It's Monday -- that means it's time to open up the mailbox and answer YOUR questions!

It’s Monday — that means it’s time to open up the mailbox and answer YOUR questions!

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for me to answer your questions!

Remember as you read this that every Monday I’m hear to answer YOUR questions.

Ask me about marketing.  About business.  About copywriting.  About selling.  About life.  Whatever!

When you ask, I’ll answer — right here in a Mailbox Monday issue!

So: what’s your burning question?

Send it to me at

On to today’s question…  Which is all about getting paid…


Quick question for you. With the growth of social media and multiple points of contact, long-term relationship marketing has become increasingly important.

Both affiliate marketing and sales letters (copywriting) tend to pay based on immediate conversions rather than long-term relationships.

My question is: are copywriting clients recognizing this, and building tracking/attribution/compensation models based on customer long-term value (LTV)?

I was reading an interview (here) that discussed the problem from an affiliate marketing perspective (Declan is a long-time friend, and a very smart marketer.)

I was hoping you could share from a copywriter perspective as well.



First and foremost, I think this is a very relevant question today!

Selling has always benefited when it was done through relationship.  That is, repeated contact, through time, increases the relationship — and as your prospect grows to know, like, and trust you more, they are more likely to buy.

What, then, has changed to make this so relevant?

In short, media cost.  It used to be expensive to contact a customer.  At one point, a long distance call was cheap at ten cents a minute.  Now, it’s effectively free to speak with anyone on any corner of the globe.

What’s more, mass media has grown incredibly cheap as well.  Especially digital media that you control.  It’s effectively free to publish a blog post.  Or to write a social media update.  And especially, to send an email.

The challenge in that is that your competitors, and everyone else your prospect may be interested in buying from in completely unrelated industries, also has access to all that cheap media.

So, as buyers, we are inundated with commercial messages.  Which has increased our desire and ability to filter even really compelling sales messages.  So our buying process has slowed down, and become more research-based (except in our occasional fits of compulsive buying of things that we perceive as highly valuable!).

And that means that even a “hot” buyer can take 3 months, 6 months, 18 months or more to respond to a compelling offer that’s a perfect fit.

I have some thoughts on this, in answer to the question…

Simply by being aware of this trend, you stand to benefit.

First, it’s important to recognize that simply being aware of this WILL impact your marketing behavior.

For example, you can build out campaigns that are designed to sell through time, and bring back browsers often until they turn into buyers.

And so, rather than accepting from a client that they just want you to write a sales letter, you could tell them that you’d be doing them a disservice if you didn’t also create a complete follow-up campaign that keeps bringing buyers back into the fold for months on end, until they buy.  That the way to sell today is through dripping out the sales message, accommodating immediate buyers but also assuming some will take time.

Alternately, you can really focus on campaigns designed to build urgency, and motivate an immediate response.  I’m seeing more and more top direct marketers who’ve decreased emphasis on getting a big control (even though they still go for them and continue to use them when they have them), and instead are doing very time-limited campaigns (think, launches), designed to run for a limited window.  Then, they move on to the next campaign.

And it doesn’t just have to be “launches.”  Retailers have been running short-term sales for about as long as advertising existed — thinking this way is proven to get short-term response.

And although that somewhat addresses the question, I know it’s not a direct answer to the “how to make money on the relationship and not just the immediate sale” question.

But here’s the thing…

Classic direct response companies already understood this.

If you’re working with an ignorant marketer, I still haven’t quite figured out how to solve that.  At least, not on a very short, “this project” timeline.

But assuming you’re working for a sharp marketer, they understand that the value of a customer is in the relationship, and they structure their entire approach to marketing in this way.

One of the best explanations of this comes from the question: “Is the purpose of making a sale to get a customer, or is the purpose of getting a customer to make a sale?”

I know it sounds Yoda-ish.  Or like a Zen Koan.  But it’s actually a very practical question.

If someone believes that you make a sale to get a customer, it means they actually see the advertising expenses of making that first sale as their path to getting a customer who will bring long-term profit.

Which means they’ll often spend well over 100% of the revenue or profits from that first sale in order to acquire that customer.  In fact, I’ve known marketers willing to spend upwards of $250 just to make a $49 sale, because they understood how valuable that new customer would be in the long run.

Alternately, if they believe you get a customer to make a sale, they also believe they have to get their profits from that first sale (and they usually suck at or at least don’t have a system for making the second, and third, and fourth, and so on…).

In this situation, they also won’t spend very much money on getting that customer, and so they don’t make that great of a client anyway.

Now, assuming you have a great client…

No matter where in the process you write from, you can benefit.

If you’re working with a seasoned direct marketer who realizes that a new customer is worth much more in lifetime value than the profits from the first sale, they will really run with any winners you create for bringing in a new customer.

That is, if they set a goal of spending up to $200 to bring $100 in the door (as long as there’s a new customer attached), you’re going to get the royalties and recognition based on the $200 investment, and all the new customers you’re getting for them.

On the back end, they also know how to maximize lifetime value, and because they’ve brought more new customers through the front door, your royalties on additional sales are higher.

And in fact, a marketer like this will have a TON of opportunities to sell more to their customer file, and will keep a good copywriter who gets results busy for a very long time.

The best way to benefit?  The “Million Dollar Copywriter” business model…

A while back, my friend, client, and colleague Brian Kurtz wrote a blog post about “The Next Million Dollar Copywriter.”

In it (and I’m paraphrasing), he basically said the old freelance model of copywriting is on its way out, and the new way to make a million bucks as a copywriter is to partner up with a business and help them with ALL their marketing…  In exchange for a cut of sales or profits.

That is, you help them get new customers.  You help them build the relationship with prospects AND customers through time.  You help them maximize lifetime value through the kinds of sales and launches and time-limited campaigns I mentioned above.  You do all of it!

And because you’re being rewarded based on all of it, the potential winnings are much, much bigger.

Now, considering Brian has worked with the world’s best copywriters, counts many of them as friends, and has hired a ton of copywriters on a freelance basis, maybe he’s worth paying attention to.  Here’s a link to his article again.

Oh yeah, and he wrote the foreword to my book, The Copywriter’s Guide to Getting Paid, where I actually recommended this business model!

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Like This? Get More...

Get daily marketing tips by email... Enter your info below!

Your Privacy is SAFE! We won't sell or share your email.