How are you?
You know, I think I’ve been a bit misleading in my last posts. This is not because I’ve lied. Everything I’ve said is 100% true. It’s just that I talked so much about self-image and how to improve your life that I haven’t talked about what I actually do – copywriting and marketing.
That’s my passion, my drive force but I’m not a coach. I don’t run seminars or write books on how to improve yourself. What I do is help entrepreneurs sell online through high quality copywriting services.
But what’s copywriting though?
Well, copywriting is like an umbrella term, you know? It means so many things that it lost any major meaning. A copywriter is a writer who writes articles for $1 per 500 words … or a sales specialist who is paid $20.000 for a single promotion. A copywriter is an editor who makes sure your punctuation is right … or he’s the guy who is going to write your sales script for your phone sales people to use next week.
What I do is sales copywriting.
This means that I don’t write articles … I don’t write SEO content … I don’t edit stuff. I write to sell. I’m an above average writer but excellent sales person and this is how I roll.
If you come to me to hire me, you’d come because you have a product and you want people to buy your product. This means that you may need a long sales letter … or a video sales letter … or a script for a TV infomercial … or a sales script your sales team can use … or even a multi-tiered sales funnel that spans tens of emails and multiple landing pages.
I’m a sales specialist who uses writing as his medium and I am a writer, but you wouldn’t hire me as one.
So, why am I’m a good copywriter?
I’m a good copywriter because I’ve failed at copywriting a lot. You know, twenty – thirty years ago, a young manager went to Mr. Watson, who ran IBM and asked him “Sir, how can I get ahead in this organization?”.
He took a moment, thought about it and said “Double your failure rate son, double your failure rate”.
This is what I’ve done. I write good copy because I’ve wrote a lot of copy. Almost every single day for years I’ve invested myself into refining this skill. Sometimes I wrote spec copy. Other times I was involved in major projects. Other times I was on retainer and I helped others write copy as a trainer. Yet for a short period I even been a copywriting coach who trained beginners into becoming absolute copywriting beasts.
Writing and selling are skills that you learn by doing. I’d lie if I’d say something else. Through feedback and hard work, you start to understand patterns and even if I can’t explain sometimes why I chose A vs B, that decision is based on thousands of iterations of my work.
But what is my copywriting approach then?
Well, I’m happy that you’ve asked.
When it comes to my style, it came from many people. I like John Carlton, I like Clayton Makepeace, I like Dan Kennedy and a dozen other copywriters. I’m not a fan boy, I’m not going to say that one from the list is above others because they’re serving different niches. They’re all masters in their craft.
But what makes me unique is my focus on market research and understanding the customer. To help you fully understand this, let me give you an example.
A few years ago, maybe in 2013 or 2012, I was working on Elance. Then, a gentleman hired me to write a direct mail copy related to hearing aids (can’t give too many details out of respect for his privacy). A direct mail copy is something you send directly in the mail and compared to the online counterpart, it is damn expensive. You don’t hire amateurs or tire kickers when it comes to this because sending it to 10.000 people can cost as much as $20.000. So you hire many copywriters and you spread the risk by finding the best copy you can run or you split test several packages.
In any case …
My first approach was very artistic in nature. I talked about the sounds of the nature, about the singing of the birds, about the crackle of the leaves in the wind. It was so much crap but I was thinking myself as brilliant. It was more of what you’d see on a commercial on TV, with seniors smiling in the park and hearing a bird from two miles away.
I’ve submitted it, I’ve got some feedback that’s not quite good and told to try again. The good part in copywriting is that most customers are decent human beings and not sent from hell and as long as you don’t put up an ego, you can try as many times as you want.
I tried to write something new. It felt the same. One day passed. Two days. Three days. One week. Then in one moment of inspiration I’ve decided to call someone who had in care a senior.
That person explained to me what’s the real problem and what really hurts them. It’s about dignity and security. You see, if you have kids and your father wants to play with them, you want them to be safe. Kids are hardly reliable so you rely on your father to keep them out of harm’s way. But if a senior can’t hear an incoming car … or the scream of the kids … or even go to the store alone … then it is a problem.
So the senior starts feeling like a nuisance for everyone and starts feeling very self-conscious in his own skin. People are annoyed that he talks too loud and they almost have to scream in order for him to hear. Parents don’t allow their kids to play out of safety concerns. They can’t even go to the store on their own and buy a bottle of wine, after 70 – 75 years of life, being treated like kids.
It’s about self-reliance and about a feeling of injustice. No one wants after a long life where he or she has been his or her own boss to be treated like a kid needing care. And that’s how you sell hearing aid, by going directly to the problem they’re having, not the problem you’re assuming they are having.
This is why I call myself a salesman first and a writer second. Good copy is not about how well I write. It is about how well I communicate with my target market and these are two different things! Most beginners don’t understand this but all the pros know that good copywriting is about understanding the person you’re selling to and positioning your product or service exactly as the solution, as the remedy to their pain.
Good copy is not about being clever. It may be about being interesting, for getting attention, but if someone says “well, that’s a nice copy, very interesting” and doesn’t buy, then it is still useless. Copywriting is a very binary thing – it sells or it doesn’t. You can’t judge copy based on how it looks or reads because it is not meant to be used as literature. You can judge it only based on conversion.
It took me many years to understand this. I must have read at least 50 copywriting books to reach a basic conclusion that most sales people know from day one – nothing happens if you don’t make the sale. That my customers don’t judge me for how well I write or how much of a good guy I am or even for my ideas. They judge me only if I can help them make sales.
This is one of the reasons why I both love and hate copywriting. I hate it because when it works, it is a fair game. You can’t really get lucky in copywriting. It sells or it doesn’t. However, sometimes I write something, I get quite attached to it and it hurts to know that I have to give it up for something more practical. This is especially true when I write copy with themes and hooks that are very sophisticated and yet, appeal to too few people to make sense using them.
I’m proud to be a good copywriter. I’m proud to have met so many people in my life through this skill. I don’t know if this is something I’m going to do all my life (as there are limits to what you can achieve through copywriting alone) but at this moment, I’m happy to help ethical entrepreneurs sell products that make the world a better place … and at the same time, sell my own products.
So how can you work with me on a copywriting project? Contact me. Let’s talk and see what this is all about. If you know you have a good product that works, then it will make sense for us to work on this. I’m first interested in you, as a person, second in the product and third in the budget. This is because I’ve learned that I have a lot more to earn by working with people I like, on products I believe in than if I just pursue the money.
It’s hard to explain but one of the great things regarding being a freelance copywriter is the freedom to make choices that make sense to you. Each time I’ve put money first, I’ve ended up in a battle of willpower, doing things I wouldn’t have normally agreed or being tied up in something I’d not be interested in just for the financial part. When I take into account how much motivation and drive that ruined, I know it is not worth it.
That being said, what are my top five advice or tips if you want to write your own copy?
The first one is to research your market very well. You need to know to whom you’re selling a lot more than you need to know what you’re selling. Of course, product research is critical but most products are almost the same nowadays. The real gold is in understanding why people buy that category of products and what pain you can fix. I wouldn’t go as far to say that all products are commodities but generally, you have at least a dozen ways to solve the same problem with very small differences among these ways.
The second one is to believe in your product. I don’t know if your product is ethical or not but I can tell you that if you don’t believe in it, nobody will. This is because a lot of the selling power comes from the transfer of enthusiasm, an intangible metric of your copy that depends simply on your emotional attitude towards the given product. Believe in it and the prospect will believe too.
The third one is to let your subconscious mind do the work. I hate writing copy with my conscious mind. This would mean focusing on everything I do and write. Instead, I research everything I can about my project and then I simply let my subconscious mind “download” the connections onto paper. The conscious mind is just for setting goals, not accomplishing goals. For accomplishing them, use the real tool – the subconscious mind.
The fourth one is to not dismiss ideas easily. You don’t know if a copy will work or not until you test it. Of course in time you can judge patterns but the more rigid you become, the harder it is to write a good promo. Just write and judge later. I’ve seen many “stupid” ideas work very well and I’ve seen many brilliant ideas bomb. The idea you believe that it won’t work may just be the best idea you’ve ever come up with. Let the market be the judge of that, not you.
The fifth one is to just write. Writers write and the more copy you write, the better you get at it. It is far better to write six different sales letters, one day than to write a copy and improve it six times. This is because you’re going to try new avenues and new approaches and you’ll also make new connections. Sometimes you may get a brilliant copy done from the first time but chances are that the more you do something, the better you become.
That’s all for now.
So if you want to work with me, what should you do? Well, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s take it from there. Let’s do this naturally, where I treat you as a human being and not a source of money and you treat me as another human being, not a tool in your business.
Awesome. I’m looking forward to your email.