Copywriter Motivators--What Makes People Pay Attention? Part 5...Exclusivity

The velvet rope. The golf club that doesn't have that great a course but is only open to a few golfers. The bar/disco that's only for movie stars but has annoying and ornery bartenders. EXCLUSIVITY often trumps quality...but makes people buy.

Exclusivity is a bit motivator. I developed a strong and deep database in a certain zip code and I'm about to sell the database. My big selling point will be exclusivity...I'm only selling this to ONE upscale restaurant in the area and ONE vet in the area...and ONE taxidermist. Either you get this database or your arch rival gets it. Who is it going to be? You or the person you hate the most?

I've been to THE Augusta National Golf Club during practice rounds for The Masters and it's good but I've been to better golf courses. But Augusta has this aura due to its exclusivity. Whatever. It's bonkers exclusive so everyone thinks it's great because only a few people can be members. So what?

Everyone from car manufacturers to plate marketers can use exclusivity.

  • There will only be 100 Bentleys made in this model

  • We will only offer 200 of these Elvis plates.

  • Only a very few serious collectors will have access to these Engelbert Humperdinck tour photos; Mr. Humperdinck has only signed 50 photos and will never sign anything again.

Serious direct marketers understand the exclusivity motivator and use it--it can be extremely powerful.

The product does not have to be that brilliant or that superb. For example...on the rare occasions when I've been "on the list" I've entered the nightclub and looked around and gone..."it's a bar." Or sometimes I've gone to an exclusive golf course and looked around and's nice but it's nothing special.

But people will pay for exclusivity. The psychology: I'm better than you.


I'm an (extremely exclusive and highly sought after) direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina USA. My website is here.

The first step for the successful copywriter

A lot of copywriting is technique...especially direct response copywriting. However, the first step, and perhaps the most important step, is getting into the shoes of the person I want to motivate. As Andrew Wood says, people buy for emotional reasons backed by logic. So I have to get to the prospect's emotional core and then discover how they logically process information that will lead to a sale. It's a fascinating part of the "work" that's never really work to me.

People also buy to solve problems...again, I have to learn about their problem(s).

To get into the shoes of the prospective purchaser, I use a series of techniques. It starts with my "pre-copywriting checklist." When you want to see this, go to my direct response copywriting contact page.

For my direct response copywriting site, go here. For my direct response copywriter video, go here.

How to judge direct response copy

Every day, I spend at least an hour reading about direct response copywriting. It might be a book by a famous direct response copywriter or a blog. I bounce around. Last night, I was reading "On the Art of Writing Copy" by Herschell Gordon Lewis. In Chapter 26, Lewis hammers some direct response copy...nothing new there. BUT the copy Lewis pounds is copy that another famous copywriter, Drayton Bird, praises.

It's rare that two successful direct response copywriters disagree. Most of the content in books about direct response copywriting is the same. So...why read these books?

It's always good to have the best writers buttress the fundamentals.

Each book has something new...something I can use to increase response.

I like Bird's book because it has so much common sense. I like HGL's work because he stresses tight writing and I need to tighten my work; I like the way he spends pages detailing when to use "if" and when to use "when."

Who is right about the letter? Bird or Lewis?

The letter ran for 10 years so it must have worked. Ultimately, that's what matters. But Lewis has a point...the premise of the letter seems a bit contrived. Would a more straight-ahead letter produced even better results?

You be the judge. The letter is below. Pay close attention to the first paragraph.

My website is here.


On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than avenge students, both were personable and both–as young college graduates are–were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.

Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion.

They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.

But there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.

What Made The Difference

Have you ever wondered, as I have, what makes this kind of difference in people's lives? It isn't always a native intelligence or talent or dedication. It isn't that one person wants success and the other doesn't.

The difference lies in what each person knows and how he or she makes use of that knowledge.

And that is why I am writing to you and to people like you about The Wall Street Journal. For that is the whole purpose of The Journal: To give its readers knowledge–knowledge that they can use in business.

A Publication Unlike Any Other

You see, The Wall Street Journal is a unique publication. It's the country's only national business daily. Each business day, it is put together by the world's largest staff of business-news experts.

Each business day, The Journal's pages include a broad range of information of interest and significance to business-minded people, no matter where it comes from. Not just stocks and finance, but anything and everything in the whole, fast-moving world of business... The Wall Street Journal gives you all the business news you need–when you need it.

Knowledge Is Power

Right now, I am reading page one of The Journal. It combines all the important news of the day with in-depth feature reporting. Every phase of business news is covered, from articles on inflation, wholesale prices, car prices, tax incentives for industries to major developments in Washington, and elsewhere.

And there is page after page inside The Journal, filled with fascinating and significant information that's useful to you. A daily column on personal money management helps you become a smarter saver, better investor, wiser spender. There are weekly columns on small business, marketing, real estate, technology,regional developments. If you have never read The Wall Street Journal, you cannot imagine how useful it can be to you.

Much of the information that appears in The Journal appears nowhere else. The Journal is printed in numerous plants across the United States, so that you get it early each business day.

Who else wants to be popular and sought-after?

On Thursday night, I watched TV. I rarely watch TV but I was somewhat interested in the first round of the NFL Draft. (For those of you who don't follow professional 'American' football, the draft is the event where the professional teams pick college players.) The draft continued on Friday and Saturday. The teams chose the most sought-after players on Thursday then the less sought-after players on Friday and Saturday.

Size, strength, speed, and physical characteristics are obviously important. But, physically, there's often very little difference between a player picked early and a player picked late. One guy is 300 pounds and the other is 310 pounds.

So...what really makes a player highly sought-after or not highly sought-after? Listening to the pundits, the difference is effort. From the pundits...

"This guy has a great motor."

"He's relentless."

"He never takes a play off."

"He's full speed all the time."

In the NFL, having all of the above is the difference between tens of thousands and millions. Literally.

In the latter stages of the draft, here's what I heard...

"Great physical talent but I've got questions about his work ethic."

"Takes plays off..."

"Big but needs to spend more time in the weight room getting stronger. I'm not sure he's proven he wants to do that."

As I move forward with my direct response copywriting and selling my services, I'm going to have to be relentless, full speed, etc. I've been that way to a certain extent but I have to be more relentless, more persistent, and work harder. I know it will pay off.

The NFL is classic 80/20: 20 per cent of the players make 80 per cent of the money. I learned a lot from the NFL draft and it had nothing to do with football.

For my direct response copywriting site, go here. Or visit

Are you persistent?

Several years ago, I wrote a book with Jim McLean, the golf teacher and founder of the most successful chain of golf schools in the world. I'm working on a digital version of that book...more on that later.

One of Jim's mentors, and we talk about this in the book, said:


Let's make this positive...because I'm a copywriter and I'm always trying to sell happiness.


There's a company in Charlotte that I'd like to do business with. After two emails and about seven phone calls I got the appointment and met with the decision maker today. This person said, "you're persistent."

Music to my ears.

When you need direct response quickly, visit my web site here.