Word of the Night from a Direct Response Copywriter

I'm going to start a nightly series I'm calling 'word of the night.' I thought about titling the series 'word of the day' but that seemed a touch unoriginal. Hope you enjoy this.

Tonight's word: SHUBRINESS.

Def: The warmth left in a seat or chair just after someone has been sitting in that seat or chair. "Jack Nicklaus was just sitting in this seat. I'm getting his shubriness."


I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment for clients around the world. I increasingly specialize in sales pages and landing pages. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here.

Copywriter on Content. Part 5. Selling Happiness.

What do people really want? In his excellent book, 2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success, Denny Hatch writes about motivators and lists two pages of them. Two of the most important are happiness and ease. Hatch breaks these down into 100 motivators and I won't go into all of them here and there's no need for most businesses to worry about precise motivators--leave this up to us direct response copywriters.
However, if you make a big effort to base your content on happiness and ease, you'll be way ahead of most of the competition.
Six steps to selling happiness through content.
  1. Find out what makes your clients and customers really happy. Then show how you deliver.
  2. Ease is always huge. Make everyone's life a lot easier.
  3. Tell stories about just how happy clients and customers have become since making the decision to do business with you.
  4. Show happy people in photos and videos (this may seem obvious but there's a lot of morosity on websites).
  5. Make sure testimonials are teeming with happiness.
  6. Your special report and free content should be organized around making people so happy they have to buy what you have to offer.

Also...try to organize your content so the happiness is digestible.


  • Captions under photos.
  • Pull quotes.
  • Subheads.
  • Bullets.
  • Copy doodles.


Let's take a look at some websites and pages that really sell happiness with their content.

I'm not a huge flash fan and there's a lot of flash on this site but it's selling happiness throughout. Think it's hard for a dentist to sell happiness? Think again by clicking here. And I think Jim McLean, the golf instructor, is really good at showing results on his site.

Take a look at your site and your content. If you think you're selling happiness really well, leave a comment with a link.


I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment for clients around the world. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting CopyOr contact me here for a direct response copywriting quote.

Must Direct Response Copy be Obnoxious?

I really want to avoid the typical arguments between the direct marketing camp and the forces of branding: I'm not really one of those 'Branding is for Cattle' direct response copywriters who goes bonkers on the branding and 'awareness' copywriters.

But some of my prospects have more of a positioning background. And are sometimes and justifiably afraid of direct response copywriting and copywriters. And of lots of sentences beginning with 'and...' And they're especially afraid of this...


Hollywood 'Doctor to the Stars' finally reveals the SECRET of...


* How to look 15 years younger...TODAY *


So you:

Attract hordes of 'admirers'

Gain superstar vitality

Party like a rock star

Do better in business...and in bed!

New drug-free, pain-free, and totally natural Russian plant extract is available FOR FREE but only for a limited time.


Dear Terminal Loser:

Do you look in the mirror and think, "you know...if I could just go back in time 15 years..."


And I understand the hesitation. "No, no, no...that's not quite what I'm looking for!"

There's a place in the world for the type of direct response copywriting you see above. And I'm happy to write it and help the people with products and services sell their products and services--provided it's all legit and it's not pornographic.

Now, let's take a look at the other end of the spectrum at some 'branding copy.' I typed in 'San Jose Branding Agency' into Google and one of the results led me here. Liquid Agency Brand Marketing. Some big clients and big names. Rap stars. Etc.

To me, the site makes a major 'rookie' mistake: telling me how brilliant they are instead of telling me how they solve problems and/or provide solutions. I have to dig for the solutions--another rookie mistake. But let's take a look at some classic 'branding' copy from the site.

Olive: When it comes to music this brand rocks! Olive has become a favorite brand for music lovers and Liquid is proud to have played a role in its success.

If I supplied the above sentences to one of my clients, they would fire me. And justifiably so.

Let's take a look at some more...from the "Agency" page.

Branding is a process. Not an event. The best way to create disappointment is not to clarify expectations. That’s why we’ve developed our own process for delivering work that is not only remarkably on target, but also eliminates the kind of surprises that no one appreciates - like the ones that have to do with budget and schedules. Successful branding starts with a clear understanding of the market conditions, the competitive landscape, and the target audiences. Our research teams collect the data and extract the kind of insights that are invaluable for strategic planning.

A 10th grader could write that drivel and you'll find it on the websites of branding 'experts' all over the world.

So...dear potential client...do you want:

A. drivel that's 'safe' and sanitized and reads 'nicely'


B. copy that stresses benefits, uses all the direct response techniques, and strives to get the desired result?

B? Thought so.

Well you want direct response copy.

Direct response copy does NOT have to be obnoxious or in your face or replete with BOLD SUBHEADS, Johnson Boxes, Copy Doodles, bouncing pop-ups and other 'in your face' stuff. Direct response copy can be subtly presented, toned down, and designed intelligently--and STILL...

  • Drive response
  • Protect brand identity
  • Produce a measurable ROI
  • Get the reader to take the next step in the sales process

Again--our friends in the branding world don't like those three little letters: ROI.

Let's return to our branding buddies at Liquid.

The company says it played a role in the success of Olive--which I've never heard of. But if I click 'read more' to find some actual numbers. I learn all about the process and, of course, there's an AWARD...but there's NOTHING THAT DETAILS THE PRECISE ROI. Olive spent XXXXX and got XXXX for its investment...where is that?

Take a look at this branding boulderdash.

Now--let's take a look at the website of a direct response agency: Creative Direct Marketing Group.

First--the headline on the home page is a corker:

Welcome to Creative Direct Marketing Group…
where you’ll learn how to increase your profits

It's not a headline you'll find on a branding agency's site. The corresponding headline would be:

We'll win obscure awards, make you look good, and your image will be global. And the lunches...you'll never forget those!

Again. What do you really want? Do you want to look good? Or increase your profits?

From the Creative Direct Marketing Group Site...actual results in their case studies area.

The results “blew away” the client’s expectations, with the first newsletter alone exceeding projections by over 350%. Each subsequent newsletter launch also exceeded or met expectations, and each has been a success for the TheStreet.com. Note: to view these newsletters online go to TheStreet.com and look for “featured products.”

Here's the case study.

Their site is packed full of direct response copy--and it's not obnoxious.

If image and brand awarness are all that matters, then DON'T hire me. But if response matters, then I can help. Click here for actual results. And, as you can see, I can tone down the copy so it resonates comfortably with the reader.

Let's go through some direct response fundamentals...argue with any of these as you like...

  • It's about the reader, not the company.
  • Benefits not features.
  • The reader is asking, "what's in it for me?" I'm going to answer that question all day.
  • Irresistible offer.
  • Next step.
  • Guarantee.
  • Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

And more...

Branding copywriters, like branding agencies, don't want to go anywhere near results. I do. I want to know all about ROI and how I can help to improve it. And you're afraid of an accountable copywriter?

Direct response copy does not have to be obnoxious, unless it needs to be obnoxious in order to SELL the product. Here's an example of a squeeze page converting at a huge rate; it's produced a big number of qualified leads (I can't disclose due to confidentiality). It's not obnoxious. Contact me and I'll be happy to provide the numbers.

There's only one goal with direct response copy: get a result--someone taking the action you want them to take.

Every copywriter should use direct response techniques. Direct response tells the reader to take the next step in the sales process. And that's what advertising is all about. And if you're not trying to generate a response and you're in marketing, then what are you doing?

So, why are you so afraid of direct response copywriters and their techniques?


"We're here to help you make money!!!!"

* And we don't care about prizes...we care about RESPONSE! *

And Direct Response Copy Doesn't Have to Look Like This!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So, direct response copy does not have to be obnoxious. Toned down, it can be especially effective--as the numbers demonstrate.



I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here.

Of Dogs and Victoria's Secret...and a Copywriter

Last week, I met the local president of the Humane Society. They rescue dogs and cats...noble work. I told her I write direct response copy for direct mail and the web. She told me their most profitable fundraising comes from direct mail.

I'm always extremely curious about people's approach--especially when they're successful--so I asked, 'where do you get your list?'

  1. People who have donated before.
  2. Local Victoria's Secret shoppers.

Turns out that young women who shop for underwear also like dogs and cats. THAT, my friends, is creativity. People win awards for creativity--usually for funny/clever ads with no way to measure ROI. Real creativity produces results--like increased donations to the Humane Society. They mail just nine times a year so each mailing HAS to work.

I start every direct response copywriting project by finding out who's in the database. Direct response copywriting is a highly targeted conversation between seller and prospect.

When choosing your mailing list--can you find an 'out of the box' idea like my friends at the Humane Society?


I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here.