8 Essential Books Everyone Should Read Before Building Their Next Funnel (Part 1)

8 Essential Books Everyone Should Read Before Building Their Next Funnel

Written by: Joey Alter

Whether you’ve been building funnels for ages or are a new to the process, there’s a truth that works to your advantage: We stand on the shoulders of giants. 

This is especailly true when it comes to info products; the majority of content today about direct response is inspired by concepts that began in the 50s and 60s.
And while there are certain quirks and nuances of direct marketing in the digital age that those old books don’t cover, the concepts and the strategies have not evolved so much that we can forget where we came from.

I offer these books (and an opportunity at the end) as a means which will empower you to have a knowledge beyond your years in the industry. Which when utilized correctly, will increase your conversions and profits.


On the first day of my first agency job my manager asked me what I wanted to specialize in, and what I had an interest in. I told him copy.

He handed me a 400 page book and told me he expected a report in the morning meeting once I was finished.

I’ll share that book with you here, as well as three other must-have essential books that every serious marketer has in their bookshelf – and refers to often. Plus, I’ll share 4 more in my next installment of this series.

Click on the book covers if you’re interested in getting a copy of these books for yourself.

BOOK 1: The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert – Secrets from the Master of Direct Response Copywriting

41sBFH5PGuL._SX260_.jpgGary Halbert was my first introduction to direct response copy. If you haven’t read any of his letters before, you’re missing out. They are informative and entertaining at the same time, which is rare for technical texts in our field.

Gary is famous for a couple things, including an infamous direct mail campaign where he would send a dollar taped to a letter.

In “The Boron Letters”, aside from the technical details of how he tested his direct mail campaigns and targeted certain zip codes, Gary also goes into his philosophy of copywriting.

He advocates that a marketer should not be walled off into an ivory tower on madison avenue, but live life, experience everything there is, and make an effort to meet people from all walks of life so he can better empathize (and eventually sell) to them.

BOOK 2: Scott Haines’ Shortcut Copywriting Secrets – A Rare, Hard-to-Find Copywriting Guide that’s Worth its Weight in Gold

generic-book-cover.jpgScott Haines is a protege of Mr Halbert’s and clickbait book title aside, Shortcut Copywriting Secrets is a joy to read.

This book is amazing because it’s really easy to understand and walks you through the step by step process of writing converting copy.

There’s even a massive headline swipe file in the middle of the book with some old school gems in there.

My only criticism about this book is that it’s written for direct mail practicioners and not online advertisers. There’s a TON you can learn from Mr. Haines about iteration and copy brainstorming, building swipe files, and the like… But a lot of the copy tactics he espouses will get your ads disapproved or at worst, your ad account shut in 2016.

For any of the books in this post, I strongly reccomend you take what you can from each, and abandon the irrelavant and outdated information.

[editors note – this book is hard to find, partially due to fact it’s a PDF only offered by Haines’ himself. If you click on the book above, you’ll be directed to Haines’ opt in page. Theoretically, a book offer may then appear by email.]

BOOK 3: Influence by Robert Cialdini – A Book on Persuasion and Other Psychological Tactics that No Serious Marketer Should Be Without

512-B-1yXuL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI recently picked up the latest version of Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” and I am loving every page of it.

If you work in the internet marketing industry, you know there is a ton of unsubstantiated info flying around related to user psychology and buying behaviors, etc…

The way to weed out the misinformation is to either run your own a/b test or multivariate on the hypothesis in question, or to use PROVEN psychology principles with studies to support them.

Many internet marketers will already be familiar with many of the concepts Cialidini talks about in this book. Psychological responses related to:

  • Social Proof
  • Comparsion
  • Commitment
  • Appeal to authority

Anyone, and I mean anyone who does marketing, or sales, or both, needs to read this book and incorporate the principles therein.

In my experience, people do not make buying decisions based on logic and rationality (unless you are dealing with a hyper sophisticated audience). They make decisions to buy based on emotion and automatic, irrational responses. Beyond making an emotional connection with your prospect, you can increase conversion by utilizing the principles inside influence: principles that leverage automatic human responses developed over thousands of years of evolution and centuries of sociatel stereotypes and biases.

BOOK 4: Ogilvy on Advertising – The Frank, Honest Truth You Need to Build Your Brand with Confidence

51fcdV6eksL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBack at the last agency I worked at myself and a fellow campaign manager would have friendly chats about the direct response vs branding. Him, the diehard branding advocate. Me, the DR proponent.

On his advice, I picked up “Ogilvy on Advertising” and for a couple weeks, that was the book I read when I got home, that was the book I read on the bus, that was the book I read when I went to sleep.

Ogilvy writes in a no holds barred, frank style that I love. If you want to learn about ads, or branding, or direct reponse, or ad agencies, or hiring for ad agencies, or clients, or client management, this is a definite must read.

And the new edition has high def glossy photos of classic ads you can use for inspiration.

Stay Tuned – There’s More to Come…

Although these should give you plenty of reading material for the next few weeks, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to marketing inspiration and proven strategies you can adopt.  I’m combing through my personal library now where I’ll be sharing more must-have books that will quench your thirst for deep psychological triggers, copywriting guides, direct response details and much more. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, check out our new online training that will show you how to take many of these advertising principles and put them to good use for your agency’s clients, and for yourself.

We’ll walk you through how to set up a funnel that will bring in quality leads, how to convert those leads into clients who pay $2,000 – $5,000 a month for Facebook ads campaign services, and how to run successful ad campaigns for those clients. 

Click on the button below to save your seat for the next training.

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