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September 23, 2018

The greatest advantage in business

The late great Gary Halbert created advertising that brought in millions and got very little argument when he referred to himself as the best copywriter alive.

In fact, Halbert even published a newsletter entitled, “Why I Am The Best Copywriter Alive”…

… and you can only make a statement like that (and get away with it) if it’s true.

In that very newsletter, Halbert explained that he liked to ask his students:

“If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who could sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side to help you win?”

Some of the students said they would choose superior meat from which to make their burgers. Others wanted sesame seed buns. Others wanted a prime location. Someone usually wanted to be able to offer the lowest prices. And so on.

After the students finished telling him what advantages they would like, he would say:

“O.K., I’ll give you every single advantage you have asked for. I only want one advantage and, if you will give it to me, I will (when it comes to selling burgers) whip the pants off all of you!”

“What advantage do you want?” they would ask.

“The only advantage I want,” he replied…

“Is… A Starving Crowd!

In other words, the man that built several multi-million dollar businesses suggested that finding a group of people (a market) who have demonstrated that they are starving (or at least hungry) for a particular product or service… is the biggest advantage that you can have in business.

Example:

If I spoke to a local chiropractor about copywriting, their eyes would glaze over. It would probably be the first time they’d heard of this strange craft called copywriting. Sure, I could show them how to create an ad that brings in a flood of new customers. That would probably peak their interest. But…

Chiropractors are just not hungry for copywriting.

So who is?

Well, how about large publishers… mail order companies… online businesses?

They routinely pay copywriters thousands to write direct mail sales letters, online sales pages, emails and newspaper ads to sell their products or services.

Case in point:

Once upon a time, The Wall Street Journal hired a copywriter to sell newspaper subscriptions.

The letter they wrote was sent to households around the United States for 28 years, between 1975 and 2003. And…

That A4 letter was responsible for $2 billion in subscriptions.

Do you think the marketing team at the Wall Street Journal have a healthy appetite for copywriting?

I reckon so!

Anyway, it’s something to ponder.

Sincerely,

Callum.

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