Different Paths to Copywriting Success. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive August 2018 1

August 2018 1

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

Different Paths. Same Results.

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


Dan Kennedy says, and I’m paraphrasing quite a bit, “if you want to be successful, follow someone who has been successful and find out how they became great … then do what they did.”

If you want to be a lawyer, a doctor, or a dentist, then the career path is fairly predictable. It’s sort of the same with a corporate career.

However, take a look at the careers of productive, and even famous, copywriters and you’ll find a panoply of paths.

Bob Bly started in a corporate marketing department and went freelance fairly early in his career.

Eric Betuel, who wrote several powerful controls for Boardroom, went door-to-door selling encyclopedias before discovering direct marketing and direct response copywriting. And he was selling door-to-door in his teens to support his family. He HAD to make sales.

One of my mentors, Andrew Wood, was sitting around in his empty Karate studio in southern California when he went to the library and read Ogilvy on Advertising. He then built a karate school empire before turning to golf marketing and copywriting.

David Ogilvy did just about everything before starting his agency. He was a researcher, cook, farmer, and door-to-door salesman, selling AGA stoves. To learn to write advertising copy, he took what was then called a "correspondence course." He found his first clients through a direct mail campaign.

Gary Bencivenga spent several years working in Madison Avenue advertising agencies, working under greats like John Caples, before heading toward a direct marketing agency. Then he went out on his own.

John Caples went directly into the advertising world after a stint in the Navy.

Kim Schwalm started in the marketing side of direct marketing before moving to direct response copywriting. So she worked with a number of top copywriters before becoming a copywriter herself.

I started my career as a copywriter in the advertising department of a department store chain and I’ve always written copy. But I’ve taken detours into corporate communications, magazine publishing, books, publishing sales, ski instruction, and waiting tables.

Fortunately, I discovered direct marketing and direct response copywriting in 2002 and went full-time with only direct response copywriting in 2010. And it’s been a great 8 years.

In my career, I’ve published something like 10,000 pages of magazine content and this background has helped me tremendously. You can discover a TON about direct response copywriting by studying the world’s top newspapers and magazines and how they grab your attention and then keep you reading.

My first clients were mostly advertising agencies and direct marketing agencies. They had a ton of work for me. The pay wasn’t stratospheric but it was enough and I got some super-valuable things: training, mentoring, feedback based on metrics, experience, and samples for my portfolio.

Before getting into direct response copywriting all the time, my career was mostly peripatetic. All those experiences helped me move into copy fairly easily. But I know several people who have arrived at copywriting from crazily different backgrounds … sales … engineering … academia … nursing … Wall Street … the corporate world.

John Caples was the exception because he was so productive, so quickly, so early in his career … his mid-20s. But I believe you have to have been out there in the real world for a long time before you can really understand human nature … but not from an academic standpoint.

Copywriting is about selling but it’s more about understanding what really makes people tick and what they really want in life.

Everyone must study the work and thoughts of the hyper-successful copywriters. You should know who they are. But also study how they learned and how they became super-successful. They also failed a lot. You’ll get a blueprint for success from the big names in our business.


Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

Proof Elements Part 2 and Brunch With Bob Bly. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive June 2018 1

June 2018 1

More Proof Elements ... and Brunch With Bob Bly ... And the $2.5 Million Royalty Check ...

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

More proof elements in this email.

In this email, I’ll go through …

Reasons why Logical argument Specialization Third party verifications Trust seals

Reasons Why

Look at my copy and you’ll ALWAYS see a section titled, “33 reasons to get (insert product/service).” The number of reasons varies but you should always strive to include these reasons. Aim to include every conceivable reason without getting contrived. It’s here that you stress all the benefits. This section can really motivate the prospect to try your product or service.

Logical Argument

Not much to add here but I rarely see direct response copy with a strong logical argument to try a product or service. Yet it’s vital in any type of direct response copy. The classic example of the logical argument is the problem/solution approach to copy. Here’s your problem … I understand the problem … here’s the solution … here’s proof the solution works … you can try the solution with no risk.


I write quite a bit of copy in the golf niche. I often write the copy in the voice of a golf teacher who has taught many of the world’s top golfers. The specialization here is definitely a proof element.

Third Party Verifications

These are primarily endorsements from media. So … if The Wall Street Journal reviewed your product, favorably of course, then include that review or a portion of the review. Plop their logo in the sales page.

Trust Seals

Let’s say you have a partnership with an organization like the AAA here in America. Include that logo. Let’s say you’re a member of the local chamber of commerce where you live. Include that logo. Let’s say you sell dietary supplements and you follow GMP practices. Include the logo.

Brunch With Bob Bly

I was away for 15 days on an east coast road trip to see clients in Florida, Charlotte, and New York. I also enjoyed brunch with Bob Bly on a rainy and windy Sunday morning.

Bob’s working on his 100th book, by the way. I won’t go through everything we discussed but it was just a lot of fun to share some time with a fellow direct response copywriter.

We have a lot of opportunities in our business but we also have a lot of challenges. One of these is loneliness and isolation. There are lots of ways to overcome this challenge and maybe I’ll go through these in later emails, but it’s important to have regular conversations with fellow copywriters, even if they’re competitors.

A Famous Direct Marketer You Don’t Know

On my recent road trip, I spent two very enjoyable days at the mastermind group run by Brian Kurtz. Brian regularly brings some well-known names in the business to the group but he also brings some highly successful people who have never publicized themselves.

One of these people spoke at our meeting. He’s worked with many of the major direct marketing companies. Twenty years ago, he signed a $2.5 million royalty check to a famous direct response copywriter. That’s a client who understands the value of the direct response copywriter. Are you finding clients like that?

Housekeeping Note

I’m working on archiving all the emails to this list on my website. Stay tuned.

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

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

P.S. As you read and hear copy, check the copy for proof elements.