Proof Elements Part 5. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archieve July 2018

July 2018 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

More Proof Elements ... Final Edition ...

Quite a few writers and marketers have joined the list of people who receive these emails. Welcome!

In this email, I'll finish up my series of proof elements.

Quote An Authority

Struggling to find an authority figure in the financial space? Dig around The Wall Street Journal site or The Financial Times and you’ll find something you can legally quote. How many financial promotions quote Warren Buffet? A ton.

What about the health space? I’ve quoted The Mayo Clinic site and other health-related authorities.


Won some awards? Put them in the copy. Use photos of grinning recipients if you can but make sure you include a caption.

Founder or Team Photo

Potential clients and customers LOVE to know more about the people behind the company or a product. We all love personality in copy. So include that founder photo along with others involved in the product. But write a caption with some intrigue.


A controversial subject. Our bothers and sisters in the branding world believe this: hire a celebrity and watch revenue soar.

But there are three problems. First, revenue doesn’t always soar.

Second, when celebrity fees and media are factored in, the ROI is rarely worth it. There’s a study that proves this.

Third, what happens when the celebrity goes on a five-day bender, crashes the Ferrari into a Dairy Queen, and stumbles around naked?

I like to include celebrities in copy but only as a proof element. For example, I was writing copy to sell DVDs from a golf instructor. Turns out that Jack Nicklaus sent his children to this golf instructor. I built much of the promotion around this fact.

Just remember ... the customer doesn’t care about the celebrity … they care about themselves.


A guarantee, along with a seal, is vital in direct response copy. But amp up that guarantee.

You could write …

Your satisfaction is extremely important to us here at Acme Halitosis. If you’re not totally satisfied, you get your money back. No questions asked.

Or you could write …

PUREBREATH 365-Day Rock-Solid Guarantee … Money Back Plus $10 Just for Trying PUREBEATH If You’re Not TOTALLY DELIGHTED …

PUREBREATH from Acme MUST end your bad breath forever. Your significant other must enjoy kissing you and notice the difference. You will never again see people recoil and run away because of bad breath. You will enter every conversation with everyone with total confidence. You will have fresh and agreeable breath even if you have been smoking, have been eating onions in a garlic sauce, and have been glugging down coffee.

In short, PUREBREATH from Acme must transform your life and end the social leprosy that often comes with bad breath.

If PUREBREATH from Acme fails to fulfill the promises we’ve made, you can receive a full, prompt, and courteous refund. If, for any reason, or no reason, you’re not totally delighted, call our customer support team at 800-800-8000 and we’ll dispatch your refund PLUS we’ll send you a $10 check as our sincere “thank you” for trying PUREBREATH from Acme. And, of course, you can keep all the bonus items an extra “thank you” for trying PUREBREATH from Acme.

Once again … your satisfaction is VITAL to us. We want you to be totally delighted. We want to help you end all the hassles that come with halitosis and bad breath. We want you to join the community of people who trust PUREBREATH from Acme.

You know which guarantee I like.

Admitting a Fault or Limitation

It’s not the biggest or most prominent proof element but it’s important. You can say, in the financial space, that there have been some stock picks that didn’t work out. In the medical space, you can say that some people who try the product find it doesn’t work … then stress the guarantee. You can write …

Look … this product isn’t for everyone. It’s only for a select few who genuinely value the finest cigars on the planet … and want that quality.

Admitting a fault or limitation brings out your humanity and decreases the hype factor.


The well-chosen metaphor is the hallmark of a top copywriter. However, if you can’t find that metaphor, avoid using this proof element. You can quickly get into the realm of the cliché when you write, “it will make your shirts as white as snow” or “it’s like motor oil for your joints.”

A metaphor can become the “big idea” that is the foundation of a successful promotion. But be careful with metaphors and similes. Use them sparingly as it’s easy to mix metaphors and this can confuse the reader.

What about this for a financial promotion …

Subscribing to Profits Down Under is like having your very own 10-person stock research team in Australia and New Zealand … letting you know about exceptional opportunities in these countries … well before other investors … for a fraction of the cost of that team.

A realistic metaphor.

Don’t Exaggerate

Veracity is a built-in proof element. If I write that an SUV can carry an elephant, I’ve lost the reader. But if I organize a photo showing how the SUV can carry four large backpacks plus a couple of bicycles, that’s realistic.


It’s not necessarily a proof element but real scarcity can prove a statement like … “we only have a limited number of these knives at this price.”

And if you set a deadline, stick to that deadline. I was interested in a product the other day. The offer was $99 for all the information, for a limited time. I missed the deadline and when I returned to the web page, the price had increased to $999.

Thousands of legitimate and successful products have some scarcity built in ... readers almost expect it.

Human Stories

Stories can provide a positive impact on copy and I’ve built many promotions around stories. But note … the story has to be salient, often with a lot of intrigue and mystery.

Simply saying, “Donna bought this product and it changed her life forever!” is pretty horrible.

But I recently wrote about a doctor whose husband started showing signs of dementia. I included in the story what she started feeding her husband, based on her research, and what happened after the change in diet. The VSL that included that story helped to sell $1.5 million a month for a $19 ebook.

So that’s it for the series about proof elements. Many big-time copywriters gather the proof elements before writing a word. Good idea. First … you’ll have a lot of copy ready to go before “assembly” and second … you’ll likely find a big idea and build the entire promotion around this proof element.


Something totally different in the next email.

If you want the full list of proof elements from the ad agency in Australia, click here.


Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter