Jordan Ogren

December 2, 2021

Get specific, tease me, and address the pink elephant <> TTAB 06

Victor Schwab. Does that name ring a bell?

It didn't for me. Until I came across his work promoting Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

He's a direct mail legend. While direct mail has lost its popularity, I find his work inspiring and insightful.

Today's ad from Victor is a direct mail piece selling Frank Bettger's book. Frank was a third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Let's see what we can glean from this 1950 and apply it to your marketing.


Finding #1: Specifics in your headline create curiosity and avoid appearing "fake"

Think about if Victor had left out the age and $250 per day in the headline. It would be as gripping as wet soap.

"How I raised myself from a failure to a world-renowned success!" creates minimal, if any, suspense. My bullshit detector is going ballistic.

Instead, he gets uber specific, which draws me in as I'm a 26 year old and would love to make $250 per day.

Don't tell me how Sharon became a great leader after your training. Instead, show me how she has decreased her team's turnover by 150%.

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Finding #2: Tease, tease, and tease some more

Victor uses two places to continue to build tension through teasing. Next to Frank's head, he mentions how Frank was a total failure "until he made his great discovery!" What did he discover?

He also uses the sub-header–and Dale Carnegie's popularity–to tease how Frank went from defeat and despair to "becoming one of the foremost salesmen in the nation." I want that; how did he do it?

You can go too far teasing the carrot while never letting the reader get a bite. But if you give them the carrot right away, they may choose to find a carrot that puts up more of a challenge. (Let's be honest, who even likes carrots?)

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Finding #3: Use social proof

You know this. But how many times do we use social proof like Victor?

He leads with the person's full name, title, and company. He then uses each specific testimonial to overcome your possible objections.

"Will it work for me?" — It has stimulated our entire sales force.
"Is it really worth the time to get for free?" — If I couldn't get another copy, I wouldn't give mine up for thousands of dollars.
"Couldn't I get this same information from school?" — Did more for me than three years in college.

While you don't get to decide what people say about your product, you can guide them to give a testimonial that answers a question or fear your prospect has.

It's no wonder Victor didn't include a testimonial like this, "This book made me millions! I would recommend to everyone this book." Instead, he knew the reader's mindset and used other people to address their suspicions.

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Finding #4: Directly answer their biggest concern

Why would Frank want to give his book away for free? If it's that good, he would never give it away without getting a buck or two for it, right?

Technically, you are subscribing to the Executive Book Plan, which will give you more books, like Frank's, to improve your professional life.

Hmm... That sounds like a friggin good deal.

Rather than avoiding this or having it in small print, Victor discusses it with a subheader: "Why you are being given the amazing offer described below..."

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You can thank me for cutting the findings at four. I could have continued until 100. This ad, read thoroughly, gives you more lessons on copywriting than any LinkedIn guru.

Sadly we don't have the time to dissect it in total.

But I would suggest reading it to understand the magical power Victor has with writing. And you can probably take a lesson or two just from that.

Let's welcome Victor to the party as this will not be the last ad you read of his.

Onward and upward.

🧠 + ❤️ // JO