Simple eye-opening ways Gary Halbert made millions in copywriting

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Copywriting is the art of writing text for the purpose of convincing people to do what you want.

You see it every day on landing pages, in Amazon product descriptions, and that side article you clicked on while reading something else.

You know how most people are aware of the latest features in an iPhone? Yeah, somewhere out there there's an army of copywriters that have worked hard on that.

Gary Halbert was considered to be one of the best copywriters. The guy made a fortune doing direct-mail sales in the pre-Internet era. To this day, countless entrepreneurs still re-read his work to understand something that rarely changes: human psychology.

His most notable piece is the one he did from prison: The Boron Letters. It's 20+ actual letters he wrote to his son while being incarcerated in the now-defunct Boron Federal Prison in California 👀

It'll take you a couple of hours to go through the letters, but the gems inside are so worth it. Here are a few:

  • Chapter 9: Profile your target like crazy.

    Don't do target audience (eg: women).

    Do target profile (eg: a woman between the ages of 30 and 45, who uses Instagram but not Facebook, who also has a blog and shares content with her friends weekly, and is also a user of Squarespace or Webflow).

  • Chapter 16: When doing copywriting, remember "AIDA": Attention (or Awareness), Interest, Desire, Action.

    • Attention: Get attention in a relevant way (eg: "There's a silent killer of SaaS businesses: the much-dreaded downtime - when something crashes").

    • Interest: Trigger curiosity to want to know more (eg: "A typical SaaS business loses out on at least one converting customer for every 29 minutes they're down").

    • Desire: Convince them they need it (eg: "That means if your service is down for 1 hour, there's a good chance you'll miss out on 2 new customers (not to mention making your existing ones angry)").

    • Action: use urgency to sell. (eg: "We're testing a limited-run April promotion batch, where you get 25% off for life if you signup today")

  • Chapter 21: Make the customer feel special.

    Example: "Since you're an expert on the topic, we're willing to sell you this product for 50% off, but only if you will give us your thorough opinion on how we can improve it."

    Spoiler alert: your opinion doesn't matter. 😳


Action Steps:

  • Take a few hours to read The Boron Letters online or via Kindle to level up your copywriting.

  • Go over your product's copy and fine-tune every line so that it's optimized for conversion. Examples:

    • Meh: "You can save 20%"

      Better: "If the average cost is $9,800 and you get an extra 20% in savings, that's a whole $1,960 in your pocket"

    • Meh: "Most bloggers"

      Better: "82.9% of all bloggers"

    • Meh: "Get more customers with our widget"

      Better: "We have so many happy customers telling us our widget has increased their sales, we don't know where to put all of the testimonials"

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