Summary of Copywriting Secrets by Jim Edwards

  • Post category:Summaries
  • Post last modified:September 18, 2023

Summary: 12 min

Book reading time: 4h28

Score: 10/10

Book published in: 2019

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  • Copywriting is the art of selling through writing.
  • Sales letters should be written taking into consideration the desires that the product it sells fulfills.
  • A sales letter has 13 parts. The headline is the most important one.

Table of Contents

What Copywriting Secrets Talks About

Copywriting Secrets is a book written by copywriter Jim Edwards. It details the structures of a sales letter that work best, explains how to write copy that converts, and gives several other strategies to create text that entices buyers to buy. It taught me how to create pressure and be more persuasive with my writing.

It is the best book on copywriting I have ever read (and I have read many).


Buy the book here.

Summary Copywriting Secrets Written by Jim Edwards

Copywriting is merely the art of selling. As such, this book is not a copywriting book: it is a sales book – selling through writing.

To sell, you need to communicate why your prospects need what you have to sell.

Hopes, fears, dreams, and desires are the best buying motivators because “without a strong why, people don’t buy.”

10 reasons why people buy

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Avoid effort
  • Escape pain
  • Get comfort/pleasure
  • Achieve hygiene and health
  • Gain praise
  • Feel more loved
  • Increase popularity/social status

In order to know how your product can help your customers, you need to get to know it. Here are a set of questions to ask that will help you think of ways your product can help people.

Write 10 answers for each question. This will enable you to come up with bullet points in your copy that will be a game-changer:

  • What are the ways my product can help customers make money?
  • How can my product help customers save money over the next week, month, or year?
  • How much time can my product save them and what else could they do with that time?
  • What is something they won’t have to do anymore once they get my product?
  • What physical pain do I eliminate for them and what does that mean for their life and business?
  • How does my product or service eliminate mental pain or worry for my customers?
  • What are three ways my product helps my customers feel more comfortable?
  • How does my product help my customers achieve hygiene?
  • How does my product help customers be healthy?
  • What are three ways my product or service is going to help them be the envy of their friends? How will buying my product make them feel more popular and increase their social status?

Headlines and Other Writing Tips

When you are writing copy, people aren’t interested in you. They are interested in themselves. Make your sales copy about your customers, not about yourself.

Delete all the “I, me, my, we, ours” in the copy. Change “I want to tell you something” to “here’s something you want to know”.

To become good at copy, you need to become good at headlines, bullets, and calls to action.

The headline is the most important piece of the copy.

The purpose of a headline is simple: get people to stop whatever they are doing and read the copy.

To be effective, your headline must target your audience. You must write to your market. Not to the entire world.

Here are some templates.

How to:

  • How to get a better score on your next test
  • How to get rid of acne in “as little as 24 hours”.
  • How to double your pushups in as little as 1 week even if you can’t do a single pull-up right now.
  • How every student can finish the school year with A+.
  • X quick and easy ways to (get)…and avoid…
  • X quick and easy ways to get a girlfriend even if you are ugly.

Other examples:

  • Which of these………mistakes will you make?
  • …………mistakes all………need to avoid. (10 dating mistakes all girls need to avoid).
  • WARNING: here’s what every…………..needs to know about………
  • WARNING: don’t even think about trying to………..until you read this.
  • Here’s the perfect solution if you want………………..
  • My proven………….Method to………………..

1st headline mistake people make that bleeds them dry

If your prospect is aware of your product, the headline starts with the product.

If he is aware of his desire but not of your product, your headline starts with the desire.

If he is neither aware of the desire nor the product, but aware of the problem, the headline starts with the problem.

Headlines separate the hot (people who know about you and your product), warm (people who know about the solution to their problem but don’t know that you are selling it), and cold (people know neither about you nor the product/solution you are selling) people.

Mirror the reader to himself, then show him how your product fixes his needs.

For that, you need to design your FRED. Fred is your target customer. It’s important to design him because good advertising is written from one person to another.

What does Fred want?

What does Fred think about? You need to give FRED a name because when you sit down to write, you need to write to one person looking like the thousands of people you are actually talking to.

People buy what they want, not what they need. As such, you need to sell them what they want. When you write copy, you only include what they want.

People may need to lose weight and eat healthily, but they want to eat McDonald’s. So you talk about McDonald’s.

PQRR is the secret code to the audience’s brain. It stands for Problems, Question, Roadblock, Results.

The sales copy is what takes FRED from the problem to the results.

Identify and write a portrait of FRED.

  • Write down Fred’s top two problems.
  • Write down Fred’s top two questions.
  • Write down Fred’s top two roadblocks.
  • Write down Fred’s top two results.

Then write down three-seven more for each of them.

Headline examples

  • You don’t have to be a pro real estate flipper to have fun doing deals, guaranteed
  • New, the secret to automatically finding great deals fast, guaranteed
  • Discover the new way to find great deals fast
  • How to find great deals fast, so you can avoid buying a poison house that destroys your business.
  • At last! The real secret to finding great flips fast is revealed.
  • How to find great deals in as little as one week, even if you have no money of your own to invest.

Bullet Points in the Copy

Bullets carry the most weight in the copy. Once the headline pulls them in, you can use bullets to:

  • Build curiosity so you can create pressure inside people to get them to buy faster.
  • Grab people’s attention so you can address their specific wants to make more sales.
  • Convey important information quickly so you can get your message across fast to maximize every advertising dollar you spend.
  • Give people a reason to act.
  • Carry the load of explaining what your product is and what it will do for them.
  • Summarize what people will see in a video
  • Give people a preview of your blog post
  • List the benefits
  • Give people reasons to keep reading and to make a decision
  • Summarize what they are buying

Curiosity-inducing bullets

  • Helps you find great deals fast
  • Make it easy to find the deals others missed
  • Gives you the keys to making high profits off virtually all the deals you decide to do
  • Three steps to avoid chasing deals that won’t work.
  • The real secret for how to have fun doing deals
  • Discover how to find high-profit deals in any market
  • Stop worrying about buying a poison house that will destroy your business

Examples about an ebook written on how to sell ebooks.

  • How to get up, running, and selling on Amazon Kindle–FAST! (The Web’s #1 e-book retailer WANTS to sell your e-book for you–here’s how!) (Page 14)
  • The *sure-fire* secret to creating an e-book that sells like crazy while having more fun than you ever thought possible! (Page 23) How to quickly avoid the #1 Mistake authors make that causes them to take months or years to write a book . . . so you can finish in just a few days. (Page 7)
  • A step-by-step explanation of how to actually get a complete REAL e-book DONE in less than 72 hours! (Page 103)
  • The absolute “bullet-proof” best e-book to write and sell online– FAST. (Page 2)

Most people write features in the bullets. This is a mistake. People don’t buy features, they buy benefits. If you sell a drill, no one cares it is an 18-voltage drill. Everyone cares it is “easy to use on all surfaces!”

You don’t want to write features in bullet points, but benefits and meaning. A benefit is what something does for you. A meaning is what it means to you.

“People don’t buy the drill. They don’t buy the whole either. They buy the possibility to hang out the frame”.

Bullet formula:

It………”feature”………………….so you can…………”benefits”……………which means………….”meaning”.

How do you find the meaning? Easy! Every time you see a claim, feature, or benefit, ask yourself some questions:

  • “Why is that important?”
  • “Why does that matter?”
  • “Why is that a big deal?”

For example (we are talking about wrenches).

  • One-piece set so you can keep all your wrenches together in one place which means you’ll never be left high and dry with the wrong wrench
  • Chrome vanadium steel construction for strength and durability so you can work them hard which means you‘ll spend a LOT less money on tools over time
  • Stamped markings for easy wrench size identification so you can quickly find the right size which means no more pulling your hair out over stripped nuts.

Tie your product to:

  • love
  • hate
  • fear
  • vanity
  • pride
  • longing for (fulfillment, peace, freedom)
  • greed
  • freedom

Sales Formulas

People buy for two reasons: fear, and desire (self-interest).

Always do research where you read other copy materials and reviews on Amazon for a warmup before writing.

Don’t use big words (“shall”), don’t make fun of people, don’t confuse them.

Use statistics and testimonials. If you sell a book on selling your house by yourself, say that “90% of people that sell their house by themselves fail, buy the book to discover the number 1 reason why!!”

Let’s now have a look at three sales formulas that work.

Formula 1: Define, agitate, solve

Define the problem, make it worse, sell the solution.

Eg: dog aggression.

Define: Does your dog bark and is aggressive to people? This is a problem you need to take care of quickly!

Agitate: the risks if not doing so is to let your dog attack someone. You may not only get a fine, but go to prison, or be financially crippled for the rest of your life.

Solve: Luckily for you, there is now a solution.

Formula 2: Benefits, benefits, benefits

This sales formula is about throwing as many benefits as you can.

“If you want to train your dog so it becomes as harmless as a child and wants all the fun to do it yourself, check out blablabla.”

Formula 3: Before, after, bridge (also called future pacing)

Start with before, the way things are now. There is a problem that makes your clients unhappy.

Introduce the after: “imagine how your life would be now that…”

Bridge: here’s the path to get there, the solution: (your product).

The 12 Steps of a Sales Letter

Each of these sections could be pages, paragraphs, sentences, or a few words. Remember to hit all the points, in order, if you want to make more sales.

The purpose is to move the reader from one part to the next.

1. Headline

The headline can also be considered the actual headline + first paragraph.

“Write Copy That Sells Fast.”

“Do you need to write a sales letter? Hey, my name is X, and in the next couple of minutes, I will show you how to write effective copy that sells fast.”

2. Shocking statement

The shocking statement is used to get people’s attention to focus on the letter.

“Did you know most people who try to write a sales letter fail miserably? It’s true. Some even go bankrupt and lose their houses!”

“Did you know that 99% of the people who start writing a book never finish, and they carry that regret like a 50-pound chain around their neck for the rest of their lives?”

The shocking statement is a good place to use statistics.

3. Define the problem

Here’s the problem you face: as a society, we’ve become so sedentary that young people don’t know how to get into shape and stay fit.

Here’s the problem you face: most people think that writing a book is so hard and takes so long they can’t imagine becoming an author.

4. Choose one of the three sales formulas (define, agitate, solve; benefits, benefits, benefits; before; after; bridge)

5. Agitate: make it hurt.

They don’t buy if it doesn’t hurt. You need to express the meaning of their problems.

“Being fat…which means that….you may die from heart disease early on.”

6. Solve

Luckily for you, there’s now a solution. Let me introduce you to _____.”

Use bullets to arouse curiosity: feature + benefits + meaning.

7. Credibility statement about you (background story)

You must answer the question “why would I buy from you?”

For example: selling push-ups or pull-up guides with the mention “created by a navy seal” is all you need.

Use testimonials and endorsements as social proof! You can also use pics (before, after) and graphs.

8. Sum up the offer and give a price

In this section, tell them exactly what they’re going to get, how they’re going to get it, when they’re going to get it, and how much it costs.

Coaching Example: This is a six-part coaching program that starts on this date. It will be delivered weekly via email. There will be time for Q&A.

9. Bonuses and pot sweeteners

If you have bonuses, special savings, extra service included, or anything else to put them over the top, this is where you tell them about it. In this section, you add more value to the offer.

Maybe you throw in an extra something like a bonus report, an individual consultation, or anything that will make them feel like they are getting a fantastic deal on your offer (the idea of “selling dollars for dimes”).

Be sure to build up the value of the bonuses and show why they are such a valuable addition to the offer.

Make your offer incredibly worthy.

If you really want to make your offer amazing, take your competitor’s USP (unique selling proposition) and turn it into a free bonus with your offer.

10. Guarantee

30-day guarantee or your money back.

11. Call to action:

“Click here to buy now.”

Alternatively, you could also recap everything they will get if it is a long sales letter.

12. P.S.

The final part of your sales letter is the P.S. This is where you restate the benefits and tell them again to act now.

“P.S. This gem will sell for $49. This introductory price of $29 is a “Buy it now before it’s gone” offer, so act fast!”

You can use future pacing in the PS, then restate your offer.

“Hey, if you don’t buy this, here’s what’s going to happen: You won’t be able to do this or have that. You won’t have the ability to (whatever).”

And if you lay on three, four, or five reasons why waiting will result in their lunch eaten by a competitor or be stuck where they are, this creates urgency without depending on things like time deadlines and limited quantities.

The problem of those is that once you run out of things to sell because you reached maximum quantity or you are past your deadline, you need to close off your sales for ethical reasons. And you may miss on a huge chunk of money.

Emails, Content, and the End


The purpose of an email is to move someone to your landing page where your sales message is. Do not include the sales message in the email. People don’t read.

To send effective emails, you need a great subject line. Write it like you would write a headline. It needs to stick and make the person want to open the email.

Email subject lines

  • Real estate investing hack
  • Find great deals, two great ideas
  • The real secret to finding great deals when flipping
  • Find great deals in half the time. Two shortcuts for real estate investing.
  • To find grade deals, this works like crazy
  • The fastest path to flipping success
  • Here’s an example of what works to find great deals
  • Here’s a shortcut to finding great deals
  • A great house flipping resource I just found
  • More ways to find great deals, fewer bad deals
  • Here’s your house flipping checklist

Then say “Hey David”, or “Hey everyone”

Use a shocking statement: “got an exciting new announcement”. Or you can ask a question: “Did you know that most people who try and write a book fail?”

Hit with 3-4 bullet points:

“Yep. It sucks. The main reasons why they fail are: They don’t know how to create content that sells.
They don’t know how to get it formatted.
They don’t know how to publish it.”

Then tell them to click the link.

“The cool news is I have a great new video that shows you exactly how to solve all those problems—fast and easy! Click here right now to see it.”


I’ll see you over there.

The 3 Ms of content

The 3Ms of content is a content strategy that ensures people will read you. These Ms stand for:

  • Myth: write content dispelling myths. A myth is something people hold to be true but which is in fact false.
  • Misconception: a misconception is something people wrongly understand.
  • Mistakes: a mistake is something people do wrong.

If you write about myths, misconceptions, and mistakes, people will be more likely to read your content.

How to create a profitable promise

The number one key to selling is the promise any profitable product makes. The promise of any product or service, often contained in that headline.

Here’s the formula to create a promise.

1. The hurdle: the hurdle is the action your prospect must take in order to get what they want.

Eg: how to meet girls? The hurdle is what people must do to meet the girls.

2. The prize is the result, it is the consequence of taking action.

3. The timing: how long will it take for prospects to get the prize?

4. The eliminator: it’s the excuse that says that it is not their fault. Never tell your prospect it is their fault.

For example, fat people that can’t stop eating: “It’s not your fault because you’ve been lied to about how carbs and proteins and vegetables interact. And if you will just change your strategy for how you eat, you will start losing weight.”

This eliminator enables you to make a better offer. You have to remove what’s holding the person back in order to get the sale. And when you remove what’s holding them back, your offer will be incredible because this formula forces you to think creatively.


  1. How to write an ebook
  2. How to write an outrageously profitable ebook
  3. How to write an outrageously profitable ebook in as little as 7 days
  4. How to write an outrageously profitable ebook in as little as 7 days even if you have never written anything before.

Promise supercharger:

How to make up to 100 dollars a day as a…………………..doing……………….


  • in as little as 60 minutes.
  • in seven days or less
  • for less than the cost of a cup of coffee

Questions to make sure your headline works

  1. Is the headline about you, or the audience?
  2. Is there a benefit? Is there a promise?
  3. Is it clear?
  4. Does the buyer understand what they will get?
  5. When and how do they get it?
  6. Is there a clear reason to buy now?

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Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

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