The Lazy Man’s Way (What Joe Karbo Taught Me)

About 7 years ago, I discovered a copywriting principle so powerful it makes AIDA look like the 100-year old has been it is.

Let me ask you a question.

Have you ever just sat there and gawked at the beauty of a piece of copy?

I’m not talking about design, I’m talking specifically about the words.

For me, it was Joe Karbo’s Lazy Man’s Way to Riches.

That was a beauty.

I mean there are definitely many others, but Joe’s full page ad kicked off my love affair with copywriting.

He was the catalyst. I’d say to myself…

“If he could write THAT and make millions, surely lowly I…”

You get the picture.

Which brings me to my point.

I’m sure others can back me up, if you’ve ever seen the product Joe was selling, then you know it wasn’t the greatest.

And that’s being kind about it.

The truth of the matter is…

It sucked.

As I recall, there was only two pages in the book that had any real value.

One was copy he wrote as a love letter to his wife. Totally blew me away.

The other was copy he used to sell a green Cadillac. I still remember it.

(It was BRILLIANT. And I’ve used the same exact strategy many times since.)

But Joe was right.

His little book that only cost fifty cents to publish, made me millions for myself, clients and partners.

Now the masters of copywriting will tell you that to write great copy, you need a great product.

Gary Bencivenga at his “100” seminar was particularly emphatic about it.

Yet I totally disagree.

Many times when I land a client, I don’t even have the product to work with to evaluate.

And even when I do, many times it sucks worse than Joe’s book.

No, a great product is definitely inspiring, but it’s not a necessity.

The reason why I say you don’t need a great product, is because…

People DO NOT fall in love the product, or even its features and benefits.

No. People fall in love with THE COPY first.

What they’re buying is:

THE COPY.

They’re not putting their trust in the product.

They’re putting their trust, faith and belief in THE COPY.

It’s not the product that gets them to part with their money, it’s THE COPY.

When you work in hyper-competitive markets with hundred of different products that all look the same, you quickly realize the quality of the writing is what immediately differentiates you.

Spend some time analyzing the competitive on ClickBank and you’ll see.

Copy is what people are really buying.

And this is why marketers like Agora is so insistent on amazing copy–almost to a fault.

And if you look at the big time marketers today, I won’t name names, you’ll discover the majority of their initial products sucked.

Yet they made a go of it, didn’t they?

In fact, I recently wrote a promotion for a 2 and a half page “product”.

The copy? 24 pages. Yes, 24 pages to sell a 2+ page product.

Amazingly, the offer sold out in 15 minutes against a small list of 1000.

What’s more is that there have been zero refunds.

(I once heard Joe saying he had few refunds as well.)

The copy kickstarts the “first impression cognitive bias”. It sets the stage.

This is why the smartest marketers write the copy first, AND THEN the develop the product.

In fact, one of my copywriting partners on my team REFUSES to look at client products.

Remember how Eugene Schwartz used to take a highlighter to an book or something to pull out the best stuff?

I still do that. But my partner refuses.

He says most of the infoproducts depress him because they could be so much better. They take the wind out of his inspirational sails.

So he writes the copy based upon HIS research. He finds out what customers in the market REALLY want.

Unlike most

And I must say his copy is EONS better than the product.

So much so, the client falls crazy in love with it.

I’m not kidding.

Here’s his secret: As long as he DOESN’T have a peek at the product, he’s able to write without the limitations and restrictions normally imposed.

He can “unleash” and write pretty much whatever he wants. (Of course, he has morals.)

Here’s the thing:

The client is usually so impressed with the copy they often go back and add to the product, filling in the missing components until the product matches the copy bullet for bullet.

My goal of this email today is to reorient your thinking.

Perhaps to get you to appreciate why it’s important to put so much muscle into your copy.

–Matt

P.S. What’s your favorite piece of copy? Leave a comment and tell me about it, ok?

We can geek out on copy together.

P.P.S. Here’s Joe’s copy in all its glory:

 

  • Nicolas Hevey

    Gary Bencivenga’s Ham letter makes me want to order that overpriced ham and I don’t even care for ham.

    http://swiped.co/file/kurobuta-ham-letter-by-gary-bencivenga/

    I lost the letter and haven’t been able to find it online but the “Target 21 Blackjack System” sales letter is a sentimental favorite because I read it every day for months as a teenager while I saved up to buy the system. I was convinced it would help me take the Indian reservation casinos to the cleaners once I turned 18 and was old enough to gamble. it didn’t.

    • Ah yes, the Ham letter. That’s a beauty. Have you seen Gary B’s more recent Olive Oil campaign? It’s worth stashing into the ol’ swipe file.

      Not familiar with ‘Target 21’ but you did remind me of an old betting system letter where the page was littered with screenshots of hand-written testimonials. Powerful stuff!

      Great insights Nicolas, thanks!

      • Nicolas Hevey

        Haven’t got my hands on a new Bencivenga letter in years. I’ll have to hunt around for a copy. Thanks for the heads up!

          • Nicolas Hevey

            “The oil, just born from earth and tree, was alive with flavors so fresh and green, they awakened my palate as if from slumber”

            That’s poetry.

            I think I’m pretty good at writing pieces of copy; The headline, sub-heads, bullets, close, etc.

            But transitioning from one part of copy to the next is always a pain. It takes a lot of work to smooth out the hard stops. Seeing how Gary B elegantly slips out of a story and into benefits and weaves a sales letter together is awesome.