THE SECRET METHOD FOR GETTING GOOD AT ANYTHING

What’s the secret to getting good at something?

And I’m not just talking about being “good.”

I’m talking about achieving God like mastery.

Well, believe it or not, the real secret is simple repetition.

You want to take something simple and practice it over and over and over again.

This means honing and practicing the basics until they become profound.

It also means daily repetition…

…sometimes for months or even years.

These posts are a good example. At this point I’ve written hundreds of them. Simply by doing this I’ve greatly increased the ability to formulate my thoughts, write them down, and come up with a halfway decent blog post. Even more importantly, my writing speed has greatly increased. What used to take hours, now takes minutes.

The problem with most people is that they don’t want to hear this.

People want overnight results with very little effort.

What they don’t understand is that this method often works a lot better.

You see, time is always passing…

…and eventually it all adds up.

So all you really have to do is devote a few minutes per day to practice.

Over time that combined effort will accumulate…

…and you to will achieve God like mastery of your chosen craft.

Whether that’s writing, speaking, marketing or something else…

…the fruits will be yours to enjoy.

More tomorrow:

Alastair Walton

DEEP VS. WIDE EMAIL LISTS (WHICH IS BETTER?)

When looking at email lists I like to classify them as being either “Deep” or “Wide.”

Here’s a quick explanation of what I’m talking about.

(And why this concept is so important for marketers.)

1. Deep Lists

Deep lists primarily refer to a list of buyers. More specifically, I’m talking about a list of buyers who have spent serious money. This can be anything from $297 all the way up to $1997, or more. Another feature of these lists is that they are usually small. For example, you often hear people brag about making money with a list of less than a hundred people. This is how they do it.

When I talk about deep lists I’m also talking about your relationship with that list. People with deep lists have cultivated a relationship with their audience over years and sometimes decades. The audience sees them as a valuable source of information and guidance. They are effectively a guru in their industry.

This means that when you mail high ticket offers…well…the list converts.

And with every offer mailed that relationship grows deeper and deeper.

Then, on the other hand, you have…

2. Wide Lists

A wide list refers to a list of people who have yet to convert. It also refers to people who may have bought low ticket offers. It could also mean you have a list of freebie seekers who will never convert. Another feature of these lists is that you have subscribers who don’t read your emails, or who rarely read them.

Now, this type of list can make you money. For example, if you have 10,000 or more subscribers, and you make a low ticket offer, you’re almost guaranteed to make sales.

Will you make as much as you would with a deep list? Probably not, but it really depends on what type of offer you’re mailing…and how many subscribers you have.

Another problem with wide lists is that these types of buyers can be a pain in the butt. These are the people who feel nothing about asking for a refund and ripping you off. Wide lists can also be a problem because running a list takes money.

So now that you understand this concept here is the real question:

Which type of list is better?

Deep or wide…

The truth is that neither is perfect.

What you really want to do is aim for a mixture of both.

To start with, you want to get as many subscribers as possible and build a wide list.

Really build up that subscriber count and never stop doing this.

Ideally, you want new people subscribing on a daily basis.

You then want to start filtering out people, converting your subscribers, and building a deep list

You do this by mailing as often as possible.

People who aren’t interested in what you’ve got will unsubscribe.

(Believe it or not this is actually a good thing.)

You basically want people to stop wasting your time and shit or get off the pot.

This is basically the art of curating and manicuring your list.

You also want to build and strengthen your relationship with your audience.

This means getting them to know, like, and trust you.

Next, sell a mixture of high and low ticket offers.

High ticket offers also help to get rid of people, especially those who were never going to buy.

That being said, you shouldn’t only sell high ticket offers. It’s a good idea to mix in the occasional low ticket offer. You see, there could be people who like what you’re offering, but who aren’t ready to commit to spending a lot of money with you. These people need a taste of what you’ve got to offer, before they commit to a bigger meal. This is why it’s a good idea to occasionally throw in a low ticket offer.

The bottom line is that you have deep and wide lists.

You goal, as a marketer is to build a mixture of both.

By doing this you’ll maximize conversions…

…and ultimately turn your list into a money making machine.

Alastair Walton

MARK ZUCKERBERGS BILLION DOLLAR GAMBLE

Many years ago there was a restaurant in my neighborhood.

This place did business like crazy.

Almost every night there was a queue out the door and down the block.

Then…disaster struck.

What happened was this:

Whoever owned the place decided to shut it down for remodeling. I have no idea how long this took…must have been a month or two. When it opened back up, the momentum was gone and the magic could not be recaptured. The crowd had moved on to somewhere else. And just over six months later this restaurant closed for good. Yes, I’m sure they were making money, but the ripple effect of shutting down eventually took them out.

This example reminds me of what’s happening with Facebook right now.

By all accounts the social media giant is circling the drain.

To start with, their share price has fallen by about 70% during 2022.

What’s more, the company is now planning to begin large-scale layoffs.

(According to reports, thousands of people are being let go.)

But why is all of this happening?

Well, it all goes back to the example I gave at the start of this message.

You see, Facebook isn’t actually Facebook anymore, is it?

Oh no, Mark Zuckerburg decided to “remodel” his business and turn Facebook into Meta…

…and now the magic is gone.

The point here is that you should never up-end your business too much.

Don’t make too many sweeping changes all at once.

You want to avoid altering your core business model or entirely rebranding the business.

Don’t replace what works with something completely untested.

(Does anyone actually want the Metaverse, I don’t think so?)

Make too many sweeping changes too quickly and you’ll upset the apple cart.

Anyway, most of this will be of very little use to you.

Just wanted to share my thoughts on something you may find interesting.

Alastair Walton

WHY BE A BEGGAR WHEN YOU CAN BE A KING?

So many marketers settle for being beggars.

But why do this when you can be a KING?

You see, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is this:

Find ONE market and dominate it.

People don’t want to hear this.

They think I’m saying you need to focus on one tiny niche forever.

They don’t want to do this because they think…erroneously…that there’s less money to be made.

They want to sell to everyone all at once.

And this is why they end up becoming beggars…

…competing against dozens of other people and getting nowhere.

This is also why it’s so important that you focus on one niche at a time.

For example, say you’re an agency that offers digital advertising services. First of all, why not focus on one platform, for example, Facebook? Then, instead of offering your services to anyone and everyone, you could concentrate only on, say, people who own restaurants. You could get even more specific and focus on pizzeria advertising.

What you’d do in this case is start looking at what’s happening in that market right now.

Where do these people congregate online…what are they buying…and so on.  

You want to figure out how you’re going to dominate this market.

How do you become the go-to guy in your area for pizza parlor owners who want to advertise online? To start with, you’ll learn how to craft marketing that attracts these people. You’ll also want to start building a list…and make them get to know you…like you…and trust you. Most importantly, you’ll want to figure out what the competition is doing, but better.

To do this you need to dig deep and go beneath the surface.

Most people don’t want to do this because it’s “hard work.”

These people are more than happy to settle for being beggars.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to make a little more effort…well…

…that’s when you become a KING in that market.

It’s also how you end up dominating the market…

…and how you know when you’re ready to move onto the next one.

Alastair Walton

DO YOU NEED TESTED RESULTS TO GET STARTED AS A COPYWRITER?

Getting started as a freelance copywriter is TOUGH

(No doubt about it.)

One of the biggest obstacles is having a proven track record of results.

It’s sort of a catch-22 situation.

You can’t get work if you don’t have results…

…and you don’t have results because you can’t get work.

So what’s the solution?

The solution is to quit worrying about this.

It isn’t nearly as important as you think, and you shouldn’t let this hold you back.

In fact, you don’t actually need results.

You see, copywriting clients generally fall into 3 categories:

1. Discerning Clients

About a third of potential clients are extremely picky. They vet copywriters rigorously, and if you lack experience, you’re highly unlikely to be hired. These people ask a million questions, conduct multiple interviews, and need a great deal of assurance. Unless you have a reputation (meaning the client is presold), you’re unlikely to get the job.

2. Easy Clients

Another third of clients are easy. These people want copy written and really don’t care who writes it. They’re looking for something quick and nasty, and preferably cheap. These are the people who you want to initially target. As long as your rates are low enough, you’re likely to get a shot with them.

3. A mixture of Both

The final third of clients are a mixture of both. These people aren’t going to make you jump through a million hoops. At the same time they’re a bit more discerning than the abovementioned clients. They’re not looking for some high powered copywriter, but they don’t want a complete amateur either. These are essentially your middle of the road clients who will consider working with you, even if you’re a total beginner.

That being said, getting hired by these people isn’t easy.

You still have to sell yourself and do a good job of it.

This means giving off the impression that you know what you’re doing…

…it also means having projects, samples, and testimonials available. 

Alastair Walton

P.S. The real lesson here is that you should always be working on your chops. Improving your skills should be priority #1. As long as you can write half way decent copy…and present yourself correctly…there’s a good chance you’ll actually get work.

TINDER FOR COPYWRITERS?

Ever been on a date with someone from Tinder?

Funnily enough, most Tinder users have yet to achieve this lofty goal.

But what happens if you do beat the odds and actually meet someone on this God forsaken app?

There’s a good chance the date will suck.

It’s going to be weird…

Uncomfortable..

…and probably won’t go ANYWHERE.

You’ll more than likely end up being ghosted or worse…

Let alone “close” the deal.

Now compare this with meeting someone through friends.

What about those dates?

Well, those dates usually go a lot, lot better.

But why is this?

A big reason is because the person is presold.

Friends have vouched for you and this (hopefully) means you’re a decent person.

Those dates ALWAYS turn out better.

Now, there’s a lot of parallels between dating apps and online job sites.

You see, in a way these sites are almost like Tinder for copywriters.

First of all, you’re usually fighting hundreds of other people for a small handful of clients.

This immediately puts you at a major disadvantage.

What it also means is that “consummating” the deal is very, very difficult.

Yes it can be done and I’ve done it before, but it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

Bottom line:

Tinder for copywriters i.e. job sites are best avoided.

It’s a lot better to “meet through friends.”

How do you do this?

Well, seeking referrals from satisfied clients is the first step.

Better yet, start your own website and build a list.

This way people get to know, like and trust you.

More importantly, you’ll close more and higher quality clients…

…and do it with a lot less hassle.

Something to think about.

Alastair Walton

THE LITTLE KNOWN SALES PAGE TRICK THAT SAVES YOU TIME AND MONEY

Being weird (and a little different) is extremely important when it comes to marketing.

Why?

The simple reason is that it helps you stand out from the crowd.

Something which is highly important in today’s ultra-competitive business environment.

So without any more delay, here’s a simple trick for building sales letters that get attention.

How does it work?

It’s quite simple:

Basically, instead of building a fancy sales page, you use a Google Doc.

All you do is take your sales letter text, dump it into a Doc, add a link to your shopping cart, and send the document off. Now, this might seem a bit pointless, but this method has a number of benefits.

1. There’s no coding required.

The biggest advantage is that you don’t need to hire a designer or funnel builder. Most people can’t code – myself included – but with this method that issue is no longer a problem. Not only that, you can do in minutes what would normally take hours.

2. Let’s you test quickly

Instead of spending days or weeks building your sales page, you can quickly throw up some copy and see if it works. This allows you to quickly test sales letter angles.

3. Slips in under the radar

People don’t expect to be sold to in a Google Doc. I mean, Google Docs is for documents and stuff like that, right? This means your audience’s guard is down. It also means you have a far greater chance of people actually opening, reading, and buying from your Doc.

4. You can add in media

Another big advantage is that you can add in gifs, memes, videos, and other media which increases sales.

5. Promote affiliate offers

With this technique you can also promote certain affiliate offers by email. I’m talking about things that would usually get flagged as spam.

6. Create your own sales pages

You can also create your own sales pages for affiliate offers which have bad copy.

7. Social proof

Google Docs tells you how many people have looked at the document. This provides you with excellent social proof.

8. “Double” sized emails

Emails with a Google Doc attached are double the size of regular emails (if you’ve ever received an email with a Google Doc, you’ll know what I’m talking about.) Using this method is like getting double the amount of advertising space for the same amount of money.

There’s also another amazing advantage.

This alone makes the method worth trying.

You see, this trick can massively increase deliverability. This is simply because Google owns both Gmail and Google Docs. Therefore it makes logical sense that they would send an email with a Google Doc to the primary tab. After all, Google wants people to use their products. And with email deliverability rates at an all-time low, this alone makes the method worth trying. Attaching a Google Doc also makes it seem as if your message is ultra-important. Therefore it has a greater chance of ending up in the primary tab.

The bottom line is that this method works amazingly well.

If you haven’t tried it yet, then maybe you should.

Alastair Walton

WHY RAISING YOUR FEES ISN’T ALWAYS THE ANSWER

If you’ve ever worked with a copywriting coach…

…you’ll know the first thing they tell you is…

Raise your fees!

In fact, it’s often their primary piece of advice.

Raise your fees raise your fees raise your fees.

Get as much money as possible for every job you do.

Take the client for everything they have.

All you have to do is charge more and your problems are solved.

These so called experts usually have a number of reasons to justify this.

They tell you things like:

“Increasing your fees increases your perceived value…”

“Increasing your perceived value increases demand…”

“You get what you pay for…”

“Know your worth…”

But is this actually good advice?

The answer is yes and no.

What most people don’t understand is that there’s a catch to this.

First of all, charging more doesn’t automatically make your more attractive to clients.

What’s more, it can actually have the opposite effect.

You may actually chase away good clients who would hire you.

You see, not everyone is prepared to pay whatever fee or price you quote.

This is especially true if you don’t provide good reasons to justify those fees.

These reasons should include:

  • You’re the best at what you do
  • You’re better than other people providing the same service
  • You deliver faster than others providing the same service
  • You’re easier to deal with than other people
  • Your service is desperately needed
  • You’re recognized as a top expert in your field
  • You’re seen as trustworthy
  • You have a unique advantage over the competition

On the other hand, if there’s no clear difference between you and other copywriters…

…and no perceived advantage to hiring you vs. the other guy…

…then you’re not going to get anywhere by simply raising your fees.

Now this isn’t always the case.

You could argue that a higher price triggers the perception that your service is superior

And in many cases this is actually true.

The problem is that in overcrowded market places it becomes less and less true.

Clients, rather than blindly assuming that more expensive means better, now want you to prove your superiority.

And the more proof you have the more deals you’ll close.

Bottom line:

Raising your prices isn’t always the key to success.

It doesn’t always help you gain a competitive advantage…

…and may actually work against you.

Here’s a better strategy:

Actually increase the quality and value of your services.

Doing this will trigger increased demand and build your reputation as a go-to provider.

Only at that point should you consider raising your fees.

Got it?

Alastair Walton

THE SALT AND PEPPER TECHNIQUE FOR WRITING HEADLINES

How do you write the perfect headline?

Every copywriting guru has a different take on this.

And seriously, there are a million and one ways to approach this topic.

Personally, I like to think of it as adding salt and pepper to your food.

Here’s what I mean:

You want to start with a base benefit, topic, or something that grabs your readers attention.

Some examples of this might include…

“Lose weight”

“Save money”

“Look younger”

Or even something like…

“Donald Trump”

Or…

“Climate change”

(Just note that these are BAD examples. They’re too simple. When doing this you want to be as ultra-specific as possible and zero in on something that the reader is extremely interested in.)

This topic or benefit forms the base of your headline.

I call this the “salt” and it’s the thing that grabs or hooks your readers attention.

In this post our salt is the phrase “writing headlines.”

If you’re still reading this, it’s because you want to learn how to do that.

Now, everything else which surrounds the salt is what I call the “pepper.”

These are basically words which add to the flavor of your headline.

A lot of the time this pepper includes your standard headline formats.

I’m talking about things like…

“Why…”

“What…”

“How to…”

“10 ways to…”

The pepper can also include other words which enhance the flavor.

Things like:

“Weird”

“Strange”

“Unusual”

“Groundbreaking”

You’ll also want to add in curiosity generating phrases like:

“What you don’t know about xyz could kill you.”

“Why most people never discover the truth about xyz before it’s too late.”

“10 reasons why your xyz isn’t working.”

And so on and so on.

(In this post our pepper is “The salt and pepper technique…”)

When we mix it all up we get:

“The salt and pepper technique for writing headlines”

Believe it or not it’s really that simple.

Start with your salt.

Find a benefit or topic that excites your audience and grabs their attention.

Next, add in your pepper.

Use weird, colorful, or strange words and surround them with curiosity generating phrases.

With this simple technique you can write headlines quickly.

Not only that, you can use it to write email subject lines, sales letter headlines, article titles, YouTube titles…

…or anything really.

Until we meet again,

Alastair Walton

THINKING OF CANCELLING YOUR NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTION?

Netflix seems to be in a death spiral.

Yes, according to recent news articles, their share price has plunged dramatically. Not only that, subscribers (even decades long subscribers) are cancelling by the thousands. But is it really the end for this pioneering streaming platform?

More importantly, why is this happening?

Well IMHO, here are some of the reasons why Netflix is going down.

(Plus some ideas on how they can turn things around.)

1. The Binge Model

The problem with Netflix is that the platform is really a victim of its own success. One of the reasons why streaming became so popular was because you could binge watch shows. This created an entirely new dynamic compared to watching traditional TV. In fact, it was one of the major selling points of streaming.

Unfortunately, this success is also a double edged sword. The reason why is because being able to watch every episode at once, also means you don’t have to subscribe for very long.

If there’s something you’re really interested in you can sign up, watch it in a day, and cancel. Another problem is that, in order to keep up with the insatiable level of consumption, Netflix started pumping out as much content as possible. Which brings us to the second point.

2. Garbage Content

The big joke is that Netflix will green light literally anything. And this is really the problem. It doesn’t pay to pump out garbage content. It’s about quality not quantity. This is the real reason why so many people are unsubscribing. Netflix originals equal garbage and people know it. Even worse, they’ve developed a reputation for…

3. Cancelling Shows

Netflix is notorious for cancelling shows. If you search for “list of cancelled Netflix shows” you’ll discover that the platform has done away with more than 50+ shows over the years. This is a big problem if you want subscribers to stick around. You see, you need to get them invested…and…this isn’t going to happen if you immediately cancel everything.

Not only is this bad for the platform and bad for subscribers, it’s also bad for creators. If you had a killer idea for a show…and…you knew Netflix would more than likely end up cancelling you…well…would you even bother approaching them? Probably not. These issues are also compounded by the fact that they’re now facing…

4. Massively Increased Competition

Back in the day Netflix was the top dog, numero uno of the streaming world. Today there are dozens of streaming platforms. HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and the list goes on (even CNN had a streaming platform for about 5 minutes.) Not only are these platforms competing with Netflix, but they’re also pulling licensed content.  And to deal with these issues Netflix is…

5. Raising Prices.

This isn’t nearly as much of a problem as people think it is. Most customers are happy to accept a reasonable price increase – provided you’re selling a quality product. As we’ve seen, Netflix isn’t providing quality. Which is why price increases are a major reason why people are unsubscribing.

These are just a few of the challenges facing our beloved streaming platform.

But will Netflix survive?

To be honest, it’s hard to see what the future holds. They may turn things around or continue to decline. Whether or not this happens will really depend on the people in charge. The fact is that subscribers must be weaned off the binge model. Netflix needs to release less, higher quality content. In addition to this they need to stop raising prices.

And this is the lesson for internet marketers

You absolutely cannot pump out garbage content.

Remember, content is king and the biggest reason why Netflix is failing is because their content sucks. Another lesson is that you need to stay on your toes. Just because you’re the market leader today, doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way forever.

What’s more, you need to continually examine your business model and look for weak spots.

What’s working today may not necessarily work tomorrow.

Alastair Walton

P.S. It’s hard to know how much of this is actually true. You see, part of the reason why Netflix is in decline is because of the competition. What I’m trying to say is that a lot of these stories may be negative PR planted by other streaming platforms. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but who knows what the truth is?