The "King of Copy" is Giving Away Tips for Becoming a Top Paid Copywriter Right Now

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The "King of Copy" is Giving Away Tips for Becoming a Top Paid Copywriter Right Now

Enter your email below to open Jeremy's daily email tips and a FREE audio training straight out of his exclusive paid membership – Copy Kings

The Ultimate Guide to Direct Response Copywriting (Write Copy that Sells)

Act now button


In 2020, I was introduced to the wonderful & wicked world of direct response copywriting.

This is the ONLY type of copywriting that I study, practice & write.


Believe it or not, I did not become a copywriter because I enjoyed writing.


I became a copywriter because I realized that this rare skill would open the king’s castle to endless possibilities.

By mastering the craft of direct response copywriting…

I could work from anywhere in the world, make as much money as I desired, only work on projects I’m most passionate about and have total freedom & control over my life.

But this is only possible with direct response copywriting.

Not brand copywriting, SEO copywriting, social media copywriting, and any other kind of copy.

Only direct response.


I’m going to share that with you in a minute (and much more).

In this post…

You’ll learn what direct response copywriting is, the best way to learn direct response copywriting, why it’s crucial for your success as a copywriter (no matter what “kind” of copy you write), 7 direct response copywriting examples and a quick crash course on how to become a direct response copywriter TODAY.


What is Direct Response Copywriting?

So, what the heck is direct response copywriting?

Direct response copywriting is simply salesmanship in print.

Its salesmanship multiplied.


Instead of selling face-to-face, to one person (or a few) at a time, you are selling to hundreds, thousands, even MILLIONS of people via the words you write.

Hand coming out of laptop to grab money

Direct response copywriting’s main purpose is to get a response out of your readers.

Hence – “direct response.”

This response can be to click a link, purchase a product, open an email, generate a lead, and so on.

However, not whenever readers feel like it

The purpose of writing direct response copy is to get readers to take a specific action NOW.


Why Direct Response is Important for YOUR Success as a Copywriter

Woman pointing at reader

The reason why copywriting is such a valuable and in-demand skill is because it’s the rocket fuel to business growth.

Copywriting helps companies generate more leads, convert more customers and grow their business.

At least, direct response copywriting does.

If you are NOT able to get your clients more customers & sales through the words you write, you are DEAD in the water.

You can kiss your fat freelancer dreams of “10k per month” GOODBYE.

Because clients will never pay you top dollar (or $10) if you cannot get them the results they seek.

After all, results are the reason why clients hire copywriters in the first place.

By learning, practicing and writing direct response copy, you will quickly be able to turn words into sales.

To be honest…

I do not believe that there’s a difference between brand copy, conversion copy, social media copy, etc.

The way I view it is…

All the copy you write should abide by the direct response rules & principles.

The time-tested principles that have worked for thousands of years (even before “copywriting” was a thing. Because copywriting is really just salesmanship in print.)

This is something that confuses a LOT of copywriters…

The endless mediums and tech platforms to write for. I.E. Blog posts, Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram, YouTube scripts, emails, etc.

All of these platforms are simply different ways to deliver your marketing message.

They are the messenger girl.

But what’s important is your MESSAGE.

Woman yelling into loud speaker

And that’s why it’s important to learn direct response copywriting.

Because direct response copy shows you how to craft a persuasive and engaging message that grabs your reader’s attention, taps into their psychology and forces them to take immediate action.

The principles & fundamentals that make up a persuasive message are the same.

The only difference is the platform on which you deliver this message.

Each platform you use to deliver this message will change and there are slight nuances and specifics you’ll need to learn per platform, but it does not take much time at all to learn.

You can quickly research the best practices and right structure for each platform.

But what’s most important is your message.

And the most effective and persuasive message you can create will ALWAYS follow direct response copywriting principles.

If you become good at writing direct response copy, you can succeed on ANY media you write for.

Plus, you can become a very successful freelancer with your direct response copy skills.


How to Learn Direct Response Copywriting

Dog reading a book

In 2020, I built up my direct response copywriting skills VERY FAST.

Here’s what I did…

I bought the 10 best direct response copywriting books I could find.

Read them twice (2nd time, I took detailed notes).

While I read these books (around 50 pages per day), I also practiced copywriting by doing a few copywriting practice exercises.

I did this for three months BEFORE I tried to get any clients or work.

After, I broke into copywriting extremely fast. I secured 50+ freelance clients and 2 in-house positions within my first year.

If you want to get good at writing copy that opens wallets, then you should do what I did.

Read the top direct response books, from the best direct response copywriters, and put what you’re learning into daily practice.


Here are the 10 Best Direct Response Copywriters to Study

These 10 direct response copywriters have paved the way in this industry and have proven their success time and time again through products sold and sales earned.

You’d be wise as an owl to study these copywriting legends:

  1. Gary Halbert
  2. Gary Bencivenga
  3. Joseph Sugarman
  4. Eugene Schwartz
  5. David Ogilvy
  6. Claude Hopkins
  7. John Caples
  8. Victor O Schwab
  9. John Carlton
  10. Clayton Makepeace


The 10 Best Direct Response Copywriting Books to Quickly Become a Pro


Here are the 10 direct response copywriting books I read to launch my copywriting career.

  1. The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert
  2. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman
  3. How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor O. Schwab
  4. Scientific Advertising By Claude Hopkins
  5. The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
  6. Ogilvy on Advertising By David Ogilvy
  7. Tested Advertising Methods By John Caples
  8. Cashvertising By Drew Eric Whitman
  9. The Copywriter’s Handbook By Bob Bly
  10. Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel By John Carlton

For more details on these books, see this blog post I wrote about them...

The 10 Best Copywriting Books for Beginners (#1 Way to Learn Copywriting FAST)


The 10 Rules of Direct Response Copywriting


Treat these 10 rules like the 10 commandments.

Never stray from them.

They will help you write more persuasive copy (almost instantly).

#1. 1:1 conversation

What’s more persuasive…

Reading an ad that is made for women, children, men… of all ages… with different passions, professions, etc.


An ad with YOUR name on it, only created for YOU.

When you write copy, you are only writing to one person (even if millions are reading).

Don’t say… “put the lotion on hands”

Do say…. “put the lotion on YOUR hands."

You are writing to flesh and blood humans.

Write in a conversational tone.

It’s easy!

Just imagine you are talking to your friend at a coffee shop.

Don’t use fancy, big words or try to write a novel. Just write as if you’re talking to someone you’re close to (TIP: I speak out loud whenever I write).


#2. Sell by tapping into emotions

The heart of direct response copywriting (the writing that pays big bucks) is salesmanship.

But, in order to sell, you must convince your readers to make a decision.

Believe it or not, it’s mentally impossible to make decisions without EMOTIONS.

So, in order to sell, you must tap into your readers’ emotions.

Tap into their negative emotions, like - pains, fears, insecurities, anxieties, guilt, worries.


Positive emotions: joy, happiness, pride, hope, inspiration, desires.

“Sell with emotions, justify purchase with logic.”

This old sales saying is worth a mountain of gold.

If you aren’t getting the response you desire, crank up the emotions in your readers.


#3. Ask for action


Direct response copy is all about getting ACTION.


In order to do so, you must add a call to action (CTA).

This is usually placed at the end of your sales message when you tell them what to do next.

Here’s some tips to boost response rates:

  • Tell them exactly what to do next. Give them step-by-step instructions.
  • Make it stupidly simple to take the action you desire.
  • Give them an incentive to act NOW – discount, limited number of products available, re-framing everything they’ll gain or miss out on.

The key to boosting response is to close your copy with direct, clear and concise instructions on what to do next.


#4. The one and only job of your headline

The headline is one of the most important elements of your copy (for any media you write for).

A lot of the best direct response copywriters spend the most time with their headlines.

I typically write dozens of headlines for every piece of copy I write (and spend a lot of time analyzing and tweaking them, until I find the best one.)

However, there’s a lot of confusion around the job of headlines.

This is foolish.

Because there’s only ONE job for ANY headline you write…

Grab your target audience’s attention and get them to read your first sentence.

That’s it.

Same goes for your pictures, design, layout, etc.

To get readers into your body copy.


#5. The only real purpose of advertising


It’s not to be praised for your cleverness, get giggles for your humor, build “brand awareness” or any other guru metric like – clicks, open rates, downloads, etc.

Listen up:

The ONLY purpose of your ads is to SELL.

That’s it.

Either sell prospects to become leads or sell prospects to become customers – buying a product or service.

If your ads aren’t getting immediate results for your clients… back to the drawing board you go.


#6. The most important word in copywriting

Victor Schwab, one of the godfathers of direct response copywriting, explained this great concept called “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me).


Your prospect does not care about YOU.

They don’t give a dragon’s red tail about how cool your product is, how many years you’ve been in business, how many awards you’ve won, etc.

The ONLY thing they care about is WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM.

What do THEY get by reading your copy…

What do THEY get by buying your product or service…

Why will THEY benefit from choosing your client's company over the billion other brands just like em.


Can you guess the most important word in copywriting?

And selling… and marketing… and communication…


Load up your copy with the word “you.”


#7. What are they REALLY buying?

Pondering woman

Gary Halbert explained this best in his infamous Boron Letters…

He explained how people give answers that they THINK others want to hear.

To make them sound more sophisticated, more interesting, more superior, etc.

Point is...

People will tell you what they THINK you want to hear, not the truth.

Few examples:

When surveyed, people claimed they read the bible the most – however, the sales showed it was the National Enquirer.

When surveyed, people said they drank Guinness Beer the most… LIES!! (sales proved they drank the cheapest beer available at the time, forget what it was).

This is really important because if you’d base your copy on what customers say they buy or like in a product, you’d be doomed from the start.

The solution?

Look at what customers BUY, not what they say they buy.


#8. Test

Another VERY important thang to understand about direct response copywriting is the power of testing.

You want to constantly analyze your data and look for ways to improve.

Testing is the only real answer to the question - “is my copy any good?”

The answers will ALWAYS be in the data.

But Jeremy, what data is important?

Ask a dozen copywriters, you’ll get a dozen different answers.


There’s a bajjilion different KPIs (key performance indicators) and metrics out there.

But to be honest, 99.7% of them are absolutely useless.

The only real metric you should care about is….


Conversions are usually either leads or sales.

#9. Make the skeleton dance

Dancing skeleton

Never leave a dead rhinoceros stinking up your closet.


You MUST raise and handle your prospect’s objections.

Only looney-tune copywriters try to hide them, hoping they’ll forget about them and go away on their own.

They won’t.

Instead, readers stop reading long before they get to your CTA.

However, I also don’t recommend merely raising and handling objections.

Because there’s a MUCH better way to do so.

A little-known way to not only raise and handle objections like a boss but to have your client’s perceived flaws work in their favor.

And you do this by “making the skeleton dance.”

I learned about this VERY PROFITABLE concept from sales trainer – Barry Maher.

Barry would write down all his perceived flaws… and then… find creative ways to flip these flaws on their head.

To BRAG about them.

And have them work hard to sell his service.

2 Examples:

ONE: Does your client have the most 1-star reviews in their industry?

BRAG about this by saying something like…

“Yeah, I have the most 1-star reviews, but I also have the MOST reviews and the most BUYERS out of anyone in my industry because people want what I’ve got to sell.”

TWO: Most expensive price?

BRAG about your high price…

“Yeah, my product is expensive, it’s also the most valuable. Its value is 10x greater than its price. In fact, I’m raising the price soon, so why don’t you get in on today’s BARGAIN.”

See how this works?


#10. Create vision

Jim Camp (the world’s most feared negotiator) said vision drives decision.


If your reader does not have a VISION (filled with emotions) of their problems or desires, they will not take action.


You must paint a VIVID vision of your reader’s problems.

The easiest way to paint this vision is to talk about their problems using relatable stories, specific details and word images that touch our 5 senses (touch, taste, smell, hear, see).


7 Direct Response Copywriting Examples

Use these examples as inspiration for writing your own copy.

Study these examples and look for the 10 direct response rules at play (mentioned above).

Direct Response Copywriting Example #1

Gary Halbert Ad

This ad by Gary Halbert is a great example of how to write a direct response lead gen ad. Notice how he flags down his readers by bringing up their BIG problem (needing more money) and how he persuades his readers by creating vision with each bullet.


Direct Response Copywriting Example #2

Gary Halbert Coat of Arms ad

This ad is the MOST sent-out piece of mail in US HISTORY. It made Gary Halbert an “overnight” success. Notice the 1:1 conversational tone. It sounds like he’s talking directly to you.


Direct Response Copywriting Example #3

Gary Halbert ad P.S.

This is the CTA (P.S.) from the previous ad. This is a great example of creating a reason why the reader should act NOW (thanks to the discount and urgency, added in).


Direct Response Copywriting Example #4

Gary Bencivenga ad

Gary Bencivenga wrote this beauty. It’s a great example of how to raise & handle objections. Notice all the proof that is sandwiched around his claims.


Direct Response Copywriting Example #5

Gary Bencivenga ad 2

Another ad by Gary Bencivenga. Pay special attention to the 5 bonuses he includes. Bonuses are a great way to boost response because they increase the perceived value of your offer. Many people buy from ads solely from the exciting bonuses included.


Direct Response Copywriting Example #6

John Caples ad

This ad by John Caples is a great example of how to flag down your ideal readers in the headline. Notice how he calls his audience out by gender and mentions a BIG desire right away.


Direct Response Copywriting Example #7

John caples ad 2

John Caples taps into his readers’ emotions - embarrassment, resentment, revenge, pride and many more - in this classic ad. This is a great example of selling through storytelling. Which is another must-have for effective direct response copywriting.


How to Become a Direct Response Copywriter

If you’re already a working copywriter, it’s very easy to inject direct response swag into your writing.

Simply read the direct response copywriting books I listed above and apply their wisdom.

Learning and applying direct response copywriting will only improve your writing and selling skills.


If you’ve never written copy for clients before…

You should follow my footprints.

Spend a few months learning direct response copywriting. Read the top direct response copywriting books. Do the copy practice exercises I listed above. Then, after you’ve plowed through these books and have a decent understanding of the basics, go out and get freelance clients.

I’ve written an ultimate guide on how to get your first bunch of freelance clients. You can read it here:

How to Get Copywriting Clients in 2023 With No Experience (Get New Clients TODAY)


After you’ve gotten a bunch of clients, you’ll want to create a copywriting portfolio and choose a copywriting niche.

Finally, once you have your freelance copywriting business up n running, you’ll want to grow it as quickly as possible. There’s 3 supreme ways to do so… you can learn about them here:

3 Fastest Ways to Grow Your Freelance Copywriting Business in 2023 (Make 6-figures This Year)


With ALL the copy you write for clients…

APPLY the direct response principles & fundamentals into your writing.

Never stop learning, practicing and writing direct response copy.


How Much do Direct Response Copywriters Make?

Woman holding money up

According to, direct response copywriters make around $65,000 per year.

However, this is absolute gibberish.

Don’t be fooled by ANY salary claim online regarding direct response copywriters.

There is NO LIMIT to how much a direct response copywriter can make IF they meet these 2 conditions….

  1. You work for yourself – freelance copywriter
  2. You can turn words into sales

As long as you run your own business and can get results for your clients (in cold hard cash), you can earn as much as your big toe desires.

That’s why applying the direct response copywriting principles into your writing is a must for ANY copywriter.

You will never earn much if you cannot get results for your clients.



I hope I’ve convinced you to study direct response copywriting and to apply it’s blue magic to every piece of copy you write for clients.

If you do, I can almost guarantee you will be successful.

If you want to learn more direct response copywriting tips and tricks, enter your email below:


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The "King of Copy" is Giving Away Tips for Becoming a Top Paid Copywriter Right Now

Enter your email below to open Jeremy's daily email tips and a FREE audio training straight out of his exclusive paid membership – Copy Kings


The "King of Copy" is Giving Away Tips for Becoming a Top Paid Copywriter Right Now

Enter your email below to open Jeremy's daily email tips and a FREE audio training straight out of his exclusive paid membership – Copy Kings