to Write a Million Dollar Sales Letter!
Bruce Barton, cofounder of the legendary BBDO ad agency, wrote letters
that got staggering results. He wrote a letter for Berea College that
brought in an amazing 100% response! (You can read the entire letter in The
Seven Lost Secrets Of Success.)
When you consider that the average successful letter gets about a 0.02%
response, Barton clearly leaped past anyone else in his letter writing
skills. But what was his secret?
After studying Barton's letters, books,
private memos, speeches, and advertising campaigns, I've discovered
Barton's method. I've used his technique to write my own letters and
I've been astonished at the results. One letter got a 20% response.
Another nailed a 10% response. Still another is approaching a 97%
response (ninety-seven per cent!)! (It, too, is in The Seven Lost
Secrets Of Success.)
I will now reveal the technique I've been
using: Bruce Barton's "Secret Formula."
Barton said that good advertising copy
(and letters are advertisements) had to be three things: (1) Brief. (2)
Simple. (3). Sincere. In an eye-opening essay he wrote back in 1925,
Barton said the following:
"About sixty years ago two men spoke
at Gettysburg; one man spoke for two hours. I suppose there is not any
one who could quote a single word of that oration. The other man spoke
about three hundred words, and that address has become a part of the
school training of almost every child."
"I think it might be said, no
advertisement is great that has anything that can't be understood by a
child of intelligence. Certainly all the great things in life are
one-syllable things -- child, home, wife, fear, faith, love,
"I believe the public has a sixth
sense for detecting insincerity, and we run a tremendous risk if we
try to make other people believe in something we don't believe in.
Somehow our sin will find us out."
Let's look at these three steps a little
Brevity. A short letter isn't
necessarily what Barton meant. I've read many of his letters and memos.
Most of them were so brief they were blunt. But those were not sales
letters. When Barton wanted to persuade you to donate money to a good
cause or buy something he was selling, his letters were longer,
sometimes several pages long. (Again, see that sample letter in The
Seven Lost Secrets Of Success.) Barton knew you had to give people a
complete explanation before they would buy.
Simplicity. Barton's letters were
always simple and easy to read. He strove for clarity of communication.
No big words, long sentences, or convoluted passages. He was clear and
direct and conversational.
Sincerity. Barton was always
sincere. He once dropped a million dollar advertising account because he
didn't support the client. That sincerity came through in everything he
wrote. Readers could pick up on it.
Finally, Barton's letters were "...
phrased in terms of the other man's interest." Barton said your
letters had to go straight to the reader's selfish interest. He said the
favorite song of every reader is "I Love Me." As Barton said
in 1924, "The reader is interested first of all in himself... Tie
your appeal up to his own interests."
The next time you have to write a sales
letter, consider Barton's formula. It helped him write letters that are
still talked about today, and it helps me write letters that are making
my clients rich. Now use it and see what the formula will do for YOU!
Marketing specialist Joe
"Mr. Fire!" Vitale is the author of nine books, including
Writing," which answers the question, "What will *you* do
when you learn to hypnotize people with the power of words alone and get
them to obey your commands?"
The Easiest Way to
By Joe Vitale
You've got something to say. You know it. Your associates know it.
But you don't regard yourself as "a writer."
How are you going to express your wisdom?
How will you communicate your thoughts?
Yes, you can follow the path of J.Paul Getty, Lee Iaccocoa, and Donald Trump and hire someone to write your
words. That works. (And I'm available should you want to talk about hiring me as your ghostwriter.) :)
But there is an easier way.
I call this the "two step" because that's all there is to it.
Here's the secret in a nutshell:
Step one is state your principle. Step two is illustrate it.
Pretty simple dance routine, right? Yet you can use this method to write ANY type of nonfiction---whether it's
your life story, a school paper, an executive brief, or a full length scholarly book. (Actually, the
scholars sorely need this method. They're too stuffy!)
I was reminded of this method while reading a book from the 1940's. I noticed that throughout the book the author
would make a statement and then illustrate it with a story. The more I thought about it, I felt this
was the easiest way to write anything.
Here's how it works:
1. Make a list of the ideas you want to communicate. Pretend these are laws, rules, insights, commandments,
theories, or whatever will work for you. What you're looking for is a list of messages.
For example, I was working with a Houston body-mind therapist and I
told him about this method. I said, "One of your messages is that people can have whatever they want, as
long as they aren't attached to how they get it." He nodded.
"Another message of yours is that the energy we put out is the result we get." He nodded again.
"Those are your key points," I explained. "Write those down. That's
easy. All you do is pull out a sheet of paper or turn on your laptop, and
just jot down the ideas you want to get across."
2. Now all you do is illustrate every point with three stories.
This is what I liked about that book from the forties. The author made a
statement, then illustrated it with a story that made the statement come to life.
"You have all kinds of stories to share," I reminded my therapist friend. "For every point you make, support it with
a story. Maybe tell how someone achieved a breakthrough following your main point. This
reinforces your point and makes it easier to understand."
Principle-story, principle-story, principle-story.
You can take ANY subject and break it down this way.
You're making it easier on the readers, too. They don't have to wade through a long involved tale. With this method, you
cut right to the point. You say, "Here's what I believe," and then you use a story to explain why you believe it.
The book from the forties that I'm referring to was "How to Develop Your
Executive Ability" by Daniel Starch. I'm using it as an example of this two-step formula, and not
necessarily urging you to run out and find a copy (it's out of print, anyway).
I just pulled the book off the shelf and opened it at random. I'm looking
at the chapter titled "Putting New Ideas to Work." It begins with a statement: "Write them down at
the time they come to you."
It then spends four paragraphs giving lively quotes
from Tolstoy, Darwin, and Robert Louis Stevenson about the importance of writing down your ideas when they come to you.
If you just write down your message or key point, it will sit on the page
in a lifeless, very un-hypnotic way. If you want people to remember the message, if you want them to
install the message in their skull, then tell a story that illustrates it.
Your stories don't have to be classics of literature. A relevant quote can
bring a statement to life. Stories from other people can bring your message to life. But most
powerful and memorable of all are the stories from your own experience.
I just flipped open Starch's book to chapter twenty-four, on "Turning Bad
Breaks Into Opportunities." Right off the bat there's a statement: "Resolve not to be
downed by failure."
And then follows a page and half of stories about people who were in accidents and went on with their lives,
including a quote from Cervantes and John Bunyan. This supportive material awakens your message in
the reader's mind.
You might notice that I just used this very technique to write this
chapter. I told you there was a two-step formula for writing anything. Then I illustrated the two
steps with stories from my clients, and with a story about the book that gave me the idea.
This "two-step" works!
The next time you have to write something, remember: principle-story, principle-story, principle-story.
It's the easiest way to write anything!
Joe "Mr. Fire!" Vitale, regarded as one of the world's most powerful copywriters, is a best-selling author of marketing books and courses, including "The AMA Complete Guide to Small Business Advertising,"
Nightingale-Conant's audio program, "The Power of Outrageous Marketing!" and "Create Advertising That Sells." His tremendously successful "Hypnotic Writing" e-book is now succeeded by
"Advanced Hypnotic Writing," a breakthrough book that reveals how to use the
phenomenon of hypnotic suggestion to turn your words into
The Story of the
Hypnotic Writing Monkey
by Joe Vitale
A monkey could use this material to write
a riveting sales letter, ad, or email message.
The only condition is the monkey needs
to be able to read.
I'll prove it to you.
Right now I have no idea how to write
this article for Larry on " How to Easily Use This Material to Get
So, in this case, I'm the monkey.
Now follow my path....
I grab this material and flip through
it -- which is what I'm doing right now -- and I spot a phrase...
"You don't realize it, but in the
next few minutes you're going to learn..."
I add to that phrase something my
monkey mind gives me, "...how to get people to do your bidding by using
this amazing collection of hypnotic materials."
I now have this: "You don't
realize it, but in the next few minutes you're going to learn how to get people
to do your bidding by using this amazing collection of hypnotic materials."
There, I just wrote a good line. Any
monkey could do it, as long as said monkey can type.
If you're like me, you'll probably
want another example.
Stop! Did you notice that "If
you're like me..." is one of Larry's hypnotic lines? It is. It's in this
book. My monkey mind found it and used it.
And "Stop!" is from his
book, too. I saw it and tossed it into the above paragraph. Made you look,
Here's a fact for you: Any man, woman,
child or monkey can flip through these pages and find words, phrases, and
complete sentences to help them lead and control the minds of their readers.
Hey! Did you catch what I did? The
phrase "Here's a fact for you..." is also from Larry's collection.
It's a way to assume logic without having any. It works.
And did you notice that
"Hey!" grabbed your mind?
It, too, is from this collection. It's
a powerful yet simple tool for practically yelling out your reader's name in a
crowded room. It GRABS attention.
Are you beginning to see how you can
use this material?
Think about making use of this
collection of hypnotic material and you'll begin to feel real power.
And did you notice that "Think
about making use of..." is yet another golden nugget from Larry's book?
Yes, a monkey with typing and reading
skills just might be able to write a good letter with this amazing collection of
tried and true hypnotic words and phrases.
But more importantly, since YOU are
smarter than any monkey, by the time you finish reading this material you will
be able to take these words and phrases and weave them into hypnotic letters and
ads that get people to act on your commands and suggestions.
Stop! Note "by the time you
finish reading..." is ALSO from Larry's priceless bag of tricks!
Can you see why I'm so excited!
As you study every word of this book
you will become amazed at how easy it will be for you to start writing your own
(I can't resist. "As you study
every word of this book you will become..." is also swiped from Larry's
collection. This is becoming way too easy.)
But let me confess something:
(Yes. "Let me confess..." is
a hypnotic phrase.)
When Larry wrote to me and said he
compiled this material, I was angry.
("I was angry..." is from
this collection, too.)
I wanted to be the author of these
gems. I even offered to help add more gems to the package if Larry would let me
be co-author. He agreed, but I could barely think of anything to add! Larry
already did the work---and did it very well!
The further you read into this
collection, the more you will realize why professional copywriters always have
"swipe files." They use them for inspiration. In this case, Larry has
done ALL the leg work for you.
("The further you read into
this..." is from his swipe file.)
Remember when you were in high school,
and you cheated to get a passing grade? Admit it. You did, at least once. Well,
this collection is your cheat-cheat.
("Remember when you were in high
school..." is swiped from this book, too. Do you see how easy it is to
write with this collection at hand? It's so easy I feel silly accepting money
for writing material like this for clients. But not THAT silly.)
Have you noticed yet that I began with
no idea of how to write this article and now, with the help of Larry's
collection, have written a very interesting and maybe even hypnotic piece?
("Have you noticed yet
that..." is from this fantastic swipe file, too.)
So here you are. You're holding
dynamite. Do you light it and throw it in a field to watch the dirt blow up, or
do you light it and throw it where you know lay hidden gold?
FACT: The choice is yours. Use this
("FACT" is swiped, too.)
Go forth and profit.
Joe Vitale is recognized by many to be one of the greatest living copywriters. His latest project,
the Hypnotic Writer's Swipe
File is a collection of over 1,550 copywriting gems that took him years to compile. This is his personal swipe file that he uses to create world famous
sales letters responsible for generating millions and millions of dollars of revenue.
here to learn more.