Who Was Gary Halbert? Bio, Wiki, Boron Letters

Gary C. Halbert.
Courtesy of Drop Dead Copy.

 

Who Was Gary Halbert?

Gary C. Halbert was a well-known direct-response marketer and copywriter. His persona and approaches to marketing are highly regarded by modern-era digital marketers and copywriters.

Here’s what digital marketer Ken McCarthy writes about Halbert:

First, Gary was one of the top copywriters of the last fifty years and should be ranked among the very best who ever practiced the craft.

Second, Gary was a direct marketing practitioner of a very high order.

Third – and perhaps most important for us – Gary was a master teacher.

 Gary Halbert is perhaps most famous for the Boron Letters – a series of letters he wrote to his son while imprisoned for tax fraud.

 

Gary Halbert Bio And Background

Seemingly, very little information is available about Gary C. Halbert’s background.

He was apparently born on June 12, 1938, and passed away on April 8, 2007, and in that time, achieved tremendous success as a copywriter and direct marketer.

Before Halbert, direct marketing was “a closed shop”, according to Ken McCarthy. Due to the lack of information and guidance in the field, Gary Halbert chose to experiment with direct marketing in order to develop a successful set of strategies.

Thanks to his efforts, Halbert would land a deal with Halberts – a mail order company that sold genealogy materials – but there appears to be no information as to this deal’s value.

Another notable achievement is Halbert’s “Coat of Arms” letter. This was a personalized letter template that aimed to sell recreated family crests along with reports describing families who have had the same last name as the recipient of the letter.

 

A Coat of Arms letter by Gary Halbert.
Courtesy of Swiped.co.

 

Reportedly, this letter was mailed 600 million times and generated 20,000 orders per day. Additionally, the letter helped Halbert build a company that would sell for $75 million.

In the 1980s, Halbert was sentenced to imprisonment for tax fraud. He served his sentence in the Boron Federal Prison.

During his imprisonment, Gary Halbert wrote a series of letters to his son Bond Halbert, intending to share his personal philosophies on life and provide tips and guidance in direct-mail marketing.

Internet marketer Miles Beckler has shared the links to the letters on his personal website. There are 25 chapters in total published on thegaryhalbertletter.com.

These letters would be grouped and released as “The Boron Letters”, “a cult classic in the world of copywriting”, in Beckler’s words.

Here’s a short characterization of the book given by Beckler:

In this book Gary Halbert wonders curiously between the ideas of making money, copywriting, family life, direct mail advertising, life philosophy, health, business and more.

Bond Halbert would reportedly go on to become a successful copywriter himself, selling millions of dollars of information products and becoming “the shepherd of his dad’s legacy”.

 

Gary Halbert’s Boron Letters

The Gary Halbert letter website headline.
Courtesy of thegaryhalbertletter.com.

 

Gary C. Halbert’s Boron Letters are revered by digital marketers and are regarded as a source of invaluable information – particularly for marketing and copywriting. The letters can be found on thegaryhalbertletter.com.

The homepage of thegaryhalbertletter.com welcomes the reader with the following lines from Gary Halbert:

Dear Friend,

I have no idea how you got to this website.

Maybe you read about it in some publication.  Maybe a friend referred you to it.  Perhaps you stumbled onto it by pure dumb luck.

But, however you got here, you have arrived at what is, without question, the most valuable website on the entire Internet!

Halbert then writes that in September 1986, he began publishing a newsletter titled “The Gary Halbert Letter”. He offered an annual newsletter subscription for $195.00 and a lifetime subscription for $2,855.00.

Soon after coming up with this newsletter, Halbert captivated readers in over 50 countries with the material in it. He also writes that nearly all of his subscribers soon purchased a lifetime membership.

Readers of the newsletter would send letters of gratitude to Halbert, writing that the newsletter had helped them make millions and sometimes tens of millions of dollars. Additionally, the newsletter helped some readers save their health and improve their lives, according to Halbert.

The newsletter materials are now available on thegaryhalbertletter.com for free.

Aside from the newsletters and educational material, the website contains the 25 chapters of the Boron Letters.

Below is one of the insights contained in the Boron Letters.

What is a good writer? Well, in my opinion a good writer is one who makes things perfectly clear. He makes it easy for the reader. Easy-to-understand what he is saying, easy to keep reading. And, if you want a treat, if you want to read an entertaining book written with great clarity, then read Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions.”

Excerpt from “The Boron Letters – Chapter 17”.

A copywriter by the name of Richard Dennis analyzed Halbert’s sales letters and found that Halbert had heavily used cliches and idioms, such as “easy as pie” or “Every Tom, Dick, and Harry”. The lack of sophisticated phrases and the use of well-known cliches and idioms may have been a part of Halbert’s simple and digestible style.

Digital marketer Miles Beckler also characterizes the usefulness of Halbert’s letters as follows:

The man had a gift.

And like all people with a great gift, it possibly doubled as a curse (hence him being in prison) but simply reading his prose will make you a better writer.

Understanding how he strings together sentences…

How he uses emotional words and paints word pictures…

How he leverages the power of story to drive his key points home with persuasive excellence.

The Boron Letters are also available as a paperback on Amazon. The letters have been organized and published in printed form by Gary Halbert’s son Bond.

 

Gary Halbert Net Worth

No information on Gary Halbert’s net worth is available online. He was reportedly “raking millions of dollars per year from his advertisements”, but there are no reports available online now to confirm these figures.

 

Conclusion

You may read more of Gary Halbert’s newsletters on thegaryhalbertletter.com. A full list of the Boron Letters is available on Miles Beckler’s website.

Listen to Bond Halbert’s story on The Sales Whisperer’s podcast.

You may watch Halbert’s seminars and video interviews on YouTube as well. Some of them are below:

 

 

 

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