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I'll never forget what my accountant said five years ago when he
saw the ad I wrote for my services: "How many scotches did you
drink before you wrote this?"
He was kidding about the scotch. But he just couldn't believe
anyone in their right mind would write such a bold and
outrageous ad for their own writing, consulting and speaking
services, as I had.
Well, I spent $300 on that ad -- $200 to run it in a local trade
association directory, and $100 to have it reprinted as a flyer.
The following year, that $300 ad turned into $12,341 in new
business for me. And $12,341 was just a tiny fraction of my
total business that year.
Why did I make so much money myself while there were so many
thousands of "starving writers" in the world? The answer may
surprise you. You see, it's not because I'm a better writer.
It's not my schooling. Not my resume. Not any talent I was
It's all because I learned how to write "killer copy."
How do you write killer copy?
You start your killer copy with an emotion-packed opening
statement that will get the attention of your reader. This
opening statement may be:
* a headline
* an opening sentence
* a subject line on an email
* the header on a Web page
... or for that matter, the opening words in a telemarketing
script, radio commercial, or TV spot. What's important is that
you understand - your first words count for everything - because
you must captivate peoples' imagination with those words in
order to keep their attention.
Here are examples of opening statements from actual successful
a) "Take the luxury vacation of your dreams at a reduced cost
because of this special offer" (from a travel agency's letter to
b) "How to stop overwhelm before it stops you" (from a personal
coach's ad aimed at stressed-out overachievers)
c) "Why almost every financial statement in family court may not
disclose the full net worth of the opposing spouse" (from an
investigator's sales letter to divorce lawyers.)
Then, after your emotion-packed opening statement, you just
a) Make a promise
b) Back it up with convincing proof and
c) Ask for action
Let's look at how you do each of those three techniques.
1. Make a promise. The letter about luxury vacations starts
with these words:
"Imagine taking your winter vacation knowing you aren't
spending a penny more than you have to - secure that you have
a team of travel experts making sure every little detail of
your vacation goes smoothly. "Here's how you can have that
vacation right now: Take advantage of an unusual promotion our
company is doing. Let me explain."
Pretty exciting, right? Even if you don't think so, the people
who got the letter did - because the letter produced an amazing
$5 million in sales for the travel agency.
2. Back it up with convincing proof. The personal coach's ad
for stressed-out overachievers, the one that begins "How to stop
overwhelm before it stops you," contains this proof:
* 3 case studies,
* 3 testimonials,
* detailed credentials of the coach
* and a money-back guarantee.
Despite its stunningly bold claims, the ad comes across as very
believable and has generated a record-breaking parade of new
3. Ask for action. The investigator's sales letter to divorce
lawyers, beginning "Why almost every financial statement in
family court may not disclose the full net worth of the opposing
spouse," ends this way:
"I would like to meet with you at no charge to show you how I
can be of service to you and your clients in future family law
"Please call me at your convenience so we can set up a meeting
to discuss further how I can assist your clients recover their
fair share of assets. Call me directly at xxx - xxx-xxxx."
Killer copy always asks for action in the most powerful way
possible. Notice how the above words spell out exactly what to
do, and even make a big promise - that the lawyer reading the
letter will recover more money in court for their clients (and,
therefore, get more money themselves).
As you can see, a few words of killer copy can lead to massive
amounts of money. In fact, many people say writing killer copy
is the single most valuable money-making skill in the world.
And recently, writing copy was named as one of the top 10
emerging professions for the new century.
It doesn't surprise me. In the age of the Internet, the old
style of advertising copy -- saying something clever, and hoping
people remember - just doesn't cut it anymore.
Besides, these days, with business-to-business advertising
growing so fast, the traditional advertising industry is feeling
a lot of pressure for ads that really produce results. Why?
Because, old-style advertising that entertains, but does not
sell, is not cost-effective enough for many companies in today's
Recently I heard from my former accountant. (A few years ago,
he left accounting to start a new business.)
He asked me if I wouldn't mind sharing some ideas on how he
could write killer copy for his own business.
I said sure. And now he's on his way to doing the same thing
that I do, for himself.
Funny thing about the conversation we had the other day. Unlike
the conversation we had back in 1995, he didn't kid me about
drinking scotch, or anything else. Maybe he finally realized
that when it comes to increasing your income, killer copy is
I hope this helps in your future marketing decisions.