David Ogilvy

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Tests have shown that a sentence of eight words is very easy to read; of 11 words, easy; of 14 words, fairly easy; of 17 words, standard; of 21 words, fairly difficult; of 25 words, difficult; of 29 or more words, very difficult; so this sentence with 54 words, counting numbers, is ranked impossible.

A good envelope shouts, "OPEN ME NOW!" The fat blue carrier from "David Birnbaum, Private Jeweler Extraordinaire" did just that. Birnbaum's name and address on the label were in shiny gold. The name on the address in gorgeous script: "Mr. Denison S. Hatch"

Headlines are the one copy element almost every ad, email, brochure, blog post, whitepaper, landing page, self-mailer, postcard and Web page have in common. An irresistible headline is the lure that hooks your reader.

The search engine Google is a boon to freelance copywriters, giving us fast access to much more information than we could ever dig up at those old-fashioned data depositories we used to call "libraries." As a result, it's easier to write stronger copy today, because specifics sell, and Google gives us all the specifics we need.

A copywriter I have known for years offered me a free subscription to his daily Direct Response Letter. I won't mention his name, but here is a letter from him I received last month.

What marketers think and the truth may be two different things when it comes to email recipient behavior. About 82 percent of marketers believe email recipients want visuals, while Thinkshift Communications found a trick that revealed a surprising number of instances involving customers reading plain-text messages. The San Francisco-based ad agency ran an "opens" report, which only tracks HTML. Then Thinkshift looked at a second report that only included recipients who clicked on links.

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