Ch.1 of 5: Nearly Homeless To Employing Over 700… His Direct Response Hack

Dear LDCC Comrade,

Welcome to the Copywriting Crash Course… Here’s chapter 1 of our 5-chapter journey.

(If you want these emails on time, click here and download your free copywriting cheat sheet.)

I am PUMPED that you are joining me on this adventure… I’ve spent weeks setting up this meeting. Literally.

So, thank you again for trusting me with your time. It’s a pleasure to finally become acquainted.

Now,

Have you ever had one of those friends who had all the luck in the world? I mean… Every opportunity just appears in front them like in-laws at a wake.

Well this is NOT the story of that person

While it does end in a happily-ever-after… It begins in tragedy. Many of us can relate to His beginning. Yes, i capitalized ‘his.’ He is that much of a boss. So, without further small talk… Enjoy.

He had no running water…

No electricity. And his wife was soon to be out the door.

Day after day, he waited eagerly by the mailbox… For return mail that would never come.

When he wasn’t waiting, he was drinking. But when he drank… The mailbox still occupied his mind.

Yes, indeed the mailbox was the source of his heartbreak. She was a cold and distant mistress. Often empty.

Still he kept faith. Ever-waiting.

In times such as these, silence grows loud within a man. His house? I can only imagine the pitch of its darkness. Where does one find the strength? Many ask. None can say.

But he did persevere. And he persevered hard.

He burned with the desire for fortune.

But how does someone in such a position create a fortune? Well he did create it. And I’ll tell you how.

His name?

Gary C. Halbert

Rest his soul, he was one of the greats… The king of direct mail marketing. A pioneer.

If you’re unfamiliar with direct mail, it’s exactly how it sounds… Gary built his empire upon an address list. Marketed his products strictly by mail.

You see, direct marketing is the cheaper, more effective, little brother to branding.  The big brother is pompous, needy, and always in the spotlight.

But little brother struggles. He toils hard. He is witty, and his fruit can be plentiful.

Gary likewise struggled and his fruit too became plentiful. AND juicy as hell.

He had no money. Just some leads and a mailing system. His method?

  • Bulk rate over first class.
  • Teaser copy on the envelope.
  • Stylish letter.
  • Reply envelope with an order card inside.

Surely it would work. This is what the school books taught.

But it didn’t work… and everyone thought Gary had reached the end of his rope.

He hadn’t.

His noose was naught. Indeed no noose had been tied.

Still, he knew something HAD to change. He had to think of a new approach… and fast… Because his business had a rope of its own.

So what did Gary do?

He wrote one last letter.

And the little brother, direct mail, would once again follow him into battle.

If they failed, they would fail together.

“The Life or Death Letter”

He asked himself this question:

“Gary, what would you do if you had to make your next mailing work?
What if you could only mail one letter and, if you didn’t get a response…
You would quite literally, be beheaded?”

Well, let me tell ya, he stopped going to the book for answers.

This letter HAD to be read. And if this one HAD to be read, he first needed to ponder on the fate of past letters.

This was his epiphany:

Think about where you stand in your house when you go through your mail. How do you sort it? Do you open all of it? Where does most of your mail go?

In the wise words of The Great Gary… “The average American goes through his mail while standing over a waste basket.”

And guess which ones are tossed. That’s right.  ANYTHING that looks like bulk mail… is thrown away. Not even opened.

So continuing out story…

Gary treated the letter as if it were his last statement… Because remember, The guillotine was nearing. This one MUST be read.

But how would it read? And how would he deliver it?

His solution:

No bulk rate, no teaser copy on the envelope,
no stylish flare

Just an honest to goodness personal letter.

This was the only way he could guarantee its reading.

On the outside? Nothing more than the the following:

  1. The recipient’s name and address,
  2. A real live, first-class postage stamp, and
  3. A return address with no name.

On the inside:

  1. An ordinary, white envelope,
  2. A sincere letterhead, and
  3. No order card.

Only a genuine, personal letter. Nothing flashy at all.

And tell me… Do you think this letter was read? You bet your eldest son it was.

In fact, it saw more success than any letter of its time. $7,000,000 worth of success actually. All cash.

Gary’s new philosophy?

Simple.

  1. Get letters opened.
  2. Get letters read.

According to Gary, this is THE MOST important lesson you will EVER learn in direct mail… and perhaps in marketing as a whole.

If you are able to hold someone’s attention… All the way to the end of your letter… You’ve made it. You are worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

This is the foundation of copywriting.

When you write copy, write as if you are writing a personal letter to a friend.

However. Gary wrote his letters in another time. We can agree. The electronic age has changed the game significantly. Direct mail is dead.

It’s replacement? Anik Singal calls it interactive marketing.

Establish a relationship with your prospects. Anything that doesn’t require your time… Give it away for free. Trust will grow. And, in time, you will make money.

Gary went into writing his letter “as though he would be killed” if the reader didn’t respond.

In today’s terms… “if the reader didn’t click something.”

His ONLY goal was to get that letter opened, and to get it read. And look what happened to his business. He took on over 700 new employees… 40 of whom were ONLY hired to make bank deposits…

To make bank deposits.

I still chuckle when I read this.

We ALL want that sort of success. It’s not even worth asking.

So, how do we apply what Gary told us? It’s easy. Flip the switch. Write something that people will read.

Write EVERYTHING as though it’s a personal letter. 

This was Gary’s secret… How he made MILLIONS.

Don’t bore people with the same old monotony. Everybody does that.
Use your REAL voice.

Write copy as though you were writing to a close friend. Not some tight-assed executive.

Write this down:

Consumers are not tight-asses. They are real people. With real emotions. And if you want them to click something…

You have to trigger those emotions.

Appeal to their logical side later.

Talk to your prospects. Have conversations with them. Tell them EXACTLY how reading your copy will benefit their lives. Be personable.

How many companies take the time to write your name in the subject line of an email?How many make it appealing to open a sales page? Let me tell you, the number is SLIM.

And do you open those emails? Do you click those ads? If there is no clear personal benefit, I doubt you do.

But how about your writing?

Will you take the time to write personal copy? Because if you want it to be Gary-quality, you better.

Gary made his millions without the internet. What will you do with it?

As it turns out $50,000,000 is Gary’s new number… All from ONE letter.
The “Life or Death” letter.

But what makes Gary’s strategy even more potent today than it was then? Why are executives offering hundreds of thousands to masters of this skill?

I saw an interview today with an executive… (From a company I’ll disclose if you email me and ask).

And he was wearing a shirt with these words in large print: “Copywriting not Copyrighting.”

Now why would a rich, well-respected executive wear a graphic t-shirt to an interview?Thousands have watched this interview.

“I’m just lookin’ for someone to train my staff,” he says.

Think about that.

But why the blatant publicity of his search for copywriters? Well, because…

The ability to persuade can NEVER be automated

EVERYTHING else… can be. Advertisement? Automated. Squeeze pages? Automated. Email lists? Automated. The first landing page? Automated. The up-sell that follows? Automated… I won’t continue.

OBVIOUSLY I’m not gonna go through hundreds of emails… (Or even thousands)… and personalize each.

… But you can personalize every email you send using a robot.

Advertisement? Facebook. Just target the people who subscribe to you competitors.

Literally. Just type your competitor’s name into the “interests” fields of your Facebook ad.

Squeeze and landing pages? Leadpages.

But what about the product? What about web-design? Marketing directors?

The product isn’t what sells. You sell benefits.

Hell, you should even have your target audience and copy… BEFORE you create the product.

And as for marketing directors? They’re the ones so frantically searching for skilled copywriters, so they are out too.

If the word “developer” is your last objection… Then with all due respect you’re grasping at air. THEY are the reason why all this is automated.

But what can NEVER be automated?

F***king copy.

And, let me tell you, it is HARD to learn.

Hell, I’d hire a copywriter myself if it weren’t for my love of writing. I’ll be the dude taking 200k for an email and peacing. Any time.

And I’m sure that’s why you’re here too. You want to do the same.

Copy is everything. It’s the difference between a 2% and a 30% conversion.  Between an opt-out and a high-ticket sale. Between a dark house with no running water and hiring 700 employees.

So GET GOOD at copy

Practice.

Read.

Everything else will fall into place.

Worried about automating personalized emails? Sales funnels? I got you, just email me at Robert@bertshieldscopy.com.

More marketing tactics? Tune into these emails.

Copywriting? We are ALL students of copywriting… The perfect copy doesn’t exist, but I will try me best to help you learn.

Remember, being a part of this team is absolutely free… And you are getting in on the ground floor.

Together, we can become…

Halberts of the electronic age.

We will write copy that converts like an atheist on judgement day.

But for now, I gotta peace. Tomorrow I’ll tell you how to make someone read your ENTIRE copy without putting it down.

This, after all, is the ONLY goal of copywriting… to get the reader to READ. I promise… if you hold their attention long enough, they will EVENTUALLY take action.

Stay tuned!

We’ll be talking again about a legend in the copywriting universe. And yes, I am referring to him as though he were a DC hero. 

 

I look forward to our next meeting,

Robert

Free Copywriting Cheat Sheet

Homework:

>> Read this: The Gary Halbert Letter

  • If the link isn’t working, copy the following quote into google. First result.
  • “Gary, what would you do if you had to make your next mailing work? What if you could only mail one letter and, if you didn’t get a response… You would quite literally, be beheaded?”

>> Buy The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halbert

  • Ask ANY successful copywriter. They will tell you to read at least 1 letter per day. This is the most important book in copywriting.
  • “The Boron Letters are a concentrated energy mass… of the essential fundamentals that will last until our civilization crumbles.” – John Carlton (a famous-ass copywriter).

>> John Carlton. AIDA.

  • Watch this video and familiarize yourself with the AIDA formula.

>> Gary Halbert Seminar

  • Watch and take notes.

P.S. The email tomorrow will be called “Ch. 2 of 5: The Sugar Secret.” Look out for it.

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