Archive for January, 2018

The only 3 ways to become a better copywriter

January 16th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber GJ writes:

“How do I become a better copywriter? Do you have any suggestions
or tips?”

There are really only 3 ways I know to become a better
copywriter:

1–Write.

Start writing copy. Then keep on writing it.

Do class assignments. Write copy for clients … or your own
products … or both.

The key is to write a lot and never stop, as it takes around
10,000 hours of practice to become really great at copywriting or
any other skill.

2–Read.

With only one exception, every copywriter I know is an avid
reader and eager students of all sorts of subjects.

To become a better copywriter, you need in-depth knowledge of
your industry and market — which you can get in part through
reading.

You also become a better copywriter with a vast storehouse of
knowledge on many different topics, and you never know which will
become grist for the copywriting mill … and again, you get that
largely from reading.

3–Study.

Your studies are twofold.

First, study the craft of copywriting and the discipline of
marketing — through books, courses, seminars, conferences,
articles, and so on.

Second, study the promotions that are working in the marketplace.

Tip: if you see a promotion that is running over and over, study
it most carefully.

Why?

Because it must be working; otherwise, the marketer would not
keep using it.

These 3 tasks are not difficult, which is why I call them easy.

(And by that I only mean that the learning is easy. The
successful “doing” can be very hard.)

They all involve reading and writing, which if you are a writer,
is in all probability fun for you.

But, while you can learn the basics of copywriting fairly
quickly, you can then spend a lifetime honing your skills; I work
on mine every day of the year.

Which is why I did not say becoming a great copywriter is quick.

But it is fun.

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Category: Success, Writing | 3 Comments »

9 reasons to market yourself by writing articles

January 12th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber DK writes:

“How much stock, if any, do you put in the strategy of putting
articles on-line (or elsewhere) for free?”

Answer: a lot.

I wrote my first article for one of the marketing trade
publications when I launched my freelance copywriting business in
1982.

And I’ve been writing articles to promote my copywriting
business, info products, and books continually since then right
up to this day — and I still do it.

Why?

Here are 9 specific ways you can profit by writing and placing
articles for free online and offline:

1–Builds your reputation as an expert in your field.

Writing how-to articles about your area of expertise helps
position you as a leading authority in your subject matter.

2–Makes great sales literature.

Whether in print or PDF, reprints of your published articles make
great sales literature.

I always recommend having one of your articles as part of the
standard information kit on your services or products.

Also, a PDF with 3 to 5 articles can be an effective lead magnet.

3–Pumps up your online bio.

If you have written for major consumer or industry print
magazines, or even top e-newsletters, say so in your bio.

It impresses prospects when you tell them you have been published
in the Harvard Business Review or even Hydrocarbon Processing
magazine.

4–Drives traffic to your site.

Editors typically include a URL or hyperlink to your website in
the short “about the author” paragraph that runs with your
article.

In this regard, publishing in online media can often out-perform
print, because online has a live hyperlink vs. print only offers
a URL that must be manually keyed into a browser.

5–Gets you free advertising (sometimes).

When a print or online publication doesn’t pay for articles, they
may be willing to give you something else instead — such as a
free ad in their magazine or e-newsletter, or a free banner on
their website.

Not all will. Others might agree to it, but only with authors who
specifically ask.

6–Raises your website’s search engine ranking.

Posting a lot of keyword-rich articles and other content on your
website can raise your ranking with Google and other search
engines.

7–Improves your workshops, seminars, and speeches.

Reprints of published articles with your byline make great
handouts at events where you are a speaker.

8–Broadens your knowledge.

Writing articles educates you as much as your readers.

It forces you to organize your thinking, dig deeper into your
topic, and gain a better understanding of your subject and your
audience.

9–Builds your content library.

The articles you have written for publication and now store on
your hard drive are your content “goldmine.”

You can and should continually recycle your articles. No need to
reinvent the wheel every time you write about your topic.

The key to getting maximum ROI from your content is to retain all
rights to everything you write.

Type “first rights only” in the upper left corner on page one of
every article you submit to any outlet. This way you remain in
control of the rights.

If you sign the rights away, you can’t recycle your material for
multiple uses — which dramatically lowers the ROI from your
article writing.

 

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 1 Comment »

How far would you go to close a $29 sale?

January 9th, 2018 by Bob Bly

A few weeks ago, subscriber MP told me she read someone else’s
book on information marketing, followed the advice, and it did
not work.

And then she asked me, “How is your material any different?”

It sounds like a reasonable question, but I refused to answer it,
telling her “I have no interest in convincing you to buy my
material.”

You might think me rude in my reply, but I said it politely.

And there are three reasons why when anyone asks, “Why should I
buy your course instead of Mr. X’s?” I do not take the bait.

First, in most instances, I have not seen the competing product.

So how can I say how mine is different than that one
specifically?

(In MP’s case, I had not read nor even heard of the book she had
read.)

My usual response is to tell the person to read the sales page
describing my course.

That gives you everything you need to make an intelligent
decision about buying the product.

And then, you either buy it or you don’t.

I’m OK either way.

Also, I am not that sympathetic with people who are worried that,
after buying my info product, it won’t meet their needs.

That’s because I offer an unconditional 90-day guarantee of
satisfaction.

So there’s no risk to the buyer of any kind.

If they listen, watch, or read my info product and return it,
they get a prompt refund.

And they keep all the knowledge they gained — for free!

In essence, I am the one who has in a sense been “cheated.”

Because I have moved all the risk off the buyer’s shoulders and
onto mine.

But I don’t mind. That is the cost of doing business.

And if they can’t even pull the trigger on a $29 ebook with a
money-back guarantee and therefore ZERO purchase risk, well …

Then they probably don’t have the cojones do whatever business
the ebook teaches — so they are wise to walk away.

>> Second, there is the question of ROTI — return on time
invested.

Let’s say — although I charge by the project for my services, not
by the hour — it works out that I earn at minimum $250 an hour
working for my clients.

That’s about $4.17 a minute.

So if it takes me 10 minutes on the phone with MP to answer her
questions, I have spent almost $42 of my time to sell a $29
product — a net loss for me of nearly $13.

>> Third, I have no desire to be a “dancing monkey.”

A dancing monkey is a seller who will jump through hoops — and
say and do anything — to get the order.

There are a couple of reasons not to be a dancing monkey.

The first is: it’s a bit degrading and humiliation — comes close
to begging at times.

Second, it risks alienating many potential clients or customers.

That’s because many prospects are turned off by vendors who seem
desperate and in need of the money.

People would rather buy from someone who is busy and successful,
not someone who is needy and hungry.

Also, when it comes to info products, mine are reasonably priced
— many have said my prices are extremely low compared with others
in my markets.

So I have done my bit to help people improve their lives and
businesses at a fair price that doesn’t gouge them or break their
bank account.

And combined with the unconditional 3-month free trial I offer on
every info product I sell, my conscience is clear … and I sleep
well at night.

MP later wrote back saying, “I will buy it.”

Why?

I told her my bio and testimonials, which are on the sales page
of every info product I sell (see for example
www.theinternetmarketingretirementplan.com), should convince her
or not.

“I guess years and clients have proven you are right,” she
replied. And clicked the order button.

Now, there’s a copywriting lesson here, and it is this:

On your web sales pages, put the credibility right up front —
starting on the first screen.

Reason:

If your credentials are way into the copy in a long sales page,
the reader may never scroll that far down and see them — and
therefore, not buy and click away before ever discovering them.

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Category: General | No Comments »

Upsell yourself to bigger profits

January 2nd, 2018 by Bob Bly

When I started my freelance copywriting career in the early
1980s, the most lucrative assignment was writing direct mail
packages to sell magazine subscriptions.

And perhaps the toughest assignment was the “free to paid
conversion” campaign.

This was a direct mail package designed to get people who
formerly received a magazine for free to now pay to subscribe.

Free-to-paid conversion is one kind of upsell, with an upsell
being any marketing that gets a customer who buys a less
expensive (or in this case free) product to buy a more expensive
product.

Now, thanks to the internet, upselling in general is much easier,
faster, and more profitable.

A case in point: Classmates Guestbook.

This is a great website that connects people who went to the same
high school and especially those who were in the same class.

You can look at some of the content and post your profile there
for free to update your classmates on what you are up to.

Then, when a classmate looks at your profile, Classmates
Guestbook notifies you by email.

But, the person’s name and image are blurry.

So you can’t actually see who has checked up on you … unless you
upgrade your Classmates Guestbook status from free to a paid
monthly subscription.

It’s a brilliant upsell, though there have been many smart upsell
programs both pre and post internet.

The classic at Mickey D’s, which has become iconic, is: “Do you
want fries with that?”

In MaryEllen Tribby’s online newsletter, she says this upsell
increased sales of fries at McDonald’s 15%.

And in fact, the fast food chain sells 9 million pounds of fries
worldwide each and every day of the year.[1]

An even more effective upsell was from the copywriter or brand
manager who first wrote these words on a shampoo bottle:

“Rinse. Lather. Repeat.”

This simple consumption doubled the consumer’s usage and purchase
of shampoo for a 100% upsell.

Arm and Hammer baking soda had a similar classic upsell with
their ad campaign extolling consumers to buy a second box of
baking soda to put in your refrigerator for absorbing odors.

For ecommerce businesses, the proven upsell strategy is to serve
the buyer a page with an upsell offer right before or at the
point of checkout.

We recently promoted a $19 ebook; when buyers went to the
shopping cart, they were upsold to an audio course.

The course is regularly $47, but the upsell offers it for only
$28, and about one out of three ebook purchasers takes the upsell
offer.

Opposite of the upsell is another offer that can work: the
downsell.

For instance, decades ago, a company sold a business opportunity
where for a high price you could buy a “business in a box”
selling gold chains, necklaces, and baubles at flea markets, swap
meets, and such.

When someone responded to their ads in business opportunity
magazines but did not buy after getting a series of mailers, the
next mailer offered a scaled-down “start-up” kit for a fraction
of the price of the full business kit.

In restaurants, the downsell to a full racks of ribs is the half
rack.

But that usually bothers me, because although I don’t want to eat
too much, I also don’t like feeling I am getting ripped off —
which is how I feel when a rack is $17.99 and a half-rack is
$14.99.

Once, when we were eating out and the server pointed out this
pricing to me on the menu, I replied, “If the rack is $17.99 and
the half-rack is $14.99, can I get the other half for the
remaining $3?”

The only people less amused than our server were my wife and
kids.

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Category: General, Online Marketing | 2 Comments »