Last Updated on 1 year by Greg Noland

The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy

In the bustling, sometimes mad world of copywriting, it’s been said that “the pen is mightier than the sword” and “words are the ultimate weapon”. 

Now, you probably don’t know that possibly the first person to write this phrase was novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu.

Although, some say the real first to pen these words was in George Whetstone’s Heptameron of Civil Discourses, published in 1582 – “The dashe of a Pen, is more greeuous then the counterbuse of a Launce.” (The dash of a pen is more grievous than the counter use of a lance.)

Whoever was first doesn’t really matter right here, but the fact is thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence“.

And that is the no.1 reason why I got into copywriting in the first place.

When you realise that the most important aspect of a business is how powerful its words are, then you will also fall in love with copywriting too.

From crafting compelling headlines to stirring emotions with storytelling. Effective copywriting demands a potent mix of creativity, psychology, and strategy. 

And there is no one better than Dan Kennedy to explain all of this in simple, easy-to-understand English. All for under $10 too.


Yes, and that’s why, for those embarking on the thrilling journey of copywriting, Dan Kennedy’s “The Ultimate Sales Letter” offers multiple invaluable lessons on the road to copywriting success. 

Here are ten reasons why this book is a must-read for newbie copywriters.

Master the Art of Persuasion


Robert B. Cialdini might be lauded as the King of Persuasion after his book Influence was first published. Great book by the way.

But Dan Kennedy brings so much more to the table. He is a titan in the field of direct marketing, where persuasive writing is key. 

In his book, he demystifies the art of persuasion, sharing techniques that will magnetise you as you read and you’ll learn exactly how to convert prospects into customers.

The Ultimate Sales Letter is a solid starting point for understanding how persuasive language works and how to harness it effectively.

In the marketing world, “people buy with their emotions and justify with logic.” To persuade, you must not only present the facts but also ignite the emotions that drive decision-making.

In “The Ultimate Sales Letter”, Dan Kennedy delves deeply into the art of persuasion. He reveals techniques to capture readers’ attention.

He appeals to their desires. And convinces them of the value your product or service offers. 

From understanding the psychology of buying to using language that entices and compels, Kennedy provides a roadmap for wielding your words to influence and persuade.

Kennedy emphasises that persuasion isn’t about manipulation. It’s about presenting your product or service in such a way that it aligns with your prospects’ needs and desires. 

It’s about helping them envision a better future with your product or service and guiding them to make that vision a reality.

This foundational understanding of persuasion’s mechanics is vital for you as a new copywriter. By mastering it, you’ll be able to craft copy that not only sells but also resonates on a deep, personal level with your audience. This will lead to stronger customer relationships and lasting business success.

Understand Your Audience

Understand Your Audience

One of the cardinal rules in copywriting is to know your audience. “The Ultimate Sales Letter” explains very clearly the process of customer research, including their desires, fears, and challenges. Kennedy stresses the importance of empathy in crafting a message that resonates with your audience.

You must understand that at the very heart of effective copywriting is a deep understanding of your target audience. Kennedy is king at driving home the importance of knowing your customers inside out. 

This understanding forms the bedrock of your sales message.

The first step to understanding your audience is thorough research. Kennedy provides a detailed guide on how to conduct effective customer research, covering aspects such as market segmentation, demographic profiling, and psychographic analysis. 

He also outlines how to understand the culture, society, and individual factors of a given niche that influence your audience’s buying decisions.

Next, Kennedy illustrates how to use this information to craft a persona – a fictional representation of your ideal customer. He shows how to step into the shoes of this persona, empathising with their pains, desires, and dreams. This empathy enables you to craft a message that resonates deeply with your audience, touching their hearts and not just their minds.

Hot Tip: My advice is to find an image of your potential client to read your copy, give them a name, and have this image next to your computer as you work on your copywriting project. This will ensure that you always focus on your avatar’s desires, fears, and challenges as you write.

Furthermore, Kennedy emphasises the importance of continually updating your understanding of your audience. Markets change, trends evolve, and consumer behaviour shifts. Constantly tuning into your audience’s changing needs and desires will enable you to stay relevant and effective in your communication.

Understanding your audience is not just about selling more effectively; it’s about building lasting relationships. When your audience feels understood and valued, they’re more likely to trust your brand and remain loyal over time. 

This focus on the customer is what transforms good copywriters into great ones. “The Ultimate Sales Letter” provides the guidance needed to make that transformation.

Leverage the Power of Storytelling

Leverage the Power of Storytelling

Stories are a potent tool in your copywriting arsenal. In fact, each and every day, you should be keeping an eye out for any angle you can find, that you could use in a story later.

Thankfully, to help you do that Kennedy illuminates how to weave compelling narratives into sales letters, infusing them with a human touch that will strike a chord with your readers. You’ll learn the nuances of storytelling that evoke emotions and drive action.

In “The Ultimate Sales Letter” Kennedy expertly illustrates the power of storytelling in copywriting. We are innately wired to connect with stories. They engage us, evoke emotions, and can be incredibly persuasive, making them a critical tool for any copywriter.

Kennedy explains that a great story isn’t just about entertainment. It’s a strategic vehicle for delivering your sales message. When crafted effectively, stories can illustrate the value of your product, demonstrate its application, and convey its impact in a way that statistics and bullet points never can.

He delves into the principles of effective storytelling, starting with the importance of structure. A captivating story has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and an engaging plot that holds the reader’s interest. Kennedy discusses various story structures, offering insights on how to select the right one for your message.

He also discusses the critical element of relatability. The stories you tell must resonate with your audience, reflecting their experiences, aspirations, and challenges. They should be able to see themselves in your story, making the journey from problem to solution alongside your characters. If they can imagine themselves in your story, it will bomb.

Kennedy also addresses the role of conflict in storytelling. Conflict creates tension, which keeps readers engaged and drives the story forward. Why do you think the news on TV and newspapers are filled with conflict 90% of the time? 

Conflict sells my friend. 

He then outlines techniques for introducing and resolving conflict in a way that aligns with your sales message.

But storytelling isn’t just about the big picture. It’s also about the details. Kennedy provides tips for using descriptive language, metaphors, and analogies to make your stories more vivid and engaging. He also highlights the importance of authenticity, advising you to draw from your real-life experiences to bring your stories to life.

Overall, Kennedy shows how to leverage the power of storytelling to captivate your audience, highlight your product’s value, and drive action. This skill is invaluable for copywriters, and “The Ultimate Sales Letter” serves as a comprehensive guide for mastering it.

Overcome Objections Smoothly

Overcome Objections Smoothly

In the realm of sales and marketing, objections are inevitable. Rather than viewing them as roadblocks, Dan Kennedy teaches newbie copywriters to perceive objections as opportunities to provide clarity, build trust, and reinforce the value of the product or service being offered.

In “The Ultimate Sales Letter, 4th Edition”, Kennedy outlines the common objections that prospects might have. These could range from pricing concerns to doubts about product efficacy, or even hesitations tied to previous negative experiences. He emphasizes that an effective copywriter not only identifies these potential objections but also addresses them proactively in their copy.

Kennedy guides readers on how to craft persuasive counterarguments that directly address each objection. This might involve showcasing testimonials from satisfied customers, providing clear and concise explanations of your product’s value, or offering iron-clad guarantees to alleviate risk.

He also delves into the psychology behind objections, explaining why they arise and how to empathize with these concerns. By understanding the roots of these objections, copywriters can address them on a deeper, more empathetic level. This approach not only helps to overcome objections but also strengthens the relationship with the prospect by demonstrating understanding and care for their concerns.

Kennedy’s book emphasizes that addressing objections isn’t about manipulation or coercion. Instead, it’s about presenting truthful, compelling responses that reaffirm your product’s value and crush your prospect’s doubts. It’s about ensuring that your prospects have all the information they need to make a decision that’s right for them.

By equipping copywriters with strategies to anticipate and smoothly overcome objections, “The Ultimate Sales Letter, 4th Edition” empowers them to craft persuasive, trust-building copy that converts prospects into customers.

 Craft Killer Headlines

Craft Killer Headlines

My favourite headline writer of all time has got to be John Carlton. If you ever get the chance to grab hold of one of his books or courses on copywriting, you’ll be mesmerised by his headlines.

Headlines are the gateway to your copy. Crappy headline and you’re floored before your prospect reads your lead.

But a compelling headline can mean the difference between your letter being read or tossed aside.

“The Ultimate Sales Letter” guides you through the process of crafting captivating headlines that hook readers instantly.

Learn from Real-life Examples

Learn from Real-life Examples

One of the standout features for me of “The Ultimate Sales Letter” is its inclusion of real-life examples. For newbie copywriters, there’s no better way to learn than by studying successful sales letters, breaking them down, and understanding why they work. Kennedy offers this opportunity, providing a variety of sales letter samples from a mixed bag of industries.

These real-life examples serve as case studies that illustrate Kennedy’s teachings. He meticulously dissects each sample, highlighting how the principles he’s discussed have been applied. This approach allows readers to see the concepts in action, providing a tangible understanding that goes beyond abstract theory.

For instance, Kennedy may showcase a sales letter that exceptionally leverages storytelling. He breaks down the narrative, points out the conflict and resolution, and shows how the story subtly weaves in a sales pitch without losing its human touch. You need to observe these tactics in practice to solidify your understanding and provide inspiration for your own writing.

Similarly, Kennedy might present a letter that smoothly overcomes objections, illuminating the strategic placement of counterarguments and how they’re phrased to reassure and persuade the reader. Analysing such a piece helps copywriters see how to preemptively address objections in their own work.

By learning from these real-world examples, as a newbie copywriter, you can gain practical insights to directly apply to your copy. You can also get a sense of the variety and flexibility in copywriting. Understanding how the same principles can be creatively adapted to different products, audiences, and marketing goals.

In “The Ultimate Sales Letter”, Kennedy doesn’t just tell you how to write a successful sales letter—he shows you. These real-life examples are an invaluable resource, bridging the gap between theory and practice and helping you to quickly hone your skills.

Just remember, this isn’t the sort of book you read through once, and then discard. It’s one of those books you’ll be picking up often. And could even read it every six months for years, and still discover a new golden nugget you never saw before.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Create a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency in your copy is a potent strategy you’ll need to master. If your copy has no urgency, you’ll lose a ton of sales. Kennedy reveals how to use urgency effectively. And he demonstrates techniques for instilling urgency without seeming pushy, including limited-time offers and scarcity tactics. 

Urgency drives your readers to act quickly, reducing the chance they’ll delay a decision. Kennedy also highlights the balance between creating urgency and maintaining credibility. 

Excessive urgency can come across as desperate or insincere, so will ruin your success rate. Kennedy emphasizes crafting genuine, relevant urgency to trigger to motivate action.

Gain Insight into Direct Response Marketing

Gain Insight into Direct Response Marketing

If you’re new to copywriting, understanding direct response marketing is essential. This book offers a deep dive into the tactics, principles, and psychology behind this marketing strategy, providing a comprehensive knowledge base for aspiring copywriters.

Dan’s GKIC was the place where I honed all my knowledge on the topic of direct response marketing and especially with his course ‘Magnetic Marketing’ – get your hands on a copy if you can.

Optimise your Copy for Success

Optimise your Copy for Success

In “The Ultimate Sales Letter” Kennedy goes beyond crafting an effective sales letter. He teaches you how to optimise your copy to ensure it achieves its maximum potential.

This includes maintaining simplicity for readability, using clear and compelling calls to action, and ensuring consistency in your messaging.

Kennedy illustrates the importance of testing and tweaking your copy based on feedback and performance. He encourages embracing a mindset of continual improvement, always looking for ways to refine and enhance your sales letter.

This approach ensures not just a well-crafted sales letter, but gives you the chance to consistently improve your copy. Especially, once you’ve read it out loud to yourself (Hot Tip) and received feedback (essential).

Future-proof Your Copywriting Skills

Future-proof Your Copywriting Skills

“The Ultimate Sales Letter” considers the evolution of the marketing landscape. Kennedy incorporates modern strategies, enabling you to stay relevant in the face of changing technologies and consumer behaviour.

“The Ultimate Sales Letter” is a powerhouse of practical knowledge and actionable insights for newbie copywriters. Dan Kennedy offers a masterclass in crafting persuasive sales letters, ensuring you start your copywriting journey with a firm foundation and a well-equipped toolkit.  Remember, all this info costs less than a pizza. But don’t let the ultra-low price distract you from its importance.

While every path is unique and there’s always more to learn, this book is an excellent stepping stone for aspiring copywriters. It equips you with the essential skills to write compelling copy that not only sells but also creates value for your audience. So dive in, soak up the wisdom, and prepare to unleash the power of words.

Ok, that’s all for today. I didn’t think I’d write that much. But it’s a book I’ve read multiple times so I know it inside and out. But, it’s my wife’s birthday and I’m taking her out for a really special meal at her favourite place. So, time to get suited and booted.

Till next time, supremo copywriter in the making…

>> Click HERE to grab a copy of The Ultimate Sales Letter and start cranking up your copywriting skills…

Greg Noland, freelance copywriter

Ok, time for my afternoon workout. Skills day – Handstands!

I hope this post motivates you to grab yourself a copy of Dan’s book.

It truly will be a must-keep book in your copywriting collection!

Until next time,


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