The Power of Clarity. Professional Copywriter Email Archive November 2018 2.


From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

The Power of Clarity

Ask a bunch of direct marketers and direct response copywriters, “what’s the most important thing in direct marketing?” and you’ll get a lot of different answers.

The list. The offer. Proof. Testing. Headlines.

And so on …

All of the above must be there.

But here’s something you rarely hear. THE POWER OF CLARITY.

In the branding world, obtuse and obscure ads are still popular. I’m certain you can think of examples. These ads are clever and super-intelligent and there’s no way to determine their success or otherwise. That's exactly how people in branding want it. These ads often win prizes handed out by people are interested in producing obtuse and obscure ads.

But in direct marketing, we’re all about clarity … or we should be.

I routinely see direct marketing advertising where the benefits, features, and the offer are not totally clear. I work extremely hard on making sure my copy is totally clear.

The reader must INSTANTLY understand exactly what’s going on, and, most importantly, what’s in it for them when it comes to the product or service.

Look at my work for my clients and it might seem overly simplistic. I keep the headline clean and clear. I organize the copy so the scanner “gets” what is happening right away. And in the body of the copy, I make totally certain the reader fully understands what he/she will get in return for their money and/or information.

I get this desire for clarity from the work of Gary Bencivenga and Clayton Makepeace. Their copy is always crystal clear. You can easily find examples of their work online.

The next time you’re watching network TV, pay attention to the clever, obtuse, and obscure ads. You’ll see plenty of them. Then switch to QVC and you’ll see total clarity. At QVC, they measure their annual revenue in the BILLIONS. Look at other ads, direct or branding. Is everything extremely easy to understand?

Here’s a reason my copy resonates with potential customers and motivates them to try a product or service. CLARITY.

Before your ad goes live, ask yourself, “is everything totally clear?”

All the best,

Scott Martin 

Effective Ways to Find Copywriting Clients Part 6. AWAI Bootcamp Review. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive October 2018 2

October 2018 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

The Most Effective Ways to Find Great Clients. Part 6.

AWAI Bootcamp This Week

Quite a few writers and marketers have joined the list of people who receive these emails. Welcome!

I’m not in Colorado right now. I’m in Delray Beach, which is one of my favorite places to visit.

But I’m not here for the AWAI Bootcamp which starts on Wednesday, tomorrow.

A client needed me to be in Palm Beach last week and the timing/travel didn’t work out for Bootcamp this year. But I’ve been to Bootcamp at least 6 times.

It’s a fun event and I love being in Delray. The main reason I used to attend Bootcamp was the opportunity to meet potential clients. Bootcamp includes a 3-hour meet and greet known as Job Fair. I also liked many of the speakers and I had the opportunity to have lunch with Herschell Gordon Lewis before he passed away. What an amazing guy and I'm a big fan of HGL. I really enjoy Bootcamp and part of me is sad I won't be there.

Job fair is a scrum at first but once things calm down, it’s a chance to meet over 40 potential clients. I’ve actually secured over $20,000 worth of work from the Job Fair over the years and met some potential clients.

At least 1/3 of the potential clients are part of the Agora empire. They’re not typically looking for freelancers. But they are quite often eager to find and hire apprentices. Here’s the deal with them. You move to Delray Beach or Baltimore and you earn about $40,000 a year with the potential for bonuses and big royalties. You get training from some of the world’s top copywriters. It’s a GREAT way to get started.

Not all the clients at Job Fair are great potential clients. Two of the companies I started working with turned out to be difficult and disorganized. One client told me I was terrible and my name is mud there ... I did everything I was asked to do. This same client told an assembled group he didn’t care about a copywriter’s website. That’s sheer lunacy. With another client, I had to fight to get paid after they decided not to run my promotion. And the owner of the company is a friend of mine.

And then I’ve had companies at Bootcamp be rude. It’s rare but it happens.

I saw some of the same faces year after year. They all need copywriters and they know I write copy and that I’ve had plenty of success. But they never return emails. Makes no sense. You’d think they would want to chat. But maybe they don’t like me. Whatever.

These are just part of the frustrations of the client-finding journey. I enjoy these frustrations because it means I’m making the effort to find great clients.

If you’re going to Bootcamp then I’m sorry I’m going to miss you. I really enjoy meeting fellow copywriters, with two notable exceptions. Let’s not go there. But I enjoy meeting other people in the trade … even when they are competitors.

A lot of copywriters find some great work at the job fair. I’m told the bar at the host hotel is a great place to meet clients. Is hanging out at a bar the greatest way to meet clients? I’m not sold on that one.

Are you going to find tens of thousands of dollars worth of work at Bootcamp? Maybe. I recommend you complete all of the spec assignments and follow up with potential clients you meet if you’re going. Definitely speak with the Agora people if you want to get into an apprentice program.

But the job fair at Bootcamp is, ultimately, a passive event. I want you to be active and aggressive. I want you to change your mindset and start contacting the clients you really want.

This means looking around at the landscape and starting to identify the companies who are advertising … the companies with great products … the companies who want to be successful.

When a company is advertising a lot, what does this mean? It means they need copy and people to write that copy and feed that testing beast. Just saying …

All the best,

Scott Martin

P.S. Speaking of mindset, have you seen the book about the growth mindset? You can read my review of this fascinating and inspirational book here. You'll also see reviews of books by HGL. 

Effective Ways to Find Copywriting Clients Part 3. Direct Response Copywriting Archive September 2018 2

September 2018 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

The Most Effective Way to Find Great Clients. Part 3.

Defining Your Perfect Client

Quite a few writers and marketers have joined the list of people who receive these emails. Welcome!

Who is your ideal client?

Very few copywriters are able to answer this question with any degree of accuracy and/or conviction.

The real answer is usually, “whoever contacts me” or “whoever posts on Upwork or one of those message boards or facebook groups.” In essence, it’s the client you get as opposed to the client you want.

My biggest goal in this series of emails about finding clients is to change your thinking.

Most copywriters, and I’m guilty of this, simply wait for the clients to walk through the door. I have an advantage here because my website ranks fairly high in the organic search results for key search terms.

But this ranking could go away tomorrow if someone at Google decides to tweak the algorithm. These tweaks happen frequently.

I’m making a much bigger effort to contact the clients I really want to work with.

I want YOU to start contacting the clients you really, really want … instead of relying on a more passive approach.

First, you have to target the right type of client. The ‘right type’ depends significantly on your place in the copywriting space/time continuum.

Beginner/just getting started.

To get started in direct response copywriting, I worked with advertising agencies and digital marketing agencies. The pay is not sensational but it’s enough and there’s a lot of work. Once you gain the trust of the decision makers at these agencies, you’ll get a lot of repeat business. I also had some small business owners contact me on occasion. You can search for these agencies online and start with your local area. A word of warning, though … many agencies will pay decently but many won’t. If the fee is too low, don’t take the work.

Some experience under your belt/moving along.

At this stage, you have some experience under your belt and you’re ready to start working with clients who want copywriters who are looking for more experienced clients. You can continue to work with agencies but you’ll want to charge more. You can look for direct marketers who are selling online and through the mail. You can look for companies who have what’s essentially an in-house agency. You can also work with companies and groups that are looking for one-time projects.

Super-experienced with a lot of success.

Now you can approach the top direct marketers. These are the companies that are genuinely looking for the top talent and will pay the top fees and, in some cases, a royalty.

If you’re just starting out then you’re not going to get much joy from the direct marketers who are looking for top and super-experienced talent. It would be a mistake for me to go back to working for agencies who are happy to work with less experienced talent.

In the next few days, take an hour to define your ideal client.

There are definitely some commonalities between the stages above. You can see these here.

Once you have defined your ideal clients, you can organize your website around who you’re trying to attract … and not attract. You can also start to search for potential clients with more purpose and precision.

In the next email, I’ll write about whether you should focus on a niche. You’ll find my thoughts surprising.

One final thought ... remember there's a huge demand for copywriters. But the work will not come to you. You have to get out there and get it.

All the best,

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

Effective Ways to Find Copywriting Clients Part 2. Direct Response Copywriting Email Archive September 2018 1

September 2018 1

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

The Most Effective Way to Find Great Clients. Part 2.

Quite a few writers and marketers have joined the list of people who receive these emails. Welcome!

I hear it all the time from copywriters who aim to find clients through sites like Upwork and by waiting around for postings on social media groups. What do I hear? THE CLIENT IS HORRIBLE.

If there's a theme to this series of emails, it's this ... success comes from being proactive and not reactive. It's pretty simple, really. If you want the clients you want, you have to go after them.

Where's a good place to start? Have you written down the characteristics of your perfect or near-perfect client? I have.

This definition has changed over the years but some of the elements are the same and they probably won't change. Here are some of mine ... will treat me with respect ... understands the power of copy ... crazy about direct marketing ... and so on. You can get the idea through this page on my website.

Your definition will depend on your experience, your goals, and what type of copy interests you.

But right now, write down the definition of that perfect client. It will take about 60 minutes to create that definition.

In the next email, I'll write about the type of client you should be contacting, depending on your status in the copywriter space-time continuum.

All the best,

Scott Martin

P.S. Here's another way to get started with this exercise. Look at 2 to 3 copywriters you know who have had some success and write down what their top clients look like. Who did they talk to in the past? If they're a practicing copywriter, who would they be talking to right now?

The Most Effective Way to Find Clients. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive August 2018 2

August 2018 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

The Most Effective Way to Find Great Clients

Dear << data-preserve-html-node="true" Test First Name >>:

Quite a few writers and marketers have joined the list of people who receive these emails. Welcome!

I’m currently writing a book. My 17th book, I think. In fact, I’m “tidying up” the book before sending it to an editor. The book is my first about copywriting and it’s for copywriters. But it’s also going to be a calling card I’ll send to prospective clients.

Here’s an excerpt from the book detailing my approach to working with my clients. Make the client the center of my professional life so I help them achieve what they want to achieve. Bend over backwards to get them the copy they need, when they need it. Help out if there’s an emergency copy need. Communicate and be available. Have a positive attitude and approach, even when I get frustrated. Provide complementary consultative direct marketing services when needed and requested. Keep improving my direct response copywriting and direct marketing skills to help the client generate more revenue. Help to build the value of the business. Provide honest feedback without being a rude mega-dork. I’ll provide this level of service for a great client. I have enough experience in the client finding exercise to avoid the bad clients.

How do you find these great clients?

That’s the big question, of course, for all service providers, including copywriters.

So I’ll go through client finding in the next several emails. The thoughts will be a bit random, perhaps, but I hope they help you.

I just sent 10 post cards to potential clients. I walked to the mail box and I put them in. I hand addressed them. I sent 10 today. I sent 10 yesterday. I’ll send 10 tomorrow. I won’t send 10 on Wednesday as I’m totally off the grid, hiking 27 miles in a day … or that’s the plan. I’ll see how that goes.

Where do I send the post cards? Who gets them?

I have a database of over 1800 potential clients. Do you?

Do you have a database of potential clients? Just a few?

It’s super-simple to read books about finding clients. You can take courses about finding clients. You can get advice about how to sell to clients. You can get oodles of advice about approaching clients, dealing with clients, firing clients, and even giving your clients massages and appropriate gifts.


Why? Because it takes too much time to organize this database. That’s one reason.

You buy a course about approaching clients but you don’t know who to contact. What use is the course?

So what happens? You rely on referrals, Facebook groups, online classifieds, going to conferences, networking, and other mostly useless methods. I’m going to go through some of these in the next few weeks. But you already know these methods are mostly vapid.

Let’s remember the business we’re in … direct marketing.

This means you find the people who want or need what you provide … and you let them know you exist. That’s a somewhat basic definition of direct marketing but it’s salient.

Getting the materials ready to let them know what you can provide is the easy part.

Finding that list is the hard part. In fact, it’s impossible.

Several years ago, I tried to buy a list of potential clients. I couldn’t find one to buy and, trust me, I looked. So I decided to create my own.

I’m not going to tell you how I created my list and my list isn’t for sale. Why? You have to generate your own database of prospective clients based on your current status in the copywriting world, what you want to achieve, and the type of work you want. My list might not work for you.

In the next several emails, I’m going to show you how to build your own list. I’m NOT going to give you precise instructions. Instead, I’m going to get you THINKING about building your list so identifying strong potential clients becomes part of your daily world.

This may sound slightly crazy and I fully understand if you’re thinking this.

But once I started thinking the way I think about building my list, potential clients started to appear before me … and they still do.

Yes, my website ranks above the fold for key search terms and it has for a while … and I get some business this way. But now, I’m starting to go after the clients I really want.

Let’s remember what I just said about all that advice from all the gurus and others about finding clients. How has that worked out?

Not very well for the copywriters I see on Facebook groups and other online groups. It’s the same old, same old … Companies say, “we’re always looking for copywriters.” Copywriters bleat, “I’m desperate for work.” Some copywriters head to Upwork. What do you find there? Bad clients looking for the lowest price. A potential client pops up on a Facebook group and it’s a feeding frenzy with a bunch of copywriters desperate to impress a total plonker.

It’s all about what Gary Bencivenga called the “red shirts” effect. I’ll talk about that in the next email.

Make sure you open your emails from me over the next several weeks. I’m going to reveal the real way to find clients.

All the best,

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

Proof Elements Part 4. Direct Response Copywriting Email Archive July 2018 2

July 2018 1

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

More Proof Elements

Quite a few writers and marketers have joined the list of people who receive these emails. Welcome!

In this email, I'll cover ...

Social Media Proof Reviews PR and Media Exposure Valuable Content Credible Photos

Social Media Proof. Reviews. PR and Media Exposure.

I’m going to group these three together because they’re closely related. Social media proof can be screenshots of positive activity from all your favorite social media sites. Reviews are from actual customers/clients and are a lot like testimonials. PR and media exposure can be extremely valuable and I’ve even built entire promotions around a great piece from a big outlet. You can also put the logos of media outlets on promotions.

Valuable Content

Many of my clients are superb at organizing regular content that’s fun and valuable to their current and prospective clients and customers. This content builds trust and makes my job as a copywriter a lot easier. I have two folders full of successful Boardroom promotions and each one provides a ton of useful information. You can and should build as many promotions as possible around valuable content.

Credible Photos

A picture is worth a 1,000 words, right? Wrong. And I’ll get into that in a later email. But photos in direct marketing can be valuable. They must be well-chosen and, most importantly of all, there MUST be a caption right on the photo or underneath. The goal of the caption/photo is to illustrate a benefit or draw the reader deeper into the copy.

  • More proof elements to come in the next email.

If you want the full list of proof elements from the ad agency in Australia, click here.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter 

Proof Elements Part 3. Direct Response Copywriting Email Archive June 2018 2

June 2018 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

More Proof Elements

Quite a few writers and marketers have joined the list of people who receive these emails. Welcome!

More proof elements in this email.

In this email, I’ll go through …

Infographics Before and Afters Testimonials Demonstrations Client List


When I’m working on copy, part of my job is helping to organize graphs, illustrations, and photos. Another part of the equation is making sure they complement and augment the copy. Infographics can summarize the entire theme of the promotion but should encourage more reading and more time spent with the promotion.

Before and Afters

Self-explanatory and you’ve seen these, I’m certain. I’m guilty as charged here and I should include these more when I’m writing promotions. Should every promotion include before and after proof? Why not?


Three things. First … it’s OK to edit testimonials for grammar and clarity. Second … put a headline on every testimonial and base this headline on a benefit. This headline should be 3 words at most. Third … testimonials are like snow at a ski resort. You can never have enough testimonials, even if people don't read all them.


Can’t do a demonstration in direct mail? Can’t do a demonstration on a sales page? You can certainly organize them on TV because it’s the perfect medium. You could include a thumb drive with mail. You can certainly organize a demonstration on your webpage, via a simple video. Your copy will convert better if you can provide this proof element.

Client List

Big in the B2B space, not so much in the B2C space. I’ve had potential clients tell me they have contacted me specifically because of my client list. Are you listing your clients on your site?


More proof elements to come in the next email.

If you want the full list of proof elements from the ad agency in Australia, click here.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

Proof Elements. Direct Response Copywriting Archive April 2018 3

April 2018 3

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

Proof Elements

I’m a big fan of Gary Bencivenga. Brian Kurtz calls him “America’s greatest living copywriter” and that’s based on results … not hype. Bencivenga routinely smashed controls and he generated tens of millions for his clients.

You can read a great deal about Bencivenga online and I’ll provide some links to resources toward the end of this email.

Proof is a huge deal to Bencivenga ... as it should be to every copywriter.

If fact, Bencivenga had an ‘equation’ he used when writing copy.

Problem + Promise + Proof + Proposition = Persuasion

I prefer to use the word “motivation” instead of persuasion but that’s fodder for another time.

For the next several emails, I want to focus on the “proof” part.

When it comes to copywriting, you’ll read a great deal about headlines, bullets, guarantees, and other technical parts of our trade but you rarely read much about proof.

As Bencivenga writes, the biggest obstacle you face as a copywriter is the “yeah, right” skepticism that everyone has today ... including me ... including you.

You might be writing copy for a client who has genuinely found the cure for type 2 diabetes but the initial reaction from everyone is always going to be “yeah, right.”

Herschell Gordon Lewis wrote a great deal about overcoming skepticism. You haven’t read anything by the great HGL?

Fix that problem right now. HGL was one of the greatest copywriters … plus he was also the producer of what he called “splatter” movies … horror movies with tons of serious gore.

But I digress.

An advertising agency in Brisbane created a wonderful poster of proof elements. You can find it here and it’s free.

I’ll go through parts of this list in the next several emails.

But let’s start with …

Test data Charts and graphs Specificity

Test data is especially important with health-related products. But I have also used test data in golf-related copy. Sometimes you can use test data from extensive tests and trials. But you don’t always have to use data that super-deep. Sometimes I’m a big fan of surveys but sometimes I’m not.

Charts and graphs are always valuable but with these caveats. • A chart or graph must be super-clear. • There should be a copy doodle and caption saying “here’s what this graph proves” along with some type of benefit. • The chart or graph should be relevant. You might be thinking, “I’m a copywriter so why should I have to get involved with charts and graphs?” Dan Kennedy says, and I agree, that a copywriter must be totally involved with the graphical presentation of the copy. I’m not a developer and I’m not a graphic designer but I always want to provide graphical direction.


It’s pretty simple … instead of writing, “you’ll hit the ball further with the Max Cannon” … I write … “Gain an Extra 14-25 Yards Off The Tee With The All-New Max Cannon.”

Specificity is so important, you’ll find a chapter about it in Scientific Advertising.

But you have to be extremely careful with this weapon … and specificity is about more than just numbers. Specificity can be about individual success stories, geographic examples, relevant studies, testimonials from experts, and more.

Let’s focus on numbers.

Choose the numbers extremely carefully and find the ones that have the most impact plus are most relevant to the most important benefits of the product or service.

You can quickly and easily overwhelm the reader/viewer/listener with too many numbers. The prospect’s head can be spinning and there won’t be a sale.

Specificity is obviously vital and must replace vagueness wherever and whenever vagueness appears in copy. But be careful … especially with numbers.

In the next email, I’ll go through these proof elements.

Comparisons Scientific findings Research findings Unique mechanism

OK … here, as promised, are the Bencivenga links.

The Bencivenga Bullets are here.

An interview with Clayton Makepeace is here.

And if you have $5,000 lying around, you can get the video of Bencivenga’s retirement seminar. It's all here along with over 30,000 words of copy.

Direct Marketing Notes from the U.K. Direct Response Copywriting Archive April 2018 2

April 2018 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

Direct Marketing Notes from the U.K.

Thoughts from the U.K.

I’m sending this email from the U.K. where I’m spending a few days seeing family and friends plus attending a wedding.

There are so many similarities between America and U.S. yet so many subtle and not-so-subtle differences.

Let me focus on a few differences that seem salient when it comes to direct marketing.

Print still exists in the U.K.

Newspapers are dying in the U.S., and, as a former employee of a major newspaper, it’s not a huge shock. But, in the U.K., people still want their physical newspapers and their physical magazines.

Look at just a small portion of a newsstand in a town in the U.K. ... hundreds of specialty magazines.

What’s totally remarkable is the variety of and depth of niches. The U.K. offers thriving magazines in everything from knitting to trucking.

Many copywriters believe they need to rush into a niche and specialize in a niche. That’s fine provided there’s plenty of business in the niche.

So there are two lessons here.

First … there’s a rampant thirst for information and this will never change. Good news for copywriters who help clients to sell information.

Second … it’s not all digital. Print is alive in certain areas and this can translate to direct mail. One of my clients has sent 2 million post cards in the past 12 months for a client in southern California in the health space.

TABLOIDS. You see them in New York City but nowhere else in the United States ... unless I’m missing something, which is very possible.

But daily tabloid newspapers are huge in the U.K. Deep inside these tabloids, the advertorial is prevalent. Yesterday, I saw an opt-in page ... in a newspaper.

You’ll see some magnificent headlines and copy in these newspapers. But you’ll also see some superb examples of advertorials. In fact, you’ll also see them in the broadsheet papers, like The Daily Telegraph. You will also see them in certain magazines.

Yes … direct marketing is alive and well in the UK plus there’s something else I’ve noticed in the U.K. People are more interested in deals.

It’s all apocryphal, of course, but I sense that people in the UK are more tuned into deals and promotions than they are in the U.S. Maybe it’s because the cost of living is so much higher in most of the U.K. than the U.S. but fatigue in the U.S. may also play a role.

Yes … direct marketing is alive and well in the U.K. So is print.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

Truth in Advertising. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive April 2018 1

April 2018 1

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

To Tell The Truth … And The Power of Verisimilitude …

I’m going to STUN you with this comment … get ready.

There’s a lot of lying in advertising.


Of course, there’s a lot of lying in a lot of parts of the business world. A large bank recently created thousands of fake bank accounts … or something like that … to drive new revenue. Many companies will tell you how much they care about customers when we all know that’s pure rot.

Sadly, the advertising world has its fair share of scallywags who will simply make things up.

There’s an irony here.

I’ve never met a branding type who has a lot of love for direct marketers. I’ve heard, as I’m sure you have, a branding person say, “that type of copy would damage our brand equity” when presented with direct response copy.

Yet branding ads care little for the truth, blatantly using justifications like “actual results may vary” and “dramatization” and “don’t try this at home” or “not actual customers.” Branding ads thrive on exaggeration and non-believability.

Case in point … The Most Interesting Man in The World ads for Dos Equis.

Think about those pharmaceutical ads replete with happy, smiling people going about fun things … while the narrator provides the laundry list of side effects, most totally dire and even comical … like “your ears and eyebrows may drop off and if that happens, contact your doctor immediately.”

Sadly, you’ve seen, and I’ve seen, direct response marketing that’s also false. Yes … I’ve seen direct marketing that’s packed with lies, purely to “get” people. It’s a tragedy this happens and it brings everyone into disrepute.

And here’s the result … companies like Facebook start banning, with no reasoning, totally legitimate advertising because a few bad apples have told a bunch of lies. I’ve seen some of the offending ads and nobody in their right mind would believe the claims but still, they’re there.

Here’s the sad part …

With enough research and enough probing, there’s no reason to lie.

In fact, truth and believability are part of successful direct response copywriting. Believability is simply … the truth or a claim backed by real proof and based on common sense.

The clients a company wants are the ones who believe realistic promises backed by proof and a guarantee.

Common sense tells me it's going to take 3-5 days to get over a nasty case of the flu. Why do I believe a company that promises I'll feel totally better in 10 minutes?

I could say that I wrote a promotion that generated a 67.2% response. But nobody in direct marketing will believe that. The 67.2% number would be a total lie. Yet some copywriters would pluck that 67.2% number out of thin air.

Now … it’s totally acceptable, in fact it’s a vital part of direct marketing, to put the truth in the best possible light. This approach is called verisimilitude, a concept championed by the late Herschell Gordon Lewis.

Lewis, or HGL as he was known, was an interesting man. He was a pioneer in the horror movie business and called "The Godfather of Gore." I had lunch with him in Florida shortly before his passing and he referred to his work movies as “splatter” movies.

Ah … the beauty of onomatopoeia.

But HGL was also an accomplished direct marketer, consultant, and direct response copywriter. He wanted tight, precise copy. He loved verisimilitude. And his books are quietly among the best about direct response copywriting … must-reads for everyone.

I review one of his books on this page on my website.

Verisimilitude is NOT lying.

I can say that a promotion had a 4% conversion rate. I can also say it had a 96% failure rate. Verisimilitude tells us to use the 4% conversion rate metric.

On my website, you’ll find a list of clients. I’ve worked for some of these clients for many years. Others gave me a project or two … but I still consider them a client … they wrote me a check in return for copy.

Is verisimilitude an excuse for not telling the truth?

Absolutely not. My job, and yours, is to put the truth about a product or service in the best possible light. This tactic bears no relation to blatant lying.

There’s a famous series of sports-related ads containing a load of pure tripe. The copywriter is really famous and even coaches nascent copywriters.

I asked this copywriter about the ads the copywriter said, “that’s what the client told me.”

I’m sorry … but just because the client makes up facts DOES NOT provide a license for the copywriter to write lies.

You’re intelligent enough to know when the client is just making it up. I am too.

I’ve closely studied the work of Gary Bencivenga and he always wrote the truth and made his copy believable. And I consider him the top living copywriter. Would he have taken pure lies from a client and built copy about those lies? Of course not.

Marty Edelston, the founder of Boardroom, and one of the world’s top direct marketers, sadly now passed, once told a copywriter …

“Look … it’s really easy … just tell the truth.”

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

P.S. In the next few weeks, study some ads. Simply ask ... true or false? The results will surprise you.

Advice to Freshly-Minted Copywriters. Direct Response Copywriting Email Archive February 2018

February 2018 1

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

Why "Which Niche?" is the Wrong Question ... Plus Advice to Freshly-Minted Copywriters Who are Looking for Work ...

First … hello to new subscribers to this email. Welcome.

You’ve heard, I’m sure, the direct response copywriting commandment … “thou shalt specialize.”


After hearing this, hundreds of copywriters plunge head first into a niche, desperately hoping their chosen area of specialization will attract throngs of eager super-duper clients.

And then nothing happens.

I hear two things all the time.

The first from copywriters: “I’m not getting enough work.”

The second from marketers: “We’re desperate for copywriters ... we're always looking for copywriters."

Hmmmmm … what’s wrong with this picture?

I have an area of expertise. I have written 11 books in this niche and it’s about 1/3 of my work as a direct response copywriter. My main client is in this niche is a rock-star direct marketer who reads direct marketing books when he’s on the plane and even when he’s on the lavatory.

My type of client.

But what would happen if this niche was full of marketers who DID NOT fully understand the value of a direct response copywriter? I could stay in this niche, because I’m following the “thou shalt specialize” commandment and be broke and miserable.

If I couldn’t find the right type of client in this niche, I would not work in this niche. It just so happens, thankfully, there's a strong client in a niche I like.

Remember this …

Finding the right type of client is much more important than the niche.

Now … in the world of direct marketing, there are more top clients in the health and financial fields than other niches ... which explains why many of the top copywriters “specialize” in health and wealth. These copywriters work in these niches because it’s where the money is … usually. It's also where you'll find plenty of serious direct marketers.

I address this directly on this page on my website.

Maybe you’ll find 3 great clients in the health space … and suddenly you’re a health specialist. Maybe you’ll find a great client in the pet supplies space … suddenly you’re in the direct-to-consumer space.

You might like the health niche and write copy for clients in this space but remember … focus on the quality of the client before the niche.

Is the client bonkers about direct marketing? Does the client read “Breakthrough Advertising” while moving their bowels? Do they have a strong portfolio of superb products? Can they generate big-time traffic? What sort of list do they have?

A lot of nascent copywriters ask me, “how should I get started finding clients?”

Here’s one way …

Google “digital marketing agencies” and start contacting these agencies. There are thousands of these companies around the world.

Contact 200 of them in the next 30 days ... and follow up.

These agencies need a TON of copy. Some will provide some training. Their needs are fairly basic … emails … AR series … squeeze pages. You will need to turn work around quickly, always a good thing, and most will pay quickly … even if the pay isn’t epic. But it’s a place to get started.

It's how I started, writing a ton of copy for a digital marketing agency in Australia.

And there’s something else about these agencies: you don’t need to specialize. You’ll write for a wide range of products and services … everything from plumbing companies to real estate agencies.

In the next email, I’ll discuss ways to build a portfolio before you get clients. It’s not complicated.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

P.S. I fully understand my "niche" advice flies right in the face of conventional wisdom. But remember ... the quality of the client is more important than the niche.

The World's Highest Paid Copywriters. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive January 2018 2

January 2018 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

Should You Specialize?

The Surprising Answer and ... Are These the World's Highest Paid Copywriters?

Here’s a question that vexes a lot of copywriters, from the totally nascent to the mega-experienced (even).

"Should I specialize?"

You’ll hear a lot of different answers.

Some people say, “look at the medical and legal professions … the highest paid lawyers and doctors are the specialists.”

And that’s mostly true. In copywriting, there are just as many options and more decisions. Most of the people who signed up for my list are interested in direct response copywriting and I’ll get to specializing in this field in a minute.

But who says you have to be a direct response copywriter? Maybe you should venture into the world of branding copywriting.

“HERESY!” you scream … but let me explain.

A company, which shall remain nameless but with which I’m extremely familiar, decided, at the “C” suite level, it needed a new slogan and company statement ... or whatever it’s called.

So this company hired a branding company. In fact, they hired this one.

Here’s the copy you see on the agency's home page.


We believe smart communications have an impact on the world. We empower foundations to shape a better future, help nonprofits get the attention they deserve, and enable consumers to make better choices.

We Grow the Good


It gets better ...

"We’re passionate about design that informs, clarifies, persuades, and communicates the possibilities of working together for positive change. When bringing on new clients and new employees, Vermilion places a premium on meaningful relationships, curiosity, and crafting remarkable, effective work that nurtures community karma."

Their copywriter is "a writer of words and lover of dessert" according to the website.


When I read copy like that, I want to vomit.

What does "grow the good" mean? Can the copywriter motivate readers to pull a credit card out of their wallet? Or does she just love chocolate cake?

BUT … the client company gleefully paid this “communications” company well into six figures to create a new slogan.

The slogan has exactly four words. Two of them are 'love' and 'unity.'

Run the numbers and that’s over $25,000 per word and I don’t know a copywriter on the planet who gets paid like that.

There’s no accountability and no connection between revenue and copy. And that’s exactly how the client wants it. And that’s exactly how the agency wants it. It's only direct marketers and direct response copywriters who are brave enough to want to see the results of their work.

In the creation of the new slogan, there were brainstorming sessions with flip charts, I'm sure, plus pleasant lunches, and a lot of self-congratulation. The agency, I’m certain, will enter the work into a competition judged by others in the communication/branding space. And suddenly it's an "award-winning" campaign. An orgy of back slapping will then commence.

There will be no talk of ROI, testing, and refining the creative to maximize revenue. Plus who can argue with love and unity?

But here’s the bottom line: a company run by a lot of experienced business people, many with MBAs, paid another company for precisely FOUR words of copy, even though the copy is essentially meaningless twaddle.

Yes ... people who are a TON more experienced in business saw it fit to write a whopping check for meaningless twaddle. Who am I to argue?

Maybe I’m in the wrong part of copywriting.

There are lots of ways to get paid, often handsomely, to write copy, without the pressure and accountability that comes with direct response copywriting. • B2B • Corporate • Branding • Speeches • Technical I could come up with a long list … so could you. And there's nothing wrong with any of this. I know plenty of successful copywriters who avoid direct response and despise this approach to marketing.

But if you’re committed to direct response copy, like me, should you specialize?

Here’s my answer.

No. I don’t know any super-successful copywriter who works in just one niche. I know some who focus on two, like health and financial. I focus on four areas but I’m happy to venture outside these areas when I like the client … and they like me.

I often work in a highly-defined niche. Bob Bly told the assembled copywriters at the last AWAI conference that I’m #1 in this niche. I really only work for one client in this niche and this client generally requests I avoid other clients in this space ... and with good reason: they don’t want me working for competitors.

So I work in other niches and I like the variety.

Clients are more interested in whether you can convert than your level of expertise in a given niche.

In the next email, I'll write about why the "which niche?" question is essentially the wrong question.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

The Bencivenga Headline Secret. Direct Response Copywriting Email Archive December 2017

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

Gary Bencivenga and His Headline Secret

I’d like to continue this series about what you can learn from Gary Bencivenga, now retired, and generally considered one of the greatest copywriters of all time, certainly in the 80s, 90s, and into the 21st Century.

Bencivnega rarely spoke but I was fortunate that a client bought me the videos of Bencivnega’s retirement seminar. These cost $5,000 and if you feel like reading the over 30,000 words of copy selling the DVDs, you can click here. No affiliate commission here, in case you're wondering.

Let me divulge something from the DVDs when it comes to headlines. Bencivnega talked about the inspiration for many of his headlines: book titles. Take a look at book titles and you can get a sense of what Bencivnega was talking about.

How to Work From Home and Make Money in 2017: 13 Proven Home-Based Businesses You Can Start Today (Work from Home Series: Book 1)
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
15 Minutes to a Better Interview: What I Wish EVERY Job Candidate Knew

What are we seeing here?

An all-out “how to” headline. Numbers (specificity) in the headlines. The “tease” factor. Intrigue. Classic headline techniques.

There’s an irony here. Book publishers are among the WORST marketers on the planet. That’s based on my personal experience with this book I wrote. I sometimes wonder how any of them make any money. I wrote a VSL for a client. The VSL sold an ebook about dementia. The client was selling 1.5 million of these ebooks a month. That would put the book at the top of EVERY bestseller list on the planet for several weeks.

Now … there are lots of super-weak book titles. Take a look at these.

Leaders Eat Last
The Player: Target: The Executive Suite
Principles: Life and Work
The One Page Marketing Plan

Look at the first three. What do they mean? What’s the benefit? What’s in it for me? The final one offers a bit of a benefit but the premise is not believable … especially to someone who is in marketing.

Now let’s take a look at some direct marketing book titles.

The Direct Mail Solution: A Business Owner's Guide to Building a Lead-Generating, Sales-Driving, Money-Making Direct-Mail Campaign.
Direct Marketing Doesn't Have to Make Sense, It Just Has to Make Money.
Confessions of a Direct Response Copywriter: An “Old School” Advertising Man Reveals How to Make Your Marketing Twice as Effective at Half the Cost - ... Secrets of Success in Business and in Life.

Better book titles/headlines … especially those long ones; the latter is for a Bob Bly book so it's no surprise the title is excellent.

I’m working on a book about copywriting and I’ve chosen the title based on a believable benefit. It’s based on a headline template I like to use.

So … the next time you’re in a bookstore … or your looking at a book site, take a few minutes to rate the titles/headlines. Put the good ones in your headline templates.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

A-Lister. B-Lister. D-Lister. Whatever. Direct Response Copywriting Email Archive November 2017 2

November 2017 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

A-Lister. B-Lister. Whatever.

Plus Some Extremely Salient Advice from Gary Bencivenga. And Why I Gleefully Fired Two Clients in Two Weeks.

Even if you’re a freshly-minted copywriter, I’m confident you’ve heard of the pecking order of A-Lister and B-Lister, and so on. I’ve heard certain copywriters called, “A-Plus-Lister” which means, I have to deduce, they are just a bit better than A-Listers.

A well-known direct marketing expert has called me an A-Lister, which I suppose is a good sign. Another copywriter I know very well calls himself an A-Lister on his website. That’s because others in the marketing world have called him thus.

The system applies to other disciplines, even celebrity life. So and so used to be an “A List celebrity” but is now “D List.” I suppose I could look up the genesis of the idea but I have better things to do ... like take my skis to the ski shop for a tune up. Perhaps you’ll investigate and let me know what you discover.

Anyway, I don’t care for this whole A-Lister palaver. I care about reaching my financial goals so I’m not a burden on family/society when I’m old and in the way. I care about clients who care so deeply about direct marketing that they have a copy of Breakthrough Advertising on the top of their commode. And yes, I have a client who keeps a copy of Breakthrough Advertising on the top of their commode. I care about becoming a stronger copywriter who can generate more revenue for my clients. I care DEEPLY about the success of my clients.

And here’s something you need to know about A-List direct response copywriters. Most of them don’t write copy anymore. They teach and critique.

My ego wants to be called an A-Lister, I guess, but ego satisfaction is short-lived at best. I want to generate a lot of money for my clients so they send a small portion of the revenue my way and keep hiring me.

As I mentioned in the last email, I’m going to discuss Gary Bencivenga’s copy in future emails, but before going there, there’s a piece of Gary Bencivenga advice that’s especially valuable and salient to me every day …


Let’s flip this around.


If a company has a list of people who love bananas, and everything banana, and they ask me to write copy selling light bulbs to the banana list, I’ve got a problem.

But when they ask me to write copy to that list selling … get this … BANANAS and related banana products … then I’m going to look like a rock-star who is so brilliant I can’t even be classified as an A-Plus-Plus-Plus-Lister.

I had a potential client contact me the other day. He was in the banking business. He wanted a direct mail piece, a post card, plus a long landing page. He had a poor list plus asked if I could get paid when he got some business in the door. The gestation period for people in this business is about 8 months. He balked at the quote and wanted a discount. Plus he wanted everything written in 24 hours. So I fired him before the project could even start.

Another client has an awesome list. The company just asked me to write a promotion for some sunglasses. “Nothing exotic or fun there,” you might justifiably say. But wait a minute. These sunglasses let you listen to music and TAKE PHONE CALLS through the frames! Really! The people on the list will go bonkers for these sunglasses … based on what they have bought before.

Which client do I want to work with?

Let’s remember something about the so-called A-Listers from a decade or so ago … including Gary Bencivenga. They wrote for companies with … Huge and responsive lists, hand curated Excellent products A proven copy formula Top-quality complementary resources like graphics and printing A proven offer and price structure So it’s no wonder their copy worked.

I’m not disparaging these copywriters in any way. I admire Gary Bencivenga more than any other copywriter.

But the lesson here … avoid clients who are not serious direct marketers.

The other client I fired? This company sells a building product/service. My contact would tell me he loved the copy one day, then send me a scathing email the next telling me I’m the worst copywriter ever. He ignored my direct marketing advice, even though he said he liked my feedback/push back.

It was a big piece of business but, even with the fee, I couldn’t take the lunacy. So I issued forth the red card and moved on.

Some clients will, unknowingly, say what Steve Jobs (allegedly) told a copywriter, “keep writing … when I see what I want … I’ll let you know.” That’s fine when there’s an unlimited budget but that’s a marketing challenge I would take on if the client was paying me a whopping fee with no timetable.

Life’s a lot easier when you work with companies that give you the opportunity to sell great products and services … with promotions sent to a list that’s hungry for what the company sells.

In fact, maybe that’s the difference between the A-Lister and the “others.” The A-Lister works with the great companies while the “others” take on marketing challenges.

I think I just discovered something there.

It’s amazing how brilliant I can be when I write about sunglasses THAT TAKE PHONE CALLS and PLAY MUSIC, priced aggressively, and sent to a list of about 2 million strong potential buyers who will go BONKERS for this product.

Funny how that works.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

Advertorials. Simplicity. Tabloids. Direct Response Copywriter Archive

October 2017 1

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

On the Beauty of Simplicity ... And the Advertorial ... And Tabloids ... I just spent a week in New York and environs, meeting with a client and attending a meeting of the mastermind group run by Brian Kurtz. Then I flew to London to spend a couple of weeks in the United Kingdom.

New York and the UK have something in common: a strong printed newspaper culture. Yes … people in these spots still read newspapers and the newspapers are magnificently written, ESPECIALLY the tabloids.

I pay close attention to the headlines in the tabloids: perfectly written by professionals who understand how to grab the attention of the reader in 3 seconds … or less.

Of course, if you want examples of 7th grade writing, then the tabloids will give you all the fodder you could ever need or want.

Yes … the tabloids are alive and well. So too are advertorials … in both upmarket newspapers and the tabloids.

Here are some thoughts about these advertorials.

I haven’t seen testing data but the better advertorials are in the tabloids.
They merge seamlessly with the rest of the content so they totally look like articles … all by design.
Super-strong call to action … the next steps are totally clear.
There isn’t a whopping amount of space so the copy has to be really clear and really tight. I can write as much as I like on a sales page on the web but I might only get 600 words in the advertorial.
They follow the AIDA copy formula.
Image selection is picture-perfect.
Everything sells happiness and solutions.
The design makes it easy to read.
The CTA is almost always to call a phone number at a call center. That's where the close takes place.

Every time I visit New York and every time I visit the UK, I see advertorials in tabloids and broadsheets. Clearly these are working. And one more thing … they work successfully for a wide variety of products. I saw health advertorials. I saw gardening advertorials. I saw travel advertorials.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

Free Gary Bencivenga Resources. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive July 2017 2/3

July 2017 2/3

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

What You Can Learn from One of the World's Top Copywriters

Is Gary Bencivenga the greatest living direct response copywriter? I'm not big, personally, on sentences containing words like "personally" and I'm not keen on rankings and the "greatest" and the like ... even though I have massive respect for the person (and people) who call Bencivenga the greatest.

In golf, is Jack Nicklaus the greatest? Tiger Woods? Bobby Jones? It's fun to debate but all three golfers are superb. But in direct response copywriting, it's not about being the greatest: the goal is generating revenue for clients. Gary generated tens of millions for his and so I follow him extremely closely ... and so can you ... for free ... I'll show you how in a minute. But I can see why Gary's clients called him "the greatest." Bencivenga brought them customers and revenue and made them seriously wealthy.

I met Gary Bencivenga at The Titans of Marketing event that Brian Kurtz organized 3 years ago. Gary was in the lobby of the venue with his wife and I introduced myself. Both Gary and his wife were extremely cordial and we were having a pleasant conversation until three extremely rude people literally pushed me out of the way to speak with Gary. I was not a happy camper.

So here’s some advice … it’s great to want to speak with someone famous but wait until they are free to speak. I have waited upwards of 15 minutes when I’ve attended an event and patience is not a strong suit. I wait out of respect for the person who is speaking to the person I’d like to meet.

By the way, if you want videos of the Titans event, click here. The best direct marketing event I've been to, by far.

What are the Gary Bencivenga character traits I admire? Here’s a short list.

  1. Competitive fire. Bencivenga wanted to be the best by beating controls, even his own.
  2. Epic copy. My all-time favorite piece of copy is by Bencivenga. You can see it here.
  3. Clarity of writing. Bencivenga, unlike Gary Halbert and his raft of imitators, sought clarity and ease of reading. Bencivenga’s writing rarely gets “disco” and rarely includes contrived metaphors and hyperventilating. I strive to reach Bencivenga’s level of pure clarity.
  4. A little bit of “hard to get-ness” without comic pomposity. I’ve tried to meet Bencivenga in person twice have been told “no.” When he was writing and he said he was booked, he was booked, and you had to request a time on his schedule. I HATE it when a copywriter writes on his/her website, “let me see if I can fit you in on my schedule” when I know they don't have much work. I don’t do the “schedule” thing even though I’m busy. My message to all potential clients is, “let’s talk about your goals and how I can help you.”
  5. Study. You can tell that Bencivenga has read everything in the direct marketing and direct response genre. Have you?
  6. Research. You can tell that Bencivenga did his homework.
  7. Being easy to work with. A colleague once worked with Bencivenga and said he was polite, pleasant, humble, and amenable.
  8. An aggressive approach. In person, Bencivenga is well-mannered. But he was aggressive about getting the work he wanted and contacting clients to get that work. I could spend hours writing about my admiration for Gary Bencivenga and I hope, one day, that I get to sit down with him … if nothing else for just a cup of coffee.

If you’re feeling flush (UK slang) then you can buy videos of his retirement seminar. They are $5,000 and a client bought them for me a few years ago. Epic wisdom. The sales copy is about 30,000 words and you can read it here. No affiliate commission for me!

But there are some free resources.

First … Bencivenga Bullets. A MUST READ for everyone in direct marketing. In just 3 hours of reading, you’ll treble your direct marketing nous. Second … this rare interview with Clayton Makepeace. Third … fresh copy from Bencivenga, who now runs his own olive oil business.

I hope you make the time to discover more about Gary Bencivenga.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

The Number of Copywriters on the Planet and What This Means. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive July 2017 1.

July 2017 1

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

How Many Copywriters Are There in the World?

No … it’s not some sort of a joke. I don’t know any copywriter jokes, but I heard a ski instructor joke recently.

Q: How many ski instructors does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A: Three. One to screw in the lightbulb. Two to say, “nice turns.”

I can mildly wind up ski instructors ... because I’m a part-time ski instructor.

Anyway … back to the question above. If I type “copywriter” into the LinkedIn search engine, I get 90,690 results.

That’s a fairly accurate number, I believe.

The other day, I was listening to a podcast featuring an interview with one of the top list brokers and direct marketing experts in the world.

The interviewer asked, “how many direct response copywriters are there?” The reply: “I only know about 50 direct response copywriters who can get the job done consistently.”

A LinkedIn search turns up 358 direct response copywriters. That’s .004% of copywriters, if you’re counting.

Does this mean that all 358 direct response copywriters can produce consistent results? I don’t know but I estimate there are about 100 top-level direct response copywriters on the planet ... and about 20-40 "elite" copywriters.

Your goal is to join this group.

“How?” Here are some steps. Constantly study direct response copywriting and direct marketing. Study selling, psychology, and writing. Get a part-time job where you actually sell a product or service. Strive to work with top direct marketers. Join a peer group but make sure you’re not the smartest person in the room. Find a client that tests and has a lot of traffic. Be humble and professional and be able to offer direct marketing advice. See #1 and #2. Am I in this top 100? Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. It’s not really a relevant question. I’m more concerned with … Striving to be the top direct response copywriter. Reaching my monthly financial goals by helping top direct marketers succeed. Learning from copy that fails and copy that succeeds. Constantly striving to stretch my direct marketing and direct response copywriting knowledge. Consistently keeping my name in front of top direct marketers and using “polite persistence” to work with the world’s top marketers. Being around top direct marketers who know a TON more than me. Working with companies that market great products and back up their promises … the “white hat” crew. Many of the world’s top direct marketers and direct response copywriters have written books and produced training materials. Are you going to leverage all this sagacity?

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

The Joy of Handling Rejection. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive June 2017 3.

June 2017 3

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

Who likes to be rejected? Nobody.

But there’s something extremely important you have to remember if you’re a direct response copywriter: you’re a salesperson. Your copy must sell the client’s product or service. Plus you must sell yourself to the client.

Being rejected is part of the sales process.

One of four things will happen when you start to contact potential clients.

They won’t reply. They will say no. They will ask for more information. They will say yes.

You have … and I have … something extremely important to marketers … the ability to motivate people to buy products and services. If a marketer won’t reply to me after several attempts to contact them, then do I really want to do business with them?

Many potential clients will ask for more information, usually samples.

Many will say “no” right off the bat. It’s usually the first thing someone says when you ask them to buy something. I don’t get upset about hearing “no.” Why? Because with some persistence, I can turn that “no” into a “yes.”

If I keep hearing “no” then maybe the client isn’t a good fit. Sometimes you have to find the right person in a big company. That happened to me with a big client a few months ago. I heard “no” from four employees before finding the person who would say, “yes.”

The key word here is persistence. Most people, according to Dan Kennedy, give up when there’s a mere zephyr of a headwind. Don’t be one of these people.

I know the first thing I’m usually going to hear from a potential client is “no.” So I’m not upset with the rejection. It’s simply the first step on the road to making a sale.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

Speed is a Strategy. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive June 2017 2.

June 2017 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

I'm a slow eater, a slow skier (mostly), and a slow runner but I'm a fast golfer and fast writer. I know a fair number of copywriters but there's only one copywriter I know who is faster than me when it comes to writing copy. I have written 4,000 word promotion in about 6 hours and the promotion met the needs of the client.

My initial mentor in this business always says "speed is a strategy" and I agree. Far too many companies take way too long to get their copy up and running.

One famous direct response company took EIGHT MONTHS to get my copy live. The fee seemed decent but when I looked at the time I spent on the project, the remuneration was low. I have one client who has my copy live in 7-10 days. They give me a week to write a 4,000 word promotion.

No problem.

I understand the client's market plus I have templates I can use based on promotions that have worked in the past. The fee may seem a little low but, based on the time I spend on the copy, it's solid.

So ... two thoughts.

One ... find clients who are ready, willing, and able to move quickly. Two ... make writing quickly a goal. Yes ... the quality has to be there and using templates will save hours of time. But ... here's something vital ... while you are working on becoming faster, also work on becoming BETTER.

Let's go back to the world of skiing. I know a lot of people who ski super-fast. However, technically, even based on my somewhat nascent knowledge of skiing, they are not technically sound. Put these speed skiers in more difficult terrain and they fall over. Becoming a faster skier is a wonderful goal, provided your technique improves.

I don't know any direct response copywriters who bill by the hour. I know plenty of lawyers who bill by the hour and feel they have this special right to keep the meter running. I wrote a book several years ago and I'm trying to get the rights back from the publisher. I hired a lawyer to help me. He's not done a thing, billed me for work he said he wasn't going to bill me for, and sent me a bill for $938.

There's going to be an interesting conversation in the next few days.

As you grow as a copywriter, find ways to be faster, while maintaining and improving the quality of your work.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

How Opportunities Arrive. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive May 2017 2.

May 2017 2

From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.

A Dose of (Extremely Welcome) Humility Wrapped Up in a Big Opportunity

I fully admit, that’s a wild headline buttressed by mixed metaphor. So let me explain. One of my clients sells nutritional supplements. A copy chief left that company to work for a company that supplies how-to information to people in the creative industries.

The copy chief liked my work for the nutritional supplement company, where I established a new control for a flagship product. So she called me from her new company to ask if I could write some emails.

Another copywriter might have said, “you know, I wrote long-form copy for you at your last company … and you only want me to write five emails now … really?”

But I didn’t say that. I happily accepted the gig even though it was not the biggest assignment of my career and there’s no potential for a royalty. I’d like to write more for this copy chief and her new employer. The bigger assignments will likely arrive a little later. I helped out the copy chief by gratefully accepting the work and my foot is in the door … and not in my mouth.

Here’s the advice I give to new, and even more experienced copywriters … and I might have given this to you: seek out the “routine” work when you approach clients. This “routine” daily work comprises emails, advertorials, display ads, squeeze pages, and the like. Serious direct marketers need a TON of this type of copy.

Yes … you can find people on the commodity sites like Upwork who want long-form copy, video sales letters, and the more glamorous work. But this will most likely be “one and done” work with low fees. Real prosperity in copywriting comes from working with strong clients who will provide a lot of repeat work. You can get your foot in the door with these clients by saying, “I’m here to help with the day-to-day copy needs.”

The emails I wrote for the copy chief "click through" to a long-form sales page … a page I could dramatically improve. I simply said to the copy chief … “I have some ideas I believe could improve this page.” And she was receptive to my suggestions and I’ll get the opportunity to re-write the page in the next couple of months.

Seemingly small opportunities in the copywriting business can lead to much bigger opportunities … often faster than you think.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter