Fill This Gaping Hole In Your Persuasion Strategy Immediately…

By: Dan Kennedy on: November 20th, 2012 9 Comments

At a past No B.S. INFO-Summit, I had the opportunity to present insights on copywriting alongside ‘master of dark arts copywriting extraordinaire’ and fellow grizzled veteran of many wars, John Carlton.

John worked with Sir Gary Halbert, Prince of Print, intimately, for many years, thus earning a Purple Heart and a grand collection of stories; most not suitable for public telling.

Carlton is a renaissance man, rich with life experience and right up at the very top of the list of Living Greats.

We both have our Halbert connections and remember our times with Gary fondly (even the ones that scared us) and value our lessons learned from Gary highly. We are both troubled by the lack of depth of knowledge we observe in many newcomers to direct marketing and copywriting.

Anyway, Carlton and I go way back to when mastery mattered, and people like he and I aspired to it, worked at it, fought for it, paid hefty dues for it.

It’s something as a marketer you should be thinking about too.

As I mentioned in this month’s No B.S. Marketing Letter (if you aren’t currently receiving the No B.S. Marketing Letter, you can get two free months of it here), ‘just because you think you can’t doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.’

Many people think they can’t write or think they write well enough. These trains of thought mean in their minds they think they need not make an effort to learn more or aspire to know more.

On the flip side, entrepreneurs who are the ones that tend to hang out at the top of the money pyramid and are on the most successful, most enviable businesses list, pay top dollar to acquire the best copywriters they can afford, and study what works and what doesn’t.

Whether you think you can write and do, think you can and don’t, or think you can’t and don’t, working to understand copy techniques that drive response is a path worth pursuing.

When you do, you can look to boost your response and achieve exceptional return on investment.

When you don’t, a belief that direct-response copy doesn’t work, an argument that long copy fails, and ‘your business is somehow different’ will most likely be your party line.  You’ll also be hanging at the bottom of the money pyramid, with your main marketing strategy being to discount your products and services.

If you think you can write, but have never studied from copywriting masters and don’t continue your pursuit of good copy, danger lurks. Swiping bad copy because your competitor or a big brand name is using it. Presenting a perhaps, well-written message that doesn’t appeal what-so-ever to your target audience.

Believing you can write and choosing to hire a copywriter can have similar consequences. There are many copywriters out there. A few exceptional. Some pretty good. Many mediocre to not so good to awful.  The fact that so many businesses don’t pay attention to their copywriting puts you at a huge advantage when you take the time to educate yourself on the science of good copy.

Note I say science, not art, as USA Today would have you believe per their “Win $1 million in free ad space” contest. Copy is a science. There are precise reasons for doing one thing over another. Using certain words, techniques or strategies in one situation and choosing to not use them in other circumstances.

So when you hire someone to write your copy, it is critical, to have an idea that what you are being handed is reliably good.

Yes, not every piece of copy is going to work as well as you’d like or expect—but this is not the way to decide if you should hire a copywriter or not.

Knowing that you are looking at reasonably good copy and understanding why it’s good will help you make better decisions, hire better copywriters and get better results.

Another reason to pay close attention to your copy has to do with being able to attract customers and clients for whom price is not a determining factor in their purchasing. When I wrote No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent in 2008, I made much of the concentration of both wealth and discretionary spending power in the hands of leading edge boomers and seniors. Now in 2012, this is proving true.

Control of money by leading edge boomers and seniors is in the 50% neighborhood. As I show in chapter 12 of my book, No B.S. Marketing to Leading-Edge Boomers & Seniors, print media and direct mail is vitally important in effectively and successfully marketing to boomers and seniors. This is the media they value, they trust, they pay the most attention to and that they have the most respect for. It requires knowing how to write. Ignore this and you risk half of the population’s money—half of the population that is at the top of the spending pyramid.

Michael Wolff wrote in USA today that “Johnny who can’t write has gone into advertising.” In his article he suggested that all you need to do to get people to pay attention “save Facebook”, “make digital media a decent business” and “move more merchandise” is to bring back the copywriter.

I concur. If you want to stand out among the crowd and rise to the top of the money pyramid—seek out, aspire to and fight for better copy in your ads.  Delay equals lost revenue.  The time is now to fill this gaping hole in your persuasion strategy.

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Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

9 Responses

  1. Bob Long says:

    I liked this article. It’s true stuff but I run into the “dumb, young, internet” crowd who doesn’t believe in “advertising” and yet they are being sold to more than we used to be. They ARE being influenced by ignoramuses.

    We have to get to them because the “older” so-called Boomer crowd is disappearing even if it is they who have the money.

  2. Thank you very much for this. Totally timely. Awesome, FREE links, too!

  3. Bob Panic says:

    Bob Long, you are 110% right! Dan’s “sell” is targeted at the cashed up baby boomers tide. The copy that he “sell” to your business is NOT working for Gen Y. Studies show that Gen Y is only currently 4% of household spend. This is the NEXT big growth sector. Gen Y will NOT read your copy! I have spent considerable time in proving Dan and his supporters wrong, and I now know that for Gen Y the “Dan Way” is not successful. Want proof? Go to any Gen Y targeted web sites (oh Facebook and Twitter are just the big ones!) and tell me if you see the amount of copy that Dan produces in any of the blogs, comments and web sites. It is TOO long, does not get to the point and GeN Y stop reading after the first sentence or they don’t start reading at all as they instantly see the HUGE amount of copy to read. Gen Y is bored. Gen Y has no attention span. However Gen Y is the next generation of BIG spenders and new ways to communicate like are being created by business people like me to capture them…. Ask Dan who his demographic is. It’s not Gen Y as he is only focused on cashed up Baby Boomers, so if that is your market, good luck and go forth and get them…. You are not speaking to Gen Y, just so you know…

    • Joe says:

      I would like to see a test of long copy vs short copy for the Gen X Y millennial.

      • Ryan says:

        Why? Most of us don’t read copy word for word, we skim. If we like what we see and really interests us we may go back and read word for word. If your ad isn’t limited to word count, then say as much as you need to… as the great ad guys will say… the more you tell the more you sell.

    • Ryan says:

      “Gen Y is bored. Gen Y has no attention span.”

      Seems you just identified the problem. If your copy is boring, whether long or short, we won’t read it. You want our attention, then address a nagging urgent problem/want/need and make your copy exciting, else we won’t give it the time of day. We’re already bombarded with ads everywhere vying for our attention. If your ad appears like everyone elses’ you’re guaranteed to be tuned out.

      It sounds like you might be trying to sell w/o building a relationship first. If that’s the case you have quite an uphill battle for ahead of you.

      If you want examples of non-boring advertisements, advertisements that’ll make you cringe with the thought it’s you they’re talking about (old time Listerine ads), you might look into Dan’s 43 Secrets.

      You’re certaintly right though, we’re bored. So entertain us, give us a taste of what you’ve got. But to say Millennials only make up 4% of household spend is categorically false. Whatever study you’ve read must be quite old… perhaps when we were still children. We are now in our mid 20’s to late 30’s and we are HUGE consumers w/ young families.

  4. Deji R Yusuf says:

    This is a very insightful article that makes me look into myself and see that I am leaving a lot of Raw Cash On the Table.
    By The way Thanks for the Mark Ford free pdf sir! :)

  5. Very interesting subject, appreciate it for putting up.

  6. Thanks,Dan. the concept of copy writing is unknown to any of my friends family,coworkers&R.E buddies.When i first think of copy i think of Jimmy Olsen of superman
    fame and i thought he was an errand boy.Now when i talk about marketing being the piece
    missing from my business my wife says i act like it is a new religion.My webmeister put up
    my web and learning from you guys,it stinks.It has no benefits or indirect benefits for my prospects and frankly it has no motivational hooks at all.I am in the process of rewriting
    those pages over. thank you for GKIC

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