This month I've been going down "memory lane", reviewing several of my past and current control promos.
I've been doing so in order to make them available to you, so you can study and learn from them.
To you, they may just be "swipes".
But to me, each one of these promos has its own story.
And I'd like to share some of the backstories on these successful promos with you.
The most logical place to start is the beginning. Before I ever got a shot at writing an actual magalog, I wrote all kinds of shorter, flat-fee copy. I paid my dues. And it paid the bills.
I had one client I was working with who was a small health publisher. He hired me to help him rework some of his direct mail letters that he'd written himself.
(His name was Dr. Batmanghelidj, or "Dr. B." for short. He had an extraordinary life story and mission; unfortunately he passed away several years ago.)
After working on a few rounds of reworked sales letters and helping him improve his results, I suggested to Dr. B that he try testing a magalog. And that he hire me to write it.
Now, I'd never written a magalog before...but I'd been around them a lot when I worked at Phillips Publishing.
And at this early point in my freelance copywriting career, I was on every mailing list I could get on. I was reading and studying and analyzing and soaking up magalog swipes day after day... figuring out the techniques that were used and just dying to apply them myself--once I got my big break.
Amazingly, even though I had no samples under my belt, Dr. B decided to take a chance. Granted, I only charged him a small flat fee. I was determined to do a good job. And I was determined to get that sample I could use to get other clients.
I put my all into writing this promo. Now, of course, when I look at it, I see all kinds of things I'd improve. But honestly, it's not THAT bad. And if I recall correctly, Dr. B. was happy with the results...it may have even become his control for a while.
Here's the front cover if you want to take a peek...
Not a terribly original main headline ("Lies...Lies...Lies!"), which I clearly borrowed from a successful financial promo control from years prior. However, there is a consistent use of the theme and a good dose of curiosity here.
However, I'm not sharing this promo as an example you should follow. Clearly you shouldn't...it was my very first magalog after all. I didn't earn one single penny in royalties from this promo.
But I did get my sample. I now had an actual magalog sample that had mailed and been proven to work. THAT was worth a lot.
So when that next prospective client called and asked if I had any magalog samples, I was able to show him this.
And he hired me to write a supplement promo for 3 TIMES what I'd charged Dr. B...PLUS royalties!
I'll tell you how that turned out in my next email... (it's a very interesting--and profitable--story!)
In the meantime, if you haven't already checked out my 33 past and current control promo swipes here yet (I just added a few more), you'll want to do so in the next 24 hours.
That's because my 50% off sale on swipes ends tomorrow evening at midnight. Until then, you can get as many as you like at half-price when you use this code: HALFJAN19
And if you really want a great deal (and don't want to agonize over which swipe(s) to choose), grab my "Buy 'em All" Complete KKS Swipe File right here. (You'll get it for half off the SALE price shown when you use the HALFJAN19 code!)
If I hadn't been constantly studying all the promo swipes I could before I got my first shot at a magalog, I might have completely bombed out...but I didn't. That's because I was learning the best way I knew of at the time.
It's a timeless practice of getting better at your copywriting craft that still works today!
Yours for smarter marketing,
P.S. Look for more of these promo stories over the next 24 hours...hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy sharing them.