From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Identifying Current Gems

Here’s an example, from Wilf A. in the UK, of how the AWAI Copywriting Program can help you in your current career … even if it has nothing to do with copywriting:

Dear Scott,

I’ve been in the Copywriting Program for a year now, and haven’t yet gotten to 3 figures, let alone 6. But something very significant has happened that is going to make me some serious money.

Let me explain.

I am an insurance salesman, and I sell almost exclusively to dentists. So I wondered if I could possibly, just possibly, write for a dentist’s magazine about a subject that was dear to them. "Yes," I thought, "but I’d have to write a SALES LETTER for the article first. I had to sell the Editor on the idea. Now, how do I write a sales letter? Hmmmmm …"

I wrote that letter just as the program taught me: Promise, Picture, Proof, and Push. And I’ll be danged. They bit my hand off – for not one, but two articles. So, thanks to AWAI, I am now a published author in one of the most prestigious dentist’s magazines in the UK! I never thought it could happen, but it did!

Now, of course, we have printed off a lot of copies of the article, and I’m visiting dental practices all over the city, saying: "I’m the Author of this article in XYZ magazine. I believe it may prove to be extremely important to your career. Please have a complementary copy. Can you spare me 5 minutes so I can tell you about it?"

And guess what?

Getting in is as easy as falling off a log now. So my insurance sales are going to take off with a vengeance because I’m getting in to see 4 TIMES as many people in a week as I ever did before. I’m staggering (well … not literally, of course!) from practice to practice, thinking: "This can’t be happening. No, I’m going to wake up and find it’s all untrue." It’s so little trouble, it’s amazing.

AWAI is to blame for this success. I hold you entirely responsible. I bet Michael Masterson never thought his program would sell insurance! But it has, and it will.

Wilf Alleyne

Hi Scott,

I’m in the Six-Figure Copywriting Program. I’ve been without much to show for it for longer than I ought to admit – but I’m focused and rolling now. Despite my dismal performance to date, I have been reading and studying whatever copywriting how-to stuff comes my way. I WILL be one of your success stories one day soon.

The question I have for you today is this: How does one find out what promo packages are working well in real life (other than the ones in the Hall of Fame book), so one can learn from them? I’m talking about identifying the gems in all the ones that show up in my mailbox.

Thanks for a great – and quick and easy to read – e-letter. And for keeping it going through thick and thin. (You’re just like the mailman – not rain, snow, sleet, hail … nor hurricanes … can keep your Mailbag from getting through!)

Barb O.

Hello Barb,

I think it’s great that you’ve made the commitment to become a copywriter. We understand that people sometimes get sidetracked by life after starting the program. And we encourage you to start back whenever you can, because there is no time limit to finishing it.

To answer your question, the single best way I know of to identify current gems is by subscribing to Monthly Copywriting Genius. To the best of my knowledge, there is no other service like it. We find the current "million-dollar" promotions for you and then critique them so you can know exactly what is working and why.

Of course, you can still find these promotions the old fashion way …

First, get on as many mailing lists as you can. Save all of the direct mail that comes to you and keep an eye out for the duplicates. When you receive the same promo two or three times, you can be pretty sure it is the control. A company simply won’t spend money re-mailing copy that doesn’t work. But that still doesn’t guarantee that you are reading blockbuster promotions – those that have mailed over 1 million pieces. They might be doing "just good enough" to re-mail. To know for sure that you’re looking at a winner, you need Monthly Copywriting Genius. (

Hi Scott,

I just landed a job (my first) writing a reactivation letter for my accountant. I looked through Monthly Copywriting Genius and the AWAI Hall of Fame book for an example … with no results. Can you point me to one? I couldn’t find much in the program book either, but I remember seeing an example somewhere.

Any ideas? I’d like to do a good job on this, but I don’t mind telling you … "I’m scared!"
I really need to get this done quickly. Thanks ever so much.

Grace S.

Hello Grace,

Congratulations on your first assignment. I can empathize with your apprehension. The first place you should go for examples of a reactivation letter is to your accountant. The client you are writing for should always provide you with past promotions and any other material about their service/product that you’ll need.

If he doesn’t have any, don’t worry. A great resource for locating sample mail pieces is Target Marketing’s Archive service ( For a fee, you can get copies of just about any type of direct mail letter that’s ever been mailed. You’ll definitely be able to find samples of reactivation letters there.

The good news is that the people you will be writing the letter to are already familiar with the service. They know why it’s worth their time and money. You just have to remind them … and give them a reason to take action again this year.

Thanks to one and all. Keep those emails coming!


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: December 5, 2005

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