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

GET CLIENTS QUICKLY WITH THIS UNUSUAL METHOD

Many years ago I was trying to break into the world of freelance copywriting.

At that point I was really struggling.

No matter what I did, no one would hire me.

But then I heard about an interesting way to find work.

With this technique you can quickly get as many clients as you need.

Not only that, it provides copywriters with a few additional benefits as you’ll see below.

What is this technique?

Well, what you basically want to do is find people with existing sales pages (one way to do this is by visiting Clickbank and getting in touch with product owners.) Send these people a message and tell them about yourself and that you’re a copywriter. Then tell them that you want to rewrite their sales letter…for free…and that they only need to pay if you write something that converts higher than what they’ve got at the moment.

Now, before you turn your nose up at this idea, there’s a good reason why you should try it.

First of all, this is a no-brainer offer because there’s zero risk to the client – which means you’ll actually GET clients. What’s more, offer this service to enough people and you’ll eventually strike gold i.e. you’ll actually write a letter that converts and get paid for your efforts. In fact, this may even turn into ongoing work if you’re lucky.

There’s also another benefit which most people don’t think about.

You see, when starting out as a copywriter there’s one thing you need more than anything else.

What is this?

EXPERIENCE.

You need to get to the point where you’ve worked with a handful of clients…

…and written at least 2-5 sales letters or other pieces of copy.

More importantly…

You need to have written copy that actually converts.

Only by doing this will you gain the experience needed to move onto more serious projects.

Bottom line:

If you want to break into freelance copywriting then consider offering a free sales letter rewrite.

Doing this is a great way to gain experience and confidence.

Plus it helps you build up a portfolio…

…plus you might actually earn some money.

Alastair Walton

P.S. One more thing before I go: If you’re going to do this make sure you have another source of income i.e. don’t quit your day job to become a copywriter and then work for free. The reason why is because you’re probably not going to make a lot of money (or even get paid.) In my experience most people don’t run your copy and will ignore you after it’s delivered. If they do use the copy and it makes money…well…there’s no guarantee they’ll honor the agreement. Remember, you’re doing this purely for experience and not money, so don’t concentrate on that until later…

IS IT WORTH PUBLISHING YOUR OWN CONTENT?

Should copywriters publish their own content?

For example, should put time into writing a newsletter or blog. More specifically, is this worth doing if you’re busy with client work…what’s more, with the thousands of other blogs and newsletters out there, is this really something that you need to spend time on?

The answer to these questions is YES.

It’s more than worth it…

…just not for the reasons that most people think.

You see, there are three good reasons why you should publish your own content.

1. Creates visibility in your target market

Creating and publishing content gives you visibility in your target market. This is assuming that you consistently publish and promote it. This also assumes that your content is interesting. Now, this doesn’t mean it has to be mind-blowing. Just as long as you provide readers with value you’ll be ok. Also note that it doesn’t have to be long, 200-500 words is fine.

2.Gives clients a chance to get to know you

Publishing your own content allows prospective clients to connect with you. It helps you build a connection with them and they also get to know, like, and trust you. Not only that, if you write something that resonates with them, it greatly increases the chances of them hiring you.

3. Gets your ideas out on paper

Most people have dozens of great ideas bouncing around their heads. Unfortunately, these ideas are mostly useless until you explore them in a deeper way. One of the best ways to do this is by getting them down on paper.

Bottom line:

There are many good reasons why you need to create your own content.

These reasons are valid no matter how many blogs or newsletter you’re competing against.

Alastair Walton

THIS GUY WROTE FOR 17 YEARS (BEFORE EARNING A PENNY) HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM HIM)

Steven Pressfield is an American author of historical fiction.

Like most writers, success did not come easy. In fact, it was 17 years before he earned a penny from writing and another 27 before his first novel got published (The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was later turned into a movie starring Will Smith and Matt Damon.)

But his real break-through came when he wrote a book called “The War of Art.”

Maybe you’ve heard of it?

To give you a brief summary, this book is basically a guide to pressing through the barriers which hold you back from doing creative work. It’s sold well over a million copies and even after all these years, is still incredibly popular.

But there’s a good reason for this.

First of all, the title – which is basically a play on the “Art of War” – is brilliant.

Second, this book is primarily aimed at people in the creative field – writers, artists etc.

(More specifically, it’s aimed at people who want to write or make art.)

And this is really why the book is so popular.

You see, these kinds of products are a dime a dozen. There are literally hundreds on goal setting, motivation, success, and spirituality. Unfortunately, 99% of these books sink without a trace. But the reason why the War of Art succeeds – and continues to succeed – is because if differentiates itself.

Instead of being aimed at the general public, this book targets people in the creative field.

And this is why it continues to sell…year after year after year.

Moral of the story?

Whether you’re writing a book, creating a course, or designing a new product, it’s critical that you do something different. Whether it’s targeting a subset of the market (like The War of Art does) your packaging, or what the product does, you have to find a way to make yourself different and stand out.

Do this and you’ll drastically increase your chances of success.

Alastair Walton  

6 WAYS TO REVEAL YOUR PRICE (AND DO IT WITHOUT PUTTING CUSTOMERS OFF)

My buddy collects knives.

So one morning we go to a knife show. Eventually something catches his eye. We walk over to look at the piece and within a minute or two, a salesman arrives and tries to sell us on buying it. Everything’s going well until Mr. Salesman mentions the price. I can’t remember the exact cost, but it was extremely expensive…and…the instant this happened, my friend lost interest completely.

This story illustrates an important point.

Basically, the way you present your price is critical.

Doing this incorrectly could result in something known as “sticker shock.”

(i.e. your price shocks people and they are immediately put off buying.)

Now, while price is not always the determining factor, it does play a major role.

The point is that presenting your price the wrong way could destroy the sale.

To help you out here are some of my favorite strategies for avoiding this:

1. Compare apples to oranges

The easiest way to bring up your price is simply by comparing your product to something else. Let’s say you’re selling a get-better-at-golf DVD. What you could do is compare the product to the cost of hiring a PGA pro (in this case you’d also want to mention things like the cost of travelling to lessons etc.)

2. Sell the size

People associate size with value. Mention how much your product weights, the volume, or amount of space it takes up. If you’re selling information products, then talk about how many tips, techniques, and so on are in the product (i.e. “this course contains 99+ tips for improving your golf swing.”)

3. Talk about the cost of development

Go into detail discussing the amount of people it took to create the product. Mention their qualifications and experience, the amount of money you spent, the quality of the components, how difficult it was to build this product, and the rigorous testing it went through.

4. Make the parts worth more than the whole

This is a classic technique used when selling information products. You simply mention everything they get when buying the product. This includes things like bonuses, and other additional components.

5. Use installments

This strategy is often used in television commercials. Rather than presenting the price you say something like: “Just three small monthly installments of $11.95 charged to your credit card.”

6. The cup of coffee technique

This technique works well if you’re selling a subscription based product. What you do is break your price down into a daily cost and then compare that to something else. You could, for example, be selling a product which costs $99 per month. In this case you’d say “costs only $3.20 per day. Less than a cup of coffee!”

Anyway, using these techniques makes your price a little easier to swallow…

….which should, in the long run, help to increase conversions.

Stay tuned for more,

Alastair Walton

MONROE’S MOTIVATED SEQUENCE: HAVE YOU TRIED THIS ONE OF A KIND PERSUASION FORMULA?

Looking for a simple way to create persuasive sales copy?

Alan H. Monroe was an American psychologist and lecturer at Purdue University.

He’s most famous for creating a persuasive framework he called Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.

This sequence consists of the following steps.

  • Attention
  • Need
  • Satisfaction
  • Visualization
  • Action

Let’s go over these:

1. Get the reader’s attention

The most basic way of doing this is by bringing up a problem the audience wants to solve. You may also want to open up with a dramatic story. This story could involve someone overcoming the problem you just mentioned. Rhetorical questions also work well, so do shocking statistics (statistics also demonstrate you’re an authority on the subject.)

2. Highlight their need for the solution

Talk about the potential consequences of ignoring the issue. For example, a weight problem may lead to heart disease or diabetes. Be specific and try to put a sense of urgency into your writing. They need to act now before the problem becomes irreversible. You want them in a highly emotional state. Also backup everything you say with evidence.

3. Provide the solution

Here you present the solution and explain how it works. Mention how this satisfies their desires or fulfills a specific need. In this part it’s also important to prove your solution works. You can do this by providing testimonials and case studies. Also anticipate any objections the audience may have. Finally summarize the information you’ve presented.

4. Visualize the future

Paint a compelling picture of a future without their problem. What will life be like? How will things improve? You can also use the compare and contrast method. For example, what will happen if they don’t take action?

5. Ask for action

Mention the specific steps they need to take. This could include calling a number, visiting your website, or clicking the add to cart button. Taking action could also mean starting a new habit, or living life in a different way. Whatever you do, keep things simple. It’s also important that you create a sense of urgency and need. Motivate them into taking immediate action.

This sequence works for any type of copy you’re writing.

This includes sales letters, emails, landing pages, and books.

You can even use it to write effective speeches.

Alastair Walton

HOW TO BUILD YOUR LIST WITH A STRATEGY USED BY THE WORLD’S BIGGEST RETAILERS

A “loss leader” is essentially an item sold at or below cost.

These products are primarily used to attract new customers.

Their purpose is simply to get you through the door in the hope that you’ll buy more products.

(This is also why they’re known as “door busters.”)

This strategy is widely used in the retail industry and has worked for decades.

It’s also a strategy which online entrepreneurs can use with equal success. More importantly, it’s a fantastic way to build your list. Remember, the bigger your list, the more money you’ll make. Not only that, people who have already purchased something are more likely to purchase something else. Another benefit of this idea is that it’s cheaper than advertising on Google, Facebook, or Twitter.

If you’re interested in using this strategy, then here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Find affiliates and joint venture partners

Look for people with big lists who sell similar products to yours. Get in contact with these people and let them know what you have on offer (just note that it’s best to establish a relationship before you launch into the business side of things.)

2. Create your product

At this point you should already have a product to sell. Price this product at $39 (I’ll explain why in minute.) If you don’t have a product then it’s time to create one. The most important thing is that your book is highly valuable and appeals to the market. Creating a quality product also increases the chance that affiliates will choose to promote it.

3. Offer affiliates 100% commission

Approach affiliates and suggest they sell your $39 book to their subscribers for only $19. This way they can give their subscribers a $20 discount. Doing this greatly increases the appeal of your product. Also tell these affiliates that you’re not going to offer the usual 50% commission. Instead you’ll give them 100% commission. This also greatly increases your chances of recruiting affiliates.

4. Provide email swipes

Most affiliates are lazy and don’t want to write their own emails. This why it’s a good idea to provide them with email swipes. Writing these also increases your chances of making sales. After all, as the product creator you’re the person most familiar with your product…and can therefore write the best copy.

At this point you’re set.

If everything goes according to plan, affiliates will send out your emails, make sales…

…and you’ll add hundreds of names to your list.

(With almost no effort.)

What’s more, you can then market additional products to these subscribers…

…and actually start making some real money.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton  

HOW TO MAKE IT AS A FREELANCE WRITER

It’s safe to say that thousands of people dream of writing for a living.

So what does it take to do this?

The first thing I can tell you is that it’s NOT about the writing.

You see, the biggest assumption people have is that being a “good” writer is important.

Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Writing is only a small piece of the puzzle.

In fact, your writing ability accounts for maybe 10-20% of your success. It’s vastly more important to learn how to market yourself, deal with clients, manage your time, and meet deadlines. Out of all this, being able to deal with clients is probably the most important.

You HAVE to learn how to weed out and avoid bad clients…

…and also how to cultivate, motivate, and manage your good clients.

The point is this:

If you want to do this for a living then stop worrying about being a “good” writer.

It’s easy to get by as long as you’ve competent.

Instead, focus on learning the abovementioned skills.

Do this and you’re almost guaranteed success.

Until next time…

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

THE BEST WAY TO WRITE A NURTURE EMAIL SEQUENCE

What’s the best way to write a nurture email sequence?

In case you don’t know this is a series of emails designed to warm up prospects.

The idea is that you use this sequence to build a relationship, get people interested in your product…and…at some point ask for the sale. But how do you do this? Most copywriters have their own opinion on writing these sequences…

…but IMHO the easiest way is simply not to bother.

You see, if you want to “nurture” leads all you have to do is email them at regular intervals.

This is because the best buyers don’t need “warming up.”

Serious people are usually ready to buy from the get go.

(Not only that, if you take too long to ask for the sale you may end up losing it.)

Sending out a sequence of 3,5,10 or however many emails isn’t going do anything.

People who want your product will buy it immediately…

On the other hand you have people who are less keen.

These people will never buy or will buy at a later stage.

Converting them is far more difficult…

…but that doesn’t mean you need some special sequence of emails.

All you have to do is continue emailing them.

Doing this will build a relationship all by itself.

The bottom line is this:

Don’t worry about creating a fancy nurture email sequence.

It’s completely pointless.

People who are ready to buy will buy.

People who are less ready will buy later on.

People who were never going to buy…well…will never buy.

The most important thing is that you simply continue to email.

Whether you’re sending daily or weekly emails the idea is that you carry on going.

Over time you’ll naturally build a relationship…

…without really even trying.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton