Dear Blog Friend,
Today I have a very special post for you.
Because in today’s post, I’m going to show you a letter that made over one million dollars in sales in the early 1900s…
…And I’m going to teach you how to read that letter in a certain way where you develop a “radar” for brilliant copy. With your newfound ability to spot what makes certain pieces of copy successful–
And others massive failures, you’ll develop a gut instinct for what makes good copy good, and you’ll be able to use this knowledge to pump out your own sales-multiplying copy.
Now, two things:
1. A million dollars in the early 1900s is worth much, much more than that today (probably closer to $20 million)
2. While it was written close to 100 years ago – the lessons about copywriting contained within this letter are timeless.
The letter was written by one of my personal role models, Robert Collier. Collier wrote brilliant letters that engaged the reader on a very human level.
He felt that people had enough stress in their life – so why not write a letter that takes some of it away?
Here’s what makes this blog post so special:
In the next few minutes, you might learn more about copywriting than you ever have (seriously). Because what you’re about to do is read this letter, and as you do so, you’re going to ask yourself some key questions.
Try your best to answer them as you read. Now if you have trouble, or you just don’t know the answer – that’s fine! That’s great in fact. I don’t know the answer to all of them myself.
The point is to get you thinking about copywriting in a very certain way. It’s to get you to recognize brilliant copy when you see it…
But more importantly…
…To get you to know what makes it so good. That way, when you go to write your own copy, you’ll know what works, and why it works.
- Overall, why is this letter so powerful?
- Is it easy to read? Or difficult?
- How does this letter make me feel?
- Is this letter personal? Or impersonal?
- What is unique about the offer in the letter?
- How could I improve this letter?
I guarantee you if you complete this exercise with this piece of copy, you will notice a huge difference next time you go to write copy.
What difference will you see?
Well, I guess you’ll just have to do the exercise and find out 😉
(When you do, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your results! I’d love to hear from you)
Here’s the letter:
Here’s the most unusual offer you’ve ever received.
For years, it’s been the custom among well-dressed men who were fastidious
about their handkerchiefs to have BOTH their initials embroidered
But up to now, they’ve always had to order them specially at considerable expense. For there were so many combinations of initials (630 to be
exact) that no store could possibly carry them all in stock.
The result has been that fine quality handkerchiefs individually
monogrammed have cost from 75 cents to $1.00 each. (Your wife will quickly
Now, we’ve conceived the idea of monogramming handkerchiefs without
orders (in quantities that would keep the cost low) and sending them by
mail to a carefully selected list of Business Men who would appreciate the
wonderful opportunity afforded them.
You are one of the men we selected. Your handkerchiefs are enclosed –
four of them monogrammed especially for you WITH BOTH YOUR OWN
These handkerchiefs are of fine quality, are fully-sized – 18 inches square
and have a neatly hemstitched border. You will readily see that such handkerchiefs should cost 75 cents each when specially embroidered in silk with
If you’d like to keep these handkerchiefs, send us – not 75 cents each, not
over 50 cents each – ONLY $1 FOR THE WHOLE FOUR. You can easily
do it by slipping your check or money order in the enclosed envelope.
But, if you don’t want to keep the handkerchiefs, just put them back in
the envelope, paste the enclosed label and stamp over the address and shoot
them back to us.
Isn’t that a fair way to do business? It’s the only way we know in which
individually initialled handkerchiefs can be sold so reasonably.
When you send us the $1, in full payment for the handkerchiefs, please do
not return the label with the stamp attached. Thank you! Every penny
counts in selling handkerchiefs in this unusual way.
Yours for unusual handkerchief value,
P.S. There’s a birthday or anniversary coming up soon for some man
you know, and you’ll be looking for just such an attractive gift as those
individually monogrammed handkerchiefs.
Why not double the amount of your remittance now, tell us his initials, and we’ll get the handkerchiefs off at once – either to him or to you!
Oh, and leave me comments about how this exercise went for you.