How to Model Success

The Success Margin

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Today’s message, once understood, can help you earn a fortune. Indeed, many fortunes.

As I’ve often stated, it’s absolutely necessary to master headlines to succeed in any form of direct marketing.

The inspiration for today’s writing came from the results of a recent challenge to subscribers to create the very best headline.

People from around the world participated in the challenge. It was tough to pick a winner, as competition was keen with many powerful headlines from which to choose.

After careful deliberation, the winning headline I chose was written by Nick Wrathall, who works with Hilite Direct Marketing Services in the U.K.

Nick’s winning headline is:

What Will You Do When Your Business is Shut Down–Or You’re Thrown Into Prison–Because Your Fire Safety Procedures Weren’t Up to Date?

This headline along with supporting copy pulled an outstanding and highly profitable 5% response for a fire safety company. This is in spite of the fact the headline is 24 words long, 7 more than the 17-word-maximum rule I normally recommend. But most direct marketers would “kill” for such a money-making response.

There are a few key points in this headline approach you can learn volumes from. Properly used, you can apply these secrets to all your future marketing and increase response to a whole new level.

What I’m about to describe the late Earl Nightingale called “creative plagiarism.” You copy success. Yet, this type of copying is perfectly legal and ethical.

It is, of course, illegal to copy or plagiarize someone else’s copywritten material.

However, here is the key point. Ideas in themselves are not copywritable.

This point is so vital, I’ll say it another way.You can’t copy the headline or other writings of an author or marketer word for word. Don’t even try, regardless of the law. It’s much more satisfying to rise above someone else’s effort by changing it with your own creativity.

Remember, (as much as I’d like to at times), no one can protect the idea behind the headline concept.

What inspired Nick Wrathall to create his winning successful headline? A headline I wrote for a book in 1973–32 years ago!

The book’s title: The Complete Book of Corporate Forms. The following headline was primarily responsible for selling approximately 200,000 copies at $70 a copy. That is
$14,000,000 in sales.

Headline:What Will You Do When All Your Personal Assets–Including Your House, Car and Cash–Are Seized to Satisfy a Judgment Against Your Corporation?

Study these two headlines–mine and Nick’s. Do you see the idea behind my winning headline has been emulated with a product in a completely different field? You can do this yourself with almost any winning headline.

Of course, fear is the powerful emotion the headline triggers.

Human behavior, which a winning headline incorporates, does not change. Once you study and understand highly successful headline concepts used during the last 50 years, you can tap into a never-ending bonanza of marketing ideas you can use in your business.

Think of it. No more excuses. You can never again say, “I cannot come up with great marketing ideas.” The good news is, you don’t have to.

Are you ready to model success? Do it the right way and your success margin will vastly improve. Simply emulate what works in your own or in other fields. And there is a very good chance it will work in yours, too.

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas