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

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?

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