Tuesday, [1:49] PM
A few weeks ago one of the best copywriters in the world, Carline Anglade Cole, was kind enough to share her most effective copywriting secrets with me.
I posted the MP3 here… but you may prefer to get your info in writing… so your buddy DD is looking out for you. I had the recording transcribed. It’s below.
All the best,
P.S. Carline revealed a LOT about how to be a successful copywriter… but the secret she revealed about how to beat a control could be worth a literal FORTUNE for you.
Doberman Dan: Welcome everybody to another edition of Doberman Dan’s Doghouse and today I am quite honored to have Carline Anglade Cole with me today. Carline, I guess I didn’t prep you for this, but you are in what is now known as “the doghouse.”
Carline Cole: Oh my, Dan. Thank you like telling me that now, Dan. I appreciate it.
Doberman Dan: Hey, if I would have told you that before you wouldn’t have done it.
Carline Cole: Well, you’re smart; you’re smart. Okay; well I’m in the doghouse so let’s see what happens.
Doberman Dan: In the doghouse. I gotcha’ locked in for the next 59 minutes or so. This is quite an honor. Thanks for doin’ this, Carline. Carline is one of a handful of people in the world who can be called what we call an A List copywriter. Carline writes controls for big, huge, heavy hitter direct marketing companies.
Carline specializes in what she likes to call and what I like to call homerun packages. These are pieces that aren’t just successful for the client. They completely knock the ball out of the ballpark and just crush controls and she’ll tell us more about that in a little bit, but Carline has an extensive history of writing control packages.
To tell you how difficult that is I should probably explain what a control is. A control is a marketing piece, either sent direct mail or used on a web page or whatever that has been tested against other copywriter’s pieces and has, one, being the most responsive in pulling in the most orders.
When Carline writes a control she’s up against the best copywriters in the entire world. So to win a control is a very difficult thing to do for these big companies and is something that very, very few people are actually able to pull off and Carline has done that time and time and time again for the past ten years.
So, welcome Carline, to Doberman Dan’s Doghouse.
Carline Cole: Wow! You have this thing taped, right, because I gotta play that intro again. I feel like whew, boy, am I busy. What a great job. So thank you for the intro and thank you for havin’ me. It’s been a pleasure.
I met you what about a year ago now, Dan, when we got together for the boot camp? And it’s been nice getting to continue to know you and to be at work with you. So thank you for having me and hopefully I can help you and your listeners, your shy listeners to be able to write their own kick butt packages.
Doberman Dan: Well I really appreciate ya’ bein’ on the call and I should also tell ya’ that we’ve got a bunch of people listening in on the simulcast website, which is this is being broadcast on a website and unfortunately those people aren’t able to chime in over the phone, but they can send in questions and answers over the website.
So if you’re listening in on the website, there’s a box down there that you can send your questions in and Carline says she’s gonna do her best to answer all the questions. So keep the questions comin’.
So Carline we may have some shy people on the actual phone lines, but we’ve got actually a good group of people listenin’ on the web cast. So ya’ feel like you’re talkin’ to yourself, but there are people.
So I hope I did a good job of introducing you. I wanted to try to just explain how difficult it is to do what you do. Also, one thing I didn’t touch on is you have a pretty extensive direct marketing background. You worked for a huge direct marketing company, Philips Publishing before you went freelance. So could you fill in the blanks I missed about your background and tell us more about your background.
Carline Cole: Sure; I actually sort of stumbled in the whole direct marketing business, as most people that I talk to end up. No one starts off in life sayin’ I wanna be a direct mail marketer or I wanna be a direct mail copywriter, but I’d had my second baby. My second daughter was a year old and I was lookin’ for a part-time job near home.
I originally went to school, got my degree in broadcast journalism and I wanted to be an anchor woman. That was my goal, but I got married, started havin’ babies. Then I was broke. My husband and I were both broke and we were tryin’ to just make ends meet and I just needed a part-time job so I could be a stay-at-home mom and just enjoy having my kids.
So there was a job opening for a customer service department at a small, growing company called Philips Publishing in Potomac, Maryland. I thought this is great, this is only 20 minutes from my house and they said flexible schedule, which is what I needed because my husband was a firefighter and we were determined to make sure we took care of our kids ourselves and not to rely on daycare.
So I thought wow, if I can get a flexible schedule, part-time job would be perfect. I interviewed with the company and it was like as soon as I got into that company I was like there is somethin’ different about this place. The people there were very entrepreneurial and it was just a great place to be.
I was workin’ in customer service, answerin’ the phones, opening mail, whatever needed to be done and I gotta tell ya’, that was probably the best job I coulda’ had looking back now because that was the job that actually got me in touch with customers. I was listening to what they wanted, what they needed and how we were fulfilling their needs and wants.
It was a really great experience and I was there only about a year in the department, but just knowing how important the customer service role is I never thought I would need that later on in my career, but boy, did I ever appreciate that job.
So after, like I said, about a year in the company, I wanted to move up and do other things. I ended up in the accounting department for a short period of time. Then from the accounting department I found out that they were starting up this whole health division. They were looking for people for different positions.
I had no marketing skill, background at all. I liked health as far as just general interest, but I didn’t have any experience as a health anything, marketer or writer, but the company, again being so proactive and open and I was able to pitch myself to the president of the company and tell him I wanted a shot at workin’ in this department.
I think I must have done a good job ‘cause I got hired as a marketing assistant; part-time again to be able to help launch the health group. It was just me and the group publisher at the time. We had this one little product called Cardiac Alert and our mandate was to find out if there’s a market here in this health field that we can grow a business in.
I was there for 12 years working in different areas in the marketing, started off as marketing assistant. I eventually became assistant marketing manager, then a marketing manager and senior marketing manager to marketing director, then a group publisher. So I definitely grew in the company in those 12 years.
It was awesome experience, again, understanding how marketing worked, what direct mail was all about and then as a marketer I got to see these copywriters who were coming in and writing this copy and were just given these huge checks.
I was like how in the world do I get to do this because they get to work anywhere in the world and all they have to do is meet their deadline. Nobody cares. They give us a winning package, give us a control and they get money and keep getting money every time.
So I definitely found quickly that that was a gig I wanted to get into, but I just didn’t have enough skills to do it that way. So as a marketing manager anytime I had an opportunity to try to write some copy I would try to do it and then I’d get somebody who was better than me to critique it and look at it.
So I found that I had a little talent for the copyrighting part early on. I actually had my big shot was when we had a special renewal. We were trying to get subscribers to buy our vacuum products. So we had this special report that we were going to try to sell and they needed a writer because the person assigned to do it evidently I think left the company or somethin’ happened last minute and it was a meeting thing.
‘We need somebody to write this.’ I was like, ‘I’ll do it.’ They looked at me like – ‘cause nobody else raised their hand I guess and I got the job. I wrote this two-page sales letter to get the subscribers to renew their subscription to Health and Healing Newsletter by getting this free report.
It did a four percent response for the company. We were happy with about a one to one and a half percent on the back end. So that got the attention of people. They were like, ‘Wow! This is pretty good, Carline.’ I’m like, ‘Heck, I just wrote to my mom.’ That’s how I wrote it. It wasn’t like to some vast majority of people. I just wrote to one person saying if I could sell this to my mom then I’m doing my job and it worked great.
So I got the copyrighting bug right at that time knowing I gotta do this more, but it still took several years of me still working in the company to get myself out there.
It was October of 1998 when my husband and I decided that I was ready to make the move, he was ready for me to make the move years before, but I was too chicken. I finally said, okay, I need to do this ‘cause my family by now had gotten to be four children and the job itself was just too restrictive for me because as a marketer you have to be in the office at set times; [8:00] till [6:00] at night.
So I was either workin’ all the time or thinkin’ about work when I was at home and I wasn’t happy with that mix and I really wanted to make a change just to be able to satisfy my personal life so that I enjoyed what I wanted, which is to be able to raise my kids and spend time with my husband and just enjoy life; not make work my life.
We bit the bullet. We put together a six-month plan and says, okay, if I quit my job how much do I need to make to be able to do okay on this. We paid off as many bills as we possibly could so that come January 1st, 1999 I was a freelancer.
It was the scariest thing I ever did, but it was the best thing I ever did as far as a job is concerned because once that happened and I was thrown in to the mix going ya’ gotta make it happen, then had to do it. I took on assignments as consulting and whatever I could do to make ends meet ‘cause no one was giving me a shot as a copywriter ‘cause I had nothin’ but my one little sales letter to show what I could do.
It was about a year or so of me consulting. Then while working with one company in Florida I was consulting with them and then there was a need for a copywriter and I told them, ‘Hey, give me a shot at doing this.’ They still wouldn’t give me a shot, even though I was workin’ for a year, but they kept saying, ‘We’ll think about it, we’ll think about it.’
Then in the meantime another friend of mine who was a list broker had a client who had a male potency product. This client found out that about 40 percent of his market was African-American. He had the bright idea that hey, if I get an African-American male copywriter to write my copy, maybe they’ll be able to sell better to my house frau, be able to make me more money because they can relate to the market more.
So, the list broker, my friend’s job was to find a Black male copywriter to fit the bill. Well, he didn’t know any. I was the closest thing he knew. He said, ‘Well, aren’t you half Black?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, I am.’ So she said, ‘Well she’s a Black and German woman. Will that work?’ He got me a conference call with a guy and I told him, ‘Oh yeah, I can really help you out with that, understanding the Black male. I’m married.’ And this and that. Told him all the stories about yeah, this is the best decision you could make. I got hired for the job.
In all honesty it was the dumbest decision he could have made because race has got nothin’ to do with it. A lot of the White copywriters that I work with, White male copywriters were writing control for Essence Magazine and Ebony Magazine, but yet nobody knows that. So he was all wrong, but I wasn’t gonna correct his thinking at the time ‘cause I wanted the job.
I got the job, was scared to death. I was writing a male potency product for a newsletter – I’m sorry. It was a supplement. Like I said, I was scared to death, but I did it and I ended up beating the control, which was written by a guy and that was the beginning of my story because now I can go to other people and other clients and say, ‘Hey, I wanna work for you.’ They’ll say, ‘Well send me your samples.’
I’ll just say, ‘Well no, let me just send you my latest control.’ My latest control was my only control, but who the heck cares. I have somethin’ to show them. Once I had that, the client that I had in Florida that I had consulted with, when I show them what I did then they gave me a job as a copywriter and then it just started snowballing from there. It was writing the copy, it was working and I was getting more jobs.
Hey, did I answer your question ‘cause I tend to go off ______ all the time. So let me know if I went off again.
Doberman Dan: No; that’s awesome. That actually triggered a bunch of thoughts and questions.
First of all, I had no idea you had wanted to be a news anchor and I actually can see you in that position. You would have been great at that by the way.
Carline Cole: Hey, at the time Connie Chung was just makin’ it big. I was in California. I was goin’ to USC. Even when I was livin’ in Maryland and I was in high school, I just wanted to get in broadcast journalism. That’s what I wanna do.
I went out to USC. That was what I was gonna focus on and I never stepped foot in a broadcast studio after then. When I got out of college I got my first job writing sales, ad sales actually. So I was selling radio advertising. Then I got married and then started having babies. I, okay, put the career thing on hold and never went back into it. It was like my whole life had changed ‘cause I didn’t wanna be owned, again havin’ to be – I wanted to be [11:00] news, but I didn’t wanna be on the news at [11:00] at night. [Laughter]
If I ________ I gotta be on the air at work at [11:00] at night to be [11:00] news. That’s crazy. So life kinda’ changed that, but that was my dream job was to be an anchor, a broadcast anchor. I got to meet and interview Connie Chung for my school paper. That was like the highlight of my sophomore year in college was that interview because she was real. She let me know the things I could expect as a female and everything else.
But like I said, oh well. I think I made the right decision. I am definitely not complaining. I think the salary’s a little bit better doin’ what I’m doin’ right now.
Doberman Dan: Yeah; I would definitely agree you made the right decision.
Carline Cole: Yeah; and I don’t have to be up at [11:00] at night unless I want to.
Doberman Dan: That’s right.
Carline Cole: So that’s a big difference.
Doberman Dan: Hey, I wanted to ask you a couple things. First of all, I noticed that your first year as a freelancer was not a walk in the park, but it sounds like you really reached out and started networking with a bunch of people to try to make some contacts, right? Like you brought up somethin’ I think would be possibly a really good idea for beginning freelancers is to start making contacts with list brokers.
Carline Cole: Oh yeah. I actually started making contact before I quit my job. When I knew I was leaving my job – I went in there in October of 1998 to quit my job and my boss talked me out of quitting and told me that if I stayed until the end of the year he would fire me instead. [Laughs] I was like okay, what’s the benefit of that?
He said, ‘Well, you quit, then you give your two weeks’ notice and you’re outta’ here, but’ he said, ‘you finish’ – I was workin’ on this huge project for a cruise line that we were doing and we had our core customers who were going to be on the cruise for our first seminar. I was responsible for puttin’ that together. My boss, who was the president of the company at the time just did not want any chances of anything going wrong with 800 people who are his core market. So I was the one workin’ on that project.
So I was gonna quit and he was like, ‘No, I need you to make sure this happens.’ The cruise was in November. So he said, ‘You finish, do an excellent job for me on this cruise and when you come back from the cruise I’ll fire you.’ If I get fired then I got a six month severance package waiting for me if I do that. So I’m like, ‘Oh, well that’s pretty sweet. That works.’
So that took a lot of pressure from me off initially because I did a great job for him and I got fired, but I had a little bit of a cushion as far as a severance was concerned. So, October when I knew I was leaving, I was calling everybody and letting them know, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be leaving at the end of the year.’ We worked together.
Because at one point people were callin’ me for jobs. Now I’m callin’ them and it’s totally different when you’re the one that’s calling and asking for the work. It’s amazing how different it is and not having any samples to show for it, too. So I really just used that time to try to do my best to connect with people and who I could take out to lunch and let them know what I wanted to, my goals were.
Fortunately I had a good relationship with people for the past 12 years when I was working there so that helped a lot, but it didn’t necessarily give me a job immediately. So yeah, my first job was actually just consulting ‘cause I knew how to do mail plans ‘cause I did that in the marketing side.
A lot of companies out there just did not understand how to do them well so they wanted to hire me to do marketing jobs. That was fine. It paid the bills, but that’s not what I wanted to do. I didn’t wanna be a marketer. I wanted to be a writer, but at that time I just said hey, I’ll take whatever I can get ‘cause I wanna be able to build up the rapport and everything.
Yeah; that first year all I did was consulting. I tell you, when that last severance check ran out, that was six months into me being a freelancer and there was no turning back trying to go back to my job ‘cause I’m sure they had filled it by then and if you would have moved on, it was pretty scary, but scary is good because fear is a great motivator.
So I just kept going with it. The key is you can be scared inside, but don’t let it come off if you’re afraid because people can sense desperation. You know how it is when you’re desperate for something, it never comes to you, but when you’re willing to let it go, then all of a sudden it’s attracted to you. That is very true.
So I had to learn to just be cool, calm and collected. When somebody told me, ‘Well we’ll think about you six months down the road.’ I’m like, ‘Okay; no problem. I may be available by then, too, so it could work out great for both of us.’
I’m sitting there going oh my goodness! I have nothing to do for the next six months. But you just gotta play the game a little bit and keep at it, but not being too pushy. Like when you call somebody up, you have something to say, have a reason. Not just, ‘Hey, I need a job.’ But try to have something as a benefit to them, like you’re helping them out in that conversation. Give them some advice or information or whatever that’s beneficial to them.
That’s how you build it up. So they’ll take your phone call the next time you call because it’s not like, ‘Oh, she’s just calling to get a job. This person’s got some knowledge for me that I can learn something from.’
It is definitely an acting game because you gotta play it cool sometimes. Just you don’t come off too desperate, but at the same time you gotta go after the jobs because if not no one’s gonna come knock on your door to give it to you. That doesn’t happen until you have already made it and you are successful. Then people come and say ‘Hey, can I work with you.’ Kinda’ stuff.
But those first few years, oh heck no. You gotta be out there aggressive and goin’ out for it. So meeting anybody I mentioned. List brokers are great contacts ‘cause remember, a list broker’s job is to get the right list for the clients and mail the promotion piece to. So the list broker gets to see the creative that’s gonna be mailed to the list. Sometimes the list broker knows who the copywriter is also.
If the list broker is good at his job, he’s gonna have a little bit of any onto what’s good copy and what’s not good copy. He may have a good sense for that.
Fortunately my friend who was working at Walter Carl at the time, his name was Dave Nelson; Dave was very involved with his clients. He saw the promotion pieces in advance. He was more of a consultant with them also. So they told him, ‘Dave, we’re trying to find a copywriter here who can help us.’ So Dave knew me.
I would never have gotten to this guy. I didn’t even know who these guys were, but Dave knew them. He says, ‘Well if you can do a good job for me, then that means for the client you’ll be able to give them more of a successful package. They can mail more of my names. So it’s a win-win situation all around.’
That’s how I worked. So list brokers are great sources, people to talk to. If you know any of them, but just about anybody. Letting anybody who’s in the field or anybody you know, let them know what you’re doing because they may know somebody who knows somebody who can help you out.
Doberman Dan: Extremely valuable advice, especially about when you’re desperate, you gotta fake it till you make it ‘cause people can pick up on that desperation, too.
Carline Cole: Absolutely.
Doberman Dan: You brought up somethin’. What was I gonna ask you? Oh, I remember. What you did at Philips, being a marketing director, what were those responsibilities and do you think that helped you in copyrighting?
Carline Cole: Yes; my responsibilities as marketing director was to hire copywriters. I was responsible for the creative side of the business. So I would assign out the job to a particular copywriter who I thought would do the best job for the project and then the copywriter would send me the draft and I would look over it.
Then we’d have a meeting within the company to decide what we thought about the package, anything we thought could make it better stronger, whatever. Then I’d go back to the copywriter and tell him or her what I thought about it and what we needed from them.
So I had a relationship with the copywriters and that’s how I met Clayton Makepeace. Clayton was a copywriter. Actually I wasn’t a marketing director then. I was just a marketing assistant. But he was the king of copywriters, especially for Philips. He was writing all of the controls at the time on the health side. So I would see his stuff. I got to read his stuff. I was like man, this stuff is good. I wanna buy it and I can get this stuff for free.
So just from reading. I spent years just reading the stuff that he would send in.hen he came in to meet with everybody he was just as nice, spoke to everybody and was like, ‘Hi.’ He knew my name, as a hi, as a friendly saying. Not as necessarily somebody who’s gonna help him in his field.
But it was a great opportunity because I got to know who the copywriters were. I got to create a friendship with them, with many of them. So when I was ready to leave I was able to call many of them up and say, ‘Hey, by the way, I wanna compete with you in that sense ‘cause I wanna be a copywriter, too.’
So I didn’t get a whole lot of help from them, except for Clayton who he was like my biggest cheerleader, next to my husband. He was like, ‘I can’t tell you _______ ‘cause they’re my biggest client. I don’t wanna be accused of stealing employees.’ He said, ‘But when you decide to leave, you give me a call ‘cause I know you could do in this field.’
So when I did actually terminate my employment then I called him up and he’s the one that got me the first job with that consulting company in Florida because he was working with – it was Wice Research at the time and Clayton was working with them and they needed somebody to help with marketing. So that’s how I got my first job.
It wasn’t a copywriting job, but it was my first job as a freelancer, which again knowing somebody to help me get in there. So networking is extremely, extremely critical with this field because your reputation is everything. You get a bad rep as a lousy copywriter or a hard to work with copywriter it spreads like crazy because it’s such a small industry.
So having a great reputation is a good thing. Because, ‘Oh, she’s great to work with’ or ‘She’s fast. She gets it done and she understands the market.’ Or whatever. So those are the kinds of things that people say about you in the industry and that travels.
Marketing directors talk to marketing directors and they talk to other people. They get their little seminars together and they start throwing names around. It’s a way to grow your business when the people start calling you instead of you having to call them.
Doberman Dan: What are some of the biggest mistakes that you think beginning copywriters make or just copywriters in general, that would get that word goin’ on like, oh, this guy or gal isn’t that great to work with?
Carline Cole: This industry is a people oriented business. That’s all it is. You’re writing to people. Your prospects are people so you have to understand your people. You have to get hired by people.
When I was a marketing director I wasn’t gonna take a chance on a new copywriter. If I knew my budget only gave me four new packages a year and I had four new packages to be able to make my quota or hit my budget, I’m not gonna take a chance on somebody who has no track record at all.
I’m gonna go after somebody who has a track record unless there’s a really good reason for me to take that chance because remember, I’m trying to cover my butt and keep my job as a marketing director.
You have to remember that as a copywriter. Don’t take it personal if they don’t wanna talk with you or don’t wanna deal with you. It’s only because they’re limited. They have X amount of promotions that they can get out and they need it to be a success as much as possible. That’s why they’re willing to pay the top dollars for the top copywriters because the track record is that much better.
So they’re gonna say, ‘Well do I wanna spend $5,000.00 on a new copywriter who has zero track record or do I wanna go ahead and pay $25,000.00 for a copywriter I’ve got about a 85 percent chance I’m gonna get a success with.’ That $5,000.00 starts looking very, very expensive in comparison to the $25,000 because you spend 5 grand and you lose it, you’re done.
It’s not that you just lost the $5,000.00. That’s not the big deal, but you’ve lost that opportunity. You’ve lost that slot to mail your packages. You lost the chance to continue having a winner. You’re back to the drawing board with the next mailing cycle, but you don’t have a control. So that’s the opportunity cost.
So that’s why a lot of times it’s not about the money. I know copywriters that charge $50,000.00 to write a package and they get it because they’ll deliver. So they’ll not say, ‘Well I’ll just charge you 10,000. I’m much better of a risk than that.’ No, you’re not. Unless you’ve proven that you can write a package to get them a control, then they’re not gonna look at the money necessarily as the main issue.
Now having said that, you can still have a copywriter writing a package and getting paid $25,000.00 and it still not work, but the odds are more in favor. As a marketing director I’m gonna go with my odds of getting the one who’s gonna give me the best for my money and that’s what I learned a lot as a marketing director.
I never took it personal when they wouldn’t hire me because I understood where you’re coming from. You wanna save your job. So my job is to get myself a reputation, get myself a history, a track record that I could show you, ‘Hey, you go with me, you’re not gonna go wrong.’ Then that’s when I think if you can get those two things goin’, then you’ll get the job.
Doberman Dan: That’s good advice and to have somebody who’s been on both sides of the table so to speak, hiring copywriters and then going after the work as a freelance copywriter.
Carline Cole: Yep; it’s definitely a difference, but like I said, I didn’t take offense when I didn’t get the stuff because I understood why. Still got sad I didn’t get the job, but I understand the mind set of what was going on. I didn’t take it personal and just kept goin’. Alright; well I gotta prove to you.
Then I didn’t go after the big jobs initially either. It’s like, like I said, get a smaller job. Do something on the back end. Those are a lot easier to get into to write the sales letters, the two-page, the four-page, six-pagers, eight-page letters to sell to existing customers. That’s not as glorified of a job. It doesn’t pay as much, but still it gets you into the company.
You write a couple of those packages for them and they’re making money from it, well now they’re willing to take a chance on you on something like a direct mail piece because they go, ‘Well, she’s written for us on the back end and she’s done very well here. Why don’t we give her a shot at working for us to acquire customers.’
Doberman Dan: That’s a great way to get your foot in the door then. Ask the marketing director, ‘Hey, is there something like a newsletter insert or a back end promotion I can start with to prove myself to you?’
Carline Cole: Yep; exactly.
Doberman Dan: I wanna ask you about Clayton Makepeace in a second and your working with him, but first I just wanna address the folks listening in on the web cast web page ‘cause we got a nice group of people on there.
Carline, you never do these things, do you, Carline?
Carline Cole: No; this is my first one. I’m a virgin.
Doberman Dan: You’re a _______ and you told me you have avoided doing these for ten years.
Carline Cole: Yeah. I remember one time Clayton interviewed me one time. It wasn’t for a web cast. He interviewed me and he did it for his newsletter, for his total package newsletter. That was fine. That’s really the only thing I’ve done.
I’ve done a couple interviews, but this is my first one. Yeah; I don’t know. I don’t know what you guys wanna hear so it’s a lot easier if somebody asks me a question, I can answer what you want instead of me just rambling on and on about stuff because I can’t tell. I feel like I’m in a vacuum. I can’t tell. Are you interested in this or what. So I just go ugh, yuck, forget it. I’ll just stop. I won’t do this. I’ll just write copy instead.
Doberman Dan: Here’s the deal, folks. This may be the only time in your life you’ve got access to a copywriter this good, an A-List copywriter, which there are literally a handful of in the U.S. who are good enough to do the kind of work Carline does and you’ve got her at your disposal to ask any question you want. So there’s a question box there on the website. Just go ahead and submit your questions. If you’re shy I won’t even mention your name with the question. So we’ll handle it that way.
While they’re in the process of sending questions, Carline, I wanna ask you about how you got to work with Clayton Makepeace and how that was for you, if that was intimidating or scary or what.
Carline Cole: When I worked with him as a freelancer or when I worked with him as a marketing director?
Doberman Dan: Yeah; when you worked with him as a freelancer.
Carline Cole: Oh my goodness. That was awesome. What happened was Clayton – I had written some things before and like I said, I studied his stuff all the time, the nuance in his copy. I just think he is just a brilliant writer and he can just nail his market like nobody can.
He wrote a launch package for a women’s health letter that you would have sworn a woman wrote that. If you’ve met Clayton you know he is anything but a woman. So, just the fact that he just can get into the mind set of his market was just awesome.
So I got a chance when I was working with a client in Florida – this is a kind of cool story – we got assigned to work on a project and this was like my first big direct mail piece. I did the one on the male potency before then, but this one I’m working on it and got the job ‘cause the client felt like that he had this idea where it was a product. It was a newsletter, but we were gonna talk about – it was like a sex approach to it, the difference in women and men and just issues about sex, getting older.
He thought, alright, well let me pair Clayton up with Carline. So that here you got Carline, a female, and then Clayton a male and then maybe that would really help make the package really strong.
Then at the same time I was getting the training from Clayton because I would write copy and just make sure that – I knew I was covered. I had a little net there in case my stuff really sucked, then he would be there to tell me no, this is weak, this is weak, go back and fix it or whatever. So it was a great opportunity.
We ended up working on that package. I would write stuff that I just thought was so wonderful and I’d send it back to him and he’s like, ‘Nope.’ Like mark it all up and get back and do this. You _______ talking to and this and that or whatever.
So I got a lot of that working with him. He uses a lot of cuss words. I can’t say them all, but one point when I did the male potency package I had him look it over for me and his one comment was, ‘You write like a f_ _ _ in’ girl.’ I’m like, ‘Um, I am a girl.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, but your market isn’t.’ That was probably the best crit I ever got in my life. It’s like it’s not who you are. It’s who you’re writing to.
So, that’s why I say that whole story about having to have an African-American male writer to understand the Black male potency market is a bunch of crap ‘cause the majority of people that I write to are White males over 50. The last time I looked in the mirror I was none of those things. [Laughter]
That’s got nothin’ to do with it. It’s about talkin’ to people and addressing their problems and giving them a solution. So anyway, we get going on this sex package and I’m writing it and I’m working on it and I’m really just trying to do my best on it and everything else.
We write the package and it is kickin’ butt. It is doin’ so well and the client was so proud of himself ‘cause it was his idea to put a male and a female writer together to come up with this idea. The headline was Forbidden Secrets of Sex and Healing or something like that I think.
So we were writing on that right there. So Martin’s on the phone, Martin Wice is the president of the company in Florida. He’s like, ‘Aww, this is great. The results are phenomenal. I’m really excited about that.’ He goes, ‘When I read about the tenderness and the compassion in the copy.’ I go, ‘Oh yes, that’s Carline coming through.’ I’m like, ‘No, actually that was Clayton.’
Then he’s like, ‘Oh okay.’ He goes, ‘But then when I read about the thrusting and the’ [Laughter] all of these guy terms he started using, he goes, ‘I knew Clayton was comin’ through for me.’ I’m like, ‘No, actually that was me.’ We had totally ended up changing roles and writing that copy that Clayton wrote a better copy as a woman and I wrote better copy as a man for that piece.
So whatever it took it worked and that was the package that actually I put a swimming pool in my backyard with the royalties on that package. So ___________________ —
Doberman Dan: Oh, great.
Carline Cole: Yeah; it was pretty cool. Clayton’s a wonderful person to work with, but he is an experienced wrier and he knows what works. So like I said, he’s a wonderful person, wonderful friend, but the crit he will give you on your copy will make you wanna cry, but if you go back and make the changes he suggested you got a good chance of getting a winner when you do that. So that was a really powerful lesson to learn.
I let anybody crit my copy. I have just put my ego on a shelf and I’ll let somebody read this and I’ll just say, ‘What do you think? When you’re reading this, mark where you get bored and mark where you feel like you mind just dazed on me or what you like, what you didn’t like.’ I have no problems. Just tell me because I’m writing in a vacuum so I need to get some feedback from people and see what they think about things.
Sometimes I’m saying something and then once I hear somebody else say it, I’m like ooh, you’re not reading it like I said it. So obviously that’s my fault so I gotta go back and fix it accordingly. So it was very, very beneficial and I worked with Clayton for a few years when I first got started just doin’ stuff.
He had extra work I would do for him and what not. Those were extremely important years because it helped me create my copy, helped me tighten up my copy, helped me really focus on who I’m writing to and what’s the benefit.
At the same time, I then started developing my own style where I’d see what he was saying and I would say, mm, but I’m gonna break that rule. Then I would try my own way and do things, but I had to know what the rules were first before I could break them. He was just an awesome master. The fact that he’s got a website now and all that stuff he was teaching me, he put it down in writing and it’s free. [Chuckles]
So it’s like you’d be crazy not to take advantage and just reading the stuff that he writes because the dude is phenomenal. That’s all I have to say.
Doberman Dan: Yeah; I agree. I met him at your seminar last year and he’s just a really nice salt of the earth type person. His wife Wendy, too. But I’m sittin’ there havin’ dinner with him, hangin’ out with him and we’re laughin’ and havin’ fun, in the back of my mind I’m thinkin’ he’s a really nice guy, but I imagine he’s just like a bear on crit and copy.
Carline Cole: Yeah; and the thing was, he always says, ‘You know I love you, but.’ Then he gets to the crit, but you gotta realize, you separate the two. It’s got nothin’ to do with – yeah; everything you saw in him at that dinner that we had is exactly how he is.
He is down to earth. He is no pretense about him. What you see is what you get, but he also understands the business and it’s like the business is you gotta write copy that you’re competing against other people. You gotta make a killer copy. You’ve gotta do these things.
So yeah, when he’s looking at your copy, you don’t want – I don’t want somebody to crit my copy going, ‘Oh, this is really nice. This is sweet. This is good.’ I don’t care about that. Tell me where the problems are. What do you see. What is the issue.
That’s what you want when anybody’s looking at your copy. You want them to go at it and say, ‘Ya’ know what? You lost me here. What are you trying to say? Well that’s a confusing illustration.’ Or, ‘You could make this a lot simpler.’
So he may say it in other words, but that’s the bottom line is his goal is to help you get a stronger sales letter that you can get out there and make a winner. So I learned, like I said, having been thrown in it that way, I do not take offense.
If somebody tells me my copy sucks, I’m like, ‘Really? Where? Tell me where it sucks. What do you suggest?’ I don’t mind. I still like that, even to this day. I will have somebody look at my copy and tell me what they think about it and if they hate it, I respect it and tell me where you think it’s terrible and I will try to fix it.
So that’s what it was like. It was the best experience to be able to have someone like that take the time to do it and help you out. That was phenomenal.
Doberman Dan: One of the questions we got and you answered a lot of it, but see if this triggers anything else. They ask, ‘When you studied under Clayton Makepeace how much different was your copywriting skill, studying and working under a master? What did he change in your writing?’
Carline Cole: He just taught me to focus on my market. To who I’m talking to. First thing is your promotion is gonna initially get mailed to about 20,000 to maybe 100,000 people to see if – you’re gonna test it to see if it works.
If it works, you hope that they will get mailed millions of times. If you’ve got a strong package they can mail that package half a million pieces every couple months easily; millions and millions. Clayton has packages that have mailed 25 million pieces over the years. So yeah, all these people will be able to see your package, but the bottom line is you are writing to one person.
So he taught me to really think about who I’m writing to and visualize that person and understand their problems and not talk to them at arm’s length, but talk to them like I’m putting my arm around them that’s saying, hey, you know what? When you getting’ up and you gotta sit up first before you can put your feet on the floor ‘cause you know if you try to stand straight up your knees will kill you.
Yeah; he just taught me to talk to people so that while they’re reading my copy they’re just nodding their head yes, that’s me, yes, that’s me, yes, that’s me. You know me, you know me. I think that was a huge lesson learned because that is what you have to do. You’re writing a sales letter. It’s a personal letter. You have to forget that it’s going out to a lot of people, but just say no, it’s only gonna go to one person.
That first letter I told you I did when I was working at Philips, I wrote that vitamin letter. I wrote to my mom. I even had her name in the letter because I said oh, no, I’m talking to my mom here. That’s what did it because I knew the problems my mom was struggling with when it came to understanding vitamins and supplements and all that.
So I just said she always talks about this. She says these things. She uses these words. So I just did what she told me. So in essence, copywriting is the easiest and the most difficult job at the same time. It’s the easiest job because all you have to do is give people what they want. That’s it.
The hardest thing is you gotta find out what it is they want and you gotta put it in a way that they’re gonna wanna hear it, but if you’ve got joint pain and I’m talking to somebody with joint pain I’m gonna use the words and I’m gonna talk about the stories and illustrations, examples, whatever that they can relate to.
It’s not about joint pain. It’s about being able to pick up your grandchild without having your knees scream or your back go out or all these other kind of things. It’s about being able to toss the ball with your arm. So it’s not just shoulder pain. It’s lifestyle that’s affected. It’s about sitting down in a chair and watching your grandchild play the game versus being right there on the team with them.
So that’s what the experience with him and just reading his copy. Whenever I read Clayton’s copy I just feel like they’re just talking to me. Whoever it is is writing to me, this person knows me. He’s talking directly to me about my issues and that is the key I think to being successful in writing a sales letter is just connecting with your market. So that was what I learned the most.
The other things as far as the studying the masters and the various copywriting tools and rules and all this kind of stuff, that kind of came along with the territory, but I could have gotten that from a book. It’s good to have that information, but I think that was the experience with Clayton being able to take my copy ‘cause I remember I would turn in copy to him and I’m thinkin’ this is great.
He’ll look at it. He goes, ‘Alright, this is not bad. This is pretty good.’ By the time I see my copy I think he left like three words. It’s like where the heck is my copy? Where’d it go. He goes, ‘No, no.’
But what I was doing at one point for him was I was doing the draft and getting it to him, but to me it was a final, but to him it was just a first draft ‘cause he would just take that and then he would massage it and do his own thing.
So I’m going, ‘This is not my copy. This is good copy. That’s not what I sent him.’ But that was one thing that we did a lot where I would turn in something to him. If he had a lot of projects to work on, he had me maybe work on a couple of sidebars, to write that copy for him. Then I would write it and I would give it to him.
I’m waiting for the final piece to see my sidebar and like I said, it’s not there. The thought is there, but he just took it to a whole new level. That was like wow, I wish I had turned that into you instead of you having to redo it. He was like, ‘That’s okay. You’ll get there.’ And eventually I did.
Doberman Dan: Ya’ know you talkin’ about knowing your market and relating to your market and how that first letter you wrote you actually to your mom, you taught me somethin’ last year that every time I go to Walmart I think about.
You said, ‘When you go to Walmart look at the people around. Those are the prospects. Those are the people you’re writin’ for.’ Instead of goin’ to Walmart, like tryin’ to go in there and get everything done real fast and drag my wife out of there as quickly as I can, I’ve been goin’ in – course, every time I go to Walmart I think of you. I don’t know if you think that’s –
Carline Cole: [Laughs] I love Walmart. Are you kidding me? That’s my favorite store in the world.
Doberman Dan: Every time I go there I’m there with my antenna up. I’m observing people. I’m actually eavesdropping on conversations. I’m watching couples fight about what they gotta take out of their cart ‘cause they don’t have the budget for and it’s been really good for me to –
Carline Cole: It’s real life. Walmart is real life. At least in our marketplace. If you’re into a high end – if I was sellin’ luxury automobiles, then Walmart may not be my ideal test market, but I’m sellin’ supplements to over 50 year old people, not necessarily affluent, but not poor either. Just run of the mill people who have pain and they don’t wanna use drugs. They want an alternative to their drugs. That’s what they’re looking for.
I’m at Walmart and I’m listening. I’m kind of eavesdropping. I’m talking to people. Just hearing what they’re saying and just making little mental notes of the words that they use and how they use it and what they’re frustrated about.
You can pick up all that stuff just hangin’ around there and just startin’ a conversation with somebody there who you feel is more your market or just watching people. Somebody with arthritis. Watch how they have to go pick up a jar. Watch how they try to open up a jar. Look at their face, the pain. Get a visual imagery of all that kind of stuff because now when you’re writing to somebody with joint pain you can talk about that if you don’t have it yourself.
I am just now becoming my market. I just turned 48. So I’m not even at my 50 year old market yet. So I’ve been in this business for 25 years so I’ve had to rely on other people to me to fuel myself to understand when they’re talking about joint pain, they’re talkin’ about blood sugar problems, talkin’ about all these issues that they have with their health, I have to rely on my grandmother and my mom and my father-in-law and all these people who are the market. So I’ve gotta talk with them and see what they think about it.
Unfortunately now I have those pains so I can relate to them myself. Like ow. It’s just now that I’m starting to become my market for the most part, but doesn’t mean I can’t write about it for them if I know what their problems are and I’ve got a problem that can solve their issues.
Doberman Dan: That’s right. Obviously you don’t have to be your market with the successes you’ve had, with the things you’ve written for.
Here’s a good question that just came in. ‘What are your top three secrets for beating a current control?’
Carline Cole: My number one secret for beating a current control is never go after a hot control. That’s just ridiculous. The thing is every control has a life cycle. So it could be a hot, successful control. Why would you go after it when it’s at that point. Let it go ahead and go through its cycle of it’s gonna be hot. Eventually if a marketer’s doin’ his job right he’s gonna mail the heck out of that package. The package is _________ fatiguing so the responses will become less and less fantastic.
Well when that happens, then you go after the control. Don’t have your little text panel going up against a smokin’ hot control ‘cause you’re probably gonna lose.
But if you give it some time and that’s when somebody calls me and goes, ‘Hey, we have this package right now and it’s really doin’ well in the mail and we just think we could do better.’ I’m like, ‘Mm, ya’ know what? Call me back in six months and let’s talk about it then.’ Because that’s ridiculous.
You wanna play your odds. It’s an odds game. That’s why I can say hey, 85 percent of my packages are controlled. That’s an odds game. The reason is that I’m not gonna go after a hot package because the odds of me beating that package are gonna be slimmer because first of all, I already know it’s already by an experienced copywriter. So that is one of the things where I’m like, mm, I’ll just wait it out.
I learned that from Gary Bencivenga at his seminar a few years ago and if Gary Bencivenga won’t do it, why the heck am I gonna go and do that. So that’s probably my number one secret is just if they tell you we have a package, we’ve mailed it for awhile. It has definitely fatigued, then great. This is the time to step in and come up with an idea of something that could possibly beat it because the package is fatiguing.
No matter how fantastic a package is it eventually will fatigue. There are some packages that are called evergreen because they’ve been mailing for ten years or more and they’re still doing well. That’s great, but there aren’t that many of those around.
Most packages within a year’s time or so start to fatigue because they’ve been over mailed and people have seen them enough. They’re recognizable and so it dies out. It happens to my stuff all the time. That’s why we have more work. One package fatigues and the other one comes in. So that would be the number one.
Now the question was again what’s my secret for beating a control?
Doberman Dan: Yeah; top – and that first one is a huge, huge secret.
Carline Cole: That’s huge; yeah; that’s huge. Number two. Oh, number two is don’t’ be afraid to beat your own control. In fact, that’s the best scenario to be in. I like it when my client tells me, ‘Hey, Carline, your package is fatiguing.’ Then what I usually will do I’ll say, ‘Hey listen, let me give you some new headlines. Let me give you a new cover test. Let me give you something to tweak the package to keep it going.’
That helps me because it keeps my royalties coming in, but even after several months of doing that, eventually my package is going to fatigue and a new package will be needed.
I love it when my client says, ‘Hey, your package is pretty much fatigued right now. You wanna write a new package?’ I’m like, ‘Oh heck yeah.’ So being able to beat my own control is a great thing to do. I have no loyalty to my controls. They did their job. Now it’s like okay, try to do something better from there. So that was my second one is don’t be afraid to go after and beat your own control.
The third one for beating a control would be, there are a lot of crappy products out there. I shouldn’t say crappy products. There are a lot of crappy products out there, but I mean there are a lot of packages that aren’t that well written. So a lot of crappy copy out there I should say more so. So look for those.
If you get something in the mail and you think you can beat that package, get in touch with the marketing director or whoever you can make a contact with in that company and you’ve gotta prove to them why you think you can beat it, but go for it.
I had that experience happen with a weight loss product. I’m not big on the weight loss stuff. That’s not really me ________ don’t like it as far as what I like to write about, but a client of mine has this package that I got in the mail. I recognized, I knew it was his. He’s one of my clients. I read this thing and I’m going, okay, they’re targeting 40 plus year old females. Why is this not appealing to me at all as a member of that marketplace.
I read it and I just thought man, this copy is not good at all. Why in the world did he even bother mailing this. It’s confusing. It’s this. It’s whatever whatever. That was my take on the copy.
So I called up the client and I asked him. I said, ‘Okay, what the heck are you doing here ‘cause I don’t understand – if this thing is a control – you might as well shoot me because I would not even think that was the case’ He said, ‘No, I’m struggling with it. It’s not doing well.’ Whatever.
I was like, ‘Well here’s why.’ I started talking about different things that could be done to make the package better and what not. Finally he’s like, ‘Well ya’ know what? Why don’t you write me the package yourself.’
I got the job right there on the spot to write a new package because I called him up to tell him hey, this is why this package – I said, ‘I know it’s not working.’ Just because of what I thought and I could have been wrong and he could say, ‘No, it’s the best thing in the world.’ I would say, ‘Okay, thanks, have a good day.’
But my gut instinct was no, this is not working well at all and I was right. So I just said, ‘Ya’ know here’s why.’ That’s like giving away free advice. Sure, the client could have said, ‘Ooh, I’m just gonna take everything Carline says and then give it back to the writer and tell the writer to do that.’ That’s fine, but my clients don’t really do that kind of stuff. They know that is become second hand information and it may or may not work out the way I’m suggesting it.
So he got tired of me giving him ________ suggestions and he goes, ‘Well you just write one yourself. Write it for me.’ And I did. I wrote that package in a weekend and I beat it. I beat the control. So that’s the thing. So my third secret would be look for the really weak stuff out there and go after those.
Gary Bensivinga calls those the low hanging fruit. He’s like, ‘You don’t have to go all the way to the top of the tree to eat. You can get the low hanging fruit. Beat those. Beat these things that you’re like oh man ‘cause now you’re building a reputation, you’ve got samples, you’ve got credibility and it wasn’t that hard.
The secret really is you don’t have to be, on a scale of one to ten, you don’t have to be a number ten or a number nine kind of copywriter. You’ve just gotta be one better than the existing control.
So if you can assess that control as being, on a scale of one to ten, that control’s about a five, then you better write a six copy. If your copy’s a six you’ve beat the control. So you never made it to being a ten. It doesn’t matter. The client thinks you’re wonderful ‘cause you beat the control.
Then you can keep getting better. So if the control’s a three, just be a four and you’ve got a winner. I gave you three. Not bad.
Doberman Dan: That’s awesome. That’s great advice. I know we’ve got a lot of beginning copywriters on the call. You just have taken away all their excuses. That’s awesome.
Ya’ know what? It’s [2:57]. I know I said 60 minutes. There’s a couple more questions if you don’t mind hangin’ around just a few more minutes –
Carline Cole: Well I do have to get this design okayed also. I can hang on a little bit longer, yes, but I do have to get back to work.
Doberman Dan: I’m gonna read you a question and then I’m gonna tell you what I think he’s really saying.
Carline Cole: Okay.
Doberman Dan: It says, ‘What is the first step Carline takes when she’s building a letter? The offer, the header, the bullets, study a control, drinking your favorite tea, etc.?’ Let me paraphrase what I think he’s saying ‘cause I hear this from a lot of copywriters.
It is hard getting started. How in the world do you get started when you got all this information in front of you and now all of a sudden you’re looking at a blank page in Microsoft Word? How do you go about it?
Carline Cole: The way I used to do it is I’d have a panic attack and then just run away from my computer, but I found that that doesn’t really help me get over the problem.
So the best way I get – and I do this all the time. I’m just starting a new project right now actually and this is exactly what I do. The thing is you never wanna start with a blank screen and if you’re a copywriter you never have to start with a blank screen. Why? Because guess what? Every sales letter, every promotion has – there are certain elements that are definite elements that must go in your sales letter.
For example, you need an order form, you need a guarantee. Those are two things that are definites. You know you’re probably gonna have testimonials in there. So here’s three elements right there.
I do work on my quality and control sidebar, explaining why the company is so good and how they go about making their nutrients and ingredients so much different than everybody else. So those are all kind of staples in every one of my packages.
So I call up a Word file, a document file and I’ll name it immediately the name of the project and then draft one and the date. Then I will immediately go from an old project, if it’s from one client I’ll go to the same client’s file and go and pick up an old order form, an old guarantee, some testimonial sidebar or something and I put those in the copy immediately because that means I’m not staring at a blank page.
All of a sudden just by cut and pasting I’ve got four pages of copy. That ain’t _________. I didn’t even – [Phone ringing]
Doberman Dan: _______________.
Carline Cole: Let’s see. I can let that call go through. Unfortunately it’s gonna ring. Sorry about — _________ I may lose you so I’m gonna let it ring over to the other _________ and hope _________.
Can you still hear me okay now?
Doberman Dan: Yeah; I appreciate you sticking around. We’ll only do one more question.
Carline Cole: Yeah; that’s okay. I’ll call them back later. What was I saying? So put those elements immediately in your Word document because now you’re not staring at document – what I always do is I will highlight all of the elements that I know I’ve just dropped in place, I’ll highlight them in yellow or green. One color, pick one color that tells me this is not original copy. This is a cut and paste job.
I just throw that in there and say okay, I’ll get back to that later. It’s like huh, I’ve already done three pages already. Whew. You know you’re gonna need a headline somewhere, your sales letter has to have a headline. So just put in in big 24 or 48 point impact font, big frickin’ headline goes here and just leave it alone for now. You’ll get that later.
So that’s how I’ll start my package. Then I usually take a break ‘cause that was hard work cutting and pasting ya’ know. Then I will start my research. My clients used to send me research kits. Now everything comes by e-mail so I’ve gotta spend a day almost printing out tons of stuff, PDF files or Word docs or whatever and I’ll have a stack I’m looking at.
I’ll just pick a small chunk of it and I’ll just start reading. As I’m reading the information, as I read something I think is interesting I call my aha moments, like oh, that’s interesting, I didn’t know that, aha. Then I’ll just stop what I’m doing and I’ll just type it up or I’ll copy and paste it into my Word document. Then I just move on.
If I have an idea as I’m writing – like right now I’m working on a project. I haven’t even started the letter, but I’ve already got four different cover tests for it. So I got these ideas as I was reading the research. I’m like ooh, _________ covers. I have all the covers done, but I haven’t gotten one single word of sales.
I have no idea what my theme is. I don’t know anything else about it, but I know I like these ideas for covers. They may or may not end up being in the final, but that’s okay. It’s no problem.
So I’ll just read and if I find an aha moment I’ll stop, type it in, cut it, paste it in. If I think it’s gonna be a sidebar I’ll just put it in bracket SB for sidebar, a bracket and then drop the copy in there, but it may end up being in the main letter later on. I don’t know, but I don’t care. I’m not limiting myself at this point. I’m just gathering information.
By the time I’ve gone through all of the research information that they’ve sent me and read the books and everything else that they’ve sent me I usually have about a 30 to 50 page document I’m looking at, which is nothing but just ideas and thoughts I’ve just thrown into this document.
It’s all hairy-carey helter-skelter and it makes no sense at all yet, but it’s okay. Then when I’ve done all my research, then for the most part whatever I’ve put in that document is what I’m gonna now either go in and weed out or enhance and that’s gonna eventually become my sales letter, my sidebars, anything else I need to have.
Then I’ll just go back to the order form and the guarantee and I will rewrite those when it’s time to get to that point. If I have ideas of what I wanna write for or special report or premium I wanna give away I’ll put little notes to myself in that document. That is how I write package. There’s no mystery to it.
Once I do that, then it’s just – all that information – what did Michael Angelo – was it Michael Angelo, one of the real famous painters that they said they look at a slab of marble or whatever and they just chisel away at the stuff they don’t need and then there’s a masterpiece right there. That’s how I look at the copy.
I have all of this information on here. Then I start goin’ back at it. I’m like ah, that’s kinda’ lame. So on the very bottom of the document form I’ll have a section that says, ‘Extra Copy.’ I’ll just cut it out, cut it out of my main letter. So I’m cutting up the stuff I don’t need and then I start moving some sidebars into a letter or taking some letter out and put into a sidebar, turning it into a poll quote or a great testimonial gets included in my letter.
That’s how I do it. I just keep cutting away at the stuff I don’t need until the real good stuff is left behind
Doberman Dan: There ya’ go. An awesome technique for not only relieving the blank page anxiety, but for getting things started and how to complete a package. That’s awesome.
I personally have like a million other questions, but I’m just gonna ask one more from the subscribers. ‘What do you see is the future of direct response copywriting? Are there trends with social media?’
Carline Cole: If there are I don’t know if they are in all honesty. I am so not social media oriented. I don’t have a Facebook. I’m not linked into anything. I’m just happy I have a website now and I have a Blackberry. That’s my social media.
People ask that question a lot as far as do I think direct response is gonna be dead. I remember that controversy coming up when the internet first came up. It’s like oh, that’s gonna be the end of direct mail.
I personally think that as long as we have humans living on this earth we’re gonna have a need for communication. So in some form or another direct response is not gonna go anywhere. It may take on different nuances.
For example, when I first started off I was a direct mail copywriter. Now I write for the internet, too, but it wasn’t that hard of a transition because guess what? Internet copy still is a sales copy. You still have to catch the attention.
It may be laid out differently. It may use different fonts and that kind of stuff, but for the most part it’s still a sales letter. So I think you’re still gonna need to communicate with your marketplace.
Now the medium, how they do it with the Twitter and the social marketing and all the kind of stuff that they’re doing, I don’t know. That’s not where my market is right now. Maybe I should get better at it right now, but if I don’t, it gives somebody else a chance to become a pro at it.
I saw the transitions that I had to make into the internet and it was kind of scary at first ‘cause it’s like oh no, you have to write short copy for the internet. That’s not true. You write copy until it sells. That’s the bottom line, whether short, medium or long. That’s not necessary and you can always test it to find out does long copy pull ‘cause many times long copy pulls better than short copy on the internet depending on what the product you’re selling and what your offer is.
Many of my clients have just taken my entire direct mail piece and put it on the internet with very minor editing to it. So I see that. The bottom line is you still have to be able to write good, convincing copy to be able to sell a product.
So I think as long as people are selling something and they need a way to communicate their message to their prospects that the salesman is not gonna go anywhere or copywriter is not gonna go, but how my job evolves in the upcoming years, I don’t know. I’m must willing to go with it.
I’ll go ahead and learn what I need to learn and get with the flow so I can keep myself employed.
Doberman Dan: Exactly. Carline, I really appreciate you doing this. I didn’t tell you this before the call, but I did an article about this, too. I had a little health scare recently that made me kind of start reevaluating things. I got to think, ya’ know, what are people gonna say about me when I die.
So the DobermanDan.com I decided it’s gonna be my legacy. I’m gonna teach everything I know about starting direct response businesses and being a kitchen table entrepreneur and this’ll be my legacy. I just can’t thank you enough that you have decided to be a part of my legacy by being on this call. So this –
Carline Cole: Wow! I didn’t know I was being part of a legacy in this call. Woohoo. Thanks for –
Doberman Dan: You are and actually in more ways than one. First of all, you kicking my butt last year at the seminar and telling me to get back to work as part of –
Carline Cole: Yeah; ___________________ that was good; okay.
Doberman Dan: So yeah; I can’t thank you enough for taking the time out to do this thing. You write an awesome e-zine newsletter. So would you please give out your website address so people can sign up for that?
Carline Cole: Sure. It’s CarlineCole.com, C-A-R-L-I-N-E and C-O-L-E.com and on my website you can sign up for my copy star newsletter, which I need to get an issue out soon. It’s August already so I need to write one in the next couple of days so I have a new one coming out there.
But I just write the newsletters and share what I know, what I’m doing lately and what I think’ll work and help copywriters ‘cause I know it’s tough. I’ve been there and I get tons of people asking me to help them out and that wanna be a copy cub, but I just can’t do it all.
I left the corporate world ‘cause I don’t want to have to work for a company or be responsible for managing a lot of people. I like my freelance style. So yeah, I hire copywriters that help me out as I need them at times on other projects, but for the most part, nah. I like the stress free thing of writing my own stuff and having a low overhead. I gotta great year, then I gotta great year. If I have a bad year, hey, it’s still a great year.
So I don’t have a copywriting empire to hire hundreds of copywriters to help out the young ones to get their foot in the door. So the next best thing I do is I do my e-zine and I really do give away stuff that I’m doing right now that I call them – they’re not secrets ‘cause I’m giving them away, but they are practical and actionable advice that can be used immediately no matter where you are in your copywriting stages.
So that’s what I do that. Then last year I did my copywriting boot camp on steroids. Dan was there and participated in that. I only wanted 20 people to be part of that and I got them. That was huge. That was a great success as far as helping a lot of writers. The ones who are existing writers get off their butt and really do something with their talent or the new writers that kind of get started.
I was even able to help a couple other people there to get some jobs writing some premiums and special reports and stuff like that to give them a little bit of a head start in their field. So that’s cool, too, but besides that I’m like okay. I’ve got an e-book I’m working on. That’ll be my fourth one. That’s on my website too, whenever I’m done with it.
So that’s what I’m thinkin’. Okay, I’ll share what I know. This is what I’m willing to do ‘cause I can’t take everybody under my wing, but if it helps cool. If it doesn’t, sorry. But it’s there and it’s free information that you can do and use what you want.
Doberman Dan: Yeah; it’s great information. I get a lot of value out of every issue so I encourage everybody to sign up for that. Carline, thanks again. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this.
Carline Cole: Oh, well you’re very welcome and I hope I helped you guys out. The dog pound – am I in the dog house or the dog pound?
Doberman Dan: You were in the dog house.
Carline Cole: In the dog house; okay. I’m in the hizzy. Well, like I say, hope you guys took advantage, learned somethin’ in the past hour that helped you out ‘cause that’s why you give me your time to hopefully help you make something better for the rest of your time. So hopefully I did that.
Doberman Dan: Yeah; you did that and more Carline. Thanks again. I really appreciate it.
Carline Cole: Alright Dan. I’ll talk to ya’ later.
Doberman Dan: Okay; take care. Bye bye.
Carline Cole: Bye bye.
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