FREE. Take it for what it’s worth.
Newer copywriter, I want to tell you what I am CERTAIN about.
What I believe is carved in stone when it comes to copywriting, and this based upon my 35 years in mailorder, direct response advertising, Mail Order and Remote Direct Marketing.
Grab your pens, notepads and start writing.
The ONE absolute, positively unshakable, undeniable piece of knowledge that I possess is:
I Don’t Know.
”WHAT?? WTF?? Dude, you been doing this sh*t for 35 years and you don’t know? Nothing?
Are you an idiot? Moron? Stoopid?”
Maybe I am. I’ll leave that judgment in your hands.
I could give you an educated guess (some might say WELL educated) on whether your product has a market, if your promotion is on target, if the media is the right one, but to tell you if your promotion is dead wrong…or won’t work. I can’t do that. Because?
I don’t know.
I’ve lost thousands of dollars on mailings I was sure were winners.
Until the results came in.
On the other hand some came back a WINNER.
See? Copywriting, despite what some of these guys here say, is NOT an exact science.
If it were, there would be a software program that would allow us all to plug in our product and come out with the “Who Else Wants To”… headline.
People who are considered masters, Joe Sugarman comes to mind, readily admit that “timing” played a part in their success as much as the copywriting.
IF Joe knew…if he was CERTAIN about his copy working…JS&A would still be selling gadgets and gizmos…there wouldn’t have been the hundred thousand dollar fines from the FTC, and we all would be writing copy exactly as Joe told us to.
Alas. It is, I’m afraid, as much ART as it is science.
And even then, luck, timing and having the stars aligned helps.
OF course there are solid, tested and proven guidelines. And old fashioned salesmanship following a hundred year formula plays a role.
Sure you can “hedge the bet” a tad bit by following some savvy advice from those who have been there…just keep in mind, most, and I mean MOST who have been there…have difficulty duplicating their own success.
Some greats have even committed suicide when they ran dry.
Copywriting is NOT a science and the so-called RULES or the “must be adhered” to principles of the greats are frequently ignored…and mostly by those who have had BREAKTHROUGHS.
Here’s an ironic example…Gary Halbert, who was as smart and savvy and educated about copywriting as they get tells how when the lights were turned off, the water was shut off…when he and his family may soon starve to death…what did he do?
Did he turn to the copywriters’s for advice? He tried that and took their advice, heeded their words and failed miserably, which is why he was is such dire straits.
So he said, what if there were a gun to my head and I HAD to write something that worked?
Forget the experts, forget the masters and the teachers…forget everything I know about writing a sales letter and write a MUST SELL piece…
And the famous Nancy letter was written AFTER he tossed out all the advice of the GREATS…and it was Gary’s BREAKTHROUGH that led to a 100 million dollar company.
I’d bet that 100% of all BREAKTHROUGH copy was written by someone going against the grain of their day’s conventional wisdom, they swimming against the current, upstream…got to places the experts, advisors and opinion givers never got to.
Which is why I say, after so many years and working with, for and next to some tremendous marketers and copywriters…
I don’t know.
I admire the certainty of many on this forum, a couple of guys have been writing copy now, for, what…four or five years already?
They’ve read every book, can cite chapter and verse from Halbert, Kennedy, Abraham and Sugarman…could probably put on Sir Gary’s seminars from all the times they’ve watched it…
AND they are CERTAIN they know what is wrong with YOUR copy. YOUR offer. Your market.
They don’t hesitate to cream you with their knowledge of how it is supposed to be done, giving you principles, such as; Target a hungry market already looking for what you have to sell…
Which is solid and very good advice.
Did Halbert do that? He knew there was starving market of people wanting a coat of arms? Did Sugarman KNOW there was a hungry market for 200 dollar calculators when most people didn’t even know what a calculator was?
Sure, it’s great to enter a market with an established buying habit.
But is it a PRINCIPLE you have to live and or die by?
I don’t know, but I don't think is.
See, I really don’t know. I ask a lot of questions, such as who is the TARGET, how do you reach them, what do you say to them…is there an upsell, backsell, crosssell..is there a pipeline of products, a family of products or is there a Life Time Value attached to a new order?
I ask questions because I don’t know. I don’t know what you are trying to do. What you want to achieve.
So my FREE ADVICE to you newer copywriters is this:
Be very careful about the advice you receive regarding your project, product, your promotion or your first time copy attempt.
You will get many answers. Many of them are CERTAIN they know what will or will not work.
Arm yourself with a solid foundation of salesmanship and the works of the greats KNOWING and UNDERSTANDING that even they couldn’t replicate their successes every time…that it is a percentage game…the more you attempt, the better you may get.
Learn as much as you can…write, then write some more…but please KEEP THIS ONE thought in your forebrain…
Take FREE ADVICE with a grain of salt.
Sometimes, YOU know more than you think you do and your copy may NOT need to heed every opinion, every do this, don’t do that…it will never work…opinion you get from people trying to sell you a service.
THANK these pros for their time…but, maybe, just maybe…you’ll want to get a second opinion and even then, it may be in your best interest to ignore all the FREE advice you get…
I don’t know.