Direct Response Copywriter on My Real Motivation

In direct response, we talk a lot about the classic motivators. These include:

  • Greed
  • Solutions
  • Saving money
  • Retirement security
  • Better health now
  • Advancement in profession or trade
  • Prestige
  • Enjoyment
  • Easier chores
  • Gaining more leisure
  • Comfort
  • Losing weight
  • Freedom from worry
  • Be in the “in” group
  • Desire for a bargain
  • Outshining the neighbors

These are just a few.

The list misses one of the most important motivators: helping other people. As marketers, we tend to ignore this motivator because it’s difficult to leverage: you can’t really sell products based on the desire to help and mentor others.

My colleagues in the non-profit sector can use this motivator. But when I’m selling an information product, the reader is most likely interested in how much money they can make once they own the product. I get it.

But let me tell you about a key motivator for this direct response copywriter. Yes … I enjoy writing and yes I very much enjoy direct response. But I gain the greatest satisfaction from helping clients succeed.

Again, it’s not something I can really sell as a direct benefit: it’s too ethereal. I enjoy working with my clients, most of whom are massive marketing companies. But I love it when a local small business owner calls me because they heard they need a direct response copywriter to write their letter or landing page.

I just spoke with the owner of a bartending school who has been reading about AdWords and wants to ramp up conversion with a real landing page. It’s super-exciting when I get a chance to help someone like this who is just starting to “get” direct response.

One client has grown from just a few subscribers to over 1.2 million subscribers. They had less than 10 employees and now they have over 60 and we’re now working with the best-of-the-best in our industry.

It’s exciting to help entrepreneurs. I wrote a letter several years ago for a guy who runs a roofing company: it closed 4% and that created hundreds of thousands in new revenue.

One of my clients is a local restaurant and we’re closing in on 2,000 opt-in emails. That’s a huge deal for a small restaurant and the results are tangible for the manager. She tells people, “Scott brings me money.”

But I also enjoy working with the larger companies. I don’t always get the immediate feedback but it's fun to help a marketing manager succeed.

Ultimately, I get the most enjoyment from helping my clients reach their goals. Dan Kennedy says that direct response copywriting is a “super power” and I’m inclined to agree although I’m biased, of course.

My power, if that’s the right word, is persuading current and potential clients to buy a product and service. But the real power is helping a client succeed and prosper. When harnessed correctly, a direct reponse copywriter has the power to help you make a ton of money.

This will only happen when the client listens to me, trusts me, and starts to follow direct response principles.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

Direct Response Copywriter on Clients

My professional life revolves around my clients and what they need. As a direct response copywriter, I'm fortunate to have wonderful clients. And that's by design. My clients are looking for someone who is serious. And I'm looking for clients who are serious about direct response marketing.

The most important word is trust. My clients have to trust me to deliver copy that will sell products and services. It has to work. And they also like it delivered punctually.

I want and appreciate feedback from clients. But the great clients trust their copywriters. When a client does not listen to me, there's going to be a problem and it's not an ego problem; it's a sales problem. A direct marketer who over-questions a direct response copywriter won't sell as much as they could. I've seen it happen many times. My advice to clients, let me do what I do.

Testing solves the trust issue. With testing, everyone knows what's working and what's not. The client has to understand that most copy will fail to beat the control.

When I was in corporate communications, I regularly hired creative providers including photographers, printers, designers, and the like. I let them get on with their work. I also gave them very specific creative direction. I almost always got great results.

So I work extremely hard to find great clients then keep them happy. If they're not happy or I'm not happy with their feedback, then it's time to part company. The only feedback I won't tolerate is rude feedback. A company won't get very far by berating creative talent. The most successful direct marketers, like Boardroom, treated their direct response copywriters almost like royalty.

I discuss this in more length in my PDF, The Care and Feeding of Creative Talent.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

*

Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

Direct Response Copywriter on Discounting

Many of my closest friends work in the restaurant industry. In fact, one of my clients is a local restaurant … as you’ll discover in a minute.

For the last 10 days, my restaurant friends, who are mostly servers, have been totally fed up.

You see, it’s been restaurant week here in Charlotte. That means 10 days of several restaurants offering a three-course dinner for $30.

The restaurants are mostly upscale establishments so the week offers a major discount. I get to hear about restaurant week from the server perspective and they all HATE it. H-A-T-E in capitals … with hyphens. And you'd think they'd love it due to the extra traffic.

To participate, restaurants pay a fee to the organizer. I believe they also have to hand over some gift cards. So, for ten days, a restaurant pays to decrease revenue – and that’s in a low margin business. The fee to participate is either $1,500 or $3,000.

The organizer touts the following benefits.

  • Increased traffic in a down period just after Christmas.
  • Increase in beverage sales as people will be willing to splurge on wine, etc.
  • The chance to get new people in the door.

This leads me to the issue of discounting. For 10 days in the winter (and 10 days in the summer) the participating restaurants get a ton of people to visit. But they have to decrease their prices at least 35% … in many cases much more.

Plus they must organize an atypical menu so they don’t lose too much money. A manager of a big steak house told me she has to add extra staff and order extra food … even more expense. The diners get a watered down experience but they save money.

And then restaurant week totally disrupts the normal flow of the establishment. My server friends complain about the following …

  • “Amateurs” who are just there for a deal and don’t tip well.
  • The absence of high-tipping regulars.
  • The extra work for no extra money.
  • A lack of business before and after restaurant week.
  • The people who show up will rarely be back as many come from a long way.

Again, my manager friend said it was pretty much a nightmare. Some restaurants GAIN business by not participating; diners call up and want a refuge from the chaos of the restaurants participating in restaurant week.

In a spirit of total transparency, I persuaded my restaurant client to start a discounting program: if you sign up for the email database and stay on the email database, you get a free birthday dinner – an entrée or appetizer. It costs the restaurant about $15.

So I’m guilty, as charged, of discounting … when I’m generally anti-discounting. In direct response, we strive to stress value to avoid straight-out price battles.

The free dinner is one of the oldest direct marketing tactics and, as a direct response copywriter, I’m going to start with that one.

But after 3 years of the “birthday club” at Sir Edmond Halley’s, it’s been a big success. A small restaurant has built a significant and growing email database – always valuable.

We measure the results and a chunk of the database comes in for the birthday dinner. Some come in alone but the majority bring 3-4 people. And several bring big parties of 10 or more.

This rewards loyal patrons and encourages new people to visit the restaurant…which is difficult to find. The additional business, in terms of food and beverage sales, more than covers the free entrée. The program doesn’t interrupt the normal flow of the restaurant. If just a few of the newcomers become semi-regular patrons, that’s another big benefit.

Restaurants keep signing up for restaurant week so there must be something in it. But my restaurant friends all hate it – even with floods of people.

Ironically, I’ve sent emails to my client’s database touting that they DON’T participate in restaurant week … and the restaurant was busy during that week.

As I always say, discounting is dangerous. It must be handled very carefully.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

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Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

Direct Response Copywriter on Super Bowl Advertising

I read an article in The Wall Street Journal about ad spending for the Super Bowl. The cost for each spot is comical ... around $3 million for 30 seconds. I'll work for that!

Several companies will be advertising for the first time in the big game. On the big game? For the big game? I don't know...

Several companies will be advertising for the first time. In the past, even some smaller companies have spent vast sums to be part of the Super Bowl mix. Chunks of advertising budgets will be spent because so many people will be watching. It's a huge risk.

As a direct response copywriter, I wish these companies would spend their money on a solidly executed direct response campaign.

It will be impossible to measure results from the Super Bowl spend. But with a direct response campaign, they could actually measure results and make decisions based on what worked and what failed.

The world might find the Bud Light ads funny but will they increase sales? Not even Budweiser, with all their marketing horsepower, will know.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

*

Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.

Direct Response Copywriter on Voice

Sometimes, a potential client will say something like, “I want the copy to capture the voice of the author.”

Other potential clients will say, “we need to get the brand voice together.”

I can turn up the volume and I can turn down the volume when I’m writing direct response copy. Some copy needs heavy amplification. Some copy needs to be soft.

But that’s not about “voice” in advertising. To be frank, I’m not sure I really understand the voice concept. Or maybe I do … MailChimp has a slightly cheeky approach on their website.

Here’s my reply to potential clients who want voice.

“Do you want to capture a voice or sell stuff?”

You (I) can spend hours trying to capture a certain voice or feel. But it’s always a fruitless endeavor.

It’s like when a client says, “I don’t really know what I want but I’ll tell you when I see it.” That’s fine if I bill by the hour and the client has an unlimited budget.

My clients let me write copy that sells their products and services. As a direct response copywriter, that’s my job.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.

*

Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting. This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution. It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.