WHAT WALTER WHITE CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT BUSINESS

I recently re-watched Breaking Bad.

In case you don’t know, this show charts the rise and fall of meth baron Walter White.

It’s said to be one of the best shows ever created and I’m inclined to agree.

Believe it or not it can also teach you a great deal about the copywriting business.

For example:

1. Be the absolute best at what you do

The secret behind Walters success is simple: throughout the show he works to be the best and refuses to sell an “inferior product.”

2. Raise prices and ask for more money

Walter always wants more and it’s never enough. He pushes his buyers to make bigger orders and always asks for more money.

3. Work for yourself

Walter refuses to be under the thumb of anyone else. This is critical if you’re going to make big bucks as a copywriter. Don’t waste your time working for other people. Starting your own business is the way to go if you’re going to reach the top.

4. Defend your territory

One of the best scenes in this show is where Walter confronts a pair of rival meth cooks. The point is that success relies on ruthlessly defending yourself against the competition.

5. Avoid hubris

The reason why Walter eventually gets caught is mostly due to his ego. After getting to the top he develops massive hubris and this leads to his downfall. You need do avoid this. Always assume you’re the underdog and have more to learn. Search for weaknesses in yourself and finds ways to improve.

(BTW, if you haven’t watched this show do yourself a favor…it really is excellent).

Bye for now.  

Alastair Walton

P.S. One more point: realize that you’re never too old. At the start of the show Walter is a burnt out 50 year old with a cancer diagnosis. Despite this he manages to go toe to toe with the big dogs. If he can do it so can you…

THE EASIEST WAY TO MAKE MORE MONEY

A lot of copywriters are looking for the “ultimate secret.”

That one tip or technique that will make them maximum money in minimum time.

The unfortunate truth is that nothing like this exists.

That being said, there is one thing you can do…

…which is simply this…

Be excellent!

This might sound simple or even stupid but there’s a reason why I say this…

You see, the biggest problem with freelance copywriting is that getting work can be seriously difficult (maybe you’ve experienced this yourself). Most of the time it’s not the actual writing which is the hard part. Nope, it’s the getting clients part that people struggle with. You’ve probably heard it said that selling to existing buyers is vastly easier than finding new ones.

It’s exactly the same with clients.

Getting new clients can be a major hassle…

…but selling to existing clients is a breeze.

The hard part, of course, is keeping any client you’re lucky enough to get.

And this is why excellence is the best skill you can have.

You need to be excellence in everything you do.

From the copy you write to delivering on time, replying to messages etc. etc.

Do this and people will continue to hire you.

Not only that, you’ll find yourself working with better clients and therefore earning more.

Now, not everyone wants to hear this.

They want some sexy “hack” that will generate millions overnight.  

And to be honest, I used to think this way as well.

But like I’ve said, shortcuts don’t exist.

The only real shortcut to success is being excellent.

Until next time.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. The idea of excellence can apply to any industry. Even if you mow lawns for a living, you should strive to be the best you can possibly be.

4 THINGS I LEARNT ABOUT WRITING FROM ANTHONY BOURDAIN

I recently read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.

IMHO this is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Not only that, it also contains dozens of lessons for writers.

For example, here are just a few of the things I picked up:

1. Be passionate and the best at what you do

Why was Anthony Bourdain able to rise to the top of the cut throat New York restaurant business? Simply because he was extremely good at what he did (as well as passionate). The point is simple: be excellent at what you do. While this may seem overly simplistic you’d be surprised at how many people simply don’t care.

2. Write conversationally

If you’ve ever watched one of his TV shows this book will really surprise you. The reason why is because it reads exactly the way he talks. There’s almost no distinction between the way he sounds on TV and the tone of this book. It’s really amazing. This is something you have to apply to your writing. It’s highly important that you write in a conversational tone and avoid sounding overly formal.

3. Work fast

The most important thing I learnt from this book is the importance of speed. In the restaurant business speed is paramount. No one wants to wait hours for their food. If this happens they will simply walk out. This is why restaurant kitchens operate like a production line. The only goal is getting orders out as quickly as possible…while still maintaining quality. This is something you absolutely have to apply to your writing. In my experience most clients are extremely impatient. They want the job done NOW.

4. Tell stories

Kitchen Confidential is basically a series of anecdotes involving Anthony Bourdain’s time in the restaurant business. One of the most famous of these is his, “why you shouldn’t order fish on a Monday” story. In this story he basically promises to reveal insider information. He does this throughout the book and this is what makes it so compelling and hard to put down.

Anyway, if you haven’t read this book yet it’s certainly worth picking up.

More tomorrow.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. The reason why you don’t want to order fish on Monday’s is because fish isn’t sold over the weekend…meaning any fish you order on Monday is old fish from the week before.

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID “COPYWRITING VIRGINS”

I’ve mentioned this time and time again but it bears repeating:

Nothing is more important than carefully selecting your clients.

Working with the wrong people means enduring stress, sleepless nights, and worse.

(Not only that, you’re likely to get cheated out of your money).

So how do you select your clients?

Well, that answer goes well beyond the scope of this post, but here’s a quick tip:

Do everything you can to avoid what I call “copywriting virgins.”

You see, marketing and more specifically copywriting is a deeply complex topic. What this means is that you’re going to want to work with people who know how the game operates. People who understand how copy works and ideally have some experience with direct response marketing.

Basically you’ll want to avoid “first timers.”

Doing this will save you a great deal of hassle and heartache.

And here’s something even more important.

You should also avoid people who haven’t made a buck in business.

Not only do these inexperienced newbies have no clue, but they’re usually a pain to deal with.

What’s more, most of them are flat broke. This means they’ll usually have a problem with paying your fee. On the other hand, experienced business people usually know the score.

Even better, they know what good copy is worth, and have no problem paying for your work.

What’s more, they’re usually a pleasure to deal with.

You basically want to find someone who has an actual business which makes money.

That way they can actually pay you.

The bottom line is this:

Avoid clients who have no experience with copywriting and marketing…

…and clients who aren’t making money and therefore cannot pay you.

Hopefully this helps.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

IS CLICKFUNNELS OVERHYPED?

What is ClickFunnels?

I was asked this the other day and felt I should share my answer with you.

You see, most internet marketers have probably heard of Russell Brunson’s ClickFunnels.

But what is it exactly?

Well, if you look online it seems as if a LOT of people are confused about this product.

But the reason why is because it’s basically shrouded by a veil of marketing B.S.

According to Brunson himself…

“ClickFunnels gives you everything you need to market, sell, and deliver your products and services online.”

This doesn’t tell you much does it? But what you really have to understand is that the reason why this product is so popular is because the marketing behind it is brilliant. Brunson has positioned the idea of “marketing funnels” as the be all and end all of everything. As long as you can build these mythical funnels (using his product) you’ll make bags of money.

The problem is that it’s a lot more complex than that.

For example you also have things like your offer, traffic, follow up etc.

(All of which plays a far bigger role than your “funnel”).

But the question remains:

What exactly is ClickFunnels?

Well as far as I can tell it’s simply an extremely fancy landing page builder.

Yep, that’s it.

It’s basically a piece of software that builds landing pages.

One positive of this product is that it allows newbies to build decent looking websites.

That being said, it’s nothing a competent web developer couldn’t whip up in hours.

When you think about it this way paying $297 a month for this product is INSANE.

My advice is to learn how to do this yourself or pay a web developer.

It’s vastly cheaper and easier.

Anyway, don’t believe the hype around ClickFunnels…

…it’s mostly a load of B.S.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. The biggest thing you can learn from ClickFunnels is this: take something ordinary…give it a name…and you’re almost guaranteed success. Remember it’s all about selling the sizzle and not the steak

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM THIS OLD SCHOOL TECHNIQUE FOR MARKETING VIDEO GAMES

Remember those GIGANTIC boxes that computer games used to come in?

Anyone who played games back in the day (I’m talking 80’s, 90’s) will probably remember them.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about then here’s a little history lesson.

In those days games came in massive boxes instead of the slim plastic cases you get today. These boxes would contain the game along with a bunch of other stuff. This other stuff would usually include manuals, maps, bits of paper, maybe a T-Shirt and so on. Back then people would often wonder about these boxes. Why put something as tiny as a CD-ROM or floppy disk in a huge cardboard box?

The reason why was simple:

You see, these boxes were really a brilliant piece of marketing psychology.

If I only sell you a CD…well…there’s a good chance you may feel disappointed.

On the other hand, by placing that product in a box you feel as if you’re getting MORE.  

Basically it was all about increasing the perceived value of the product.

The point is this:

Try to avoid delivering your product alone.

Always include other little bits and bobs.

This is why info products often come with a bunch of bonuses and other things.

Whether that’s extra videos, audios, manuals, cheat sheets, or whatever.

The bottom line is this:

Increasing the amount of “stuff” your buyers get massively increases their happiness…

…and therefore their satisfaction with your product.

Something to think about.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

HOW COCO-COLA PULLED OF HISTORY’S GREATEST MARKETING COUP

How many of you remember “New Coke?”

IMHO this was one of the most brilliant marketing campaigns ever created.

In case you’re too young to know about this here’s what happened:

All the way back in in 1985, Coco-Cola was gradually losing market share. To counter this they launched a top secret project known as “Project Kansas.” What this discovered – after a great deal of surveys and focus groups – was that Coke wasn’t “sweet enough.”

With this information a bold new plan was decided upon…

The Coco-Cola company would change their decades old formula and introduce “New Coke.”

As it turned this was a wild success and dramatically boosted sales.

But that wasn’t the end of the story…

You see, what eventually happened was that New Coke caused a massive consumer backlash. In fact, the company received more than 40,000 complaints and at one stage over 1,500 calls per day to their consumer hotline. This resulted in them returning to the original formula in only 77 days.

Now, to the untrained observer this may seem like failure but…

…I guarantee you this was all done by design.

You see, the introduction of New Coke performed several important marketing functions.

First of all, it provided massive publicity for the company.

Second, it resulted in a huge sales bump.

(Think about it, this is a no brainer: who wouldn’t try New Coke?).

Third, what you have to understand is that of course this was going to cause a backlash.

Coca-Cola is a deeply rooted piece of Americana.

This is why people got so upset and wanted the old formula back.

It’s also why the public returned in droves when “old” Coke came back.

(Causing another nice sales bump).

Ultimately, what this did was root Coke even more firmly in the minds of the public.

This is best expressed by Coke’s marketing vice president Sergio Zyman…

…the guy who came up with New Coke.

“Yes, it infuriated the public, cost us a ton of money and lasted for only 77 days before we reintroduced Coca-Cola classic. Still, New Coke was a success because it revitalized the brand and reattached the public to Coke.”

Enough said.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. How can you create your own New Coke? Basically by experimenting with your product. If sales are dwindling then try reworking things. BTW, this is why copywriters are always describing products as “New and improved.”

THE STUNNING RISE OF ONLY FANS

Over the last year Only Fans has grown into one of the world’s biggest websites.

Thousands of people have signed up and are said to be making millions of dollars per month. With all this success, it’s safe to say that Only Fans is now etched into the public consciousness. In fact, unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably also noticed their stunning rise in popularity.

But how did this happen so quickly?

Well, there are a few reasons.

(COVID-19 obviously helped).

But once again it’s all about marketing.

You see, when it comes to marketing Only Fans has a brilliant strategy.

The way they’ve done this is by advertising their success stories.

More specifically, by using paid articles to do this.

You may already know what I’m talking about.

Over the last year I’ve seen dozens and dozens of articles splashed all over the web.

These mostly take the form of the following:

“19 year old makes $100,000 per month on Only Fans…”

“Only Fans model buys a house at 21…”

“How I made a million dollars on Only Fans…”

Etc. etc.

The point of these articles is to basically generate greed, envy and curiosity. You’re supposed to read the article and then imagine yourself making the same kind of money. For example, if you were a young women and saw one of these articles…well…there’s a good chance you’d consider opening up an Only Fans account.

(BTW, people actually believe these articles, but I can guarantee you that most are fake).

So what can we learn from this?

A few things actually.

First, never underestimate the power of success stories.

Make your audience believe that others like them are enjoying success and the sky is the limit.

Paint a picture of how great life could be and people will trip over themselves trying to give you their money.

Second, never underestimate the power of paid advertising.

Don’t waste your time with stuff like SEO.

Instead, invest in advertising and putting the right copy in front of the right audience.

Do this and you can generate millions in no time at all.

Off to start my Only Fans account…

Just kidding!

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. One more thing before I go: This week Only Fans announced that they would soon ban explicit material. After a massive outcry this was reversed…but…I can pretty much guarantee you that this was simply another publicity stunt (and considering the amount of press this move received it’s fairly certain that I’m right).

WHY MOST PEOPLE GET IT WRONG WHEN IT COMES TO PRICING THEIR PRODUCTS

How you price your products is highly important.

This is also something which stumps a lot of business owners.

So how expensive should your products be?

Many people choose their price seemingly at random.

Otherwise they copy their competition…

…or go for the lowest price possible (thinking it will increase sales).

Both of these choices are boneheaded and a really bad idea.

Instead, you should raise your prices as high as possible.

Now, many people shun this advice.

They worry about being more expensive than their competition.

But this is really the wrong way to think about this.

You see, the same product sold at a different price will pretty much convert at the same level.

(And therefore bring in the same amount of revenue).

What this basically means is that you’ll either get one sale at $100, or 10 at $10.

That being said, there are other things to consider.

For example, let’s say you have an upsell or follow up product for $50.

Let’s also say around 20% of buyers purchase this additional product.

In this case your ten $10 orders will boost your revenues by an extra $200.

Not only that, you’ll also have 10 more customers who are twice are likely to buy in the future.

On the other hand, if you sell at $100…well…you’ll still have $100.

What’s more, you won’t have additional customers who may purchase additional products.

This is why many marketers sell their initial products dirt cheap.

(A good example of this are so called, “tripwire” offers).

Something else to consider is the quality of your customers.

In most cases, a higher price point should result in higher quality customers…

…while cheaper price points result in lower quality customers.

Depending on what you’re selling this can be extremely important.

Low quality customers are often a massive pain in the butt to deal with.

These are the people who complain, demand refunds, and make your life a living nightmare.

Many of these people are also price shoppers, who should generally be avoided.

Yes, they might convert easier, but this is often offset by the issues they cause.

What this all boils down to is that product pricing is entirely up to you.

Do you want less (higher quality customers) and more money per sale…

…or more (lower quality customers) and less money per sale?

Ultimately you need to consider the following:

  • Do you have upsells and follow up products?
  • How many and what type of customers do you want?
  • How is your product is converting?

(With a lower conversion rate you may want more money per sale).

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. Everything I’ve mentioned also applies to people who sell services (except for a few key differences). For example, with services the question of quality clients is even more important. Speaking from personal experience, dealing with problem clients is absolute hell, and something you’ll want to avoid. Also, most service providers don’t have upsells or follow up products. For this reason service providers are advised to sell their services for as much money as possible.

HOW POLITICIANS CAN PERSUADE PEOPLE TO TAKE THE COVID-19 VACCINE

Why are people so resistant to taking the COVID-19 vaccine?

There are a number of reasons for this…

…but the biggest is the inconsistent messages put out by authorities.

You see, I recently read an extremely interesting thread on Twitter.

The person who wrote this thread claims to be involved in high level political messaging.

According to them * this * is what politicians need to do:

1. Stop using guilt

Understand that guilt will never makeanyone take the vaccine. This is because guilt only works when people buy into your premises and moral frameworks. In fact, if people think you’re using guilt as a persuasion tool their views will only harden.

2. Respect people

Normal people are concerned that power will be used against them. If there’s no respect they will expect these abuses of power and they will naturally distrust you. At this point they become impossible to persuade.

3. Understand your audience

The powers that be seem to believe that it’s enough to announce their credentials and expertise. Instead you need to understand your audience and validate their concerns.

4. Build trust

Remember, if people don’t trust you nothing matters. Without trust they see you the same way they see a used car salesman. In this case all of your persuasion attempts will only serve to increase their skepticism of vaccines.

5. Avoid contradictions

The governments messaging has been contradictory, inconsistent, and cynical. A good example of this is politicians who go to restaurants and hair salons without masks…while ordinary people stayed inside and had their businesses shut down.

6. Admit to mistakes

These contradictions are the biggest reason why people are so skeptical. Politicians need to admit this skepticism is somewhat justified. They also need to admit that many mistakes were made.  

These points can be combined into a message which reads something like this.   

“We are sorry. We blew it at the start when we said masks don’t help. It turns out they do. We blew it when we said closing the border was racist. It was actually a good idea. We blew it with the vaccine roll out. We didn’t explain it well…”

Once this is done we move onto the meat of the message…

“We have earned your scorn and distrust. That is our fault. As a gesture of good will, we will not force you to take it…”

Doing this takes abuse of power off the table.

It also opens people up to hearing you out.

Then…

“The vaccines work. They do have side effects, and sometimes they can be severe. I want to say that first, so that you know and can make an informed decision. It is important that you have all the information. Even the downsides…”

This section is powerful because you’re not “fact checking” them.

You’re not treating their concerns as trivial, or acting pretentious, or as if you are a holier-than-thou smarty pants. Nor are you placing yourself above them or condemning them. You’re telling them that they do have concerns that must be addressed.

Next…

“The severe side effects are rare. They exist, but no more than with the flu shot or the malaria vaccine. The vaccine makes most people immune to Covid. About 95% of people who get vaccinated never get Covid. Most vaccines are like this…”

“There is always a small group of vaccinated people who get sick anyway. However, it still means that once you take it you really lower your risk for Covid. There are exceptions, again 95% is not 100%, and there will still be people who get it and pass it on, but it really lowers your risk of getting sick.”

What’s great about this section is that you’re not overselling the vaccine’s effectiveness.

What’s more, you’re not threatening people with another lockdown.

Finally…

“The vaccine isn’t perfect, and will not make Covid go extinct. What it will do is lower the odds of people getting Covid, and if enough people do that we can make most of the Covid go away, and we can lower the risks of Covid for people…”

“Given how prevalent Covid is and that the severe vaccine side effects are no more common that with other vaccines, this is the best and safest way to protect yourself from Covid…”

Again, notice that you’re not talking down to people, threatening them, or shaming them.

This type of messaging can be effective, but only if it’s done consistently…

…and even then it will take time to work.

Feeling convinced?

Cheers,

Alastair Walton