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.