11 April 2007

A sale is a very fragile thing

The headline is a quote from Gary Halbert who died on Easter Sunday. Halbert was internationally respected as a copywriter and managed the later years of his life as a mentor and trainer of people trying to develop their own skills.

Like many people, I became aware of him through the Gary Halbert letter which contains several hundred newsletters, begun by him during the 1980s and selling at that stage for about $185 per year. A lifetime subscription to the newsletter sold for about $2800. The point is that people paid over that money willingly because they admired the content, but also the style. Halbert's sales letters are masterpieces of carefully drawn, highly effective prose. If you want to look at a master writer developing a variety of themes then this is a great place to start.

The thing that makes Halbert stand apart as a copywriter in recent years was in his understanding of reach and channels - he knew that for the copy to do its job, it had to find its audience, and he was very inventive at getting his copy in front of plenty of eyeballs. A talented writer and one well worth celebrating.

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