VSL copywriter Matt Ambrose with direct response legend Drayton Bird

7 Tactics Drayton Bird Told Me that Most Marketers Don’t Know About

Tactic # 4 – Always have a caption below an image

It’s unbelievable.

But the sad reality is that a lot of marketers don’t study.

They create campaigns based on intuition, creativity and hope, instead of studying classic ads from the last fifty years to see how selling in print is really done. Ask a crowd of ad agency folks if they’ve read Caples, Hopkins and Schwartz and you may as well be listing Renaissance poets.

Last week I had the fortune to be in the presence of a direct marketing legend. A real life Mad Man. A godfather of direct response copywriters, with tales that make Roger Sterling’s exploits seem tame. I am, of course, talking about Mr Drayton Bird.

For two days I was immersed in hardcore direct response training at Mr Bird’s swansong: the ‘Last Hurrah’ seminar. My pen rarely left the paper as I feverishly took down notes faster than lightning strikes the tree, not wishing to miss a single off the cuff comment that could explode response rates for my clients (and justify my rising fees).

Throwing gold nuggets like it’s spare change

Sharing the podium with Mr Bird was Trevor ‘Toecracker’ Crook. His no fluff, spit and sawdust attitude didn’t disappoint. And he threw golden nuggets into the air like they were spare change, with all of us lunging to grab and embed them into our notebooks (I believe just one of his nuggets will help me write more convincing proposals and double my fees at the same time).

Drayton Bird will soon be publishing the videos from his two-day seminar as a course. So I’m not about to share all my notes here and spoil the surprise.

However, I will share 7 moreish takeaways:

  1. Have a case study or real life story at the heart of your promotion
  2. Your competition is not other marketers. It is Spectator and Cosmo journalists. You need to raise your writing to that level to earn attention
  3. Add incentives that are low cost but high perceived value (e.g. cruise ships make their income from drinks sales and excursions, they can afford to give the room away practically for free)
  4. Always have captions below images
  5. Cartoons for attention. Photos for conviction
  6. Don’t accept ‘No’ as the reason. Dig down to find out why they aren’t buying.
  7. Ask them to take the action you want at least 3 times

These are just seven tactics that can ramp up your response rates and moolah. I literally wrote down over 10 pages of notes (front and back) that I’ll be referring to every time I write a VSL or sales letter to try and inject some Drayton Bird magic into my copy.

I’ll post a link to the course when it goes live.

9 thoughts on “7 Tactics Drayton Bird Told Me that Most Marketers Don’t Know About

  1. Alana Beaumont (@crushitkopy)


    I own a Drayton Bird book (How To Write Letters That Sell), it has so many nuggets. I will definitely try these out. Thanks!


  2. I should be getting a signed copy in the post any day now. Maybe Ill frame it with the photo.

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