Welcome to your very first Mailbox Monday here at Breakthrough Marketing Secrets!
A quick bit of housekeeping, for those who don’t read every email the moment it hits your inbox… Shame on you! 🙂 And for my new subscribers since last Wednesday when I made the big announcement… Welcome!
Here’s what’s I announced last Wednesday. Every Monday (starting today), I’ll go into questions I’ve received from Breakthrough Marketing Secrets readers… And pick one out to answer.
If you want to get YOUR question answered, here’s what you gotta do…
FIRST, you have to send it! Email your best marketing, business, or copywriting question to [email protected].
SECOND, I have to decide that answering the question isn’t just good for you — it’s good for EVERYBODY!
THIRD, I have to fit you in on the schedule! Even after just two months of publishing this… And answering a bunch of questions for readers already… I’ve built up a backlog of questions waiting for me to answer! (And, in the reorg, I found a couple very good questions I haven’t answered yet — SORRY! — and I have you queued up as well.)
So, what are we waiting for — I have a very interesting question for today… With a many-dimensional answer!
And here’s the really cool part… This question came from all the way around the world… From India… Which now, I believe, establishes me as a “World Famous Copywriter.” ( <— That right there is a lesson in making mountains out of mole hills!)
Here’s the email, from reader Vikas Shukla…
Roy, they are AWESOME! Reading your newsletter is like reading the Bencivenga Bullets (Yes, I’ve read all of them).
WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM YOU…
Hi, I’m Vikas Shukla, a newbie in the field of copywriting. I have read Bob Bly’s The Copywriter’s Handbook, and currently going through John Carlton’s Kickass Course. I’ve got my hands on some great copy written by Carlton and Clayton Makepeace. And I’ve copied each of them out by hand.
But I was making a big mistake, that you addressed in your May 29 newsletter. After reading your stuff I have decided to tear each of those copy controls written by legends into shreds once again. But with a different mindset. I’ll ask myself the questions you talked about while copying sales letters by hand.
WHAT I’D LIKE YOU TO COVER IN ONE OF YOUR FUTURE NEWSLETTERS (if possible)
I’m a non-native English speaker, but want to work with the big U.S. direct response companies. I’ve never written a sales letter before. I just don’t know how to pitch my services to the U.S. big boys. I’m thinking of hiring an American mentor in the financial niche (because I’ve been working as a financial journalist for the past four years).
Can you please offer some insight into how American direct response giants like Agora, Stansberry, and others perceive non-native copywriters? And what a non-American can do to get a chance to work with them?
PS: I’m even willing to move to the U.S. if I get an opportunity!
Have a great weekend!
Vikas, I have a LOT of thoughts for you!
I’m just going to go ahead and number them, and dive in.
1. Direct response is the great leveler.
Here’s the thing. In direct response, the reader doesn’t know who wrote the copy. They don’t know where they’re from. What their first or second or fifth language is. ANYTHING besides what you tell them.
YES, I’ve written recently about there being less women than men represented in the highest levels of direct response. Also, less minorities. It’s not because women or minorities are incapable. It’s largely because our entire world is stratified and divided. But it is slowly seeming to be a little less so. Including in our industry. And there is always room for someone to rise to the top.
Here’s the #1 thing you need to know. If you can write to sell, there are many opportunities for you in this business. Yes, you may have a harder time if English is your second language. I worked with a British copywriter once who tried to force American slang, and it just didn’t end up working very well. English was his first language, and he still had challenges between cultures. This is perhaps your biggest challenge — creating a natural, conversational American voice, if writing to an American audience. American copy chiefs and actually living in America could help with that. (But this may not be your only or even best opportunity — see below.)
2. Many people work from many corners of the world.
I know many copywriters who work from many corners of the world, with clients in many other corners of the world. Yes, many of them are expat Americans. But not all.
Because of the internet, global communication networks, and more, place is becoming largely irrelevant. If you’re on the other side of the globe, you may have to make some midnight conference calls…
But again, if you can write to sell, you can live just about anywhere and make it work.
3. You have the right attitude about moving to the U.S. — but maybe you should go one step further.
If you’re super serious about working with a top U.S.-based direct response company, you may need to move here. Many only hire in-house writers. Which would mean a full-time job. From wherever their offices are located. Being ready to move for an opportunity like that is the right attitude.
However, let me encourage you to consider taking it one step further. Find a way to get over here to meet these folks in person. Maybe it’s AWAI Bootcamp. Maybe it’s another opportunity. But if you can meet them in person, it allows a different and deeper connection to form. And it shows them you’re serious about your commitment to getting over here for the right opportunity.
4. Don’t neglect your back yard.
I’ve heard plenty of stories who took direct marketing principles, strategies, and tactics from the U.S. market, and created huge consulting or actual direct response businesses with them… In whatever country they called home.
The U.S. has the most established, sophisticated market. And especially the most experienced teachers of direct marketing. (Though there are plenty of highly-skilled direct marketers and direct marketing teachers in every corner of the globe.)
Don’t think that the only route to being successful in this business is going to work with one of the “major mailers.”
Creating your own direct response business — being a leader in your home country — could be as big or bigger of an opportunity for you. Don’t discount it.
5. You seem like you’re off to a good start, but don’t forget that this can be a long road.
I don’t want to discourage you. Rather, I want to present a reality that will allow you to be encouraged when you face setbacks and slower going than you hoped.
Overnight successes are often years or even decades in the making. The more challenges you have, the more time it can take to get through it all. (Not necessarily — I’d love to see you become a huge success, fast!)
Just know that it will likely take you longer and be harder than you hope to reach your goals in this business. The bad news is you have to stick with it. The good news is, the further you get, the less competition you have — because all the lazy ones have dropped out when the going got tough.
My big picture thoughts…
First, the obstacles you think will hold you back are probably real. But not as important as you probably think at first. And others will be much bigger challenges than you could ever expect.
The key will be to getting through it all. Learning from the negative experiences. And using the positive to fuel you forward.
Start small. You don’t have to go after the big companies first. In fact, that’s probably a bad plan. Find smaller financial publishers, and get practice there. Then use what you learn to succeed with the big ones.
And mostly, remember: learn to sell in writing. That’s the #1 skill that will be expected of you in this business. Learn to do it, you will succeed. Even if it’s not on this exact path, it will be somewhere similar.
These are lessons that can help us all, if we find ways to apply them to our situation!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets