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How to write copy for a product using“red, yellow, and green zones” concept

Have I told you my “red, yellow, and green zones” concept for deciding how to write copy for a product? It’s a super-simplified version of Gene Schwartz’s heady concepts around Market Sophistication and Solution Awareness.  Basically, there are 3 levels of pain your product solves… Red is severe.  Like, you just got a scary call …

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VIP Knoxville Implementation Day

The Freelancer’s Journey “BEYOND CLIENT WORK” Mastermind Event: V.I.P. IMPLEMENTATION DAY Watch this quick video from Kevin about this exclusive coaching event Live in Knoxville, TN Wednesday, September 14th Join us for an exclusive day of personal coaching, offer development, and high-level business strategy – putting the entire Copy Chief Marketing and Product Development team to …

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Signs you might be burning out …don’t ignore these warnings

If you’ve been at this freelance copywriting thing for a year or so, you’re likely facing burnout.  What does burnout look like?  It’s a bit different for everybody because we’re all wired a bit differently.  The SIGNS OF BURNOUT are pretty much the same for everyone though… If you consistently ask yourself, “when’s the last …

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How to replace your worst client …even if you still like ‘em

When you enter Phase 4-5 of your Freelancing Journey, landing gigs is no longer a problem.  Now it’s all about fighting for YOUR time. As you can see from the graphic, Phase 4 is all about STABILIZING your business.  That means… Knowing exactly how much you earn per hour for different types of work… Learning …

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The product you are sitting on right now … it’s a shame to not collect

Would you agree that freelancing is the greatest opportunity on earth?  Think about it… You get to get paid to learn on your client’s dime… Paid to learn the skills required to produce and sell quality products… Paid to learn about YOURSELF! And which of your strongest skills will earn you the most.  PAID to …

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How to quickly and easily TRASH your copywriting career (especially if you have no experience!)

Look, I get it. Money is how we measure success.  So, the appeal of a promise that you can “skyrocket your freelancing income overnight” is a sexy one. We see this promise every day online and, understandably, people fall for it.  Now, if you’re thinking, “The people who would believe that probably don’t care about …

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Bezos owes me fifty and why this matters to copywriters

Get this,  I bought my father-in-law a $50 Amazon gift card for his birthday. (Please, hold your applause. My overwhelming generosity is NOT the point of this story.) The circumstances are important here. When I purchased the gift card, I was sitting with my father-in-law (imagine an 81-yr-old Barney Rubble on oxygen). And because I …

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the client from hell

Have you ever had a freelance gig go straight into the toilet? Happens to all of us eventually. In comedy, we call them “Hell Gigs” And they’re kinda funny. Eventually. I mean, it’s painful, believe me, to stand before a roomful of strangers, your voice amplified twelve times the natural volume, saying things everyone knows …

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LIVE in London! 60-minute sales letter workshop – It’s happening April 10th

  I’m headed to London for the first time next month, and I’m so damn excited that I decided to create a one-day-only COPY CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION WORKSHOP where I will work closely with a select group of marketers and teach them my method for… Pumping out a proven to convert sales letter in 60 minutes …

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Revenge of the introvert (intimate chat with John Carlton)

People are finally beginning to understand introverted behavior. Forever it was an “either/or” thing. But, “the great resignation” and the ability for some workers to discover how they operate best — usually AWAY from other people — even has the “big corporate work machine” mentality shifting a bit.   They’re discovering what creatives have known all …

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“How’s that a**hat landing all these great gigs!?”

“How’s that asshat landing all these great gigs!?” Maybe it’s okay to feel jealous.  I mean… Yes, of course, social media is a human highlight reel with (very) questionable accuracy. Yes, it’s a waste of energy to “count other people’s money”. And yes, your time is better spent doing your thing instead of wishing you …

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Easy leads

If you’re a copywriter, there are two types of leads you can get all day long with very little effort… The “lowest bidder” leads on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork where you’re forced to do a high volume of low dollar gigs.  (The only way to “win” this game is by living in the …

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Three superstar guests joining me… (guess who)

  I was recently on a Facebook live with special guests… master copywriter David Deutsch, uber-successful entrepreneur, Ryan Lee, and celebrity productivity expert, Adrienne Dorison…           Watch the replay to get an actionable preview of the kind of tactics we’ll be sharing at the upcoming Freelancing Transformation Bootcamp in November.  Over …

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Here’s what I’d teach my own kids about freelancing (3 things in 3 minutes)…

I’ve got two teenagers (15 and 17) who are preparing to take on the world, so I think a lot about what I can give them to make the journey ahead a little less treacherous.  Sure, I welcome all the ass-kickings they surely will endure – and survive – because wisdom from experience is the …

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How to solve ANY freelancing problem in 10 mins or less

We’ve just opened up a very few spots in my Freelancer’s Journey Accelerator coaching program.  Accelerator is my mid-level coaching program where twice a month I host a call and give you 1-1 advice and action plans for… Resolving tricky client issues Raising your fees Specializing your services Connecting with copy-centric companies looking to hire …

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The latest (and most ironic) trend in freelancing…

I just finished a call with one of the most in-demand freelancer’s I coach… He’s got a lot going on.  Full roster of well-known clients where he primarily consults on, rather than writes, their ads. A suite of training products he sells consistently for thousands in passive monthly income. Paid workshops that fill to capacity every time …

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Well, THAT went well…

How ‘bout a little look behind the curtain today?  This’ll be revealing to you if… You love copywriting and freelancing… You consider yourself to be a natural teacher… You’ve thought of creating your own courses and products… Many freelancers do, over time. Others don’t. They prefer to hang behind the scenes and produce. Which is …

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The best email copywriter I know?

The numbers are in, there are now over SEVEN MILLION copywriters calling themselves “email copy experts”…  … and that’s just in the dating niche! (Ba-dam, tsss) There are a few million more self-titled “email wizards” now teaching super wizardly email tactics like…  “writing as your dog”“spicing it up with memes” and “using whacky ‘from names’” Holy …

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The “no outcome pending” method for making big connections

Do you love April Fool’s Day?  Have you been planning for weeks exactly when to drop the plastic spider from the ceiling above the toilet and phone-record a family member screaming half-pantsed down the hallway?  That’s some Tik Tok gold right there! (forced segue alert…) But, ya know…  One place it’s ALWAYS UNCOOL to try …

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Kevin Rogers Copy Chief

Hunger, Smarts, and _____ Clayton Makepeace’s 3 traits every copywriter needs

I recently joined a panel of the world’s best copywriters to honor Clayton Makepeace.  It’s been a year since the industry was rocked by his untimely death soon after being hospitalized.  His wife, Wendy, as always, was at his side as he passed. She then served as our “rock” by inspiring us with how she …

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Copy Chief Radio

The “make or break” part of freelancing no one prepared you for

There’s a problem freelancers face when it comes to personal productivity:  Knowing how to use our time! It seems so elementary, but it’s understandable why we struggle with this. Because, as independents…  No one teaches us how to manage our own projects, let alone which things will actually grow our business and which are a …

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Everything I would tell you about copywriting on a long road trip

…(as we escaped the law!) Let’s imagine that you and I were thrown together by some random “madcap” movie plotline… Something really zany, like I’ve been falsely accused of a bank heist because I’m a dead ringer for the actual bank robber (played by Bryan Cranston)… who the cops don’t know just escaped through the …

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The “invisible” reason why sales copy thrives or dies

  What makes the difference between a piece of copywriting that stirs a deeply positive emotional reaction in the reader… and one that has them trashing it immediately. Or worse… forwarding it to a government agency as a potential scam? Very different reactions, clearly.  And yes, the stakes really are that high.  The difference comes …

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The entrepreneur’s “DNA test” (which type are you?)

  Wanna know what defines an entrepreneur? It isn’t the “billion dollar” ideas… Or the scrappy rebelliousness… Or even the ability to create revenue. Those things are inherent in most entrepreneurs, but also in wantrepreneurs – those who chatter about starting a business but never make the leap.  To me, what defines an entrepreneur is …

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4×6 Copy Breakdown: Profits Unlimited Ad by The Harmon Brothers

You’ve surely seen the hilarious viral video ads for products like Squatty Potty (with the famous ice cream-pooping unicorn), Purple Mattress, Lume Deodorant, and Poo Pourri. Those ads are made by Harmon Brothers and have single-handedly revolutionized the world of Direct Response marketing by using bold humor to interrupt the long-running pattern of “dire warning” …

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How to Find the Best Writers at Copy Chief Live’s Roundtable Meet Ups

Copy Chief writers are a special breed. They work hard at writing copy. And they care more about getting results for their customers than any person has a right to. I admit that I’m biased, because many of them have become my friends, as well as my students in Copy Chief’s Real Free Life program. …

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[Story Sells] How a “Ticking Time Bomb” Helps Capture Attention

Nothing motivates action like a time limit. It’s why sales and coupons don’t last forever. Deadlines seem to be hard-wired into our brains. It goes back to caveman days: “We get home before sun goes down, Thog. That when monster attack.” And when it comes to closing a sale, time limits create urgency to act. …

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[Story Sells] The Booster Rocket Tactic to launching a product’s Big Idea

  We live in the “golden age of television”, we are told. First premium cable, and now streaming, unshackled us from the constraints of storytelling dominated by commercial breaks. Now we can enjoy long, satisfying story arcs. The Sopranos. Breaking Bad. Game of Thrones. Westworld. Etc. All well and good. But don’t throw out traditional …

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The Hidden Reason Your Customers Aren’t Buying (and how to change their mind)

My mouse was hovering over the buy button for Ramit Sethi’s Dream Job. But I didn’t pull the trigger. If you asked me why I would’ve said: “It’s too expensive.” But the REAL reason was I didn’t think it could work for me. I saw Ramit as this super motivated, driven guy. He spent his …

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[Story Sells] “Ice-Breakers” in Ads: How To Gradually Introduce a Radical Idea

J.R.R. Tolkien had a big problem. He loved the ancient, epic tales. He began writing his own (see The Silmarillion). But he quickly discovered that these ancient worlds of honor and vengeance, with black and white heroes with little characterization, were almost totally inaccessible to a modern audience. All that oath-swearing. And listing of lineage. …

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[Story Sells] Beef Up Before and After Testimonials with this Story Technique

In Blake Snyder’s useful screenwriting how-to book, Save The Cat, he talks about two scenes you must have in your movie. An opening image. And a closing image. And one more thing: They should be OPPOSITES of each other. Why? To show how the character has changed and grown. This journey is the character’s “Arc.”. …

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[Story Sells] How to Name Your Products So They Stick

Han Solo. Gilderoy Lockhart. Benjamin Grimm. These names of fictional characters are easy to remember. Why? For one thing, they are all examples of “sympathetic naming”. That’s where you name a character after a trait they possess. So Han faces life pretty much “solo,” a lone-wolf. (Except for Chewbacca, who’s kind of like a dog.) …

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[Story Sells] How to Answer Customer Objections with the “Death Star” Solution

As I write this, San Diego’s Comic Con just wrapped up. Fans were served tasty selections of their favorite fictional universes. Predictably, some offerings unleashed a flurry of geek-citement. But others ignited a firestorm of critiques. Cause few folks are as argumentative as fanboys. As a market, they’re sophisticated and very vocal. That’s why storytellers …

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The 1-Sentence “RAD” Trick That Transforms a Commodity into a Brand

We live in the age of Branded Characters. Leave no lunchbox unclaimed by a caped crusader or a spiffy cartoon. Thank goodness. Who wants a boring blue box when you can have a universe of possibilities unfold every time you reach for a PB&J? And every single character has a little “TM” next to it. …

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The 5 C’s of Indoctrination: Essential Website Elements To Welcome Cold Prospects And Convert The Curious

If you only sell to people who know the value of your product or service you’ll quickly run out of new customers, doomed to forever be a small fish flopping around in a shallow pool of revenue. To expand your market and increase sales you must indoctrinate new prospects. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of indoctrination …

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[Story Sells] Prevent prospects from abandoning your ad by fixing the “Broken Film” mistake

I used to work at a movie theater in high school. One of my best jobs ever. I could watch any movie for free, and eat all the popcorn and drink all the soda I wanted. But some days were bad. When the film skipped — or worse — broke. (These were in the old …

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Unleashing Your Inner Lazy B*stard – How Freelance Copywriters Can Get More Done By Working Less

As freelance copywriters, we’re at this weird intersection between ‘creatives’ and ‘craftspeople’… Because our working practices need to draw from both areas. Creatively, copywriters must be sensitive to human emotions and highly empathetic… We have to be regularly inspired to create and develop ‘big ideas’ that resonate with people and help sell our clients’ products… …

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[Story Sells] How to win the war against wandering attention with the “John Ford Maneuver”

You know when you’re sitting in a movie theater and hear all the noise before the film begins? The flash of phone screens, the chatter, the rustling in seats, the unwrapping of a big box of Red Vines licorice? But then when the movie begins with a strong scene – like the “rolling boulder” sequence …

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How to tell your story like Tolkien (and stop losing prospects to your competitors)

If you had to tell me your story right this second, would you be able to do it … or would you choke? You’d think it’s easy explaining who you are and why people should care. But if this were true, nobody would need copywriters. Bad storytelling means we risk confusing or boring people … …

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[Story Sells] The Joy of Bob Ross: the hidden selling technique used by this mild-mannered painter in nearly every episode

When I feel stressed out at the end of the day, and I need to relax, I’ve got something better than single malt scotch. I tune in to an artist with a big ‘fro named Bob Ross, and step in his world of Happy Little Trees, in the Joy of Painting Series. (How’d he get …

[Story Sells] The Joy of Bob Ross: the hidden selling technique used by this mild-mannered painter in nearly every episode Read More »

David Bowie: The Ultimate Artist-As-Entrepreneur?

June 2017 marks 50 years since David Bowie released his first album. The title of this landmark record? Somewhat unimaginatively, it was called: David Bowie. Ironic, because nothing else in Bowie’s extraordinary life was ever that predictable again… The Ultimate Artist-as-Entrepreneur As a long-time fan, I was recently struck by just how well some of …

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[Story Sells] The Harry Potter trick to easier storytelling

Got a “productivity hack” for you today. Especially for all you procrastinators out there, as you sit down in consternation at your vintage Corona-Smith typewriter. (If you’re a hipster or an oldster, that is.) If you don’t know how to start your story, use a trick from Harry Potter-author J.K. Rowling. To explain: You remember …

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How Eugene Schwartz’s Branding Secret Ignites Direct Response Sales

Before I became a copywriter, I spent 29 years working with brands. The power of those brands allowed me to create multi-million dollar businesses around the globe. That’s a nice piece of change. It worked because each brand had a clear identity that resonated with certain consumers. In fact, the product itself was often secondary. …

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[Story Sells] Establish Authority by Copying This Novelist Trick

  Can you establish credibility while lying your ass off? Yep. Novelists and other storytellers do it all the time. And when you tell true stories as a marketer, you can copy their technique to build trust. (Bonus: when you pull from real life, you don’t have to work as hard as professional liars.) Here’s …

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[Story Sells] How Bush beats Obama in your sales stories

  I loved watching SNL as a kid. My favorite player? Dana Carvey. You might remember some of his best characters … The very special Church Lady. The dependable Garth. And, of course, the fake George Herbert Walker Bush. Carvey’s impression of President Bush became so widespread, that the former president himself once did a …

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The Conscious Consumer: Who they are and why you need to know about them

  I’ve been watching this for a while and wondering if others have noticed it too. The modern-day consumer is more aware and conscious than ever before. For us as marketers, copywriters and business owners, we need to be more aware of what we do when we sell to them. You may be thinking… “what …

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[Story Sells] Plunder this storytelling jewel from the British Royal Family

I’m watching The Crown on Netflix. The show follows the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in the 1950s. If you’re into period dramas and stuffy British manners, it might be your kind of thing. But for me, it looked like a bit of a snooze fest. Nonetheless, I’d heard it was good, so I …

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The Voice Mistakes That Are Costing You Money (And How To Fix Them)

How do you measure whether your voice is a success? Here’s a quick test. Try reading this out loud: It’s impossible not to read it in Liam Neeson’s voice. If you’ve nailed voice, that’s exactly what you should be looking for when someone reads your copy. They need to hear you. On Copy Chief, we’ve …

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[Story Sells] How to Capture Drifting Attention with the Captain “Hook” Rule

You will lose sales unless you hook your customer’s attention with the very first sentence. But what do you say? Well, to figure that out, let’s look at what not to do. And then just do the opposite. Captain Hook and his pals at Jake and the Neverland Pirates hold the treasure we seek. If …

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Stephen King’s IT And The Secret To Creating Emotion-Driven Copy That Converts

It’s one of the most notorious openings to any novel… Shocking, gruesome… …and so very, very vivid. From Stephen King’s epic 1986 tale, IT: “A small boy in a yellow slicker and red galoshes ran cheerfully along beside the newspaper boat. The rain had not stopped, but it was finally slackening. It tapped on the …

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[Story Sells] The “Mother Rule” for Keeping Faith with your Prospect

Sell on emotion, justify with logic? Yes, but … Stories teach us that emotions have a logic of their own. We may be irrational, unknowable creatures … But at least in stories, emotions must make sense. If they don’t, then we the audience won’t believe what’s happening in the story. Like when characters do dumb …

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Here’s The Secret To Copy That Keeps Your Prospects Coming Back For More

Recently a writer wanted her copy critiqued for an email lead generation campaign. It was for a watch targeted to bodybuilders. The writing style was “upbeat and cheerful.” Hey, wait a minute. That feels off to me… I looked at the company name and wasn’t familiar with the brand. But “upbeat and cheerful” wasn’t what …

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[Story Sells] How To Make Your “AHA!” Moment Believable with this “Dr. Strange” Magic Trick

The latest Marvel blockbuster ‘Dr. Strange’ makes you believe in magic. To the tune of $653 million and counting. And one of the secrets of the believability is a little storytelling magic trick you may use in your next promotion. We live in the Golden Age of Fantasy Movies. From epic fantasies like Game of …

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The #1 Way You’re Accidentally Killing Your Own Sales… And How To Fix It

As an entrepreneur in the self-improvement world, you’re pouring a ton of blood, sweat and tears into your business on a daily basis… You’re creating life-changing products and services and putting beaming smiles on people’s faces without them needing to gorge on an entire chocolate cake. You’d figure your work is done right there, and …

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How to 2X the value of your case studies (follow these 4 steps)

You already know case studies inspire hope, prove you’re credible, and give your reader that “If they can do it, so can I!” feeling that makes them take action. But done right, they can do a whole lot more. They can uncover objections and fears you didn’t realize your audience had. And ensure you write …

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The 15-Minute “Focus Card” That Will End Your Stress and Fatten Your Wallet

How’s your business been treating you so far this year? Is it the friend you can’t wait to wake up to? Or the beast looming in the next room? People with “real jobs” don’t quite understand how it can be. This relationship we have with our business. It’s complicated. Sometimes you can feel like you …

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More writing, happier clients: 5 ways to handle the business side of copywriting

The dream of becoming a successful freelance copywriter is an alluring one. You make your own schedule. You work with who you want to work with. And you get paid handsomely for all of it. Plus, your job is to learn about psychology and persuasion — skills that improve every single area of your life. …

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[Story Sells] Rip This Part of Your Sales Letter from Star Trek

It’s easy to bore your reader when you shift into science mode. Yeah, you often need some technical explanation to prove why your product works. But, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of jargon and research. That’s when you lose your prospect. So how do you keep it interesting? Without your techno-babble landing …

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[Story Sells] Sell On Emotion, Justify With This …

My nephew recently asked me how The Flash got his super-speed powers. My answer: “Barry Allen was struck by lightning while standing in front of a shelf of chemicals. The combination of the chemicals and the lightning gave him super speed. Lightning is very fast, after all.”* This story made sense my nephew. Lightning is fast, …

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[Story Sells] The copywriting secret that helped this summer blockbuster rake in $1.6 Billion dollars

When I was a teenager, I stood in a long line to watch the first Jurassic Park. I had just read the novel in one big gulp and I was dying to see real dinosaurs on the screen. I wasn’t alone. The movie brought in over 1.02 billion dollars. Steven Spielberg, the director, knew how to tease …

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How To Write Badass Bullets Image

How To Write Badass Bullets Your Readers Simply Can’t Resist

Bullets — they’re those titillating snippets of copy designed to tempt your reader into taking action… Have you ever read one so intriguing you couldn’t get it out of your head? Where you just HAD to know its secret? Sometimes, a single bullet is all it takes to knock your prospect off the fence and …

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[Story Sells] TESTIFY, brother: How To Tell A “Conversion Story” that turns your customers into your best promoters

A few years back I followed my buddy to a multilevel marketing event for a health supplements company. It was a big event, designed to bring curious seekers into the fold. Presenters talked up the company and the products … but what I remember most were the testimonials. And when I say testimonials, I mean ‘testimonial’ in …

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The Growth Engine: A Three-Step Repeatable Process That Accelerates Growth

January 2015 — Rochester, New York It was 11:22 AM and for the last 3 hours 22 minutes I’d been gagging on the question, ”What should I do next??” For the 13th month in a row my business was flat. No growth. No new opportunities. Nada. I was freaking out because I’d always heard: I …

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[Story Sells] How to harness the power of “Authenticity” for your sales story

You can ramp up the intensity of the stories you tell when you insert one basic theme. My friend Michael Hauge revealed this to me recently. According to him, nearly all stories in the world revolve around this central dilemma. And, so too, do our lives. When you put this theme into your stories – …

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How to Cure Your Shiny Tactic Syndrome And Start Creating Offers That Convert

The following is a series of emails sent about a serious epidemic in online marketing circles. Email 1 Subject: Do you suffer from “shiny tactic syndrome”? (a quick test) Here’s a quick test to see if you (or someone you love) suffers from Shiny Tactic Syndrome (STS)… __ You bought and never used Guru Buckweasel’s …

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5 Steps to Transform Your Personal Stories Into Sales Machines

“Story sells…” “Your customers connect with stories, not features and benefits…” “Thou shalt not bore thy customers…” If you study sales copy, you’ve no doubt heard variations of the above…that you should be telling stories. Stories are what people remember, and the way to your audience’s heart. And you can probably name at least two …

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Conterintuitive Copy – Why this company reveals how to make their product on your own

There I am innocently perusing Facebook and then…  woah! Good copy alert. Yes, I’m a nerd, buuuuuut… Check it: So I did what completely normal people do (right?)… and broke this down quick by asking 4 questions: What are they saying? Who are they speaking to? What is the voice? Does it work? 1. Why are …

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