Holiday Copywriting Thoughts. Direct Response Copywriting Email Archive December 2018.


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

Holiday Thoughts

It’s the holiday season, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, and it’s the time of year when I have a few days NOT writing copy and not getting any communication from current or potential clients.

I’m fortunate to have many great clients and I’m fortunate to have communication from them. But it's pleasant to have a bit of a break, even though I love my work.

I know that many of you want/need more clients, more often.

This time of the year, I’m actually really busy, regularly waking up around 5 to catch a bus at 6:45 a.m. to be ready to teach skiing all day beginning at 9. It’s wonderful to have a ‘bonus’ career that complements and augments my ‘regular’ work.

I don’t know how or where you’re spending the next couple of weeks. I hope it’s a fun time and mostly peaceful.

But even though I’m busy and active, I’m thinking about what’s next for me in this upcoming year when it comes to copywriting.

Who do I want to work with? Which categories? What type of clients? Do I want to start selling my own stuff instead of helping clients? I've helped a lot of people generate a massive amount of revenue.

If there’s ONE thing I really want YOU to focus on in the upcoming months, it’s being more proactive instead of reactive when it comes to building and expanding your copywriting business.

In fact, and here’s something that might seem really controversial, if you’re getting going and you’re frustrated with stupid clients and bad work, I’d rather see you have some type of side job that keeps you solvent while you do two things …

One. Improve your portfolio with spec pieces. Create a product or service and write copy for that product or service.

Two. Make a point to start contacting great potential clients. This requires persistence, intelligence, and patience.

End the insanity of Upwork and Facebook groups and other platforms where grim potential clients offer nothing but slow payment, bad pay, and constant headaches.

Perhaps your next step is to find a full-time gig with an agency or with a company. This will provide you with some stability plus some valuable experience. Then, if you want the freedom that comes with freelancing, you have a sprinboard.

Then there’s one more thing. Make a point to read more about direct response copywriting and direct marketing next year. Want to know what I read? Click here.

Have a great holiday season.

And think about this thought from one of the world’s top direct response copywriters.

“There’s an ocean of work out there. And you’re a thimble.”

All the best,

Scott Martin

Proof Elements. Direct Response Copywriting Archive April 2018 3

April 2018 3

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

Proof Elements

I’m a big fan of Gary Bencivenga. Brian Kurtz calls him “America’s greatest living copywriter” and that’s based on results … not hype. Bencivenga routinely smashed controls and he generated tens of millions for his clients.

You can read a great deal about Bencivenga online and I’ll provide some links to resources toward the end of this email.

Proof is a huge deal to Bencivenga ... as it should be to every copywriter.

If fact, Bencivenga had an ‘equation’ he used when writing copy.

Problem + Promise + Proof + Proposition = Persuasion

I prefer to use the word “motivation” instead of persuasion but that’s fodder for another time.

For the next several emails, I want to focus on the “proof” part.

When it comes to copywriting, you’ll read a great deal about headlines, bullets, guarantees, and other technical parts of our trade but you rarely read much about proof.

As Bencivenga writes, the biggest obstacle you face as a copywriter is the “yeah, right” skepticism that everyone has today ... including me ... including you.

You might be writing copy for a client who has genuinely found the cure for type 2 diabetes but the initial reaction from everyone is always going to be “yeah, right.”

Herschell Gordon Lewis wrote a great deal about overcoming skepticism. You haven’t read anything by the great HGL?

Fix that problem right now. HGL was one of the greatest copywriters … plus he was also the producer of what he called “splatter” movies … horror movies with tons of serious gore.

But I digress.

An advertising agency in Brisbane created a wonderful poster of proof elements. You can find it here and it’s free.

I’ll go through parts of this list in the next several emails.

But let’s start with …

Test data Charts and graphs Specificity

Test data is especially important with health-related products. But I have also used test data in golf-related copy. Sometimes you can use test data from extensive tests and trials. But you don’t always have to use data that super-deep. Sometimes I’m a big fan of surveys but sometimes I’m not.

Charts and graphs are always valuable but with these caveats. • A chart or graph must be super-clear. • There should be a copy doodle and caption saying “here’s what this graph proves” along with some type of benefit. • The chart or graph should be relevant. You might be thinking, “I’m a copywriter so why should I have to get involved with charts and graphs?” Dan Kennedy says, and I agree, that a copywriter must be totally involved with the graphical presentation of the copy. I’m not a developer and I’m not a graphic designer but I always want to provide graphical direction.


It’s pretty simple … instead of writing, “you’ll hit the ball further with the Max Cannon” … I write … “Gain an Extra 14-25 Yards Off The Tee With The All-New Max Cannon.”

Specificity is so important, you’ll find a chapter about it in Scientific Advertising.

But you have to be extremely careful with this weapon … and specificity is about more than just numbers. Specificity can be about individual success stories, geographic examples, relevant studies, testimonials from experts, and more.

Let’s focus on numbers.

Choose the numbers extremely carefully and find the ones that have the most impact plus are most relevant to the most important benefits of the product or service.

You can quickly and easily overwhelm the reader/viewer/listener with too many numbers. The prospect’s head can be spinning and there won’t be a sale.

Specificity is obviously vital and must replace vagueness wherever and whenever vagueness appears in copy. But be careful … especially with numbers.

In the next email, I’ll go through these proof elements.

Comparisons Scientific findings Research findings Unique mechanism

OK … here, as promised, are the Bencivenga links.

The Bencivenga Bullets are here.

An interview with Clayton Makepeace is here.

And if you have $5,000 lying around, you can get the video of Bencivenga’s retirement seminar. It's all here along with over 30,000 words of copy.