From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
Bootcamp ... Here I Come ...
This week, I’m heading to Florida, specifically Delray Beach, to the annual copywriting ‘bootcamp’ organized by AWAI. I’m sure you’re mostly familiar with the event. Maybe you’re attending. Maybe you’ve attended in the past. Maybe you have thought about attending.
It will be my 5th visit to the bootcamp (I think) and I’ll have a full report when I return.
Why do I go? I'm not always sure!
It’s an expensive trip … around $4,000 including the price of admission, flights, a place to stay, and sundry expenses. Plus it’s difficult to write copy and produce income during the event. So I lose income.
What’s the ROI? I have picked up some work directly from the job fair, where direct marketing companies are looking for direct response copywriters. One company turned out to be disorganized and a poor client.
Another company was, weirdly, more interested in branding, even though their revenue comes from direct response copywriting; I had to fight to get paid for a promotion that never ran because my contact left the company.
So the ROI has been negative overall. I've spent about $25,000 over the years and I once won a spec challenge which brought me $1,000 but the fees have not covered the cost of being there.
Some of the speakers have provided some really great ideas and techniques. Other speakers have been vacuous and ill-prepared. Some of the presentations are “repeats” from previous events.
I certainly enjoy a few days in Delray Beach in mid-October. It’s a beautiful spot.
There’s a certain sadness to the event, despite the cheerleading from the AWAI staff. There must be at least 400 people who have bought into the dream. I won’t see them again.
But it’s fun to meet new copywriters and some of the bigger names in the business.
Maybe this year, I’ll meet a strong potential client. But my gut tells me I’ll see the same faces, including the approximately 30 Agora subsidiaries who are all looking for full-time copywriters, and I’ll get the same business cards and the same emails will not be returned. Maybe I’m being pessimistic when that’s not my nature.
No worries … I’ll repair to one of the many restaurants there on Atlantic Avenue if I don’t get any traction.
So how will I find clients? Through my website but, more importantly, by identifying strong potential clients and contacting them ... it's called direct marketing.
I’ll write a complete review of bootcamp and send it next week.
Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter