Do you have the guts and gumption to succeed?
Today, another question from the ol’ mailbox — that’s right, it’s Mailbox Monday!
Before we dive in though, a quick note…
I’ve just added the David Garfinkel Masters of Response Summit interview to the BTMSinsiders members area.
Even though the official “public” launch of The Masters of Response Summit interviews is November 2nd, BTMSinsiders members get early and ongoing access. In fact, in the 11 days leading up to November 2nd, I’ll be publishing each of the 10+1 interviews inside the members area, before anybody else can get get them!
Join there and you’ll get access to all the interviews as they’re released plus all additional BTMSinsiders training.
(If you’re a member, you can go straight to my interview with David here.)
If you want to wait for the public access, you can get a 24-hour access pass on November 2nd here. It’s free!
On to today’s question…
Remember: you can get your questions answered by emailing them to me at [email protected].
Here’s today’s question from my email inbox…
My single-most pressing marketing need right now is getting good at it so I can help my clients make more money.
I’m starting my career as an email marketer and I want to be able to help people consistently. Mainly because I want to be able to say “I helped a client make $X amount.” 🙂
I think it would be a nice selling point that would help me get more and better clients.
I hope this info helps you…
First and foremost — I want to point out something I see that you didn’t ask about…
I LOVE that you’re coming at this from the angle you are.
It’s very easy, in our industry, for people to decide to make up and over-inflate their promises, just to get the buck. (And then, they most often under-deliver and it leads to miserable results for the client and mistrust against copywriters and marketing consultants.)
But that’s not you — at least not from what I’m seeing…
You’re starting from that point of contribution.
Understanding that once you’re consistently getting results for other people, you earn the right to brag a little.
This is a subtle but critical difference.
Most people don’t understand the difference between cockiness and confidence. Most people conflate them — they believe the two traits to be the same thing.
To be cocky is to be conceited. That is, to have “an excessively favorable opinion of one’s abilities.” The key word there? Excessively. More than is justified.
Confidence, on the other hand, is a “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.” Basically knowing that you can do what you say you can do.
Someone who is extremely confident can promise the world. Because they’ve been there, done that. They’ll walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Someone who is cocky? They’re all talk.
And so, Omar, I’ll applaud you for wanting those case studies!
Case studies are an incredible tool for being able to promote yourself and your marketing abilities. Because they aren’t just talk. They are proof that you walk the walk.
That said, back to your original question: how do you get them?
How do you get those first few wins under your belt?
I have to give credit where credit is due: to another Master of Response!
This one, a lesser-known but still highly-capable copywriter…
Who, just so happens to have been presented with a big $10,000 check on stage at AWAI this past Saturday! (Just like I was back in 2010.)
Now, Jake has a very interesting background.
After doing pretty well in direct sales, he discovered copywriting. And he decided he wanted to get good at it.
You have to understand, Jake is one of those people who, once he decides he’s going to get good at something, goes out and does that. It’s an admirable quality. One you should cultivate in yourself.
Jake decided he was going to get good at copywriting.
And specifically, he decided he was going to get good at financial direct response copywriting.
So, he started banging on doors.
He has something like 80,000 sales calls to his name, so this comes natural to him (only because he practiced it until it became so).
He wanted to know how he could get in. And he was willing to do what it would take.
Grumpy old man sidebar:
Too many people today want instant gratification. They want to retire this year. And, you know, make as much money as most doctors.
It’s a titillating promise. But look back at Albert Lasker, the guy who HIRED Claude Hopkins and John E. Kennedy and really birthed modern direct response advertising.
He didn’t start at some top-level job at the Lord & Thomas ad agency.
Albert Lasker wanted to work at Lord & Thomas, but he didn’t have any background to justify the gig.
So he took a job sweeping floors at the agency. Anything to get in.
That’s right: he wanted to work in advertising, so he took a job as a janitor.
Fourteen years later, he owned the freaking company.
The rest, as they say, is history.
End grumpy old man sidebar… Back to how to get your start…
Remember, Jake Hoffberg decided he wanted to get into direct response copywriting.
He was banging on doors, but nobody was letting him in.
Like many copywriter, he started out hoping he could get the long-copy projects with the big royalties.
But they weren’t having it.
Then, someone offered to answer one too many questions.
Jake asked if there was any copy they needed written, that their other copywriters weren’t really excited to get done.
That’s when the floodgates opened.
They wanted copywriters who could write a ton of short copy. Landing pages, advertorials, emails, things like that.
All the copy that’s critical to getting eyeballs on their winning promotions. But that even the original promotion copywriter is often too busy to get done.
If Jake was willing to crank out a bunch of short copy, he could have an in.
He cranked and he cranked!
… And, there was a surprising benefit.
When you’re writing short copy, you have to write a lot of it to make a living. It’s not like you can take a few months to crank out a promo that will pay royalties for a lot longer.
You have to write.
Advertorial after advertorial.
Email after email.
Short-copy landing page after short-copy landing page.
Anything and everything that would get more eyeballs on the main promotions.
And, he wasn’t getting paid royalties. He got paid flat fees for work completed, and that was it.
But, he earned something even more valuable than royalties!
Jake went to the “Copywriting School of Hard Knocks.”
You see, as fast as he wrote copy, it got tested.
And as fast as it got tested, he got data.
He told me that he failed. A lot! At least at first.
The client would throw a few hundred bucks of traffic at his pages, and they wouldn’t do that well.
But occasionally, something would work. Pretty dang well.
And, he paid attention.
He started looking at test results.
He asked himself why one thing worked well, and another failed.
And then he tested his assumptions on his next project, and his next.
He got better, fast…
Because he was getting a TON of feedback, directly from the market, in how well his copy resonated.
And then, he started to really develop methods that worked for him — and for his clients — to get results.
Because he was seeing so much tested, in-the-trenches marketing data, he was getting a deep understanding of how to generate response.
And it informed every piece of copy going forward.
Until suddenly, he started getting more and more opportunities from those same clients.
He was writing the longer copy, and getting the royalties.
Plus writing shorter copy to drive traffic.
It all compounded.
More tests meant more understanding. More understanding led to better copy. Better copy led to more income and opportunities. And more opportunities led to more tests!
So: what’s the secret to getting good at marketing, fast?
Well, if you haven’t guessed it already…
It’s getting as much measurable marketing into the market as fast as you can possibly do so.
I think there are three ways to do this:
— First, you can go to clients and offer to write a lot of copy at the very front of their funnel, asking for a flat fee and making sure they’re willing to let you know how well every piece of copy works to generate a measurable action (even just a click).
— Second, you can get an in-house gig doing the same thing, which has advantages in that it lets you get even more familiar with one group of offers, lets you speak with the people buying the traffic/media, and lets you probably write even more copy, faster.
— Third, you can create a “sandbox side project” where you actually sell your own products or services and are constantly spending your own money testing everything.
All three options are great. The first two lead pretty directly into a copywriting career — which can eventually become full-time or freelance. The third could be used as a case study for consulting and copywriting gigs, but could also just end up becoming your main thing (it’s probably harder, but it’s also better in the long run because it gives you even more depth of experience).
No matter what: embrace the period where you’re a beginner…
If you’re a beginner, you can’t automatically think you’re going to jump ahead by a decade or more in your career.
YES, some people get ahead fast. But it’s more about really embracing the experience and learning opportunity, versus any other factor.
Jump in. Be willing to do the work others aren’t willing to do. Be willing to start at the bottom.
Swallow that pride.
Sweep the freaking floors, if that’s what it takes to get into the opportunity you want.
And use that as the first rung of a ladder you’re going to climb to much higher heights.
Just because I wrote about him today, I’ll add Jake’s interview to Masters of Response on BTMSinsiders tomorrow. Click here to join now and you’ll get access tomorrow.
If you want to wait for 24-hours access when public access goes live on November 2nd, click here.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,