"Killer Copy: Words That Are Like Magnets to Money"
by David Garfinkel
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
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 born
It's all because I learned how to write "killer
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
- 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
- "Take the luxury vacation of your dreams at a reduced
cost because of this special offer" (from a travel agency's
letter to business owners.)
- "How to stop overwhelm before it stops you" (from
a personal coach's ad aimed at stressed-out overachievers)
- "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
- Make a promise
- Back it up with convincing proof and
- 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
- 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 clients.
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
"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 hyper-competitive
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 serious business.
David Garfinkel is widely recognized by many
"marketing gurus" as their secret weapon.
That is, he is known as "The World's Greatest Copywriting
Coach"; because, he can, like no other, teach you
how to turn words into cash. David is also the author and narrator
Copy Tactics, the Web's first and only totally interactive
audio/visual learning system for writing killer sales copy.
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