How to Decide Where the Promise Should Be in Your Copy

Most writers, even experienced copywriters, tend to "warm up" the page before they get serious. Most direct mail copy that I see, and this includes most good copy, has at least several paragraphs at the beginning of each sales letter that sound good but do little selling.

As a general rule, you will probably find the "true lead" on the second or third page.

To find the true lead of any package, cross out everything in the beginning until you get to a single sentence that makes a strong promise. In nine cases out of 10, this is where the sales letter should begin.

Ask yourself, "Where is the big promise?" And then, when you find it, see if the letter wouldn't work better if that were pushed ahead.

[The above article is an excerpt from Michael Masterson's daily e-service, Early to Rise ( If you're not on track for reaching your goals as a copywriter, you might want to consider looking into Michael's goal-setting program. Believe it or not, there are a few simple goal-setting techniques that will help you do more by working LESS. Visit: for details.]

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
No ratings yet
Published: March 31, 2003

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)