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Best Copywriting Book Written, PERIOD! Ca$hvertising by Drew Eric Whitman (Book Summary)

Discussion in 'Copywriting & Sales Persuasion' started by stack paper, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. stack paper

    stack paper Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Jan 24, 2008
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    This was taken from another site, but was the summary that pushed me to actually buy the book. Of all the motivational / business / entrepreneurial books I've ever read, this was HANDS DOWN the most impactful in terms of directly increasing my income. Generating traffic has never been my issue, it was always converting my traffic. This book actually changes the way you think about the copy you're writing.

    Without further ado, here's the Ca$hvertising Book Summary!




    Life Force 8:


    1) Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension.

    2) Enjoyment of food and beverages.

    3) Freedom from fear, pain, and danger.

    4) Sexual companionship.

    5) Comfortable living conditions.

    6) To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Jones.

    7) Care and protection of loved ones.

    8) Social approval.

    9 Learned Human Wants:


    1) To be informed.

    2) Curiosity.

    3) Cleanliness of body and surroundings.

    4) Efficiency.

    5) Convenience.

    6) Dependability / quality.

    7) Expression of beauty and style.

    8) Economy / profit.

    9) Bargains.

    17 Foundational Principles of Consumer Psychology:


    1) The Fear Factor - Selling the Scare. Fear sells. It drives them to spend money. Fear causes stress. Stress causes action. Tap existing fears.

    Four Ingredient Recipe for Using Fear:

    1. It scares the hell out of people.

    2. It offers a specific recommendation for overcoming the fear-aroused threat.

    3. The recommended action is perceived as effective for reducing the threat.

    4. The message recipient believes that he or she can perform the recommended action.

    (Fear can also paralyze. Use specific, believable recommendations. Use fears that are specific and widely recognized.)

    2) Ego Morphing - Instant Identification. "By purchasing the 'right stuff' we enhance our own egos and rationalize away." AKA. Retail therapy.

    3) Transfer - Credibility by Osmosis. Symbols, images, or ideas. Cues. Institutions, celebrities, authorities. Experts i.e. "White lab coats."

    4) The Bandwagon Effect - Give Them Something To Jump On. "Consensus-Implies-Correctness" heuristic. People want to belong.

    1. Aspirational group - to which you'd LIKE to belong.

    2. Associative group - to which you SHARE ideals and values.

    3. Dissociative group - to which you DO NOT WANT to belong.

    5) The Means-End Chain - The Critical Core. "Don't buy for what it does today - but for what it will do tomorrow!" Future objective.

    6) The Transtheoretical Model - Persuasion Step by Step.

    Stage 1: Pre-contemplation: ignorant of your product's existence.

    Stage 2: Contemplation: aware and thought about using it.

    Stage 3: Preparation: thinking about buying from you, but needs more information about benefits.

    Stage 4: Action: "Here's my credit card."

    Stage 5: Maintenance: continue to buy again and again. part of their daily lives.

    1. Create ads that address all five stages.

    2. Create a series of ads that progress over a period of time from stage one to stage five.

    7) The Inoculation Theory - Make Them Prefer You for Life. Give them arguments against competitors. "Our competitors will tell you..."

    8) Belief Re-Ranking - Change Their Reality. Appeal to either emotions like fear, humor, or guilt - or factual evidence and examples.

    9) The Elaboration Likelihood Model - Adjust Their Attitude. Cues feel good, but Central Processing makes them PREFER you.

    Two Routes to Change:

    1. Central Route - persuading using logic, reasoning, and deep thinking. AKA. creating Preference

    2. Peripheral Route - persuading using the association of pleasant thoughts and positive images. AKA. Cues

    Central Route Processing: pour on the facts, stats, evidence, testimonials, studies, reports, and case histories. Weave an argument.

    Peripheral Route Processing: load your ads full of colorful, pleasant images, humorous or popular subject matter, or celebrities. Visual anchors.

    10) The 6 Weapons of Influence - Shortcuts to Persuasion.

    1. Comparison: The power of your peers. Bandwagon effect. Social proof. Need to belong. Everybody is doing it.

    2. Liking: The Balance Theory. "I like you... take my money!" Attractive people have greater influence. Consider trustworthy and likable.

    3. Authority: Cracking the code of credibility. Mental shortcut. Man in the "white lab coat".

    4. Reciprocation: What goes around comes around... profitably! Free samples and giving stuff away creates goodwill and obligation.

    5. Commitment/consistency: The "Four Walls" technique. Box them in. Elicit small actions and "yes" responses that cultivate to a larger request.

    6. Scarcity: Get 'em while they last! One day sale, limited offer, one while supplies last, first come first served, etc.

    11) Message Organization - Attaining Critical Clarity. Ads must be organized and well-structured. Confusing ads and creatives won't sell anything.

    12) Examples vs. Statistics - And the Winner is... Examples by far. Emotion is the key to sales. Testimonials and endorsements are more engaging.

    13) Message Sideness - Dual Role Persuasion. Talk about both you and your competitors.

    14) Repetition and Redundancy - The Familiarity Factor. People don't start seeing your ad until you run it seven times.

    15) Rhetorical Questions - Interesting, Aren't They? "Aren't you glad you used Dial?" "How do you spell relief?" "What would you do for a Klondike?"

    16) Evidence - Quick! Sell Me The Facts! Evidence can be facts, figures, testimonials, endorsements, research, charts, videos. As long as it's real.

    17) Heuristics - Serving Billions of Lazy Brains Daily. "Length implies strength." Long copy pages, lots of media, testimonials, etc. Long = good.
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  2. stack paper

    stack paper Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Jan 24, 2008
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    Ad Agency Secrets: 41 Proven Techniques:


    1) The Psychology of Simplicity - Use words effectively. Write so people can understand.

    1. Use Short, Simple Words. - No $10 words. 5th grade level preferred.

    2. The Shorter Your Sentences, the Better - Express only one thought in a sentence. No more.

    3. The Short, Short Paragraph Trick - Limit regular paragraphs to 4-5 short sentences. Less in some cases (1-2) for easy reading.

    4. Pile on Personal Pronouns - I, you, me, he, she, him, they, them, etc. Gives human flavor.

    2) Bombard Your Readers With Benefits - Benefits are what you get from attributes.

    3) Put Your Biggest Benefit In Your Headline - Always. Keep under 6-9 words. 12 Max. Best is 3 or less.

    4) Crank Up The Scarcity - Hard deadline: "Sale Ends August 21st". Soft deadline: "Quantities limited." "First 100 Buyers only!"

    5) 22 Psychologically Potent Headline Starters:

    1. FREE: "Free Book Shows You How to Write Sneaky Advertising That..."

    2. NEW: "Powerful New Seminar Teaches..."

    3. AT LAST: "At Last.. A Bakery That Only Uses..."

    4. THIS: "This New Invention Stops..."

    5. ANNOUNCING: "Announcing The Hottest New Sandwich..."

    6. WARNING!: "Warning! Some Dog Groomers Wrap a Noose..."

    7. JUST RELEASED: "Just Released: Psychologist's Study Reveals Little-Known..."

    8. NOW: "Now You Can Stop Any Attacker"

    9. HERE'S: "Here's How A 95-Pound Granny.."

    10. THESE: "These Three Very Italian Men Make a Pizza..."

    11. WHICH OF: "Which of these Hot Bodies Would YOU Like to Show Off"

    12. FINALLY: "Finally... A Self-Improvement Seminar.."

    13. LOOK: "Look! Now You Can Buy Cotton Candy..."

    14. PRESENTING: "Presenting the Easiest Way Ever to..."

    15. INTRODUCING: "Introducing the Only Ice Stand in Philly..."

    16. HOW: "How to Sing Like an American Idol in 90 Days"

    17. AMAZING: "Amazing New DVD Lowers Your Blood Pressure..."

    18. DO YOU: "Do You Know How to Stop a Wild Dog Attack"

    19. WOULD YOU: "Would You Trade $5 For x"

    20. CAN YOU: "Can You Be Sure Your Child Won't..."

    21. IF YOU: "If You Hate Cleaning Your Pool, ..."

    22. STARTING TODAY: "Starting Today You Can Dance 97% Better"

    6) 12 Ways To Lure Your Readers Into Your Copy:

    1. Continue the Thought In The Headline: "You know the rude salespeople we mean. The ones with the big mouths..."

    2. Ask a Question: "How would you handle yourself in a situation like this?"

    3. Quote a Respected Authority: "According to communication psychologist R. Butler Sinclair, there..."

    4. Give 'Em a Free Taste: "The next time you're confronted by a pushy salesperson, do this: Wait until..."

    5. Challenge Them to Prove it Works: "Here's what we want you to do. Read pages 8 and 9 of this book - no more. Then go.."

    6. Start with a Story of Skepticism: "When we first received the manuscript from the author, we were skeptical..."

    7. Tell What Others are Saying (Bandwagon Effect): Testimonials: "Nobody hates obnoxious salespeople more than I do.."

    8. Play Reporter: "Philadelphia, PA - A New York psychologist..."

    9. Get Personal With You, You, You: "Have you ever been hassled... Do you hate when people... Would you like to know... "

    10. Tell a Dramatic Story: "According to communication psychologist R. Butler Sinclair, there's no longer any need for anyone to feel intimidated."

    11. Give Super-Detailed Specs: "This amazing new book - a hefty 8.5x11-inch leather-bound, hardcover beauty, is jamed packed over 443 pages.."

    12. Lure Them With a Very Short Sentence: "Don't you hate it?" "It makes me sick." ""

    7) 360-Degrees of Attention-Getting Power - Use circle-shaped ads instead of common square/rectangular.

    8) The Reverse-Type Pitfall - Don't do it. Reverse-type is light words on dark background.

    9) Crush Your Competition With Extreme Specificity - Be extremely specific and descriptive when describing your product/service.

    10) The Famous Ogilvy Principle - Start body copy with a Drop Initial. Massive oversized letter. Always run pics with captions!

    11) The Psychology of Typefaces - Sans-serif for online (Arial, Verdana) and Serif for print (Helvetica, Times, etc.)

    12) Insist on the Pro-Design Difference - Use a real graphic designer. Period.

    13) The Power of Questions - They captivate and cause "open loops" in people's brains.

    14) The "Granny Rule" of Direct Mail - Relate to your reader. Talk to them like a friend and make them like you.

    15) The Psychology of "Social Proof" - People believe testimonials. Always use them!

    16) The Guillotine Principle - Use pictures of heads and faces in ads. Preferably smiling and relevant to the offer.

    17) PVAs - The Easy Way to Boost the Power of Your Copy - Powerful Visual Adjectives. "Rake in $2500 Cash Weekly!"

    18) Directing Mental Movies -

    1. Visual words (sight)

    2. Auditory words (sound)

    3. Kinesthetic words (feeling or emotions)

    4. Olfactory words (smell)

    5. Gustatory words (taste)

    19) Battling Human Inertia - Get people to take ACTION! 1. Make it easy to act. 2. Ask for action.

    20) Establish Your Unique Selling Proposition - Tell them the real reason why they should PREFER you! Be serious and descriptive!

    21) Buy Your Own Island - Don't pay for a full-page ad. Use a Half-Page Island, which is a centered half-page ad that takes up space.

    22) Authority Positioning - Become an authority in your industry. Share all of your expertise in free reports and guest posts.

    23) A Sales Letter in Survey's Clothing - Ask questions about their relationship to your product. Thank you for participation is OFFER.

    24) Power Your Ads With Pictures - Ads with 50% visuals = 30% recall rate. Ads with 75% visuals = 50% recall rate. Show the product + in use.

    Seven Best Types of Photos:

    1. Children and babies.

    2. Mothers and babies.

    3. Groups of adults.

    4. Animals.

    5. Sports scenes.

    6. Celebrities.

    7. Food

    25) Grab 'em With Grabbers - Use something like a dollar bill or shot of change to grab attention. Tailor to niche.

    26) Long Copy vs. Short - Long copy consistently outsells short. 2-hour sales visit vs. 5-minute visit. Who closes more?

    27) Offer Testing - Find out what they want and give it to them. If they don't like your offer, change it!

    28) Survey Power - What do people want? Ask them! Incentivize surveys. It all begins with research. Make it easy to reply.

    29) Editorial Energizers - Make your ads look like News Editorials. "Camouflage"

    30) The Coupon Persuader - Add a broken "coupon style" border to graphic ads. People are conditioned. Use "Double Coupons!" Light yellow bg tint.

    31) 7 Online Response Boosters -

    1. Best Frequency for E-Mailing - 31-35% => 1/week - 18% => 2-3/week - 13% => 1/month

    2. CTRs - What to Expect - Declining for email. 1% for poorly crafted to rented lists. 20%+ for highly appealing offers to house list.

    3. HTML vs Text - 60% have the ability to see HTML. HTML gets 200% better response rate. Some people block HTML. Must split test.

    4. Best Way to Get Emails Opened - (60%+ is excellent open-rate) - 1. Familiar Sender. 2. Subject line must have their name. 3. Targetted offer.

    5. Ad Size and Readership - Leaderboards and Skyscrapers outperform regular banners. Large > small. DHTML > non-interactive.

    6. Animation Click-Through Booster - Animated = 15% higher than non-animated. Movement catches attention.

    7. Mystery Ads Score High Click-Throughs - but low conversions to sales. Poor targeting. Don't confuse clicks for sales.

    32) Multi-page Your Way to Success - (only applies to print)

    33) Guarantees that Guarantee Higher Response - Use "Guarantees" generously. Buyers feel vulnerable. Use a long and strong guarantee.

    34) The Psychology of Size - Bigger ads perform better.

    35) The Psychology of Page and Section Positioning - Generally just doesn't matter. Ad creative matters most.

    36) The Fantastic Four - (only applies to print)

    37) Consumer Color Preferences and How Color Affects Readership - 1. Blue. 2. Red. 3. Green. The older the bluer. Best combo: Blue-Yellow then Blue-Red

    38) The Psychology of Pricing - Odd pricing conveys value ($77.95) Even pricing conveys quality ($1,000) Helps justify sale for "teeterers".

    39) The Psychology of Color - "Darker is heavier" Apparent weight is higher as you get darker. White, yellow, green are lightest.

    40) Wrap Your Ads in White - Wrap your ads with lots of white space. It garners way more attention. Pro tip.

    41) Give Yourself a "Cleverectomy" - In advertising, it's not clever to be clever. Sell the benefits. No clever word jokes.
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  3. stack paper

    stack paper Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Jan 24, 2008
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    22 Response Superchargers:


    1) Forget style - sell instead!

    2) Scream "Free Information!"

    3) Write short sentences and keep them reading.

    4) Use short, simple words.

    5) Write long copy.

    6) Boil it down, cut out the fluff!

    7) Stir up desire by piling on the benefits.

    8) Show what you're selling - action shots are best.

    9) Get personal! Say: you, you, you.

    10) Use selling subheads to break up long copy.

    11) Put selling captions under your photos.

    12) Write powerful visual adjectives to create mental movies.

    13) Sell your product, not your competitor's.

    14) Don't hold back, give them the full sell now!

    15) Always include testimonials!

    16) Make it ridiculously easy to act.

    17) Include a response coupon to encourage action.

    18) Set a deadline to break inertia. (Expires: December 1, 2009)

    19) Offer a free gift for quick replies.

    20) Say the words "Order Now!"

    21) Offer free shipping.

    22) Boost response 50% or more with a "Bill me" or credit option.

    9 Ways to Convey Value:


    1) Scream "Sale!"

    2) Give them a coupon.

    3) Diminish the price: "Less than a cup of coffee a day."

    4) Explain why the price is low. "Our boss ordered too many!"

    5) Amortize it: "Just $1.25 a day"

    6) Boost the value: Tell what it's worth, not only what it costs.

    7) Tell how much others have paid (and were happy to do so!)

    8) Create a sense of scarcity with deadlines.

    9) Employ psychological pricing.

    13 Ways to Make Buying Easy:


    1) Give your street, email, and Web address.

    2) Give your phone number.

    3) Provide street directions and parking advice.

    4) Say "It's Easy to Order..."

    5) Accept phone orders.

    6) Accept mail orders.

    7) Accept online orders.

    8) Accept fax orders.

    9) Accept credit cards.

    10) Accept personal cheques.

    11) Get a toll-free phone number.

    12) Include a long, strong guarantee - longer than your competitions.

    13) Offer install payments for products more than $15 ("3 easy payments of just $10.99"), shown to boost response 15%.

    11 Ways to Boost Coupon Returns:


    1) Tell them in the headline or subhead to return the coupon.

    2) Say "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" instead of "50% Off".

    3) Use a Big FREE! at the top of your ad.

    4) Tell what the coupon brings; say it again inside the coupon itself.

    5) Show what the coupon brings with a small photo or illustration.

    6) Use a BOLD coupon border.

    7) Set a hard (firm date) or soft deadline ("The first 100 people...")

    8) Provide checkboxes to get people involved.

    9) Say "Valuable Coupon" at the top.

    10) Give sufficient room for fill-ins.

    11) Point to the coupon with bold arrows.

    46-Point "Killer Ad" Checklist:



    1) _ Does it feature your product's biggest benefit? (The #1 Most Important Rule)

    2) _ Is it a real grabber? Does it elicit an emotional response?

    3) _ Does it use any of the 22 Potent Headline Starts shown above?

    4) _ Is it significantly larger than your body copy? Boldfaced too?

    5) _ Is it powerful enough to get people to read your body copy?

    6) _ Does it make some kind of offer?

    7) _ Is it authoritative and not wimpy?

    8) _ Is the headline set in Initial Caps. (e.g. This Is Initial Caps) Use ALL CAPS only if 5 words or less.

    9) _ Is it in quotes? This can boost reading 25%.

    Body Copy - First Sentence:

    10) _ Are you using body copy jump-starters from above?

    11) _ Does it naturally flow from the headline?

    12) _ Does it get right into the benefits, and not about company bragging?

    13) _ Does it almost force them to read the second sentence?

    14) _ Is "you" one of the first few words?

    Body Copy - General:

    15) _ Does it focus on how the reader will benefit?

    16) _ Does it tell your readers why they should buy from you rather than competitor?

    17) _ Is your product/service exciting? Does your ad sound exciting?

    18) _ Does it progress methodically and logically? 1. Get attention. 2. Stimulate interest. 3. Build desire. 4. Offer proof. 5. Ask for action.

    19) _ Are you trying to sell only one product at a time?

    20) _ Do you use selling subheads to break up long copy blocks?

    21) _ Is the copy colorful, sprinkled with power visual adjectives where appropriate?

    22) _ Is it believable? (Not overblown or ridiculous.)

    23) _ Is it respectful of the reader and not insulting to his or her intelligence?

    24) _ Is it emotional? Does it create emotion?

    25) _ Do you use the principal of extreme specificity?

    26) _ Are your words, sentences, and paragraphs short? Simple words?

    27) _ Is your web copy set in a sans-serif typeface such as Arial or Verdana?

    28) _ Do you tell your readers what you want them to do in super-simple way? 1. Clip this coupon. 2. Bring it to our store by Aug 21. 3. Save 50%.

    29) _ Do you outright ask for the sale?

    30) _ Did you set a deadline, if appropriate?

    31) _ If you have a lot of benefits, do you list them in bullet or numbered list form?

    32) _ Do you use testimonials? If you don't have them, get them!

    33) _ Is your business name and phone number large and instantly noticable?

    34) _ Did you include your logo?

    35) _ Do you give directions, maps, and landmarks, if necessary?

    36) _ Did you key your ad to better track responses?

    Layout and Design:

    37) _ Did a professional designer produce your ad? (Not a layout person)

    38) _ Is your headline big and bold?

    39) _ Is the headline broken at the right words?

    40) _ Is the ad easy to read? Is their a focus?

    41) _ Is their sufficient white space? Did you wrap in white?

    42) _ Did you indent your paragraphs? Makes reading easier.

    43) _ Is the number of separate elements kept to a minimum?

    44) _ Do you use art (photos and illustrations) relevant to your sales message?

    45) _ Did you use a minimum number of typestyles? (One or two; three max!)

    46) _ Do you feature a picture of a person looking at you?
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  4. raticals75

    raticals75 Regular Member

    Sep 2, 2010
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    Wow great stuff!
  5. stack paper

    stack paper Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Jan 24, 2008
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    Thanks! Really was a life changing book for me.
  6. cyrusv

    cyrusv Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Jul 14, 2014
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    Awesome share!!
  7. eloquenceeee

    eloquenceeee Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Nov 1, 2010
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    Sales + Marketing Consultant
    East Coast
    Ca$hvertising is an excellent book for getting better at writing persuasive copywriting.

    If you like this type of content, you will also like The Boron Letters.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  8. The Curator

    The Curator Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Dec 27, 2013
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    • Thanks Thanks x 3
  9. greggombos

    greggombos Newbie

    Dec 16, 2015
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    Was looking for something to read tonight. Million thanks.
  10. stack paper

    stack paper Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Jan 24, 2008
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    It's extremely well-written also.. Very easily digestible, countless "AH-HAH!" moments as you read through... You won't be disappointed, promise.
  11. blackbeans

    blackbeans Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Nov 29, 2008
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    Your Secret Weapon
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    Solid share!

    I agree 100% with the short short paragraph advice. My blog text converts better now that I've changed its format to feature only short paragraphs and even 1 sentence lines.
  12. techn1k

    techn1k Junior Member

    Mar 4, 2013
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    I ve read this book two years ago, and I agree that it's awesome.

    Thank You for this summary, it's great for refreshing key points from the book.