Episode 61 | Posted on

Getting Into the A-Pile with Dan Kennedy

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This Week’s Guest:


In this episode, I had the pleasure of talking with the brilliant Dan Kennedy, the godfather of direct marketing. He’s a serial entrepreneur, marketing expert, and provocative truth-teller, as well as the bestselling author of 13 business books.


Dan has shared stages with other luminaries like Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. He’s worked as a marketing advisor and consultant to business owners and CEOs of businesses ranging in size up to $1 billion. He reached this professional pinnacle by the depth of his knowledge of marketing, which he generously shares in this conversation.


Find Out More About Dan Here:


Dan Kennedy on LinkedIn


In This Episode:


  • [01:16] – What are the essential components for an effective sales letter? Dan says that a sales letter should replicate as closely as possible the techniques used in face-to-face sales. He also emphasizes the importance of choosing a structure.
  • [03:34] – Dan explains that the Kennedy method can work within any of the structures he described a moment ago. He tends to lean toward the problem-agitate-solve structure.
  • [04:51] – We hear Dan’s advice on how to craft a killer headline for your sales letter. Keep in mind that the headline is a headline for the rest of the letter (or ad), not just for the product or service.
  • [08:08] – A sales letter should be long enough to do everything you need to do to get the desired result. In other words, Dan says that sales copy doesn’t necessarily need to be short, and explains why.
  • [12:10] – Dan talks about how to use a swipe file effectively (and clarifies that he’s recommending taking inspiration and borrowing from other ideas, not stealing them or infringing on copyright).
  • [16:48] – We learn what works best in guarantees. Dan explains how important pure guarantees are, and talks about figuring out what to guarantee and where to place it in your advertising.
  • [19:48] – Dan discusses testing to see how your advertising works. He mentions the concept of split testing and gives advice on how to use testing to make your advertising as effective as possible.
  • [21:50] – In many ways, video sales letters should be the same as written sales letters, Dan explains. He also explains the differences and offers insight into how to best use this format.
  • [25:24] – How can you get your advertising into the A-pile of people’s mail? In his answer, Dan also describes what the different mail piles represent. He emphasizes the importance of goodwill.
  • [29:41] – Dan gives the example of one of his current clients who is sending a free book as a marketing device.
  • [30:33] – We hear an advanced sales technique not included in Dan’s Ultimate Sales Letter book: the “reverse cold read.” This involves using what you know about your audience to cold read them in your sales materials.


Links and Resources:


Dan Kennedy on LinkedIn
Zig Ziglar
Tony Robbins
The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost Your Sales.
The Direct Mail Solution: A Business Owner’s Guide to Building a Lead-Generating, Sales-Driving, Money-Making Direct-Mail Campaign
No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses
Swipe file
Who’s Mailing What
Split testing
Cold reading





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