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Guide to Hiring the Right Copywriter for your Business (Plus how to Spot a Great Copywriter)

An Awesome copywriter can be the difference between a Dynamic advertising strategy and a dud.  A Dynamic copywriter can be the difference between your perfect customer giving you a call or they leave your website after 10 seconds.

hiring the right copywriter
Copywriters don’t look like this, but can be as creative…

How do you know the good copywriters from the greats?

That’s the question.  Let’s look at how you can tell the rookies from the vets, then how to hire the best copywriter and the lowest possible price.

 

HOW YOU CAN PICK OUT A GREAT COPYWRITER:

  1. They Start with a Focus on who your AUDIENCE is:  

If one of the first questions out of a copywriters mouth isn’t “Who is your audience?”, red flags should go off.  You see, great copy isn’t about flashy words, unbelievable offers and hype.  It’s about finding the right message for the right audience.

That is Zen in marketing and copy.  The perfect match between audience and message..it’s where your money is made.

You’ll be able to spot a Ballin’ copywriter because they are hyper-focused on what your target audience needs and wants.

ACTION STEPS: Listen to what a copywriter asks you right away when you are going to hire them.  First questions they should ask you should be in the ballpark of understanding: Your audience, how your audience uses your product/service, why they use your product/service, and all your benefits.  This is the bread and butter of copy right there.

 

2. They Focus on the Benefits and the Experience of the Audience NOT the features:

When you read enchanting copy, you can feel the product, you taste what it’s like, you know EXACTLY what it can do for you.  A bad copywriter focuses on: Specs, what buttons do on the product, what the product is made of.

As humans, we buy based on emotions.

Think of a new Mercedes or BMW car purchase.

You want the car for the status, prestige, the confidence you feel.  But, that’s not WHY you tell yourself it’s OK to buy it.

You focus on the gas mileage, the premium seats, top notch AC, whatever it takes to justify the purchase in your head.

A great copywriter focuses on the emotions: the status, prestige.  The poor copywriter simply focuses on the AC and the gas mileage (worse, price…).

ACTION STEPS: Your copyright candidate should know ALL your benefits (it’s their job to dig it out).  Listen to what they say they can do for you when they pitch you….When they pitch you to be your copywriter, do they focus on BENEFITS or the FEATURES.  It’ll tell you everything right there.

E.g. Copywriter benefits: Increase leads, more customers you love working with, useful content for your customer base.

Copywriter Features: Deliver fast work, no spelling errors, quick communication…etc.  These are good, but if they pitch you with Features, run away!

 

3. The First Line makes you Want to Read the Second One

If a copywriter CANNOT get you to read the second line of their copy, the rest is going to be bad…. Mind-blowing copy boils down to some pretty basic concepts.

Can you get a prospect to keep reading your website, or ad, or landing page.

Have your prospect write a short piece for you (less than 200 words should only be $50-100) and start at the top.  “Does the first line make you want to read?”

Each line should flow to the next.  Ideas should be connecting to form 1 coherent message.

It’s an art.  It’s not easy.  Unfortunately, many small businesses think it’s just “words.”  Words are what sells you products…you need the right words for your audience.

 

ACTION STEPS:  Look at the headlines of your prospective copywriter.  If they can’t write a great headline, it’s a sure sign the rest of the copy will be weak sauce.  READ THIS ARTICLE ON HEADLINES (surprise the copywriter with the wealth of knowledge you have)

 

There are other points to look out for, but these are the main ones.

 

GUIDE TO HIRING THE RIGHT COPYWRITER:

You know now how to spot a great copywriter, but how do you hire one?

 

1) Know the Pricing Structures and Rates: 

With a copywriter, you can pay 3 ways:

  1. By the Hour (most common)
  2. By Project
  3. By Performance

By the Hour:

Paying by the hour is the most common way to pay a copywriter.  I believe this is due to simply tradition.  You hear online, etc. about freelancers working “by the hour.”

Benefits:

-You can pay lower rates

-You can track if the copywriter is getting more efficient

-It puts pressure on the copywriter not to waste time (as psychology is on your side since a broke freelancer doesn’t want to overcharge and lose you as a client.)

Disadvantages:

-You don’t know what you’ll be charged (you think it takes 10 hours, your copywriter takes 20.  Your budget is shot).

-Hourly usually attracts lower quality, less ambitious copywriters.  (see sites like Elance/Upwork, Guru etc.)

I recommend charging per project.  There’s going to be a learning curve as the copywriter learns your business and audience.  Don’t pay for that learning curve.  Also, smart copywriters charge per project (i.e. good copywriters.)

By Project:

Benefits:

-You know exactly how much a project costs (no invoice sticker shock)

-You attract better, smarter copywriters

-You aren’t paying for the learning curve as they learn your business and audience

-Psychologically, a copywriter doesn’t have to worry about time and thus can devote all energy to your work.

Disadvantages:

-Usually a bit more expensive

-Can’t track if a copywriter is getting more efficient (you simply have to judge by how work performs)

Again, I recommend charging per project.

By Performance:

This is a bit more extreme, but there are copywriters out there who do this.  It’s usually packaged as, “Pay us and if you don’t get the results, we’ll refund you.”  This can be both good and bad.

Benefits:

-It’s a “gun to head” tactic for the copywriter. They perform or they don’t eat.

-You don’t have to pay unless you see results. Risk-free for you.

-You’ll get copywriters who want to perform not just earn

-No cash upfront (as you pay when you get sales)

Disadvantages:

-As with all commission-based positions, you will have a lot of turnover (a lot of hiring the right copywriters but it’s tough to sustain)

-Most expensive

-Sometimes ethics can go by the wayside

-Harder to get lots of candidates

This is tricky as it’s a matter of choosing what works for you.  You’ll have a harder time looking for a good volume of copywriters here, but you might find the diamond in the rough.

How Much?

The price you pay a copywriter is going to vary based on many factors: Experience, knowledge of the craft, knowledge of industry, results.  

I’m not going to touch too much on this as it will vary with each copywriter and each project.  Here’s a simple guideline:

Beginner Copywriter:

Expect to pay $10-25 per hour

Per word, expect to pay 0.05-0.20c per word

Intermediate Copywriter:

Expect to pay $30-$80 per hour

Per word, expect to pay 0.25c – 0.50c per word

Expert Copywriter:

Expect to pay $90-$500+ per hour (consulting is also an option that can go much higher)

Per word, expect to pay 0.75c-$2.00+ per word (mega experts have no ceiling)

2) If you have a great copywriter, make sure you refer them business (or keep ’em busy):

Most smaller businesses are not going to need copywriters all the time.  If you can refer your copywriter business from your network.  Freelancing can be a feast or famine business (income can fluctuate big time) . If you don’t keep your copywriter happy and valued, when your copywriter gets work, he will have to turn down your work.

Copywriters are hard to find.  Actually, GREAT copywriters are hard to find.  Hold tight to them.

3) We’re looking to help grow your business with you.

This could also be an attribute of a great copywriter.  We want to work WITH you.  We’re not looking for 1 project, we want to grow your business with multiple projects.

We become “part owners” in your business.  You should have copywriters that take ownership of your business.

The more we care, we better we write.

 

 

DID I MISS ANYTHING? COMMENT BELOW YOUR STORIES OF HIRING THE RIGHT  COPYWRITER AND YOUR TIPS. 

 

How to Become The Master Copywriter in Your Company

master copywriterYou want to become a Master Copywriter for your Company?

First.

You have to love to write. You’ll be writing over and over. You’ll be editing. Clients will look at a piece you spent 5 hours and in 2 minutes will put red lines through it.

You’ll feel like a failure, but that’s what you deal with when you get into the “creative” world. Everyone has an opinion.

As Don Draper says in one of my favorite interactions talking about copywriting and its process, “People think monkeys can do this”

Does Sex Sell?  (youtube)

master copywriter
Don Draper knows how to be a Master Copywriter

When talking about writing copy, “They can’t do what we do, and they hate us for it.”

Point is? You need thick skin because what you do will get changed by everyone from the CFO to the janitor. Be ready to stand behind your work. Writing can be one of the most vulnerable things you do.

How do I become a Master?

Read and learn from the best:

Read: Gary Halbert, John Carlton, David Ogilvy‘s books, Joseph Sugarman‘s book, Bob Bly has a great (long) book on all the tactics of copywriting.

It doesn’t stop there. Keep going.

Reading a book is only 5% of it. Look at ads you see in magazines, newspapers, on TV.  Is what is written interesting and making me want to act?

Open your junk mail (yes all those Time Warner Cable bulk mails sent out) and read their copy.

Typically, it’s horrible. Alot of *flash* and *huzzah* without any substance. The reason for all this?

You see what others are doing and what NOT to do (and what you should be doing).

That’s another 10% (notice we’re only at 15%).

If you don’t absolutely love reading copy others do to learn from it, you’re not going to enjoy this profession. Gary Halbert typically tore out ads he thought were great and kept them in a “Swipe” file. Every time he wrote copy, he pulled them all out for inspiration.

Pick up a Pen

For every new piece of copy, start with a brain dump. Look at the product or service, describe the benefits, what does a customer feel when using it, WHY should they buy it.

A secret?

Write down every reason a customer will say “NO” and then in your writing, subtly, answer those questions.

This is the brain dump process. You aren’t editing. All ideas are “good” at this point.

Next…

Step away. You need time for your brain to organize thoughts. Go read, go walk, go play, go have sex. Anything but thinking about what’s written. It’s called the Incubation period.

What you’ll find is you’ll be taking a shower, walking, having sex, then EUREKA, an idea will hit that will connect different ideas together.

You’ll jump out of shower (or the bed) and go and write some more. Here you are still not editing yourself, but developing your flow.

Write your Headline

This is the most important piece. Have you ever caught yourself flipping through a magazine and realize you’ve skipped most of it?

Sure. Want to know the reason?

Because the headlines didn’t GRAB you. They didn’t reach out of the page and catch your attention to tell your brain “Hey, this is interesting.”

You’ll have this same issue unless you develop a grabbing headline. Here’s 38 headline ideas/templates: Professional copywriter and marketing communications expert.

EDIT

The last step in the process is to edit down everything. Take out words. Replace words with ones that have deeper emotion.

Trim the fat. Read everything out loud and hear how it sounds. Normally, you’ll find the awkward phrases, the weird sounding words etc.

Mastering?

You become a Master when you understand how to do all this over and over and over and perfecting it over and over.

Soon, your writing gets better. Ideas come faster. Your hourly rate goes soaring.

Mastering is simply taking something (much like a shooting movement in basketball) and repeating it until you know how to do it very well.

  1. Mindset. Know you will Fail
  2. Must love writing (and editing)
  3. Read from the greats. Read copy you see all around you (paper mail, company emails, tv and radio ads. etc.)
  4. Start with brain dumps of every idea in your head. Stretch your mind. Soon more ideas will come all the time.
  5. Incubate all the time (looks like you aren’t working, but your brain is. Endure the taunting comments from the non-creatives)
  6. Put Eureka idea in action. Make each sentence compelling enough they want to read the next one.
  7. Create a headline that catches (but doesn’t lie)
  8. Learn to edit yourself (I still struggle with this), but edit edit. It’s tough to read your own writing. Everything sounds like crap at first. As you get better, you’ll feel more confident.

Enjoy it

I Studied A Struggling Pizza Inn Chain’s Emails 4 Months: Avoid these Mistakes & Attract Recurring Customers (Screenshots)

**See Disclaimer. As of this writing, Pizza Inn, Pie Five nor Rave Restaurant are clients. These are the types of ideas I send for free everyday. No “ill will” is being delivered with cheese on top to this company. Paid client work is never publicized in this manner. This is purely for learning purposes. These ideas were sent to these executives months ago with no response.

 

A few months, I was emailing back and forth with an executive at Pizza Inn (website) ( a subsidiary of Rave Restaurant Group and brother to the up-coming Pie Five chain).

 

Randy Gier
Randy Gier, President of the Rave Restaurant Group

I had reached out as I had heard the CEO, Randy Gier speak. Great, excitable, interesting man.

 

[One of my questions to him was if there is a “sibling” rivalry between Pizza Inn and Pie Five since they are both pizza chains. He got a kick out of that.]

 

Pizza Inn has been around for over 50 years and was (at one time) a leading Pizza chain especially in Dallas/Fort Worth.

 

More recently, they’ve seen profit struggles and restaurants closed down. After listening and enjoying Randy’s presentation, I reached out.

 

The executive mentioned they were having trouble with their drip email campaigns.

A drip email campaign is a series of emails sent out periodically that go together and the end result is the subscriber BUYS at the end of it (or even better at the beginning)

 

Being an absolute junkie for pizza, I sprung into action to help. Of course, I would need to SEE the emails. So, I signed up.

Over the next 4 months, Pizza Inn would send their emails, I would digest them (pun intended…) and collected them overtime to see what the “story” is.

 

An email chain should have a “story.” It builds on each other until at the end, your subscriber is pulling up to a Pizza Inn, grabbing a booth, and pulling apart (cheese still melting) a delicious slice. A slice not just for themselves but for the spouse and child they’ve brought. Pizza brings people together.

 

Can you tell I like pizza..

 

What I found with their emails, is there wasn’t a connection. It was a BLAST email, nothing personal about it. Nothing to say “I care about you and your family.”

 

This is what’s missing in many email campaigns and I saw that with Pizza Inn’s emails. I haven’t seen Pie Five’s, but would think it’s similar. Pie Five is a bit more “hip” in how pizza is served, so it’s emails should reflect that.

 

Why You Should Care:

You’re going to get an inside look at how an email could be bettered. You get a backstage pass so you can look at your own emails (and not have to pay a copywriter, like JC Copy, to do this)

Studied for months:

Pizza Inn
                                                    Look at the Subject Lines

I highlight some points in the image, but let’s write them out and go through them:

  • All the email headers look similar: “Hey, WE have a discount.” “Yo, come see ME”, “Wazzup, OUR pizza is good.” These are NOT talking about the customer’s needs, but your own.

 

  • An example of a great subject line might be: “You deserve THIS break, this is for you.” Something that says: “We want to help you, you’re busy.”

First Pizza Inn Email:

Pie Five
Triple Cheezy yumminess…pizza..
  • This is a blatant advertisement. Remember, our email was meant to be “PRIVATE” communications. We’ve allowed brands into them, but to keep them in there, we have to be receiving value.

 

  • This theme might work in an election year (it wasn’t when it was sent”, but that’s about it.

 

  • Idea for an email: “Choose to Give your Friend a Pizza Today. Surprise them. Just tell us who you’d like to surprise.” With this, you give value and you may gain a new customer.

 

  • Their 3x cheese crust is incredible (definitely try it), but you can’t make every email an ad. Just every so often. Try an email that says: “Shh, you like our 3x crust? Ok, here’s how you can make it at home” This is all about the customer.

 

  • Have a contest: “Compete with your friends: Who can finish a 3x cheese first?” Take a video and we’ll put it up on our website to make your friends jealous!

Second Pizza Inn Email:

Pizza Inn Email
Pizza Inn: Are you spooking your customers away?!
  • (This was a Halloween email)Everyone is competing on major holidays and weekends: Try going after weekdays. Be in Mom’s inbox on Wednesday night: “Rough soccer practice? Skip cooking, grab a pizza. Take the family time to hear your kids and they can hear you.”

 

  • Throw in some nostalgia and credibility: “We’re one of the original pizzerias in Dallas. Want to taste how pizza did in the 50’s?”

Third Pizza Inn Email:

Pizza Innthusiasts
Pizza Inthusiasts is pretty clever my Inn-ions
  • Coupons are great (at times). Many forget to bring them into a restaurant, what can you offer instead? If they like your Facebook page, they get $5 off. Or follow on Twitter.

 

  • Use descriptive copywriting, make their mouth water. “Our pizza has been around longer than Papa John’s and Domino’s. We don’t stretch ourselves thin by cutting corners. Instead, you get warm, buttered dough with melted mozzarella perfectly blended in with fresh spiced tomato sauce. The tomatoes are a gorgeous red when picked, and pressed into our signature sauce.”

 

  • Create content your target audience is waiting to see. Maybe just a nice note about something, thanking them for being long-time customers. It goes a long way.

 

Do you see what you can do with emails. You can transform them from something “so-so” and turn them into a “Yes, I want to read that.” Where they are nodding their heads and saying “I’m glad I read that.”

 

Don’t tiptoe and shout in my mailbox, provide value!

 

Do you want ideas like this sent to you for Free? Your marketing can be changed overnight. Hit the button!

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Marketing Lesson 101: Getting Haters for Success (and how the Donald Trump 2016 campaign is using this to win the nomination)

NOTE: This is a non-biased article from someone who doesn’t know who they are voting for. Simply popcorning- it-up for the marketing lessons from this Presidential race. Election 2016. Focus: Donald Trump 2016.

 

Donald Trump 2016
He’s coming…

If you’re reading this in the future, here’s what’s going on in early 2016 for the hunt for the US Presidency, it’s a slug-fest.  We are seeing something being played out in politics that’s fit for the Marketing Hall of Fame.  Donald Trump, the famed real-estate investor, Apprentice “You’re Fired” guy, is running the ship for the Republican party.

 

Picking up the paper over your morning coffee (or more like browsing through your phone), you’d think the Whole World hates the crap out of him (even Republicans).  All you see are smear campaigns and articles about “How America is Over if Trump is Elected.”

 

Donald must be feeling the heat…..

 

donald trump 2016
He turned Michael Caine into himself!

Ha, are you kidding, he’s committing the best Marketing Caper we’ve seen even the Muppets would be impressed.

The Left and the loud voices on the Right think hammering out articles and ads about how terrible Trump would be as President, posting them on Facebook, whining on Twitter about it, would suddenly change the votes and the polls (as of Feb 2016, Trump has a commanding 20% lead over 2nd place).

 

They don’t understand a very powerful piece of marketing…… The Power of Conflict.

 

“You Aren’t a Success Until Ya Got Some Haters” – unknown

 

You will find this principle at play in not just politics, but in entertainment, sports, religion, and beyond.  What it means is the more controversial you are, the more attention you garner.  You can then turn that attention into success and wealth.

 

Notice, I didn’t say JUST getting attention means you’re a success, it’s knowing what to do with it.

 

johnny manziel
The fire’s out now, Johnny…

Johnny Manziel got the most 2nd + 3rd string attention than any quarterback ever (calm down Tebow fans, it’s a close race…ok?), he was in the news all the time (notice I put “was” as I predict his career will be short-lived), even though it was negative attention, he could’ve spun that into success:

 

Done “secret” charity work, let cameras “catch” him on the practice field at 3am in the morning, buy his lineman TVs after 1 of his (rare) good games (for press).

All of this wouldn’t have necessarily spiraled into him winning Super Bowls, but definitely more Sponsorships + More Credibility to perhaps get into Coaching or as a TV analyst right away. (See Tebow, happy fans?)

 

Instead, he squandered the attention and money on booze. And people still gave him controversial attention..

 

There’s still time Johnny!

 

How Donald Trump uses Controversy to Kill at the Polls:

 

The Donald is doing the exact same thing.  He’s Saying what he wants, He’s Doing what he wants and everyone’s up in arms about it.

 

We are prideful humans.  We believe what we want to believe. If we “commit” to something, unless given an incredible reason, we stick to our inner reasoning.  The more the press and Facebook shouts:

If you Vote for Trump, you’re what’s wrong with America.”

 

WRONG WAY TO HANDLE THE TRUMP. You’re not convincing those supporters to change their mind.  All you’re doing is making them dig in even more.  They just get madder, and they tell their friends who are on the fence to vote for Donald Trump 2016. The snowball rolls down the hill.

 

An article comes out calling “X State is going to hell for letting Trump win.” Wow, that’s really going to change some minds from “X” state.  What do you think it does?

 

It just makes “X” state say “You know what…….To Hell we Go! Everyone vote Trump, they can’t bully us!

 

Our 1 year old is learning the word “NO.” Yes, the dreaded word to: ‘Don’t put your hand in that socket’, ‘Stop throwing your food to the dog,’ ‘Do not poke out the dog’s eyes!’

 

The more she is loudly told “No” , the more she wants to do it.

If you berate your teen in front of her friends, she’s more likely to go out and do something worse next time just to show you up!

The more you berate Trump supporters, the more they will spread the word about it.

You’re essentially giving Trump a lead in the polls for FREE.  Jeb Bush dropped out after spending $130M on his campaign, Trump doesn’t even have to spend a $1 on marketing if he doesn’t want to.

All that negative press is really stopping him…..It’s helping him!!

You’re doing it for him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Stop the Donald Trump 2016 Bus (for Non-Trump fans)

 

Pretty straightforward…..STOP posting the smear campaigns.  It may be too late, but pick a candidate and promote that one instead.

 

Better yet, try and cause a stir with that candidate instead.  Hilary Clinton shouldn’t be relieved the e-mail breach went away. She was the #1 focus in the land with that going on.  Bernie Sanders then garnered attention as many claimed he was “Socialist” and he embraced it causing his controversial status to go up.

 

Key point: Stop trying to smear campaign him, instead put up your candidate and prop him/her up rather than attack those who vote for Trump.

 

Use the Pendulum Theory:

With a Pendulum, the only way to get the ball to your side “Success” is first moving towards failure.  You need the momentum to swing towards “Success.” If you simply try and push the pendulum towards “Success” it will move slightly then swing harder back towards failure.

 

Instead, to get the most momentum right away towards success, you must first move towards failure.

How do you do that?

 

Admit Trump is the head in the polls and many Republicans think he’d do a good job. You’re talking to your friends on Facebook, instead of saying “You’re so dumb for supporting Trump, he’s going to ruin the country.”

 

(That’s not going to change their minds, rather be used as fuel for them to further promote Trump.)

 

Instead, you say “Boy, Trump is doing a great job in the polls, a lot of Republicans really like him, right? Let me ask you, could you ever see a reason to think about voting for Cruz or Rubio rather than Trump?”

 

A reasonable person will think it over and give you reasons. A hard-core, non-reasonable person would say, “No, they all suck, Trump for life.” The latter is someone you won’t change their mind. But you also don’t want them going around rallying the troops. Drop politics talk with them.

 

The former is someone you can have a dialogue with and figure out, “Hey, Trump supporters don’t like THIS about him , perhaps this is a a great point my candidate addresses. Then you talk about that.

 

Proof that Controversy works for Marketing:

 

Kanye West:

Many can’t argue Kanye has a major voice in music, he’s unofficially known as Mr. Controversy in the music business.  From going after Taylor Swift, swooping in and marrying into the Kardashian family, to recently tweeting about being $53M in personal debt, he knows how to keep the spotlight on him.

 

He got the most Venom when in ’09 with the Taylor Swift VMA stunt.  He was shunned by haters, Lady Gaga canceled a joint tour with him.  But look at something interesting.  Look at his net worth since ’09:

 

Kanye West Net Worth Timeline 2

Now, of course this isn’t all related to that 1 stunt (everyone can find stats to back themselves up!), but it IS when he you started seeing more and more of him in tabloids, news covers and the like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s look at Taylor Swift

 

She’s been the center of attention since then as well.
Tabloids monitor every boy she ever speaks a word to, and whether she likes it or not, all it does is rally T-Swifters around their gal.

 

taylor swift net worth over time

 

 

 

 

Heck, I love Tay Tay and don’t understand why they won’t leave her alone! So I bought floor seats the last time she was in Dallas, Go T!

For any other entertainers, those that hate only make them stronger: CC: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, One Direction…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dallas Cowboys:

Arguably, the most controversial team in football is the Cowboys.  Why? Because they’re called “America’s Team” yet most, outside the state of Texas and random pockets around the U.S., absolutely hate them and hate they have that name.  The second most hated team could arguably be the New England Patriots.  Guess who are the 2 most valuable franchises in the NFL?

 

You got it!

 

 

The Cowboys are worth $4 BILLION.  Yet they haven’t been to a Super Bowl in 20 years! They’ve only reached 10+ wins in 6 of the last 20 seasons.  Any other team and they are down to the $1 Billion mark.

 

But what keeps it controversial? Good Ol’ Uncle Jerry. Jerry’s World reigns supreme!  He is the center of attention after each game (usually a loss), pursues and keeps controversial players, as well be the Voice of the Team.

 

For non-football fans, typically the Owner is “mostly” a silent manager who simply watches the game and throws in input every now and again (while counting their money). Not Jerry. He lives for the spotlight and it makes him a mega-controversial figure in the NFL arena.

 

He’s gotten paid for it. Why? Because Cowboys fan love the attention even more, and will go and overspend for tickets and memorabilia, just for the notoriety.

 

 

Past Presidential Elections:

 

Look at the last 3 Elections and check the winners and who they contended with.  Normally, the most controversial one, the one everyone talked about is the one who wins (whether you think they were the better candidate or not.

 

George Bush: Controversial candidate after 09/11 plus Operation Iraqi Freedom in ’03.

And John Kerry WASN’T a compelling enough figure to overthrow Bush.

Barack Obama: Controversial as first African American President. John McCain, not memorable (only controversy was having Sarah Palin, but that wasn’t enough although she had a strong support group)

Barack Obama (2012) : Even with lackluster performances in 1st term, Mitt Romney just didn’t have enough controversy to stir up the presses as, even though the “polls” had him leading on election day, he was dismantled by over 125+ electoral votes.  Bain Capital just wasn’t enough of a “controversial” point to garner enough attention, nor do the average Americans understand private equity firms.

 

Presidential Election 2016:

Hilary Clinton has an edge in the controversial polls simply by having a decent shot at being the first woman President in history.

Presidential election 2016
Not controversial enough..

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio aren’t “Exciting.” They want to be clean-cut, what they need is find a way to get press about themselves and NOT by slamming Trump. Instead, slam each other, forget Trump even exists.

 

Why Would This Strategy Work for you Donald Trump 2016 haters?

This is the information age.  We are persuaded more now than ever by what we read.  We read of how unsafe we are everyday because of the news.

In reality, we are living in one of the most peaceful times in history.  But, we have to watch something. We have to read that sad article. You can Google any tragic event and find a zillion sad articles about it.

The main point is: With so much information out there, if we have no opinion, we are more likely to believe the first one we hear.  The more you hear something, the more likely you are to accept it as fact.

So, bash on each other, make Americans think Cruz and Rubio are the new relevant ones and Americans will accept it.  They’ll see more talk about Cruz and Rubio and think “Wow, one of them must be right.” They will then slowly stop watching the Donald Trump 2016 parade.

As much as you want to pour facts into the average brain of an American citizen, you have to play the copywriting. Play the psychology game.

It’s like a magician. Distract them with 1 hand and they won’t realize what your other hand is doing!

AGAIN: This is written by an un-decided voter.  Simply written for the marketing prowess on display by the Trump 2016 campaign.

Direct Mail that Sells more for your Company

direct mail
Oh, how times have changed

When I open my mailbox (physical..not email) I pull out the pile. Usually Tues or Wed is “Ad” day, as my neighbor Betty called it.

“Ad” day is essentially the coupon magazines from the local grocery stores and the “Ad Pages” magazine. Then, as most Americans, I either pile the mail up in the designated “mail” spot in the house (my wife does NOT approve of this evolving area) or we sort the mail over the trash can.

The famous copywriter Gary Halbert said “Most Americans sort their mail over the trash can. They put the A pile on the counter to open and the B pile is trashed without opening.”

What gets trashed?

Perhaps those crummy newspaper-style ads announcing the grocery specials, or the blatant pitches from the likes of DirecTV, SiriusXM and the like.

My favorite: The mail addressed to: “Valued Customer.” (Yes, I feel valued…you don’t even know my name…)

Why do we sort like this?

Because the retailers are doing 1 thing with direct mail…SHOUTING AT US! “BUY OUR $&#%.”
Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work well anymore. Just like cold-calling…

Why?

Because we’re in the information age. Technology’s growing so we always want more INFORMATION. You can thank Google and Facebook and others for this. It’s addicting to get more and more information. That’s why you check FB 100x a day.

                                           HERE’S WHAT WORKS FOR DIRECT MAIL:

 

– Educate your customer. Not on the benefits. On WHY it makes their life easier and better.
– Answer the question going on in their head.

EXAMPLE: JCPenney is struggling now. They’re a staple of the American store dating pre-WWI.

What are people (MOMS) thinking about Sept-ish…Christmas presents!
“What do I get my children.”

Parents HATE the process of trying to figure out what their 13-year old wants (outside of video games)

Why doesn’t JCPenney send out a mailer : “Already stressing about what your kids want for Christmas? We’ll make it easy for you. ….”

direct mail
The TRUTH

They then build sites for : BOYS 3-10, GIRLS 3-10 etc. They direct Moms to these sites. When they are there, they can save what they want. GUESS WHO THEY WILL END UP BUYING IT FROM??

Yes, JCPenney…

Why?

Because JCPenney took the time and HELPED the Moms…NOT “Buy our $%&*”
We trust the companies who help us (Amazon ships our stuff to us ASAP and for free plus their customer service is incredible. Case and point.)  Direct mail can work for your company.

Of course, this is just an idea off the top of my head (my wife is already asking what I want for Christmas…hint hint).

Direct Mail is not dead. It’s just done as if it’s 1990. More companies are moving away from it. Now’s the chance to strike again.  Improve your copy i.e. what your customer wants, and you’ll see results right away.

An OBVIOUS Buying Sign your Customer/Reader shows you (Close more Sales just Knowing this Sign)

close more sales
They are SHOWING you they want to buy

I was at Dick’s on Saturday (my wife was hosting a lady’s brunch). My 6 month old was napping in her stroller, so I quietly rolled her over to the golf section to practice my putting.

Before I made it to the play-green, on the display there was an odd, black contraption.

The “tool” was for practicing your takeaway up to the top of your swing. (The takeaway, for the non-golfers, is the time-frame when a golfer has the club set, before the swing, up to when he has it behind his head).

This tool (pic below) was designed to keep your hands in the right place and if they aren’t, you see a yellow stripe.

Dick's sporting
I was holding this for almost 10 minutes! Close!

The salesman on the floor was hanging out behind the counter (playing on his phone, whatever). He makes a comment from his seat, “You’re not supposed to see the yellow stripes.”

Laughing, while playing with this toy, I then proceed to tell him some troubles I’ve been having with my swing (bad hook right now).

The salesman nods his head then goes back to what he was doing!

He had a customer with their hands on a product that could help their swing and you tell me WHAT the product does!

I was already holding the thing for 5 minutes before he made a comment!

I don’t care WHAT it does!

Tell me WHY I should buy it.

If all he said was, “If you can get your hands in the right place so you won’t see the yellow, your hook would be cured in no time.”

That’s all and I would’ve bought it!

Instead, I put it back down and went and practiced my putting…

He lost an EASY sale. Are you making this mistake?

Hint: If you see a customer with their paws all over the product and testing it out, THEY ARE A SHORT TRIP TO BUYING.  Close more sales by looking at who is already holding your product and playing with it. They are interested.

He didn’t even need to qualify me, I qualified myself.

Just tell me WHY I should by it so my logical brain would justify spending my hard-earned money.

My friend has a buddy who sells more TVs in their shop than anyone. What’s his secret to close more sales?

HE TARGETS PROSPECTS WHO ACTUALLY PUT THEIR HANDS ON THE TVS AND MESS WITH THE SETTINGS AND CHANNELS. They are the buyers.

At least get the low-hanging fruit first instead of trying to climb the tree and pass the other fruit on lower branches. It’s all fruit!

Get the Most Traffic to your Content – How to Write Headlines that Attract Prospects

Headlines
Everyone will be reading your content

Your headline (whether you know or like it) is THE most important piece to your content you produce for yourself or for your clients for driving traffic.

It’s proven we skim over headlines until we find one that sucks you in.  Look at the Upworthy or Buzzfeed.

They write some damn catchy headlines.  Suddenly, you care about what Justin Bieber did over the weekend.  You feel ashamed, but it’s because they did something with their headline that sucked you in.

Writing a great headline is a dangerous weapon…use it well.

But also smart.

If you write great headlines with horrible content, your SEO will take a MAJOR hit.  How does Google know?

Usually, by your bounce rate and time on the site.  If they find your content and are on the site for 5 seconds and thousands of people do this, then Google says:

Damn, that headline is catchy, but the content is crummy. Flag it!

Let’s repeat:

Awesome Sauce Headline Attract Traffic, but Awesome Sauce Content Keeps them Interested.  Raise your Traffic and SEO with Sweet Headlines + Catchy Content.

Let’s dig in:

5 Templates that Produce the Best Headlines:

1) How-To ________: By far, the best headline that you can never go wrong with: How to do something.  As humans, we are naturally curious and want to discover.

We don’t like being told what to do, we like to discover. 

A How-to article captures that.  With your piece of content, pull out the main benefits of that piece.  If a plumber has a 500 word post on the correct way to plunge your toilet.

 “How to Plunge your Toilet Properly and Quickly (before your Date wonders where you went)”.

Easy, provides a benefit, and even people who don’t have a clogged toilet will be interested as they’ve been in that situation.

2) The Curiosity Play: You’ll see this most often on Buzzfeed.  You aren’t necessarily receiving valuable know-how, but perhaps something that would be good to show off to friends later.

“A Bear attacked a campsite today, you won’t believe what a little baby did to make the bear run away scared.  (He saved Everyone).

You’re not going to pull any special knowledge from a post like this, but you just GOTTA know what the baby did!  Make sure it is worthwhile and use this tool for only great ploys or else you become the ‘Boy who Cried Wolf’ and no one will believe your headlines.

3) Help the Reader Achieve a Goal: You’ve seen the ads: Lose 25 lbs in 25 minutes!

Everyone has goals in the conscious and subconscious mind they hope to hit (someday).  We are always looking for shortcuts, unfortunately, and thus when someone is overweight and they see the above headline, they go for it.

Even if it feels impossible. There’s hope that springs eternal.

You provide that hope.  What does your piece of content provide that may help someone achieve a goal?

For a roofer:

“Your house will sell for 30% more if you make these changes to your roof.”

Not a great headline for apartment dwellers or non-homeowners, but someone like me, who does own a home, I OF COURSE want to know how to make my house more valuable so I get more when I sell it.  (Your house is a money pit anywhere, right?…Another time…)

4) Ask a Question going on in a Customer’s Mind: There are some headlines (like 1 + 2 above) that could seemingly not be targeted to a certain group, but this one requires a bit more psychology to pull off.

Think about any of your customers. Think about the questions you get on a daily basis or the worries of your customers and craft a headline based on that.

For a small business owner who uses Quickbooks:

“What did Jim from TX do to cut his time using Quickbooks by 50% this year and now his CPA loves him? (Hint: He didn’t hire a bookkeeper)”

This is a mix of a couple of the 5 Bullets here.  You put in the question and add a touch of curiosity.  For someone who doesn’t use Quickbooks, you may not care, but a productivity expert might be interested.  A small business owner using Quickbooks (even better, HATES spending Sunday’s doing the bookkeeping) would jump on this article.

Grade this headline from the blog

5) Let the Reader “Discover” a New Concept or Idea: Look back to point #1.  As humans, we like to generally figure things out ourselves and not have to be told something (guys asking for directions).  In your headline, highlight what the reader will know AT THE END of the content piece.  It’s a hybrid of “how-to” and more a “fun surprise.”

Discover the Secrets 10 Millionaires used to make their First Million.

Usually, you are providing some sort of informational facts or figures (or a topical event if it’s more a gossip site).

Grade this headline from the blog.

What do pretty much all these headlines have in common?

They involve opening up a “curiosity” in the reader’s mind.  We don’t like NOT knowing what is going to happen or what is something.  Again, even if it’s a dumb fact about Justin Bieber, we HAVE to know.

You simply need to make them feel the NEED to have to know the answer.

Just 5 minutes ago, my wife and I were talking about books and we both used to feel : If we open up a book and read, we have to finish the book.

However, we realized….Life’s too short to do that, just put the book down and find another one. But my wife, Sam, made an interesting comment.  It relates to what we’re talking about: Opening up a curiosity element.

“If it’s a mystery, I have to turn to end and see whodunit.”

The Curiosity Element at play!!

Go out and do the same!

The #1 Skill They Fail to Teach You in School

Decision
How the hell am I supposed to read the labels…

Stumbling out of school, you look over your shoulder, as if in a movie, and see mirages of your education career.

The late night cramming, the late night parties, sleeping in the back of the class, staring at a test paper hoping you sat down in the wrong class because you understand zilch of what’s on the paper.

Mostly, you finish with a collection of facts, great friends, and a diploma. Let’s think about it, do leaders thrive with their “collection of facts.”

Of course not.

Leaders have something that followers don’t…the Power of Decision.

Power of Decision

Leaders know how to make decisions. We’re a people that get overwhelmed with too many decisions.

Sheena Iyengar has a famous experiment on choices, an experiment on “analysis paralysis.”

Sheena and her assistants set up a booth in various grocery stores. First they set up a collection of 24 jams for customers to browse, taste and perhaps buy. Then, every couple hours, they removed 18 of the jams and left just 6 for customers to enjoy.

They found something interesting, the table with 24 jams drew about 60% of potential customers while the 6 jam set-up attracted around 40%. Makes sense right?

That’s the obvious point, the interesting result they found, however, was about 30% of customers who visited the table of 6 jams actually bought a jam while only 3% from the larger selection. A wimpy 3%!

Ever walked into the wine section of a grocery store. I like to go and pretend I know what I’m looking for, but most of the time singing “Eeney meeney miney moe”. No one knows what’s going on, there must be hundreds to thousands of bottles you’re supposed to pick out a winner for the romantic night with the wifey.

Leaders prepare themselves for these situations and know how to make decisions quickly without freezing.

Types of Decisions we Learn in School

While in school you are faced with many different choices, moral and mature. What we have is a peer group to base our decisions off.

“Oh, the whole floor is going for a late-night Taco Bell run? Well, I guess that’s what I should do as well.”

Nothing wrong with some TB, there’s always time for a Crunchwrap, but you made a decision based off the behavior of others.

This “influence” is called the power of “social proof.” In a nutshell, usually subconsciously, we base decisions off the actions of the group.

The schoolyard is where you build your character, personality, and also where you set the foundation for the type of person you will be in the future.

Due to social proof, many students lose their ability to make a decision for themselves. Like zombies, they will follow the decisions and actions of their peers.

Become a Decision-Maker

If you got wrapped into this culture, don’t worry, most will to an extent, myself included. The key is how we will respond to this “negative” influence.

Formulate a Unique Brand: Your distinct brand automatically puts you into your own class.
Think about that clique in school. You wouldn’t even think of them as different people just 1 group.

If that’s the case, the members of that clique will become more warped into the social proof umbrella instead of making their own decisions.

Take charge of something: This is a skill that needs more teaching in school. Everyone isn’t going to become President, but each student should be able to take on a project and make decisions to complete the project.

You don’t need to be best at picking the “best” decisions, just having the ability and having the confidence to put yourself out there and make a decision.

Figure out when Social Proof is in play: Here’s a great talent to have. Learn to recognize when you’re being influenced by social proof.

Use your gut, is the choice you’re going to make actually what you want, or are you flocking to what everyone else is doing?

When you have a purpose, your gut will tell you which way to go. You will always have the naysayers who oppose you, but ultimately make your own decision.

Have you caught yourself falling for Social Proof decision making? What leaders with great decision prowess do you admire?

Photo: Credits to Mr_Wahlee

‘Choose Yourself’ Grow Your Idea Muscles with James Altucher’s Book

james altucher
Who do you choose?

I was reading James Altucher’s new book, Choose Yourself! (definitely worth checking out) and I got so into the book that once I finished I turned the book back over and started again. Make sure to check out his site as well.

Altucher touches on many of his failures with brutal honesty sharing on multiple occasions where he lost millions after a successful company and ended up broke. Most people will never have a $1 million bucks in their account all at once, but Altucher on many millions and went bankrupt.

That’s not the lesson that stood out, it’s how he was able to bounce back using his “Daily Practice.” I’m not going to go through all of it, you’ll need to check that out yourself but he had 2 major themes which alone provides humongous value to your career path and personal brand.

Idea Machine

What is an idea machine? It’s being someone who’s mind is always racing with ideas to solve problems, help others, or even start something new. We each have an “idea muscle” that needs to do some lifting on occasion. Every muscle needs exercise to perform at it’s peak, and Altucher credits his idea muscle from bringing him back from bankruptcy and failure many times over.

How do you exercise your idea muscle? You force yourself to come up with new ideas, however lame they may be, and write them down.

I was inspired after this and started a new note on my Evernote page simply called “Idea Dump.” One day I may open that vault, but not today 😀

In just a short period of time, I already had thought of a problem I felt needed solving and a business that could spin off from it. I’m in the testing phase of the idea and will write a post after the test to pursue it / not pursue it.

A point he makes is every idea must have a material next step you could take. Thus, you can’t put “Time travel” because no one has any idea to make that happy. Maybe you do know how, if that’s the case, let me in on it so I can go back to middle school and never wear headgear!!!

Altucher says to write 10 ideas a day, no matter how dumb they are. I’ve started with just a couple a day and will go from there, but soon he promises that you will become a machine at constructing new ideas. If you want to get ahead in your career, be the go-to for ideas on problem-solving and bettering the company. Those are the wealthy people.

Richard Branson is notorious for trying many different ideas, some stuck, others didn’t, but he built up that muscle and so can you.

Give, Give, GIVE to your Network

This has always been a tough one for me. I’m always worried I have nothing to offer to my connections, especially those with more experience, more successful etc.

But he provided an idea I hadn’t thought. It’s funny how simple this IDEA is.

It’s give new IDEAS to your network. Where can you provide ideas to improve their business, interests whatever. James reached out to top players and didn’t ask for anything. He simply said “Here’s some ideas for new posts you could do or here’s some code you could use to improve your business.”

That was it. Immediate value to your network.

You’re not even asking for anything, just providing instant value. This is something anyone can do, it doesn’t have to be an idea, it could be an actual product whatever. The main idea is to provide value without asking for anything.

It’s so simple. I’ve already e-mailed connections I’m hoping to grow and offered this book for them to read because I know they’d enjoy it. Provided instant value. I’m going to send you this book for free without expecting anything, done just to provide value.

My idea muscle is still hitting the gym, but once it’s ready for big-time, I hope to provide my ideas to connections I want to cultivate.

Networks are built on value.

Valuable Interviews/Talks with James Altucher

One of my favorite things to do is show you great places to find further awesome valuable content to sink your teeth into.

  • Excellent talk on Social Triggers by James giving a talk on how he’s provided value and grown in his career. His dry sense of humor is worth the watch, it’s hilarious!
  • I’ve mentioned this interview before, but Srini’s interview with James is probably one of my most favorite ever and ever. It’s where I was first introduced to Altucher, but it covers how he first got started at HBO and going from there.
  • Lewis Howes also interviewed James for his new book. I shared this interview right away it was that good.

Make sure you pick up the book HERE. Have you used your Idea Muscle today? Put your ideas below.

One of my ideas I’ll share, it’s terrible, but it’s a re-usable tissue that remains dry after each sneeze and nose-cleaning. It’s unsanitary and sounds completely nasty, maybe it has some self-cleaning mechanism. Who knows? It’s just an idea to start with that may mate with another of my ideas down the line. It’s fun!

Multiply the Hours in your Day Right Away

wake up early
Flickr

You always want more time in your day, more time to do the things you love. Well as we talked about in the last post about Pruning and Batching you were able to free up counter-productive tasks.

Remember that everything you feel may be productive, could actually be lowering productivity.

“Is there something better i could be doing with my time?” – The key to Pruning.

Sometimes busy schedules can only be pruned so much that you simply need more time. Where else do you find time?

Waking up Early

Oh no! The worst 3 words many don’t want to hear. “I’m not in high school anymore, I don’t need to be on the bus by 6. Work starts at 9.” If you usually wake up at 7:30 for work and leave at 8:30, imagine if you cut down your preparation time by 30 minutes. That’s 30 min. a day 5x a week, over 100 hours a year.

Sounds productive! Right?

I’m lying to you and if you hear this “tip” it doesn’t work. When you know you’re on your way to work in an hour from waking up, you’re not going to hurry up and do something productive right before you leave.

“Yes I can, I can do 30 minutes of cardio, jump in the shower for 5 minutes, eat breakfast for 5 minutes and be gone, so there!”

All that sounds fine and dandy on paper, but let’s look at the real picture, we never allocate enough time for certain tasks. When we go and find more time for the regular chores, we cut out the productive time, the “cardio” time.

After a while, we figure “What’s the point, cardio’s down to 15 minutes, not worth it, and back to bed I go!”

If this sounds familiar give me an “Amen.” I’ll say it with you.

The magic key? Waking up earlier!

Successful people are known to wake up early, it’s the best way to automatically create more time for your goals.

Remember what we talked about with “Finding your Adventure“, you never SETTLE!

Thus, there is always something to be reaching. Maybe it’s just reading for 30 minutes a day, perhaps reaching out to a new contact every week and building a relationship there, or, for me right now, it’s creating new content on taking control of life as an entrepreneur.

Whichever it is, you need a buffer of time to be making your goals happen. As Deacon Bradley mentions, set time to work on your “play” (you’ll need to check out his post to see what ‘play’ I mean.

Time is a valuable asset, each second that goes by we never get back. Most successful people will say that they value their “time” more than any other asset, even more than their wealth. Wealth is something which can be multiplied, time remains fixed for each individual.

You have the same amount of time to do something adventurous with your life as Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs etc. We’re all on the same level when it comes to time, but that extra time in your day when you wake up early is your advantage in “multiplying” your time.

“Early to bed, early to rise; makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin. CLICK TO TWEET</a>

Steps to Waking Early

1.) Prepare mentally or write down what you plan to do in the morning. Don’t try and stumble out of bed and figure it out as your groggy state will tell you there’s nothing better to do but sleep! We call that your “drunken state.”

2.) Set your alarm clock. You may do this already, but now you need to find a fixed time to set and stick with it throughout the week. On the weekend you can let it slip a tad, but stay consistent. Your body naturally adjusts to waking up. In college, I found getting up at 8 o’clock was the worse thing in the world (not to mention for a class I hated). Now that I wake up around the 6 o’clock hourly regularly since graduation, if I woke up at 8, I’d be wide away. Give your body time to adjust, it will get easier with time.

3.) Figure out if you’re more productive Before or After your shower, getting dressed, and breakfast. I’m more productive before I get into the shower, because showers are, first of all, my favorite (as creepy as that sounds). However, once I’m in the shower, it’s go time for work/activities for the day. Figure out your “production zone.” Perhaps you need just a cup of coffee (hate coffee…) or you have a need to feel clean, whatever, figure that out.

4.) Get to a good stopping point. Start your day on a high note by accomplishing something, it’s fun, it’s motivating. Sometimes you may have a multi-day project, but set your goal for that day, and that’s your stopping point. Start small, start strong!

I go through stages of many weeks getting up perfectly without the snooze button, and other times it may be the opposite. Sometimes I get upset with myself when I let a week slip, but that’s more de-motivating than anything.

I realize I’m doing something millions of others will never do and that’s what makes me different, that’s what makes me unique.

Are you unique? How’s your morning routine? Share below!