Message To New Copywriters

This is my first article of the Robert Plank Challenge. Not all articles will be on copywriting or copywriters, but this one is. Take a look…

Title: Message To New Copywriters
By: Stephen Dean

If you’re a new copywriter, this is my message to you.

Hi. I used to be where you were at. I started writing copy for others 5 years ago. At the time, I had just enough copywriting know-how to pass myself off as a copywriter.

Because my copy skills were very young, I barely charged anything. Only $97 for my first few sales letters. Then $197. Then $297.

(That pattern is important, but I’ll get back to that.)

At that rate, my clients were essentially hiring me for manual labor. This was good because I knew I wasn’t ripping anyone off. I didn’t want to claim to be the best copywriter in the world and charge thousands…

…when I was still learning the trade.

At the time, I was pretty much the only copywriter working for so cheap.

HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

Now everyone seems to be starting a copywriting career.

While people were shocked to see me offering copy services for so cheap, it’s now commonplace to see people writing sales copy for $197.

And actually, now that the economy is worse… these same copywriters are DROPPING their prices. I’ve seen offers for writing copy for $50!

Listen. As a copywriter you should know better than to compete on price. “Cheap” is not a benefit of strong sales copy. More sales is the benefit!

Instead of positioning yourself as a “cheap copywriter,” use your copywriting brain to come up with a unique angle that doesn’t COST YOU MONEY. An angle you can CHARGE FOR!

If you pick a niche, you can charge more than the guy who brands himself “the cheap copywriter.”

If you offer more bells and whistles than just the sales copy (emails? graphic design?), you can charge more than the guy who brands himself “the cheap copywriter.”

If you come up with a strong guarantee, you can charge more than the guy who brands himself “the cheap copywriter.”

DO pick a unique angle, but don’t try to sell your services based on price. It’s bad from a sales perspective and it’s bad business in the long run.

On the other hand, if you want to start at $50, go ahead. Maybe you’re working at manual labor prices… but you need to consistently raise your rates!

When I first started, I often DOUBLED my prices from one month to the next.

In fact, I once double my rate from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 without any drop off in work!

Sure, start small and charge less. But treat your clientelle well, stay in touch with them after you finish, and keep raising your rates.

Continue to IMPROVE your skills by reading classic copywriting books like “Tested Advertising Methods” and “How To Write A Good Advertisement.”

Read my blog (http://www.stephensblog.com)

Read Michel Fortin’s blog (http://www.michelfortin.com)

Read Clayton Makepeace’s blog (http://www.makepeacetotalpackage.com)

Whatever you do, don’t keep the same price from one year to the next. It’s like running on a hampster’s wheel. And you’re better than that.

Posted in Business Tips, Copywriting Tips, Internet Advertising Tips |
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Mega 24 Hour Special: All Of My Copywriting Products

The 2 Hour Sales Letter ($70).

The 7 Deadly Copy Sins ($35).

Tapping Michel Fortin’s Brain Vol. 1 ($35).

Tapping Michel Fortin’s Brain Vol. 2 ($35).

My Personal Sales Page Template ($20).

These are just some of the copywriting products I’ve had for sales over the past couple of years.

Whenever someone comes to me to learn about copywriting (including my family members), these are the tools I point them to.

Until 2pm tomorrow you can get all of these products (and a few more) for $19.95 TOTAL. Not $19.95 each, but $19.95 TOTAL.

To read more about it, click here: http://www.stephensblog.com/wso/24hour.htm

At the top and bottom of the page, you’ll find an order link. I’ll manually send you the access information shortly after your purchase.

This offer will be taken down at 2pm tomorrow.

Posted in Business Heads Up, Copywriting Heads Up, Internet Advertising Heads Up |
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Free Video: Are You Making This Copy Mistake?

If you want to discover if you’re guilty of committing this Copy Sin, click the link below to watch my free copywriting video.

Click here ->> http://www.stephensblog.com/7copysins

Posted in Copywriting Heads Up, Copywriting Resources, Copywriting Tips | Tagged |
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Robert Plank Shares How To Make $5,000 Writing Articles

One of my favorite bloggers and Internet Marketing types is Robert Plank.

This guy is a productivity machine. He’s constantly writing articles, making videos, creating products and more… all while holding a full time day job. Ya, even though his online income vastly surpasses the income from his job… he still works there full time.

For February he’s set a goal of earning $30,000.00. Because February only has 28 days, that’s more than a $1000.00 a day… and so far I believe he’s on track to do it. Nice job Robert!

And oh yeah, he’s 23.

A while back Robert wrote a post detailing how he makes thousands of dollars essentially just writing articles.

The idea is to write an article a day, package them in to an ebook and sell them. Sound simple? Well, that’s just the beginning.

He also gives a great suggestion for cashing in on the ebook before you’ve finished all the articles… AND a great way to add scarcity and urgency to your offer.

I’m going to try it out and see how it goes.

I might post my first article tomorrow, or I might post something else. We’ll see :)

If you want to try it with me, leave a comment and we can encourage each other.

Maybe Zazzu? Lowell Rieger? Or maybe Tony when he gets back from his self imposed information abstinence.

Posted in Business Heads Up, Business Tips, Tips For Doers |
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My Sister Got Married

Rebecca Dean, aka Miss Copy, got married in December.

She just posted about it at her blog. Please congratulate her and feel free to check out her wedding photos.

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The Postcard Arrived…

Remember when I had Click2Mail send me a test postcard for ad campaign? I wrote about it here: Sending Postcards To Advertise Your Product Or Services.

Well it finally showed up yesterday. It took a LONG time…

…because of user error. My fault. I accidentally picked “standard mail” instead of “first class.” Instead of 4-5 days it took 9-15. (And I saved a whopping 11 cents!)

So that’s one mistake I noticed. The other is the graphics program I used to create the postcard.

Microsoft Paint just isn’t going to work! I saved the image I made in paint as a .jpg file, which looked fine until it showed up on a printed postcard. There’s too much noise surrounding the words… as a result of Paint not saving the .jpg at a high enough quality.

It’s possible that Paint might be able to work if I save it with another image format. But whatever…

Instead I’m going with Gimp. This is a free software program that acts a lot like Adobe Photoshop (a great program, but very expensive).

Gimp will be able to make a high quality screenshot and fix my postcard.

One more note. I took the advice to keep all of my content an inch up from the bottom in case the post office put a sticker on the bottom. The postcard did not get a sticker. In fact, I think the “sticker” was printed on the card.

However, I don’t want to risk it unless I need the extra space. So I’ll continue to heed that advice for a while.

Posted in Business Heads Up, Business Resources, Business Tips, Copywriting Heads Up, Copywriting Resources, Copywriting Tips, Internet Advertising Heads Up, Internet Advertising Resources, Internet Advertising Tips |
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I Just Added You To My RSS Reader.

The other day I asked you to leave a comment if you had a blog. 15 of you said you did. Awesome!

I use Google Reader as my RSS feed. I recently deleted all of my rss subscriptions because there were simply too many!

But now I’ve started over.

I’ve added all 15 of you to my RSS reader. So know that I’ll be watching the next time you post! Looking forward to what you guys have for me.

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These Proven Order Buttons Will Increase Your Sales

I just noticed Perry Belcher created a site based on his order button… a button he says is the most tested order button in Internet history. Check it out…

The Belcher Button

Now compare that to Eric Graham’s Ultimate Submit Button.

The Ultimate Submit Button

Can you see the similarities? What are the differences?

Posted in Copywriting Heads Up, Copywriting Resources, Copywriting Tips |
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Copywriting Q&A

Ok, so we got a few questions. Thanks Tony and Ron!

I’ll be sending both of you guys “The 2 Hour Sales Letter,” “7 Copy Sins,” “Digital Scarcity,” “Tapping Michel Fortin’s Brain,” “Tapping Michel Fortin’s Brain 2,” and a series of videos on increasing email sign-ups from your blog.

Let’s start with the first question…

“Let’s say i want to have a video on my page instead of lots of copy- would you advise this, and would you script it any differently?”

My opinion is to have a bit of both. Because I skim copy when I read it, I’m not a big fan of video-only (because you can’t skim it).

But that’s only my opinion, because I don’t have data on video-only sales pages.

A master copywriter who is a big fan of video-only sales pages is Dr. Harlan Kilstein. Follow him on Twitter and you’ll likely learn more about it: http://twitter.com/drkilstein

“Are there any shortcuts to learning (Muvar 2009)?”

For some stupid reason I haven’t purchased Muvar 2009 yet. I have several copies of 2007 and 2008 so I’ve been using these.

So I don’t know the difference between ’09 and ’08. I’ve heard the training videos didn’t change from ’08 to ’09, which has left some people confused.

That said, I’m pretty dang good at using ’08.

Probably the best thing you can do when learning the software is to get familiar with the files inside that “data” folder and how to modify them.

James advises against doing this for an understandable reason. But there are times when I want to have that option. For example, if the variable version is larger than a certain number of kilobytes, Muvar can’t save it via the admin section. You must upload the content via FTP.

“Glyphius is I suspect a good basis for learning copywriting but I still need to ensure that the flow between the paragraphs are natural. It tends to push me into stringing together sentences that don’t sound right when read aloud. Have you any tips for using it?”

Simple, if it sounds awkward throw it out. Don’t sacrifice readability for a higher score, it won’t work.

“OK now for the big one I have tried to raise the price for a product but found the drop in sales meant I was losing money. Obviously I am about to drop them again blaming the credit squeeze and currency variations. Is this a good idea or should I just drop them without a hint of reason to stop people thinking I was desperate for sales.”

I wouldn’t use the credit squeeze as a reason for lowering your prices. That does imply that less people are buying your product… and that’s not good social proof.

Instead give a positive reason. Come up with a reason for a special sale, special offer, anything. Is your birthday coming up? There’s your reason. Anything can work.

But, do you have a lot of repeat visitors to your sales page? Are people going to notice you drop or raise your prices? You may not have to mention it at all.

And I’d recommend testing your prices using Muvar. Put several different price points in there, make sure you give the proper credit to each sale, and see which price is the most profitable.

Posted in Business Tips, Copywriting Tips, Internet Advertising Tips |
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SHOOT, No Questions Yet…

Shoot, guess we weren’t ready yet.

No questions for the copywriting Q&A. I tried to prime you guys up by asking you to leave more comments this week. We got 60 comments in 5 posts!

But no questions have come in yet for the copywriting Q&A. I guess I didn’t talk much about copywriting last week, maybe that’s something to learn from.

Listen, I’m going to answer copywriting questions on Monday even if I have to write them myself. LOL. But I’d love for you to submit a question to me.

Just look at the last copywriting Q&A session, it was great!

http://www.stephensblog.com/copywriting-qa-answer-time/

I’ll be sending out a prize to the best question, by my judgment, worth more than a $100. Let’s have ’em!

Posted in Business Heads Up, Copywriting Heads Up, Internet Advertising Heads Up |
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