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Mar 19

Learning How to Write Copy That Sells

There’s no more important marketing skill than the ability to write a sales letter that will get people so excited that they’ll send you their money. And there’s no greater feeling when you can do it right. You’re in control of your destiny-since after all, as entrepreneurs we’re stepping out there with the courage that we’re going to do this without the security and safety blanket of a regular job and a paycheck. It took me a long time to learn to do this well, and I think the same is true for most entrepreneurs.

Even during those ten years when I was cutting my teeth, while I was learning everything that I had to learn, I realized something very important: that when you’re writing copy to people who already trust you and that have a good relationship with you, you don’t have to be the best copywriter in the world to make nice profits selling to them. For years, I was forced to use expensive outside copywriters to do all of our front-end material.

It bothered me that I wasn’t a good enough copywriter to do my own new customer acquisition, but I wasn’t — and if you’re like I was, remember that there are plenty of copywriters who can help you with that end. But I would encourage you to remember this: once you gather a group of customers who have bought from you once, start writing to them yourself. Create offers they like, keep working on improving your sales letters, and not only will your copywriting skills improve, you’ll make more money.

Now, keep this in mind: while I do believe you should hire outside copywriters if you really need the help, I think too many people become dependent on them. I don’t care how skilled these top guns are: they’re never going to put as much effort and energy into your business as you are. It does take a while to learn how to master the skill of copywriting, but you can almost always make more money writing your own copy than you can by hiring copywriters to do it all for you. I think not learning this skill is a big mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make. It’s such a great tool to have in your marketing arsenal.

In the beginning, you may have to emulate other people. That tip comes from the late, great Gary Halbert, who suggested that you take the best ad or sales letter you can find and re-write it in your own handwriting as many times as you can in order to get the feel and the language of copywriting down. It’s as though you’re channeling the copywriter who wrote that particular copy. You’re not thinking creatively; you’re just training your brain in the process of writing copy.

Personally, I used Joe Karbo’s Lazy Man’s Way to Riches ad to train myself. I probably wrote that thing close to a hundred times over a period of 3-4 months — to the point where I had it all memorized. This single one-page ad, 2,000-3,000 words long, made Joe millions of dollars. Rewriting it so many times really did help implant the language of good direct response, the flow of it, into my brain.

What made that sales letter perform for Joe Karbo? First of all, Joe already had a lot of experience in the business before he wrote the first word of that ad. It had been an idea that had been percolating in his head for a while. In my experience, an idea sometimes does have to percolate for a long time — but as the story goes, he got to the point where all of a sudden he was ready to do it, and he basically wrote it all from the top down. He woke up in the middle of the night, went to his kitchen table, and hand-wrote that ad.

There’s a certain power to writing sales letters when you’re fired up. There’s an energy you get when you’re firing on all cylinders, when an idea is fresh and new to you; that’s why you should always write the sales letter first, before you develop the product — because by the time you get the product developed, there goes all your energy, and now the last thing you want to do is write a sales letter about it. But the sales letter is the most important element of the whole process. If you build your product around the sales letter, which you wrote when the idea was fresh and new and exciting, it’ll make you a lot more money.

While you’re in the moment, inspired by your idea, don’t work on the product: work on the sales letter, and tell your prospect every single thing the product’s going to do for them. Tell them all the features and benefits, all the elements — because then you’ve not only got an outline for the product, you’ve also got a level of excitement going. That’s what the Lazy Mans Way to Riches is all about. That ad makes you want to buy the product when you’re done reading it. You get excited.

Now, Joe made all his millions on the front end. The market has changed since then, so you can’t do that today, but it worked like gangbusters for him. I would encourage anyone reading this to go find that ad, read it, and study it.

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