Hey there Rainmaker, let’s talk about how to make it rain for YOURSELF!
While I have some pretty high-level entrepreneurs who read my daily emails… Folks at the top of 7-, 8-, and even 9-figure businesses…
I also have a lot of folks on my list who are just now trying to figure things out.
Folks who are maybe making a bit of money as copywriters… Or who have jobs somewhere but really want to do their own thing (on the side or full-time)… Or who, for whatever reason, want to start a new business…
And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about for this Mailbox Monday issue…
In your article about the end of freelance copywriting, you talked about how more and more of the good copywriters you know are starting their own business, instead of working with clients.
That’s something I’ve thought about, but I don’t really know where to start. What would you do today if you were going to go this route?
Amber, this is an excellent question, for a number of reasons… And what you’re going to get in response is a step-by-step template for starting a new online business from scratch!
First off, I love this as a response to that post, because I think ALL copywriters, marketing consultants, and the like should have at least one side business (whether they hope to make it a full-time thing or not)…
Because if you’re not willing to put your own copy, your own time, your own money behind making money and generating business results for yourself — why should any client ever hire you?!
The best copywriters I know have been constantly immersed in side projects and even full-time building businesses in between working with clients.
There’s really no better way to really dig in and understand what it takes to make your advertising work than to actually be involved in every step of the process yourself.
Second, this topic is on my mind a lot right now. In conjunction with the launch of my upcoming book, The Copywriter’s Guide to Getting Paid, I’m actually looking to fleshing out some of my offerings here at Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, to turn it from a daily blog and email to more of a serious business. And you’ll get my best, most up-to-date thinking as I share some behind-the-scenes details on that.
Third, is the admittedly self-serving reason, that a friend of mine, a mentor, and a marketer who I respect tremendously is offering a ton of value around this very topic right now, and this question is an admittedly good excuse to gently plug him even more than I have recently. (I’m following his advice — if I believe in it that much, it only makes sense to share it with you!)
First, the easiest way to ensure your success out of the gate is to find a market based on a challenge or problem…
You’ve heard it before, no doubt, that “people buy cures, not preventions.” This doesn’t apply just to health stuff. It’s far easier to sell someone a new set of tires when they’ve just had a major blowout, than when their tread is getting low. It’s far easier to sell someone weight loss information when they’re unhappy with the number on the scale than when they’re at their ideal weight. It’s far easier to sell a burger to a hungry person than someone who’s leaving an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The easiest-to-succeed-in markets are defined by a common problem or challenge that people face.
One easy way to find these problems or challenges is by using a tool like Google Keyword Planner, free with a free AdWords account.
You type a few keywords into Keyword Planner, and it gives you a ton of information. First, it lets you know how many people search, in an average month, for those keywords. Not only that, it shows the trends — which months are highest, which are lowest (especially important for seasonal markets). And, it shows you a bunch of other keywords that are probably related to the first words you typed in.
If you type a few words into Keyword Planner around a specific topic, you can figure out quickly how many people type in similar keywords into Google, and what specifically it is that they’re typing in.
What you’re looking for here is a market where there are a few thousand people, at minimum, looking for a topic where you could provide valuable solutions to these searchers’ problems. (Either through your own expertise, through research and collection of resources, or through partnering with a subject matter expert to provide solutions.)
Next, you confirm the problem that they’re having, and make sure you really understand the market…
(And by the way, I’m assuming you have NO list and NO audience in place already. If you already have a list of people who follow you around a certain topic, you can start here.)
Here’s where I recommend you follow Ryan Levesque’s Ask Formula. (Here’s the link for your free copy of the Ask book — but before you request it, read more about the $1 offer below.)
You want to follow Ryan’s recommendation for doing a Deep Dive Survey to this audience. You either create ads and a website, and pay for search traffic to take your survey… Or you send the survey to your email list to get their response.
Put simply, you want to ask these people, “What’s your single-biggest challenge about [TOPIC]?”
You’re going to use their answers to really get an understanding of what it is they want, what answers or solutions they’re not finding, and what it is you can provide to them to make what you’re offering completely irresistible.
Ryan’s process goes into a lot more detail, but what you’re going to find if you get 100 survey responses, is that within the people who are willing to tell the most about their situation, they’re going to fall into a few main categories — maybe 3-5.
And if you can really focus on solving the challenges represented by those 3-5 main categories, you have the opportunity to really connect with your target market.
Then, you build a solution to their problems, you develop a way for them to overcome their challenges…
You can do a bunch of competitive research. Find out what others are doing to help the customers in that space overcome their challenges.
And while this system is really built first for published products, it doesn’t have to be.
Going back to a couple of my original examples…
If someone in my local area were searching for replacement tires on Google, I might find in a survey that their biggest challenge is picking which tire is going to last longest on their vehicle. Or which is best for year-round use, based on the local weather. Or whatever. Suddenly I have a topic on which I can engage a number of my target customers, that they’re likely not hearing talked about by my competitors in the space.
Alternately, let’s say I was looking at opening a nice restaurant in town. Maybe I do a survey to people in my area looking for “romantic dinners” and I hear that their challenge is that they want a complete romantic dinner for two for under $80. Or that they want to be confident they’re going to somewhere where the atmosphere is quieter and more intimate. Again, these things can help me shape the offer.
For me, I’ve discovered there are a lot of copywriters out there who’ve bought into this whole “write for money” idea but are floundering. Who want to be a successful copywriter, and enjoy the greater freedom and income potential and lifestyle this type of writing can provide… But who still have trouble getting clients… Who still feel like they’re not consistently writing effective copy… Or who simply are struggling to hold onto motivation and the mindset they know could make them successful. Well, if I’m putting together information for copywriters (and I am), these are really important things to dive into!
I have other surveys going out in other markets that I can serve with information (or other), and it will help significantly to have a clear understanding of their challenges and problems to make sure I’m giving them what they need.
Next, package it up and make a compelling “welcome mat” offer…
You want your customer to spend their first $1 with you. (Or $10, or $7, or… The exact price doesn’t matter as much as making it an easy, low-cost, first-time transaction.)
Bundle up some part of your solution into an easy-to-consume, easy-to-implement solution that at least gets them started toward relieving their problem.
For information, it’s easy. Give them a short, simple solution that gives quick relief for one of their main problems. Charge a few bucks for it. And put them on your email list.
For tires, it may be a free 5-minute tire check. The “cost” of bringing their car in is enough to discourage non-serious folks (a big reason for charging up front).
For a restaurant, maybe it’s a 2-for-1 special, or a free appetizer with meal purchase.
Anything to get them in the door and spending money. (You can offer something free ahead of this later, but if you want to succeed fast you should focus on getting your first dollar from each customer.)
Build the marketing around the messaging you got in your survey responses. Make sure you let customers know you’re answering their biggest questions, solving their biggest challenges. Use specific language from the responses, where necessary, to help them be confident that you get where they’re coming from.
From here, create an upsell offer that builds on the first solution…
This should be a simple next step, that naturally builds on what came before.
And the price should be a jump — but not necessarily a big one. Maybe you go from $5 for the first sale, to $50 for the next.
Your $50 solution should go into an adequately greater level of depth on the solutions, to justify the higher price. It should offer relief from the problems faster, easier, cheaper.
Once someone has bought your “welcome mat” offer, you should implement a follow-up email sequence. It should first and foremost ensure consumption of the first product they bought. If they don’t use the first thing they buy, they’re not as good of a prospect for the second offer.
Then, in the follow-up sequence, you gradually shift to more overtly pitching them on the second product as a natural next step.
The better your follow-up, the more you’ll sell of the higher-level product. Which is important, because this is typically where you start to profit. (That first sale is often made at break-even, or a loss.)
Then, continue to flesh out your product line based on delivering even more value…
There are a few ways to ensure you’re doing this. For one, you want to continue to build products that solve the challenges you discovered through your first survey. Or, you can continue to follow Ryan’s Ask Formula for discovering new challenges your customers are facing, that they didn’t tell you before. (That’s a different kind of survey described in the book.)
The price points and content of these higher-end offers vary by market. For ROI-related offers, the pricing can get quite high. For physical products that have high perceived value (like the backup solar generator one of my clients sells), you can also charge very high prices. Other hobby markets are severely limited in price, but you can make that up in volume.
If possible, you also want to move repeat customers into a subscription model, where they pay you monthly for ongoing service. That’s a topic for another day, but it is a HUGE source of revenue and stability for businesses that make it work.
RE the unanswered questions…
There’s a TON that I haven’t covered here. Many times as much as I did. And I’ve definitely run long. Here are a couple topics with quick tips…
- Technology. Figure it out, or find someone who knows. I recommend Aweber for email (at least getting started, and it scales well). I recommend self-hosted WordPress for websites. Learn AdWords and Facebook advertising (and other PPC). Ryan Levesque’s Survey Funnel Software (see the $1 offer below) is great. You can use PayPal or Stripe for entry-level payment processing.
- Copywriting. “A gifted product is mightier than a gifted pen.” That lesson is from Gary Bencivenga. Following the Ask Formula, surveying your market, and building a product to suit gives you a gifted product, by default. You’re 99% of the way to a passable, if not really good piece of sales copy. Yes, it will help to get better, but don’t wait.
- Getting started. Just do it. Figure it out as you go. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never start, and you’ll never succeed.
Finally, the $1 offer, and Ryan’s free Ask book…
You got an email from me this morning, that Ryan’s offering a $1 trial.
It covers membership in his private Facebook group, where many of the world’s best marketers hang out (even when we “don’t hang out on Facebook”). Also, a ton of advanced training on the Ask Formula, how to use it to build a business from scratch, or make a successful business even more so. And access to his Survey Funnel Software, which was built from the ground up to implement the Ask Formula.
I paid $97 just to get in the front door, but Ryan’s letting me let you in today, for your first 7 days, for just $1.
But wait, you can get the free Ask book at the same time, too.
If you don’t yet have Ryan’s best-selling book Ask, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It lays out, in a ton more detail, how to do what I described above.
This is the exact formula Ryan has used to generate over $100 million in sales for himself and clients.
If you don’t yet have it… Here’s what I want you to do…
— Click the link above, and click the big “Yes, start my $1 trial now” button, but DO NOT CHECK OUT YET.
— Then, click this link to go to the free Ask book page. You’ll have to pay shipping and handling, but it’s still cheaper than you can get it anywhere else.
— Scroll all the way down, and click “Get Your Copy Now” under “Print Copy.”
— This adds the free Ask book to your cart, along with the $1 trial.
— Then, enter your information to get the free Ask book AND the free $1 trial.
For less than $10 (less than $15, international), you’re getting a complete education in Ryan’s survey method. If you’re serious about starting your own business, this is an incredible deal.
Make sure you use that $1 trial to the hilt (go in, watch videos, try the software, interact in the Facebook group) and read your copy of Ask multiple times.
Oh, and when you get into the Facebook group, make a comment that says, “I’m here thanks to Roy Furr.” Make sure Facebook tags me (it should do it automatically). I’ll have a free gift for you!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets
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