After 37 years of silence, the world’s greatest living copywriter finally spilled his secrets…
Dear Fellow Copywriter,
When Gary Bencivenga retired a few years ago, he was widely regarded as the world’s greatest living copywriter.
Here are just a few things people said about him…
“Best copywriter we’ve ever used. He’s given us more winners, more consistently, than anyone else.” — Phillips Publishing
“His name is the stuff of legend around here….Against other top creative talent, he has never lost a split-run test in selling any of our books.” —Rodale Press
“Possibly the most respected copywriter in the direct marketing business.” —Who’s Mailing What
“World’s greatest copywriter.” —KCI Communications
“You can just about count the creative geniuses who revolutionized direct mail on the fingers of two hands….(They include) Gary Bencivenga.” – Target Marketing
“America’s best copywriter” – Brian Kurtz, Boardroom Inc
But, unlike many other top copywriters, Gary was never a “guru”.
That’s because he made his money from royalties – royalties he earned from beating other top copywriters. And Gary had no intention of cutting his own throat by handing his secrets to his rivals.
Why Gary broke his silence
But, fortunately, when Gary retired to his $5m mansion in the Hamptons – paid for by the royalties from just one package he wrote for Rodale! – he decided it was time to give back to the copywriting industry by sharing his secrets.
He did this in two ways: in a seminar he held in New York (you can buy the DVDs for $5,000 here), and in an interview with Ken McCarthy.
I’m going to tell you about that interview, and what Gary revealed, but before I do, I need to share something important..
… Gary was not a naturally-gifted copywriter. In fact, he was so ordinary, he almost got fired …
“If we like the ad, you get to keep your job”
Gary showed so little promise, his second ever copy chief came to him with a project and the ultimatum, “If we like the ad, you get to keep your job”.
Fortunately, Gary’s ad was just good enough, and he was able to continue working as a copywriter.
But it meant that, instead of coasting on talent, Gary had to figure things out consciously. And that was a slow process…
- It took Gary 10 years to get to the point where he could occasionally win against a-list copywriters.
- And another two years to add the final piece of the puzzle, and become practically unbeatable.
The good news for us is that, because he figured it out consciously, he can explain it.
And that’s exactly what he does in this marathon, two-and-a-half hour interview with Ken McCarthy.
How Gary raised himself from failure to success in copywriting
He walks you through his career, from his early jobs as a clueless and struggling junior copywriter, to working with John Caples, working for David Ogilvy, to becoming a freelancer earning millions of dollars in royalties.
* How to improve your odds of writing a winning ad: a simple rule – rarely taught online – Gary learned from his first ever copy chief.
* When Gary had to get good – fast – or lose his job, he turned to these 2 marketing books to up his game.
* What causes writer’s block… and the simple cure.
* How to make even a boring product seem interesting.
* Gary’s marketing heroes, and how you can “stand on the shoulders” of these giants to produce irresistible copy.
* Why you should never try to write a great headline.
* What it was like to work with John Caples.
* Tortoise beats the hare. Do this small thing each week, and you’ll soon overtake more talented and experienced copywriters.
* What Gary learned working for David Ogilvy.
* How to programme your self-conscious so it writes killer copy while you sleep – this will massively increase both the quality of your copy and your productivity, with no extra effort.
* What your mailman can tell you that’ll increase the response rate of your direct mail package.
* The one thing Gary’s always puts into his copy – this is the missing piece that turned him from b-lister to unbeatable.
* What David Ogilvy would say when a client wanted to change his copy.
* How to develop world-class advertising intuition. How any copywriter can learn to tell the difference between a winning ad and a loser – before the ads are even tested. This alone will dramatically increase your success rate.
* What Gary figured out when writing for the RCA record club.
* The one thing your ad must do to break through the clutter and get read in today’s over-marketed world.
* A daily ritual that’ll make you a more capable, and confident, copywriter.
* What Gary would do when he came up against a 2 or 4 page letter – this one trick would almost guarantee him success.
* How a smart salesman won David Ogilvy’s trust forever – and how you can use the same technique in your copy.
* Why Gary still reads a winning ad each day… and the 2 questions he asks himself while he’s doing that. This will get you thinking like an A-list copywriter.
* A headline Gary wrote that works like gangbusters every 4 years.
* The ad Gary wrote to launch a direct marketing agency – and the reason why it was so successful.
* How to create ads the public will remember decades later.
* The truth about testimonials – do they really work well these days? Or should you be using something else?
* Why losing a split-test turned out to be Gary’s favourite moment as a copywriter.
* The sneaky way to format a newspaper ad that increases response.
* Warning – make this common mistake and your prospect will bin your salesletter. What you should do instead.
* The two non-marketing books that helped Gary become a master copywriter.
* “They’re out of their minds!” – what Gary thinks about people giving this common piece of marketing advice.
* Premiums almost always increase response. But should they be related to your product? Gary tested this when working for Ogilvy and Mather. The answer is surprising.
* The less-than-glamourous secret to getting the edge over other copywriters. It’s not pretty, but it’s effective.
* How to evaluate an existing control – and know exactly what to do in order to beat it.
* The single easiest way to boost response. Most copywriters gloss over this section of their copy.
* And more…
The Second Part: How to maximise your income as a copywriter
As well as sharing his secrets for writing high-converting copy, Gary shared something equally important: how to maximise your income as a copywriter.
And that boils down to 3 things:
#1: How to charge the highest fees – including how to ask for royalties from clients who aren’t used to paying royalties.
#2: How to identify the projects with the maximum royalty potential.
#3: How to maximise your productivity as a copywriter.
Or, to put it another way, what you earn is:
Your royalty rate x number of pieces mailed x number of winning packages
Gary offered advice on all three of these things…
* How he was able to raise his fees and start charging royalties – and why his clients were delighted to pay him.
* What big direct mail companies really want from copywriters, and why you can lose a split-test and they’re still happy.
* How many hours a day you should write – and why.
* What advice Gary would give to young copywriters today – that could save them 10 years of struggle.
* How to kill off price resistance for your fees without alienating clients – these “firm but fair” negotiating tactics ensure you’ll never again have to compromise on price.
* What Gary would put in his proposals that always made the client want to hire him. Any copywriter – even a complete newbie – can use this immediately.
* Two types of product you should never write for if you’re paid on royalties – they have low royalty potential.
* How to increase your productivity by 1,500%.
* Should you even be a copywriter? Wise advice from Gary’s father that lets you know whether a career is right for you.
* “It ain’t over till it’s over” – What you should do immediately after losing a split-test to turn a losing project into a winner.
* A time management trick Gary learned from a top executive.
* Gary wrote for some of the world’s most famous investment advisors. Here’s his #1 evergreen investment tip.
* How Gary would pick assignments – this alone massively increased his chances of big pay days.
* A smarter way to use your copywriting skills. What Gary would do if he was starting over again. (Not write for royalties.)
The Third Part: The Secrets of Successful Business
In his 37 year career, Gary worked for some of the best ad agencies and smartest direct marketing companies in America. Along the way, he got an education about what does and doesn’t work.
So, although this is an interview about copywriting, sprinkled throughout the interview are nuggets like these…
* According to Gary, niche marketing is the best business to be in. Here’s an easy way to find profitable niches.
* How Gary hired copywriters for his agency… and why it ended in disaster.
* Agency Owners: What’s the #1 thing you should look for when recruiting star employees.
* What every business should have built into it.
* Should you sell books, or sell courses? Maybe neither. This 3rd option may be far more profitable.
* The secret to getting employees to meet their deadlines.
* Why you need to fail your way to success – a lesson from a corporate titan.
How to get this interview
As you can see, this interview – the only recorded interview Gary has ever given – is chock-full of insights that will help any copywriter raise his game and increase his income.
So how can you get your hands on it?
You can’t buy it. And it’s not available for free online.
The only place you can get it is from Ken McCarthy, who gives it away free – as a 2 CD set – as one of the bonuses for joining his System Club.
If you don’t know Ken, he’s been on the cutting edge of internet marketing since 1994 – when he organised the very first internet marketing seminar.
He has an unparalleled record for being well ahead of the curve on almost all the important breakthroughs in online marketing.
When every other “guru” was touting the latest fad or “trick of the month”, Ken took a different approach: identify what’s truly important, find someone who is world class at it, and have that person teach his members.
And those members ranged from newbies to world class experts.
Here’s what Gary said about the System Club:
“In the universe of Internet Marketing training, you own it. There is no second.
One reason I say this is because the best investment I have ever made in IM materials is your System Club CD program. I’m into just my third CD and it’s changing virtually everything I’m doing for the better, and I was no slouch beforehand! But when you have as a mind-master support team the most successful practitioners in the IM world, well, how can anyone NOT improve!”
So I advise you to check out the club. You can try it for one month, get all the bonuses, all the latest interviews and training, raid the archives going back to 2004…
Then, at the end of the month, if you don’t want to continue, you can cancel.
But, a month from now, you may find yourself looking back at all the great insights you’ve gotten – useful, actionable techniques – and decide you want to stay in the Club.
The choice is yours.
To find out more, click this link:
(That’s not an affiliate link, and I’m not being paid to write this.)
PS It took Gary 37 years, some of the best mentors in the world, and $1bn worth of split-testing to put together his system. You can shave years – or even decades – off your own learning curve by listening to this interview.