The Importance of Copywriting

August 8, 2016

The most important sentence

Whether it’s your website's home page, a landing page, a sales letter, a brochure, a print ad or an email blast, the key to your copy is in the first sentence. That sentence must produce enough interest and curiosity to read the second sentence, then the third, etc., until they’re hooked.

Take a look at the first sentence of your sales materials. Is it compelling? Does it drive the customer forward?

Test it

Top marketers don’t create one ad and run with it forever. They are constantly testing. Always honing their message to produce maximum results.

A simple headline change can double your results. One email subject line can get opened twice as much as another. Different copy slants, different designs, different offers can all produce enormous fluctuations.

You’ll only know by testing.

Case Study

Some years ago, DAK Industries imported a $99 radar detector under the brand name Maxon. DAK owner Drew Kaplan decided to pit his upstart radar detector directly against the industry leader, the $250 Cincinnati Microwave Escort.

A series of ads, which ran in Popular Science magazine and DAK’s catalog, were masterpieces of repositioning that produced a campaign lasting several years that sold 100,000+ units.

The first ad started like this:

A $10,000 Challenge To Escort

Let’s cut through the Radar Detector Glut. We challenge Escort to a one on one Distance and Falsing ‘duel to the death’ on the highway of their choice. If they win, the $10,000 check pictured below is theirs.

The rest of the ad laid out the terms of the challenge, how the challenge came about, and extolled the features and benefits of the budget Maxon detector. Thousands of units were sold.

Cincinnati Microwave declined the challenge, calling it an “advertising gambit.” DAK reprinted Cincinnati Microwave’s letter and upped the challenge to $20,000, under the headline “Escort Refuses.”

Cincinnati Microwave ignored the second challenge and all further challenges.

DAK responded with “Bad News For Escort,” quoting some favorable product reviews comparing the products.

The next ad was “Is Escort Scared Or Smart?” refreshing the challenge and introducing a new cordless version of the Maxon.

When that ad got stale, the next installment was “Should You Vote for Escort?” asking readers to vote on whether DAK should continue the challenge with or without the participation of Cincinnati Microwave. An independent accounting firm tabulated the results, which were overwhelming in favor of conducting the challenge.

Eventually, the challenge took place (without the participation of Cincinnati Microwave) using an independent laboratory at a racetrack in Rosemond, California. Escort won by a slight margin, but the real winner was DAK, which by mind-gripping ad copy earned millions of dollars with little known, off-brand radar detectors.


Karl Freitag is a Direct Response Copywriter based in Vero Beach, Florida. He was formerly the Copy Director at DAK Industries before going freelance. He has written copy for many companies in a variety of industries. If you would like Karl's help with your copy, contact Sales & Marketing Technologies.


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