From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Promise vs. Picture

Hey Pat,

Well, I finally opened the program and jumped in with both feet – and am enjoying it very much. I feel like I’ve made great strides in a short time, but I’m stuck on Section 11 and need some help.

The problem I’m having is with Promise vs. Picture. I thought I understood the explanation. I felt comfortable with the difference between the two in the peanut diet example. But when I tried to mark the letter about tai chi, I got almost all of them wrong. Even the pre-marked ones were confusing to me. I know I’m missing something here. Is there anything you could tell me that might help?


Hello Bonnie,

Not to worry. A lot of people have trouble with this distinction. I promise you that you’ll have that “Ahhhhh” moment if you just keep at it.

Try looking at it like this: Every promotion needs to convey a major benefit to the prospect. Something that hooks him on a deep emotional level. That’s the Big Promise. And the Picture is one way of delivering the Big Promise.

The Picture is where your prospect sees himself reaping all the benefits of the Big Promise. Like his family enjoying a comfortable life after he’s gone because he had the good sense to buy that life insurance … or his friends envying the big new house he was able to afford because he knows a little something extra about investing from the financial newsletter he ordered.

These are just two examples from letters included in the Accelerated Program for Six-figure Copywriting. And the Hall of Fame book has 50 more letters for you to practice with.

Good luck!

Dear Pat,

My question is about mailing lists. Where can you buy or rent them? And, also, how specific are the lists?

Steve Y.

Hello Steve,

There are a couple of ways to get your hands on mailing lists – but the most effective way is to use a list broker. Bob Bly lists several that he recommends on the “vendors” page of his website,

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “how specific are the lists?” It sounds like you are asking: How detailed is the information about the people on a given mailing list? If that’s the question, the answer is that it varies greatly … depending on the list.

However … by going to a list broker, you can always be sure that they will have the most complete information available about the names on their lists. It’s in their best interest for you to get the right list. They want you to come back for more names from them.

The important thing for you to remember is that you want a list of people who have responded to offers that are similar to your offer. That means if you’re selling a $29 prostate supplement, you want people who have bought prostate supplements close to that price point. That doesn’t mean people who have requested free information about prostate health … or people who have paid hundreds of dollars for a seminar with a doctor specializing in prostate cancer prevention.

Hope this helps.

That’s it for this week. Thanks to one and all. And keep those emails coming!


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Published: May 1, 2006

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