7 Tips On Direct Response Copywriting From The World’s Best Con Artist
Everyone in America has had their identity stolen already,” Frank Abagnale has said. He would know. He’s a con artist.
Well, he used to be.
But 50 years ago, Frank was one of the most wanted men in the U.S.
He served time in jail. First in France. Then Sweden. Then the U.S.
He was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. Then an FBI officer came with an offer for freedom in exchange for his collaboration and knowledge in hunting scam artists.
He is now a consultant for banks, the government, AARP, etc. Everyone wanted to learn from him – even Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks.
Steven Spielberg directed his life story into a movie – Catch Me If You Can.
Yes, that movie.
Frank Abagnale recently published his book Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today’s Rip-off Artists.
A book full of useful tips where a direct response copywriter too can find sparks of inspiration.
I am not saying that you should use his tricks and cheat. I only said inspiration.
Are we clear?
A good con artist should always try to keep the victim in the “altitude of the ether” because once they drop into the valley of logic [you’ve] lost them
One time Frank rented a security guard costume. And put up a sign that said “Nightbox Out of Order. Please Leave Deposits with Guard on Duty.” He got about $35,000 in cash that night.
Are we now convinced that he can teach direct response copywriters a thing or two?
“Only two left in Stock.” We tend to frown on these as old fashioned. Yet, they work. People are more likely to purchase something if they think a great deal will be available only for short time.
Elicit an attempt for responding right Now
Example: We have already sold 8 of these rare collectible coins and there are only two left.
It looks like you are not interested to receive free government grant so we will just move to the next candidate who is willing to validate his social security number.
(If you want to further master the art of eliciting urgency, read The Robert Collier Letters book).
Instead of When did your husband die, a skillful con artist will pamper you with: I am sure you must have loved your husband very dearly and that you took really good care of him.
This approach opens the gates to emotional response and elevating the other person to the “level of ether” as he prefers calling it.
The Scarcity-Urgency-Flattery is the so called triple canyon that expert con artists use to trigger response and motivate their victims to take the action they need them to.
Here comes some more
If you try to entice the other side with a promise of say, a giveaway, make it a mega one or don’t make it at all
Example: Lifetime guarantee
$26 discount with x2 free bonus products
Show your human side by admitting your faults, before explaining how the product turned things around for you
Example: I was supposed to quit smoking, I really was. I already told my doctor that I quit, I told my wife too. But I didn’t. I felt so guilty for lying her. Only after I tried XX bubblegum, I was really able to call it a quit and come face my wife with straight face.
Which one of these is more likely to trigger a response in you:
Dear Jim, I thought of introducing you to my inflatable sex doll,
"Dear Jim, it’s 8:45 am here. It is already so hot outside that I have to hold a red bandana to prevent my sweat falling onto the keyboard."
Details confer legitimacy. When you add more specific or unique details your story automatically appears to be more believable.
When someone tells you I need money for bus ticket you will hardly get moved.
But when someone tells you I need money for bus ticket for 1028 Rousevelt St. it becomes a different story. When you into more details you break the natural skepticism we have all developed towards salesman and scam artists. Be original. In order to work, the scam must be unique, even unusual.