6 Dirt Cheap Ways to Learn Copywriting that Sells

Learn Copywriting Dirt Cheap

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Learning how to write advertising copy is an important marketing skill. Even if you don’t master the craft, you should understand what good copy looks like.

Years ago, I decided to learn as much as I could about copywriting. So I set out to find the cheapest, yet best sources of information I could on the subject.

Because I love a good bargain, I went to the places where the best prices are  – like eBay!

via GIPHY

Cheap Courses on eBay!

On eBay! I found all sorts of great resources from books to audio courses that I could buy for a lark. The real value was the excellent deals I got on the audio courses.

To be clear, these are some of the courses I have taken so far. Even though these courses have been on the market for years, every lesson is 100% valid.

Just because some guru-wannabe bought the stuff and never used it, doesn’t make it bad. As a matter of fact, the material I have purchased from online auctions has been excellent.

The following resources are ones that I have actually purchased. Of course, by the time you read this the prices may have changed or they may no longer be available.

Dan Kennedy’s Copywriting Clinic. – If you don’t have any of Dan’s resources on your shelf, you aren’t that serious about copywriting or marketing. He is a leader in these fields, and the sheer volume of the resources he has produced is staggering.

Recorded years ago, the valuable lessons contained on this 6 CD set are priceless. This was an expensive seminar that Dan was teaching to a group of business people and released on audio CD’s.

It is not a recording of a bunch of gurus giving quick speeches, but a detailed, well -thought out course.

Dan takes you step by step through the entire process of writing great copy. He teaches you everything from writing headlines to call to action sequences.

I got this on eBay! for $30 and it is an excellent course for you to get started with if you’re trying to learn the craft.

copywriting premium content

Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing – This was the first course on copywriting that I bought. I used it to sell music pouches to the U.S. Army Bands world-wide and it brought in so much business we couldn’t handle it all!

magnetic marketing sales letter course

This is a huge set of pre-written sales letters that span a wide variety of businesses. Each sales letter is a template that you can rewrite and use for your own business. (Dan has released the rights for this material so you can use these letters for your business.

If you’re trying to learn copywriting, studying these lessons will be invaluable. You can use them in your business, dissect them, and rewrite them.

Since I have bought this course, I have seen it many times on eBay! running anywhere from $25 to $60. Those prices are a steal for the incredible marketing lessons you can learn from this set.

John Carlton’s Copywriting Courses – I have also bought quite a few of John Carlton’s courses on eBay! for a fraction of the cost you would have to pay on other sites.

Mr. Carlton is one of the top copywriters on the planet. He was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the famous Gary Halbert as he was learning his craft.

These courses are well organized, and take you step-by-step through the entire process. I’ve seen quite a few of John’s courses on eBay! recently in the $70 to $100 range and they are worth every cent.

The thing I liked about them is the blunt, no-nonsense approach he uses to get his point across. He also dissects his sales letters so that you can understand his entire thought process.

Great Copywriting Books from Amazon – Cheap!

Another great place to get courses and books from is Amazon.

Amazon has used books for sale as a part of their sales process. If they can’t get you to buy their books at the regular price, you can get them at used prices.

Amazon has incredible books on copywriting  that you can buy for dirt cheap prices.

Here’s a list of the copywriting books I’ve bought:

The Boron Letters – If you are new to copywriting and want to learn, you need to know about Gary Halbert. The late Mr. Halbert (A.K.A. “The Prince of Print”) is the undisputed “uber-copywriter”.

He once had a direct mail campaign that was so successful his bank had to hire a large staff just to process his checks. No kidding.

The Boron Letters are letters that he wrote to his son while in prison. (The book doesn’t elaborate on why he was in prison or how long he was there.)

The Boron Letters

These letters not only reveal Mr. Halbert’s views on life, but also on his craft.

He writes a lot about how he became an A-level copywriter and how to conduct a direct mail campaign. This book is not a course, but anyone that is serious about writing great copy and conducting a direct mail campaign should read it.

The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy – If I had to pick the very first thing you should buy, this would be it. The Ultimate Sales Letter is the beginner’s guide to writing a sales letter.

Ultimate Sales Letter

Once again, Dan Kennedy has produced an excellent resource to writing a sales piece. He devotes a chapter to each step of the process so that you’ll have a blueprint that’s easy to follow.

The steps are clear, and he explains each part of a sales letter. Dan uses real-world experiences to explain how the parts work together so that you’ll know why they work.

Once again, this should be the first resource you should devour.

How to Write a Good Advertisement: A Short Course in Copywriting by Victor O. Schwab –   I have a disagreement with the title of this book. It is not a short course. This is a very detailed, step-by-step instruction manual on how to write advertising copy.

How to write advertising copy

Written in 1962, this book has become a hallmark of how to write copy that sells. Schwab uses analogies and examples that help you understand how and what to write.

You will not be able to get through this book in a week because it is very detailed. Schwab even put test questions at the end of each chapter to challenge your mind. An excellent book to have in your library if you want to know how to write to sell.

Conclusion

I won’t lie to you, learning how to write great sales copy is not easy. It can be learned cheaply if you start out with these resources and work diligently at it.

Like learning a musical instrument, it may take you years to learn how to write it, but once you master it, you will be able to turn money into cash.

Agree? Disagree?  Do you have other resources you’d like to see mentioned here?  Please leave comment in the space below.

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Great Blog Post Ideas in 5 Quick and Easy Steps


viral posts

Just to let you know, this is Part 4 in a series on how a copywriter approaches writing a blog post.  Many of the exact same elements that are in blog posting and writing ad copy are the same.

Of course, there are differences between the two because they both serve different purposes.  

But having studied and written copy for years, I can tell that you can write a much more powerful post if you understand the elements of copy.

In case you’ve missed the previous 3 posts on this subject, you can always use the menu to the right to navigate back to the last 3 posts. Continue reading

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Viral Blog Posts in 6 Easy Steps

viral blog posts

This is part three of a series of posts on how to write a blog post that’ll get you maximum trajectory.

In this particular post, I’m going to show you how write the bulk of your post so that you can hammer it out with as little difficulty as possible.

If you’ve done the prep work , you’ll be able to write your post with relative ease. 

I hope this session will help you write your posts with as little hassle as possible.

Enjoy! Continue reading

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Make Blog Posts More Interesting and Attractive in Seconds!

When you’re trying to make your blog posts as interesting as possible, you need to do everything you can to grab your readers by the eyeballs and drag them into your post.  This video will show you exactly how to do that within seconds using two programs: Vengage and PaintShop Pro. Continue reading

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Immediately Increase Your Website Conversion Rate by 64% or More!

Converting Traffic

 

Many online businesses have professionally designed websites that don’t convert well.

This is primarily due to copy on the page that isn’t customer oriented, while ignoring the importance of optimization for conversion.

Not only are these sites not optimized, tracking the conversion rates to see what conversion events were used to generate interest from prospective clients is usually ignored as well. Continue reading

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3 Easy Steps to Persuasive Brochure Writing that Sells

shaking hands

If you’re only using Internet based advertising to promote your bricks and mortar business, you should reconsider your marketing strategy.

First of all, using only one channel to market your business is always folly.  If that particular medium fails for some reason, or is no longer available, you’ll have placed all your eggs into one basket and lost them. Continue reading

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17 Copywriting Resources That’ll Make Headline Writing A Cinch

headline target

In the realm of advertising copy, probably the most important element of the copy itself is the headline.  This one aspect of writing compelling copy is so important to the success of a piece that copywriters typically spend the majority of their time writing, rewriting, and obsessing over it.

In the realm of advertising copy, probably the most important element of the copy itself is the headline.  This one aspect of writing compelling copy is so important to the success of a piece that copywriters typically spend the majority of their time writing, rewriting, and obsessing over it. Continue reading

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“How RV Manufacturers Can Explode Their Sales 35% or More Using Email!”

sales_explosion

 

The market for your vehicles is up, but your sales aren’t nearly where you’d expect them to be.  You’ve got a better product than many of the other companies, but somehow those manufacturers are connecting with prospects better and making more sales.

You’ve read in industry trade magazines and sites that most of the sales are starting online.  Now, social media, email, and websites are the new game for generating revenue and bringing in new prospects…and you desperately want in.

Your mind swarms with ideas and information you’ve been fed from the Internet, but you don’t know where to start.  As a marketing and sales pro, you’re expected to “bring home the bacon”, but lately you’ve been delivering cans of Spam, and your boss isn’t too happy.

Just diving in without a strategy isn’t a good option either. You could waste a lot of time and money experimenting.  But you need to do SOMETHING, like have an organized plan to generate a list of good prospects; however you’re not sure where to start…

Don’t fret too much, because I have a few off-beat ideas that’ll get your email marketing campaign up and running in no time!

Before we get to that, let’s kill a few marketing sacred cows and talk about what not to do, like…

Don’t Build Lists on the Internet

99% of the Internet marketers out there will tell you that collecting email lists from traffic on a website is the way to go.  And perhaps it is for many industries like software, or selling courses online.

But when you’re selling high ticket items like RV’s, you’re dealing with a different animal entirely.

For one thing, buying a piece of software, or a $30 eBook on how to raise emus is usually an impulse buy.

When people are buying vehicles, especially Rec Vehicles, they’re considering a wide range of benefits, features, and options.  The price tag is much bigger and the selling exploding email salesprocess is much longer.

So, expecting people to just go to your site and hand you their email is probably not going to happen.

Another common online soliciting tactic is to have an opt-in autoresponder box on your site so that people will send you their email.

Usually, an offer is made to get a free “thingy” of some sort (free eBook, free coupon, free anything cheap) in order to entice people to hand you their email address.

If you’ve been involved in any sort of marketing for more than 5 minutes, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

And that’s my point.

Every business online has an offer like this, and every business wants to give you something for free.  Let’s face it: It’s been OVER-DONE.

One major problem with this, is actually creating a “thingy” that’s worthy of a prospect’s attention.

If you want it done right, you’ll want your free “thingy” to be stellar.  You’ll want it to be in the “Thingy” of the Month Club,― the freebie that gets shared all over the net virally as an industry standard.

Unfortunately, creating something like that requires a lot of time and money.  It’s also risky, because if it doesn’t hit the mark, it could be a big waste of time, and actually turn prospects off.

Another problem with collecting email addresses online is the auto-responder/email service itself.

(Near the end of this article, I’m going to show you two free or dirt-cheap ways to connect with people through your website.)

Usually, these are paid services that you have to have set up on your site.  If you don’t know how to do this you’ll have to get a web designer to do it for you.

After you’ve got it up on your site, you’ll need to have a way to immediately maintain and set up a thank-you message delivered for people for signing up.

This must be done with some thought if you’re going to establish a highly-polished, professional appearance that starts the sales process.

Which leads me to the next topic…

 

social media course

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Don’t Sell In Your Email Campaign

I know that telling a sales or marketing manager to not sell is just like telling a fish not to swim, but you need to reel it in. (No pun intended.)

People are sick to death of traditional selling because they’ve been lied to, pestered, and in some cases, actually harassed by sales people.

The last thing they want to do is read an email where you‘re telling them you’re going to call them…especially if they feel like they don’t really know you.

Not only that, but they don’t want to read an email that tells them what your needs are, as in this example I received in my inbox this month:

“WE HAVE OVER 4 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF “USED” INVENTORY!!! Hello, my name is Joe Blow and I am the Used Car Director here at Toyota On Podunk Lane. We are overstocked with used Cars,Trucks,Suvs,and Minivans. I need to reduce my inventory this weekend and I will pass the savings along to you! Almost everything is ON SALE!!”

What I felt like writing back to Joe was:

“Gee, I’m sorry to hear that you’re overstocked.  Perhaps you shouldn’t order so many freakin’ trucks the next time.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say the reason you’ve got to get rid of them cheap is because they aren’t so good in the first place…Just sayin’!”

(Actually, my wife and I love Toyota vehicles; we’ve always had one in the family at one time or the other.)

But the point is you’ll need to focus on the needs of your prospects and customers, and definitely not the needs of you or your company.

You’re going to need to use more sophisticated methods, how to use email to gain trust, build loyalty, and eventually win sales from your list.

You Have No Idea What You’re Doing…Do You?

Another problem with any email campaign is knowing what to say and how to say it.  If you aren’t savvy with online writing or how the game is played, you’ll definitely be at a disadvantage.

Email copy and campaigns are specialized fields.  They can be highly effective when written, designed, and used by professionals that understand what they’re up against.

Many times, companies will hire copywriters to write their email campaigns for them because they can do it quicker and cheaper than trying to do it themselves.

By the way, let’s make one thing clear about copywriter’s fees; the word “cheaper” is a relative term.

If you’re paying a director of sales $200,000+ a year, do you really want to waste his time writing email messages that should be written by a specialist, rather than have him running your sales and marketing force?

Do you want to hire an English major to write marketing messages for your company at the tune of $40,000 a year only to find out he has no idea what he’s doing?

So, a decent freelance copywriter that understands what it takes to advance your brand and resonate with prospects is well worth a solid commission.

Getting the Clouds to Part and the Sun to Come Out…

If you’ve had the stomach to read this far, you’re now well aware of the challenges an email campaign, as it applies to the RV industry, can be.

Hopefully, I haven’t put you off of using email in your marketing mix.

Please notice I said, “Marketing mix”.

It should be an important, integral part of your marketing strategy that works seamlessly with your other marketing tools.

Your email efforts should be a pipeline of valuable information that leads to a host of other information sources like social medial, newsletters sent by snail mail, trade shows, magazine articles, and other valuable information sources.

The main idea behind all of this is to establish long term trust by increasing exposure of your company through a variety of marketing platforms.

Email can be the hallway to your other marketing efforts provided you have a plan and method of executing it. (Tweet this!)

Four Strategies for Generating Results with Email

Rather than write an extensive article that’s loaded with fluff, I’m going to hand you four effective Email marketing steps that’ll get you started right away.

Yes, these steps will take time and effort, but the results will be significant.

  1. Grab email addresses from anywhere you can get them. If you are at a trade show, or a promotional event and someone approaches your station, get their email.

 

Have a physical product on hand that you can give them for signing up.  If they have kids, offer a free cookie for their address.

 

If you have people that wander into your business, do whatever you can to get their email address.  Don’t merely rely on Websites or traffic to get email addresses, ask for them every chance you get.

There’s a load of ways to build your email register, and here’s a list of 29 ways you can collect email addresses.

  1. Your email pieces must have a great subject line. In the same way a great headline is massively important to a direct mail piece, so is a great subject line to an email message.

You need to have a dynamic headline that has a main benefit while generating curiosity to your prospects.

If you fail to grab their attention right away, or your email looks like spam, they’ll trash you in seconds. This is the reason why you should almost always use the prospect’s name in the subject line if you can.

Here’s a few examples of what I mean:

“Happy Birthday, Joe!  Free Surprise Inside!”  

(Now, who wouldn’t open that, even if it wasn’t your birthday?)

“What are our customers saying?”

(This is perfect for an RV manufacturer, especially if the email body is loaded with testimonials from happy clients.)

“The Star-Class Explorer – New Video!”

(If your company has a new promotional video out, you can use this.)

  1. Create a plan for your email campaign. Good copywriters will write out a detailed plan of action for their email campaigns, and so should you.  Usually, they will write out information like the email number, title, primary and secondary reasons for the email, and the title.

This way, you can easily see the pattern and when different sequences should occur.  You don’t need any special software to do this, either Excel or Word will do, but it does take thought, time and effort to plan and execute an email campaign like this.

  1. Do everything you can in your email campaign to avoid looking like spam. Like:
  • Using caps on all your letters in the subject line
  • Using funny looking characters that look like this:
  • Make sure you use unsubscribe links.
  • Never, ever write a misleading headline. People will get mad as fire ants if you misrepresent yourself and they won’t forget it.
  • Eventually, get a good email management system and use their professional looking templates.

Some Shortcuts that are Legit

Since running an email campaign might seem a little daunting to you, here are a few ideas that may help you get started quickly while reducing your workload.

  • Hire an expert to get the job done right. A good copywriter can make a major difference in your campaign and bring in prospects and sales for years to come.  So, if you don’t have anyone on staff that can do the job properly, try to find a freelancer that can do the job right.
  • Make your email connect with other forms of marketing. If your email has drop-dead information in it, see if you can get your subscribers to share it on social media sites.  You could also have the subscribers sent to a place where they can subscribe to other means of connecting with you like a YouTube channel, or a newsletter that’s sent monthly via regular carrier.
  • If you want to get on the fast track on building your email list quickly, get all of your company’s employees on board as fast as possible. Have them encourage their friends and families to share and forward your email.  Go through your entire company’s listing of past customers and business connections and see if you can get them on your list as well.
  • Direct mail is still very effective and you can send out a monthly newsletter that lets your past customers and friends know you still care. You can encourage people to connect with your business online through the newsletter.
  • Yes, you can still get email from Internet traffic. However, you need to redesign your site and optimize it for getting prospects to take action and sign up.  I recently wrote a white paper on this subject for real estate developers, but its applications can be applied to just about any business. You can get it here:  How to Immediately Increase Your Conversion Rates

Take Action … Pronto!

If you’ve read this post and it resonates with you…Great.  However, if you don’t take any action to get the ball moving, a fat lotta good it’ll do you.   You should now have enough ammunition to start a full-fledged email campaign.

Step back and think for a moment.

Imagine not just having a large list of prospects, but an email system that brings in customers to your door automatically and keeps clients in the loop so that they’ll recommend you. Your sales are way up and your marketing team has more work than they can handle.

Using email in your marketing efforts, it is entirely possible to build a loyal network of clients and prospects that’ll help you fill your sales funnel and increase your revenue.

It happens to companies across the globe every day, and it can happen to your company too.

Print this post up and share it with your sales department.  Find out what you can use, and start today! 

Tips on Sites and Software

I am not affiliated with any of these companies, nor do I make any commission from them.  I merely use them in my business, so this is a completely honest evaluation.

The email service I’m currently using is called Mail Chimp and it’s one of the cheaper email management systems online that you can use.  It’s free ― up to 1,000 email addresses, so you can test drive it and won’t have to pay anything until your email list builds up.  It’s not hard to set up, and if you use WordPress like I do, it has a plugin that sets it up real easy.  It works well and I love it.
The other tool that I use that’s outstanding is My.Setmore.  My.Setmore is an online appointment setting tool that will make it super easy for prospects to set up appointments and calls with you.  It is rather simple to put on your site (I had my appointment buttons and account set up in about 15 min.) and if you want to check it out, just click the appointment button on my site and take a look at it. (Don’t worry, you won’t have to set an appointment…unless you want to!)

One last tool I’d like to mention is Neil Patiel’s HelloBar.  Hello Bar is a super easy way to collect email by using a friendly popup whenever you enter a site.  Hello Bar not only collects email addresses, but it also lets you know how many people have been on your site and looked at your offer.  This is a great tool to integrate into your landing page and help you to collect email subscribers.

Mark “Elmo” Ellis is a jazz trombonist turned copywriter that loves helping entrepreneurs and businesses succeed. Check out his blog where he unveils killer marketing and copywriting tactics that you can use right away. You can also read more about his journey to becoming a copywriter here: MarkEllisCopy.    

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WARNING:  Ignoring These Elements in Your Real Estate Development or Investment Firm’s Advertising Copy Can Trash Your Profits!

You are doomed.  Let’s face it, if you continue market your business as if the copy on your website, brochures, and sales letters doesn’t mean squat, then you’ll continue to have low response until your client base has dried up.

The problem with most businesses that have to sell their investment vehicles and services, is they don’t fully comprehend the sheer magnitude and power behind a well written sales piece.

Think about a really well written sales letter, for example.  The sales letter gets delivered into the hands of your prospect directly, and instead of hearing your message on the radio, your prospect is actually holding it and reading it.  Even if you only have that prospects attention for 4 seconds, that’s probably a lot more time of undivided attention that a potential client will ever give an online ad, TV commercial or some other form of advertising.

One or Two Little Things Can Make All the Difference in the World

dollar on sales letter

Years ago, I sent out two groups of sales letters.  One batch had just my marketing message on it, with a picture of the item I was selling on it.

The other sales message was exactly the same except for two things.  The second sales message had a dollar bill attached to it, and the headline read: “Can You Guess Why I’m Sending You This $1 Bill?”

The second ad drew a much higher rate of response than the first one of course.

As the years went by and I studied more and more about the art of copywriting, I learned that not only do big changes in copy make a difference, but also little things as well.

I got this one from the famous marketer, Dan Kennedy: A company ran two ads trying to sell a musical item using very similar wording.

The first one said, “Put Music into your life!”

The second one said, “Puts Music into your life!”

The response on the second ad was much greater than the first.  The reason?  The first ad indicated that YOU were putting music into your life, while the second one indicated that the music was being put into your life by SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ELSE.

One indicated effort on the part of the prospect while the other did not. So, having said all that, it’s a fairly easy assumption that it’s the little things in your copy can have drastic effects on your response rates and bottom line.

Ignore These at Your Own Risk !!!!

Narcissistic Copy —The biggest error I see on most real estate investment and development firm’s website copy, is what I like to call “Narcissistic Copy”.  This is landing page copy, either written or paid for, (wasted money in my opinion) that focuses on the host business and ignores the wants and needs of the consumer. It usually tells the prospective client how great the company is, how many awards the company has won, and the pedigree of the sales team.  In other words: a lot of bragging. When a client lands on your site, they don’t care about the volume of your business or how great you are.  What they want to know is, “What’s on it for me?”  So, your copy should almost always address what benefits you can provide for them, and the more benefits that you can list for them the more your message will resonate with your prospects.

Uniqueness —In a raft of penguins, a bright pink one will definitely stand out.  You need to explore and crow about your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What is it about your firm that makes yours stand out from the pack?  Is there some aspect of your company that is unique or does it specialize in some aspect of your market that you can focus on?

Proof of Greatness —Probably one of the most overlooked parts of advertising copy when it comes to real estate firms, is the use of Testimonials.  Nothing speaks louder than a testimonial from a happy client, especially when they are willing to put their names on it. If you have clients that have been doing business with you for years, they will more than likely be happy to give your firm their endorsement.

Use Recognized Symbols —The use of well-known symbols from organizations that you are affiliated with can be a major boost.  If you’ve been featured on a TV show or given them an interview, it really helps to have their logo on your landing page or brochures with the words, “As seen on NBC’s Today Show!” Other seals and emblems on your site, such as the Better Business Bureau’s icon, can lend credibility as well.

common logos

Logos, seals, and certification icons can add credibility to your business’s copy.

Guarantees — If your company has any types of guarantees or other assurances that can be leveraged in your copy, it will make your offer so much sweeter.   If your firm doesn’t offer any types of guarantees, you may want to have a brain storming session to try to figure out a way to create one.

If you are missing any of these important, persuasive elements in your copy, you may want to consult or hire a solid copywriter to craft them for you.  Sure, on the front end you’ll have to spend some good money, but the copy you use can convert for years to come.

If you’re looking for a solid copywriter that will take you by the hand and give your company’s copy the care and attention that it deserves, then contact me at the info below.

To Your Success!

Mark “Elmo” Ellis

email: elmo033057@gmail.com

phone: (859) 797-9560

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