Effective Ways to Find Copywriting Clients Part 4. The Raw Folly of Online Copywriter Groups. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive September 2018 3.

September 2018 3

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

The Most Effective Way to Find Great Clients. Part 4.

Groups ... The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly ...

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

I'm a member of several Facebook groups dedicated to copywriting. I'm also in some Linked In groups.

There’s quite a bit of action in the Facebook groups, with quite a few clients looking for copywriters. I’ve contacted some of these clients and it’s always been a waste of time. D-grade clients looking for cheap work but expecting A-grade work. In fact, I saw a former client looking for copywriters in one of the Facebook groups. This client was disorganized and not that good a marketer. Good luck to him.

Last week, on a Facebook group posting, I saw some advice that was totally wrong. So I wrote a post saying, “that advice was totally wrong.” The moderator lambasted me for criticizing the advice and the person giving the advice. What am I supposed to do? Say something is great when it's clearly awful?

So there are two things happening in those groups. Bad clients. Bad advice.

I’m writing a book about copywriting and it’s close to being ready for a publisher. It’s a book for copywriters. There’s a section about who to follow and who to listen to. You MUST be extremely careful. There’s a TON of really bad advice out there from people who have never actually written much copy.

You’ll find more serious people and more serious groups on Linked In. Not a huge surprise, perhaps. So let me ask you a question. How active are you on Linked In? It’s a great place to find clients. I’m not going to give away my Linked In secrets but, remember, the goal of this series is to get you thinking differently about finding clients so you don’t rely on those Facebook groups and other really bad sources.

So your homework this week is cruising around Linked In and also looking for information about how to make the most of this powerful tool. There’s a lot of free information out there about making the most of Linked In. Read it.

You’ll start to think differently about finding the right clients … and contacting them.

As promised, here are my thoughts about choosing a niche.

In one niche, in a sport, I’m probably the #1 copywriter. And work in this niche is about 30% of my revenue. But I also write in health, financial, and biz-opp. In fact, I’ll pretty much write anything for anyone, provided the company and product are all above board.

Let’s say you decide to work in just one niche … health. There’s plenty of work in that niche but you may end up limiting yourself because one company won’t want you working for the competition. Ditto for financial publishing.

When I started writing copy full-time, I sought out advertising agencies and digital marketing agencies. One day, I was writing for a plumbing company. The next day, I was writing to sell information about Australian real estate investing. I like this variety.

There’s something to be said for being the #1 knee surgeon on the planet. You might find some joy if you ultimately become the #1 financial copywriter but it will be a long road getting there.

But if you look at the careers of the most successful copywriters, they have NOT limited themselves to one niche. Study them and you’ll see what I’m talking about. A bit more homework there for you.

As you start to think differently about finding clients and you become more active instead of passive, think about finding clients who really value copy and copywriters. If you’re going to pursue a niche, think more about the client and not the actual niche itself.

I'm updating my database of 2,000 current clients and and I'm simply asking, "will this be a good client if we work together?" I'm not concerned about the niche.

All the best,

Scott Martin

Proof Elements Part 5. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archieve July 2018

July 2018 2

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

More Proof Elements ... Final Edition ...

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

In this email, I'll finish up my series of proof elements.

Quote An Authority

Struggling to find an authority figure in the financial space? Dig around The Wall Street Journal site or The Financial Times and you’ll find something you can legally quote. How many financial promotions quote Warren Buffet? A ton.

What about the health space? I’ve quoted The Mayo Clinic site and other health-related authorities.


Won some awards? Put them in the copy. Use photos of grinning recipients if you can but make sure you include a caption.

Founder or Team Photo

Potential clients and customers LOVE to know more about the people behind the company or a product. We all love personality in copy. So include that founder photo along with others involved in the product. But write a caption with some intrigue.


A controversial subject. Our bothers and sisters in the branding world believe this: hire a celebrity and watch revenue soar.

But there are three problems. First, revenue doesn’t always soar.

Second, when celebrity fees and media are factored in, the ROI is rarely worth it. There’s a study that proves this.

Third, what happens when the celebrity goes on a five-day bender, crashes the Ferrari into a Dairy Queen, and stumbles around naked?

I like to include celebrities in copy but only as a proof element. For example, I was writing copy to sell DVDs from a golf instructor. Turns out that Jack Nicklaus sent his children to this golf instructor. I built much of the promotion around this fact.

Just remember ... the customer doesn’t care about the celebrity … they care about themselves.


A guarantee, along with a seal, is vital in direct response copy. But amp up that guarantee.

You could write …

Your satisfaction is extremely important to us here at Acme Halitosis. If you’re not totally satisfied, you get your money back. No questions asked.

Or you could write …

PUREBREATH 365-Day Rock-Solid Guarantee … Money Back Plus $10 Just for Trying PUREBEATH If You’re Not TOTALLY DELIGHTED …

PUREBREATH from Acme MUST end your bad breath forever. Your significant other must enjoy kissing you and notice the difference. You will never again see people recoil and run away because of bad breath. You will enter every conversation with everyone with total confidence. You will have fresh and agreeable breath even if you have been smoking, have been eating onions in a garlic sauce, and have been glugging down coffee.

In short, PUREBREATH from Acme must transform your life and end the social leprosy that often comes with bad breath.

If PUREBREATH from Acme fails to fulfill the promises we’ve made, you can receive a full, prompt, and courteous refund. If, for any reason, or no reason, you’re not totally delighted, call our customer support team at 800-800-8000 and we’ll dispatch your refund PLUS we’ll send you a $10 check as our sincere “thank you” for trying PUREBREATH from Acme. And, of course, you can keep all the bonus items an extra “thank you” for trying PUREBREATH from Acme.

Once again … your satisfaction is VITAL to us. We want you to be totally delighted. We want to help you end all the hassles that come with halitosis and bad breath. We want you to join the community of people who trust PUREBREATH from Acme.

You know which guarantee I like.

Admitting a Fault or Limitation

It’s not the biggest or most prominent proof element but it’s important. You can say, in the financial space, that there have been some stock picks that didn’t work out. In the medical space, you can say that some people who try the product find it doesn’t work … then stress the guarantee. You can write …

Look … this product isn’t for everyone. It’s only for a select few who genuinely value the finest cigars on the planet … and want that quality.

Admitting a fault or limitation brings out your humanity and decreases the hype factor.


The well-chosen metaphor is the hallmark of a top copywriter. However, if you can’t find that metaphor, avoid using this proof element. You can quickly get into the realm of the cliché when you write, “it will make your shirts as white as snow” or “it’s like motor oil for your joints.”

A metaphor can become the “big idea” that is the foundation of a successful promotion. But be careful with metaphors and similes. Use them sparingly as it’s easy to mix metaphors and this can confuse the reader.

What about this for a financial promotion …

Subscribing to Profits Down Under is like having your very own 10-person stock research team in Australia and New Zealand … letting you know about exceptional opportunities in these countries … well before other investors … for a fraction of the cost of that team.

A realistic metaphor.

Don’t Exaggerate

Veracity is a built-in proof element. If I write that an SUV can carry an elephant, I’ve lost the reader. But if I organize a photo showing how the SUV can carry four large backpacks plus a couple of bicycles, that’s realistic.


It’s not necessarily a proof element but real scarcity can prove a statement like … “we only have a limited number of these knives at this price.”

And if you set a deadline, stick to that deadline. I was interested in a product the other day. The offer was $99 for all the information, for a limited time. I missed the deadline and when I returned to the web page, the price had increased to $999.

Thousands of legitimate and successful products have some scarcity built in ... readers almost expect it.

Human Stories

Stories can provide a positive impact on copy and I’ve built many promotions around stories. But note … the story has to be salient, often with a lot of intrigue and mystery.

Simply saying, “Donna bought this product and it changed her life forever!” is pretty horrible.

But I recently wrote about a doctor whose husband started showing signs of dementia. I included in the story what she started feeding her husband, based on her research, and what happened after the change in diet. The VSL that included that story helped to sell $1.5 million a month for a $19 ebook.

So that’s it for the series about proof elements. Many big-time copywriters gather the proof elements before writing a word. Good idea. First … you’ll have a lot of copy ready to go before “assembly” and second … you’ll likely find a big idea and build the entire promotion around this proof element.


Something totally different 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 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 Part 2 and Brunch With Bob Bly. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive June 2018 1

June 2018 1

More Proof Elements ... and Brunch With Bob Bly ... And the $2.5 Million Royalty Check ...

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 …

Reasons why Logical argument Specialization Third party verifications Trust seals

Reasons Why

Look at my copy and you’ll ALWAYS see a section titled, “33 reasons to get (insert product/service).” The number of reasons varies but you should always strive to include these reasons. Aim to include every conceivable reason without getting contrived. It’s here that you stress all the benefits. This section can really motivate the prospect to try your product or service.

Logical Argument

Not much to add here but I rarely see direct response copy with a strong logical argument to try a product or service. Yet it’s vital in any type of direct response copy. The classic example of the logical argument is the problem/solution approach to copy. Here’s your problem … I understand the problem … here’s the solution … here’s proof the solution works … you can try the solution with no risk.


I write quite a bit of copy in the golf niche. I often write the copy in the voice of a golf teacher who has taught many of the world’s top golfers. The specialization here is definitely a proof element.

Third Party Verifications

These are primarily endorsements from media. So … if The Wall Street Journal reviewed your product, favorably of course, then include that review or a portion of the review. Plop their logo in the sales page.

Trust Seals

Let’s say you have a partnership with an organization like the AAA here in America. Include that logo. Let’s say you’re a member of the local chamber of commerce where you live. Include that logo. Let’s say you sell dietary supplements and you follow GMP practices. Include the logo.

Brunch With Bob Bly

I was away for 15 days on an east coast road trip to see clients in Florida, Charlotte, and New York. I also enjoyed brunch with Bob Bly on a rainy and windy Sunday morning.

Bob’s working on his 100th book, by the way. I won’t go through everything we discussed but it was just a lot of fun to share some time with a fellow direct response copywriter.

We have a lot of opportunities in our business but we also have a lot of challenges. One of these is loneliness and isolation. There are lots of ways to overcome this challenge and maybe I’ll go through these in later emails, but it’s important to have regular conversations with fellow copywriters, even if they’re competitors.

A Famous Direct Marketer You Don’t Know

On my recent road trip, I spent two very enjoyable days at the mastermind group run by Brian Kurtz. Brian regularly brings some well-known names in the business to the group but he also brings some highly successful people who have never publicized themselves.

One of these people spoke at our meeting. He’s worked with many of the major direct marketing companies. Twenty years ago, he signed a $2.5 million royalty check to a famous direct response copywriter. That’s a client who understands the value of the direct response copywriter. Are you finding clients like that?

Housekeeping Note

I’m working on archiving all the emails to this list on my website. Stay tuned.

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

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

P.S. As you read and hear copy, check the copy for proof elements.

Proof Elements Part 2. Direct Response Copywriter Email Archive May 2018.

May 2018

Proof Elements

I’m going to continue with my series about proof elements. I'll go through the following.

Comparisons Scientific findings Research findings Unique mechanism


I’m quite a big fan of Car and Driver Magazine, a publication that routinely runs comparison articles. They’ll test 2-5 different cars and tell you which car they liked the best … and then rank all the contestants. It’s fun reading plus it motivates car lovers to open the magazine to see which car won.

In direct response copy, comparisons can be a proof element, usually in some type of table that compares your product to others in the market. You have to be careful and I’m NEVER a big fan of bashing the competition, even if the competition is eminently bashable. In fact, I'm working on copy where the control bashes doctors, drug companies, and pretty much everyone. My new copy doesn't bash anyone.

The comparison I prefer is what I call the “self-comparison” where I provide two offers for the product, each with different levels of features. It’s the old, GOOD-BETTER-BEST self-comparison.

I like this approach much more than creating a table that beats up the competition.


I’m going to group these together because they’re very similar … and mostly self-explanatory.

It’s not hugely difficult, although it takes a lot of time, to come up with research to back up claims. Many times, the client will have this research ready to go.

And it’s not hugely difficult to pump a ton of research and related content into a promotion. But you have to be careful.

In the last email, I talked about how it’s really important to be careful with specificity. You can include a lot of numbers and specificity but you can end up bombarding the reader with too much information and the surfeit of specificity can confuse everyone.

So … with your scientific and research findings, choose wisely and only include the most salient findings that really back up your claims. Perhaps there’s something from a big-name source like Harvard Medical School, or Time Magazine, or The Mayo Clinic. In the financial space, can you get something from The Wall Street Journal?

If you have a lot of “leftover” research that you really like, you can create a Johnson Box with a subhead saying … “Here’s Additional Research About Product X” or you can include it after the P.S. in a Q and A.


I could write a book about this proof element and, in fact, I am writing a couple of books about copywriting and the “unique mechanism” will play a big part in both books.

The unique mechanism is not just a proof element. It can be a core element of profitable copy. Over the next couple of days, pay close attention to the advertising you see and hear and you’ll see the unique mechanism tactic used over and over. It’s such a vital way to differentiate a product or service.

But you can’t just plop down the unique mechanism and say, “here’s a unique mechanism so that’s why you have to buy.” The prospective client will say, “yeah, right.”

You have to explain the basis behind the unique mechanism plus you have to prove that the unique mechanism actually works and makes the product better than other products.

If you have a dietary supplement then you can highlight a new ingredient but then you have to show that it performs.

Let’s say you’re selling a ski with a new technology that makes it easier to turn the ski. You have to explain the new technology with video plus images and copy. Then you have to show it actually works. You can use before and after images, testimonials, and celebrity skier endorsements.

What are we discovering here?

All the proof elements must work together. Proof elements do not work in isolation.

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

Reasons why Logical argument Specialization Third party verifications

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

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

P.S. As you read and hear copy, check the copy for proof elements.

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.