There is a plethora of direct response copywriting books out there. You can go to amazon.com right now and search for direct response copywriting in the books section – you’ll get about 120 results.
I’m sure that it can be a bit daunting to go through and pick (from that extensive list) a book or two to learn from. Therefore, I have researched and picked two articles that can help you pick the best choices for you to learn.
The first resource is the website of direct response copywriter Scott Martin. There, Mr. Martin has a web page where he reviews direct response copywriting books, manuals, and seminars. In his list, Mr. Martin has 21 reviews of different books written by legends like Gary Bencivenga, Claude Hopkins, and Dan Kennedy.
My second resource is an article written by Demian Farnworth, titled “10 Classic Copywriting Books for Results-Driven Content Marketers”. In this article, Mr. Farnworth presents 10 direct response copywriting books that will help content writers (AKA copywriters) generate better results for their content marketing campaigns. Mr. Farnworth included in this list books written by experts like David Ogilvy, Gene Schwartz, and Victor Schwab.
Direct Response Copywriting Books
Drawing from the resources mentioned above, as well as my experience as a direct response copywriter, I have come up with three direct response copywriting books that you can read and get a lot from:
Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
Many people – including the absolute best in the industry (like David Ogilvy and John Carlton) – consider Scientific Advertising to be THE book when it comes to marketing and advertising.
Claude Hopkins guides you through what makes advertising work. The book teaches you what makes marketing and advertising a science more than an art form. From the importance of testing to having a marketable name, this book teaches that direct marketing is the lowest-risk investment you can take for your business.
The techniques taught in Scientific were the techniques that earned Mr. Hopkins around $200,000 in sales – today’s $10 million-ish. And remember that Claude Hopkins was the brains behind the Pepsodent campaigns – introducing the world to toothpaste.
Many experts recommend reading this book about seven-to-eight times. I have read it enough times that I can recite most of it word-for-word. I have it on paperback and in audiobook forms. I truly suggest you do so too.
Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
Here’s a quick twist – Ogilvy on Advertising is a direct marketing book that is mostly about branding.
Ogilvy on Advertising is an overview of the core principles that are true for ALL ad-like communications. While it doesn’t cover today’s digital/social marketing environment, you can apply Ogilvy’s philosophies to today’s world and still be able to succeed.
Keep in mind that, while this book focuses on more on the branding side of marketing, David Ogilvy was a direct marketing genius. Ogilvy built his career and business on the principles of direct response copywriting. And he was able to get the attention of readers of many publications, including the Wall Street Journal.If you are a marketer looking to find different ways to attract prospects, take some time to read Scientific Advertising, Ogilvy on Advertising, and Tested Advertising Methods. You’ll be glad you did. Click To Tweet
Ogilvy on Advertising is a book that feels more like a one-on-one session with one of the best that’s ever done it in the advertising world. A must-read for everyone in the marketing industry.
Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
“They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano — But When I Started to Play!”
If you recognized that headline, chances are you’re familiar with the works of John Caples. And if that is the case, then you might have already heard (and read) of his book, Tested Advertising Methods.
An engineer-turned copywriter, Caples is known for his headline-generating formula, as well as his loathing for “creative advertising”. And this book delivers in both – teaching you how to develop attention-grabbing headlines, as well as bashing the efforts of brand advertisers.
Before buying the book, go back and find that “Sat at the Piano” advertisement. There you will find what makes John Caples one of the best copywriters of all time. That ad delivers a story that impresses, stresses the ease of use of the product, and then presents the big “Push”!
Here are Gary Bencivenga’s thoughts on Tested Advertising Methods: “if you’re not reading Caples, that’s marketing malpractice.” So, get Tested Advertising Methods and start reading it ASAP.
BONUS: The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly
I wanted to add this book to the list because it is the one that launched my interest in copywriting. Opening a whole new world for me in the process.
The Copywriter’s Handbook is a terrific book to learn about copywriting, as well as to use for sharpening your copywriting skills. Bob Bly covers copywriting from head to toe in this book – going from developing headlines to producing calls-to-action.
Before reading this book, I had a tough time crafting coherent letters. Now, I can easily draft business content that gets attention, communicates clearly, and persuades audiences into acting.
The Copywriting Handbook will help you improve your copywriting skills and make you a better salesperson in the process. I cannot recommend this book enough.
3 Direct Response Copywriting Books for You to Read
If you are a marketer looking to find different ways to attract prospects, take some time to read Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy, and Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples. You’ll be glad you did.
Do you have a comment or question about the direct response copywriting books I’ve suggested? Leave a comment explaining your side of things. And if you think this article could be useful to someone you know, feel free to share it with them!