Gary Bencivenga is one of the all-time great copywriters.
But many don't know that he was a mediocre copywriter for the first 10 years of his 40-year career.
At one point, his copy chief told Gary that unless his next ad worked, they'd have to let him go.
To make things worse…
His next ad was selling a Frank Sinatra music club.
Gary had been mainly writing book ads so he had no idea how to sell music.
He also knew if he was fired, he'd have a hard time getting a job as a copywriter.
Just like today, clients talked with each other back then...
And all advertising agencies would know Gary's copy was crap.
He had a family to support and really needed the money but the odds were against him.
With his back on the wall, he made a discovery that would change his trajectory as a copywriter forever.
This discovery made him a control-beating machine that enjoyed 3 decades of non-stop wins.
And thanks to his discovery people like my...
To paraphrase a famous writing quote:
Copywriting is easy; you just open a vein and bleed
I love our craft but it's intimidating to beginners.
Part of the problem is unrealistic expectations.
You don't have to start with a 10,000-word sales letter.
(leave those beasts to guys like Stefan Georgi, Dan Ferrari, and yours truly for the time)
As a beginner, there's a simplest, easiest, and fastest entry point...
Traffic driver emails.
What are those?
Think punchy, 100 to 150-word emails.
Unlike a sales letter, they don't sell anything.
So you don't have to create a logic skeleton, overcome objections, add 2-3 proof elements to each benefit you use, write emotional stories, or any of that jazz.
They have one goal...
Make you click a link.
Starting price for those bad boys is $50-$100.
But, if you're good and target the big dogs, you can get as much as $1,000 per email.
I know copywriters who make 6-figures a year just from traffic driver emails.
I love live events.
They're great for networking and closing business deals.
Most copywriters who go to those events reek of an "I want gigs, give them to me!" attitude.
Unfortunately, it comes off needy and will result in LESS gigs.
Today, I’m going to show you something I call the double d's approach to charming clients.
D.D. or doctor's diagnosis is what all high-level copywriters do when they talk to prospective clients.
You approach conversations with clients first as a friend… then as a doctor who diagnoses a patient.
Chit-chat first, make them laugh, and socialize.
Then, ask specific questions that help you identify their problems and needs.
Finally, prescribe a solution.
Let's see an example, shall we?
Hey man, my name is Ning. What's yours?
Nice to meet you, Ning. I'm Joe.
Nice to meet you, Joe. So, what brings you here?
I have a few offers and want to scale them on cold traffic.
Oh man, takes balls to tackle cold...
Don't worry - there are no NSFW pics here.
"Throw your copywriting d1ck on the table" is an expression I use when I teach client outreach to students.
See, most copywriters have no clue how to message a new client.
They see a gig on a job board, hastily put together a lame message, and hope the client responds.
That's what 99 out of 100 copywriters do.
They don't stand out.
The client ignores them.
And they miss out on a lot of jobs.
I don't want this for you.
That's why today we'll fix your client outreach with Ning’s “proprietary” T.Y.C.D.OT.T. method.
Here's a cool story to set the stage:
Back in April, an old client asked me to write a sales letter for them.
We hopped on a call and I quoted them $30,000.
They didn't blink so I knew my price was within their budget.
They said they'll message me when they were ready and we hang up.
Six days later they messaged me.
But they weren't ready to pay me.
Just like salt can make a dish go from "blah" to "YUMMY"...
...there are 3 ingredients you can sprinkle your copy with that will make it go from "ARGH this thing bombed" to "HOT DAMN! Look at all those sales!"
Here's what I want you to do:
Go on Reddit (reddit.com) and find a subreddit where your prospects talk about their problem.
Let's say you sell to women who want to lose weight.
One of the most active subreddits for this market is https://reddit.com/r/loseit
It has 3,400,000 members who post and comment daily. Sweet.
Pay attention to posts that have high "upvotes" and a ton of comments.
Those are the ones that the most people resonate with.
Your job is to look for the following copy ingredients:
Take for example this beauty of a post:
I’m still fat but I look so good! I’m so proud of myself. I...
Did you know that whenever a business owner decides to hire you, they place you in 3 different "buckets" in their minds?
Those buckets depend on:
And guess what?
The bucket they place you in determines how much they'll pay you.
It might not seem fair...
But that's how the direct response industry works.
Copywriters who resist this truth stay stuck and never make it past 3k-4k months.
The ones who understand DR is a game and respect the rules?
They experience income breakthrough after income breakthrough.
And they do so fast.
That's what I want for you, my dear Top Gun.
Anywho, let's see those buckets:
1. Small Money Bucket
2. Mid Money Bucket
3. Big Money...
Here's one of the most common questions I get from newbie copywriters:
"How can I get my foot in the door when I don't have proof that my copy converts?"
Savvy business owners always wonder if they can trust you to write high-converting copy.
If you can't share data or results (aka proof) of previous projects they probably won't hire you.
But there is a way around this.
So today I'll show you Dr. Ning's cure for the "no proof" disease.
The cure works fast.
You don't need to wait months, weeks, or days to see results.
You don't even have to be a talented wordsmith. You add 2-3 simple-to-write lines to your outreach message and presto - doors magically open.
In fact, here's what I want you to do:
When you're done reading, apply the cure to all the outreach messages you were going to send today.
Methinks you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results ;-)
This cure doesn't work 100% of the time.
And when it does work you...
The most powerful lesson in copywriting boils down to this sentence:
This X gives you Y
The X part is also called the vehicle - a method, way, system, or a "thing" that helps your prospect achieve their goal.
If the vehicle is something they've heard before, they stop reading...
…and they won't buy.
So your duty as a copywriter is to make your vehicle intriguing.
And one of the skills you need for this is the ability to write curiosity-laden copy.
Curiosity is one of those superpowers that can turn an email, ad, sales letter, or any piece of copy into a blockbuster success.
Instead of pummeling your prospects with benefit after benefit...
You should also present interesting ideas that force people to read every single line of copy.
Makes sense so far?
So how do you write curiosity-laden copy?
You need something my good friend David Deutsch, one of the best copywriters alive, calls baiting the hook - you give them 90% of the "what it is" but...
I'm about to show you how to get your first copywriting job with zero experience. All it takes is three simple steps.
If you’re new here, my name is Ning Li. I've been a professional copywriter for about seven years and I've coached over 400 copywriters.
I've got a ton of students who come in with absolutely zero experience. They're looking to jump ship and hit the escape button from a job they don't like. They want to get into copywriting so they can work from home, travel, and live the laptop lifestyle.
So I'm going to show you how to get started, even if you have zero experience.
Step number one is you need a portfolio with strong samples. You can't get a copywriting job if you don't want to write copy or you don't like to write copy. You have to want to write.
So the first step is to write and get some samples ready. Write some emails for either a fake product or a real product. You can find one by clicking around on ads on the internet....
In this post I'm going to tell you how to put business owners at ease when they hire you.
This is especially important for newer copywriters without a track record to show a potential client, but don't overlook it if you've been doing this for a while. Many copywriters don't know the checkpoint system, so this will give you an edge over other experienced copywriters as well.
When you're new and talking to a potential client, they're full of fear. They fear you're going to miss deadlines, you're a bum on the street, you're going to write bad copy, and it's not going to convert.
This is born out of working with other copywriters, because the majority of copywriters will have all these problems.
The checkpoint system quells their fears, helping you land a higher percentage of jobs.
Number one is to have a portfolio and samples. Past experience. If you don't have a portfolio from past experience, that's still okay. You'll want to create...