AdPOWER Quick Tip #12: Honesty (Really) Pays

consulting-image-1In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), It’s called reframing, and it helps you turn “negatives” into big positives.

Fact is, not only is it good business–and something you should do in all cases anyway–but telling the truth can actually result in more sales.

That’s because admitting a negligible “fault” or even a “borderline deficiency” connotes you’re honest and lends credibility to the rest of your ad.

PEST CONTROL? “Our specialists might take a few minutes longer to treat your home, but that’s because we always include a free termite pest analysis with every application.”

WEB DESIGNER? “I admit it. I’m not the fastest web designer. You might have to wait a day or two longer for your finished job. That’s because–unlike many other web designers today–I use absolutely no generic, boring, off-the-shelf templates. All my web design is 100% custom and is made exclusively for YOU.”

HOUSE CLEANER? “Unlike most other cleaning services, we don’t bring our own vacuum cleaner to your house–we use yours. That’s because our clients, understandably, don’t want the dirt from other people’s carpets on their floors. We also don’t bring our own cleaning products. Some of our clients like pine oil… others are allergic to it… and still others prefer the smell of lemon. So we use your products… the ones that you like best. While this policy might make doing business with us a tad less convenient, we think it makes our clients far happier and more satisfied with our work.”

honestyAdvertising master John Caples called it, “Telling the dark side” and, when used properly, can really help you differentiate yourself in the market.

Think about it. What small “deficiency” could you admit to, to help convey credibility? What “drawback” can you turn into a powerful advantage that actually helps you sell against your competition?

Until next time, I wish you success!



The Advertising Graveyard: 4 Ways to Kill Your Ad Response

It’s easy to snuff-out… murder… deep-six your response. Just use one or more of the following four, “straight-to-the-grave” ad-response killers.

Hey, it’s one thing to not know and commit these errors, and quite another to do so despite reading this article.

So here are 4 techniques of copywriting and promotional suicide that you’ll never employ again. (Er, right?)

tomb-21. Write Horrid Headlines—People skim ads until something stops them. Over 83% of people read ONLY the headlines. If your headline features only your business name or a cutesy slogan, you’ll likely miss grabbing the attention of someone who actually wants what you sell!  Solution?  Always put your biggest benefit/offer in your headlines.

Tomb12. Generate GenericsDon’t just sell pizza… sell YOUR pizza.  Don’t sell auto repair… sell YOUR auto repair.  Don’t sell everyone’s web design service… sell YOURS!  Your ads should sell YOU… how YOU are better…why they should buy from YOU.  Want more response? Then stop wasting money advertising products and services in general! If your competitor can use your ad without changing anything except the company name and contact information, you’ve written a money-wasting, generic ad that needs to be revised… fast!

tomb33. Toss the Testimonials—People don’t believe testimonials, right?  WRONG!  They’re one of the most influential parts of any advertising.  Get feedback from customers and feature it in ads, flyers, brochures, sales letters, and your web site.  Psychologists call it “Social Proof”—people want to know that others have successfully gone first. So? Give it to them!

tombstone54. Go Picture-less—According to a study of 2,000 consumers, ads consisting of 50% visuals (photos, illustrations, graphics) were seen and recalled 30% more often than ads with no visuals. So feature some kind of picture in every ad. Photos are best… and action shots are the most effective when they demonstrate the product in use.

Pretty darned simple, right? Now crack open your local newspaper or magazine. Scan a few promotional emails and websites. You’ll see these promotional tombstones everywhere you look. But why? This is basic, foundational stuff, isn’t it?

TombHeaderThe winged skull in this photo isn’t a fun Halloween decoration. It’s the exact death’s head symbol common to many colonial gravestones. It’s often accompanied with an image of a clock and the words, “Fugit Hora“–the hour flies.

It not only flies for each of us… but for our businesses as well. It’s time to get serious about your advertising. Not just regard it as a necessary evil or something that “just needs to be done.” It’s time to consider it the lifeblood of your business. It’s as important as the food on your table and the roof over your head. Your children’s education and medical care.

No doubt you know your product or service inside and out. Now’s the time–if you haven’t yet done so–to learn what makes advertising effective. To learn the many common mistakes to avoid. To at least learn enough to effectively direct others to create effective advertising for you.

Kick over these 4 common “stones” and next time we’ll knock a few more down.

Fugit hora, my friend.




Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

• Author of the advertising best-seller:
“CA$HVERTISING”… now in its 3rd printing from Career Press.
Translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Thai.

• Author of: “BrainScripts for Sales Success:
 21 Hidden Principles of Consumer Psychology  for Winning Customers”
Worldwide release in October 2014 by global-publishing
leader McGraw-Hill


AD-AGENCY SECRET #26: Be Completely Off the Wall!

Many of the most effective ads seem to break all the “rules” of how ads should be constructed, but in reality they’re right on the money.

cheesecakeCrazy photos of your employees at work… offbeat headline such as, “HELP! Chef Harry Made Me Bake a Cheesecake So H-U-G-E, We Can’t Fit It Through the Door! B-I-G Slices are Just $1.99 Each Until 5PM Friday!”… grab people’s attention, while the folksy approach is both engaging and disarming.

These kinds of ads stand out from all the sterile promotions run by your competition, and bring a sense of fun to doing business with you. It also tells readers that you don’t take yourself too seriously, and that there are real people behind your ads.

Give it a try… but don’t forget the rules of putting a benefit and offer in your headline!

Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

Are “Zombie Ads” Eating Your Business Alive?

FACT: One change to your mindset can instantly transform your business from a money-wasting “zombie factory” into a high-profit operation that your competitors will both fear and envy.

It’s “The Rule of ABMO: Always Be Making Offers.

This means that every marketing effort you undertake should include an outright promotional offer… a special, savings, deal, bonus, coupon… any kind of specific offer that asks people to respond. That’s what you want, right? You don’t simply want to inform them, do you?


The opposite? Ads that simply say that you’re in business. I call these “Zombie Ads” because they’re the promotional walking dead. Like a business card, these–YAWN!–ads give consumers no reason to take action. No reason to buy. They spend your money, but return no sales… and–like a rotten-fleshed, fly-infested zombie– effectively eat your business alive.

It’s the difference between saying, “We’re Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary!” (No offer… no reason to respond… no reason to give a damn.), and: “FREE CAR WASH… PLUS SAVE $15 On Every Oil Change Now Through August 21” (Ahhh… two nice big benefits, PLUS the all-important deadline to drive action.)

See the difference? Feel the difference?

FACT: People don’t care that you own a business. And they couldn’t care less that you want customers. (Gasp!) The only thing they care about is what your business can DO for them. Give them no offer… zero reason to respond… and you’re saying, “Relax! No need to give us your business now. When—and if—you want what we’re selling, maybe, hopefully, if we’re lucky, one day… you’ll think about us… er, ok?”

cogThis was the cautious “Oh, I don’t want to be too pushy, Drew” copywriting mindset of many former independent business owners and entrepreneurs who are now sitting behind desks… miserable… begrudgingly working like cogs in a giant wheel that’s churning for someone else’s success.

The bottom line? ABMO. Always Be Making Offers.

If your business is like most, then your success is directly tied to the number of offers you make.

Make one offer per year, and you’ll reap the rewards of one offer. (That is, if it closes.)

Make one hundred offers per year, and your chances for success are vastly improved.

Hey, what if you made one thousand offers per year? Would that have a positive impact on your business and bank account? Would your competition be particularly pleased?

Point made.

Article done.


What’s the difference between a sales wizard and a low-performance flop?

Dear Friend:

What’s the difference between a sales wizard and a low-performance flop?

For example…

Salesman Joe routinely closes deals on homes worth over $3 million…

… while Bill bangs his head against the wall trying to sell $50 cell phones.

Lindsay frequently wins awards for selling the most $380,000 Rolls Royce Phantoms during the slow summer months…

… while Janet just got fired because she couldn’t figure out how to persuade more businesses to try her $99 monthly coffee-delivery service.

Fact is, these four salespeople have great personalities… bright smiles… firm handshakes… and excellent prospecting and follow-up skills.

They’re all dedicated… hard workers… and have families to support.

But the differences in their performance is dramatic. And it’s reflected numerically in the last line of their respective bank statements.

So what’s the answer? Why do some salespeople earn big, fat, healthy commission checks while others are just scraping by?

The “secret” is…


Because just like today’s most mind-boggling magicians, these high-earning sales “wizards” have special “tricks” of their own.  They use consumer psychology.  Powerful methods that influence people to buy like crazy.  In fact, New York’s biggest ad agencies also use these tactics to create irresistible advertising for their big-budget clients.  And it doesn’t matter what these sales experts sell… these tricks work for every business.  Plus, they’re 100% legal, ethical, and very powerful.

My new book:

BrainScripts 3d Cover--300dpiBrainScripts for Sales Success: 21 Hidden Principles of Consumer Psychology for Winning Customers

…takes you on a fascinating tour inside the consumer brain, and teaches you the powerful techniques of sales psychology that top-gun pros use to persuade people to buy…  Buy… BUY like crazy.

No matter what you sell—or where they sell it—the tested and proven ideas in this practical, fast-reading book will teach you…

=> How to use the powerful emotion of fear to convince even the most stubborn prospects—Here’s how to ethically use it to motivate people to buy what you sell.

=> How to make prospects personally identify with your products—It’s like taking an x-ray of their brains before you ask for the sale.

=> How to borrow believability from others to enhance your own—Breaking sales records is easy when people believe what you say. Here’s how to do it—even if they don’t know you from Adam.

=> How to tailor your sales pitch for your prospects’ specific stage of awareness—Joe loves your product… Lindsay has never heard of it! Here’s how to sell them both in the quickest, easiest way. (It’s simpler than you think.)

=> How to crush your competition… before they know what hit them—by using  devilishly effective preemptive strikes that leave them scratching their heads.

=>  How to change the way your prospects think about your product—No matter what they already know about it, you can actually shape how their brains process the value of your products. Result? Greater desire and more sales.

=> How to make prospects successfully demonstrate your product inside their heads before they spend a penny to buy it— Do this, and the sale is 75% closed.

=> How to use powerful speaking patterns that build a river of desire for any product or service—An amazingly powerful way to talk that gets your prospects’ buying juices flowing. If you didn’t have their attention before… just wait until you see how they respond now.

=> How to smoke the competition with the power of “extreme specificity”—Chances are none of your competitors are using this tactic… and they’ll hate you for it. (But you’ll love how it affects your bank account.)

=> What common mistakes to avoid… at all costs—Commit these sales blunders and you might as well stay in bed the next day. (How many are you making right now?)

=> What you should NEVER/ALWAYS do during any sales presentation—whether in person, by phone, email or letter. These tips will save you years of wasted effort.

=>  Expert guides, tips and strategies—all based not on hypothesis, conjecture or wishful thinking, but on tested and proven methods of consumer psychology.

=> Plus actual scripts to use in any selling situation, across any field or industry, based on the 21 Foundational Principles of Consumer Psychology, to successfully win customers and make the sale.

=> And much more.

If you liked CA$HVERTISING, I think you’ll love BrainScripts, because it picks up where CA$HVERTISING left off.

CA$HVERTISING begins with a brief explanation of the foundational principles of consumer psychology, and then in the remaining pages–the majority of the book–teaches principles of advertising psychology to help you boost the sales power of your ads, brochures, emails, websites, sales letters and other ad media.

BrainScripts, by contrast, focuses on 21 principles of consumer psychology and goes far deeper into each (since the entire book is dedicated to them)–and features a practical twist: dozens of actual scripts showing how to put the principles into action… how to speak them to others… and how to insert persuasion into every sales presentation. Whereas CA$HVERTISING focused on advertising, BrainScripts focuses on person-to-person sales… an even larger market than for CA$HVERTISING.

Order your copy of BrainScripts now at Amazon’s low pre-publication price:  For AUDIO rights, contact me here.

And if you happen to be a foreign publisher looking for translation rights, click here.

Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

• Author of the advertising best-seller:
CA$HVERTISINGnow in its 3rd printing from Career Press. Translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese,Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Thai.

• Author of: BrainScripts for Sales Success:
21 Hidden Principles of Consumer Psychology
for Winning Customers” Worldwide release in 2014 by global-publishing leader McGraw-Hill

“Drew Eric Whitman has done it again! BrainScripts gives you
tested psychological tools—plus actual scripts—that help you influence
people to buy. Read it and sell more—it’s just that simple.”
Roger Dawson, author of Secrets of Power Negotiating

“Drew Eric Whitman’s BrainScripts provides a rich journey through the
psychology of beliefs and their influence on how we make decisions.
It shows in detail how beliefs become established, how they affect behavior
and, most importantly, how business owners can ethically tap into them
to help their companies grow and prosper.”

Robert Dilts, Founder NLP University

 “In sales we all want a competitive edge. Drew Eric Whitman gives us
valuable insight into our prospects’ minds. Can you imagine the power
in your sales presentation when you understand your prospects
better than they know themselves?”

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, Sales Presentation Skills Expert
Past President of the National Speakers Association

“BrainScripts, gives sellers an inside look into the psychology of selling,
including why people buy and why they don’t. It’s like looking onto a crystal ball of human behavior. This is the most comprehensive work on the subject since the selling environment changed dramatically back in 2008.”
Thomas A. Freese, author of Secrets of Question Based Selling

“The material in BrainScripts is so powerful it should require a license for use. Luckily for salespeople, we just need to read and apply these
psychological principles to sell more than ever.”
Art Sobczak, author of Smart Calling—Eliminate the Fear, Failure,
and Rejection from Cold Calling

“Instead of just random talking, BrainScripts gives you
actual scripts to help get your sales message across without setting off
your prospects’ ‘What’s the catch?’ and ‘It’s too good to be true!’ alarms.”
Tom “Big Al” Schreiter, author of How To Get Instant Trust, Belief, Influence, and Rapport!

“Drew Eric Whitman’s BrainScripts is the definitive advantage in sales strategy—like playing poker while seeing your opponents’ cards.
Read it and win… or pray your competitors do not.”
MJ DeMarco, author of The Millionaire Fastlane

“Well-meaning, but totally out-of-touch salespeople often use lovely words extolling their own thoughts about a product or service without understanding the innermost thought processes and desires of the prospect. Drew Eric Whitman shows you why
that’s dead wrong, takes you inside the step-by-step thinking of the merely curious and the deeply desirous, and then shows you how to snag the prospect’s interest and lead him/her to an urgent thrust to purchase! BrainScripts brings you face-to-face with the prospect’s intimate evaluation procedures so you can turn them into sales motivations and close the deal!
René Gnam, author of René Gnam’s Direct Mail Workshop

“Drew Eric Whitman’s BrainScripts takes sales psychology to a new level.
His practical and easy-to-use tips will also take you to the next level.”
Kerry Johnson, MBA, Ph.D.
America’s Sales Psychologist

“Brilliant stuff! BrainScripts is your magic key to unlocking
your prospects’ minds. Packed with game-changing ideas and insights, it can help you gain the upper hand in your dealings with people
even if you’re not in sales. It gives you an almost
unfair advantage—yet it’s all perfectly legal!”
Richard Bayan, author of Words That Sell 

“If you want to fix a car, it helps to read the repair manual. If you want to sell
more products and services, it helps to learn what influences the consumer mind. BrainScripts is the sales manual that puts you light years ahead of your competition in understanding what makes people buy and positively influencing their buying decisions. I suggest you read it… before your competition does.”
Dr. Tony Alessandra, author The Platinum Rule for Sales Mastery

 “This is one of those rare books that I wish wouldn’t get published. It reveals new secrets based on real experience and the latest scientific evidence. A masterpiece! This gem will become the new sales bible.”
Dr. Joe Vitale, author Hypnotic Writing and
There’s A Customer Born Every Minute


Drew Announces New Book: “BrainScripts”

Dear Friend:

Do you know the secrets of creating ads, emails, websites, brochures, sales letters and flyers that create streams of new customers and drive your competition bonkers?


A few years ago I wrote the book CA$HVERTISING that teaches you exactly how to do this. Since its first printing, it has been published in 10 languages worldwide: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic–and, just recently–Thai. The scores of wildly enthusiastic reviews on Amazon (5-star rating with 110 reviews) make all the hard work worthwhile. Looking at other books on the topic, few have earned such powerfully glowing reviews. I’m truly thankful for every one.


Now I’m thrilled to announce a brand new book I recently finished writing: BrainScripts for Sales Success: 21 Hidden Principles of Consumer Psychology for Winning Customers and Smashing Sales Records. 

BrainScripts picks up where CA$HVERTISING left off. I began CA$HVERTISING with a brief explanation of the foundational principles of consumer psychology, and then in the remaining pages–the majority of the book–teaching principles of advertising psychology to help you boost the power of your ads, brochures, emails, websites, sales letters and other ad media.

BrainScripts focuses on the 21 principles of consumer psychology and goes far deeper into each (since the entire book is dedicated to them)–and features a practical twist: dozens of actual scripts showing how to put the principles into action… how to speak them to others… and how to insert persuasion into every sales presentation. Whereas CA$HVERTISING focused on advertising, BrainScripts focuses on person-to-person sales.

I’m honored to be working with the professionals at McGraw-Hill–one of the largest and most successful publishers in the world. The book is in the first-round stage of editing and is now available for discounted pre-sales on Amazon and other online book sellers. It will appear in bookstores worldwide this October.

consulting-image-1With the upcoming release of BrainScripts, I’m booking seminars across the U.S. and teaching business owners how to use advertising and consumer psychology to boost sales, no matter what they sell. If you’re a member of an organization that could benefit from a rapid-fire 2-hour presentation like this, please CONTACT me and let’s discuss putting together an unforgettable event.

Fact is, I can’t successfully reach my goals without your support. So THANK YOU so much for your time and interest in my work. And, as always, if I can ever be of service to you, please don’t hesitate to ask, okay?

Sincerely <HANDSHAKE>
Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™




Writing Books: Love OR Torture?

Dear Friends:

Depending upon whom you ask, writing books is either a labor of love… or sheer torture.

Unless it’s the former–which it definitely is for me–it will seem like an endless, Sisyphean task.

For those that haven’t done it, first–if you plan to go the traditional bookstore route (versus self-publishing)–you’ll want to find yourself a good literary agent. That’s your first challenge. And it involves creating a powerful-enough QUERY LETTER to pique the interest of agents that represent your book’s genre.

If you really know your topic–which you certainly should since you’re proposing to write an entire book about it–writing the query letter is comparatively “easy.”

Attracting a good agent is not.

Assuming you’re successful… and you weren’t first discouraged by the truckloads of rejection letters–many form letters carefully crafted (or not) to soften the blow–it’s on to step 2, which is…

The next mountainous roadblock in your path: creating the exhaustively complete PROPOSAL which not only contains your overview of the book and its goals, but also your bio (easy enough)… AND an in-depth comparative and contrasting analysis of books currently on the market that could be seen as competitive with yours… AND a fully detailed marketing game plan on how YOU (not your publisher) intends to promote your book (an aspect that many author hopefuls don’t realize… it’s the author’s job to promote his/her title)… AND a fully fleshed-out table of contents… AND a complete (and beautifully polished) sample chapter or two… AND a tightly written summary of why it’s a good idea for the publisher to gamble its cash on your work versus other authors’.

When you’re done, you’ll probably have 40+ pages of tightly written proposal.

Yes… 40+ pages.

(If it’s not tightly written, scroll back to page one and apply an electric buffer to those words!)

Besides the nearly monumental task of interesting a literary agent in your idea enough to represent you, it’s the proposal that I believe stops most writers cold. Fact is, if you can’t muster the gumption to write 40 pages or more for the thing that could launch your book onto retailers’ shelves nationwide (or worldwide, for that matter–like CA$HVERTISING), then chances are you’ll never complete a 60,000-word manuscript for the book itself.

But if you do… and if your idea first sells your prospective agent on representing you… and if your agent next interests one (or more) publishers in investing in your writing career, you might be fortunate enough to get wonderfully generous emails and reviews from happy readers around the world.

I don’t know Robert S. Hill, but his review of CA$HVERTISING recently posted on–like all the fabulous reviews that readers submitted for which I’m so grateful–couldn’t have been any more kind or generous. And it’s this kind of feedback that makes the entire process so rewarding for me…


The real thanks goes to YOU, Mr. Hill. Thank you for your support… and for taking the time to be so kind.

And thanks to YOU, my friend, for reading. <HANDSHAKE>



Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

P.S. Click HERE to listen to a free audio excerpt of CA$HVERTISING.


Crave Success? Aggressively Target Your Competition!

consulting-image-1Dear Friend:

Why do so many business owners consistently create “crash-and-burn” advertising?

(That’s advertising that flat-out bombs… fizzles… doesn’t work worth a damn.)

It’s not that they don’t want it to work.

(That would be ridiculous, right?)

It’s not that they don’t know their product.

(That would also be kinda nuts, no?)

And we can safely assume that those who’ve been in their business long enough probably know their target audiences pretty well, can’t we?

(If they didn’t, it would surely be wise to learn, right?)

Fact is–even those who know the essentials about creating effective ads–often still create lousy promotions for one key reason…



But it’s true.

As I say in my seminars, “When it comes to their advertising, most business owners are afraid to whisper… when they should be SHOUTING!”

They’re afraid to offend.

They’re afraid to upset… rock the boat… upset the cart… or the “scariest thing of all…”

“I don’t want to make my competition mad at me!”

Can you imagine?

One of your primary focuses as a business owner with competition is, 1) To lure current customers away from your competition and, 2) To steer new prospects to you instead of to them.

… and you don’t want to make your competition… er, “mad at you?”

“But, Drew! If I make them mad, they’ll be even tougher competitors!”

If you’re a real player in the marketplace, do you really think that they don’t already have you in their radar? 

And if you’re not yet a “real player, ” are you saying that you’ll avoid becoming one… simply to not upset your competitors?

Fact is, your competition–if they’re smart–is already doing what they can to: 1) Lure customers away from you, and, 2) Steer prospects away from you so these new prospects become happily involved with them instead of you.

“But, Drew! I can ‘fly under the radar’ and still make customers.”

Perhaps you can, but no plane that always flies under the radar ever reaches great heights.

(This is more than a cutesy expression. It’s an absolute truism in business, as well.)

Meaning, if you don’t “put yourself out there” enough to stir things up among your competitors, you can’t expect to maximize the potential of your success.

That’s because when you “fly under the radar,” not only can’t the radar see you… but neither can crowds of potential customers. And the fact is, most customers won’t come looking for you. They typically find the business that speaks the loudest and the most frequently.

The wise business person understands that you cannot “hide your way to prosperity.”

You must EXTROVERT yourself far beyond what you’re probably currently now doing.

Because the truth is, you need other people to succeed.

You can’t run a fabulously profitable business in a vacuum.

You need people to become involved with you.

To interact with you.

You need to go from obscurity to a known quantity.

(Read that last sentence again.)

And when that happens, more people develop the psychological comfort to give you their money. And none of this happens when you’re safely “flying under the radar,” afraid to upset your competitors.

So… having said all that, here’s a practical prescription you can start using right away that I guarantee will positively lift your response and, therefore, help build your business.

Rx_symbolRx: Start Being Far More Aggressive in Your Advertising… and Sell Directly Against Your Competition!

Make bolder claims! Directly compare your products to your competitors’ and state without hesitation why yours is better. (Spell it out in specifics. Give the data. Use numbers to back up your claims. Don’t just say it… prove it.) Put questions in your advertising that asks why your competitor doesn’t do things that you routinely do.

• Ask why your competitor doesn’t offer the same powerful guarantee that you naturally include with all purchases. “What are they afraid of? What are they hiding?”

• Ask why they don’t tell their customers X (whatever it may be)… when you always put this information right up front for full disclosure.

• Ask why they don’t make their X fresh every day, but get theirs trucked in  rock-hard frozen from halfway across the country.

• Ask why they’re so slow to deliver… when you deliver superior quality in half the time.

• Ask why they force their customers into a endless voice mail loop instead of having live, friendly customer service reps waiting for their call.

So you see, you don’t need to bash their products directly by overtly saying they’re inferior. And you don’t need to call them by name. You allude to their inferiority by asking questions that instill doubt and suggesting how what you’re doing is better. It’s a calculated method that helps re-position the competition in their heads. It taps into the average consumer’s proclivity to shop using heuristic decision making. 

Pronounced “hyu-RIS-tik”, it’s a derivative of the Greek word “heuriskein” meaning “to discover”. Heuristics pertain to the process of gaining (or “discovering”) knowledge, not by critical thinking and reasoning, but by intelligent guesswork.

Let’s face it. Most humans are lazy creatures.

Most of us prefer to take the quickest route to arriving at decisions, because doing so eliminates the hard work—the “pain”—of thinking, and the need to consider all the—sometimes complex or overwhelming—details. If we can make a decision quickly, then we can get back to doing more fun stuff… like watching ridiculous videos on YouTube.

And when it comes to using our brains, for many of us, most anything is more pleasurable than engaging in deep thought. Inventor-genius Thomas Edison said it best, “There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.”

Heuristic decision making to the rescue! You see, if we’re exposed to the right type of information, our “mental trains” will stay on their peripheral processing tracks and pull into the station fully prepared to make a decision in seconds or minutes instead of hours, days, or longer.

So what these questions do, then, is provide the “food” that feeds your prospects’ heuristic hunger. It gives them reason to question your competition. It put them in a position of either accepting what you’ve said, or questioning it.

Do you see the power of this?

If they accept it, you’ve almost got them. Now all you need to do it make it easy to buy.

If they question what you’ve said, you’ve successfully installed doubt. And that means they’re now faced with the discomfort of cognitive dissonance: holding two opposing thoughts in their minds at the same time. Something that human beings dislike intensely.

Do you see what’s happening here?

Your prospects are now faced with the challenge of removing the doubt that you installed in order to resolve the dissonance. And doing that means work. And that’s when you capitalize on human inertia. Humans don’t like work. They’ll try to avoid it at all costs.

The result? They often accept the information you present as factual because it helps them avoid doing the legwork and brainwork to find out for themselves.

This is the power of installing doubt using an aggressive approach that directly targets your competition.

Try it… and start flying profitably above the radar.

Or keep flying low… and watch new prospects open their minds–and wallets–to your competition.


Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™





WARNING! Does Your Advertising Make YOU Look Like a Foolish Business Amateur?

QUESTION: What’s worse than advertising that doesn’t work?

ANSWER:  Advertising that doesn’t work… AND also makes you look bad.

For example… I like to run. It burns calories and keeps me fit. And when it’s not too hot outside (Its 98º right now), I’ll run through my neighborhood. Looking at the mountains and flowers and trees helps take my mind off the fact that I’d rather be home… er… not running.

If I run on Wednesdays, I’ll invariably see a handful of different landscapers’ trucks parked outside of their customers’ homes. Fact is, they all provide the exact same services (grass cutting… tree trimming, etc.)… and all do it for about the same price. And there’s not much difference in the quality of their services. (How many different ways can you cut a lawn? Sure, some might be sloppy… not as reliable… but for the most part, their services are identical.)

HOWEVER… few of these guys know anything about how to effectively advertise their services and sell against their competition. (Do you?) If they did, there wouldn’t be so many competitors within the same development. Why should there be 10 different landscapers within a community of fewer than 200 homes? It’s plain nuts!

They either: 1) Don’t care to get more business (which is unlikely), or 2) They don’t know how. So, let’s put aside all that’s required to create ads, brochures, emails, websites, sales letters and the like. Let’s focus on just one simple thing: the messaging on their TRUCKS. It’s a constant and free source of advertising for these guys. Nearly 200 potential new clients see their trucks rolling by their windows at least once a week. The trucks are–literally–rolling billboards.

The problem? They don’t think of them that way!  In fact, they apparently don’t even think of their trucks as advertising of ANY kind, but just something “you’re supposed to do” if you own such a business. “Heck… that’s what everyone else is doing!”

Now here’s the problem… The guy who just now drove past my house–let’s call him Joe–has the most amateur-looking lettering and crappiest logo you’ve ever seen in your life. It looks like he painted it himself with his foot… which he might have. His truck is dirty… sloppy looking… and if you walk past it and peer inside (which I’ve done while running past it many times), you’d think a bomb exploded inside. Look at all that trash! Fast-food soda cups strewn all over… McDonald’s hamburger wrappers… petrified french fries… empty crushed cigarette packs… and absolutely filthy windows, like he grabbed a blob of Vaseline and flung on the glass, then rolled the window up and down. (Don’t ask me what it is… I have no idea.)

“But, Drew… come on! Maybe poor Joe doesn’t have lots of money for a fancy truck!”

Please. The trash is reflective of the same mindset that applied the crappy foot-painted lettering and logo.

How much does it cost to keep your things–your ad, in this case–clean?

How much would it set you back to throw away your trash? To shoot some Windex on the windows once a week? To check to see if your rolling billboard is creating a positive impression that could bring you more business?

You can buy a big bottle of glass cleaner at your local dollar store for a buck and have clean windows all year long. Joe’s rolling ad says this:

Joe’s Lawn Service 760-000-0000

Yes, that’s it. His name. His number. It’s about as persuasive as, well, Joe himself.

And it’s too bad. Because Joe’s a nice guy and seems to do a nice job. The “mow lines” on the lawns he cuts are meticulous. Super-straight diagonal cuts and a perfectly clean driveway which he blows and sweeps after every service.

He even hoses down the ground around the lawn just to make sure he leaves the homeowner’s property as neat and tidy (or more so) than when he first arrived.

I’ve seen him check and adjust the irrigation sprayers, too… just to make sure that the entire lawn is getting sufficient water.

And look! There he is hosing down the street in front of the house, too!

You see, many landscapers put a giant burlap sheet in front of the house which they dump the grass clippings onto. They gather the corners together and load it into their trucks. This naturally makes a bit of a mess in the street. No worries. Joe takes care of that, too. But from the looks of Joe’s truck–his sales materials–you’d never believe it, unless you were already his customer. (And that’s the problem.)

Enter TruScaping–the landscaping pros with the gorgeous, shiny-clean  truck… beautiful lettering and logo on the doors.. and sparkling-bright windows. Here’s what the message on their truck advertises:

TruScaping–The Art of Lawn & Garden Care Mowing, Pruning, Planting, Complete Landscaping & Design Services Weekly, Bi-Weekly, Monthly Service Plans Call for free estimate: 760-000-0000

Can you feel the difference? Yes, it’s a feeling! The visuals of the clean trucks and professional messaging, logo, sales copy… everything… give you an impression of a business that is: __________. Successful, right? Of course. You subconsciously think, “They must be good because their image is good.” This is a hard-wired response in our brains that we just can’t shake.

For example, let’s say you wanted to sell your house. You call two agents and say, “Please come to my house and tell me about your listing services.” Both agents arrive at separate times.

Agent #1–Mike–pulls up in a dull-gold 1972 Plymouth Duster, smoking a bit from the tail pipe and from under the hood. The headliner hangs down inside the cabin of the car, and the nose of the car has a rust hole the size of a 10-egg omelette.duster

QUESTION: What do you AUTOMATICALLY think about this agent? Do you think, “Wow, this guy must be a very effective agent. Oh, sure… his car is horrendous, but maybe he’s just not into cars. Maybe he’s not the material type.” Or, is it more likely you’d think, OMG… you’ve GOT to be kidding! This guy is a real estate agent? Look at that jalopy! What!? He can’t afford a decent car? I don’t think this guy could influence a pit bull to eat a New York strip!”

Next,  Agent #2–Joe–rolls up in his… $217,000 2014 Bentley Continental GT. bentley Match point. Game over. Fact is, unless the wiring in your brain was somehow knocked loose by “an old football injury,” you’d instantly believe that agent #2 is dramatically more effective in most everything he does. After all, “he has that freakin’ Bentley.”

But this is simply your perception. Agent #1 could be far more effective at listing and selling homes… and his sales record could prove it. It’s just that ever since his wife got killed by a hit-and-run driver and he learned that her life insurance policy lapsed without being renewed, he was faced with raising 4 children on his own and–through the experience of her passing–came to realize that there’s more important things in life than shiny cars.

Agent #2, Joe, on the other hand, never did well in any sort of sales, let alone real estate. He first tried his hand at network marketing, but could never convince enough people to come to his meetings… even when he gave away ridiculous amounts of food, drink, and chocolate.

Next, that ad in the paper persuaded Joe to spend $5,000 in a “sell-gold-by-the-inch” dealership, but his natural “ability” to make people uncomfortable before spending money sent that attempt down the toilet. “What the heck… I’ll try real estate,” he thought. “After all, look at all these help-wanted ads advertising for agents with ‘no experience needed’.” And ever since passing the licensing exams and putting in hundreds of hours of “floor time,” Joe had little more than 1 lousy listing to show for it. And it expired, unsold.

Joe’s new strategy? Drive up in a big shiny, expensive car, loaned to him by his wealthy brother-in-law who has more cars than garages to store them. “That, for sure, will help me rack-up more listings! After all… ‘perception is reality’!”

Get the point? Joe’s appearance did the talking–the advertising–for him. His newly adopted outward image spoke volumes about “his performance” without saying a word… despite the fact that pulling up to a prospective client’s house in a Bentley Continental says nothing more, technically, than the fact that you’re pulling up in a Bentley Continental… but to the consumer brain, it says most everything. And if Joe’s personal demeanor matches the power of his new 616 horsepower sales prop–even if he fakes it–he won’t need nearly as hardcore a sales pitch as agent #1, Mike, because, after all, “He must be successful… look at that car!” Whether or not he performs is another story.

The point is that it persuades homeowners to give him more listings because he’s playing the role of a successful agent… and that’s what home sellers want. It’s his trappings that help get him the business. Unfair? That doesn’t matter. What is, is.

Now, the idea isn’t to deceive people, of course… but to not “get” that people form instant impressions based on your appearance is setting yourself up for potential business suicide. Fact is, it’s impossible not to advertise. Your car or truck advertises–whether there’s a word or image on it or not. The design of your website or landing page advertises. Forget the words for a moment. Just the way it LOOKS says whether you’re successful or struggling.

Does anything you show to the public say that you’re struggling? You might want to take a second look. Your business card… your stationery… your logo (or worse still, lack of one)… even your spelling and formatting of your emails and sales letters. Everything communicates something. And just as you cannot not communicate. You cannot not advertise.

So, the big question remains: Does YOUR advertising make YOU look like an amateur? Isn’t it worth a look? Or–if you’re not too thin skinned–I’ll do it for you.. and reveal things you’re completely overlooking.

Click to learn more.

Until next time, I wish you… Success!



Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

P.S. Have you read CA$HVERTISING? Click to learn more.

P.P.S. Please check out my new book, BrainScripts for Sales Success. Click here

What’s It Like to Do Business with YOU?

FACT: Most businesses today give “EL-CRAPPO” customer service.

That’s because most business people think that customer service only means making people happy before and during the sale.

You know… smiling a lot… saying “my pleasure” every few seconds… mentally reciting “the customer is always right”… and always remembering to say, “thank you.”

Truth is, providing excellent customer service also means being a gracious steward for your patrons’ entire experience. And it’s the most powerful form of advertising you can possibly imagine… and doesn’t have to cost you one single penny.

“HUH? What the heck are you talking about, Drew?”

Simply put… what’s it like to do business with you?

Did you ever think about this?

Do you simply give people what they pay you for and no more?

brownieIn other words, if you sell homemade brownies from your website, do you simply take their money and ship the product? Or do you do something more to create some kind of memorable experience?

“But I’m not in the ‘experience’ business, Drew… I’m in the brownie-selling business!”

Is this your attitude? Fact is, you’re not just selling brownies. You’re consciously or unconsciously selling absolutely everything you do from the moment your customer visits your website to the time he sinks his teeth into that chewy-chocolately chunk. (He’ll remember the entire experience whether it was exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.)


Or, let’s say you run a pet-sitting service. Your customer judges the transaction on not only how well you cared for his pet (something he already expects you to do), but also on the entire experience. He could be perfectly thrilled with the dog getting a walk and a treat, but never return because of the indifference he experienced from you and your staff. The next time his pooch needs a sitter, he’ll recall the feelings that dealing with you— versus your competition—gave him.

If your competitors are selling their customers on their entire experience while you’re focusing on only the dog walk, they’ll always have the upper hand in the persuasion department. They’ll be working on 100% of the experience and you’ll be addressing a mere fraction of that.

Ask yourself, “What’s it like doing business with me? Do I do something extra… even a little extra… to make the process more of an experience for the person… something they’ll appreciate and remember?”

For example, when someone buys one of my training products, I always include a full-page personalized thank you letter with a very warm expression of my sincere appreciate for their valued business. In addition, I invite them to contact me if they have any questions whatsoever. I tell them I’m there for them. In other words, I make more of a connection than does the average seller of business products.

As the author, I express the willingness to help them, should they need it. I tell them my door is always open. It’s something that few other authors do… or want to do. Most don’t want the personal contact because they take an “en masse” approach. They think, “What happens if they all take me up on my offer to help them?” Well.. you’ll make a lot of customers happy… probably happy enough to continue doing business with you.

What about YOU? What more can you do? What more can you add? It doesn’t have to be much. It’s the IMPACT that’s important… not the “thing” you do.

For example, I’m pleasantly SHOCKED when several days after a doctor’s appointment, I get a call from the physician asking how I’m doing. Wow! It’s enough to knock me onto the floor! Who’s ever heard of such service?

Or, a local restaurant calls to thank me for filling out a survey card. Wow! This kind of thing is so uncommon it’s literally shocking.

But WHY is it so shocking? I’ll tell you…

It’s so shocking because, nowadays, most businesses and business people don’t give a damn about anything other than taking your money.

Another way to put it is this: They care only to the extent that you pay them. Once the payment happens and you’ve gotten your stuff, au revoir! Sad, but true. So when a business person shows he or she cares, it’s quite a jarring experience, isn’t it?

REMEMBER: Whenever you make a new customer, you’re starting a brand new relationship. Do little (or nothing) more than you’re legally obligated to do, and you’ll turn a possibly great (and profitable) relationship into just a “one-sale-stand.”

OR… wow them with a show of your appreciation and concern, and you’ll set the stage for mutually beneficial (and profitable) long-term experience.

Don’t forget your repeat customers. They also deserve a little extra, too.

So, don’t just say, “Hmm… interesting” and click away. Implement this idea immediately and reap the rewards.

Until next time, I leave you with this quote:

“Always render more and better service
than is expected of you,
no matter what your task may be.”

Augustine “Og” Mandino II
Author of “The Greatest Salesman in the World”





Drew Eric Whitman, D R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

=> DO YOU NEED A HARD-HITTING ad, brochure, sales letter, email, or landing page? Click and I’ll create one for you!

=> WANT ME TO REVIEW your existing advertising materials and tell you how to dramatically improve your response? Click and let’s get started!

CA$HVERTISING: Teaching Persuasion in 9 Languages Worldwide

LISTEN: I don’t care WHO your prospect is or WHERE they’re located… when you know how to use the time-tested principles of consumer and advertising psychology–and you properly apply them–you will make more money. It’s just as simple as that.

You see, I’ve recently been informed by my publisher, Career Press, that rights have been secured for the following foreign-language editions: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic.

This goes to show that the same basic tenants of human psychology affect us all. The Life-Force 8, as I describe in detail in CA$HVERTISING, apply to every man and woman, no matter where in the world they’re located.


You can be assured that if you employ the principles that I share in CA$HVERTISING–no matter what type of product or service you sell–you’ll communicate to your prospects far more effectively and persuasively and, as a result, be far more likely to encourage them to whip out their credit cards or make their PayPal accounts go CA-CHING in your favor.

Result? You make more money.

So THANKS A MILLION, to you… and to the other readers worldwide… for making CA$HVERTISING one of the most popular books on the topic of advertising persuasion currently in print

FACT: Humans are humans. What affected them hundreds of years ago still affects you and me today. Much has changed… except human psychology.

Your brain is wired just like your great, great, great, great, great grandparents’ brains. They could never have dreamed about the internet that you’re using this very minute. Or any of the modern conveniences that we currently take for granted.


Heck… you could hand them the very first working telephone, Victrola, and an old mechanical calculator… and they’d think you’re from outer space! But if you needed to sell them something, you could use the same techniques that are causing millions of people to buy in “space-age” 2013… this very minute.

CA$HVERTISING is just $8.54 on Amazon right now. The Kindle edition is just $8.11. I personally guarantee it will be the among most valuable reading on the topic you’ve ever done. But if you read it… USE it. The information does you no good just sitting in your skull.

So thanks again, guys. I appreciate your support for my work more than you’ll ever know. And the generous emails that I get from readers worldwide make all the effort worthwhile.

Merci… gracias… danke… grazie… 谢谢… ありがとう… 감사합니다… شكرا!

Drew Eric Whitman, D R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

P.S. Want to learn more? Click to visit the dedicated CA$HVERTISING book website. Thank you!


A Simple Way to CRUSH Your Competition

What the #$&^@?!”
Have you ever shouted that one?

It’s when you create an email, webpage, ad, brochure or flyer that SEEMS so good… but for some reason it just doesn’t work when you actually publish it.

Argh… frustrating!

Fact is, your advertising should actually help you get business… not just provide interesting reading material for those who see it.

I’m always amazed at how many businesses continue to use the same ad materials despite the results they’re (not) getting. It’s as if they’re thinking, “Hey, I need to send them SOMETHING!” When the responses don’t come, they rarely attribute it to their crappy sales materials.

Do you have live salespeople following up? If not, and you’re not seeing a flow of new customers despite getting the word out, your sales materials are 100% to blame!

Fact is, a well-written brochure, for example, can completely out-sell your competition by making their similar service seem lacking and inferior.

For example, I recently created a brochure for martial arts school. What it DIDN’T do was simply tell all the good things that it offers students. It ALSO told all the things that the COMPETITION doesn’t do… or does in an inferior way.

For example, I included details such as:

“And unlike other local schools, there are absolutely no expensive belt tests… no legally binding contracts… no complicated, impractical, rehearsed moves to remember… no ridiculous high kicks requiring Gumby-like flexibility…” and so on, each described in detail.


Because by educating your prospects, you’re acting like a consumer advocate, teaching them what to look out for. You’re actually telling them how to judge such businesses so they get more bang for their buck.


If done correctly, you develop massive credibility and actually program your prospects to regard you as the superior business because you are informing them about things that your competition says nothing about.

(Read that last sentence again.)

What naturally happens is that your prospects regard you as more caring… more open and honest… and, as a result, they begin to question why your competition isn’t doing the same. “Hmmmmm?”

LISTEN: If you have a brochure or flyer that’s not working as well as you’d like, I may be able to help you. I’ll take your current brochure and transform it from a lifeless piece of paper into a more effective, money-making sales tool.

In the mean time, take a look at your current sales materials. If you’re only talking about your own product or service, you’re missing the boat.

“But, Drew! I always heard that if MY products and services were great, I shouldn’t say how my competitions’ aren’t as great!”

HOGWASH! Who sold you on that philosophy? That’s like adjusting your car to run on only half its cylinders. Why would you intentionally sacrifice your sales power?

If this is how you think, for the sake of your business, snap out of it… and fast!

Until next time…




Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™
Author of the advertising best-seller:
CA$HVERTISINGnow in its 3rd printing. Translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic. Available at and online and retail bookstores worldwide.


Scary DUMB: Can You Write a Better Headline for This Ad?

The photo is yummy. The headline stinks.

Hey Gang,

Talk about a missed opportunity.

Just look at this ad and how quickly does a better headline come to mind?

For me, it took all of 3 seconds.

(Click the photo a couple of times to read the body copy.)

It’s almost easy enough for a pre-schooler. Yet the copywriter, copy chief, marketing director, and everyone else involved either didn’t know any better… or simply kept their mouth shut. (Which is another way of saying they didn’t know any better.)

This is one of the best examples of advertising know-how ignorance. Not that these examples are so tough to find. But this one is simply so glaring.

Enough yakking. Tell me what they SHOULD have written for the headline. Don’t worry about submitting a polished, finished headline. Just tell me what you think the head SHOULD say. Take all of 60 seconds to do it.

My guess is that the readers of this blog know better than the people on the company payroll(s) responsible for this deliciously bad disaster.

Have at it…

Drew Eric Whitman
Direct Response Surgeon(tm)

P.S. Don’t forget to click twice on the ad to enlarge it enough to read the body text. 😉

How to Slingshot Your Ad Dollars into the Toilet

Hey gang…

Here’s the perfect example of how to create ads that satisfy executives egos, “Oh look how creative and hip we are!” at the expense of actually SELLING the product they claim to be advertising.

Notice how they SPEED through the car’s features at the end (almost as an afterthought) seemingly to placate their consciences regarding what good advertising SHOULD contain. “Er… I guess we better put in something about the car.”


Thanks to Matt of the Dog & Pony Show.

Drew Eric Whitman
Direct Response Surgeon(tm)

"Picking The AdSurgeon’s Brain"–The Dale King Interview

Dale King: Today, I’m interviewing author, direct response specialist and master copywriter Drew Eric Whitman. Hello Drew, how are you?
Drew Eric Whitman: Well, the sun is shining… I have my health… I live in a beautiful part of the U.S… and have the pleasure to be associated with YOU… what the heck could be better?

Dale: Drew, how did you get started marketing your services on the Internet?

Drew Eric Whitman:  Not too long ago 99.9% of all my orders for books and audio programs would come via checks and money orders sent to my post box.

HA!  I remember telling someone, “No one is ordering anything online now!” and few were.  A trusted business advisor of mine asked me, “Why don’t you get a CompuServe account”  My response was something like, “CompuWhat?  HUH!?  What do I need that for?  What will I DO with it?”

Even so, as far as advertising consultants go, I probably was among the first online.  I think this was in the late 80s.  My first site was pretty basic… no bells or whistles.  And that’s still most effective today.  When you create a web site, your goal is not that people say, “Hey, what an awesome site!”  Instead, you want them to say about the product you’re selling, “Hey… I want one of these!”  It’s the same with your advertising.  If you want to know if it’s a good ad, show it to your target market.  If they remark how beautiful your photos are… how skilled your font selection… even how clever your headline, YOU’VE LOST.  If they jam their hand into their pocket and rip out their wallet, YOU’VE WON.

Dale: Some Internet marketing experts advise newbies to steer clear of Internet marketing, because it’s too competitive. Do you agree with that assessment?

Drew Eric Whitman: No.  Of course, when you jump online, you join the earth’s biggest marketplace.  If you’re trying to sell a common product, of course the competition will be intense.  But too intense to try?  Nah.  You always have to try.  But try ONLY if you know what you’re doing.  Or try by getting specialists to do for you what you can’t.

If you wanted to build a house, but you personally didn’t know which end of a hammer to hold, would you simply say, “Shoot!  I want a house, but I don’t know how to use a hammer.  Welp, I guess I should forget about this dream of building my own home.”  Of course not.  You’d find people who DO know how to hold hammers and let them assist you!

And what kind of newbie are we talking about here?  An internet newbie?  Business newbie?  Copywriting newbie?  Industry newbie?  A so-called “newbie” might very well know more about how to construct a powerful-selling email than some of the old-timers who have been unsuccessfully sending one crummy email out after another for years.

Dale: How is Internet marketing different now, as opposed to when you first got started online?

Drew Eric Whitman: More competition as more people jumped on board.  More merchant tools and technology.  But still, most online marketers still don’t grasp that to be effective, web advertising must still follow the rules of effective OFFline advertising that go back over 100 years.

So, what you have is all the people who didn’t know how to create effective ads and who couldn’t afford the media cost to place them (in newspapers, magazines, radio or TV), with access to a virtually “free” medium on which to place ads that follow NONE of the rules of effective advertising.

In other words, before we couldn’t SEE these people’s advertising because they couldn’t afford the media costs to place the ads.  But now, thanks to the internet,  we see them all.  Ugh.  For those who know how to write ads, we’re not so much afraid of these people’s ads as we are the clutter that our prospects have to wade through to find ours!

Dale: How important has goal-setting been to your overall success?

Drew Eric Whitman: I’m very visual.  I picture what I want and drive aggressively toward it.  I’m not so much a “write-things-down-to-achieve” person.  The images of what I want are so burned into my brain that they keep me going.

I think more than goals, however, is a love for what you’re doing because (and this is important) YOU DO IT BECAUSE YOU WANT TO DO IT.  When I’m working on my own projects, especially, work is really more like “play” to me.

I’m very fortunate.  Creating advertising has been a love of mine since I was 11 years old and I passed out one-page catalogs that I typed on my father’s old fabric-ribbon manual Royal typewriter.  Then I cut pictures from my suppliers’ joke and gag catalogs and pasted them on my “camera-ready” sheet using a dark brown jar of rubber cement my dad had in his home office.  The jar had a screw-off lid with a long metal-handled brush that I used to dip into the mighty-powerful-smelling rubber cement and spread the thick goo onto the paper.  A few Xerox copies later, I was handing them out in class and collecting orders for things like whoopee cushions and phony chopped-off fingers.  (They were fun in the lunchroom.)

That was my foray into direct selling, catalog marketing, and copywriting.  So if you love what you do—really love it—that love will help drive you to achieve your goals.  It’s the fuel.  Of course, every good vehicle needs more than gas.  It also needs a steering wheel and a course of direction.  So you do need some clarity about WHERE you want to go, and for most people written goals would probably be helpful.

Dale: How important has reading been to your overall  success?

Drew Eric Whitman: I have a degree in advertising and was fortunate to train under the great Walter Weir, whose name is mentioned in many of the classic books of advertising copywriting.

However, as a copywriter, I am self-taught.  Remember, I started writing advertising when I was a child so by the time my college classmates graduated with their advertising degree, I had already been writing ads, brochures, and sales letters for about a decade.  For some reason, advertising was always in my blood.

I studied the greats of advertising: Caples, Hopkins, Schwartz, Ogilvy and others.  And most of all, I did it with a passion.  Even today, a powerful sales letter is a thing of beauty to me.  I know it sounds funny, but it’s this passion that has made me successful at what I do.  And at the same time, I believe I have an innate ability to write well and a great sensitivity for words and language.

Dale: If you could recommend one book that all Internet marketers should read, what would it be?

Drew Eric Whitman: “Internet schminternet!”  Here’s a book ALL businesspeople should read: “Making Ads Pay” by John Caples.  Fascinating.  But one book is not enough.  So after you gobble that one up, read, “Tested Advertising Methods” also by Caples.  Then grab, “Breakthrough Advertising” by Eugene Schwartz.  And don’t miss, “My Life in Advertising /Scientific Advertising” by Claude Hopkins.

After reading these 4 books, you will know more about how to create powerfully effective advertising than 99% of your competitors.  And that’s no advertising claim.  It’s the damned truth.  Ignore this tip at your own peril.

(Not 1-in-100 will do what I just suggested… to read those books.  Most won’t read just one of those books.  And this is exactly why most advertising on planet earth is ineffective trash.)

If you want a fascinating crash course in advertising psychology and learn the little-known tricks that ad agencies use to persuade people, then I suggest my own book, CA$HVERTISING.

Dale: In your opinion, what technology has changed Internet marketing the most over the last 5 years?

Drew Eric Whitman:  Probably pay-per-click advertising, only because it gets people to your site.  But to me, the focus on technology is the wrong focus.  Spend your time focusing on how to write effective ads.  The technology is the technology.  It’s there to use if you want to.  But if your ads stink, all the tech in the world means nothing.  All you’ll do is spend money to get people to your cool, high-tech (but crappy) site.  And in a few seconds after you bore them to death, they’ll be off to someone else’s possibly low-tech (but well written, strong-selling) site, perhaps to spend money with THEM instead of you. 

“Huh?  How did that happen?  I have a cool Flash splash page… awesome music… cool moving type… and amazing mouse-over effects.  Sure, I never studied how to write ads, but look at how cool my site is! People will buy because they see how technically sophisticated I am.”  (Can you spell, “Out of business?”)

Dale: What new technology do you see changing Internet marketing over the next 5 years?

Drew Eric Whitman: Re-read my answer to the previous question.

Dale: If you could give my readers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Drew Eric Whitman:  Without question, the single most important thing I could possibly advise any businessperson—in any industry—to do, is to read the books I’ve recommended above.  To MAKE A STUDY OF ADVERTISING.  Learn what works… don’t simply “do stuff and see what happens.”  That’s what most businesspeople do, you know.

They say, “Hey, I have a product and I want to sell it.  And because of this, I will do this thing called advertising.  The way you do it is you write some stuff about the thing you want to sell… and then lots of people throw money at you!” 

 Yeah, right.  Sounds great, but how effective would you be as a surgeon if your attitude was, “I want to be a surgeon.  Surgeons take a sharp knife called a scalpel and they cut things.  My friend Steve has heart problems.  Tomorrow, after lunch perhaps, I will go to Steve’s house with my scalpel and begin cutting.” 

Ridiculous, right?  Why?  Because this idiot doesn’t know the first thing about surgery.  Sure, he can cut.  Any monkey with a scalpel can cut.  In fact, both could equally as effectively cut off their own heads.  And sure you CAN advertise.  Anyone who can place an ad and pay for it CAN advertise.  But how EFFECTIVE will your surgery be if you don’t know WHERE to cut… HOW to cut… WHEN to cut.  How many sales will you make if you don’t know WHAT to say… HOW to SAY it… and WHEN to say it?

Results?  Your patient dies… your ads bomb.  The missing element?  EDUCATION.  You need to learn HOW… FIRST!

To get them started, I invite readers of this interview to subscribe to this blog by clicking the “EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION” or RSS feed buttons at the top-right of this page.

Dale: Thank you very much Drew. I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview.

Drew Eric Whitman: The pleasure was mine, Dale.  <HANDSHAKE>


How Powerful Ad Copy Can Make You Drool Over a Bar of Bath Soap

Dear Friend,

I have a nice headful of hair.

And it’s a good thing, too.

Because every so often I have a “discussion” with someone that causes me to rip much of it out.

For example…

I just got off the phone with a friend who is writing a brochure. He and his wife sell homemade soap. Very nice soaps, actually. Beautiful colors and fragrances. Some look like nice big, juicy hunks of watermelon. Others resemble fresh orange slices… bright lemon wedges… and meaty chunks of coconut. Yum.

(Do you see what PVA’s–powerful Visual Adjectives–can do to your copy, regardless of the product?)

OK.. back to my hair ripping.

Oh, what the heck…. here’s the dialogue, as I remember it…

DREW: Hey George… you guys have some wonderful soaps here. These fruity soaps are especially appealing. But why just say, “Orange-Scented Bar Soap?” Or, “Coconut-Scented Bar Soap?” Why not really get into it?

Why not compare the soaps to the freshest, juiciest slices of Mandarin or Florida oranges?

Why not talk about how washing your face with it is like splashing your skin with liquid sunshine?

How the aroma reminds you of walking in the sunny, breezy orange fields of Florida?

And your coconut soap! Yum! Why just say, “Smells like coconut”? Why not compare it to the freshly cut coconuts in the sun-soaked western Caribbean… reminiscent of the milky white meaty centers and the sweet, luscious juice?

This is what powerful copywriting is all about. Putting sharp, bright, colorful imagery into people’s heads!

GEORGE: That seems a little over the top, don’t you think? After all, we’re not selling food… we’re selling SOAP!

DREW: UGH. (To myself.) Of course you’re selling SOAP, George, but you want to create some romance… some imagery… something that people can latch onto. It’s called SELLING.

GEORGE: All that doesn’t seem necessary.

DREW: NECESSARY? NECESSARY?! It’s not NECESSARY to sell soap, George! But if you ARE going to do it, why not do it well? Why not do it “aggressively?” Why not do more than your competition is doing? You’re not the ONLY one in this business, you know.

GEORGE: Uh huh.

DREW: I want you to make a fortune with these soaps. They’re great! But you need to do MORE than your competition. Don’t you want to stand apart… stand out?

GEORGE: Well, if doing what you’re saying was so great, why doesn’t anyone else do it?

DREW: Why does McDonalds sell billions of dollars worth of burgers? It doesn’t mean the people who eat all that cow grease are smart. It means they’re simply doing what they’re doing.

You can’t go through life saying, “If others aren’t doing it, why should I?” Most people DON’T do things the best possible way. They do what they THINK is best. And since most businesspeople don’t know much about creating effective advertising, they DON’T do what could be most effective!

GEORGE: (Thinking.) (It sounds like a field of crickets.)

DREW: George, listen to me.

GEORGE: I AM listening!

DREW: You’re selling specialized soap. You’re not selling Ivory. Or Zest. Or Irish Spring. You’re selling EXPENSIVE soap that has 2 things going for it:

1) It’s visually beautiful, and…

2) It smells delicious.

To NOT play up the 2 things that make your soap so appealing is MISSING THE BOAT!

People don’t buy your soap because they simply need to get clean. They can get clean a lot more cheaply with a bar of plain ol’ eyeball-burnin’ Ivory.

(Ever get Ivory in your eyes? Death seems merciful.)

GEORGE: Yes… but…. people will know how it smells WHEN THEY BUY IT. Plus, everyone knows what oranges, coconuts and lemons smell like. They smell like oranges, coconuts and lemons.

DREW: Dear God help me. (To self.)

GEORGE:… so why take all that space to describe it to people who already know?

DREW: Because it helps persuade!

Look at it this way: if someone sees your brochure… and that someone likes the smell of oranges… then she is going to be romanced by a description that’s in keeping with what she likes.

(Read that again.)

It helps her imagine! It takes up more “space” in her brain by creating a mental movie of the product! Describe the juicy wedges… the sunny fields… the hand-picking that goes on in the orchards… that sweet bursting of aroma when you peel one.

And don’t stop there!

Create a deep mental hook with a phrase she won’t be able to shake. Something like: “The Orange-Juicy Way to Wash!” or something similar. Don’t call it “lather,” call it “Sweet Orange-Cream Bubbles.” This is how you make ordinary copy EXTRAordinary.

GEORGE: But won’t people think that’s a little manipulative?

DREW: It IS manipulative. And NO, they won’t think that.

Besides, ADVERTISING IS MANIPULATIVE! We manipulate people’s thoughts. That’s what it’s all about.

It’s not EVIL, unless you’re selling junk and your claims are misleading or downright false.

It’s all about sales, George. And there are degrees of selling.

Hey, let’s face it: you can call yourself a SELLER if you simply have something you’ll exchange for money. Or, you can be a SKILLED seller and incorporate those things that have been PROVEN to encourage people to buy. It’s your choice.

GEORGE: I hear what you’re saying, DREW… but all those fancy descriptions. I can’t get over the fact that we’re just selling soap to use those kinds of descriptions.

DREW: Sigh. (The sound of brown hair ripping.)

How to Tap Into the 17 “Hard-Wired” Hot-Buttons of Human Persuasion


These 3 appeals should be worked into everything you create.


Because they’re powerful, hard-wired hot buttons inside every human brain.

If you read my book CA$HVERTISING, you know about what I call the “LifeForce-8.”

We human beings are biologically programmed with the following 8 desires:

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

When I say, “Hardwired,” that means they’re nearly impossible to “remove.”

But there are also “9 Secondary Wants” that are LEARNED, and also important to know:

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

Do you see how QUICK, EASY and CHEAP fall smack-dab into that second group?

Fact is, people are L-A-Z-Y. We want results NOW! So if your product or service is, in any way, QUICK and EASY, say it!

For example, do you run a cleaning service?

“Announcing the QUICKEST & EASIEST Way
to Have a Sparkling Clean & Fresh Home
… for Less than $100 Per Cleaning!”

“But Drew! $100 isn’t cheap to clean a house!”

It actually is, in some parts of the country. You get the point.

Do you run a website design service?

“Announcing the QUICKEST & EASIEST Way
to Have a Beautiful, Custom-Prepared Website
for Your Restaurant for Just $499 Complete!”

Of course, you don’t have to use the same “Announcing” verbiage… it’s just an example.

“But Drew! Why do I need to TELL them it’s “quick and easy?”  Isn’t it better to just let them find out on their own and then they’ll know?”

[The sound of crickets chirping.]

Argh. This is advertising. Persuasion. Sales. You have to do more than simply HOPE that people will think the things you want them to think. You have to MAKE them think them. (Try saying that fast 10 times.)

One way to make things LOOK easy is to make them visually “approachable.”

For example, in creating BrochureCafe–a former offshoot of my online services, but for brick-and-mortar locals–I didn’t want a cold, hardcore, corporate, Madison Avenue theme. No. Instead, I created something friendly and lighthearted:


Fact is, that which is familiar is more approachable. (Read that again.)

We fear mystery. Mystery denotes unfamiliarity and surprise. The image of a happy diner waitress serving frosty, whipped cream-topped fountain drinks and, er, brochures, is far more approachable than an uptight corporate dude in a suit and tie at his desk, or, commonly shown in stock photos, with his hand extended. Zzzzzzz. We’ve all seen that too many times before.

Bright colors are friendly too, aren’t they? They’re upbeat. Positive. Suggestive of happiness and energy. Contrast that to the gray and maroon in so many corporate brochures and websites. It’s not that it’s WRONG, but it simply gives you a different FEELING.

Pumpkin pie. Apple pie. Banana cream. Boy, do I love pie!

In fact, rather than throwing a bunch of text and numbers at people, on my Services & Prices page, I continue the familiar cafe theme and offer “Service by the Slice”…


… with the number of pie slices representing different ordering options. The copy reads:

ONE SLICE= Your Copy, Our Design. Give us your final copy. Our experienced graphic designers turn your words into an attention getting, ultra-professional-looking sales piece.

TWO SLICES= Your Improved Copy, Our Design. Give us your current copy. Our professional writers add fire and spice to boost its pulling power. Then our designers create a mouthwatering layout that your prospects will eat up.

THREE SLICES= We Do Everything… You Relax. Simply tell us about your product or service and our pros go to work for you… ad-agency style. This deluxe service includes a bold promotional concept… hard-hitting, strong-selling copy… and a gorgeous, can’t-miss design for the ultimate in impact and response. This is the best option if you want the greatest possible sales impact because it allows us to create from scratch.

Order it “A La Mode” and printing is included.

Hey… there’s nothing wrong with having some FUN with your business, is there?

Guess what… your customers and prospects like having fun, too. (Imagine that!) And while you might never think of it this way, doing business with you is an EXPERIENCE.

Did you ever consider that? People get more than simply the product you’re selling them or the service you’re providing! Every transaction is also an EXPERIENCE.

That means when they buy from you, they’re also buying the transaction itself: the mood, the emotions, the interaction, the body language (if in person), and all the communication.

All these things are piled on top of what you sold them. If you gave EL CRAPPO service, them the crappo is piled upon their purchase and chances are you won’t see them again. (Even if they loved what you sold them.)

If you give KICK-ASS service, this is piled upon what you sold them, and not only will they be happy with their purchase (assuming you sell quality), but they’ll remember you as being ENJOYABLE to do business with. (Hey, that wouldn’t hurt your business, would it?)

Can you honestly say that your present customers think it’s a JOY to do business with you?

“Aw heck, Drew. My business is NOT Disney World! My job is to simply sell what I’m selling and satisfy the customer. The process doesn’t need to be ENJOYABLE. It simply needs to be efficient and satisfactory!”

Why the heck not? You’re not like the majority of businesspeople who robotically process their transactions like a mannequin with a change maker on your belt, are you?

I suggest you adopt the mindset: “I’m going to do everything in my power to make this customer ENJOY doing business with me!” Do that for a couple of months and see if it doesn’t have a major impact on your repeat business. Only a fool would think it would do otherwise. (Especially in today’s crummy economy, with millions of people experiencing financial turmoil… desperation… and depression.)

THINK: What could you do–starting tomorrow–that would make it more FUN for people to do business with you? Believe me… people need it now, more than ever. (And remember to tell them that you do it quicker and easier… and you save them moolah, too!)

“If a man insisted always on being serious, and never
allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would
go mad or become unstable without knowing it.”
Herodotus (484 BC – 430 BC)

Get crackin!

Drew Eric Whitman
Direct Response Surgeon(tm)

P.S. Let’s have some fun putting together your next brochure, flyer, sales letter! Shoot me a message from my contact page… and I’ll cook you up a real winner!  😉

Follow-Up: How Lowe DID They Go?

Hey Gang!

You all hit the nail on the head with your comments about the Lowe’s ad. BOOM! Everything you said was dead-on.

Now allow me to simplify it all…

The #1 problem with this ad is that the headline gives no reason to read further.

I don’t blame the (crappy) body copy for this ad’s poor performance because it’s UNlikely anyone ever reached it! It’s kind of like blaming an airline for not making it to Los Angeles in time because of all the zillions of other planes waiting to take off… when your plane never pulled out of the gate!

I guess we can say the headline is its FIRST failure. But what a failure that is, right? Can’t we say, then, that the headline is the most important part of any ad? Of course. Because a poor headline can kill even the most amazingly constructed ad that’s packed with benefits, credibility, and a potent call-to-action.

But you’ve seen this before, right? Some slick ad agency or in-house marketing department creates as ad the way they THINK they should be created: CLEVER. Something gave them the idea that a CLEVER ad is a GOOD ad. Where the hell did that thinking come from? It came from the “image school” of advertising. The non-direct-response agencies who are apparently more concerned with creative expression than sales.

Think about it! This ad didn’t come from nowhere. It passed across many people’s desks… was carefully read by top  executives responsible for the marketing controls of a company serving over 14 million customers and 1,717 stores throughout the U.S. (stores in all 50 states) and Canada. They all approved it! They all thought, “WOW! So clever! This ad is worth spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to run!” No one stopped and said, “Huh!? You’re kidding, right? Who the hell taught you to write ad copy?! Rip it up and start over!!”

“But Drew! YOU don’t have 14 million customers! YOU don’t have 1,717 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. THEY apparently know better than you!”

They sure do. They know how to operate a massive chain of home- improvement stores far better than I’ll ever hope (or want) to.

But trust me. This ad isn’t the reason for their success.

No AdAutopsy is needed on this one… you all said as much as I possibly could. You threw the patient on the table yourself… grabbed your own scalpel… and went to work. (Nice job.)

But it’s those who haven’t yet trained themselves to see the “violations” that really need to pay special attention to this blog. Because once they can spot the problems in other people’s ads… they’ll see them instantly in their own.

Meaning? They’ll save a fortune in placing one “dud” ad after another. And–more importantly–make a heck of a lot more money as well.

I’ll have another “What’s Wrong With This Ad” soon. Keep your eyeballs peeled!

And, most importantly… thanks so much for reading. <HANDSHAKE>


What Do YOU Think About This Ad?

How Lowe can you go?

This post is not about the fun Trinidadian dance–the limbo–that has you bending over backwards until your spine’s about to snap.


It’s about one of the worst ads I’ve seen in a long time.

Too bad, too, because this one’s for a store I really like: Lowe’s.

Now, before I tell you why it’s so bad, I’d like to get your take on it. Am I wrong? Is it really a GREAT ad? Or is it a spine-snappin’ version of getting really low, low, low with your ad-quality standards?

I’ll be back in another post with my AdAutopsy(tm). Let’s check your Ad I.Q. and see if you and I are on the same page.

Hey mon… fire up the calypso music and shoot me your comments!

Drew Eric Whitman
Direct Response Surgeon(tm)

PRESS RELEASE: Super Bowl Ads Fumble!

Think this years’s Super Bowl ads were great?

Think again.

Averaging over three million dollars for one 30-second spot, the majority of this year’s Super Bowl advertisers demonstrated a knack for humor and entertainment, but set a money-wasting example for struggling small business owners trying to make their own cash registers ring, a study found.

California-based advertising consultant Drew Eric Whitman, author of CA$HVERTISING (Career Press), said nearly all of this year’s Super Bowl commercials ignored all three of the foundational principles of creating effective advertising: 1) highlighting the product’s benefits, 2) distinguishing it from the competition, and 3) driving people to act.

In a nationwide survey of 525 small business owners, 94 percent said they would benefit if they patterned their own local ads after those shown during the Super Bowl. “Wrong!,” exclaimed Whitman. “Instead of giving strong reasons to buy, those commercials subordinated their product to irrelevant and often downright stupid humor. Unfortunately, small businesses owners often take their cues from what the big boys are doing. It’s a disastrous recipe to follow.

For example, CareerBuilder runs a great website offering an invaluable service to millions,” he said. “And with today’s high national unemployment rate, finding work is more important than ever. But to spend 60 seconds showing nothing more than ad nauseam repetition of underwear-clad office workers without one second on how CareerBuilder actually helps viewers find satisfying and rewarding work is an advertising disgrace. It might generate laughs, but showing out-of-shape people in underwear gives no motivation to visit the site and use their service.

Citing another example, he said, “Volkswagen burns millions of dollars in just 60 seconds showing people playing ‘Punch Dub,’ hitting your friend or family member in the arm whenever you see a Volkswagen drive by. Rather than entertainingly giving reasons to buy their products,focusing on quality, safety, fun, or performance, they bore viewers for a full minute with an archaic child game and say nothing about the car!”

This is especially interesting since VW’s vice president of marketing, Tim Ellis, announced prior to the game, ‘There is a bigger story to tell about our brand.”

“Think about this. They had over 107 million people glued to their TVs during the game,” exclaimed Whitman, so why the heck didn’t they tell it?

Whitman explained that the classic advertising-success formula, “AIDA,” (get Attention… stimulate Interest… build Desire… and ask for Action) was largely ignored by Super Bowl advertisers, and is unknown to most independent business owners struggling to stay afloat.

“Your goal is not to get people saying, ‘Wow… what a clever ad!’ Instead, you want them to ask, “Hey… where can I buy one?

“Advertising is selling, first and foremost,” said Whitman, and with the economy mercilessly battering businesses in most every industry, ads need to focus on sales, not entertainment. “Taking cues from Super Bowl commercials to create your own campaigns,” he added, “might be a fun way to exercise your creativity, but it’s a sure-fire way to flush your ad dollars down the toilet.”