I’ll never forget September 2006 for many reasons.
Some of them will remain personal, but two things I can share 🙂
- I attended a seminar in sunny San Diego with Frank Kern and Ed Dale, which was the last seminar where the late great Gary Halbert was a presenter. Simply un-forgettable.
- I launched my very first online coaching program, to a very healthy five figure success. At the time, it was a truly ground-breaking result to have. Money raining down from Heaven.
Doesn’t take a genius to see that one was the cause of the other, yes?
At that point in time I was still starting out in this business and the name Gary Halbert was almost like Keyser Soze – word is he’s real, but you can’t be sure until you lay your eyes on him. 🙂
Sure enough, there he was, sporting a brown t-shirt with the words ‘I’m a keeper’ and conducting hot seats in his super direct style, suffering no fools. I was hooked instantly.
If you asked what my takeaways from studying Halbert’s writing, storytelling genius via his Letter archive, the assorted recordings and products left behind… I’d have to write a whole book. Instead, I’ll give you a few definite takeaways:
- Never underestimate the power of a sales letter FULLY written. I mean, a powerful idea fully rounded out is perhaps the most influential thing one can do with a pen. I’ve proven this to myself several times over, and continue to do so.
- Bullets are the lifeblood of any high performing sales piece. I always start a new copywriting project with a total laundry list of bullets describing, hinting at, or teasing the best benefits of a product. Halbert himself advertised his website in newspapers using an ad consisting of nothing but bullets, something like 87 of them! Did it work? Oh yeah…
- Research is never done… until it is done. There are two schools on this: muscle your way through the writing, keep an eye on the deadline and keep chugging along. The other is apparently what Gary practiced: get all the angles, all the data points, all the story angles… let it percolate… until the totality of it hits you. Then you bang it out in one sitting. I’m learning to love formulas and templates a little but still love the purity of this approach.
- Nothing beats a fully exploited hook. To create the most compelling copy, you must have patience to look for the most compelling hook to the product, the pitch… and then fuly exploit it. Add drama but keep it believable. Even add humor but not in a joke-y way. Just make sure it all adds up to support the offer.
These are just some of the takeaways I’ve gleamed from working with the House of Halbert.
And whenever I visit a new client… ok I’ll reveal a personal thing: I keep a ‘lucky charm’ with me, which is that very last handout from Gary Halbert. Glancing at it gives me the instant feeling of being ‘in the copy flow’.
That does it for me. And yes, I even affectionately call it ‘The Copywriting Shroud of Turin’. 🙂
I was told a few weeks ago that Halbert’s sons Kevin and Bond are coming out with a course filled with not only family secrets but a who’s who of today’s marketers. It’s out today as I write it.
All the best,
PS. If you do decide to get Halbertology from my link, I’ll throw in two exclusive bonuses: 1. A 30-minute, free-flowing consultation where you can ask me ANY question relating to copywriting, conversion or marketing in general, have me critique your copy, whatever you want to spend the 30 minutes on. I can play scrabble with you, but I’d suggest you come with a list of questions. 2. A high quality scan of Gary Halbert’s last handout, the very ad he used to pull thousands of people to his web site and subscribe to his newsletter. Yes, the very one I just gushed about.