How to Create Bigger Winners … More Often … in Today’s Challenging Financial Markets

Some say the financial information market is dying – or worse, is already as dead as yesterday’s lunch.

They say our prospects are burned out – disappointed with the profits their investment advisories have delivered … and highly skeptical of the promotions we send them.

They say the Internet provides so much free advice, nobody in his right mind will ever again pay for investment guidance – and that soon, financial publishers will be as extinct as a gaggle of gooney birds.

And they say copywriters who specialize in promoting investment products will soon be reduced to pumping gas and flipping burgers for a living.


My advice: When someone tells you "It’s over," do what we do here in the mountains when encountering a rattlesnake: Calmly back away before these losers can inject you with their venom – and then put as much distance between you and them as possible, as quickly as possible!

Sure – it’s true that direct-mail response rates in the financial markets have fallen since 2003. And it’s also true that most financial publishers haven’t been able to mail as many promotions as they used to.

And it’s true that our mailing universe – the number of prime prospects for financial newsletter and book offers – has receded faster than the polar ice caps.

But that does not mean the financial markets are dying. It just means they’re changing and that we – copywriters and our clients – haven’t caught up with them. Yet.

Blaming the market when your package bombs is a cheap cop-out. Waiting for the market to "come around" is a fool’s game. "Failing to adapt" is official "cause" on the Death Certificate of every dinosaur now populating our museums.

As a copywriter, finding a way to produce winners in this challenging new climate may well be the greatest opportunity you’ll ever be offered.

Find the key, and you’ll be an instant legend in this industry … and you’ll rake in royalty riches you can only dream of now.


Let’s face it: The last five years have been a nightmare for most of our prospects in the financial sector.

The tech wreck was brutal. The blue-chip crash cost them dearly. And the 10 rallies – and 10 subsequent declines – of the past five years have left them poorer, exhausted, skeptical – and, in some cases, so depressed about their investing experience that they don’t want to even think about money.

Some automatically junk everything they even suspect might be from an investment advisor. Even their brokerage statements are getting thrown away unread.

Tough nut to crack? Absolutely. But NOT impossible … if you put your thinking cap on.

You could, for example, try slipping in under the prospect’s radar by making your lead about something he IS interested in.

Most promotions for investment newsletters still tend to begin in one of four ways:

  1. With a story about a hot stock …
  2. With copy about a novel moneymaking approach …
  3. With news about an economic development that could make the prospect money, or …
  4. With the prediction of a future event that’s about to cost him a bundle.

Every one of these leads is pure poison to disenfranchised prospects.

Now, here’s a thought: Instead of emulating promotions that aren’t working, why not try making your promotion look and feel like those that are?

Study and emulate direct-mail promotions that are being successfully mailed OUTSIDE of the financial marketplace. They’re not being thrown away unopened – they’re getting read!

So why not try stealth? Cloak your next promo in a perfect disguise. Eliminate anything that smacks of money or investment from the head, deck, and first few pages of copy. Make your promo look like it’s about something your prospect is eager to learn more about.

Begin with a theme your prospect will find intriguing. Maybe it’s a new diet drug that will make him a babe magnet … or a way to save $1,000 per month on his credit card payments … or invite him on a luxury cruise FREE … or show him a new driver that’s sure to make him a hero down at the golf club.

Then, use your lead and first three pages to sell the heck out of the product. Make him want it so bad he can taste it. Show him how millions feel just like he does. And once he’s sold that this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, tell him about the stock and show him how he can make a bundle on it.

Ask your client to test two versions – one with an obvious, overtly profit-oriented investment lead and one with a lead that makes your promo look like anything but a promo for an investment product.

And while you’re at it, ask your client to test lists in whatever subject area you’ve chosen for your lead: health, personal finance, sports – whatever.

Most of all, push yourself out of the box. It’s time to innovate new breakthroughs – NOT to emulate old failures.

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 »

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Published: August 1, 2005

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