January 2018 1
From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
First of all, happy new year and I hope you enjoyed a pleasant holiday season.
I hope you enjoyed the series about Gary Bencivenga in the last few emails. A couple of things to take away.
First. Read and digest, then re-read and re-digest Bencivenga Bullets. Here’s the link.
Second. There are two schools of thought in direct response copywriting. One school champions hype, braggadocio, and, I’ll try to put this politely, BENDING the truth. The other school champions research, clarity, and verisimilitude, which is a long word for putting the truth in the best possible light ... but still telling the truth about the product or service.
Gary Bencivenga was one of the greatest copywriters of all time and he was firmly in the latter school. Which school are you going to be in? I don’t know about you but I’m following Gary Bencivenga.
When I’m not writing copy, I go skiing, and, in fact, I’m a part-time ski instructor. One of my favorite colleagues fully understands the technical aspects of skiing … and these can be extremely complex. Anyone want to discuss the finer points of centripetal forces?
But she’s extremely superb at helping with the mental side of skiing. She helps her students feel comfortable on skis and comfortable with confidence on skis.
So, in the next few emails, I’m going to discuss what it really takes to succeed as a direct response copywriter. You can read a TON about the technical side of copywriting. You can read a TON about direct marketing fundamentals. And you can read a TON about dealing with clients. But you’ll rarely read anything about the mindset you need to succeed in this business.
You can also find a lot of information about how to find clients. In fact, I just purchased a program from a well-known organization. The program promises to tell me how to find clients but it’s the same old bunk: nobody tells you which potential clients to contact.
I know how to find them. I’m going to reveal all this year as I personally search for two to three clients I hope to work with for a long time.
But first, it’s important to understand the mindset you must have to succeed in this business. The mindset starts with confidence.
Let’s say I’m skiing and I’m about to ski a pretty steep pitch deep in the trees. I know I have the technique to ski this pitch. But I need confidence and I have to trust myself. Yes … I could fall and I could possibly hurt myself. But I could also ski the pitch successfully and gain the benefits of having tackled something difficult.
In copywriting, trust begins with fully understanding the scale of the opportunity.
A famous copywriter once said to a group of copywriters, “there’s an ocean of opportunity out there, and you’re a thimble.” And he’s right.
I hear two things ALL the time.
First, from companies and agencies … “we’re desperate for good copywriters … we’re always looking.”
Second, especially from people who are in groups on social media, “I’m desperate for clients.”
It’s totally crazy and makes no sense.
The problem, again, is mindset. First, you need the mindset that will lead to constant learning and improvement so you can consistently convert potential buyers into actual buyers. Second, you need the mindset “I’m going to succeed and I’m going to find the clients I really want and need.”
I’m a big fan of Dan Kennedy, for a number of reasons I’ll discuss in future emails, perhaps. But one thing he said really resonates with me, almost every day.
“Most people give up when there’s even the slightest headwind.” If you’re one of those people, then find a full-time job where, in return for a probably paltry wage, you know you’ll probably have employment for a long time.
But if you’re serious about success in copywriting, then be prepared for headwinds, turbulence, and other hazards.
Again … it’s all about mindset and I’ll discuss this more over the next few weeks.
Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter