Direct Response Copywriting Secrets – Effective Headlines That Sell

One of the most important aspects of effective direct response copywriting, is creating your headline. Over the last ten years, I’ve read literally hundreds of books, always looking for new appeals I can use in my headlines. Old books, new books, marketing books, fiction books – I even read books about books, oddly enough.

Back in 1957, John Caples wrote a book called Making Ads Pay. This book, although not as popular as his “Tested Advertising Methods,” is an excellent read nonetheless, although it might be harder to find.

Anyway, Caples mentions a headline that’s absolutely incredible, and today I’m going to go over it with you, along with some of the body copy for the ad. The headline says,

“Give Me 5 Days And I’ll Give You A Magnetic Personality. Let Me Prove It – FREE!”

This headline was selling a course called “Instantaneous Personal Magnetism,” in the mid 1920′s. Let’s deconstruct this headline and see why it’s so powerful.

First of all, it’s an emotionally powerful headline, pushing a number of buy-buttons of the reader. Curiosity, Vanity, Envy, Excitement – all cleverly woven in here.

“Give Me 5 Days.” Defining your time frame is a great way of enhancing your basic promise. The average Joe marketer would say something like “Let me give you a magnetic personality.” A superstar, however, knows the way to enhance your message is to put a deadline on it, and the shorter the better.

“I’ll Give You A Magnetic Personality.” This provokes extreme curiosity. What exactly is a “magnetic personality?” It sounds great – who wouldn’t want one? Plus, you are giving it to me, so this means I don’t have to do any work, right?

“Let me prove it.” This answers the objection of almost any sale, but especially a sale where what you’re selling in the first place isn’t necessarily well-known or well-defined. This also makes your prospect lower their guard and be less defensive, which is critical to making any kind of a sale. It shows your willingness to earn their business, and their trust, and that builds credibility instantly, especially in today’s crazy world. (Which was obviously crazy back in the 1920′s as well, funny enough.)

And then of course, “Free” means exactly what you think – no risk.

This formula, “Give Me __ And I’ll Give You ___. Let me prove it to you…” is one you can use in almost any business out there, or at least you can use a modified version of it.

So for instance, “Give me 90 days and I’ll show you how to find the love of your life. Let me prove it to you… Free”

Or… “Give me 7 days and I’ll show you how to make a small fortune buying and selling stocks, with NO risk to your initial capital investment. Let me prove this to you – free.”

When it comes to effective direct response copywriting, elements of proof and minimizing risk are an almost guaranteed way of capturing your prospects attention, as long as you’re focusing them around the right offer.

Using Offline Marketing to Complement Your Online Marketing

It’s my job to make sure clients understand the importance of developing a strong internet presence for their brand if they are expected to thrive in today’s consumer-centric environment. The focus of a small to medium business’ advertising budget should be placed on those initiatives. However, businesses should not forget about the benefits of offline marketing as a means to complement their internet marketing strategy.

When I analyze keyword statistics of a business I input the company’s brand name to see if web users are searching for it specifically. For example, if you own “ABC Adventure Travel” you should be curious to know if the public is searching for your company name. If they aren’t then you’re not doing your job in getting your name “out there” in a traditional sense. Brand recall ties into internet marketing directly. When the public associates your company name with a product/service of interest to them, the first thing they do is go online and perform a Google search on your company name. If your website if optimized, it will convert them into customers.

Here I examine how to use offline marketing to enhance the internet marketing campaign of your business:

1. Put on a Brand Face

Take advantage of physical branding opportunities such as making sure that your store front, company vehicle, employee uniforms, and/or company swag are “optimized” with your brand name and logo. These initiatives enhance brand recognition and recall for the public, ultimately sending them to your website when their need for your product/service arises.

2. Trade Product/Service for Ad Space

Offer your product/service in the form of gift certificates and the like to media channels with high traffic websites so that they can use your product/service as a promotional giveaway. Many online publishers will trade ad space for product (in lieu of cash) in order to have something of value that they too can use to attract viewers, readers, and visitors. Be sure to require that the media channel provides your company with a branded link back to your website.

3. Public Relations

Get your business involved with community programs and events and be sure to let the local media know. The altruistic benefits come first but nothing generates great publicity like being attached to a good cause. Your physical involvement will garner mention on the websites of reputable local media and result in inbound links to your website which has tremendous impact on your Google ranking.

4. Tie the Campaign into Your Social Networks

Create physical campaigns for your brand such as on-site (if you have a physical location) or street promotions (handing out product samples or discount coupons) that require those accepting follow, like, and/or interact with your brand on social media.

5. Tie the Campaign into Your Website

Create physical campaigns for your brand such as on-site (if you have a physical location) or street promotions (handing out product samples or discount coupons) that require those accepting either redeem the item/s back at your website or subscribe to your email list.


Remember that your website is the cornerstone of all marketing initiatives, traditional or otherwise. The customer will likely make their final purchase decision, and possibly the actual purchase if your website has ecommerce capabilities, based upon how well your website is optimized for conversion. Then, by using the aforementioned offline tactics you will have completed the circle of marketing life for your business.

Is Multi Level Marketing (MLM) A Legitimate Business Opportunity Or Not?

I will preface the following by stating that I am not an MLM’er but many of my colleagues are, and in the current climate of financial uncertainty it is an option many are looking at.

I have tried to give a simple unbiased opinion of the pro’s and cons of the industry so that you can draw your own conclusions.

Is MLM legitimate?

The recent global recession has not coincidentally corresponded to resurgence in some previously uncool forms of marketing, such as Multi-Level Marketing, Party Plan and Home Based Internet Marketing. Companies such as Amway, Tupperware, Mary Kay Cosmetics and such like are having significant successes in their recent recruitment drives.

Multi-Level Marketing has a stigma attached to it for decades, with polarizing attitudes that have contributed to family tensions and damaged friendships. Some people would be more supportive if you announced that you had joined a new age cult. The legitimacy or otherwise of these direct selling organizations is an issue of both legal and moral standing.

What exactly is Multi-Level Marketing? (MLM)

It is a marketing strategy to sell goods or services through a network of independent distributors.
Income is derived from the sales derived from the network of personally recruited members, usually as a result of personal sales and over-rides on the teams’ volume.

Legal Legitimacy.

Countries have individual laws that define the legality of sales and marketing techniques. There is a Grey area that many companies need to navigate which is regarding the issue of definition.

The biggest compliance issue is that concerning pyramid selling, which is usually considered illegal. Most contemporary MLM companies are able to comply and adhere to local legislation, but often walk a fine line, as interpretations can vary.

Moral Legitimacy.

Prior to the Internet, recruitment was conducted with an almost evangelical zeal, with many organizations using huge motivational rallies and sales techniques that were frowned upon by many non-believers.

Some criticism and stigma has come from the perception that many of the bigger organizations inculcate members by indoctrination. Mass direct marketing to friends relatives and anyone with a pulse, many of whom have no interest in joining often alienates and causes relationship fractures and residual bitterness.

In recent years there has been a quite a shift in credibility and professionalism. Well-respected authors and entrepreneurs have started to endorse MLM. Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump are two that come to mind. Internet marketing allows members to strategically attract like-minded people into their network. Training is more streamlined and success is less dependent on the cult of charisma, and perhaps more equitable

Financial Legitimacy.

The compensation plans vary from company to company, and are a tool for soliciting new recruits. The power of compounding numbers can suggest that massive incomes can be earned simply from sponsoring a few people who do the same ad infinitum. Pick a number and double it ten times over and then imagine that number represented your network of distributors, who all sell and consume the companies’ lotions and potions. The lure of over-ride commissions for very little work can attract many naive members, who subsequently depart disillusioned, weeks, months or years later.

As a vehicle to create passive income there are many benefits to investing the time, energy and money to create a solid passive income. Like most things in life however, there is rarely a free lunch, and those that succeed will be those that combine ambition with a verifiable action plan and under the umbrella of a stable and trustworthy organization.