Analyzing Gary Halbert Letter (w/ Photos)

14 replies
Starting out fresh w/ copywriting I've taken the advice given all over the forums to begin copying letters by hand and analyzing them. Here are images of the copy being rewritten and analyzed.

What I am looking for here is help analyzing this letter to really identify what is being done in each sentence to make this excellent copy.

Starting out I tried looking for resources like this that really explained what is being done in the copy... What is it that makes me keep reading... What is it that makes this great copy....

I'd like this to be used as a reference for new copywriters to analyze and understand what is being done in copy VISUALLY.

That being said, I'm looking forward to the notes and insights that come out of this post. I'll be sure to keep updating the original post to include all notes (or I may upload new photos w/ the notes on them).

============================================

The original copywritten letter can be found at exactly this location...
The Gary Halbert Letter




#analyzing #gary #halbert #letter #photos #w or
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Well done Pascal.

    First for actually hand writing
    and secondly for recognising repeatable principals.

    Best,
    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    Why in God's name would you do that? The guys that advocate this BS of writing out salespages by hand should all be taken out and shot.

    Find your own voice. Why try and clone someone elses? Unless of course, you want all your copy to read like a cheesy swipe of a swipe of a swipe.

    Look...we're in a very exciting age - the digital age. You don't need half this bullshit. You don't need the "From the Desk of Harry Schmuck"... "Dear Fellow Bed-Wetter"... "To your success!" - you don't need any of that tired old crap.

    These same guys will tell you stuff like "Don't link out - they won't come back". BULLSHIT. If what you're saying has them by the balls - of course they'll come back.

    "Have some testimonials" - read - some bozo sitting in his bedroom doing Fiverr gigs.

    "Put the call-to-action here" - bullshit upon bullshit.

    Is this the way you would recommend a product to a buddy?

    Don't think so. Especially in this age of email and text. And guess what - a big proportion of your audience will be reading your message on their smart phone... or their iPad... or some other device.

    Talk to them like you're sharing something really good. DON'T PITCH THEM.

    Halbert was a GOD of direct response and a great writer. But if he were still around today I bet he would be all over new technology. He wouldn't be advising you chumps to "Sit down and write out by hand 100 times". What a crock.

    And that, campers, could quite possibly be my last post on The Warrior Forum. I despair. There's a few brilliant minds here... but for the most part you're a bunch of sheep. Not to mention the straight-out conmen and frauds.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      Find your own voice. Why try and clone someone elses? Unless of course, you want all your copy to read like a cheesy swipe of a swipe of a swipe.
      I think it really depends on where someone is in the process.

      Since I like playing piano, I'll use that as an analogy.

      When I start to learn a new piece I am unfamiliar with, I generally try to find a bunch of examples of people playing the same piece. They range from poor to great. But until I have experienced the range of interpretations/techniques, I have nothing to judge the piece.

      Jorge Bolet said it well when he said in one of his masterclasses he is trying to show how something should be done. But he doesn't really like playing for the students since they could end up copying what he does. He wants the student to take the idea, but to do it THEIR way.

      IMO, too many people confuse being able to play the notes with making music.

      And ditto for copywriting even though I am not a copywriter... I'm still trying to find the notes .

      Marvin
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    • Profile picture of the author max5ty
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      Why in God's name would you do that? The guys that advocate this BS of writing out salespages by hand should all be taken out and shot.

      Find your own voice. Why try and clone someone elses? Unless of course, you want all your copy to read like a cheesy swipe of a swipe of a swipe.

      Look...we're in a very exciting age - the digital age. You don't need half this bullshit. You don't need the "From the Desk of Harry Schmuck"... "Dear Fellow Bed-Wetter"... "To your success!" - you don't need any of that tired old crap.

      These same guys will tell you stuff like "Don't link out - they won't come back". BULLSHIT. If what you're saying has them by the balls - of course they'll come back.

      "Have some testimonials" - read - some bozo sitting in his bedroom doing Fiverr gigs.

      "Put the call-to-action here" - bullshit upon bullshit.

      Is this the way you would recommend a product to a buddy?

      Don't think so. Especially in this age of email and text. And guess what - a big proportion of your audience will be reading your message on their smart phone... or their iPad... or some other device.

      Talk to them like you're sharing something really good. DON'T PITCH THEM
      Amen...good post.
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    • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      Why in God's name would you do that? The guys that advocate this BS of writing out salespages by hand should all be taken out and shot.

      Find your own voice. Why try and clone someone elses? Unless of course, you want all your copy to read like a cheesy swipe of a swipe of a swipe.

      Look...we're in a very exciting age - the digital age. You don't need half this bullshit. You don't need the "From the Desk of Harry Schmuck"... "Dear Fellow Bed-Wetter"... "To your success!" - you don't need any of that tired old crap.

      These same guys will tell you stuff like "Don't link out - they won't come back". BULLSHIT. If what you're saying has them by the balls - of course they'll come back.

      "Have some testimonials" - read - some bozo sitting in his bedroom doing Fiverr gigs.

      "Put the call-to-action here" - bullshit upon bullshit.

      Is this the way you would recommend a product to a buddy?

      Don't think so. Especially in this age of email and text. And guess what - a big proportion of your audience will be reading your message on their smart phone... or their iPad... or some other device.

      Talk to them like you're sharing something really good. DON'T PITCH THEM.

      Halbert was a GOD of direct response and a great writer. But if he were still around today I bet he would be all over new technology. He wouldn't be advising you chumps to "Sit down and write out by hand 100 times". What a crock.

      And that, campers, could quite possibly be my last post on The Warrior Forum. I despair. There's a few brilliant minds here... but for the most part you're a bunch of sheep. Not to mention the straight-out conmen and frauds.
      I second the "find your own voice" aspect and the "just tell me what the f*ck" you're telling me" part as well.

      I mean, really, just write like you talk. Act as though you're sitting with someone you magically plucked from your target market and just be simple, direct, and get to the reasons why you can help this poor soul sitting next to you.]

      If someone is in need... and could really use your help, you wouldn't say "you know, this amazingly mind-boggling, incredible thing will change your life overnight...

      Again, this is where books like Obvious Adams and Harry Browne's Secrets of Selling anything books really helped.

      And with the "I want it now" social media world we live in... I'm finding in my own copy tests that you gotta get to the good stuff, and quick.

      a KILLER headline, gripping lead... and then pile on a buttload of proof... and then tell them to get it now.

      that's working better for me now than longer stuff that was working well for me just 2 years ago.

      Attention spans are starting to....

      SQUIRREL!!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author Jonwebb
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      Why in God's name would you do that? The guys that advocate this BS of writing out salespages by hand should all be taken out and shot.

      Find your own voice. Why try and clone someone elses? Unless of course, you want all your copy to read like a cheesy swipe of a swipe of a swipe.

      Look...we're in a very exciting age - the digital age. You don't need half this bullshit. You don't need the "From the Desk of Harry Schmuck"... "Dear Fellow Bed-Wetter"... "To your success!" - you don't need any of that tired old crap.

      These same guys will tell you stuff like "Don't link out - they won't come back". BULLSHIT. If what you're saying has them by the balls - of course they'll come back.

      "Have some testimonials" - read - some bozo sitting in his bedroom doing Fiverr gigs.

      "Put the call-to-action here" - bullshit upon bullshit.

      Is this the way you would recommend a product to a buddy?

      Don't think so. Especially in this age of email and text. And guess what - a big proportion of your audience will be reading your message on their smart phone... or their iPad... or some other device.

      Talk to them like you're sharing something really good. DON'T PITCH THEM.

      Halbert was a GOD of direct response and a great writer. But if he were still around today I bet he would be all over new technology. He wouldn't be advising you chumps to "Sit down and write out by hand 100 times". What a crock.

      And that, campers, could quite possibly be my last post on The Warrior Forum. I despair. There's a few brilliant minds here... but for the most part you're a bunch of sheep. Not to mention the straight-out conmen and frauds.
      I disagree.

      We grow throw experiences how are we to fill how it is to write great copy if we dont write great copy??

      In drawing, sports, painting, speaking, we all learn through watching, and copying what others do.

      Your own voice will come out with experience nothing more nothing less.

      P.S. Am i the only one who enjoys copying classic sales copy??
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      • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
        Banned
        Originally Posted by thugpoet View Post

        I disagree.

        We grow throw experiences how are we to fill how it is to write great copy if we dont write great copy??

        In drawing, sports, painting, speaking, we all learn through watching, and copying what others do.

        Your own voice will come out with experience nothing more nothing less.

        P.S. Am i the only one who enjoys copying classic sales copy??
        Complete RUBBISH. You gonna tell me that everyone should run out and paint like Rembrandt? Copy Matisse? Or Picasso?

        Dude...we don't learn by COPYING - we learn BY BEING INSPIRED. That's the great part about it.

        I'll never write exactly like you and you'll never write exactly like me. Least I hope not.

        You are unique. Let that come through in your copy.

        "I'm a schmuck... I don't know much about anything really. I left school at 16. Worked in a coalmine for 20 years. Until there was a bad accident. And...well... cut a long story short... I had to find another way to make a living. Did I tell you I didn't finish high school? Oh yeah... anyway. I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack. So I didn't really know what to do. It was my wife who said - "What about doing something on the internet?"

        But you know what the internet's like, right? Bunch of con-men. I didn't really want to do it. But my wife... you know what they're like.

        So anyway... I saw this thing on facebook...
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        • Profile picture of the author Jonwebb
          Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

          Complete RUBBISH. You gonna tell me that everyone should run out and paint like Rembrandt? Copy Matisse? Or Picasso?

          Dude...we don't learn by COPYING - we learn BY BEING INSPIRED. That's the great part about it.

          I'll never write exactly like you and you'll never write exactly like me. Least I hope not.

          You are unique. Let that come through in your copy.

          "I'm a schmuck... I don't know much about anything really. I left school at 16. Worked in a coalmine for 20 years. Until there was a bad accident. And...well... cut a long story short... I had to find another way to make a living. Did I tell you I didn't finish high school? Oh yeah... anyway. I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack. So I didn't really know what to do. It was my wife who said - "What about doing something on the internet?"

          But you know what the internet's like, right? Bunch of con-men. I didn't really want to do it. But my wife... you know what they're like.

          So anyway... I saw this thing on facebook...
          Actually that IS how I learned to draw... See, copy, do it....

          Ever play little league ?? "coach how do I properly throw a ball?" " hear little Timmy let me SHOW you how its down WATCH me do it, then DO it like I just did"

          if you want I can post books on drawing that is all about copying and drawing..

          Don't talk about thinks u know nothing about

          Listen, I am NOT saying you need to write like Gary halbert, or paint like Picasso just that studying and applying through blind copying and execution helps speed up the learning curve.
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    • Profile picture of the author svedski
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      Why in God's name would you do that? The guys that advocate this BS of writing out salespages by hand should all be taken out and shot.

      Find your own voice. Why try and clone someone elses? Unless of course, you want all your copy to read like a cheesy swipe of a swipe of a swipe.

      Look...we're in a very exciting age - the digital age. You don't need half this bullshit. You don't need the "From the Desk of Harry Schmuck"... "Dear Fellow Bed-Wetter"... "To your success!" - you don't need any of that tired old crap.

      These same guys will tell you stuff like "Don't link out - they won't come back". BULLSHIT. If what you're saying has them by the balls - of course they'll come back.

      "Have some testimonials" - read - some bozo sitting in his bedroom doing Fiverr gigs.

      "Put the call-to-action here" - bullshit upon bullshit.

      Is this the way you would recommend a product to a buddy?

      Don't think so. Especially in this age of email and text. And guess what - a big proportion of your audience will be reading your message on their smart phone... or their iPad... or some other device.

      Talk to them like you're sharing something really good. DON'T PITCH THEM.

      Halbert was a GOD of direct response and a great writer. But if he were still around today I bet he would be all over new technology. He wouldn't be advising you chumps to "Sit down and write out by hand 100 times". What a crock.

      And that, campers, could quite possibly be my last post on The Warrior Forum. I despair. There's a few brilliant minds here... but for the most part you're a bunch of sheep. Not to mention the straight-out conmen and frauds.
      If you are so good then how come you're not richer than Gary Bencivenga, John Carlton and Dan Kennedy (to name a few)?

      If you know it all, why aren't you a billionaire by now?

      Writing out salesletter by hand is great because you get used to writing clear copy and you train yourself to write in a good sequence.

      "Is this the way you would recommend a product to a buddy?"

      Are all your customers and prospects your "buddies"? Why would they listen to what you recommend?

      If copy doesn't work, why don't you just put up a page saying "Hi friend, I recommend you to buy this product. It's really great. Just trust me, you won't be disappointed. Bye" Then have a link to a checkout page with a home-study course for $2000.

      Test it and see how well it works.

      How do one become successful?

      - By emulating and following the advice of the guys who ARE succussful. You do what they did. There's a universal law called the "law of cause and effect". The things you do will result in something.

      If you look at Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert etc. they've all copied hundreds of ads by hand. Dan Kennedy still gets paid $50,000 for a piece of copy. Now who's advice should one follow? Yours, or the guy who makes $50k per copy?
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  • Profile picture of the author directmaildude
    Halbert was a GOD of direct response and a great writer. But if he were still around today I bet he would be all over new technology. He wouldn't be advising you chumps to "Sit down and write out by hand 100 times". What a crock.
    Halbert would absolutely still be recommending people write out sales letters by hand. You don't have to agree with it but to think Halbert would no longer be recommending it is flat out wrong. If anything, he'd be running even faster in the opposite direction of social media/internet,etc. He wasn't exactly an "early adopter."
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  • No need to fret about writing 20 sales letters 20 times by hand.

    Only a tiny % of people have completed that mission.

    You can tell who they are - they're still walking about wearing slings and carrying ice buckets...with their "good" hand.

    (I think I did about a dozen or so 10 times about 19 years ago - and knackered 3 fingers and 27 pens).

    The irony is - so many who haven't done it - sound like John Carlton.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
    Congrats on your effort Pascal.

    I agree with Mal (CopyNazi) on finding your own voice.

    However, getting to that point you need to do some writing. And if you're right at the beginning of your journey, it helps if you have some guidance. Which is why I think some of the best at the game recommend writing out good sales letters... old school as it is.

    Yeah, you can read the copy books. Yeah, you can read good copy. But the actual mental process and physical output can indeed be helped by someone "guiding you by the hand". It's like having copywriting training wheels on when you take that first "ride".

    I don't think the idea of copying old sales letters out by hand is to copy someone's style or voice, but to understand their flow of thinking, their flow of writing. Good writing has a flow. If the idea was to copy a voice, the recommendation would have been to write out only the copy of a single writer. Halbert didn't say that. He suggested that you copy out 10 (I think) different letters a number of times, only 1-2 of these were his creations.

    It's a way of inhaling the essence of good copywriting without pointing out the various features and techniques. Like breathing and not thinking about sucking in each tiny molecule of oxygen.

    Also remember, everyone IS different. We learn in different ways. And this is ONE way that can help.

    You also want to:

    Read a ton of sales letters. Look closely at the blockbusters and the ones that impact you. Ask yourself why? What did they say? How did they say it?

    Study people broadly. What gets them pee-their-pants excited? What gets them red-faced angry? What makes them scramble in fear?

    If you make them feel it, your job is 90% done.
    Signature
    Scary good...
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  • This is an easy one to solve.

    If you desire write out other peoples stuff (the really good stuff) by hand.

    Discover and wire in the techniques.

    Then say to yourself 20 x 20 that would be 400 times.

    "Now I know how it's done - from here on - I'll develop and always write in my own voice using my unique personality."

    Obviously you're f***** if you haven't got a good personality.

    But you can enhance what you've got and make it work for you.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    I'm in the process of crafting my copy and autoresponder series.
    My question is how much stuff I should reveal about myself. For example, should I reveal that I've been a heroin addict, a drug dealer, theif and that I've extortioned people for money?
    That I've been retributed three times for sexual abuse/harassment?
    - stolpioni

    Yeah Dude, why not? I'm sure they'll be dying to do business with a legend like you.
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