First let's start with what the "The Boron Letters" are.
So what are the boron letters? The Boron Letters were written by Gary Halbert. He was writing to explain copywriting tactics and impart his wisdom on his youngest son Bond. Gary was at the Boron Federal Prison Camp (hence the name of the letters) serving a sentence for mail fraud, for orders that weren't delivered.
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But before you get started, take not that you should JUST read them.
Because well they are just good, fun, entertaining, easy to read and maybe most important of all interesting.
So it is enjoyable and a "break" from your normal grind.
(all this more simply stated, it is not BORING)
Gary himself explains this process of JUST reading at first to his son Bond, in Chapter 10.
And John McIntyre, from themcmethod.com covers this as a basic concept that you gotta get right.
To win, you’ve gotta know the basics, right?
In Chapter 10, he provides this simple list to his son Bond:
The Robert Collier Letter Book — by Robert Collier
Scientific Advertising — by Claude Hopkins
…with a strange set of instructions attached:
1. Read them both once, at your own pace, for enjoyment
2. Read them again, taking notes
3. Read them one more time, taking notes
Simple enough, right?
John covers some other great lessons from Gary Halbert (and not just from The Boron Letters):
Gary also shows that he is a mortal just like you and me, as you can see it what seems like every 3rd chapter.
He demonstrates this cluelessness at time, just like we all do.
And John stated it this way and also quotes another great in David Ogilvy, "He’s not sure where to start, and he’s probably feeling the pangs of uncertainty like the rest of us mortals."
One more great reason, is real insight to what marketing is and what it isnt (things you most likely do not see or maybe you heard marketers talk about it but you just shrugged it off and kept on "learning" how to make money online).
The Famous A vs. B…which pile are you in?
Lovely Copy Lumps
I got a kick out of this meme the other day:
This is a good example of someone using ‘grabbers’ or ‘lumpy mail’ to hopefully seize attention for their charitable cause.
Gary was famous for using Japanese pennies, pesos, bags of sand — all sorts of crazy stuff — for the sole purpose of jumping out and grabbing the reader by the collar, and sucking them into the sales message.
Great so that worked back during the olden days and the Pony Express, but how do you do this online?
Great now that you've read them once.
You should print out "The Boron Letters" to read them and yes, there is a reason for doing it ... and the best explanation for why you should print them out is from Neville Medhora:
Whenever people actually go and print these out and read them like I am about to suggest, they succeed.
Whenever they don’t; they never really get anywhere.
So go do yourself a favor and actually print them out.
Now what you are going to do is grab a pen and lay in bed and you are going to sit there reading these for many nights in a row.
You are going to learn a lot about business and copy; not just one or the other, both.
Ok so now you know the reason why you are here, now it's time to do the deed...
And I have made it super easy for you, by conveniently linking to all the letters.
So now all you have to do is click on each one, print the page and begin your journey:
You are saying to yourself, "self I ain't got time for all that reading."...
I am going to do you a solid and give you an inside look at what you are missing out on.
The thing is, if it doesn't give you a kick in the pants to go back up to Chapter 1 and get to reading, well then this just ain't for you, so carry on to the next "shiny" thing that grabs your eye.
Inside Chapter 1
This letter is going to be the first in a long series of letters in which I will attempt to communicate to you a lot of the important things I have learned in the last 46 years.
I am going to try to teach you what I have learned about selling by mail, getting and staying healthy, how to get along with people, and, in general, how to have a good life without getting yourself all screwed up.
There will also be stuff about sex, drugs and rock and roll!
I'm going to try to write to you every day of the week (except Sunday) and spend about one hour on each letter.
That way, by the time I get out of here we should have covered a lot of ground.
Inside Chapter 5
"You want to know what some people would consider a sickening statistic?
Here it is: MORE PEOPLE READ THE "NATIONAL ENQUIRER" IN ONE SINGLE WEEK THAN HAVE EVER READ THE BIBLE IN THE LAST 2,000 YEARS!"
Inside Chapter 6
"If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who would sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side?"
"What advantage do you want?" they ask.
"The only advantage I want," I reply, "is A STARVING CROWD!"
Think about it.
What I am trying to teach you here is to constantly be on the look out for groups of people (markets) who have demonstrated that they are starving (or at least hungry!) for some particular product or service."
"Yep. We can still do better!
Possibility #10 - There is one group of people who will respond even better than all the other 9 groups I have described.
Can you guess what list this will be?
Think about it a minute and then turn the page for the answer.
THE BEST LIST OF ALL IS
YOUR OWN CUSTOMER LIST!
Comments: All other things being equal, your own customers should respond far better than any other list you can get.
Of course there is one caveat.
THEY MUST BE SATISFIED CUSTOMERS!"
Inside Chapter 9
Well, anyway, I myself, have recently been thumbing through the "SRDS" book and an interesting idea has occurred to me.
There is, as you shall see when you start using the book, a big section devoted to compiled lists.
All compiled lists are, by the way, names and addresses of people or businesses or institutions or whatever that have something in common.
For example: brick layers, architects, chiropractors, churches, businesses who do a $500,000 gross every year, business who do $1,000,000 every year, YMCA's, police stations, veteran purchasing agents, etc., etc.
O.K., here's my idea: What if you took the following headline:
How You Can Make Extra Money and then you customize it to something like: "How Architects Can Make Extra Money" or "How Churches Can Make Extra Money" or "How Chiropractors Can Make Extra Money" etc., etc.
Now, let's say that we hire somebody to write a little report for us.
The first part of the report tells about certain little-known techniques for making and investing money that anybody can use.
The second part of the book would contain money making techniques that would uniquely apply to a particular group of people such as architects or chiropractors.
(By the way, chiropractors are greedy so they would be one of my first targets!)
It also illustrates the important concept of customization.
As a general rule, the more "custom tailored" your promotion is the more successful it will be.
Inside Chapter 10
Step 5 - What you do at this point is create your product and here is how you do it.
First you go back to those books on real estate investing and you extract in outline form all the good ideas in these books.
Then you pick out the best of the ideas and overlay them with the ideas you will have by now come up with yourself.
Next you arrange these ideas in some logical form and you start writing.
Please remember, what we are creating here is a report NOT a book. I figure it should be something like 100 typewritten pages.
Now, please remember this: If you do this properly you will have created something of considerable value.
After all, what you will have done (hopefully) is taken a few good books on real estate investing and stripped away the garbage and created a tight informative roadmap to real estate riches.
Hey, how about that?
Didn't I tell you that if you just keep flowing that something of value will emerge?
Just look what has just slipped out of my mind!
Did you catch it?
The Amazing L.A. Roadmap To Real Estate Riches!
Not bad, eh? Now, we've got the title for our report!
Inside Chapter 17
By the way, do you notice how little one word transition sentences like “onward.” keep the flow going?
You say you do notice?
O.k., smarty, see if you can answer this question:
Question: What is the best way of becoming a good writer?
You’re not absolutely certain about this one, are you?
Here is the answer:
The Best Way To Become
A Good Writer... Is By...
Writing Good Writing!
And, of course, that’s what the subject of this entire letter is all about.
Don’t worry about developing a “style.”
Your own peculiarities will emerge soon enough.
Inside Chapter 18
Now, listen up.
When a person first looks at something you have written it should be something that looks inviting to read.
When he looks at your page of copy he should be drawn to your copy like a convict is to a Penthouse Magazine.
Your page of copy (be it letter or space ad) should be laid out in such a manner as to be an attractive "eye treat" for the reader.
Inside Chapter 20
Please remember this word: HALT. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired and you should never make a decision when you are any of those things.
Inside Chapter 21
Propositions are very important. They are the "deal" you are offering.
For example: One deal might be that if you buy one item you get another item free.
Another example of a proposition is the one used by the record and book clubs.
It goes like this: "You can have any 10 records you want right now for only 99¢ if you agree to buy an additional record every other month for the next two years."
Another very common "deal" or proposition is: "If you buy right away you will get a big discount." And another is: "I'll give you a discount if you buy more than one."
And, of course, the most common proposition of all is simply: "If you give me X dollars I will give you X product!"
Inside Chapter 25
Since this is the last of my first batch of letters (this is #25) to you, I am going to try and think of something extra, maybe a little special to say.
I don't know what.
How about this?
One of the things I have learned here is how precious the good times and the good people are.