Insider Copywriting Perspective
When visiting John Carlton recently I had a chance to meet and interview Bond (Bondodog) Halbert. What a privilege it was to gain deep insights into copywriting from the man who Gary Halbert once said was his greatest student (mentioned in the Boron letters).
Worlds Greatest Copywriter That Ever Lived?
Gary was the world’s greatest copywriter, according to Bond, because he could tackle any market and succeed. Luckily for us, his famous ‘Halbert letters’ are available to read online for free at TheGaryHalbertLetter.com. This is one of the best resources you could ever hope to find online if you are starting out as a copywriter. The greats all tip their hats to Gary as a formidable writer who could cause a cascade of sales with a single letter.
Bond mentions “don’t be afraid of just writing and writing”. Avoid the ‘billboard’ method if you want to build a relationship with your audience. Consider your buyers actions over your own opinions. The great thing about direct response is your opinion doesn’t matter!
When you craft a sales message make sure you have it all there – answer all the questions. The higher the price point the more work required to put your sales message across. (I recall John Carlton teaching me this).
When preparing the campaign throw up as much as you can then cut cut cut! Most copywriters draft work then come back to it and edit it several times. Yes, write and then re-write, come back to something and ad and ad until you are done.
Gary Halbert was Different
Gary Halbert would talk to many people and get the spiel down and then think about the message over and over again before committing it to paper. John Carlton mentioned to me that Gary would loop the message into conversation over and over again. ‘He would loop it around in his head and ask several times for an opinion on the subject’. Gary would get so close to the sales letter in one go using this technique.
It is NOT all about the writing
Bond suggests you develop the hook and the offer and work with your passion wherever possible. If you have enjoyed the target market as a passion then you can translate that better by rehearsing things mentally. You can get really close to the mark when you already know the lingo of the market.
Bond’s step-by-step checklist
I pressed Bond for some easy shortcuts for new copywriters and he said: “look at what is working
already!!!”. I resonate with this as I teach it exactly the same technique to my students. Next, find the power words, use emotion (since we always sell on emotion). It is important to figure out your concept first then take the ads that are similar in that campaign and break them down.
In other words, emulate the current market. All marketers should have a swipe file (a file that has best proven copy). An essential theme I hear over and over again is how you must know your product and target market in depth. New person advice summary – just do it.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly”.
Actually doing things takes so little time compared to what you imagine. Don’t waste time to get things perfect – just get into it. You do not need everything before you start. Gary used to say: “Motion over meditation”. Internet Marketing has a lot of chances to test things compared to direct mail. Use this advantage. Just to move is the key.
Gary Halbert always looked for the ‘where can I buy this’ reaction from his target. To garner this reaction he would continually ask people to proof read a letter and see if they want to buy it! Gary and Bond trained their marketing antennae to hear anything that resembled a HOOK. The big focus is on the deal, the hook.
The GaryHalbertLetter.com is changing!
Bond is currently re-ordering the Gary Halbert letters into the right sequence. Many people do not realize the letters are currently not in the same order as written. Bond revealed how Gary went through some hard times and went to Born Federal Prison camp. This meant Bond got to see Gary become rich.
Bond was famous as the target subject for the Boron Letters (well worth reading!) and instantly became Marketing Royalty (Bond stresses as an Earl not a Duke!). Bond received a marketing education from some of the greats including Gary Halbert, Joe Karbo and Jay Abraham.
Like father like son, the greatest thing to shine through this interview was the love and honesty Bond and Gary shared as father and son.