VERNON GOD LITTLE AND THE 17 YEAR SALES CYCLE

I recently read the 2003, Booker Prize Winning novel, Vernon God Little.

To cut a long story short, this book is basically about a teenager falsely accused of murder… and the lengths he goes to clear his name (and while that might sound serious this book is actually incredibly funny.) What’s interesting is that I first heard about this novel more than 17 years ago. Since then I’ve always meant to read it and this year I finally got around to doing that.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, there’s an important lesson here for marketers.

(More specifically email marketers.)

You see, over the years I’ve subscribed to 100s of marketing newsletters. I’ve learnt a lot from reading their messages. In addition to this, I’ve also bought dozens of books, courses, and products from these people. Something I’ve noticed over the years is that most people will eventually stop emailing you. It could be a month, 6 months, a year, or even two years later, but at some point you’ll stop receiving emails.

What you have to realize is that this is one of the most stupidest things you could do.

In fact, according to experts, around 85% of people only convert after about 90 days.

If you’re only sending out a weeks-worth or month of emails, you’ll never sell to these people.

You also have to understand that subscribers circumstances change.

The broke loser might be financially successful a year or two later…

…and ready to buy your product.

But you’ll never sell to this person if you take them off your list after 6 weeks.

The bottom line is this:

Some products have an extremely long sales cycle and it could be years before someone buys the product. This is why it’s critical that you continue emailing – give up too soon and could miss out a significant amount of buyers.

Bye for now,

Alastair Walton

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM THIS REPUBLICAN GUERILLA MARKETING CAMPAIGN

The other day I spotted a brilliant piece of viral marketing…

In fact, this idea is so downright clever, I wish that I had thought of it.

You see, there’s a guy out there selling Joe Biden stickers.

To give you an idea of what they look like, these stickers feature Joe Biden pointing with his index finger, and the words “I did that” written beneath. The idea is that you place the sticker on a gas pump with Biden’s finger directed at the gas price (i.e. the idea being that Biden is responsible for high gas prices.) These stickers retail at $6.99, come in packs of 100, and going by Amazon reviews, are selling by the hundreds. I have no idea who’s behind this, but they’re obviously making money (actually according to the Boston Herald these stickers are part of a Republican guerrilla campaign to undermine the Democratic administration.)

What’s brilliant about this idea is that it takes advantage of deeply held emotions.

For example, let’s say you’re a foaming at the mouth Trump supporter.

(Or maybe you’re a diehard Republican or someone who really, really hates Joe Biden.)

There’s a reasonably good chance that you’d buy these stickers and gleefully cover as many gas pumps as possible. In fact, you’d probably put them wherever you could (The New York Post recently reported that they were spotted on a cop car in NYC.) Not only that, when you finish the stickers, you’ll more than likely go out and buy more.

Ka-Ching!

The lesson here is that you have to find out what your audience loves…

…more importantly, you need to understand what they HATE.

For example, let’s say you’re selling diet products.

In this market diet gurus are a dime a dozen.

Dr. Atkins is probably the first person who comes to mind.

In this case, all you have to do is mention the person in your copy…

…write negative things about them…

…and point out why your product is the superior option.

(Just be careful of going overboard.)

Basically people LOVE it when you tear down their enemies.

This is why market research is so critical.

You need to learn what your market hates…

…and mention that you feel EXACTLY the same way.

Doing this helps you connect with your audience.

What’s more, it also creates an almost unbreakable bond.

See you later…

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR LIST TO PAY YOU THOUSANDS

What’s the secret to selling big-ticket products?

I’m talking about programs that go for $499, $1997, $2997, or even more.

More specifically, how do you build a list which responds to these kinds of offers?

Believe it or not it’s easier than you think.

You see, the other day I listened to a fascinating podcast. The guest on this recording calls himself a “mega affiliate” and recently promoted a $2000 marketing seminar. Not only did he sell dozens of copies, but he also beat out every other affiliate. According to him, here are the things he does to sell these kinds of offers:

1. Train your list to buy expensive stuff

You have to avoid promoting cheap offers. This is a mistake which a lot of people make. They sell products that go for less than fifty dollars and then wonder why they can’t sell anything more expensive. The key here is that you want to build a list that’s willing and able to spend money. The way you do this is by selling expensive stuff.

2. Build a rock solid relationship with your list

This is probably the most important thing.  Your audience needs to know, like, and trust you. After all, no one spends big money with a stranger. Developing this relationship takes time and energy and isn’t easily done. One way to do it is by not promoting garbage (this is another reason not to promote cheap offers.) Another way is by injecting a bit of personality and entertainment into your emails.

3. Offer bonuses

Here’s the thing that separates mega affiliates from the guys who struggle to make a buck. You see, there’s a good chance that your readers are on multiple email lists, all offering the same thing. So how do you distinguish yourself from the crowd? You do it by offering something more. Providing valuable and worthwhile bonuses may help to tip people over the edge (the trick here is to give them something they actually want.)

4. Mail often

Too many affiliates hate mailing their list. They send out an email every other day and hope to make sales. This guy recommends doing the exact opposite. You need to blast your list as often as possible. In fact, towards the end of the sale he was sending out six emails a day. This gives you a far greater chance of being seen, opened, clicked, and ultimately bought from. It also helps to scrub your list i.e. people who have no intention of buying anything will quickly unsubscribe.

Until next time…

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

HOW TO CREATE A PEN NAME FOR MAXIMUM SALES AND IMPACT

If you’re struggling to come up with a pen name (and looking for inspiration) …then here’s a tip from one of the world’s most successful crime fiction authors. I’m talking about “Lee Child” – real name James Dover Grant –  the author behind the international mega smash hit Jack Reacher series. In case you don’t know, this series has sold more than 60 million copies. Not only that, a movie version – starring Tom Cruise – was filmed back in 2012, plus there’s also a TV series out on Amazon Prime Video.

I recently read an interview where the author described how he came up with this pen name…and it’s actually quit brilliant. You see, he choose the name “Child” because it would place his book alphabetically on the shelves between Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie.

Anyone can use this technique.

(The catch being that your book has to appear in bookstores and libraries.)

Simply find the biggest or two of the biggest authors in your genre.

Then create a pen name similar to them.

For example, if you’re writing in the fantasy genre (where J.R.R. Tolkien is by far the most famous author) your name could be something like…

…James Tollman or maybe even Rebecca  Teleman.

(Ok, these are extremely bad examples but you get the point.)

Anyway, until next time…

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES? TRY THIS

One of the biggest hot topics today is mental health.

It seems as if more and more people are dealing with problems like depression, anxiety etc.

This is also something which many people in business have to handle.

If you’re struggling with these issues then you need to do something about it.

After all, unless you’re able to keep yourself on an even keel you simply won’t get anywhere.

So what’s the best way to do this?

In my experience it’s blogging.

There are several reasons for this.

The biggest being that most stress comes from not having clients or work to do.

(And therefore not having money coming in.)

When that happens you’re usually left sitting around staring into space…

…and this is what leads to problems like anxiety and depression.

But this is why a blog like this can come in so useful.

Whenever I’m stuck with nothing to do I’ll use the time to reel off a dozen or so blog posts.

It always makes me feel better.

Blogging is almost like a form of meditation actually.

Not only that, it’s great writing practice and also helps you find clients.

(In fact, dozens of people have hired me because they liked my blog.)

Plus it massively reduces the stress of not having work…

…and also helps to clear your mind and put your thoughts into order.

More tomorrow:

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

WHY SELLING CHEAP DIGITAL PRODUCTS IS HURTING YOUR BUSINESS

A lot of people think that selling cheap digital products is the easy way to make money online

But there’s a huge problem with this business model.

You see, I once knew a guy who was literally ADDICTED to downloading. His lounge was like an Aladdin’s cave for digital hoarders. I’m serious. Along with about 10 or 11 hard drive’s there were stacks and stacks of CD-ROMs. This guy would go onto torrent site’s and grab anything he could get. Movies, TV shows, books, install files, magazines, digital products you name it. And even though he received numerous letters from his ISP nothing ever happened to him. The funniest thing was that he was completely unable to use any of this stuff. For example, it would have taken him about 20 years to watch all of the TV shows and movies he collected.

(Let alone read the books and magazines or use the software!)

In fact, most of it was dumped on this ever growing collection of hard drives.

And this brings me to the point:

What you have to understand is that there are hundreds of guys like this.

In a quest to make money online these guys will grab whatever they can find.

A few of them may even pay money for this stuff.

But here’s the problem:

They immediately forget about it and do nothing.

The digital product sits on their computer growing digital cobwebs.

There’s a good reason why this happens.

Very few people care about digital content. Your product may seem highly appealing, but there’s very little chance that anyone will engage with it. These types of products are seen as low value (which is why they are so cheap in the first place) and this is a massive problem if you’re in the business of selling information.

After all, if no one engages with your product then no one benefits from it.

If customers don’t benefit they get buyer’s remorse.

The customer feels as if they’ve wasted their money.

And the next thing you know they want a refund.

In this way THIER laziness becomes YOUR problem.

Even worse, these customers aren’t going to buy more products.

So what’s the solution to these problems?

First of all, raise your prices.

Doing this will weed out lazy people.

More importantly, you need to start selling physical products.

People don’t forget about physical products.

This is because your product is REAL.

It’s not some abstract collection of 1s and 0s on a computer.

What’s more, every time they see your product the buyer knows they actually got something.

They’re reminded that it’s their responsibility to consume the product.

They are the one at fault…not YOU.

And eventually they may even read the book or go through your course…

…have a great experience and buy more stuff.

The takeaway is this:

You need to start selling physical products.

This is the key to increasing engagement as well as growing your brand and business.

Make sense?

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

WHAT I LEARNT FROM AUSTRALIA’S MOST NOTORIOUS STAND OVER MAN

Did you know that true crime is one of the biggest niches on the internet today?

Over the last few years this genre has exploded in popularity. Today there are countless YouTube channels, podcasts, documentaries, and books devoted to discussing the grisly exploits of serial killers, murderers, and other villains. And while I’m not the biggest fan of this stuff I’ve actually read a couple of these books over the years. Along with this, I’ve also worked my way through dozens of books about gangsters, conmen, other assorted criminals.

One of the best books I’ve ever read is called From the Inside by a guy called Chopper Read.

In case you don’t know this guy was a legendary Australian “stand over man.”

(That basically means he robbed and extorted money from criminals.)

Over the course of his career he became known for his extreme terror tactics.

These included things like kneecapping, torture, and the liberal use of firearms.

While this stuff might sound stomach turning there’s actually a lot you can learn from this guy.

For starters, he’s really a testament to the awesome power of storytelling.

From the Inside is essentially a collection of stories and anecdotes about his days as a criminal.

Most of these are utterly fascinating and totally compelling.

And it’s due to their power that he was able to reinvent himself from a low-level criminal and ex-con into a quasi-celebrity and best-selling author who appeared on talk shows, did speaking tours, and made more money  than he ever did from crime. In addition to this he published more than ten books and had a movie made about his life.

What’s truly amazing about this guy is that he did all this simply by telling stories.

Something else you can learn from him is the power of reputation.

You see, much of his power lay in his notoriety.  

This guy had an incredible reputation for violence…

…meaning that when he came to collect you sure as hell were going to pay.

As a copywriter it’s equally important that you develop a reputation.

You need to become known as someone who can get things done.

As the guy who can get results and write copy that pulls in the big bucks.

You have to become famous or even infamous.

This is key to becoming successful in this business.

Think about it:

Who would you rather hire.

Some nobody or an A-list copywriter with a reputation for great results.

The answer (by now) should be obvious.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

6 TIPS FOR WRITING PERSUASIVE COPY (FROM DALE CARNEGIE)

Dale Carnegie is one of the world’s most popular personal development writers.

How to Win Friends and Influence People (first published in 1937) has now sold more than 30 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. Even more popular is than this was his guide to public speaking titled How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking.

This book contains dozens of fascinating insights for copywriters.

For example, I found the section on opening your speech especially useful.

According to Carnegie there are 6 ways to do this:

1. Start with a story

This works best if you’re sharing something from your personal life. Your story should also have some kind of action in it. This helps to engage the audience and grabs their attention. You could say something like, “Three nights ago, a dog was run over in the street outside my house.”

2. Trigger their curiosity

There are dozens of ways to do this. The easiest is to simply make a statement which leaves your audience wanting more. For example, “I was walking down main street this morning when I saw a man dressed in a bunny suit.” This type of statement makes the audience wonder. Who was he? Why was he dressed that way? Where was he going?

3. Use pictures

Instead of opening up the copy with words, why not use a picture? Before and after pictures are one of the best ways to do this. You could also use a picture that seems weird, unsettling, or confuses the viewer.

4. Talk about their personal interests

What does your audience care about? What affects them deeply? Here are two examples of this: “Do you know how long statistics say you are expected to live?”, “What I am about to discuss will affect your business, the price of food, and your quality of life.”

6. State a shocking fact

Surprising facts will always get your audience’s attention. “Did you know that leprosy still exists in 15 countries in the world today.”

More tomorrow,

Cheers,

Alastair Walton