Dan Kennedy is a popular copywriter and high-profile internet presence. His trademark "No B.S." style is not for the fainthearted, but for those who like their truths plain, and plainly told, he's an excellent source of advice.
The Ultimate Sales Letter is designed to teach business owners how to write their own letters, and it's amply illustrated with samples of Kennedy's work, both real and manufactured. The letter he creates to show you how to provide the "internal repetition" your message needs-without putting your client to sleep-is particularly helpful.
Kennedy never forgets his audience, and takes us step-by-step, with short, snappy chapters, from getting the initial idea to sending off the final draft to the printer. It's a fast read, but packed with information.
His first step is first for a reason, I think. He says that before you do anything else, you must know your customer. He offers 10 questions you can ask yourself that will bring you closer to that knowledge, then smoothly segues into knowing your offer (where he gives a memorable example of "finding the hidden benefit" and what such benefits can do for your message).
Later, he tells the story of an older salesman whose first boss gave him a notebook of 299 sales techniques. He quickly whittled them down to the "three or four that worked," and Kennedy tells us what those few are-and why they work. This new edition also offers a bonus chapter by the late, much-missed Cory Rudl, who explains why no square inch of your website is too small to ignore--not even the "Online Ordering" button.
The Ultimate Sales Letter is particularly strong in its examples, and its approachability. Kennedy never talks down to his reader. More than once, I felt as if I were hearing him tell me his secrets over a glass of (I'm guessing) bourbon. Maybe scotch. And when he got to the part about the "Three Ways to Transcend Pricing Questions," I grabbed a napkin and started taking notes.