Direct Response Copywriter on A Missed Opportunity

Take a look at the copy on the right. It's an email I received trying to persuade me to pay $89.99 for a 90 minute webinar.

The webinar will show writers how to find a literary agent.

Here's the full copy but you're not missing much ... it's not much longer than what you're seeing.

As a direct response copywriter, I believe the copy is a poster child for the need for long-form copy. The people at Writer's Digest believe the copy will get writers to spend the money ... and $89.00 is a TON for 90 minutes.

Here's my guess when it comes to the numbers. About 1% will sign up. But they could get closer to 3% with much longer copy -- closer to 2,000 to 3,000 words.

What I would add.

  • Longer biographical details.
  • More about the content of the seminar. Much more.
  • A long list of benefits.
  • A guarantee.
  • Testimonials from writers who have signed up for similar seminars.
  • The problems the seminar overcomes.
  • A bonus item for attending. Even better, a 'secret' bonus revealed when you sign up.
  • More about the critique.
  • Price justification.
  • A summary of the opportunity.
  • A lower price if you buy before a certain time.

As I mentioned, short copy like this will get perhaps 1% of readers to pay the money for the webinar. But I imagine it's scalable so there's no limit to how much money they can make.

Give me a shot at this direct response copy and I'll get response up to 3% ... perhaps more. It could mean thousands in additional revenue.

But people in the literary world tend to thumb their noses at direct response copywriters because we're crass and we sell stuff and we actually understand marketing. Oh well.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing direct response copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy ... copy that persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

This page sells a webinar that costs $89.99. It needs more copy ... a LOT more copy.

This page sells a webinar that costs $89.99. It needs more copy ... a LOT more copy.

Direct Response Copywriter on Good Swipe and Bad Swipe

Direct Response Copywriter on Good Swipe and Bad Swipe

By Scott Martin, Direct Response Copywriter

I have around 1,000 pages of “swipe” which is a direct response copywriter’s term for copy that’s already been published – online or mail. Most of my colleagues have a swipe file. Some swipe files are more organized than others. I also have a book of winning headlines plus manuals with excellent examples of direct response copy … even more swipe.

Outright copying of copy is, of course, illegal; it violates copyright laws. However, it’s almost always acceptable to use swipe for inspiration and ideas. Ultimately, as a direct response copywriter, you have to follow the usual formats or you just won’t sell anything. I use headline templates … 99% of copywriters use the same templates.

The other day, I read a golf promotion which was total swipe. It combined the ultra-famous “They Laughed When I Sat Down to Play the Piano” headline with a John Carlton golf headline. Carlton wrote the most outlandish golf copy I’ve ever seen. Here’s an example of a Carlton headline.

“How One Simple ‘Magic Move’ (Which You Can Easily Feed Into Your Current Swing In Just 9 Minutes, Even If You Stink At The Game Right Now) Instantly Uncorks So Much Hidden Raw Power, Balance And Accuracy… That You Can Go Out Tomorrow And Launch A Pin-Point 230-Yard Tee Shot With A 3-Wood… From Your Knees!”

Quite frankly, I would never write a golf headline so outlandishly false. Golfers are intelligent and they know they’re not going to hit a 3-wood 230 from their knees.

So the headline I read, which I won’t fully reveal to protect the innocent, was an exercise is swipery.

Swiping is NOT copywriting. The job of a direct response copywriter is to get into the soul of the potential reader and discover what they really want … then present the product or service that satiates their need or want. The presentation must be believable.

One problem with swipe … there’s almost always a disconnect between the copy and the product. The copywriter thinks, “that’s a great headline so I’ll swipe it!” instead of thinking, “what does the potential customer really, really want?”

In my experience with extensive testing, simply swiping away does not beat controls. I will always defer to testing results but swiping famous headlines rarely works.

Look – I understand the technical elements of direct response copywriting. And this requires using tried and tested headline formats and templates. And I understand using one of the 10 or so direct response formats. But simply bolting two classic headlines together and then offering a promise the product cannot keep is not copywriting. It’s slack and shoddy and unlikely to persuade anyone except really stupid people who will believe anything.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing direct response copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy ... copy that persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

Direct Response Copywriter on Titans of Direct Response

I attended the Titans of Direct Response event in Stamford, Connecticut. It took place on September 11-12. "Titans" brought together 14 speakers in two days ... sort of a direct response rock star-esque party. The speakers:

• Dan Kennedy • Gary Bencivenga • Greg Renker • Jay Abraham • Ken McCarthy • Perry Marshall • Joe Sugarman • Fred Catona • Eric Betuel • David Deutsch • Arthur Johnson • Parris Lampropoulos • Brian Kurtz • Jay Sung

A strong line up including some speakers who never speak. I'm a direct response copywriter so it was exciting to hear these copywriting rock stars and meet many of them.

My thoughts about the event.

Flew from Charlotte into White Plains/Westchester airport. On the approach, I spotted a swimming pool shaped like a violin. More on that later. I was surprised I didn't see a bridge over the pool but there you go.

Met Joe Sugarman in the airport. Great fun and I'm now the proud owner of a Batman credit card.

Hats off to Roy Furr for writing the copy. The room was packed so the copy worked.

Shared a "limo" to the hotel with Casey Stanton, a developer and direct marketer from New Orleans. He invited me to speak about direct response copywriting at a marketing class he teaches at Tulane University. Or maybe I invited myself. Either way, I'm going to New Orleans thanks to Casey.

The event took place in the Stamford Marriott, one of those whopping hotels with a lot of really ugly carpet. But the staff were helpful and pleasant.

Enjoyed an excellent dinner with 10 other copywriters on the Wednesday night. There were 300 people at the event but around 30 copywriters. Supply and demand. Just saying.

Even in the initial mingling, it was clear the event attracted serious direct marketers. There was Gary Bencivenga in the lobby when I walked in. Hello!

The networking was superb and I met several strong potential clients. However, I set up several meetings before the event, which is the key to managing a big room.

I saw some current and past clients but nobody who owes me money so there were no fights.

Titans commemorated the life of Marty Edelston, the founder of Boardroom, which is an information publishing company. Edelston's daughter, Sarah Hiner, gave the keynote speech to welcome us all. I met Sarah at lunch and she personally introduced me to a key decision maker at Boardroom. It's impressive when the president of a company takes a few minutes to make a connection like that. Class.

Brian Kurtz, the organizer of Titans, gave the first speech.

Some quick takeaways from a few speakers.

Brian Kurtz: Talked about Marty Edelston and Marty's 4 pillars of success. Pillar #3 … surround yourself with the smartest people.

Dan Kennedy: Most readers want to escape … so sell the escape mechanism in copy.

Gary Bencivenga: Great copy closes off the “escape” routes. It was awesome to hear Gary Bencivenga and meet a copy hero.

Perry Marshall: Understand the different types of story to add punch to copy.

Jay Abraham: get beyond “free everything” by providing a quid pro quo.

Joe Sugarman: It’s all about making others wealthy and helping them.

Greg Renker and his CMO at Gunthy-Renker, Jay Sung. Test, test, then test some more. You’re going to fail. Move on.

Fred Catona: Use his proven formula for radio ads.

One panel discussion included four Boardroom copywriters. I know all about David Deutsch and Parris Lampropoulos. But not Eric Betuel and Arthur Johnson. It was great to hear everyone's insight. Betuel said it’s important to observe real life so you understand people more clearly; Betuel’s advice was the most powerful takeaway from the event.

So I spent the next 3 days in New York City observing life. Interesting!

But seriously, that’s superb advice for all copywriters and marketers. Observe real life and imagine what someone is going through so you get a deeper feeling for people's problems. That's such huge advice.

Only 2 speakers tried to pitch something … thankfully. I hate pitch fests but I fully understand that marketers are going to – get this – market. It’s like telling a bee to stop making honey. But Dan Kennedy has horses to feed … and they eat like …

I completely fail to understand why, at seminars, after just sitting for 2 days, and doing nothing else except having lunch, I am physically exhausted.

At lunch on the 2nd day, I was minding my own business when Dan Kennedy came up to me. For a second, I thought he was going to ask me to write copy for his company. But instead, he asked, “do you have a pen?”

I know exactly his predicament. I routinely show up to client meetings without a pen. And I’m a direct response copywriter.

The CMO for Gunthy-Renker, Jay Sung, said direct mail might be the next hot marketing technology. Ha! TV as we know it is dead, he added.

It was great to meet so many people and so many epic direct marketers. I love working with clients all over the world but I miss actual real live physical interaction with colleagues (and competitors).

For someone who tries to stay on the paleo diet, lunch was excellent. Enjoyed great conversations at lunch on both days. Had dinner on Thursday in heaving downtown Stamford with an ambitious young copywriter, Chris Wright, who was here from England.

It’s exciting to provide a little advice about developing a career in this crazy business.

For the most part, direct response copywriters are collegial. Reason #453 I love this gig.

I did not see enough of Stamford to get a sense of what it’s like but the downtown area seemed pleasant enough.

The content provided a sensible mix of technical copywriting advice with marketing strategy.

I doubt I will ever attend a marketing event with more quality and quantity of swag. I now have huge folders, books, interviews, and more. It was super impressive … and heavy. I'm looking forward to going through it all so thanks to Boardroom for really providing superb complementary content. Here's the physical swag.

A Ton of Marketing Reading from the "Freebies" at Titans

A Ton of Marketing Reading from the "Freebies" at Titans

Hats off to Brian Kurtz and his crew for putting together a super-strong event. It was expensive and there was a time commitment but I’m confident the investment will pay off.

I spoke to several potential clients who essentially said, “we know you’re serious because you’re here.”

Eventually, Boardroom will make DVDs available so I recommend you check those out if you were unable to attend. Full disclosure ... no aff commission!

My plans include AWAI bootcamp in Delray Beach in October. Please say hello if you’re there. Contact me here.

One final note: you can discover more about that violin-shaped swimming pool here. As you'll discover, I'm not stringing you along.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing direct response copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy ... copy that persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

Direct Response Copywriter on Copywriting Structure

By Scott Martin, Direct Response Copywriter

Copy is an argument. Copy is a conversation. It's the copywriter vs. the person who has heard it all ... and received anywhere from 150 to 900 marketing messages that day. The copywriter faces off against the hyper-jaded skeptic.

Several copywriters have told me that copy is like a conversation in a bar. I disagree. Bar conversation is chaotic and unpredictable ... I'm told. Great copy is more like the conversation in a store ... but a store where the salesperson truly understands how to sell.

Someone who is just punching the clock will simply ask, "is there something I can help you with?" and go back to playing Words With Friends. But the "pro" will have a structure to the conversation, often taking you off into a totally different direction ... perhaps just starting with a general chit-chat. Then they will start to ask the right questions. The conversation will move toward making a sale.

I could list 10 different copywriting structures for long-form sales copy ... from AIDA to PAS. But, as a direct response copywriter, structure is VITAL because copy must be logical and organized. Sometimes I see copy with a poor/vague structure and I'm sure it works to a certain degree ... but to MAXIMIZE response, which is the goal, after all, structure is key.

In fact, I'm attending a big direct response seminar in just a few days. Quite frankly, the copy for the event had no structure I could detect; it was just a bunch of hype-filled copy about the greatness of the speakers. The event is not sold out, even though the speakers are truly superstars and the main selling point. I have to believe that copy with a stronger structure would have sold all the seats ... even at the high price point.

 

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing direct response copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy ... copy that persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting.  This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution.  It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

 

Direct Response Copywriter on Creating Authority

By Scott Martin, Direct Response Copywriter:

For various reasons I won't go into here, I listen to sports talk radio several times a day -- usually when I'm driving around. I should really listen to something else: there's a lot of hot air on these shows. And then the listeners start chiming in!

These shows often feature so-called "experts." They're usually journalists or bloggers. The hosts of the show will interview said expert and the expert will start every statement with:

"My hunch is ..."

"I think this may happen ..."

"There's a chance that ... "

"My feeling is ... and it's just a guess ..."

Quite frankly, I could get on a show and make vague guesses and just blab on. I expect an expert to come on a radio show and speak with authority, even if they make a few incorrect predictions. I don't want vagueness.

As a direct response copywriter, I cannot write anything in vague terms. The lifeblood of direct response copy is specificity.

  • Specific numbers.
  • Detailed proof.
  • Relevant testimonials.
  • Salient graphics.

So if you're having a hard time creating copy that converts, check to see if you're being vague. The greatest copy is choc-full of well-researched facts. The reader reads the copy and thinks, "the writer genuinely knows what they're talking about."

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing direct response copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy ... copy that persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

*

Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting.  This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution.  It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.