I have to tell you, I was very skeptical in the beginning. Nervous even. I had one finger on the "buy now" button, and one finger poised, ready to request a refund. I guess, when I bought Michael Masterson's course, I was anxious that this would be one of those screaming, ranting, raving sales letter courses that tells you that you HAVE to write all copy the same way with a tone that sounds like a used car salesman on steroids. I just wasn't going to do that.
Let me explain. I'm not a newbie. I've been in copywriting (for various mediums) for over 20 years. I even published my own copywriting course (http://www.copywritingcourse.com) that deals primarily with website and search engine copywriting. The one thing I've never gotten involved with, however, was writing sales letters.
I guess I always had too much else going on to learn how. I did know enough to understand that writing sales letters is a specialized art that required a lot of training. I also knew there was a TON of research conducted over the past few decades to determine what really worked and what didn't. Lastly, I knew successful sales letter writing - the kind that pulled in million-dollar responses - was not something you could just jump into.
I finally decided this was something I wanted to do. I wanted to learn to write sales letters, and I wanted to do it the right way. And what the heck, it was $39 a month, and I could cancel at any time. Plus, if it was really bad, I could ask for a refund anytime within the first 30 days.
I did it! I clicked the "buy now" button and started the process.
What I Didn't Like About This Sales Letter Course
Let me clarify something before I tell you what I didn't like. This is a correspondence course. The lessons are mailed to you (along with a nice binder to keep them in). You complete the lessons and return them via mail or email. It is a self-paced course, but it is also instructor led to a certain extent.
Really, there was only one thing I didn't like about this sales letter writing course, and it is a sheer matter of personal choice. My only concern was that you get little feedback about your assignments throughout the course.
What happens is this. You complete the first section of the course and the initial assignment. Your assignment is thoroughly reviewed and mailed back to you. I was really impressed with the amount of time my instructor spent reviewing my assignment and the comments he gave. The instructors move quickly, so you get feedback within a couple weeks.
Then you complete the rest of the course on your own. You don't mail in any of your other assignments to have them reviewed until the end of the course. In the process of completing the other assignments, you're actually writing your sales letter in different sections. Then, when you're finished, you mail (or email) the final assignment in to be reviewed.
Now, I do need to clarify that there is a student services department and a forum where you can ask general questions and what not. But they do not give feedback on your sales letter writing assignments.
What I Did Like About the Course
What I did like FAR outweighs what I didn't like. I've always said the best way to learn is through a combination of examples and practice. The course is professionally written and gives you lots of both… examples and practice elements.
It was easy to follow and laid out in an organized manner. The sections weren't very long and could be completed in a fairly short amount of time. (Important to me because I have a copywriting agency to run!)
The course is set up for newbies, but - even though I've been writing copy for two decades - it was still interesting to me. While I may have known a lot of the information in the course, I needed to study how that information applied specifically to sales letter writing.
I was truly impressed at the quality of information (including many insider secrets you usually only get from having years of experience in the business). Every lesson had something that made me think, and all the lessons flowed logically as I went through the entire course.
Michael Masterson's course is published by AWAI (the American Writers & Artists Institute). In addition to the course, they offer a wide range of "job placement" opportunities in the way of forums, databases and conferences. So, in addition to learning to write sales letters, you also get help finding assignments once you've graduated. That's a BIG plus for those just starting out or those who are new to direct mail.
Lastly, as I mentioned before, when you do get feedback from your instructor, it is helpful, thorough, detailed and insightful. Your assignments are not just skimmed and topped with a short "great job!" and returned to you. The ideas and suggestions the instructors make truly are helpful.
Do I recommend it? Oh yes… definitely! But only if you're serious about becoming a copywriter or enhancing your skills as a copywriter. This is not recommended for people who aren't dedicated to becoming the best. It will take some work to complete.
I've enjoyed taking the course and learning how to apply different skills and talents to writing sales letters. Most of all, though, it's been profitable because it will lead to a whole new world of copywriting projects!
by Karon Thackston © 2005