From:
North of Jewfish Creek

Dear Friend & Subscriber,

Most good direct response copywriters have a "swipe file" of headlines, bullet points, sales letters, reply envelopes, coupons, etc.

But what most copywriters don't realize is, they should also have a swipe file of...

Interesting Facts!

I'm going to start the rest of this newsletter by telling you some interesting facts... and then... I am going to show you how you can use interesting facts to make a lot of money.

OK, here are 12 interesting facts:

  1. If Jell-O is hooked up to an EEG, it registers movements virtually identical to the brain waves of a healthy adult.
  2. On average, a Twinkie will explode in a microwave in 45 seconds.
  3. 100 shares of McDonald's stock worth $2,250 when it was first offered in 1965 was worth more than 1.4 million dollars 30 years later in 1995.
  4. The original package of M&M's contained brown, yellow, orange, red, green and violet colored candies. The red ones were taken out of the mix in 1976. This is no tbecause they contained red dye #2. It was because company officials were afraid customers would think it did contain that dye..
  5. The dollar sign is a combination of the letters "P" and "S", which is the abbreviation for pesos which was the principle coin in circulation in the United States until 1794. After that, we began marketing our own dollars.
  6. Most American currency contains micro-printed messages to prevent counterfeiting; for example, on the $1 bill, there is an owl in the upper left hand corner of the numeral "1" and a spider hidden in the upper right.

    The phrase "United States of America" is camouflaged within the label of Benjamin Franklin's jacket on the newer $100 bill.
  7. A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
  8. The man who commissioned the Mona Lisa refused it.
  9. Sunglasses were first worn in 15th century China. They were used by judges to conceal their expressions while presiding over court.
  10. Erich Segal, the author of "Love Story" was also one of the screenwriters of "Yellow Submarine".
  11. In the movie, "It Happened One Night" Clark Gable peeled a raw carrot with a pen knife and then munched upon it as he attempted to teach Claudette Colbert how to hitchhike. That scene inspired Warner Brothers to give Bugs Bunny his signature carrot chomp.
  12. According to the film's animators, you'll see 6,649,952 black spots every time you watch the movie "101 Dalmations".

All those facts came out of a little book by David Hoffman titled "Who Knew?" and subtitled "Things You Didn't Know About Things You Know Well". There are many other interesting facts in this little book and I highly recommend you get it and add it to your library.

Of course there are hundreds of books containing interesting facts at your local bookstore. Almanacs are the first that come to mind. But, there are many others and you should have a collection of them.

One of the primary ways to use interesting facts in your copy is to use them to segue into your selling message. "Segue" basically means "making a smooth transition from one part of a presentation to another". Remember the formula for sales success is AIDA. Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.

That means, most of your sales letters should contain a printed headline to catch Attention.

The headline should be followed by a salutation and then something interesting which captures the readers's Interest.

And then, of course, you go on to whet his Desire for what you are selling.

Finally, you motivate him to Action to buy it.

Now, let's have a little fun. I'm going to take those interesting facts and use them in a way that segues into a selling message. Here we go:

Dear Friend,

If Jell-O is hooked up to an EEG, it registers movements virtually identical to the brain waves of a healthy adult.

I mention this because I just returned from a seminar of so-called "web master experts". And I think if you hooked-up their brains to an EEG machine, their brain waves would be inferior to the brain waves of plain, ol' Jell-O.

It seems to me, none of them knew anything of real value about enhancing website profits. Like the few secrets I am about to reveal in this letter:

You might use this verbiage to sell a course on increasing website profits

Dear Friend,

On average, a Twinkie will explode in a microwave in 45 seconds.

This is, I believe, less time than it takes for a prospect to go ballistic when he or she is put on hold or into "voicemail hell". Only stupid marketers allow this to happen. If you sell anything that people can order by phone, you need to know about some of the secrets in my new book called "17 Magic Ways To Turn Incoming Telephone Calls Into Massive Amounts Of Money".

An obvious intro for a book promoting proper telephone salesmanship

Dear Friend,

100 shares of McDonald's stock worth $2,250 when it was first offered in 1965 was worth more than 1.4 million dollars 30 years later in 1995.

That sounds great, doesn't it? But, if you had held on to those same 100 shares for another eight or nine years, you would find them to be worth only $2,478. This is an excellent illustration of why timing in the stock market is everything.

For a book or course on investing in stocks

Dear Friend,

The original package of M&M's contained brown, yellow, orange, red, green and violet colored candies. The red ones were taken out of the mix in 1976. This is not because they contained red dye #2. It was because company officials were afraid customers would think it did contain that dye.

This illustrates the fact that very often people's perception of what is true is more important than what is actually true. That's why you need to read my new book titled "The Secrets Of How Successful People Look, Dress And Act".

Obviously, a pitch for a book teaching how to look and act like a success

Dear Friend,

The dollar sign is a combination of the letters "P" and "S", which is the abbreviation for pesos which was the principle coin in circulation in the United States until 1794. After that, we began marketing our own dollars.

Right now, a real peso (used as Mexican currency) is only worth about nine American cents. And you know what? Most Americans earn so little compared to what they should be earning... they might as well be getting paid in pesos.

And that's a shame because, with just a few simple secrets, anyone with average intelligence can increase their income dramatically. Here's how...

For a product teaching people how to make more money

Dear Friend,

Most American currency contains micro-printed messages to prevent counterfeiting; for example, on the $1 bill, there is an owl in the upper left hand corner of the numeral "1" and a spider hidden in the upper right.

That's all very interesting but, you know what? Most Americans have to spend their money so quickly after they get paid, they have zero time to examine their cash for interesting little embedded images and messages. And that's because most Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck... when... they could easily be making more money than they ever dreamed possible.

Another good way to start a sales letter about a product that teaches people how to make more money

Dear Friend,

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

Even though that may be interesting, a dime won't buy you much these days. On the bright side, I've got a book containing 150 pages which costs only a dime per page... but... each one of those pages reveals another remarkable secret about making more money than any sane person could possibly spend!

Yet another way to start a pitch that has something to do with your " money-making product

Dear Friend,

The man who commissioned the Mona Lisa refused it.

That man was just one of the millions of people who know the price of everything... and... the value of nothing.

He reminds me of the people who think they are getting a bargain when they buy a cheap air purifier. Actually, it's just the opposite. They are NOT getting a bargain. You see, after you factor in the extra cost of electricity to run an inferior air purifier... and... the fact it doesn't work well at all to keep people free from impurities that set off allergic and asthmatic reactions... it's not a bargain at all. It's just down-right cheap.

That's why I want to tell you a few facts about the new ionic air purifier sold by Sharper Image.

For a sales pitch for the ionic air purifier... which is, by the way... a great product.

Dear Friend,

Sunglasses were first worn in 15th century China. They were used by judges to conceal their expressions while presiding over court.

That reminds me of a very important fact you should know when you are negotiating to buy something: The more interested a person is about buying something, the less excited they will try to look about wanting to buy it.

In my new course, "Negotiating Yourself To Wealth" I reveal...

For a book on negotiating tactics.

Dear Friend,

Erich Segal, the author of "Love Story" was also one of the screenwriters of "Yellow Submarine".

That's not as surprising as you might think. You see, a really good writer can write equally well on a multiplicity of subjects. And good novelists usually come from a background of non-fiction book writing or newspaper and magazine reporting. These are people who learned in their previous occupations (writing for another medium) how to keep readers interested in their message.

But don't worry, even if you never wrote a newspaper article, short story or novel in your life, my new copywriting course will teach you...

For a product on how to write better copy.

Dear Friend,

In the movie, "It Happened One Night" Clark Gable peeled a raw carrot with a pen knife and then munched upon it as he attempted to teach Claudette Colbert how to hitchhike. That scene inspired Warner Brothers to give Bugs Bunny his signature carrot chomp.

This just goes to prove you never know where a jackpot idea is going to come from.

But, there are ways to turn your mind into a high frequency antenna which is virtually always alert for facts and ideas that can be turned into a financial goldmine. Let me explain...

For a product which has something to do with money making.

Dear Friend,

According to the film's animators, you'll see 6,649,952 black spots every time you watch the movie "101 Dalmations".

I don't have to watch that movie to see black spots before my eyes. All I have to do is listen to John Carlton attempt to make an interesting speech on marketing and my vision blurs and I start to hallucinate.

That's because I see the correct way to market things so much more clearly than John... that... when he's speaking, it scrambles my mind.

That's not true, of course. John's a great teacher of marketing. But it would be an interesting way to have a little fun and for me to start one of my
newsletters, wouldn't it?

All right. That should be enough for you to get the idea. Now I'm going to give you some more interesting facts and I'm going to suggest YOU use these facts to lead your readers into a selling message just as I have done in the above examples.

This first one is a doozy. It's NOT from the book I mentioned earlier but, believe it or not, it is true. If you can use this interesting fact to start a selling message, I would be very interested in seeing what you came up with. Remember, the idea is not to come up with something cute... but... to come up with something that is valid and will lead to a sale. Anyway, here's the first of the interesting facts I want you to work with:

a) There is a small Roman Catholic church in Murtosa in Northern Portugal and it is the only Roman Catholic church where it is acceptable to drop your trousers so everyone in the church can see your naked rear end. The reason? The local saint, St. Gonacalo (a colorful 13th century priest) has a reputation for curing hemorrhoids. All you have to do is show up at the church, show his statue the affected region, say a prayer and, according to the locals, the pain disappears.
And here's 14 other interesting facts for you to work with:
b) The ostrich cannot fly but it can outrun a race horse.
c) An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
d) The studio that made the movie "Casa Blanca" expected the movie to be a box office disaster. So they kept the budget of the film so low, the plane used in the background of the final scene was a small cardboard cutout. To give it the illusion of being full sized, the producers hired midgets to portray the crew who prepared it for take off.
e) Marilyn Monroe developed her signature walk by hacking off the heel of one shoe.
f) If you ever see the name "Alan Smithee" in the credits of a movie, it means the real director considered the movie so crummy, he didn't want his or her real name to be used.
g) The stabbing sound the knife in the movie "Psycho" made is actually the sound of a knife stabbing a melon.
h) Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
i) The number of cricket chirps you can hear in 15 seconds plus 37 will tell you the current air temperature.
j) Panama hats are actually made in Ecuador.
k) "Stewardesses" is the longest word in the English language that can be typed using only your left hand.
l) In the Batman comic books, only Batman and Robin live in the Wayne Mansion. In the Batman movies however, an elderly woman, Aunt Harriett, also lives there. This is because producers fear two bachelors and a butler living together might make people think they have homosexual overtones.
m) The smell of Crayola crayons is so familiar, it is one of the most 20 recognized scents to adults. It ranks up there with coffee and peanut butter. The smell of Crayola crayons is so soothing, that sniffing them has been proven to lower blood pressure.
n) The name "Atari" was chosen so customers who bought their products would think it was based in Japan. It was actually based in Northern California.
o) On the average, we forget 80% of what we learn on any given day.

Okay students, start writing your own sales letters. Remember to begin with "Dear Friend". Then, make the intro paragraph one of the Interesting Facts you've just read. That will be followed by the second paragraph which is your segue into your sales letter. That's your homework for this month. And shame on you if you don't get right down to it.

Now, I'd like to finish up some "housekeeping" details:

First, many of you want to know how to order my book "The Boron Letters". That book is featured in the newsletter inside the envelope icon called "Disaster Insurance". In that letter, I told you how to get my book by calling a voicemail phone number. Unfortunately, when I initially put that newsletter up on my website, I had the wrong voicemail number. But, that issue has since been corrected. I suggest you skim through "Disaster Insurance" again... and... if you would like to have a copy of "The Boron Letters" (which contain perhaps the most concise and valuable direct marketing lessons ever printed between two covers) call the correct number, which happens to be (305) 866-3613.

You know, I receive a barrage of e-mails every day asking me what books and courses I recommend on marketing. So, starting with my next newsletter, near the end of each issue I am going to enclose a link you can click on to learn about another direct marketing information product that I enthusiastically recommend.

Now here's something else: I've developed a minor obsession with having a high Alexa ranking. A major part of the Alexa ranking is how much traffic goes to your website on a daily basis. So, I want to have a lot of people going to my site every day and here's what I'm going to do: Every day (right after I publish the next edition of this newsletter), I am going to send everybody on my mailing list a one-line e-mail message saying something like "Click here for today's Halbertism". These will be pearls of wisdom. Some created by me, some "pinched" from other people or books, some inspirational, some just funny, and so on. But the idea is to give you a way to start your day with a bit of knowledge, inspiration or humor to enrich your life.

If you don't like this idea and don't want to receive e-mails about my precious Halbertisms, please let me know via e-mail to NoSexGary@aol.com before I write my next newsletter.

OK, that's it for this issue. I, for one, am extremely happy 2003 has come to an end. I truly wouldn't want to live it over again.

  Sincerely,
 
   Gary C. Halbert
  "Student of Facts for Fun and Profits"

P.S.

Please don't forget to re-read "Disaster Insurance". I consider it to be one of the most important pieces of writing ever written.

Peace.

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