Do you suck at writing? Is your English terrible? (Or is it your 2nd language?)
I’ve written about this a few times.
But I got a new book this past week that made me rethink it. It put things in a new perspective.
It reaffirmed the possibility is ALWAYS there for someone who truly sets their intentions on success. And pursues it with relentless dedication.
Seriously. One decade ago, this guy didn’t know enough English to read this article. He knew words like “book,” “cat,” and “table.” But that was about it.
And yet, last year his copy brought in 100,000 front end customers AND generated more than $80,000,000 in back-end sales. Beating every other copywriter at one of the world’s biggest, most successful direct response businesses.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll get to his story in a moment.
It’s Mailbox Monday! The day I answer YOUR questions…
Which you’ll see in a moment is incredibly relevant to this book I bought.
If you have a question about marketing, copywriting, direct response, internet business building, freelancing, or similar topics, submit it here. I can answer it in an upcoming issue.
Here’s today’s question…
Can a non native speaker Excel in copywriting? I’m an African but from what I have heard, copywriting is for the native speakers.
Yes, you have a HUGE advantage if you are a native speaker…
There’s no bones about it.
— If you speak the language already…
— If you know the idioms and slang, and have a natural dialect…
— If you can talk to your prospect like their friend at the bar, who also happens to be an expert on your topic and market…
(All of which is easier and more natural as a native speaker…)
You have an advantage.
That’s just what Warren Buffett calls “winning the genetic lottery.” The fortune of a lucky birth.
But birth is not destiny…
Can you write like a 7th grader?
Great copywriting DOES NOT require you to write in complex language. It doesn’t require a deep understanding of grammar, or a vast vocabulary. And it doesn’t even require you to be a native tongue.
In fact, many trained writers “over-write” in too-complex language. (Including me!)
When really, copy performs best when it’s written like a 7th-grader would write. When it’s easy enough a 7th-grader would find it very readable.
6th-grade, 5th-grade, or even 4th-grade works, too.
Writing simply is an advantage.
Sure, you will sometimes have to communicate a more complex idea.
But if your understanding of the language is simple, you will be more likely to write in simple language. So it can be read by a wider audience.
And if your core message is good, that’s enough!
So don’t worry about being able to write like a college graduate in the language you want to write in. Instead, focus on conversational fluency. Which, I understand takes a few hundred hours of serious practice — and can be achieved in 12 months, or less.
Advantage: Move to the country where your market lives…
I understand not everybody is ready to pick up and move to another country.
But if you are willing and able to, this will dramatically increase the rate at which you can succeed.
First, there’s the idea of total immersion. If you’re submerged in a culture where you have to use a new language to get by, you’ll usually pick up conversational fluency pretty dang fast.
Second, you’ll be in the culture so it won’t just be book learnin’. It’s really easy for someone outside of a culture to pick up a line from a movie, or from an antiquated textbook, that immediately pegs them as an outsider. Even more so when their language is peppered with these things. Living in a culture makes it more likely that your language will be current and consistent with how people in the culture speak.
Third, if you go to where the jobs are, you’ll also add all the advantages of being immersed in a direct response company. This is an advantage, no matter your language proficiency.
Okay, back to our hero…
Evaldo Albuquerque and The 16-Word Sales Letter…
I got this book in the last couple weeks: Evaldo Albuquerque’s 16-Word Sales Letter: A Proven Method For Writing Multi-Million-Dollar Copy Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. When a book has cover blurbs from Bill Bonner, Mark Ford, and Oren Klaff, I’m going to buy it. Period.
And yes, it’s expensive. More than $35. And underwhelming when you get it, at under 100 pages and with a very big font and lots of white space.
It’s also a very straightforward and direct intro to really effective direct response…
Sharing the formula used to generate 100,000 new customers and $80,000,000 in back-end sales just last year…
From someone who a decade ago could barely name a few common objects in English, and is now THE top copywriter at Agora Financial.
It’s basically a list of questions for you to answer in your copy, in order. In order to move a prospect from completely unaware of your selling message to purchasing your product, in one go.
It doesn’t require a complex understanding of English to implement.
It doesn’t require you to be a native English speaker.
It just requires you to answer the questions for your readers, in your copy, in a readable and interesting way.
Do that, and it doesn’t matter if you didn’t speak English as you entered adulthood — you can still generate positively HUGE results.
(It is worth noting that Evaldo, born and raised in Brazil, did move to the U.S. to work in-house with an Agora division — reinforcing my recommendations above.)
Remember: your #1 job is NOT writing, it’s SELLING…
If you do remember this, perhaps the task of learning copywriting feels less daunting?
Because if you understand sales in any language, translating it becomes the easy thing.
You don’t have to learn to write like a writer, in English.
You just have to figure out the message that will sell — that will persuade — and write it as clearly as possible. (With plenty of opportunity to edit!)
If you have enough language ability to do that, you’re in great shape.
One more quick question that came in from the same person…
“Can one practice email copywriting without doing the segmentation, metric part of email marketing?”
Yes, sure. But you won’t get as good. Because you MUST know how the market responds, and adapt based on that, to get better.
Don’t avoid the hard work. That will be an even bigger barrier to success than language or any other obstacle.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,