I love this…

Honesty Pipe - Keep Copywriting SImple - AllGoodCopy.com

I took this snap on a weekend away in Minehead; a seaside town in the south-west of England.

We were walking along the promenade when I spotted this sign planted above a ramshackle bookcase propped up against someone’s front wall.

And just look at it…

A nice big, bold headline that has an implicit benefit – it’s a book SALE.

Then, if the offer enticement of a sale wasn’t strong enough, it follows straight on with a cracking offer: everything is one pound.

And then the clincher: when it comes to payment, it puts the onus on the customer!

There’s no money back guarantee, no 30 day trial, no part-payment incentive… it’s quite simply up to the customer to be honest, to hand over the money if they think it’s worth it.

Of course, I write all this with my tongue edging its way into my cheek. But at the same time there is something to be admired in its simplicity. When it comes to copy, you can often get far too carried away trying to re-invent the wheel. But often, the simple solution can be just as effective.

In his seminal book Breakthrough Advertising, Eugene Schwartz talks about how you must continually react to what he calls the customer’s ‘state of awareness’. This is the degree to which they already know about your product and similar product in your niche.

If you’re announcing a brand new product, you often don’t need to do much more than that when you first go to market. But as you approach the market time and time again, they come to expect you. And so you must invent more and more original ideas and concepts to attract and keep their attention.

But what people don’t often consider – probably because Schwartz didn’t mention it, and we mustn’t question the masters must we! – is that this is a cyclical process.

After a time of bombarding your market with ever more random advertisements, there will naturally come a time when it has gone full circle and the most original angle, the freshest and most engaging will be the simplest.

I have personally sought to find the simplest form of the product with a number of promotions and they have all been incredibly successful and would encourage you – if you’re writing copy for a product that has been advertised a lot – that you return to earlier ideas, to simpler ideas. You could even argue: core ideas.

And if you don’t see an improvement in your campaign by returning to a simpler way of selling…

Well, you could always test an honesty pipe. Though how that’s gonna work in email I just don’t know!

Keep it simple,



Glenn Fisher is an author, copywriter, podcaster and speaker. After a number of years working in the local council, he left to become a copywriter and founded AllGoodCopy.com, a free online resource for direct response copywriters and marketers. For over a decade he worked with The Agora, a multi-million pound international financial publisher before leaving in 2018 to write freelance. His first book, The Art of the Click, has quickly become an Amazon bestseller and was shortlisted for the Business Book Awards. He is the host of the popular All Good Copy Podcast and regularly writes and consults for numerous businesses, brands and ad agencies. He lives happily with his partner Ruth and dog Pablo on the east coast of England.

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