Mark Pescetti Interview: Successful Copywriter Positioning

Mark Pescetti Interview on successful copywriter positioningMark Pescetti Interview on how intermediate level copywriters and any other kind of consultants can position themselves to advance to the next level: "Oh Mark, You So Data Slut!!" Get ready for an onslaught of critical marketing information to transform your plain old limping-month-to-month copywriting business into a top flight best-client-getting MACHINE.

Last Fall I asked top copywriter Mark Pescetti if he was interested in being interviewed. I was going through one of my periodic episodes of frustration with newbies, and suggested that we talk to the intermediate level of skill and market presence. Since Mark is in high demand, we booked the talk for yesterday. As usual, the intervening months passed quickly.

Newbies are so eager for a dollar they will chase anything. The result is they pick up low-paying clients who do not value their services, and get treated like a commodity. Intermediate level copywriters have been around awhile and figured out that something is wrong. If you're sick and tired of taking on low-ball projects because you don't know how to find anything else...if you want to know the surprising truth about what it takes to be a well-paid writer...then listen into and act on what Mark is about to share.

What You'll Learn In the Mark Pescetti Interview

In the Mark Pescetti interview, we cover:

  • What are the necessary elements of positioning?
  • How do you find out what your market is looking for, so you can put yourself in the right spot?
  • How do relationships factor into positioning?
  • What secret ingredient that sets you free is missing from most copywriters' income streams?
  • What does "Being Real" mean in this context?
  • How do you identify the right customers?
  • How do you reach them?
  • How do you demonstrate you're worth the big money?
  • What happens when you DON'T position yourself?
  • How does your self-esteem affect your actions and results?

What Mark shares in this discussion is worth an investment of thousands of dollars. It is actually beyond a monetary value. He lays the process of positioning for and getting high-value clients in such detail that I have to admit...this is another of those interviews like the one I just did which frankly I'm a little pre-irritated about sharing for free. We tend not to value things we get for free, and the steps Mark shares here are extremely valuable. So don't treat this talk like the others you listen to this week. It is not in the same category. I have never heard another copywriter discuss this topic. To get to the level at which you're able to know and share the ideas in the Mark Pescetti interview takes a long time and an investment few are willing to make.

You might be thinking from that bullet list this interview might be a little dry. Let me assure you it is lively and engaging because Mark is that way. He shares stories from the trenches to accentuate his points. The discussion is free-flowing and fun. Make the brief commitment to listen, whether you're a copywriter or not--and whether you're an intermediate level writer or a newbie.

So many of the points Mark are the complete opposite of what you'd expect. How can showing weakness be a strength? What works better than anything else--including writing--for getting in front of big-dollar prospective clients? Why would technical competence not be a significant contributing factor in a client's decision to hire you at the level he's talking about? After your eyebrows come back down following hearing this astonishing information, maybe you'll be ready to start moving in the right direction.

As a five-figure copywriter, I found a considerable shared experience with Mark's and was nodding at everything he said. But he also expressed ideas I hadn't thought of before, and learned several things I'm going to start employing in my own world.

Listen to the Mark Pescetti Interview

Links to content discussed in the Mark Pescetti Interview:

Copyranger Mark Duris' blog post on Being Memorable

Jason Kanigan interviewed by two other sales trainers on the importance of FIT in choosing clients

2018 UPDATE: Jason Kanigan on What's Wrong With Copywriting Today

>> Jason Kanigan is a business development expert. For copywriting or positioning help, click here to submit your application. Please Like or Share to let someone else know about this important interview. Questions? Comment below! <<

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Copywriting Case Study: $600K In One Week

Copywriting case study Jason Kanigan

Copywriting Case Study for Stock Trading Software Client by Jason Kanigan

Copywriting is salesmanship in print. I don't normally share case studies like these, but an expert copywriter and brand developer suggested that I do for his group. So let me begin.

If you want to hit a home run, pick your client carefully.

Undercapitalized, desperate people who don't have a succesful track record or a good product need not apply.

Learn to screen these out as quickly as you can.

My client is well-funded, already had a comfortable lifestyle--though the results of this campaign transformed his life--and a history of providing great value to his customers...who also had money and energy. Exactly who you want for a copywriting case study like this.

That is something else to consider: your customer's customers. If they suck, why would you expect good results from any of your efforts with your prospect?

Do you want to make a ton more money as a writer or a seller? Read on:

Too many copywriters are too eager to get involved with anyone who waves a dollar their way. This is the height of foolishness. Stop undermining your chances of success, and instead engineer victory by analyzing your prospective client and their target market before taking anyone on.

And writers will still lie through their teeth at this, saying, "Oh, I do that." No, you don't.

An additional factor in this copywriting case study was that I had done a project with this client before. I knew he appreciated skill and results. The previous work had been a short email series, but it had made good money and paved the way for me to be the only choice for him moving forward. I didn't know that, and being asked to manage this launch was a pleasant surprise.

So near the end of March I discovered we had a product but no theme; a warmish market but no intense desire from them to buy anything.

And email has become a cluttered medium. How were we to get the attention of our drilled-down niche of hypertargeted prospects, and induce them to consume our content?

First, we got money off the table.

If you know my method of Monetizing the Problem, we did that and arrived at a satisfactory figure. This was paid in two installments 5 days apart, simply because few people have that much money in their Paypal account and cash had to be moved. I could now completely and exclusively concentrate upon my client's project.

Should you have not yet been in this position, imagine what it does to your mind. You have absolutely nothing to worry about, except getting results. This gives you total freedom and the downtime necessary for all the "staring at the ceiling" that typically precedes actual writing.

It did not take any staring at the ceiling to generate the theme and direction for the campaign. In a fast conversation, I gave my client key ideas to produce a new marketing funnel. But first, we had to get the right people onto our target buyers list.

Secret Details About My Client, Target Audience and Elements of the Offer for this Copywriting Case Study

My client has been leading in the stock trading field for many years. He has a successful trading product that just reached its one year anniversary, and boasts the accolade of doing exactly what it said it would do...a rarity in this world. He also has a weekly radio show and a front end marketing funnel to distribute his book and its unique trading philosophy. He consistently uses email marketing and constantly studies split testing. So I did not have to educate him.

His target market is 50-60 year-old men who have traded in the market for several years or more, and have at least $20,000 to invest. These folks are staring retirement in the face and are highly motivated to find a solution to their monetary needs following that point. So like Charlie Brown, they have bought and been disappointed with many trading products over the years...but perpetually return to take another kick at the football they know Lucy is almost certainly going to whip away at the last minute.

Skeptical, but have some money and are always "scoping" for a solution to their impending financial disaster problem.

My client's product is a software program. It is the culmination of the past 15 years of his life experience and research, and includes certain proprietary strategies and algorithms derived from observation of how the market has actually performed. And he had consistently made money for himself and his clients. Contrast this with the talking heads on money market tv shows, who are sharing the latest "tip of the day"...and never get rich. A financial and time investment was naturally necessary to develop this program. I suspect the investment total to reach the launch point was close to $150,000. My client had skin in the game.

The retail price for this product will be $5,000 or higher. Our target audience needed to know and value this.

The launch price for our soon-to-be warmed up group was $1997. Again, the audience had to understand what a huge discount and amazing deal this was.

My client set a public goal and cap of 200 units, so the target revenue for this launch was $400K.

Additionally, we had a $997 upsell.

As I saw it, we had three fundamental problems to overcome:

1. How would we get the right people to stick up their hands and get onto a special list?

2. How would we train them to understand the value of our product, by having them consume educational content?

3. How would we excite them and gain enough trust to overwhelm their natural skepticism so they would buy?

Just prior to hiring me, my client had a strategy call with Rich Shefren providing a couple of key pointers. Most importantly, that the audience needed to understand that this launch was a big deal. BIG. This was foremost on our minds as we began this copywriting case study.

I gave a critical idea to produce URGENCY in the target audience to consume the educational content in resolving Problem #2. I have not seen this idea utilized before, and will not be sharing it as it is the kind of thing my clients pay me for. However, you should know about this urgency requirement. We'll speak more about it later.

Want to know the key details of how we created raving fans BEFORE launching the product?

We divided April into three sections.

First, a week-long signup process to wean down my client's 55,000-member list to the qualified few we wanted to speak directly to.

Second, a two-week educational sequence to get that audience on fire for the product.

And finally, a week-long sales window to hit that monetary target of $400K.

A Key Element to Executing the Launch Plan

I want you to understand something about the creative and planing process for both this copywriting case study, and in general. You HAVE TO do the planning. You must lay out your calendar of events for what you're going to do. And you really have to believe in that plan. But reality will not turn out that way. At some point, preferably sooner rather than later, you will throw out this carefully assembled first plan in exchange for a new one. This new plan will be much better focused on the true needs, behavior and results of your target market--but you cannot know what these things are until you put your boots on and walk some distance down the muddy path to your goal. Don't fight the change; just make it.

My theme for the educational component was a Mission:Impossible-style concept to generate excitement and curiosity. We found stock video and music to match, and used them to create the opening sequence. That alone was an educational event for me, because I found some stock footage that was only about $100 which I had seen before--and had assumed it was high-end, custom, expensive work for that person's launch. The more you know... Our aim was to filter for those people who had at least $20K to invest, were action takers, and could follow directions.

Now the course correction in the plan for this copywriting case study:

The first two emails to the 55,000 list did not get many signups to our target list.

We had a full week, of course, so plenty of time to make adjustments. But this kind of result never feels good. Something in the hook wasn't working.

My client and I spoke every day for at least half an hour. Often a full 60 minutes. Our several email threads were 80+ messages long and we'd laugh about that. Remember, money had been taken off the table, so it did not matter how much time the project required.

The switches we made were to a) concentrate more on storytelling, b) really push the idea that those who signed up were part of a special group who would be receiving elite training like the Special Forces of the investment world, and c) add the urgency element I had planned to reserve for the educational phase. To help with urgency, we also added a contest for the best reason to sign up for the training. "How will getting this training change your life?" was the gist of the question. We received hundreds of Facebook comments as entries for this contest. The best of these were used going forward as social proof elements embedded in emails. They can also be used for the evergreen signup sequence to be developed.

Execution and Results for this Copywriting Case Study

From then on we got much better results. At the conclusion of the week, the target buyers list was 2200 strong.

Now I have to tell you, I was a bit concerned with this number. 55000 to 2200 was maybe a bit too good a job of filtering. To hit that 200 unit sales figure, the offer would have to convert at almost 10%. For a higher ticket item, that definitely made me gulp. We'd see how it played out, but for now the doors were closed. The rave was all locked up, and nobody new was getting in.

The educational piece was about to begin. We gave the list members the very best of the knowledge and methods my client has. The object was to transform their point of view and approach to investing. The software follows this approach and does it all for them. We shared his tactics, how he arrived at them, and supporting data. Much of this was through video, which I scripted. Sometimes these videos were 5 or 10 minutes, sometimes 30 or more. We also gave valuable pdf reports. And we put in a couple of contests to again boost that level of involvement and get micro-commitments. The prizes have to be substantial. In our case we gave away three copies of the software. "How would owning this software change your life?" Again, testimonials we can use for all time in an evergreen funnel or any advertising. We asked for feedback via Facebook comments for everything, and got amazing results.

Almost every single person who signed up for the buyers list watched all of the training.

For a video, we received over 400 Facebook comments. Think of the buyer involvement!

And when someone writes a personal declaration of "How owning this software is going to change my life," how do you think they believe and feel about the product? Are they set up to buy it when released? Haven't they just told themselves to do so?

This could be the biggest takeaway from this copywriting case study for you.

Midway through the educational period we knew we were onto something big. The feedback, involvement level and energy was bigger than anything either of us had ever seen.

Finally the Monday launch date arrived.

A few hours later, my client called me. "We're definitely gonna hit 200," he exclaimed. "How do you know?" I asked cautiously. Remember, I was still concerned that we only had 2200 people on our list. That this might not have been a very good copywriting case study. "We've already sold 97," he said. "And demand is typically U-shaped; you sell as many at the close as you do at the opening." Best of all, he was in the black. The revenue had definitely surpassed his investment to get this far. We could both breathe a sigh of relief.

Tuesday we spoke again. "The upsell's not converting," said my client. Now the main VSL and upsell VSL were scripted from Jon Benson's templates and were put together before I joined the team. I re-watched my way through the funnel, putting myself in the prospect's viewpoint rather than a writer's, and realized something. This person had just watched a 65-minute sales presentation for the main product, and then probably spent 10 minutes humming and hawing about whether to fork over the $1997. Then this other thing comes on, and there's no way of telling how long it's going to be. My response was to groan.

And so I added two slides to that upsell VSL right at the beginning. In them, I acknowledged the fact that they had just invested a long period watching the first video. I then complimented them on the character element they were displaying, and reinforced that element. By watching this second video all the way though, I said, they were being consistent about demonstrating that character element--and also not cutting themselves off from a potentially extremely lucrative tool just because they might be a little bit tired. Again, the exact wording is the kind of thing my clients pay me for, so I won't be sharing that.

We split test the two versions. Conversions of my modified upsell VSL immediately leapt to 50%. No kidding.

Sunday night when we closed, the total was over $600,000. We got some mail-in and phone orders that bumped the total far past the figure my client gave me in his early testimonial. From a list of 2200 people. Kicked that $400K target out of the park, didn't we. Guess I got the right peeps on the list.

Wrap-Up Thoughts for the Jason Kanigan Copywriting Case Study

Now let me point out I did not do everything myself for this copywriting case study. I was more like an orchestra conductor who also plays a lead instrument. We had a video expert who quickly put together the sequences we needed...an admin helper to post the emails...a programmer to do some pretty special stuff inside those emails that I envisioned but didn't know how to actually do. Rich Shefren's strategic direction. Jon Benson's VSL templates. And last but definitely not least, I had a client who understood online marketing...split testing...video presentations...had a great product and real knowledge...and appropriate funding. Success requires putting the pieces of the puzzle together correctly.

Finally, let me share with you the comments from my client:

"The first thing I said to Jason was "you want how much?!" [for the short email series preceding this launch]
Then he showed me his work...
Then he made me an extra $14,300...
Then I said, "let's do this launch. I just paid Rich Schefren
$2000 an hour so let's hash out these ideas."

OK, Jason's call sign should be the Marketing Magician
because within a 10 minute phone call, he conjured up
a completely new, never seen before marketing funnel to
get people to consume training videos for a new product
launch. My lips are sealed about this funnel. It's the new
back end for my business.

Next thing I know $211,000 comes in within 24 hours.
By the end of the week, it's $504,000 and growing.

Before the launch, [I] had a flop. Schefren is amazing,
but we had to go a different route. Jason and I bounced
ideas left and right in machine gun rapid-fire...then

Marketing plan. CHECK. Email blasts. CHECK. Half
a million in a week. CHECK.

Even Jon Benson, the father of the "ugly video sales
letter" which has made nearly $1 billion in sales said
of our crazy new up-sell funnel said: "this DOES
need to be in any upsell...nice copy...your message
simply works."

[I added 2 vitally important slides near the beginning of Jon's slide sequence that massively boosted conversions.]

Thanks Jason! You've put money directly in my pocket
with PERSUASIVE copy. You were right, you get what
you pay for.

Dan Murphy. A true believer."

Naturally, we're at work on our next project.

After this launch, we raised the price to more than double the original amount. I transformed the launch sequence into an evergreen funnel. We put a lead generation front end step onto the process. The package continues to sell today.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business development expert who has been helping companies make sales since 1994.

If you believe you're qualified to work with Jason, and want results like this copywriting case study, Click Here.

Any questions or comments? Comment below to let us know! And please Like and share this content if you think other people will find it valuable! <<

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A Lesson In Process and Outsourcing

Process and OutsourcingI have a lesson in process and outsourcing to share with you today. As many of you know, I'm also a copywriter. Sales training and copywriting are the two main things I do for money. Lately I've been working on a product launch for a stock trading software, and it's been very engrossing.

Yesterday, in the hopes of getting into something completely different, I started watching a 2-1/2 hour documentary of how the movie Alien (1979) got made.

Much to my surprise, I found myself in familiar territory. An astonishingly large number of factors I'm quite familiar with from the product launch world reappeared in this “Behind the Scenes” story. And I want to share some of them with you, because they'll help you understand the process of creating a successful business—especially if you're new to all this.

Now we ought to begin by reminding ourselves that the idea for what became the movie Alien popped into a writer's head sometime after 1974 but before 1977. This is vitally important to our understanding of the business environment, because Star Wars had not come out yet. Therefore, everyone was afraid of science fiction and nobody wanted to risk studio money on a project like that. The writer was a young guy who had gone to film school with director John Carpenter, and helped him make the sci-fi comedy Dark Star. But this writer wanted to make a sci-fi horror movie next. He then found another writer who was working on a half-completed story that they combined, and wrote a treatment—not a script—for an all-male crew with some sort of monster aboard.

At this point they had no clear idea what the alien would look like. Someone introduced them to the disturbing metal artwork of H.R. Giger and that is how the direction of the appearance of the monster was settled upon.

Then they shopped this idea around to various studios, looking for money. One studio tried to complete and rewrite the script several times with different writers. The results were bad. However, the android, Ash, was an idea contributed by these new writers.

The decision to make the lead a woman, to be counter-to-type in the genre, was a late one.

But 20th Century Fox wouldn't approve the script. Nobody wanted to risk on science fiction. It sat there until


Star Wars demonstrated in 1977 that sci-fi could be extremely commercially successful. 20th Century had exactly one other sci-fi script laying around. An interesting side note: Alan Ladd, Jr., son of the famous actor, was president of Fox at the time. He had invested in George Lucas for Star Wars, and now OKed the money, at first $4.2 million, for Alien.

The Lesson In Process and Outsourcing Kicks Into High Gear for Alien

So who would direct? The studio went through several candidates. The movie had to be carried off in such a way as to appear an A-level film; the special effects could not look silly, and the monster had to be genuinely scary. The right director had to have the right vision. Five candidates later the team settled on a new fellow, who had made precisely one film: Ridley Scott. Thanks to Scott getting some storyboards together, Fox saw his vision and doubled the budget to over $8 million. Never underestimate the power of painting a picture for your prospect.

Then they got several artists together. Giger for the alien design. Two others for the 'human' interiors. An Italian, Carlo Rambaldi, was hired to make the special effects for the alien's head (and won an Oscar for it).

A whole effects team was assembled, because everything had to be manually made. Remember, this was an era without CGI or much post-production capabilities. It all had to be done right the first time. And nobody had done many of the things they were going to try to do. The set designs were made of bones, plaster, scrap machinery and all kinds of other things.

And finally, the casting.

Sigourney Weaver went to the wrong place and was late to her casting call. Imagine if she'd been passed on for this mistake, or gave up and went home?

The nearly seven-foot-tall, ultra-thin man who played the alien, for whom they custom-made the suit, was found in a local tavern. He was sent to tai chi and mime classes to learn how to slow down and control his movements. A gymnast was used for other scenes.

Jerry Goldsmith, who seems to have done every other film than John Williams, composed the score.

Now look.

Look at how many people, circumstantial events, personal efforts and individual talents contributed to what became a hit movie that has stood the test of time:

  • Original writers/conceptual & management team
  • Studio writers
  • Funders
  • Director
  • Alien artist
  • Terran artists
  • Special effects boss
  • Production team
  • Cast
  • Alien body actors
  • Score developer.

And there were more, such as the Fox producer who ran around telling the crew to stop making new sets Ridley Scott had told them to make, because they weren't financially approved by the beancounters. Imagine the frustration at that! Consider all of the choices made to get these people to the outcome of a great movie. Chance meetings. Additions like the android and a female lead made by other people than the original writers.

Process and Outsourcing for A Product Launch

In the launch I'm leading, we have

  • product creator/owner/funder
  • video sales letter writer and producer
  • signup & prelaunch & launch writer/concept creator/conductor (me)
  • video editor to make the videos the client makes of the scripts I write for him look nice
  • admin tech for actually putting the emails I write into the autoresponder and sending them out
  • programmers who are the team behind the software we're selling at the end of this three-week process.

And stuff gets done fast.

By ourselves, none of us could do each component of the work this well or this fast. And without collaboration, we wouldn't get as good ideas out to our audience.

Takeaways About Process and Outsourcing

Takeaways from the Making of Alien documentary and my recent product launch experience include:

  • To create something really spectacular, you're going to need the help of other people who are exceptional at the things you're not
  • Each outsourcer is hired on because they are an expert in a specific field—not because they “sound good to have around”
  • It's going to take longer than you think, and you'll have more unexpected struggles than you could have imagined, to succeed
  • You have to be open to input from others to get the very best final product.

I've learned a lot from this process. And it is a process—I want you to see that. A great product isn't built in an afternoon. Many elements factor into a success, and plenty of them are going to be found outside of y-o-u.

The road to winning has many twists and turns. False starts. Sometimes even the temporary appearance of failure. But if you have a valuable and clear vision, it's much more likely you'll stick with the project to get the result you desire.

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