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David Garfinkel – The World’s Greatest Copywriting Coach

The World’s Greatest Copywriting Coach David Garfinkel joined the The Next 100 Days podcast to discuss the Old Masters of copy. Our plan was to run through 6 copywriting tips from from the Old Masters. We managed 3 in this episode. The good news is David completed all six by covering the rest in Episode 294.

David Garfinkel, The World's Greatest Copywriting Coach, The Next 100 Days Podcast

Introduction to David Garfinkel

David is a copywriting coach to business owners and professional copywriters. His sales letters and webpages have brought millions of dollars in for his clients. David has worked as a copy consultant to publisher Agora Financial. He critiques copy for small business owners in the GKIC network. Author of “Breakthrough Copywriting” and is the host of “Copywriters Podcast“.

Born in Washington DC, David made a decision to get as far away from there as possible, without leaving the United States. He moved to San Francisco. His kryptonite is buying guitars. This passion dates back to 1966 when he turned 13 and got a Gibson guitar.

Copywriting Tips from the Old Masters

As Graham said, they are all dead! The first Old Master is Claude Hopkins. His material dates from the early part of the 1900s.

David is a direct response copywriter. The most famous British advertising man was David Ogilvy. He told a story about Ogilvy who published an old estate with a £600 budget. Ogilvy used a postcard and got them to take action. In real life, says Garfinkel, you have to give people an incentive to take action.

Direct mail was the original direct response copywriting. Graham’s business Finely Fettled still provides this service.

Resources from the David Garfinkel The Next 100 Days Podcast

This link covers material covered in Episode 293 and Episode 294 (Part 2 of the David Garfinkel podcast)

Click here for David Garfinkel Resources

Claude Hopkins

Hopkins said the demonstration and sampling are most powerful forms of selling.

People and technologies have changed these days, but the principles still apply. Such as offering a free chapter in a Kindle book. Another example is the software 30 day trial, after which the software stops working. In car retailing, many of us have been hugely influenced by test drives.

David spoke about the silver polish example provided by Claude Hopkins early sales experience.

We discussed other transformational benefits. Like, the lady of the house’s mother in law wouldn’t by looking down on her so much. That speaks to embarrassment and guilt.

Woman are infinitely better pragmatists than men. She buys silver polish as it helps her get it done quick!

Demonstration takes features and benefits a step further forward. They can see the transformations and outcomes.

John E Kennedy

Canadian John E Kennedy also worked at Lord and Thomas in Chicago, like Hopkins. He was credited with the ‘reason why’ approach to copy. Reason why is about logic and evidential.

Gary Bencivenga was a proponent of reason why copy. Here’s what fellow A-list copywriter, Doug D’Anna said of Gary Bencivenga:

“If a copywriter beats the control one out of four times, you’ve got a really good copywriter. (And) If he beats it two out of four times, you’ve got a great copywriter. If he beats it seven out of eight times, you’ve got Gary Bencivenga.”

Gary write copy for Boardroom mail order promotions. He worked on general interest products in health and financial interest.

We want something emotionally, then we search for all sorts of reasons until we feel okay about buying.

Listen to Gio Marcus about celebrity copywriting in Episode 289.

Robert Updegraff “Obvious Adams”

How do I get to the simplest, most obvious way to convey my message to market? Updegraff had 5 ways it can be achieved.

  1. The problem when solved will be simple. Is yours a simple solution to a complex problem?
  2. Does it check with human nature? Your idea needs to be understood by ordinary people.
  3. Put it on paper. Write out your idea in words of one and two syllables. As if you were explaining the idea to a child. e.g. Walmart – Save Money, Live Better.
  4. Does it explode in peoples minds? If it requires lengthy explanation, it needs reducing.
  5. Is the time right? Is your idea too late or too far ahead of its time?

You don’t need to pass all five, but do test your idea against these tests.

What is the Headline!

That’s 80% of copywriting. Get that bit right! None of it matters if you cannot get them to read in the first place.

Get in touch with The Next 100 Days hosts…

Want to know more about Graham Arrowsmith?

Graham Arrowsmith, Finely Fettled, Marketing Consultancy, The Next 100 Days Podcast

Finely Fettled helps out financial advisers, investment brokers and care homes to market to affluent and high net worth customers.

Meet Professionals – This is Graham’s business focused on providing lead generation systems for financial advisory companies.

Contact Graham:
LinkedIn: Visit Graham’s LinkedIn Profile
Twitter: Visit Graham’s Twitter Page
Email:  Email Graham Direct


Ever wondered what Kevin Appleby does?

Kevin Appleby, The Next 100 Days Podcast

Kevin is a Chartered Accountant who has worked as a management consultant for a number of years specialising in finance transformation and implementing business change. Currently he is COO of GrowCFO. GrowCFO is Where Finance Leaders Grow Together. Becoming a successful CFO requires commitment and dedication towards delivering your full potential. GrowCFO provides both a community and CPD accredited training designed to grow the next generation of finance leaders. You can find Kevin on linkedin and at