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Indirect Response Copywriting

By Expert Author: Walter Stewart

I know you're used to seeing the words direct response copywriting, but what I'm about to show you is far more persuasive to people who don't yet know you.
And that is the ability to write indirectly to your prospects.
Because if you write copy that's 'in the face' of your readers, you'll just turn them off.
If you are starting your promotions with offers, big promises or problem, solution you may be being far too direct.
Essentially there are two main ways to write to people.
Directly or indirectly.
A direct lead is product or service focused, an indirect lead is prospect or customer focused.
The direct approach talks about the benefits you can gain by owning the product, while the indirect approach talks about the benefits you gain by reading the promotional piece itself.
The direct lead is talking about the problem it solves to a prospect that has a high awareness of their problem.
The indirect lead is focused on educating the reader about a new approach to solving a problem they are not yet fully aware of.
For example: Most business owners want to be successful and make themselves rich through having their own business.
So making an offer or a promise is fairly common on the internet right now. "Buy this software," or "learn about how to make money through making apps for mobile phones."
But most business owners are totally unaware that being able to write persuasive direct-response copy is THE most reliable way to make money today.
But selling copywriting training requires you to educate your reader with great information. You have to hook the reader early in the promotion and clearly give them a huge advantage or benefit for just reading the copy.
Here's another important distinction.
When you use a direct approach, like this:
"Buy one get one free," make sure it's to customers who know you.
The time to use the indirect approach is with prospects who don't know you. Here's an example, "Read this or go broke."
The first method is for getting repeat purchases... the other is for people to buy from you for the first time.
The more people know you, the more direct you can be.
You could use a promise like this:
"Book now and get a half price holiday for two on the Italian Riviera."
An indirect approach would be:
"Discover a world of natural beauty."
Here's an example of a more direct approach. This time it's the problem solution lead, like this:
"What would you do if you had the money?"
Here's another example of an indirect approach by showing you know something they don't. This is called a 'secret' lead.
And it's one of Gary Halbert's headlines:
"How to get the names of every man, woman and child who is very likely to become one of your customers."
As you can clearly see, the indirect approach is far more powerful when talking to people who don't know you, then drawing them into your copy with curiosity plus self-interest.
All 'leads', or the first part of the copy you write, can start in only one of six ways.
The first three are direct, the second three are indirect.
The offer: "7 cents a minute any time of day, to anywhere in America."
The promise: "The best chocolate cake you ever ate."
The problem solution: "Do your fears hold you back?"
The secret or system: "What makes some entrepreneurs rich while others starve?"
The prediction or proclamation: "Read this or die young!"
The story: "15 rivers to cross and only seven bridges."
With the first three leads you know exactly what the writer is selling and that he or she is selling something to you right out of the gate.
However with the second three you have no idea what's being sold, or that you're being sold to.
Look at it like this... you have a sliding scale, on the left is the most direct lead, on the right is the most indirect lead.
And there are four places in between.
When the marker on the scale is at the farthest point to the left you start out with your offer.
As the slide moves to the right you hold back on announcing your offer.
So when the marker is the furthest to the right you start out with anything but the offer.
Like a story.

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