North of Jewfish Creek

Dear Friend and Subscriber,

     I didn't have to masturbate to get my heart started this morning.

     Plus, nothing evil or toxic seems to have happened to me so far today.

     So, I should feel good but, I don't.  No specific reason. I just feel
down-in-the-dumps.  I guess I'm just like everyone else.  Sometimes, I'm 
just plain overwhelmed by life.  On other days, I find myself inexplicably
cheerful, confident and optimistic.  There doesn't seem to be much rhyme
or reason to it.  Not as much as I'd like for there to be anyway.

     Awhile back, some guy told me, "You know Gary, life is like a shit
sandwich.  Everyday you get another bite.  And the difference is , On good
days, you get more bread."

     But, you know what?  There is something I could do that almost always
cheers me'm going to try it today.  Here I go.  What I'm
going to try to do today is...

Write A Good Newsletter!

Howzabout I give you some really simple, easy-to-execute little tips
that will make your marketing endeavors considerably more profitable?
Doesn't that sound like it has some "cheering-up-potential"?  I think it
does so, here they are:

Tip #1:  "Reading Statistics:  What You Don't Know Could Be Killing
          Your Advertising Results!"

     Did you know that a clear 90% of the people in the U.S. read at a 
grade seven (age 12) level or lower?

     Also, did you know that research shows reading from a computer screen
is around 25% slower than reading from paper?

     What should you conclude from these facts?  Give up?  Okay, it's this

You Must Write In Plain English...
Your Writing Must Be Simple... And...
It Must Be Clear!

     That means short and simple words, sentences and paragraphs in your 
copy.  Are there any hard and fast rules?  Not really.  I'll give you some
guidelines, though.

     As far as words, sentences and paragraphs go...don't use a ten-dollar
word when a simple one will work just as well.  Keep your sentences
relatively short... say, 14-17 or less words.  And if you have longer
ones, break them up with ellipsis... or dashes-.

     As a general rule, paragraphs should not exceed 6 lines.  However, I
usually stay around 2 to 4.  And it's a good idea to mix it up... have 
some one sentence paragraphs...even one or two word paragraphs...

     Like this.

     Actually, one of the best ways to learn how to write clearly is...
study proven sales letters.  Find the ones you know are winners... that
are easiest to read and model their layout/style.  If you're not already
collecing good sales letters, get started now.  Get on the mailing lists
of Agora Publishing, Phillips Publishing and Rodale Books.  And, if you're
really serious, buy at least one or two products from each of them.
You'll get more good to great sales letters, magalogs, bookalogs, etc.,
than you can shake a stick at... delivered right to your front door.

     Here's another tip...

     If you use Microsoft Word, you can test the readability of your ads
and sales letters.  Here's what you do: Click on the Tools button at the
top of the screen.  A menu will come up.  In that menu click on Options.
Then you'll see a Spelling & Grammar button... click that.  Then there's a
check box at the bottom that says, "Show readability statistics"... click
that.  Then when you spell check your document, you'll get a box that
looks sort of like this...


Readability Statistics:

Words: 1037
Characters: 4909
Paragraphs: 38
Sentences: 96 

Sentences per Paragraph: 3.0
Words per Sentence: 10.3
Characters per Word: 4.3

Passive Sentences: 2%
Flesch Reading Ease: 74.6
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 5.4


 Those are the readability statistics for this newsletter.  Not bad.  In
general, you should aim for a grade level of 6 or lower.  And a reading
ease of 70 or higher.

     Here's yet another tip...

Envision Your Customer As A Dolt!

     My friend and colleague, Jeff Paul says that when he sits down to
write a sales letter or ad, he thinks of his average customer as being
just like Homer Simpson.  (You know, the lovable oaf from the famous TV
show The Simpsons.)  But not in a derogatory way.  In this way: For every
word, sentence and paragraph Jeff writes... he asks the question: Would
Homer understand this?  (Meaning: If Homer can understand it... my
customer will easily be able to.)

     Great advice.  By the way, I love it when Homer says...


     Anyway, don't worry about turning-off the brainiacs with your simple
writing style.  They're apparently only 10% of the crowd.  And, if it's 
something they want to hear, they'll appreciate simple clarity... plus...
the rest of your audience will still be able to understand it.

     And know this: People are busy and they are bombarded with 1000's of 
advertising messages every day.  If your sales message isn't bold, 
dramatic... and ... SIMPLE... they'll just ignore it!  You can't make them
work to understand your message.

     One last thing:  Since people read 25% slower from a computer monitor
than they do from paper... you'd better be extra clear when writing sales
materials online.

Tip #2:  "Two Quick Formatting Tips That'll Boost Response To
          All Your Ads And Sales Letters!"

     Here's a couple of quick tips that'll boost response to all your ads
and sales letters.  What's great about these tips... is they only take a
few minutes per promo to implement:

          1. Don't end a page in your sales letters on a period...
             or... a column of copy in an ad on a period.

          2. Put a footer (in the bottom right hand corner) on all
             your sales letters that says something like, "go to next
             page".  If you run multi-page newspaper or magazine
             ads... do the same.

     Here's why: When you end a page (or a column of copy) on a period, you
give the reader a chance to stop reading.  Bad! Very bad!  Instead, you
want to think of your promo as a greased slide, that, once they get on,
there's no way to stop until the very end... where they then whip out 
their wallet and buy.

     Let me take this a step further.

     If, for example, a person is reading your sales letter (or ad) and is
near the end of a page... and the phone rings... if they can finish that
page because you ended it on a period... they are then much more likely
to do that and answer the phone.  Doesn't have to be the phone.  Any
distraction.  And once they are distracted from your letter, that may be
your one chance to get an order... gone forever!  Remember this:

Delay Is The Death Of A Sale!

     Could you imagine a salesperson, in the middle of their pitch saying,
"Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom."  They'd never make any sales...
or very few.  Just remember:  Once you've hooked 'em, don't ever, ever give
them any opportunity to get away!

     Also, a footer that says, "go to next page" or "go to page 2" helps to 
keep them moving down the greased slide, as well.

     I can't tell you how many sales letters cross my desk without these 
simple response boosters.  And I'm not talking from amateurs either.
Advertising and Marketing Gurus (that I won't name here) make this 
mistake... OFTEN!  There's no reason to... other than laziness or
sloppiness.  Don't make this mistake yourself.  It'll cost you money!

     Another thing you can do, is make your pages end on kind of a cliff-
hanger.  Like right before you are getting ready to reveal a secret... or
something important.

     On the following page is a perfect example:

Not only will I reveal how to double your income in 5 days or less, I'm also going to

                                                                                                      (Go to page 2...)

      Or something like that.  Notice I put the footer in parenthesis and bold italics... use the bolding to draw attention... the italics are optional.

     Here are a few other sample phrases you might use:

  • (go to the next page)

  • (next page please)

  • (Please go to the next page and continue reading...)

  • (turn over)

  • (over...)

     Study ads and find others that you like.  I personally keep it simple,
but specific (see example in the box above).

     This is not rocket science... but... it sure can make a big difference
in response.  How big?  I'm not exactly sure.  But it really doesn't matter.
It does make a difference... and ... it's simple to use.  So why not do it?

Tip #3:  "A Quickie Formatting Tip That'll Instantly Boost Response
          To All Your Ads And Sales Letters!"

     This tip is simple and easy to apply.  And it's this:  If you want to improve response to every ad and sales letter you write...

Put Your Headline In Quotes!

     How well does this work? Well, to tell the truth, I'm not exactly sure.
Here are a couple of statistics I've read.  David Ogilvy in his book
Ogilvy on Advertising says, "When you put a headline in quotes, recall
goes up 38%." 
Another stat I read says, "...headlines in quotes receive
28% more attention."

     I'm not sure what the difference is between "recall" and "attention"...
but I don't really care.  Quotes around your headline compel more people
to read your ad or sales letter... so... I use them.  You should too!

     Another thing I've taken to, is if I have subheads under my main headline... I put them in quotes too.  BUT... I don't close my quotes
until the last subhead.  Again, on the next page is an example:




                Send no money… it’s free and easy to get started…
                but only for a limited time…


“Who Else Wants To Be Spoonfed
The Hottest Moneymaking Secrets
Known To Man?

“Each and every month, Key West entrepreneur and self-made
millionaire, Nancy Jones does an in-depth interview and
uncovers the innermost secrets of a “super high-achiever” in
the field of business of personal success… and… delivers it on
audiotape to the doorsteps of her exclusive mastermind
members.  Now, at last, you can become a member too and get
a multi-million dollar business and success education in the
comfort and leisure of your own home (or car).

“It’ll cost you nothing to get started.  Plus, if you’re not
satisfied… for any reason or no reason at all… you’ll pay
nothing ever - guaranteed!  (Please read this entire message
right away because, this offer is strictly limited and expires
for good on Wednesday, April 4, 2001!)”


     Why do I do this?  Again, to tell the truth, I'm not exactly sure if it
improves response or not (or, if so, by how much)... but... I noticed it
being done a lot in magalogs.  Magalogs I know that are (or were)
controls. I don't have any hard evidence to back this up... but... I 
feel, if you close the quotes after every subhead or the headline... it
kind of puts up a reading roadblock.  By leaving them open, then putting a
quote in front of the next subhead... I believe you draw the reader down
and through your copy.

     When I just have a headline with no subheads, I close the quotes after
the headline.

     The leaving the quotes open thing is just my opinion... albeit... a
somewhat informed opinion.

     (By the way:  A control is the winning or strongest ad or mail piece a
company runs.  One that they test other ads or mail pieces against and it
pulls in more sales.  A magalog is a multi-page thing you get in the mail
that looks like an informative magazine... but... is really a sales
piece.  They give some information... but leave the info incomplete enough
to entice you to order whatever product or service is being offered.)

Tip #4:  "How To Use Free Bonuses To Increase The Perceived Value Of
          Your Offers And Increase Sales!"

     This lesson is a basic, but useful one.

     Remember the old Ginsu knives infomercials?  Remember how they'd pile on the free bonuses to get you to order?  If not, it went something like

     "But wait, that's not all!  If you order in the next 30 minutes... I'll
not only send you the entire 36-piece set of Ginsu knives, I'll include a 
second set absolutely free.  And, you still get the free fisherman's 
friend fillet knife, the free indestructible cutting board... and...
etc., etc., etc."

     Anyway, the reason they did that is... it works!  That is, it increases
sales... sometimes massively.  And all you've got to do to see this 
technique used at its perfection, is tune in to late night television. 
Just stay up late and watch a few cheesy infomercials.

     They've really got it down to a science.  They have to.  It costs so
much money to make and test an infomercial ($100,000 or more easily)
there's no room for error.  If you see one of these 30-minute spots run
over and over... pay attention... you're watching a winner!

     Now, how do you apply it to your business?  Well, since I don't know what business you're in... I'll cover a few different examples.

       If you sell information, you can add more information.  Free
       book.  Free tapes.  Free videos.  Free teleseminars.  Etc.

       If you are in a service business, say dry cleaning, you could
       offer extra free cleaning.  One shirt free for every two or 

       A chiropractor... free exercise ball to strengthen their back
       with first paid appointment.

       A dentist... free teeth cleaning with first paid appointment.

       Computer sales... free deluxe office chair when someone buys a

       Industrial sales... free service contract for one year after
       purchase of a widget.

     Whatever business or industry you're in, you can use free bonuses to 
increase sales.  Just make sure the bonuses have a high perceived value...
and... are easy (and cost-effective) to fulfill on (see caveat below).

     Use your imagination and see how many ways you can apply this to your 
situation.  It's easy.

     Caveat: Be wary of tail. What's "tail"? This: Say, if you are selling a book, and you offer a 30 minute free consultation to people if they buy your book... that consultation is tail.  You have now sold your time. Time you are going to have to fulfill on later down the road.  Better: Offer another similar or complimentary free report with purchase of the book.  You can easily fulfill on that ... and then... you are free and clear.  And the client still gets increased value...thus...more sales for you.

     Hey, that was some pretty helpful stuff, wasn't it? And, you know what?
In reality, I didn't write ANY of those tips. They were all written by
Scott ("Mongo") Haines.  Scott is the best student I've ever had.  And now,
he publishes his own newsletter.  You should get it.  It's free.  It's 
informative.  It will help you make more money. Scott sends it (100% free)
to anyone who gives him their e-mail address. Your e-mail address is safe
with Scott.  It will only be used to send you his newsletter and an
occasional bit of "Hot News". He will not rent, trade, sell or use your
e-mail address in any other way. And, for what it's worth, I Sir Gary of
Halbert, 100% recommend and endorse you being a subscriber to his
newsletter.  You can find out all about it by going to...

     That's it for this month. by turning you on to Scott's newsletter, I
feel I've done you a great favor... and... having completed this month's 
newsletter has put me in a brighter mood.

     Maybe life is worth living after all.

   Gary C. Halbert
Plagiarist Personified

 P.S. I desire 100% of the credit for all of Scott's success. And for
      those students of mine who didn't "get it", I only have this to say
      about those people...

It Was All Their Fault!

      Anyway, that's the way I look at things.


Copyright © 2003 Gary C. Halbert.  All Rights Reserved.