If you read these serpentine ramblings you know I greatly admire the Venerable Denny Hatch.
Denny, with almost demented dedication, has over the last 26 years created the world's largest organised direct mail library - over 200,000 samples.
But what is more important, he knows what worked - and what didn't, and can tell you why, because he knows more than anyone about the subject.
18 years ago I rang his wife, Peggy (who is as able as he is!) to ask how many mailings he read a month.
"Between one and two thousand," she replied. "Mind you, he doesn't read all of them all through."
"I should bloody well hope not," I thought. "The poor man would end up in a loony bin if he did."
Anyhow, since that time, Denny's mammoth compendium of the best mailings ever - Million $$$ Mailings, created with Axel Andersson - has been my secret weapon.
I use it to cheat.
I thumb through it for inspiration - and for ideas to steal, adapt and use in seminars. It contains 71 of the most successful mailings ever written. Only last month I wrote something that pulled like an express train based on one line I spotted and “improved”.
I refer to it more than Caples, more than Hopkins, more than Ogilvy.
The only problem is, it is a WHACKING GREAT TOME, 477 pages long - I yearn to beat up recalcitrant clients with it. I can't find the ideas I want quickly. And it is 18 years old, so some important new stuff is not in it.
Now, praise the Lord, Denny has come up with something that's bang up-to-date, and a lot shorter. So I can find tested ideas to steal in minutes.
It’s a report called The Secrets of Emotional Hot-Button Copywriting. You can get it at http://tinyurl.com/29a5mv5.
But to call it a report does it too little justice. It is a treasure trove. I flipped it open just now and immediately saw an extraordinary opening line "I'm sitting in my wheelchair today, mad as hell" ... imagine what that could do for your e-mail opening rates!
(Do not think for a second that what applies in direct mail does not apply online. It is pretty much all relevant - and the examples you see are from the best of the best in a business that has been around for centuries, not decades).
As the title says, the report is based on the turbulent, gnawing human emotions - the hot buttons - that make your customers buy. And it features the best mailings of the last 20 years. Only Denny could have put it together, because only Denny has this astonishing archive of material.
And Denny does something so many fail to do: he tells you WHY things work. You will never get this from some of the hyped-up piffle that sails into your inbox every day.
A friend just forwarded me (as a joke) one of those emails that say “all you need is this set of DVDs and booklets and your copy will “write itself” automatically.
Here, for $89, you can get what you really need – the Copy Thieves’ Almanac. I may use one of the mailings in a speech I make in a week's time. I will certainly adapt another for some work I have to do for an investment client.
Here again is where to order: http://tinyurl.com/29a5mv5.
Why not make it the next thing you do? Just one idea could double the response from your next effort. I have seen it happen. I know.