The Greatest Sales Letter of All Time

Copywriting 101

In line with my advice to study advertising copy that works, I thought I’d share what many consider to be the most successful sales letter ever.

The following is an excerpt from the classic direct-mail piece that generated an estimated $2 billion in revenue for The Wall Street Journal. I’ve seen adaptations and straight rip-offs dozens of times.

Here’s how it starts:

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The #1 Secret to Writing Great Copy Is . . .

Copywriting 101

Using words that work with the people you’re trying to persuade.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Study and draw inspiration from great copy that works.

I’m not talking about copy that you personally think is great. It’s a mistake to judge advertising like regular people do – as entertainment. Madison Avenue has a great gig producing short entertainment pieces called commercials that often don’t sell much of anything.

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The Social Media Killer App

This blog is all about marketing with words in a social media context. From the interactions with our readers, to the ways in which ideas spread and promotion is performed, we are communicating with prospects and gaining attention in ways that are alien to most veterans of one-way, pay-to-play marketing media.

I get the feeling, though, that even the proponents of business blogging and other forms of social marketing still see it as an “us” and “them” situation. Meaning, a relatively small group actually blog, tag, share, etc, and the vast majority just discover and consume, with maybe the occasional comment. That’s certainly the case now, and the mentality is a throw back to the mainstream media.

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The RSS Imperative

There’s been a huge amount of discussion about America Online and Yahoo’s plans to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to email messages from companies that pay for delivery. As is typical, there are arguments both for and against the idea of “email postage.”

Some of the arguments “against” may be missing the point.

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Snarky Doesn’t Sell

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the push for mass adoption of business blogging, and how the generally snarky tone that pervades the blogosphere would work out in conjunction. I started to write an article explaining why snarky will kill sales materials, and how it may not even be a good idea for a conversational business blogging voice (even if you’re naturally sarcastic and cynical).

I then started to think about what really bothered me about the whole snark thing. And it boils down to this: some people are trying to be “blog snarky” when it’s not really who they are offline.

They’re not naturally sarcastic and cynical, they’re just pretending to be. So they end up saying things online they would never say to a person’s face, thereby dragging down the level of discourse just a bit more.

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This Article Rocks… I Guarantee It!

Copywriting 101

There you have it. You just can’t go wrong reading this article.

I’ve guaranteed your satisfaction. Those are powerful words, right?

But what does my guarantee really mean? What if you think this article is actually marginal at best? There’s no money to return. And I can’t give you back your valuable time if you feel it was wasted.

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