If you are serious about direct response copywriting and marketing then this “top 10 list” will be very important for your direct response journey. The century-old principles outlined in these books still apply to this day, a good ad in 1900 is still a good ad today only the medium has changed. So if you are serious about developing your direct response skills you need to read/consume these manuals and you need to dot several times. You see reading each of these manuals once is a good start but to catch all the little subtleties you need to read them over and over until that you have become a master and understand what makes a reader become a buyer. Good reading…
Scientific Advertising and My Life in Advertising—Claude Hopkins, 1923
No one should call themselves an advertising man if they did not read this book at least seven times. The Mad Men himself “David Ogilvy” once said that reading this book changed his life forever and he would not have become the greatest ad men in history without the teachings outlined in this book.
Ogilvy On Advertising—David Ogilvy, 1983
Eben Pagan an internet entrepreneur who sold 100 of millions online said that reading this book was monumental in developing his business online. It literally change the course of his life and he would not be where he is without this book.
Breakthrough Advertising—Eugene Schwartz, 1966
Try to find a direct response marketer that doesn’t agree that this be the holy grail of direct response. This book is the best book on the subject, and I am still searching for my copy. These books go for hundreds of dollars online.
Tested Advertising Methods (4th Edition)—John Caples, 1982
David Ogilvy said about this book that it is one of the most important book anyone serious about direct response marketing should read. Caples was a pioneer and the first one to discover the importance of headlines and long form copy.
The Robert Collier Letter Book—Robert Collier, 1931
Another must for direct response marketers. This book was out of print for many years and was selling online for thousands. This is a must read, also for anyone serious about marketing.
The Boron Letters—Gary Halbert
Before it was republished by the sons of Gary, this book was out of print and very hard to find, but since it’s reprint it is now available on Amazon for 13 bucks. Gary Halbert is responsible for the most successful direct mail pieces of all time. It spawned a 700-employee company and generated over 7 million customers. This is a very important piece to read by anyone serious about learning direct response…
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook—Joe Sugarman, 2006 (republished from Advertising Secrets of the Written Word, 1998)
The founder of Victoria’s secret started his company with the training he received from Sugarman, and the rest is history. Victorias Secret is a major brand and was developed with the tools outlined in this book.
Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel—John Carlton
This book is a must read…. This is the book that started it all for me. It made. Me realize that for a bootstrapped start up the only way to succeed is through direct response. Because unless you are backed by big VC, you just can’t compete with big brands. It changed my life and will change yours. The best 100 bucks I have every spent…
80/20 Sales and Marketing—Perry Marshall
This is a great book … not a direct response marketing books per se but a great book on marketing altogether. This book will change the way you think and see the world…
Influence the Psychology of Persuasion—Robert Cialdini, 1984
This book is not about direct response either but it will transform the way you think about marketing in general. Tis book has had a huge impact on marketing and will have a huge impact on your vision on marketing.
Obvious Adams—Robert R., Updegraff 1916
Here is another little diamond in the rough for you. This book was given by Ogilvy himself to all Ogilvy and Mathers employees and was to be read every year.
So there you have it, this is not a complete list but will get you started on your Direct Response Journey. There are tons of material (book, courses, seminars…) worth going through and studying. Start by reading these books and it will guide you through your journey, Good Luck!
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