All the hoopla about the recent launch of “The Ultimate Desktop Copy Coach” prompted me to pull out my copy of “Two Hours To More Profitable Sales Copy” by Clayton Makepeace.
I have to confess that since buying this when it was launched at the end of 2007, the book has languished unread and gathering dust (along with a number of other books).
I could kick myself.
Because this book is an absolute gem.
It’s like a “Brain dump” from Clayton taking you all the way through the process of writing a copywriting package. He explains in detail what he does and, more importantly, why he does it and how he THINKS.
You see, once you get past a certain level of skill and competence in copywriting, it’s not about the words or the writing itself.
It’s all about the big idea, the right sales message and getting that across to your potential customer.
And that goes way beyond simply following a formula or templates and knowing the “rules” of copywriting.
Let me offer you an analogy.
In motor racing, it’s the combination of the car and the driver that produces the result. You have to have a great car, but without a great driver it’s useless.
Similarly in direct response copywriting. You have a great car, that is the science and craft of copywriting. But let’s face it, the core elements of copywriting are no secret. There are dozens of books and courses that will teach you how to write a perfectly adequate sales letter.
What produces knockout results is a master copywriter (the “driver”) applying that science and craft to the unique situation at hand.
The great Gary Halbert said that the “A-List” copywriters are not paid the big bucks for their writing (good though it is). They are paid so much because of their ability to come up with the right “Big Idea”.
And “Two Hours To More Profitable Sales Copy” gives you great insight into how Clayton does this.
Now, the book’s title is a little misleading because it will take most people a lot longer than two hours to read it.
But it is absolutely crammed with valuable insights, tips and suggestions.
The chapter that prompted this post is chapter 5 “How to turn a leisurely visit to your local bookstore into the most profitable three hours of your entire year.” Clayton talks about how your local bookstore (especially the magazine section) can be a fantastic resource for market research and copy ideas.
Now, I’m sure this idea may not be new to you. It certainly wasn’t to me. But what struck me with renewed force was just how valuable the information is. After all, as Clayton points out, the people behind mass market books and magazines spend tens of millions of dollars on research and testing. And they employ some of the smartest marketers and researchers (OK, there are a few pretty dumb ones in there as well!).
The results that you see in the book store are the ideas and products that have survived the gruelling test of the mass market. That makes it a lot easier to figure out how to pitch your product or service.
I’ll throw in another research tip that seems terribly obvious but I don’t see talked about too much. That is, take a look at the title in the “Dummies” series that’s relevant to your market. You can even take a look at the “Dummies” website and in many cases can download a chapter from the book and the table of contents (a great source of potential headline and subhead ideas).
And, of course, you don’t even have to go to a “real” bookstore to do this research because you have Amazon right on your desktop. However, there’s something about getting out and going to a real store. A good excuse to get out of the “office” if you work from home!