A Relentless Barrage of Copywriting Secrets

It was hitting me like a young Mike Tyson …

  • “In a selling situation, IMPERATIVE out-pulls DECLARATIVE almost every single time. Don’t say, ‘Here’s a way you can lose 10 pounds in 30 days.’ Say, ‘Lose 10 pounds in 30 days.’”
  • “An expiration date almost always improves response.”
  • “When should you use asterisks (*) in selling copy? Answer: NEVER!”

WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! My head was spinning!

It was this past Saturday morning at the Delray Beach Marriott, and master copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis was in top form.

For almost an hour, he unleashed a relentless barrage of hot new copywriting secrets at the standing-room-only crowd … and he never, ever let up. Once again, he showed us why he’s considered one of best copywriters and public speakers in the world today.

I knew he’d give a great presentation. After all, I saw him speak last year. But what I didn’t know was how many completely new copywriting secrets he had in store for us.

Secrets I’d never, ever heard before. Secrets so simple, so obvious, and so surprisingly easy to implement, I almost felt ashamed for not thinking of them first.

Here are just a few of the many powerful, cutting-edge secrets I picked up during Herschell’s brilliant presentation:

  • Offer “Click Here” options repeatedly throughout an email promotion … and not just at the bottom. (It parallels the “trial close” of a conventional sales pitch.)
  • Don’t ever use an exclamation point in the subject line of an email. (It triggers spam filters.) And never, ever use multiple exclamation points like this!!!
  • Don’t Use Initial Caps Like This When You’re Writing Copy. It screams “sales pitch” and turns off the reader.
  • Getting attention is not parallel to getting favorable attention.
  • For business-to-business email, always test text against a produced message.
  • Stay out of passive voice … UNLESS you specifically want to avoid the suggestion of involvement.
  • Trigger words for seniors include “Discount” … “Buy Direct” … “Young” … “Have a problem with … ?” … “Do you remember how (whatever) used to be?” … “Have you considered?” …

 … and many, many more simple yet powerful copywriting secrets.

At the end of his presentation, I was dumbfounded by how much Herschell had just handed over to us. In fact, he gave us so many secrets in such a relatively short period of time that I simply couldn’t write them all down fast enough.

“Thank goodness they’re recording all of this.” I thought to myself.

It’s a rare, rare privilege to sit in on a presentation like that. Herschell Gordon Lewis blew me away with his uncanny ability to identify common copy errors in today’s market – complete with examples – and how to correct them quickly and easily.

What a special treat. Watching Herschell speak is something that I hope every copywriter gets to do at some point in his career … whether it’s live in person or on a recording at home.

And to think that was just one of many career-changing presentations I had the privilege to sit in on in the past few days.

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: November 18, 2008

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