One of the biggest mistakes I see in copy written by novice copy-writers is the warm-up.
That’s when a copy-writer takes one paragraph (or more) to “set up” a pitch rather than starting strong.
It usually goes something like this.
Every year, thousands of Americans sink deeper into credit card debt with no real way out. Without a solid plan to pay off the debt, most people wind up paying thousands of dollars in extra interest and take years to do so. What you need is a company that can help you climb out of debt.
There’s nothing really wrong with the copy above … it reads will enough. But opening copy like that won’t sell your product or service.
It’s also boring and will lose readers.
Direct response copy is not relaxing prose. It’s sales copy. It’s got to pop, grab your prospect by the shoulders and reel them in.
Now … read this paragraph:
You can be debt free. Impossible? Well, I’m about to tell you how you can pay off your credit card debt … in full … in months instead of years. And you’ll save thousands in the process.
It makes you want to keep reading, doesn’t it? It gets immediately to the point and tells you exactly what you’re reading, and what you stand to gain from it.
Here are four tips to cut the fat and get right to your pitch without warm-ups:

  1. What is your product or service’s #1 benefit? Tell us right away. Make that the first thing you talk about or tease. Use your strongest point first.
  2. Use short, punchy sentences at the beginning of your copy. Don’t lull your prospects into lazy reading. Jab at them with short, exciting pitch-driven sentences.
  3. Use the “3 paragraph” rule. After you write your opening paragraph, strike the first three paragraphs. Put it aside, and come back to it with a fresh perspective. You’ll notice how you probably didn’t need those paragraphs.
  4. Use facts and figures immediately. Before you tell them why your product or service is great, tell them the amazing results. Concrete facts go a long way!

Your opening lines should convey the incredible excitement you have to share.
Think about it: If you were giving away money, would you spend two paragraphs explaining why they should take advantage of free money? Heck no! You’d say “This year, I’m giving away free money!” No doubt your prospect would keep reading.
Your opening lines should be that immediate.
Are you familiar with the major rules of direct response copy? Do you want help with your next marketing campaign? Call me at (310) 212-5727 or email me at