Is "Too Easy" Killing Your Copy?

Hey, before I get started. Don't read this. Not unless you're serious about cranking out more powerful copy. Not unless you want to wield the power of a Master Copywriter.

If you don't think you can cope with that power — to be able to effectively persuade people to do something you want them to do, just with the power of your words — then forget about this article and move on with your day.


Still reading? Well, you must be really hungry to get ahead and become a Master Copywriter. Good. Then listen up.

So, you've just cranked out a hot sales letter.

You have a compelling lead that entices prospects down into the copy. You show them seven ways 'til Sunday all the reasons they should buy your product. You hit 'em hard with the benefits they'll get. You make it risk-free to place their order. And, you have a powerful close that shows them exactly how easy it is to get their product by ordering now.

Yet, you put the letter to the test in the market and it falls flat on its face.

What gives?

Well, you may well have triggered a dangerous response in your prospect — a response that can kill your sale.

The Trap of "Too Easy"

Let's step out of your head for a moment, and into the prospect's.

You get a sales letter with an intriguing headline. It grabs your attention and gets you reading. It introduces you to a product that is a direct path to solving a problem you have — you're interested.

It tells you all the ways it's going to make your life easier — you're starting to desire it more. (Yet, at the same time, it's sounding a little too good to be true … enter doubt.)

Now, as you read it … you feel like the product may be what you need … but you're not sure if it'll be all the sales letter is making it out to be. And, maybe they're making this just too easy to be a part of — you know, this letter even sounds a little greedy. (Distraction … more doubt.)

And, even as the letter writer gives you all the reasons why you should respond now — and why you're risking nothing by doing so — you just don't think it's for you.

So, you move on with your day, and never respond.


This scenario seems to fly in the face of all you've learned so far about effective advertising. I mean, aren't you supposed to grab attention, build interest, stir the flames of desire, take away all risk, then ask for action?

Well, sure.

But consumers are as skeptical as ever and you have a fine line to walk when it comes to making the sale and making it easy to respond.

Because if you make it seem just too easy, and too good to be true, it's going to kill your response. Because "too easy" triggers your reader to doubt what you're saying.

And, doubt always enters the ring throwing elbows, and is pretty effective at clobbering response in the face.

So, what do you do?

Take it away!

Here's a proven way to beat the "too easy" objection — and boost the selling power of your copy to boot.

The Velvet Cord!

The Velvet Cord is a Master’s Secret shared in Session #9 of AWAI’s Master’s Program. Here's a real-life example of The Velvet Cord in action — and where it got its name.

When it's opening night at a new nightclub, nobody knows quite what to expect. The nightclub owner knows this — and wants his new club to be seen as a hot spot. So, he plants a bouncer at the door, and runs a velvet cord up the sidewalk for a line to form.

Countless people stand in line (some real customers, some hired "pretty faces") waiting to get in. From time-to-time, the bouncer pulls back the cord, and lets a few select people in. Others, though, walk up to the bouncer and are let in immediately — obvious VIPs.

Passersby see the line, the velvet cord, the VIPs, and the closed door and think — subconsciously — that the new club must be HOT and they want to get in.

There's a perception that the club is where it's at — and they want to be inside because that's where the "chosen few" are at.

Great examples of this in copywriting are "special invitations" to an "exclusive membership" such as this from the Hall of Fame American Express letter …

Quite frankly, the American Express Card is not for everyone. And not everyone who applies for Cardmembership is approved.

From Popular Mechanics …

This invitation isn't for deadbeats, rip-off artists, or "gentlemen" who hate to get their hands dirty. It's for the rest of us.

And The Oxford Club …

Please understand this is a private, personal invitation. It may never be repeated. If you do not accept this opportunity, you may never hear from us again. Your name will be wiped clean from our records.

Notice in each of these examples how the writer takes away the possibility that you, the reader, might even be qualified.

Here's the deep message behind each example.

For American Express …

Sure, you can apply, but that doesn't mean we have to accept you … Unless, of course, you're qualified.

Popular Mechanics …

Our magazine is for real men — is that you?

The Oxford Club …

If you're reading this and it's not addressed to you, you don't qualify. If it is addressed to you, you better be the type of person who takes action on good opportunities or you'll no longer qualify.

Each — on deep level — is selectively inviting some people into the club, forcing others to wait in line, and downright rejecting others.

How This Turns the Tables

Without The Velvet Cord, your copy is essentially begging for the order. It layers promise on top of promise (on top of promise), hoping that the next promise will make the prospect respond.

With The Velvet Cord, the entire power dynamic shifts dramatically.

No longer are you begging for the sale. You're telling the reader what a good opportunity they have in front of them. While at the same time you explain they need to do the begging to get in on your offer. Or, at least they need to justify for themselves, in their own mind, why they're even qualified to respond. And, they need to do it before they place the order.

Instead of the "too easy" and "too good to be true" responses, your prospect will begin to think of all the ways they are qualified to respond. They may even start fighting with you — in their own mind — to justify why you should let them order from you.

Responding to your copy is how they prove that they are a VIP.

And they want to be a VIP.

Why not try this on your next piece of copy — and see how it boosts response.

The AWAI Method™

The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter

The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »

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Published: May 5, 2010

2 Responses to “Is "Too Easy" Killing Your Copy?”

  1. I had to read AWAI Hall of Fame letters before I discovered the key to The Velvet Cord...Absolutely great secret!

    Guest (joseph lacey)

  2. I'm definitely going to incorporate this technique in my writing. It's classic, but never gets old!

    Cheryl Williams

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