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

Finding Great Clients Instead of Plonkers and Punters. Direct Response Copywriting Archive March 2018

March 2018 1

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

Some Thoughts About Refining Your Client Search ... So You Find Great Clients Instead of Total Plonkers and Punters.

I wrote a PDF last year titled, “The 17 Worst Ways to Find Clients” … or something like that … and maybe one of these days, maybe in a few weeks, I’ll dig it out and send it to this database. It makes for interesting reading. Many of the ways you've heard are really great are, in fact, a total waste of time.

If you’re a copywriter, then I’m certain you have tried several different ways to find clients, likely with mixed results. Or just really poor results.

I have ample work, especially from a couple of clients, and I’m fortunate that my website generates leads ... over 700 in the past 5 years.

Some of the people who contact me are serious direct marketers; others are serious but have “one and done” project work, which is fine, but it’s always preferable to have regular assignments from a company: you get to know them and their list plus you're not constantly searching for clients.

Still, having a website that generates leads is ultimately a passive exercise.

So … over the next few months, I’m going on the offensive. I’m going to keep working for the two clients I just mentioned, provided they still like me, but I’m going to FIND two, maybe three, additional clients.

What do these clients look like?

Great traffic. Great list. Excellent traffic buyer. Superb products that really appeal to their current and prospective customers. The need and desire to keep selling products and services. Total compliance and dedication to ethical business practices. The willingness, if not rampant desire, to invest in copy and PAY THEIR COPYWRITER. A direct marketing mindset. One of my current clients has a copy of Breakthrough Advertising in the bathroom. A growth mindset. The constant desire to improve. A general disdain for all things branding. The ability to test like crazy … and celebrate both success and failure. Generally amenable and pleasant people in the organization. A paucity of corporate bureaucracy. An entrepreneurial mindset … plus ambition. Speed … getting products to market quickly. No copy police looking over my every word. They trust me. Ample cash in the bank. Size: between 10-30 employees. The potential to work together for many years. A need for direct marketing expertise.

I could probably think of a few other criteria but that’s a pretty good list above.

As you can see, I’m not going to work with a lot of punters. And if you don’t know what a “punter” is then search a little … for the British meaning … it’s one of my favorite words and extremely malleable.

But I digress.

Some of you who receive this email might be extremely experienced. Others might be more nascent. Either way, it’s VITAL to define your ideal client profile.

Eight years ago, that client was a digital advertising agency with regular copy needs.

Once you have a sense of your ideal client, you can ignore all the ads and online guff you see asking for copywriters.

Most of these potential clients are like people who walk into a Ferrari dealership with precisely $500 to spend on a car ... but still think they can get a Ferrari.

But most importantly, once you have a sense of your ideal client, you can search with much more precision.

Look … there’s triage involved here. I might cruise around looking at more than 300 potential clients before I find one that matches my criteria. That’s great, if you ask me.

Why should I settle for a client who is not a good fit?

Let’s remember something crucially vital. Yes … it’s important to have a great list. Yes … it’s important to have great products. But without copy, there isn’t a sale … there isn’t a phone call made to a 1-800 number.

So why am I settling for clients who will make my life miserable? Why are you?

Be aggressive. Find those great clients. Don’t work for companies that don’t deserve to work with a copywriter who can produce results.

Two more things to consider.

One. All those so called “A Lister” copywriters … were they actually really great copywriters? Or did they find and work with the top clients? Hmmmmmm …

Two. Notice I haven’t said the “niche” word. You can focus on a niche to the point where you’re willing to take on bad clients.

My niche … especially in the next few months? Finding the top clients … clients who are a good fit with my career goals over the next decade.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter

P.S. If I seem mean or even snobby then my apologies. I don't want to sound like either. I simply want serious copywriters to work with excellent clients. Is that too much to ask?

Getting Clients When You're Just Getting Started. Direct Response Copywriting Email Archive 2018 2

February 2018 2

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

Building a Portfolio When You're Just Starting ... And Keeping Your Portfolio Updated

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

I know that many of you are experienced copywriters. But many are just beginning the copywriting journey.

This email is mostly for the latter group but there will be something at the end of this email for the former group.

I'm heading back to the mid-80s when I was an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina. I headed to New York City for spring break, eschewing the warmth of Florida.

At college, I was somewhat interested in advertising and copywriting. So I looked up an alumni who worked for a large Madison Avenue advertising agency. He introduced me to a copywriter and we met somewhere deep inside one of those skyscrapers.

We discussed the subject of this email ... building a portfolio when you don't have any paid work samples.

He showed me a portfolio he created when he was in college. He simply wrote copy for imaginary products then asked a graphic designer friend to layout the ads. His portfolio helped him land a job with a big-time agency in New York. I used exactly the same tactic early in my career.

So that's the first way.

You can create and sell your own products. These could be digital or physical. Either way, you're writing copy and you'll have a wide range of samples.

Third, you can offer to write copy, for free, for friends who own businesses or non-profits. Or you can even charge them a fee. You'll quickly build a strong portfolio. They might use the copy ... they might not. But you'll have plenty of samples.

Quite frankly, there's no excuse for not having a portfolio. The companies who will hire relatively new copywriters just want to see that you can actually write copy.

Just make sure the samples you create are strong. And have a professional proofreader proof them.

Once you have some "real" samples, it's important to keep your portfolio updated. Why? Take a look at this from the analytics on my website.

If, for some technological reason I don't understand, you can't see this, my portfolio is the second most viewed page on my website.

Now ... I have to admit, I need to beef up my website with recent samples and include more links to my work. The "beefing up" is going to happen in the next 30 days.

If you're a more experienced copywriter, ask yourself a question. How good is my portfolio?

The portfolio is one of the key proof elements for a copywriter.

Do you have a methodology for creating and maintaining the portfolio on your website? I do ... it's my website developer and her name is Sissi. I'm not trying to organize something so important myself. I also have an advantage ... I use the Squarespace platform which makes it relatively easy to set up portfolios.

In the next email, I'm going to introduce you to the copy police and how to deal with them. Plus I'm going to help you refine your client search so you're looking for the right clients.

Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter