Direct Response Copywriter on David Ogilvy

You can read a great deal about David Ogilvy, online and off. You can read a great deal by David Ogilvy. He was a prolific author. His best book, although it’s more of a manual, was his guide to selling Aga cookers.

My goal in this blog is to focus on Ogilvy’s contributions to direct marketing and what you can learn from Ogilvy when it comes to direct response copywriting.

You can easily look up his background and other information.

Strangely, perhaps, Ogilvy is best known for his branding work. But he was a direct marketer first and foremost. If you need proof, then watch one of the most inspirational videos you’ll ever see. It’s called “We sell or else” and it does two things. Click here to see it.

First, it beats up branding types and branding advertising. Second, it’s proof that direct marketing works.

In fact, whenever I get into it with a branding type, I point them toward this video. I win.

Ogilvy was an excellent writer but he was also an excellent salesman. He must have sold a lot of Aga cookers. So he know how to sell. Every direct response copywriter must know how to sell. He knew how to sell accounts.

Dig a little bit and you’ll discover that Ogilvy built his agency though direct mail. He took a correspondence course on copywriting. He then solicited new clients by mail. And it clearly worked.

He called direct marketing “his secret weapon” and it proved he could produce tangible results for his clients. There was always a direct marketing department in his agency. I wonder if that’s the case today.

Dig around the Internet and you’ll come across a series of bold, full-page ads that appeared in The Wall Street Journal. You can see one here.

Dense copy and lots of it. I’m sure it worked.

This was not a branding exercise. This was all about generating leads from qualified potential clients.

But I'm mistaken, of course. It WAS a branding exercise. Here’s the “secret” the branding types don’t want you to know. Companies routinely build their brands through direct marketing and with the help of a direct response copywriter.

Two of my most successful clients have achieved tremendous brand recognition without spending any money on branding and not even thinking about branding. Yes … you can have your cake and eat it too.

David Ogilvy must have understood this important fact. Remember, he considered direct marketing to be his “secret weapon.”

He also wanted his creative talent, especially his copywriters, to understand direct marketing. It’s strange to me that so many people in advertising laud David Ogilvy yet totally ignore direct marketing. A bit of a mystery.

Yes … it’s important to study everything David Ogilvy achieved and how he achieved his success. But focusing purely on his branding work totally misses the point.

David Ogilvy was one of the world’s top direct marketers.

Direct Response Copywriter on Excuses and People Who Know Everything

I love direct marketing and direct response copywriting for many reasons. One of them … I never hear excuses from serious direct marketers. When sales are lower than usual, direct marketers find a way to increase revenue.

So you can imagine my SHOCK when I recently received an email blaming a lack of sales this year on something that happend LAST YEAR.

I thought I had seen and heard pretty much everything in the world of marketing but that’s a first.

Let me say that again … sales are down this year due to conditions last year. If I were the CEO or owner of that company and I saw something like that coming from the marketing department, two things would happen. First, the head of marketing would be given a straight red. Then I’d find a direct marketer who could actually generate sales and revenue whatever is happening.

The direct marketers I admire are the ones who get the job done whatever is happening in the economy and the world. Imagine what would happen if I wrote some direct response copy and it failed and I blamed conditions last year … or ANY year.

The client would go totally berserk … and with good reason. If things aren’t going well revenue-wise then direct marketers dig deep and find that revenue.

Let’s change the subject before I implode.

I belong to a number of groups on Facebook and Linked In. I can’t say that I spend a great deal of time participating.

Here’s one reason … I see a TON of awful advice and information in these groups. A few months ago, I criticized a person for providing information I know is blatantly wrong. I received a fast response from the person who leads that group saying I was wrong and she was right. I won’t go further into the exact details. I stopped right there with the conversation because I have better things to do than get into online arguments. I'm a busy direct response copywriter.

What’s my point here?

Don’t listen to people in those groups. Base what you do on advice from people who actually know what they’re talking about. There’s one problem here … these direct response copywriters don’t hang around in Facebook and Liked In groups.

Don’t make excuses. Be careful who you follow and believe.

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I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or [contact me here][2] when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on The Surprising Truth About Word of Mouth Advertising

The other night, I got into a somewhat heated ‘discussion’ about word of mouth advertising.

You’ve heard the old saying … “word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising.”

It’s obviously and completely untrue.

Shock ... HORROR!

Consider this … if it were true, then nobody would advertise anything. They would only have to rely on word of mouth advertising. I would not have an existence as a direct response copywriter.

Let’s consider this scenario … TOTALLY true. A woman visits a ski lodge in a ski town for about 2 weeks every year in the middle of winter. She sits regally in the lobby every evening where she holds court. She proceeds to say HORRIBLE things about most of the restaurants in the ski town, as she downs several glasses of white wine.

This, my brothers and sisters, is called “word of mouth advertising.” How can this non-stop trash talking be the best form of advertising? In fact, I would call it the WORST form of advertising and I feel sorry for the restaurant owners who put everything into running a business only to have it sledged by this crazy person who only wants to hear herself talk and sound important.

I firmly believe my clients are generally happy with my work. They measure results and they keep offering me direct response copywriting assignments. Do they refer me to other clients?

No.

Why?

Because they don’t want me working for competitors. I sometimes get referrals but they’re not the type of client or work I want. I’m also certain there are people in direct marketing who know me but say bad things about me. Maybe I’m wrong about this but I don’t think I am.

Either way, I’m NOT relying on “word of mouth” advertising. I’m not in control of my potential clients and I’m NOT in control of the message. Why would I NOT want to be in control of my marketing? I'm waiting for that answer.

What’s the best form of marketing?

It’s fundamentally sound direct marketing.

You build or find a list of people who need/want what you have to offer. You let them know you have what they want through direct response copy. You keep testing to discover what works. You have a relentless desire to boost revenue and conversion.

Easier said than done, of course, but that approach, my brothers and sisters, is more reliable and proven … and measured … than hoping that a woman in the lobby of a ski chalet decides she likes you.

Some people will understand the truth about word of mouth advertising. Others won't.

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I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on Yahoo's Copywriting Advice

I was on Twitter and, after several years, finally clicked on an ad. The ad was for a free download/ebook from Yahoo titled "Writing Ad Copy That Converts."

The author is Frank Palmieri, who, according to LinkedIn, is Manager, Creative Strategy at Yahoo. He works in Burbank.

I'm sure you can find the download but if you can't, see if this link works.

As a direct response copywriter, I'm constantly downloading "free" guides to copy and direct marketing. Here are my thoughts about the Yahoo lead magnet.

  • It's clearly written for novice advertisers who are new to Yahoo. Nothing wrong with that.
  • The content sort of veers toward the "branding" side then happily moves back to the direct response side.
  • I love the emphasis on testing. Testing will show that direct response copywriting techniques will always win.
  • The ebook states, "The best copywriters are also the best storytellers." Sometimes that's true ... sometimes it's not. A good story can help to improve conversion but not always. It depends on the product and the audience.
  • The ebook is ultimately about direct response copy but uses different language to describe it. I like the emphasis on direct marketing tactics.

We're told to "Eliminate unnecessary words ... words like “that,” “furthermore,” and “in addition” don’t add anything to your writing. Those words are VITAL to a direct response copywriter.

The message is ultimately more important than semantics. The reader is asking "what's in it for me?" and isn't too worried about exact phrasing.

The ebook is just 15 pages and you're not going to learn much about copywriting in 15 pages ... BUT ... it's a start. It's excellent to get the reader excited and curious about copy.

If I had written the piece then I would have provided suggestions for further reading.

But I'm glad Yahoo is providing this piece because it helps business owners understand the importance of copy ... and some copywriting fundamentals.

Put 100 direct response copywriters in a room and they would have written 100 different versions of this ebook. This proves, perhaps, my point about testing and why I'm so excited it's part of the ebook.

There's no right or wrong in copy: just testing.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on How NOT to Find Copywriting Clients Part 7

How NOT to Find Copywriting Clients. Part 7.

A Series of Essays for Copywriters and Fellow Creative Professionals.

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NOTE: You're reading a series of essays about how to find copywriting clients ... and how NOT to find them. This series will be extremely controversial. Read the blogs and you’ll discover my experiences with finding direct response copywriting clients … what works and what’s a waste of time. The goal is to help you find “elite” level clients with deep pockets who are looking for top-quality creative talent.

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Method #7. Websites Making Big-Time Promises

What’s crowdsourcing? It’s something you might be asking.

It’s not elance, guru, and all the others of that ilk. The “pure” crowdsourcing sites send out a creative brief then ask writers to write or come up with ideas FOR FREE in the hope the people running the sites will choose the work.

You could literally work for several years and not get paid.

Amazingly, several direct response copywriters – and other creatives – are more than willing to “work” this way.

The people who run the “pure” crowdsourcing sites are the lowest form of pond scum who will happily rip-off ambitious creative types. Avoid crowdsourcing at all costs – especially if you’re a serious direct response copywriter.

The top way to find clients is to create your own list of "ideal" clients then go after them. I have a hand-crafted list of 2,000 potential clients. To get access to this list, click here now.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.