W-A-Y West of Jewfish Creek
Dear Friend & Subscriber,
And so it came to pass that I, Sir Gary of
Halbert, the amazing Prince of Print, began to wonder,
"How best can I help my subscribers this month? What
could I do that would help them fill their greedy coffers with
huge wads of money which they all seem to be so uncommonly
Hmn? I've already been teaching them how to
make it, fake it, steal it, and wheel and deal it.... what's
left? I know! I know! Maybe this month I can help them to....
Win A Fortune!
And, to that end, I am sending you with this
letter a brand new genuine (and, as yet, unused)
California lottery ticket. Now, what you've got to do is this:
You've got to pick up the ticket and place it on your desk,
and then rub off the carbon with a coin or perhaps one of your
car keys and see if you have won.
But wait! Don't do it till you've finished
reading this letter!
You see, this truly should be the second most
exciting event of your day because, when you rub off the
carbon, you may find you have already won an instant $5,000 plus
you may go on to win the "Big Spin" and literally
rake in millions.
Zowie! This is pulse-pounding stuff, ain't it?
But wait a minute; why did I say this would be the second
most exciting event of your day? Why not the first?
The answer, as copywriters like to say, is
simple. You see, whether or not you win the California
Lottery, you are definitely going to win with this newsletter
because you are about to learn....
How To Cash In Big
By Using Contests and Sweepstakes
To Hype Your Promotions!
If you are especially alert, you may have
already gleaned a big secret on how to make contest more
powerful. Did you catch it? Fear not, I'll reveal what I've
already revealed in a more obvious way in just a few minutes.
But first, a story. Once upon a time, there was a man named
Thomas Hall who was the head of a crew of guys who were
selling vacuum cleaners somewhere in Texas. Anyhow, somewhere
along the line he got the idea of renting a booth at a county
fair and holding a drawing for folks who wanted to win a free
And so he did. And, after he had collected all
the entries, he went ahead with the drawing and gave away the
free vacuum cleaner to the winner.
But he didn't stop there. No, Sir. What he did
next was he wrote a personal letter to all the other people
(who didn't win the vacuum
cleaner) and told them they had won a very valuable second
prize. And what was this valuable second prize? Simply this:
It was the prize of being able to come to his place of
business and buy a vacuum cleaner minus
the rather substantial commission that was normally paid to
his door-to-door salesmen.
It worked like crazy. People were lined up
around the block outside his little store just waiting to come
in and snag one of those vacuum cleaners at an honest and
Why did this work so well? Actually, there are
a couple of reasons. First of all....
People Do Not Enter
A Contest To Win Something
They Do Not Want!
Therefore, as a general rule, a construction
worker will not enter a contest to win a knitting machine nor,
by the same token, will a housewife enter a contest to win a
steam shovel. This is a very important item of information. What it tells you is that
everybody who enters a contest to win a certain item is an
excellent candidate to buy
that item. In other words, sponsoring a contest is a super
duper way to build a responsive mailing list.
O.K., now what is that big secret that has already been
"partially exposed" at the beginning of this letter?
It is this: It is the idea of writing to a person and telling
You May Have Already Won!
Here's a quirk of human nature, the
understanding of which can immeasurably
improve the pull of your ads and letters:
People Will Work Harder
To Keep What They've Already Got
Than They Will To Get Something
They Don't Already Have!
Take a guy who works at a ho-hum job for seven
bucks an hour. Hold out a carrot to this guy in the form of a
seminar or correspondence course that will teach him how to double
his income and you will find you have a very
hard time trying to convince him. On the other hand, that
same guy will scurry around like a pit bull after a cocker
spaniel to prevent having his pay docked as much as 50
cents per hour!
Now, you wanna know something you can say
that's even stronger than "You may have already
won"? It's this:
But don't say it if it ain't so. However, if
you can figure a legit way
to send that message, you can make a fortune. Like so: Let's
say you've got a mailing list of 1,000,000 names and you
instruct your computer to randomly select 5,000 of those names
who will, by virtue of having been selected, have
"won" whatever prize it is you are giving away.
Next, what you do is write these people and tell them
about how they have already
won and what they must do to claim their prize. Note: Do not,
under any guise, tell them that what they have to do to claim
their prize is send you money or buy something.
No. No. No. No. You mustn't do this. Uncle
will be watching and he'll get very mad at you if you try to
pull this kind of
shenanigan. However, it shouldn't hurt if you give your prize
winner the option of
buying something from you, now should it?
But what if you've got a local operation and
you don't do business on a national scale? How then, can you
use this "You have won" idea? Not to worry. All you
need to do is write your "winning customers" (those
whose name you drew out of a hat) and tell them about their
prize and that all they have to do to claim their prize is come
in and pick it up!
Are you paying attention? I hope so because we
are now homing in on a concept that is so obvious that it may
have plumb evaded you. And, it's simply this:
Who Walks Through Your Door
Is Worth X Amount Of Dollars To You!
For example, let's say your retail business
did half a mil in business last year. And, let us say further
that that little bing-bong device that goes off every time
your door is opened went off 5,000 times last year (about 16
times per day). Well, what that means, my friend, is that it's
Every Time Your Door Opens!
Which means, of course, you want that little
bing-bong device to be going off constantly.
Yea verily, let us now strive to make that door open 100 times
per day instead of just 16 times.
O.K.? O.K. And the way we're going to start is
by writing all of your customers and telling them they've just
won something and that they should come in and get it. And,
after so informing all our customers, we are next going to
send a similar message to all of our prospects.
Here are two important considerations:
away something that relates to what you are selling.
Tell your winner he's got to claim his prize by a
Or Else His Prize
Will Be Given To Someone Else!
Zowie. Our winner sure won't want that, now
will he? And especially not if you write a letter like this:
writing to tell you that your name was entered into a
drawing here at my store and you have won a valuable
As you may
know, my store, ABC Jewelry, specializes in low-cost,
top-quality diamond rings and diamond earrings. Well,
guess what? The other day we got in a small shipment
of fake diamonds that are made with a new
process that makes them look so real they almost
don't want to sell these fakes because they could
cause a lot of trouble for the pawnbrokers around
town. So, I've decided to give them away to
some of my old customers whose names were selected at
random by having my wife, Janet, put all the names in
a jar and pull out the winners.
one of the winners and all you've got to do is drop in
sometime before 5:00 p.m. Friday and you'll have a
1-karat "diamond" that looks so good it'll
knock your eyes out!
5:00 p.m. Friday, I reserve the
right to give
your prize to someone
else. Thank you.
Well now, it didn't take much genius
to write that, did it? And I bet you
can do even better. And, if you do and you do it right, your
door will be opening constantly.
More. Did you ever see one of those monster
mailings from American Family Publishers written over the
signature of Ed McMahon? The latest one I've received comes in
a huge envelope that measure 7-1/4" x 11-1/2"
inches! On the outside of the envelope, in huge red letters,
it says "TELE-DISPATCH" and "EXTREMELY
URGENT!" It also says (in white letters) that this
message comes "From TV's Ed McMahon." And what does
it say inside? Check it out. I'm reproducing it below:
Gee, they did it just like I said, didn't
they? Nope. I did not
teach them how to do it; they seem to have figured it out all
by themselves. However, and I swear
this is true, I did not
read their copy until after
I wrote the first part of this letter. But, let's face it:
Great Minds Think Alike!
Now, as most of you know, this is not my kind
of mailing package. Nonetheless, in spite of some rather major
mistakes, this is a brilliant example of the best of what I
call B-pile mail. One of the things they do right (at least,
righter than most B-pilers) is the way they personalize the
mailing by smearing the recipient's name "Garry
Halbert" (sic) across the top of one of their inserts in
a headline that says....
To Be Awarded
Ten Million Dollars!
They also use personalization effectively in
the body copy of their message by personalizing the subheads
Could Lose The Ten Million Dollars
By Failing To Act
Before March 18, 1988!
Which brings me to another important point
about those contest promotions which is... they should be personal.
It's not nearly so effective to say "Dear Friend... You
have won..." as it is to say "You, Sir Gary of
Halbert, have won..."
So put on your thinking cap. A little mental
effort on your part should yield a plethora of ways you can
use contests to hype your sales -- no matter what business you
are in. And don't forget Ole Guru Gary's ABC's of contesting:
may have already won" or "You have
Give away a prize that is related to what you are
Personalize your contest-type mailings.
And now, the big moment draws near. Get out
your coin or key and scrape the carbon from that ticket. And
remember, no matter what's underneath, the fact that you've
just finished reading this letter means...
You Have Already Won!