Advice from a World-Renowned Copywriter (Robert Collier Letter Book, Part 1)

I’m sitting at the dining room table, hand writing some of the sales letters from the Robert Collier Letter Book while my licorice tea cools off.

Robert Collier Letter Book, 6th Edition, with the library punch card
Robert Collier Letter Book, 6th Edition, with the library punch card

Collier was a direct mail writer, successfully selling all kinds of products during his career, including jewelry, tires, books, and clothing.

Hand writing successful sales letters like these helps to slow down and focus your brain, while engaging your senses to better absorb the experience.

I picked up a used copy of Robert Collier’s Letter Book on Amazon. This 6th edition hardcover comes from the Downey City Library in California.

My copy from 1950 still has the old fashioned library punch card in the front! Love it.

Here’s a quick rundown on the topics covered so far—

Chapter 1 suggests that you study your prospective customer, find what interests him or her, and find some way to tie your proposition with their interest. Otherwise, they’ll have no interest in your letter, to eventually read your killer offer.

Chapter 2 discusses the importance of engaging the emotions in your persuasive message. Tabloids, politicians, and religion all use emotion to engage people, not logic. Emotional benefits are hard to quantify, and therefor hard to refute.

Chapter 3 reads of adding news interest to your message, to help stir those emotions. How does this relate to your reader’s life —does he have a similar problem? or is there entertainment for your reader within the copy?

Chapter 4 covers the building of a visual image in your reader’s mind. Most people think in pictures, and you want to help them construct a compelling image that they can move towards… with the help of your fantastic product or indispensable service.

Chapter 5 tells of how an experienced writer will find the most pressing motivation to his reader, and write about that, from the view of your reader. Does your reader want to be richer? Improve their speaking? Will your solution help the people that your reader loves?

Chapter 6 delves into the use of social proof, using the words of satisfied customers as testimonials.

Chapter 7  discusses how to get people to take action. People are hesitant to part with their money and they often want to “think it over.” That’s fine… if you can keep them moving in the right direction.

Chapter 7 concludes with the advice—

“Tell him not to decide on your main proposition. Instead, put his mind to working on some minor point —and you will find a favorable decision on it will, in three cases out of four, carry the major proposition along with it.”

Suggest your prospect fills out a card for more information. Suggest that she take the car home for the night. Suggest that he can return the product within the month for a full refund. Make that first step easy.

That’s all I’ve got so far. That, and a cramped hand and pencil scratched notebook.

Advise from the Robert Collier Letter Book
Advice from the Robert Collier Letter Book

If you’re looking to be more persuasive in your messages, the Robert Collier Letter Book is a well-known resource for learning how to do just that. Pick up a copy at Amazon and work your way through it.

Robert Collier Letter Book, 6th Edition, with the library punch card
Robert Collier Letter Book, 6th Edition, with the library punch card