How would an old-school direct marketer write email “headlines” today?

Know John Caples?

He’s the legendary copywriter behind the “They Laughed When I Sat at The Piano But When I Started to Play!” ad.

He was at it before they had the luxury of software that tracks success metrics.

So he had to get it right the first time.

But John was sharp.

Using his engineering eye (yup, he was an engineer before putting pen to paper), he analyzed past advertisements and condensed his findings into reliable direct marketing pearls of knowledge.

And even today, his methods are used by top email copywriters – like loud and proud Ben Settle (yup, ol’benbo himself).

Primarily, we’re talking about headlines here.

John’s research told him that 3 elements gave the best ROI on headlines, they were:

1. Curiosity
2. Benefit, and
3. News

Ol’benbo is big on curiosity. As his schtick is infotainment (which happens to be a big influence on my own copywriting), he makes huge use of the curiosity element.

But I think if John Caples we’re alive and Iphoning it up with the rest of us, I think he’d be using combo #1 and #2. He said that curiosity works only if the reader has nothing else to do. It wouldn’t work well if the reader was doing anything important.

But if you combine curiosity with benefit (e.g. How Sherlocke Holmes Got Me 57% More Profits From My Sales Letter), then readers will go out of their way to read.

Honestly, if every one of your emails had a “headline” like that, you’d probably get every email you ever sent read.

(Although I’d think twice about using “news” elements in your email subject lines. Might look a bit spammy).

So next time you sit at the dim office to crank out some emails (and hopefully make some cash in the process), dial up the curiosity level to pull more eyes into your emails.

But if that sounds like more work than you can deal with, why not let me handle it? If you’ve read this far than you know my writing can pull a reader right to the bottom of your sales message (and towards your cash generating call to action).

Sound Bueno? Then contact me (Ericson) here today.

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