're already doing worked, right?" and I think that was my "what on earth is in here" moment.
    It was spun PLR garbage with no thought however making me affirm what he wanted me to affirm was killer. Awesome Tom Hopkins maneuver!
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by jamesboulay View Post

      I was actually re-reading it the other day to find out why I bought it, and I'll be damned if I can remember it lol. The author took an offensive approach of sorts. He started by telling me I'd be wasting time if I was not going to answer the questions he was about to ask me.
      He then hit something on a psychological level by asking "You wouldn't be reading this if what you're already doing worked, right?" and I think that was my "what on earth is in here" moment.
      It was spun PLR garbage with no thought however making me affirm what he wanted me to affirm was killer. Awesome Tom Hopkins maneuver!
      Wow, it's amazing how Tom Hopkins name keeps coming up around different marketing forums lately. This is the fourth time this week for me. I guess what's old is new again. In tough economic times make a Tom Hopkins move if you want close a sale.
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  • Profile picture of the author abugah
    My best letter is one of Robert Collier…


    It starts like this…

    Will you do me a favor?

    For twelve years now, we have been selling the famous ‘Keepdry’ Coat direct to the consumer, at a saving of many dollars from the usual retail price.


    I love this letter because:
    1. It is irresistible...
    2. It starts to sell to you even before realize you are deep inside...
    3. It sounds genuine and creditworthy even without prove factors.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by abugah View Post

      My best letter is one of Robert Collier...


      It starts like this...

      Will you do me a favor?

      For twelve years now, we have been selling the famous 'Keepdry' Coat direct to the consumer, at a saving of many dollars from the usual retail price.


      I love this letter because:
      1. It is irresistible...
      2. It starts to sell to you even before realize you are deep inside...
      3. It sounds genuine and creditworthy even without prove factors.
      Yes, Robert Collier is one of the greatest copywriters of all time in my opinion. Many writers still use many of the methods he made famous, but continue to give credit to others, when Robert Collier did it decades before.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Ratliff
    Gary Bencivenga's "100 Seminar DVD" letter... not only written to sell but you also learn something while reading it:

    Bencivenga 100 Seminar
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by Joseph Ratliff View Post

      Gary Bencivenga's "100 Seminar DVD" letter... not only written to sell but you also learn something while reading it:

      Bencivenga 100 Seminar
      Oh, I agree, I've been hand writing that letter for the past week (in one hour intervals). I've often said it's a masterpiece that should be in the Getty Museum, it's that good.

      It's fascinating hearing the who's who (or dream team) of copy writers who came to sit at his feet and learn from him. Wow!
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      • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
        Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

        Oh, I agree, I've been hand writing that letter for the past week (in one hour intervals). I've often said it's a masterpiece that should be in the Getty Museum, it's that good.

        It's fascinating hearing the who's who (or dream team) of copy writers who came to sit at his feet and learn from him. Wow!
        Bencivenga's the man.


        As far as "favorite sales letters" go... I can't tell you.

        I have 3 I like a lot:

        1) "Hands off Washington!" - Bencivenga

        2) "Outlawed 41 Years - Now Legal Again!" - Mike Palmer.

        3) "Shameless Two-Faced SOBS" - by Clayton Makepeace

        That's the best I can do.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kevin Rogers
          Gotta go with John Carlton... either the "Nickel Letter" or "Free Gun".

          Sorry, no links, only have the printed versions. They're in his volume I collection, though, if you can dig that up.
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          • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
            Originally Posted by Kevin Rogers View Post

            Gotta go with John Carlton... either the "Nickel Letter" or "Free Gun".
            Top half of the (4 page) "Free Gun" ad testing no pic/pic:

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            • Profile picture of the author John Carlton
              Yeah, the Free Gun ad is mine. Photo worked better, I recall, in print, but didn't matter in direct mail.

              The Ghetto one's mine, too. I kinda got on a roll in the late 90s in that market, really nailed the psychological sweet-spot of the audience, and pretty much never missed (no matter what the DVDs were about). That was fun -- the client kept pitting other writers against me, and some agencies, and it was just open slaughter on every test. It's good to be the 800 lb. gorilla when you can manage it.

              Glad you dudes like 'em.

              I was the lead guy on Halbert's diet ad, too -- we found that kid in the National Enquirer, and I flew to Detroit with a camera man to interview him and his family/friends. Coldest ****ing days of my life. The kid was a bit of a psychopath, too -- you don't get that big without some gnarly issues in your head. (Halbert wrote the ad, mostly, though. I chimed in with a few bits...) (The ad bombed, by the way. The "diet" trick was eating apples and walking. It worked, and would work for anyone... but that's not what the diet market wants. They need shiny magic.)

              Early in my career, I wrote fulfillment reports for Bencivenga, and I learned how to write killer bullets by deconstructing his controls for Phillips in the 80s. He's a god. Interesting insight, though: He slowly constructed his pieces, in sections. Early drafts often sucked -- he literally had to get to the final draft before he'd have a control, and it took weeks-to-months. That was a reality check for me -- this gig ain't easy, and never was, if you aim for the top.

              My favorite direct response piece remains the first one I ever responded to: Joe Karbo's "The Lazy Man's Way To Riches", circa '81-'82. (There were multiple other versions by his son later on, including "The Royal Road To Riches".) Just sucked me in, and sucked $10 out of me at a time I was sleeping on a couch and living out of my car, broke.

              [Can't post the link... asked Kman to do it]

              Fun thread. Thanks to Rogers for alerting me to it...

              JC
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              • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
                Hi John,

                Welcome to the Warrior Forum.

                I was at one of your small seminars in Reno a few years ago in which you deconstructed eveyone's copy.

                Excellent seminar.

                Best,

                Thomas O'Malley
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              • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
                Originally Posted by John Carlton View Post

                Yeah, the Free Gun ad is mine. Photo worked better, I recall, in print, but didn't matter in direct mail.

                The Ghetto one's mine, too. I kinda got on a roll in the late 90s in that market, really nailed the psychological sweet-spot of the audience, and pretty much never missed (no matter what the DVDs were about). That was fun -- the client kept pitting other writers against me, and some agencies, and it was just open slaughter on every test. It's good to be the 800 lb. gorilla when you can manage it.

                Glad you dudes like 'em.

                I was the lead guy on Halbert's diet ad, too -- we found that kid in the National Enquirer, and I flew to Detroit with a camera man to interview him and his family/friends. Coldest ****ing days of my life. The kid was a bit of a psychopath, too -- you don't get that big without some gnarly issues in your head. (Halbert wrote the ad, mostly, though. I chimed in with a few bits...) (The ad bombed, by the way. The "diet" trick was eating apples and walking. It worked, and would work for anyone... but that's not what the diet market wants. They need shiny magic.)

                Early in my career, I wrote fulfillment reports for Bencivenga, and I learned how to write killer bullets by deconstructing his controls for Phillips in the 80s. He's a god. Interesting insight, though: He slowly constructed his pieces, in sections. Early drafts often sucked -- he literally had to get to the final draft before he'd have a control, and it took weeks-to-months. That was a reality check for me -- this gig ain't easy, and never was, if you aim for the top.

                My favorite direct response piece remains the first one I ever responded to: Joe Karbo's "The Lazy Man's Way To Riches", circa '81-'82. (There were multiple other versions by his son later on, including "The Royal Road To Riches".) Just sucked me in, and sucked $10 out of me at a time I was sleeping on a couch and living out of my car, broke.

                [Can't post the link... asked Kman to do it]

                Fun thread. Thanks to Rogers for alerting me to it...

                JC
                It's interesting you pointed to Joe Karbo as your favorite direct response piece, and not Gary Halbert, Gary Bencevinga or even yourself. What was it about the Joe Karbo ad that made the difference in your opinion?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dainis
    i haven't visited this forum in a year or two -- funny to see you all here -- greetz to john carlton, your work has done loads of good for my life and well being.

    "Free Gun"

    ahh yes, 8 characters, one of them a space, two capital letters. sweet.

    love the bold (2) and "Point The Gun At You And Squeeze The Trigger!" It was probably revolutionary just to do the all initial caps in the headline or? i mean regular editors would have changed the capitalization, and there you are -- a rebel breakin' and thereby makin' the rules.

    great picture too.

    makes me want to drink some red wine, eat some chocolate cake, and just sit n read some great sales letters for a while. follow up with a double espresso n let the waves of awareness fill my soul and wallet.

    takes you back to when we used to "read" instead of "absorb without blinking" doesn't it?

    i have a list of "best sales letters ever." gotta see if i can drum it up...

    cheers,
    dainis w michel
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    • Profile picture of the author ryanmcgee
      "Lies, Lies, Lies!" - Gary Bencivenga

      "The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - Joe Karbo

      "America's Secret Investment Societies" - Porter Stansberry

      "The Secret Currency" - Mike Palmer, Stansberry & Associates

      "End of America" - Mike Palmer, Stansberry & Associates

      "Intentional Living Control" - Bill Bonner

      "How You Can Profit From The Coming Stock Market Crash And Financial Blood-bath That Is Going To Be Caused By Cash-Rich Drug Dealers And Other Criminal Scum!" - Gary Halbert

      "The Insider Code. WANTED: Novice Crew to 'Rob' Banks Legally...With an Inside Job!" - Jim Sheridan

      "WARNING: Do Not Read This If You Have Moral, Ethical Or Religious Reasons Against Hurting (Or Even Killing) Someone Who Violently
      Attacks You, Your Wife Or Your Kids" - Ben Settle

      "How Even Skinny, 'Barney Fife' Cops Single-Handedly Control And Dominate Violent Criminals, Gang-Bangers And Other Cold-Blooded Killers... Without Even Drawing Their Guns!" - Ben Settle

      "Combat JKD: All Your Fancy Fighting Skills Won't Earn You An Extra Second Against This Devastating New Natural Streetfighting System!" - John Carlton
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      • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
        Originally Posted by ryanmcgee View Post

        "Lies, Lies, Lies!" - Gary Bencivenga

        "The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - Joe Karbo

        "America's Secret Investment Societies" - Porter Stansberry

        "The Secret Currency" - Mike Palmer, Stansberry & Associates

        "End of America" - Mike Palmer, Stansberry & Associates

        "Intentional Living Control" - Bill Bonner

        "How You Can Profit From The Coming Stock Market Crash And Financial Blood-bath That Is Going To Be Caused By Cash-Rich Drug Dealers And Other Criminal Scum!" - Gary Halbert

        "The Insider Code. WANTED: Novice Crew to 'Rob' Banks Legally...With an Inside Job!" - Jim Sheridan

        "WARNING: Do Not Read This If You Have Moral, Ethical Or Religious Reasons Against Hurting (Or Even Killing) Someone Who Violently
        Attacks You, Your Wife Or Your Kids" - Ben Settle

        "How Even Skinny, 'Barney Fife' Cops Single-Handedly Control And Dominate Violent Criminals, Gang-Bangers And Other Cold-Blooded Killers... Without Even Drawing Their Guns!" - Ben Settle

        "Combat JKD: All Your Fancy Fighting Skills Won't Earn You An Extra Second Against This Devastating New Natural Streetfighting System!" - John Carlton
        Definitely a few grab you by the throat and kick you in the ba**s "attention getting headlines" in that list.
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      • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
        Originally Posted by ryanmcgee View Post

        "Lies, Lies, Lies!" - Gary Bencivenga

        "The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - Joe Karbo

        "America's Secret Investment Societies" - Porter Stansberry

        "The Secret Currency" - Mike Palmer, Stansberry & Associates

        "End of America" - Mike Palmer, Stansberry & Associates

        "Intentional Living Control" - Bill Bonner

        "How You Can Profit From The Coming Stock Market Crash And Financial Blood-bath That Is Going To Be Caused By Cash-Rich Drug Dealers And Other Criminal Scum!" - Gary Halbert

        "The Insider Code. WANTED: Novice Crew to ‘Rob’ Banks Legally…With an Inside Job!” - Jim Sheridan

        "WARNING: Do Not Read This If You Have Moral, Ethical Or Religious Reasons Against Hurting (Or Even Killing) Someone Who Violently
        Attacks You, Your Wife Or Your Kids" - Ben Settle

        "How Even Skinny, 'Barney Fife' Cops Single-Handedly Control And Dominate Violent Criminals, Gang-Bangers And Other Cold-Blooded Killers... Without Even Drawing Their Guns!" - Ben Settle

        "Combat JKD: All Your Fancy Fighting Skills Won't Earn You An Extra Second Against This Devastating New Natural Streetfighting System!" - John Carlton
        That International Living control is still going. I have a mail package for it here at the office.

        If I'm not mistaken, it's something like 20 years in the mail now.
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        • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
          Originally Posted by ARSuarez View Post

          That International Living control is still going. I have a mail package for it here at the office.

          If I'm not mistaken, it's something like 20 years in the mail now.
          20 years for a control is incredible. Like a 40 year old Undefeated Heavy Weight Boxer or cage fighter whose survived all comers, generations and changes in the market. Awesome.
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          • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
            Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

            20 years for a control is incredible. Like a 40 year old Undefeated Heavy Weight Boxer or cage fighter whose survived all comers, generations and changes in the market. Awesome.
            On that note, I believe, "Do You Make These Mistakes In English?" was a control for 41 years.
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            • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
              Originally Posted by ARSuarez View Post

              On that note, I believe, "Do You Make These Mistakes In English?" was a control for 41 years.
              Woh! I just saw that ad the other day. I've been seeing it for years but never knew it's been around that long. That has to be a record. Do you happen to know who wrote it?
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              • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
                Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

                Woh! I just saw that ad the other day. I've been seeing it for years but never knew it's been around that long. That has to be a record. Do you happen to know who wrote it?
                The late and great Maxwell Sackheim.

                Next to Mel Martin, Bud Weckesser, and a handful of others, Sackheim is among the greatest of the unknown writers.

                Mel Martin pretty much invented and perfected the fascination.

                If you ask Gordon very nicely (gjabiz), he can probably link you to a huge swipe of Weckesser copy.

                And Martin can be found floating around the web.

                -Angel
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                • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
                  For longevity of it running and the least amount of words,
                  this would be hard to beat...

                  -----------------------------------------
                  Corns Gone In 5 Days Or Your Money Back
                  -----------------------------------------

                  Attached would be a response mechanism.

                  I've read it's been running for 50 years now.

                  Best,
                  Ewen
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                  • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
                    Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

                    For longevity of it running and the least amount of words,
                    this would be hard to beat...

                    -----------------------------------------
                    Corns Gone In 5 Days Or Your Money Back
                    -----------------------------------------

                    Attached would be a response mechanism.

                    I've read it's been running for 50 years now.

                    Best,
                    Ewen
                    Corns! That's a word you don't hear much anymore, thanks to better shoe technology. But that headline tells the whole story at a glance. Promise, Offer and Guaranatee.
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                    • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
                      Ok, I've been reading through my swipe file again (many, many strong ads in there), and I have a verdict.

                      After reading it for the first time again in 2 years, Read This or Die has to be my favorite letter. I couldn't put this thing down and still wanted to buy the product.

                      But I've always thought Rutz is among the top 3 best writers in the world - but he's virtually unknown due to not having any products, websites, or any attempts at publicity.

                      For all of you who want to see this promo (a grand slam), I bring goodies... http://www.directresponsemarketingfo...im_rutz_ad.pdf

                      Furthermore, I think if people want to learn how to use humor in copy... Jim is the guy to study. He says things that just crack you up and never slow down the promo.

                      All in all, a great piece. It's been a while, but I'll have to dissect and hand write it again.

                      Enjoy.

                      -Angel

                      PS. There's another version of this copy with the headline "For Every Illness, There Is A Country Where It Simply Doesn't Exist."

                      Not a bad headline; from what I understand, it did well. But it doesn't have the 'umph' of 'Read This or Die.'
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                      • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
                        Originally Posted by ARSuarez View Post

                        Ok, I've been reading through my swipe file again (many, many strong ads in there), and I have a verdict.

                        After reading it for the first time again in 2 years, Read This or Die has to be my favorite letter. I couldn't put this thing down and still wanted to buy the product.

                        But I've always thought Rutz is among the top 3 best writers in the world - but he's virtually unknown due to not having any products, websites, or any attempts at publicity.

                        For all of you who want to see this promo (a grand slam), I bring goodies... http://www.directresponsemarketingfo...im_rutz_ad.pdf

                        Furthermore, I think if people want to learn how to use humor in copy... Jim is the guy to study. He says things that just crack you up and never slow down the promo.

                        All in all, a great piece. It's been a while, but I'll have to dissect and hand write it again.

                        Enjoy.

                        -Angel

                        PS. There's another version of this copy with the headline "For Every Illness, There Is A Country Where It Simply Doesn't Exist."

                        Not a bad headline; from what I understand, it did well. But it doesn't have the 'umph' of 'Read This or Die.'
                        That's interesting, a person who effectively uses humor in copy. I've always heard that was taboo. Not many people can pull that off (or even try) I'll have to take a look at it and him. -Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author erichmazzone
    Banned
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  • I rarely respond to sales letters because most of them sound phony. But one of the few I did respond to was for a book called From Minimum Wage To Millionaire. The ad was in a magazine and the guy who wrote the copy just came across as being HONEST. Nothing fancy about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author RHert
    Awesome thread. Thanks for starting it. Will definitely be reading a lot of these.
    My favorite actually came from Johnny B. Truant though I can't find it now. Loved it because of the way in which he crafted a story into the sales letter. I swear by the end of it I would have bought anything he told me to (and did).
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  • Profile picture of the author David Maschke
    Terry Dean's "Internet Copywriting Secrets Revealed" is probably my
    all time favorite. I opened up my wallet for that one.

    He had a bullet that went something like...

    "Why I like going to speak at seminars (and it isn't for the money)"

    That had me hooked for some reason.

    And when I got the package, that was the answer I looked for first.

    An unfinished thought just bugs the hell out of me
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    I

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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by David Maschke View Post

      Terry Dean's "Internet Copywriting Secrets Revealed" is probably my
      all time favorite. I opened up my wallet for that one.

      He had a bullet that went something like...

      "Why I like going to speak at seminars (and it isn't for the money)"

      That had me hooked for some reason.

      And when I got the package, that was the answer I looked for first.

      An unfinished thought just bugs the hell out of me
      Yes, a well executed open loop can make you loopie! Like a itch in the middle of your back you gotta scratch.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobKonrad
    In terms of conversion, I know of one direct mail salesletter (over here in Europe) that, to this point, has a ridicoulus conversion rate.

    The funny thing: It's pretty much the cheapest - looking ad/salesletter you have ever seen - because it's formatted to look exactly like a letter from your tax office.

    It comes in the same envelope style, the same thin cheap recycled paper, the same cheap courier font, and even the product pricing looks like a ist of your taxes to pay.

    Awesome conversion - questionnable approch you might say. but I guess everything goes....


    Cheers,
    Rob Konrad
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