I once heard that the “World’s Greatest” copywriter, Gary Bencivenga, had a trick he used to boost the odds he’d crank out a highly-profitable promotion…
Now, in fact, Gary had a bunch of tricks up his sleeve.
That’s why he earned this testimonial from fellow A-list copywriter, Doug D’Anna:
“If a copywriter beats the control one out of four times, you’ve got a really good copywriter. If he beats it two out of four times, you’ve got a great copywriter. If he beats it seven out of eight times, you’ve got Gary Bencivenga.”
Gary is, according to those in the know (especially those who hired him) in a class of his own. His ability to crank out winning direct mail pieces and direct response promotions is the stuff of legend.
And yet, what I’m about to share with you — this trick I’m about to reveal — was put in play before he ever put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.
Before he wrote a single word…
In fact, before he even did a shred of research that would go into his copywriting…
Gary Bencivenga used this one trick to give himself maximum chances of — at the very least — cranking out a successful promotion.
What was Gary’s secret?
In short, he only wrote promotions for offers that had already proven themselves in the marketplace!
He didn’t like to launch new products. He didn’t like to introduce new offers. Gary wanted to be handed a proven offer on a silver platter, and be given the chance to beat what had come before.
Why the heck would he do that?
Aren’t new offers more exciting?
Maybe they are. But they come with a huge disadvantage.
You see, traditional direct mail wisdom says that a copywriter like Gary, at his best, still only accounts for about 20% of the success of the promotion.
Of course, 20% is a LOT, when you’re trying to practically mail the phone book at break-even or better. (Even one percent, in a situation like this, can be the difference between mailing 100,000 names and 10,000,000.)
But if you hire the world’s best copywriter for that 20% and the other 80% is off? Well, you’ve just flushed a whole pile of cash down the drain.
What accounts for the other 80% — that segment of the promotion’s success that’s predetermined before even a word of advertising is written? What was Gary looking for in only writing for proven-successful products?
It’s not just the product itself. It’s a split between the offer, which makes up 40% of your success, and the list or market you’re going to, which accounts for the other 40%.
A product once-sold is a product twice-proven…
That’s a rather clever turn of phrase, but what the heck does it mean?
In short, by only selling proven products, you’re ensuring both the offer and the market are at least dialed in enough that good copy will lead to good profits.
That is, in order for a product to sell, you have to have promoted it to a market of people who were willing and able, and could be made ready to buy with the right sales message.
Plus, the offer itself had to be appealing enough that the members of that market were willing to whip out their wallets and hand over the cash.
Having a market full of buyers covers 40% of the path to success. Making sure you’ve got a product or offer that sells covers another 40%.
And if you’re in Gary’s shoes (or those of any copywriter), promoting products that you know have sold before, you know success will ultimately come down to your creative mind.
How can you better speak to that market, about their needs, wants, and desires? How can you present that offer in a more compelling way? What can you work into your selling message that will attract more attention, build more interest, stimulate more desire, and ultimately provoke more action-taking than the already-successful marketing?
Of course, this does require you to be ready to take on a good beat-the-control challenge. Ultimately, success or failure will hinge on your ability to one-up the other guy or gal, who created the promotion before you.
But if you’re confident in that skill, wouldn’t you rather apply it in situations where the offer and the market were already proven, so they weren’t an X-factor that could take you down (no matter how good your marketing was)?
The bigger lesson to take away from this?
Well, let’s imagine for a moment that you’re in a situation where you have to choose between two marketing campaigns. (And this could apply whether you’re a copywriter, marketing consultant, business owner, or anyone involved with the creation of sales-generating, results-accountable marketing.)
The first campaign is for a new product that’s really exciting, and has a ton of potential. It’s never been sold before, but you have a hunch it could really be a blockbuster.
The second campaign is for a product that launched last year, did well, but hasn’t been actively promoted in a few months. It’s a solid product with proven demand, and with the right marketing could be made into a big winner.
Given everything I’ve said above, you know which one Gary would pick. That second campaign sounds much more like a sure-thing, at least in terms of generating substantial profits.
Compare it to investing. Would you rather invest in the hot new stock that could multiply your money 10X or the one that’s consistently generated 10% returns, decade-after-decade.
If you’re the average investor, you’re going to let greed get you, and the 10X stock is what you’re going to pick. If you’re Warren Buffett, you’re going to go for 10% returns every day. Warren Buffett became the world’s most successful investor by eliminating as much risk from his investments as possible. And Gary Bencivenga became the world’s greatest copywriter by eliminating as much risk as possible from his projects.
This clearly points you to what works, if you’re willing to see it.
This clearly represents behavior and mindsets worth modeling.
I literally made my career on studying and modeling the world’s best…
Unless you’ve been completely ignoring my emails, you know by now that tomorrow at noon US Central time, I’m doing a members-only webinar for BTMSinsiders members.
The webinar is called Think Like an A-List Copywriter: 17 Principles for Maximum Profit.
These are the core driving principles I learned by studying Gary B and others, that define the way A-list copywriters and the world’s best direct response marketers think about marketing and advertising.
They’re the mindset principles behind everything they do.
And like the above, the simple application of these principles will lead to the creation of more profitable advertising, more often.
When I got started in marketing, I modeled these principles. In my thinking, in my decisions, in my behavior.
They got me in the door for opportunities I had no right getting in the door for. They led to quick early wins that helped me establish a reputation (plus succeed out of the gate when I launched my freelance copywriting business).
These, beneath everything else, have driven my success. And, from getting to know many of the world’s best copywriters and direct response marketers, these same principles drove their marketing and business success, too.
You’ll have one and only one chance to join us for the live presentation of this webinar.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,