The Copywriting Code by John Caples

You can sometimes combine two successes to make a super success. For example: Seven ads for house paint were tested for pulling power. Here are the headlines of the two most successful ads:

1. New house paint made by (name of manufacturer)
2. This house paint keeps white houses whiter

These two headlines were combined as follows:  New house paint made by (name of manufacturer) keeps your white house whiter

A campaign with this theme sold more house paint than any previous campaign.

Long copy sells more than short copy. The more you tell, the more you sell.

Write more copy than you need to fill the space. If you need 500 words of copy, begin by writing 1,000 words. Then boil it down to a concise, fact-packed message.

You can often improve the pulling power of an ad by setting a time limit. Retail advertisers increase sales by setting a cut-off date. Reader’s Digest, in selling subscriptions, frequently uses such phrases as: “Return this card before October 31.”

Spell out your guarantee. The word guarantee has been used so many times it has lost much of its force. Here is a classic example of a spelled-out guarantee: “This is my own straightforward agreement that you can have my coaching material in your hands for 10 days examination and reading before you make up your mind to keep it. You are to be the sole judge.  You can return the material for any reason, or for no reason at all, and your decision will not be questioned. Your refund check will be mailed to you in full by the very n ext mail. This agreement is just as binding as though it had been written in legal terms by a lawyer.”

You should ask for action at the end of your ad. Tell the reader what you want him to do. Sometimes it pays to offer a reward for action. In selling a 10-volume world history, the Book-of-the-Month Club offers a free book “to new members who enroll at this time.”

People who buy once are your best prospects for buying again. I used to write ads for a publisher who sold little booklets by mail for 25¢ each. The people who bought the booklets were good prospects for the publisher’s $5 books. And a number of the folks who bought the $5 books were later induced to buy the publisher’s $25 library. The same principle applies in fund raising. People who give once are the best prospects for giving again.

The copywriter’s job does not begin at 9 a.m. Nor does it end at 5 p.m. His job is with him all the time. Some of his best ideas come to him while he is shaving in the morning, while he is riding on a bus, or at lunchtime, or while he is walking along the street, or sometimes in the middle of the night. He should have paper and pencil handy at all times. He should write down ideas the minute they occur. Otherwise some of his most precious thoughts will be lost.

EXCERPT FROM: John Caples, 50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years

P.S. If you’d like to learn even more about how to write copy that sells, I recommend you join the private Copywriting Code membership site. It’s packed with valuable copywriting lessons, and more are being added all the time. Click here to check it out.

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