Toggle Menu

5 Kinds of Bullet Points

Published by: David Garfinkel on 05-01-2023

Today we look at bullet points in an exciting new way. Now, in copy, bullet points in copy are specialized and different from bullet points everywhere else. Because in most forms of writing, bullet points condense facts and offer a summary.

Not in copy, though.

See, in copy, bullet points are condensed, emotionally driven, focused statements or promises that are sometimes powerful enough, by themselves, to make the sale.

A few episodes ago, Nathan mentioned that when he’s looking at sales copy, he looks at the bullet points first. I’d never heard anyone say that before, and I thought it was interesting. I gave it some thought. I realized that bullet points do a lot more for Nathan—and for nearly everyone else reading copy—than most people realized.

Then I went through three classic ads—one by Ted Nicholas, one by Gene Schwartz, and one by Mel Martin, all hall of fame copywriters. I hand-copied more than 60 of their bullet points onto a giant sheet of paper. That was quite an emotional roller-coaster ride, all by itself.

In the process, I realized these master copywriters were doing a lot more with their bullet points than what we usually think of when we write our own bullet points. I’ll tell you about my findings and share the exact bullet points the greater copywriters wrote.

To get us started, so we can all remember the enormous sales power of bullets, let me share with you a story I told six years and two months ago, on one of the earliest episodes of this podcast:

An Afghanistan vet and his wife went to the housewares department of a “big box” store. They were looking for an electric can opener. The vet was an amputee. He only had his right arm. The salesman showed the man and his wife the best model, and started rattling off all the features: U.L. Approved, cordless operation, easy to clean, 5 star reviews online. The couple listened politely but didn’t say a thing.

This made the salesman nervous. “Are there any questions I can answer for you?” he said.

“Just one,” the vet said with a smile. “If I get this model, can I open a can with just one hand?”

The salesman was embarrassed that he had failed to mention this, but he recovered quickly enough. He said yes—and the couple happily bought the new can opener.

Every customer is like the vet. I don’t mean that every customer is an amputee. What I mean is that there’s usually one performance, or benefit, that towers in importance over all others. Maybe they don’t realize they’re looking for it, but when they find out, that alone may be enough to get them to buy.

Bullet points are where you highlight individual benefits. Usually not features, but benefits.

It’s worth getting good at them, because better bullets mean more sales.

We covered some major highlights of all bullet points, and then dug into the copy of the three great copywriters: Ted Nicholas, Gene Schwartz, and Mel Martin. We looked at how each of them used the following types of bullets:

1. Bullets that answer objections

2. Bullets that assert benefits

3. Bullets that create curiosity

4. Bullets that stun and fascinate

5. Bullets that deliver a warning

Keywords: copy bullets

Garfinkel Coaching