Direct Response Copywriting

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The Power of Words

Imagine two 18 year old kids graduate from high school on the same day.  They both write a letter to their mothers.

The first kid writes,

Dear Mom,

You are the best mom ever.  You’ve been my biggest fan.  You attended all my games and cheered me on . . .  even the couple times when I dropped the ball.  When my first girl friend broke up with me, you helped me get over the pain and disappointment and move on.  Now that I’m about ready to head off to college I want to say, “Thank you!” Thank you for all the hard work you’ve done raising me.  I’ll do my best to live up to the values that you’ve instilled in me and keep making you proud of me.

Your grateful Son


The second kid writes,


I am so glad to be leaving your house.  I’ve hated living here.  It’s been miserable having you in my life.

Stay out of my life and don’t ever contact me again.



Two letters.  But different words.

Both letters will evoke a different outcome.  One aims to bring tears of grief to his mother, and the other will bring joy and a smile.

The lesson here is that words are powerful.  Words can hurt and destroy or uplift and create laughter.

Your copy can draw a reader in and motivate him to pick up the phone or click the buy button, or the words of your copy can be so dull that the reader ends up tossing your letter or clicking on some other browser tab.

Using the Words Your Customer Uses

If I were writing a book review about a book and the disappointed expectations of readers I could say, “Most readers advise to not buy the book.  You’ll be wasting your money.”

But my argument would be more powerful, more compelling if instead I used the actual words of someone who’d bought the book and read it.  Someone such this Amazon customer, “What a waste of money and time. I feel robbed. I am a fan but that aside, I have to be honest. It was so repetative and know Shay could have given us more.”

Wow! This is a powerful response.

  1. The reader felt like he’d wasted time and money.
  2. The reader felt robbed.

We learn so much more from this customer than if I just advised readers that most buyers didn’t like the book.



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