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A powerful lesson from my 99-year-old grandmother

Zero in on the benefits to grab your reader…

Hiya CopyStar,

Several years ago, my 99-year-old grandmother, Mama Da, was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.

Our local family hustled to create a 24-hour care program. After all, why should she have to stay in the hospital by herself when she was the matriarch of 5 generations?

At the time, I was recovering from shoulder surgery — so I got the easier day shift. But it turned out to be the scariest time of all. It was that 9-hour day shift when I watched Mama Da struggle to breathe while the doctor explained the seriousness of her condition.

Mama Da told me that day she wasn’t afraid to die — but I sure as heck was scared of being the only one in the room with her — making all the decisions. I needed some back-up — some reinforcements — to support me during this difficult time.

So I told Mama Da that I called our family and they were trying to get here as soon as possible to see her. But it didn’t seem to matter.

Then I said, “Mama Da, Moon and Pot are getting on a flight from Maryland as we speak to come to see you.”

Then a funny thing happened.

Her eyes opened up and she said, “Really, who else?”

So I started going down the list: “Shorty and Sidney are driving through the night… Gigi is cutting her vacation short in Orlando… Daty and VaVa are flying in tomorrow from Philly… Carole, Kuky and Marley are flying in from Miami… Bibi and MaMa will be here on Saturday… Joey and Angela got one day round-trip tickets to spend a few hours with you … Ferg and Chrissy are hitting the road at 2am and will be here by noon… Aunt Maude will be here in an hour…and the rest of the family are calling me non-stop to let me know when they’re planning to come.

As I ran down the list, I started to see a light in Mama Da’s eyes I hadn’t seen in the past 24 hours. She was getting excited about seeing her family. And when the kids, grands and great-grands came to her hospital room to kiss and talk to her, I saw her drawing energy from each one of them and feeling better.

In fact, she looked so good that many of my family members jokingly said Mama Da was making the whole pneumonia thing up just to create an impromptu family reunion!

For the next several days, my grandmother’s hospital room was so full of our loud family — the nurses asked us to keep the noise level down because we were having too much fun! During the nights, there were plenty of willing volunteers of aunts and cousins to sleep in the room with her.

I was so glad for the extra help. But while I was waiting for the reinforcements to come, I re-learned 2 very important lessons:

#1: My family has some really wacky names!

But most importantly…

#2: Specificity really works!

When I told Mama Da that family was coming — it didn’t register with her.
But when I told her exactly WHO was coming… WHEN they were arriving… WHAT they were doing to get to her… and WHERE they were coming from – man, it really boosted her curiosity — and possibly her will to live!

That got me thinking about writing copy — and the importance of reinforcing your copy with ultra specifics so you can grab your prospect’s attention and keep it!

So I want to show you 2 quick and easy ways you can reinforce your copy too:

#1: Name names! 

As I said earlier, specificity sells. So find ways to build credibility in your copy with exact names and numbers. Here’s an example:

BEFORE: “Numerous scientific research shows this remarkable ‘brain food’ can help you restore memory loss and sharpen your thinking.”

“Numerous scientific research” is pretty lame. That’s like when I told Mama Da “family was coming” — it just didn’t get much of a rise out of her. I needed some specific details to put MEAT on this baby! So here’s how I changed it:

AFTER: “Scientific research from Stanford University… Vanderbilt University… the Memory Assessment Clinic’s facility in Bethesda, Maryland now prove this remarkable “brain food” can help you restore up to 12 years of memory loss and sharpen your thinking.”

See the difference? Name names and give specifics! These prestigious institutions build credibility in your prospect’s mind — and stating the product can restore up to 12 years of memory loss is powerful!

#2: Don’t be afraid of long headlines! 

One of the first “rules” I learned in copywriting was the “7 word headline”. It was drilled in my head that powerful headlines should be less than 7 words. That way they would POP on the cover and grab the prospect’s attention. Sure, I learned the rule — but most importantly, I learned when to break the rule too!

The truth is: it’s a stupid rule. The goal of your headline is to stop your reader dead in his tracks. If you can do it with one or two words — GREAT! But I’ve had many successful promotions that contained 20 or more words in my headlines! For example:

BEFORE: “Why Your Vitamins Won’t Work”

When I was listing all the relatives who were coming to visit Mama Da, I had no idea which ones she really wanted to see. Was it the young grandkids who could bounce on her lap… the teenagers she helped raise… or her own children she spent a lifetime with. So I decided not take a chance — I’d just list them all and see which one piqued her interest!

So, “Why Your Vitamins Won’t Work” isn’t a bad headline — but it’s too general. I wanted the prospect to stop and say, “Hey I’m taking that — so I better read this!” — and the best way to do this is to give ’em a list. So here’s how I reinforced the copy — and results went through the roof:

Vitamin C
Low-fat diets
Omega 3 fish oil
Grape seed extract
Blood pressure drugs
Weight-loss supplements
Cholesterol-lowering drugs
Won’t Work

Yep! That was the actual headline! Far exceeding the “7 word rule” but who the heck cares — it worked! You can see this actual cover when you Click Here

So don’t be afraid of long headlines. Just make sure every word counts!

I guess I could give you a few more ways to reinforce your copy…

… but I don’t feel like it right now.

It’s been a LONG week — so just keep reading CopyStar and I’ll deliver some more goodies for you in future issues!

Yours for stellar results,


Carline Anglade-Cole
Million-Dollar Copywriter & Consultant