Bond Halbert - Copywriting and Online Marketing

Bond Halbert is the son of copywriting legend, Gary Halbert and is a brilliant marketing mind in his own right. He has developed marketing strategies behind campaigns pulling in as much as $20,000,000

And is the master at developing The Big Idea.

Bond, along with his brother Kevin, continue their father’s legacy at, giving away a gold-mine of nuggets, tips, tricks and secrets to take you from raw newbie to seasoned advertising veteran in less time than you'd typically spend on a fancy college degree.

What’s The Story?

2:38   It was funny because I was walking in the same spot with my friend Ben Simkin. I’d told the story to him before and I said, “This is actually where it happened.”

I was walking up the street with my dad to one of his favorite coffee shops. My dad had made a lot of money, spent a lot of money, made a lot of money, spent a lot of money.

This was one of those times where he’d blown all his money, and I said, “I’m really lucky.” He said, “Why?” I said, “Because my oldest brother got to get all the toys and all this. I get to see how you make the money.” He just thought that was the smartest thing any little kid ever said.

He started doing things differently the day before I was born. He was fired from his last job for getting into an argument about wearing orange socks the day before I was born. Hence, all of a sudden he went from normal Christian names to “Bond.”

So he started doing things differently. He decided he was going to parent a little different than other parents were and do what he thought was best. He started taking me out of school to go to meetings with Jay Abraham and the top list broker. I was flying around the country, going to meetings with Ben Suarez.

He would tell me, “This is what we’re going to do. This is my plan.” I’d be in the meeting and then on the way back, he would tell me, “This is what they said they’re going to do. This is what they’re really going to do.” He was actively mentoring me from around the age of 10. As a result, I spent more time working directly with him and being his right-hand man than anybody else had.

I teach copy, and with all due modesty, I’m pretty damn good at it. But my goal was always to focus on the big idea, the hooks, because I spent all that time with all these big guys going, “What’s Gary going to say?” They’d offer this and I’d say,

“He’s going to do a two-step mailing for this,” or, “He’s going to recommend a tear sheet mailing,” or, “He’s going to do a dollar-bill letter and this is what the headline’s going to be.” I spent all that time guessing what he was going to say. I got so good at it that I was able to eventually guess what his suggestions were when they weren’t the normal, standard answer.

I got this incredible education. Everybody in marketing has this “I was sleeping in my car” story, “and then I discovered the magic trick that’ll allow you to make billions of dollars.” I don’t have that story.

People even ask me, “How do you deal with spouses and people who don’t understand or support the entrepreneur lifestyle?” I don’t know. My mom, my wife, and everybody in my family has always been supportive of that whole thing.

In fact, my mom is a major reason for my dad’s early successes. It was a wild, different type of upbringing, and my dad was a wild character. Kevin and I always say that if you knew my dad, you have a Gary Halbert story even if you met him for five minutes. He was experimenting with everybody all the time.

He’d say, “See if I can make this person upset. See if I can shock them. See if I can get their interest. See if I can get them all wanting and get their greed glands going.” He did that with everybody from all walks of life, which I think is one of the keys to his ability to write record-breaking copy in different niches to different types of prospects.

Nowadays, the top-copywriter-for-one-prospect type of person can’t necessarily write great copy for another type of prospect because they spent so much time learning the triggers and pain points that one type of prospect has. My dad taught me how to think. For me, marketing is everywhere around you. I’m very inquisitive about people and businesses.

Working Outside of Copywriting

7:57   I was jack of all trades. I became a manager working for the Giorgio Armani Corporation. When that didn’t work out, I started working with my dad again. We worked on the promotion that turned out to be one of his better ones as far as take-home pay.

When he passed away, I went into depression for about a year because we were really close. We spoke every day, probably about twice a day, spent more time with each other. We really were as tight as a father and a son can be.

After about a year of that, I was coming out of depression. I realized I was in a marketing funk because I had nobody to really talk about marketing with. I spent so much time talking about it with my dad; I didn’t talk about it with any of my friends or anybody else.

I went to a marketing meet-up. It was a general meet-up and they asked you to put your names on your nametags. I just put “Bond” there. I didn’t want everybody to know who I was.

I was talking with this one lady. She was a product photographer. I said, “How do you get clients?” She said, “Well, I take a cute picture on a postcard, I mail it to companies, and then I have this girl do cold calling.”

My dad and I have always been impressed with people who take action, because if you sell info products, 95 percent of people don’t even crack it open. When you grew up in the business, you’re like, “No, the majority of these people are not going to do anything."

I was impressed that she was taking any action, so I said, “You know what you ought to do? You ought to write seven things to do before you hire an X-product photographer and say, ‘A good photographer knows how to do aperture, get things in focus and set the scene, but a good product photographer knows how to capture the emotion that sells your product.’”

I started giving her other ideas and then she turned away from me. I thought I lost her, but she came back with a pen and said, “You’re pretty good at this.” I started talking with other people. People were asking questions, so I started writing emails for The Gary Halbert Letter because we own it now. I was beating my dad’s open rates and click-through rates.

I gradually fell into not just writing copy for us, writing for a few clients, but ended up teaching copy often. At first, you get pigeonholed. Somebody thinks you’re just the guy who did this or the guy who did that.

At first, I got open rates higher than anybody else did because I was taking my dad’s A-Pile/B-Pile speech and adapting it to online principles. This was in a core way that I don’t think anybody would have gotten unless they had grown up the way that I did.

My dad’s A-Pile/B-Pile speech was based on how people sort their mail. I thought, “How do people sort through email? Sort it with different email addresses. Everybody’s got a spam email address.”

So, I was the first one to start really going after primary email addresses. That was increasing. I was writing really good, salacious subject lines. I became known as “the open-rate guy.”

How I Wrote the First Book on Copy Editing

11:56   I started doing other things. I was publishing books on Amazon and getting Amazon to do things that they wouldn’t do for others. Recently, I published the first book on editing copy ever written. I was in the middle of writing it and thought, “Wait a minute. Nobody’s ever covered the subject of editing copy.” Ogilvy, my dad, and everybody said, “Edit,” but nobody told them how to do it.

I started reverse engineering, thinking about what I do when I’m editing, what I look for, what I change, and what I do. There are patterns I recognized in my dad’s copy that he never talked about because he was busy teaching people AIDA. So, I started actually sharing Gary Halbert lessons that he never shared. It became the very first book on editing.

Kevin and I like to innovate and become the first people to do stuff. Kevin was the first one to get video to automatically play in an email when you opened it.

He had this system. Let’s say you had different email servers and one would let you play video, but the other one wouldn’t. The one that wouldn’t would serve you up an animated GIF that actually looped around at the perfect spot so it looked like my dad was still talking with his hands going up.

Then he’d put an arrow on it that said, “Click here to turn on the sound,” which would take you to the actual video. If it didn’t serve that, it would serve up an image where through the email, even if you didn’t click, “Turn on images,” it automatically sifted through your best options and served up your best option.

Kevin was always focused on technology. I was always focused on copywriting and writing hacks because I had to learn how to explain how to write and how to do things. My dad could have told people, “The key to good copywriting is wear brown shoes,” and everybody would wear brown shoes. They’d just follow anything he said. I have to explain things in a way that makes sense.

Getting Primary Emails via Email

14:04   For example, with the primary address, I’d walk them through. Let’s suppose you’ve got a problem, like you have a fear of public speaking. You go online and go, “Okay, fear of public speaking cures.” Some guy says, “I’ve got that, cured of that. I’ll send you a PDF. Just give me your email address.”

What you do is give them your spam email address. You go there. There are 500-1,000 emails that have piled up since the last time you’ve been there. You go right to the top, get that PDF, and that marketer has done one of two things. He or she has either delivered, or he or she has failed to deliver.

If they delivered, you’re off testing it. If they failed to deliver, you’re off looking for another solution. Either way, you ignore or delete those 500 emails. But in your primary address, you see a couple of emails in the spam box. You don’t just delete them because your friends or somebody important may have slipped through the cracks.

It’s better for you to get your email into the spam box of a primary email address than into the primary box of a spam email address. Stop worrying about the spam filter. Worry about getting the primary email address first.

So how do you do that? There are a couple things. Make sure that they want to consume it on their phone. If you create content, say, “Here’s a podcast you’re going to love. You’re going to love our podcast. We’ve formatted it so it comes through nice and clear on your cell phone, so when you’re riding on the train or you’re in line at the bank, you can make that a productive time.”

You also offer time-sensitive things. Say, “Hey, we do these last-minute interviews sometimes and we throw flash sales that people don’t get often. People get mad at us because they missed them, so be sure to enter a primary email address you check often.”

You get primary email addresses because nobody operates a spam email address on their phone. If they know they really need something, they go for a primary email address. Marketing, for me, is everywhere.

So when I called up AWeber, I said, “Can you do me a favor? I know you can’t tell me other people’s open rates. Can you tell me how my open rates are?” They said, “Oh, your open rates are astounding.”

Then I went to GetResponse later and said, “Can you do me a favor? I know you can’t tell me other people’s rates, but can you tell me comparatively how are my open rates?” They said, “They’re amazing.”

The reason I did that is so that I can honestly tell people I get open rates
that both GetResponse and AWeber say are amazing. I’m fishing for the testimonial.

Getting Primary Emails via Facebook

17:18   This actually works great because everybody wants a notification. One of the logins is for Facebook. But you have to remember, in my industry, about 30 percent of those people aren’t on Facebook. You still have to do the other tricks.

A Facebook opt-in button will definitely get you primary email addresses. The advent of the cell phone has made open rates go up in general. I started doing this when people were still mostly checking their email on desktop.

The other thing that I would do is go through, select, and figure out. I would go through and make sure that the first name field was spelled properly, or I would change it. Let’s suppose you left it blank, but I saw that you’re at I would fill in that thing and say, “Ron,” so when I was emailing, it said, “Dear Ron.”

Actually, I didn’t even say, “Dear.” I always say, “Hi,” because that way if you left it blank and I couldn’t get that, it just says, “Hi.” It says, “Hi, Ron,” if that was there. I would get the name from their email address and have the assistant move it over into that field just to get a more personalized effect.

19:46   The first tip I would make is write your promotion for your book first before you write the book, because then when you’re doing the outline for the book, there are things that you’ll add in there that you wished you could have said when you’re doing the promotion later. It’s too late to change the book or it’s going to be a real pain.

With all info products, you do the same thing. You write the promotion and the description first. That way you can say, “Oh, and this is what I wanted to add to this, and this is where I wanted to go.” So you add that in there.

Marketing is divvied up into three phases of copywriting. The first is research. Knowing your market better than they know themselves is where all the power is.

In the famous Domino’s campaign, they knew from research that people were sick and tired of not knowing when that pizza was going to come. They could have written that in any way they wanted. When they created that offer, they said, “In 30 minutes, it’s on us; half an hour, it’s free.” They were still going to crush it with that offer because the power was in the research.

The talent is in developing a unique hook, offer, or solution for the copy from that research. The first draft you write should be the fastest part of the whole process. And then you should spend the last portion editing.

People have different rules of thumb for it. I like to divvy up everything into thirds. If you give me an hour to write an email, I’ll spend 20 minutes researching the market or going over notes, 20 minutes developing that big idea or pounding out a rough first draft, and then 20 minutes editing.

When I did the book, I thought, “If this is the first editing book, I want to put this out first before somebody else does it.” I did, and it’s called “The Halbert Copywriting Method Part III.” I’m working on Part II right now. We call it “the Star Wars launch.” I’ve already got people who are asking, “When’s II and I coming out?” I’ll hit the top of my field in a heartbeat with that because it was there.

Figuring Out Priority Goals for Your Book

22:10   Amazon doesn’t like to give you names and addresses of your customers. When you publish on Amazon, you’re doing it for one of three reasons, either branding, book sales, or lead generation. You get a little bit of benefit of all three, no matter what. If you have a couple of books out there, you’re going to get branded as an expert, even if they’re lead gen books or if they’re made for sales.

I make every decision based on the priority goal. With the book cover, if my thing is for branding, I want the book cover to have a picture of me. People can’t rip off the picture of you. And I want a quote. I don’t do it for branding, but that’s what I would do if I were doing it for branding.

Everything should be based on goal number one. Whatever your second goal is should be the tiebreaker for other decisions that already cover the first goal, and then the third.

If it’s
lead generation, at the top, you get people who will complain, “This book is nothing but a sales pitch.” They don’t complain if the sales pitch comes first. If you put the sales pitch or the squeeze into the offer, the description of the book, at the very beginning of the book, at the top of every page, or at the top of every chapter, they don’t complain because it’s getting it out of the way.

When I did The Boron Letters, I wrote, “For more free letters and marketing advice, go to” I put that at the top of every chapter.

For my editing book, I wanted email and snail mail addresses. I said, “If you want the editing checklist, I have a notepad like the realtors drop off at your door, and the checklist is printed on every page. Go to my blog and then show me a picture of the receipt, and I’ll send it to you for free.” I get the snail mail address and the email address by doing that.

24:11   In the editing book, I’ll give you one. We talked about sleeping in your car. Everybody talks about you should use “you” and “your” four times as much as you use “I” and “me.” That’s not really the key. The real key is to take on the “I,” the “me,” and the negative and to give the “you” and the “your” the positive.

So: “I was staying up at night. I was afraid to look at the books. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep the doors open of my business before I had to give up my dream. I didn’t sleep well. I was thinking about moving. I might have to move into my car.

“That’s when I discovered the secret that allows you to get so much business, not only will you keep your doors open, you will maybe have to open up another shop. And in some cases you’ll have to do the unthinkable, which is turn business away and direct it to your competitors.” What you’re doing is taking the “I” and moving it. “I” gets the negative and “you” gets the positive.

If you say, “I know how it is. You’re sleeping in your car or you don’t sleep well at night,” the guy says, “I sleep fine at night. I take Ambien and drink whiskey.”

You take them from a place that’s worse than they are. You amp up the pain and make it worse than their situation is. Then you move forward and take them to a place that’s better than they’re hoping that they were going to be. You smooth that over in the editing process.

Pronoun Hunting and Using Different Descriptions

26:01   Let’s suppose that you want to talk about your podcast or your show. What you do is what I call a “pronoun hunt.” What you do is take the elements of the show and describe it in many different ways that you want other people to describe it. You come up with a bunch of descriptions.

When you’re writing your copy in the first draft, you’re talking about why people should go to the podcast, and you use the words “podcast,” “show,” “show,” “podcast,” that starts to get repetitive. You replace those with, “When you watch this all-star series of terrific marketers…”

What you’re doing is feeding them all these different descriptions in the ways that you want them to think about your show. You’re doing that naturally just by replacing the pronouns that you were putting in your draft.

27:22 There are lots of ways that you want to describe. You don’t want to be pigeonholed as just an Amazon bestselling author. You want to be known as an innovative thinker, an Amazon bestselling author, a top copywriter, a top copywriting instructor.

Every element that you want to promote, when it’s a personality, when it’s the show or the product itself, write a bunch of different descriptions for each one of those. You’ll find natural places to replace that. I call it “replacing a pronoun hunt” because it becomes more clear. Every time you look at a word, anything that’s representing an actual noun, go back there and change it.

28:14   I’ll give you some of the tips my dad used to give. My dad was the only person who taught anybody editing at all. He only had five. I had 27 or 32.

I’m not saying that my dad did these things. I just took my editing process when I was editing and I showed other copywriters, top copywriters. They’d say, “I love that change. Why did you do that?” I would have to explain it really quickly because I got tired of going on an hour-long explanation.

Read your copy out loud. You will find more problems with it out loud than you will otherwise. Another tip is if you change it to a font you’re not used to, you’ll start recognizing stuff that you didn’t recognize before. If you read your copy out loud, you’ll find where it does not flow.

I send my copy to multiple editors if it’s important, like a book. I tell them, “Just highlight anything that’s unclear in yellow.” If they say it’s unclear, don’t argue. Just change it. Just do it. Nobody is ever going to complain that something is too clear.

One time, I was writing an email to sell something of Scott Haines’s. He wrote me back and said, “That’s a great email. I put it through the Hemingway app and your copy came in at third grade level, three and a half.” Most everybody is shooting for five in this business. Then Harlan put my dad’s copy in through Hemingway and found it was three.

Break up those headlines. Break up long sentences. Put your copy through a thesaurus or the Hemingway app. For anything that’s really high-level grade, I open up a thesaurus and look for the more simple word, a lower grade level word.

Using the So-What Test

30:40   There’s another big copywriting tip. This is also true with your books. Nobody reads to the end of the books. The percentage of people who actually read to the end of the book is very small. They get a tip, they think, “Oh, that’s great. I’m going to do this and I’ll come back to it,” and then they get distracted by something else in life. That’s another reason to put your leads and your sales pitches up front as much as you possibly can.

In copywriting, you apply what we call “the so-what test.” My brother and I were writing competitive emails to sell the same thing. He wrote a long email and I wrote mine. I said, “Yours really needs to be edited.” He said, “No, I think it’ll do just fine. I’ll tell you what. You edit it and we’ll send out all three.”

The one I wrote won by a hair over the one that he wrote that I edited. For his long one that he didn’t edit, the other two both did four times more than his.

So, how did I do that? I just read it like I was the most self-centered and busy prick in the world. I’m just going to cut out anything that didn’t apply to me that I don’t care about, because these people can just turn off the computer. They can click and delete that email. They can put down that newspaper ad. They can just turn the page in the magazine. They’re not in front of you.

Everybody takes their copy and says, “Hey, good buddy, do me a favor. You know a lot. Could you read this for me?” You have to read it because you don’t want to turn them down. You don’t want to be rude. They say, “Can you take a look at this for me and tell me how it is?” You’re stuck reading it.

They don’t realize that when you go out to the general public, the general public is not stuck reading it. If it’s not titillating, exciting, and really grabbing and gripping your attention, they’re going to shut it off. They’re going to move on. The attention span of the American public has dropped precipitously in the last 20 years.

33:27   There are two things that I think really make a big difference in the length of the copy. One is the market level awareness of the buyer and how experienced they are. I’ll give you an example of this. The second thing is, how much does what you’re asking them to buy represent of their income?

In my neighborhood, if you’re buying your first house, you want a binder full of information that you can go to your experts and say, “Look, here’s the foundation. Here’s how many roofs are on it. Here’s history. Here’s the comps in the area,” and all this information that they need. Because you’re a first-time buyer, it’s the largest purchase you’ll ever make.

If you’re selling that to a billion-dollar developer who just tears down houses and makes McMansions, they care about two things. They want to know the square footage of the lot size. They want to know if there’s asbestos in the attic because it changes how they destroy your house before they build the new one. To make that decision, they don’t need much information at all.

Market level awareness zero is I don’t even know I have a problem. You have to describe to me that I have a problem. I have to explain to you that you’re not getting primary email addresses. That open rate of five percent could be a lot higher. “Oh, I didn’t know that was a problem.”

Then there’s another level of awareness, which is they know they have a problem. They’re just not sure what the choices are to fix it. There’s another one where they know there are choices out there, but they’re not sure which is better than which choice. And then, they’re so market level aware, they know exactly what they want; they’re just shopping on price and cost comparison.

The lower the market level awareness and the higher the price represents to the amount of money you’re asking them to spend, the longer the copy. If I spend three pages trying to get you to try a new piece of gum, there’s something wrong with that gum.

If you’re going on about why you should try a $17 print book, that’s ridiculous. The offer needs to be, “Hey, it’s only $17. It’s less than the price of lunch. If I’m wrong, you will have wasted $17. If I’m right, you’re going to figure out how to build your real estate empire. You’re going to figure out how to solve whatever problem you’re solving.”

36:12   People think that the copywriting starts when they’re writing the book. Your title should be written in the same way that you write headlines. It should be gripping the attention. It should have curiosity and benefit and numbers in it and specificity. It should have all the things that you would put in the headline to sell the book, because in a lot of cases the only thing selling your book is that cover.

36:54   When you’re copywriting, everybody in the world is looking for a place to stop reading a book or newspaper ad or Web site, at a point that they feel safe that they can move on and they’re not missing anything in their life.

In editing, I don’t give it to them. You can’t just do cliffhanger after cliffhanger. You can’t just keeping going, “But there’s more,” because that just gets irritating. So, one of the things you do is incomplete thoughts with complete sentences. You say:

“I was listening to Ron Douglas and he gave me three pieces of advice. He gave me piece of advice one, piece of advice two, piece of advice three, and then he gave me the best piece of advice of all.”

That’s where I end the sentence because you can’t not want to know what the next piece of advice is. It’s an incomplete thought with a complete sentence.

So, I will go back and take sentences that are absolutely, 100 percent complete. I will stop that sentence and find a way to end it in the middle before the thought gets completed, and then I move that thought down.

If I have a sentence that is all by itself a complete thought and a complete sentence, I won’t let that be the end of the paragraph because everybody finishes the paragraph, especially if they’re short paragraphs. Nobody stops reading in the middle of a sentence or short paragraph.

VSL and Video Tips

39:11   With VSLs, you’re gripping their attention. You really do want to look at what everybody else is saying with VSLs. They’re putting the words on there, which is important. You put the words as people are speaking. If they have the sound turned off because they’re in some place public, they can still watch and read the words. Other people like to read it.

When you’re saying something and something is written in front of you, the written part, they feel like you’ve cemented it in gold. You’re not just off the cuff. They feel like that’s a legal contract. You said this will do, X, Y, and Z. When you print that, they feel like it’s even more that you definitely have to deliver because you wrote that on the screen. They read that on the screen.

What I would do is always go one production step further than the other guys do. I saw one person did a great drone intro and drone shot. They had great music for the beginning of their VSL. That’s a better production shot. It shows more professionalism than the other.

You’ll see one where it’s edited, but the way it’s edited is post-production. It’s close in, it’s back out, it’s close in. If you did a three-camera edit cut, that’s better than the competition. You’re going to look more professional than the competition. That feeling of professionalism is what’s going to make them decide one place or another.

The way that I would do it is look at director cuts on television shows. If you sit there with a stopwatch, when the action starts, just hit the stopwatch every time that the scene or the camera angle changes. At the beginning in the story, it’s every six seconds, but when they get into an action shot, it’s two shots per second.

I think that’s important for grabbing and holding their attention and showing higher production values.

What Got Me Interested in Copywriting

44:00   There was a guy who was there at the time who we were hanging out with, Eric Weinstein. He said, “You weren’t like the other kids, though. To your edit, you sat there, you paid attention, you understood, and you added to the equation.”

I think there’s a right time to get your kids into it, and it’s difficult because I’m trying to do it with my daughter. One of the things I do is I make her do chores that suck because I want her to realize that working the way I do is better than cleaning the bathroom.

The other thing is, they’ve got a comparison. They can see that their mom gets up and goes to a regular job. They see that I get up and go to the beach.

That was one thing I remember I admired a lot. My dad got up and went to movies. When we were young, when VHSs first came out, we’d seen all the movies because we saw them in the movie theater with my dad. He went to five movies a week.

46:03   Seeing him have all that time off and do that was cool. So I try to share and show that portion with my kids, but I also try to explain to them it’s about getting what you want.

My daughter came to me and said, “I’ve got this presentation for you.” She put together a PowerPoint presentation on selling me to give her enough money to go down to San Diego and watch some social media speaker. She went through it and I said,

“We’re going to do this, but here’s the problem with your thing. First of all, you made it all about you. You need to make it about me. I’m the viewer. Your problem is, you need to think what are my objections. My objections are you’re not safe, so you need to say, ‘Look, this is where we’re staying, which is in a safe neighborhood.’ Think about all my objections as your father.”

We started going through them. I said, “This needs to be ‘Five Reasons That Bond Really Needs to Let His Daughter Go to San Diego. One, I’m going to do the work. You’re going to pay for it, but I’m going to do more work than you would normally get out of me, so you’re getting a good financial deal. Here are all the objections you’re going to have and this is how we’re going to handle it.’

“You need to handle those objections and say, ‘I’m prepared to, at any moment, leave. I’ll check my phone every 15 minutes to make sure that you can always get a hold of me, so even if I’m in some place loud…’” I was teaching her marketing.

I was impressed that she even did a PowerPoint presentation to sell me on this. She’s 18. I couldn’t help but go, “Okay, now, this is what I would change.” I’m teaching them. The other day, I was teaching her about AIDA. All good marketing follows the formula of AIDA, in that order: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. I’m teaching her in regular life.

One time, John Carlton said, “I can’t tell the difference between where you write and when your dad’s writing.” That was a big compliment. I said, “That’s because he’s my father. I speak like him.”

I remember Bill Glazer and Mark Victor Hansen in separate incidents. I was talking to them and because I was making a persuasive case, they said, “You sound just like your father.” Of course I do. You sound like your father. Everybody sounds like their father and their mother. If your mom cries and complains to get what she wants, you learn to cry and complain to get what you want. If your father yells and raises his voice to get what he wants, you do that.

My dad had so many tricks for getting what he wanted. His persuasive ability in person was phenomenal. He understood people and knew how to easily step in their shoes and know their experience and feeling. He knew how to control and manipulate those feelings and experiences to get you to get what he wanted.

That’s what all marketing is. All marketing is, “What can I do for you that’s going to make you so happy that you’re eagerly willing to exchange to give me what I want?” That’s what it really is about.

I know that when I come on here, you want some really good tips. You want stuff other people are not talking about. You want some Gary Halbert stories. I’m prepared to give it. It starts with the other person. That’s what I was teaching my daughter.

I was different. The other kids weren’t as interested in learning this stuff as I was. There is a portion of that, but there’s a point where life kicks you in the ass enough where you go, “I want to go back. That other option looks a lot easier.” I was making okay money working for Armani, but it got to be the daily grind and I hated it.

And then I said, “I’m going to go back to this other lifestyle.” I started working with my father on a project that I created. He brought in more money in that project than he did in any other project he worked on. We were partners on it.

I also knew better because I remember talking to my wife and she didn’t really get it. I said, “These things don’t last forever. You have a great, bestselling book and eventually sales will drop off. Sometimes you can keep them going for three or four years or however long, but you never count on it on a business or anything lasting forever.”

She said, “You made more money in a week than I made all year. I’m quitting.” I said, “But you’ve got to understand this isn’t going to last forever. When this ends, I want you to go back to work and I get to take a year off.” She said, “Yes,” and then promptly forgot that.

What Was That Project I Worked On?

51:52   It was a stock system. We were figuring out, based on press releases, which stocks were going to move. We were judging the press releases as if it was an ad, selling investors on the need to get in right away. That was back in the day when most of the good press releases actually came out in the middle of the day.

Once the Internet took off like that, they ruined everything. I wouldn’t do it nowadays because what’s happening is that market makers are the ones who control prices and stocks. They’re the ones who set the buy and sell price on level to NASDAQ stocks.

They started moving all the press releases to happening before and after the market closed. A long time ago, they had the advantage of putting out a press release. The brokers got it before the newspapers ran the stories or before the TV shows picked them up.

Then they would buy up all the stock so that when their clients came in and said, “I want ABC Incorporated,” they’d sell it to them. They already bought the stock. Everybody was selling it at a high price, so nobody got a good deal. When the Internet came out, that leveled the playing field. Then they said, “We can’t handle this,” and moved all the press releases to after the market closes and before.

I wouldn’t go trading based on that now, but it was marketing. It was understanding what was good marketing. Actually, I was doing it all. “This is a good story. This is the line that’s going to kill everybody’s excitement about that story, so pass on it.”

54:06   I’m amazed by the little cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin has been around forever, and the largest heists in history have been Bitcoin heists, like $60-100 million heists. In one of them, they broke into the same Web site and stole everybody’s Bitcoin.

There’s actually one where the guy stole everybody’s Bitcoin. What somebody did was they put in a tracer Bitcoin. They had micro amounts that they followed it around. For a long time on the Internet, you could actually see the guy trying to move and break up the money and put it into a bunch of smaller accounts. The other guy was following him and just keeping track of the guy who had taken off.

55:15   What’s going on with Bitcoin is everybody knows the story of, “I got into adwords before everybody knew what they were, so I was the first one and it was the heyday. I got into a pyramid scheme in the 1970s and I made bank.” Everybody’s looking around the corner for that next, “This is the beginning of a new wave, and if I get in on the beginning, I’m just going to be able to cash in.” They love that.

Marketing on Instagram

56:44   I had a friend of mine who called me. He was in partnership with somebody who had all this lipstick that they wanted to sell to teenagers. He wanted advice. I said, “What’s your plan?” He said, “We’re going to sell it through Facebook ads.” I said, “Why the hell are you going to do that? All the teenagers are on Instagram. What’s the name of the brand?”

I grabbed my daughter. I said, “Give me the name of the biggest makeup tutorial artist on Instagram.” She listed off the biggest ones. I said, “Now, what’s the term that kids use when something is really cool, but they don’t want to use the word ‘cool’?” She used the word “on fleek.”

I went back to him. I said, “Okay, now you want to go to Instagram. You’re going to reach out to these people, offer to do advertising to build up your profile, and then do ad swaps with them and recommendations.

“Send them massive amounts of kids. Say, if they like it, to try it and you’ll give them a discount or you’ll give it to them for free as part of a sponsorship. Make sure that they always say that this is ‘on fleek.’”

It was really simple. I did research with his target market: my daughter.

The Relationship (Or Not) Between Social Conditioning and Marketing

59:07   I don’t study psychology and NLP and social conditioning in the way that a lot of people make the assumption. My dad didn’t either.

59:40   What I am is somebody who’s just very empathetic, so I pay attention to what other people care and think about and do. I’m very interested in people and I’m very interested in businesses.

I was at Ben’s place and we got into an Uber. I started asking questions like, “When is your favorite time to drive?” One of the biggest days is actually Sunday. People are going back to pick up their cars that they left at bars.

On top of that, you have a regular routine Monday through Friday. You know who to get a ride with to go to work or carpool with, or you know the bus and train system. But on Sunday, you’re going to do oddball things. He liked that.

Another one I got into, I said, “Don’t you want to drop all these people off at the bars, but not pick them up so they don’t throw up in your car?” I found out that Uber drivers get paid $250 if somebody throws up in their car.

Then I asked him what was the longest ride anybody had ever taken. It was from San Diego to San Francisco. It was $1,800. Why did they do that? It turned to be a guy who was afraid to fly. I wanted to know what nationality was and his age. I wanted his demographics. I have that kind of curiosity and interest in it.

When it comes to social conditioning, I don’t think goal of good copywriting is to convince people to want something that they don’t already want. I think it’s to find the people who already want it. Find that starving crowd. Convince them that you’ve got the best solution to what they want. I think that’s better than trying to change people into thinking one way or another.

It’s hard enough to sell people stuff that they already want. You’re just making it an uphill climb if you’re trying to not necessarily manipulate, but convince them that they need something else that they’re not thinking about.

If it’s a problem that they’re already thinking about and you’re offering a solution they’ve never heard about, that’s a different thing. I’m talking about actually getting them to pay attention and desire something that is not solving a problem they’re already worried about. I think that’s an uphill climb.

My dad’s most famous story or analogy in selling and his top lesson, he would give this to me before he ever wrote it down and became famous.

He said, “If the two of us had a hamburger stand and God will give you anything you want and He’ll give me anything you want, what is it you’re going to choose? You can have fresh ingredients. You can have the best restaurant, best location. I’ll beat you.” Whatever you came up with, his answer was, “I want a starving crowd.”

Good copywriters are looking for a good market. We pay attention to, “These people are spending an irrational amount of money here. Here’s a market that’s not well served. People are spending an inordinate amount of energy as well as money on this particular topic. They’re crazy about it. How can I tap into it and give it to them?”

For right now, let’s say what they’re craving right now in cryptocurrency is a little bit of guidance; which crypto to get into. They’re craving that. I’d rather spend my time trying to find a starving crowd and then develop an irresistible offer than I would trying to convince people that they need to change their ways.

Marketing and persuasion is a power. Money is power, too. You don’t want to use it to do evil things.

Where To Find Me

65:19   We still control and own, but I’ve got my own Web site at My email is

One of the best ways to get through us is actually on Facebook. We have The Gary Halbert Copy Club. It’s a Facebook group. As long as you answer the questions, I’ll approve you. We ask three questions. If they ask, “Where did you hear about the club or Gary Halbert?” just say, “On Ron and Alice’s show.” I’ll do it.

Copyright© All Rights Reserved