Author, copywriter and member retention specialist, Robert Skrob, is our guest n the 148th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. We recently invited Robert to present his unique business model to the members of The Copywriter Think Tank and wanted to share his unique approach to marketing his business with everyone who listens to the podcast. We asked Robert about:
• how he went from working as a book keeper to writing copy for subscription businesses and the advantages his accounting background give him
• how copywriters make our business more complex than it needs to be
• why your marketing should be all about the problem you solve
• Robert’s advice to copywriters choosing a niche
• how he promotes his business today
• the unique approach he used to attract his first big clients (this is worth stealing)
• how he uses his book to attract and qualify clients today
• the kinds of clients copywriters should be trying to attract (sail fish, not brim)
• how Robert pitches long-term projects to his clients
• the mindset issues that keep us from getting the paychecks we want
• what he learned from Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazier
• the ideas you can safely ignore when it comes to “the next new thing”
• positioning yourself as the wizard with the knowledge
• why there is no future in copywriting and what you need to be instead
Here we go again, saying this is a great interview. But if you want to attract multiple, high-paying clients to your business, you could do a lot worse than follow the blue print that Robert lays out in this episode. To hear it, click the play button below, or subscribe with your favorite podcast app. Or scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
Retention Point by Robert Skrob
The Bonanza King
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Intro: Content (for now)
Kira: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes, and their habits? Then, steal an idea or two to inspire your own work. That’s what Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Rob: You’re invited to join the club for Episode 148 as we chat with author and copywriter, Robert Skrob, about adopting a unique copywriting niche and positioning himself as the industry expert in memberships and subscriptions, the sales formula to outline his recent book, Retention Point, why people join memberships and why they leave, and what it’s like to write a book with Dan Kennedy.
Robert: It’s my honor to be here. It took, I guess I’m 148 on the list of the most interesting copywriters to talk to.
Rob: You’re way above that. But, we just haven’t been able to get with you. You’re so busy.
Kira: That’s true.
Rob: With a such a great business. It’s amazing to have you here though. Thank you so much for being here.
Robert: I’m honored. I don’t hang out at copywriting events or speak at those things, but I certainly see copywriters struggle and become very frustrated. So hopefully, we can share some ideas that can help simplify this whole business for everybody.
Kira: Sounds great. Well, let’s start with your story first. How did you end up as a copywriter?
Robert: Actually, back in 1993, I was an accountant at a public accounting firm and hated it. I was there three months and left, took a job as a bookkeeper for a company that did consulting with non-profit associations, and I ended up buying that company about five years later.
So, I had 20 associations that I was responsible for doing membership marketing, event marketing, sponsorship sales, and I needed to know how to get this stuff sold. I ran across Dan Kennedy about ’96 and found his how to write a sales letter book. I can remember sitting at my living room coffee table going through that book chapter by chapter writing my first sales letter ever and editing it and getting it out.
So, for a number of a years, for the clients that we were working with, I was writing offers for membership sales, selling sponsorships, selling exhibits, and even in some political campaigns. So, it gave me a very quick practice in how to write because I was writing to movers to get them to join. I was writing to motorcycle dealers, to different types of doctors, dermatologists, OB-GYNs, pain medicine doctors, anesthesiologists, and then occupational therapists and geologists, all different types of people.
So, it helped me really understand. They’d say you’ve got to learn what the insider language is of the niche and learn what they’re thinking. That experience really helped me learn that.
I started doing some freelance copywriting. The date may be wrong, but I think ’03, ’04. Then, I also started sharing what I was doing with Dan back then, and I joined his coaching group and started participating. He said, ‘You know what, Robert? You ought to start sharing what you’re doing with associations with some of these for-profit information marketing businesses.’ I go, ‘Oh, Dan. I’m just copying your formula to the association world.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, you ought to try to show them.’
So anyway, we did, and I sold a how to create an association product. This is a little bit of a long story, but we created an information marketing association and built that membership. I sold it in 2012. Then, that left me with the figure out what was next, so I started going back to the copywriting route.
But, I knew that for me as a copywriter, I didn’t feel like I was interested in competing with the top dogs. Just like, ‘Look at that.’ I’d go, ‘Man, there’s just no way I care to go head to head with a David Deutsch or a Parris Lampropoulos or any of those guys.’ Why would I compete there? Where can I go that is never going to get their interest that I can have my own business?
So, after a couple of iterations, I figured out that this whole membership thing was a great place to be. So, I started building essentially what, between us, we could call a copywriting practice, but the clients, I don’t ever use that word. So, we created a nice little business out of that.
Rob: It’s definitely a good story. So, just to make sure I heard you right. Your background was in accounting and bookkeeping, not necessarily writing.
Robert: Well actually, I still have my CPA license, so yes, at heart, a bookkeeper accountant.
Rob: So, yeah. So, that’s interesting to me. Are there things from bookkeeping or accounting that are applicable to what you do as a copywriter, or is it more even maybe in understanding the business and the numbers to help you do things specifically, or have you kind of turned away from that and really focused in on the marketing side?
Robert: I do think it helps me, in particular, in the math portion of the business. So, when I’m looking at a membership business, not only am I able to look at the copy and go, ‘Yeah, I think I can do better than this.’ But, I can also help them calculate what a percentage improvement would mean to their bottom line.
So, very often, when I am doing a diagnosis of a business, I’ll have their numbers. So, in a membership, you have some sort of number, your lead acquisition. You have converting leads into maybe a trial member. You have trial conversion. You have 30-day onboarding conversion. Then, you’ve got a long term retention and a retention rate monthly. Maybe you’re even looking at an annual renewal, and so you’ve got first year renewal and then, your renewals after that.
So, by being able to be comfortable with numbers, I’m able to take the numbers they have, and if we’re looking at improving the trial conversion rate, I can show, ‘Oh, okay. If we improve your trial conversion from 45% to 50%, that’s going to mean X dollars to your bottom line, and you’re not spending any more money on marketing. We’re just simply making the marketing you do more effective.’ So, it has helped me demonstrate a return on investment for the copywriting services.
Kira: Okay, so before we started officially recording, you said something that really stood out to me. You said that you hung out with several copywriters. You weren’t necessarily teaching copywriters. You don’t want to be a copywriter guru, but you’ve noticed that many copywriters make this complicated, like we just make business and finding clients really complicated, more complicated than it needs to be. Can you talk a little bit about that, and why you don’t call yourself a copywriter, and how you’ve seen copywriters make things a little bit more complicated than they need to be?
Robert: Sure. Really, it’s applying copywriting principles to your own silly business of selling copywriting services. One of the things I’ve figured out is okay, with a business owner, if they have a problem that needs my solution. They need copy. They need marketing. They need marketing strategy. So, what are the symptoms of that?
Well, they’ve decreased business. Their cost of marketing goes up. Their sales go down. What is the most natural thing for a person in that situation to do? Well, slice the marketing and advertising budgets, cut costs so that they’re still making the same amount money, even as their revenue decreases.
Well, geez. They’re not thinking, ‘Oh, boy. Let me go find a copywriter somewhere. Let me search for a copywriter.’ If anything, it’s like a marketing agency. A copywriter isn’t the thing that they’re looking for. Most likely, they’re going to search for something along the lines of increasing leads, or a few of them will think of conversion, even that number. They’re certainly not going to talk in terms of funnel.
So, as a copywriter, think of it this way. If a dentist was selling the scraping of the teeth, or using their internal terms of what they’re doing. Maybe even they’re medical terms. Profi. How would you like to have a profi? Or hire a hygienist. Nobody wants to hire a dental hygienist. Now, you may want to have pretty teeth, but hiring a hygienist is not what you’re going to go searching for.
So, as a copywriter, holding yourself out as a copywriter and thinking you’re going tot get business is absolutely ridiculous. A plumber, yes. If you’re a plumber, when people have that type of problem, they think, ‘I need to hire a plumber.’ If you’re an electrician, if they walk into a room and the lights don’t work, they think, ‘I’ve got to find me an electrician.’ But, copywriter, there isn’t anybody searching for you.
So that, it’s like, okay. Well, what are the symptoms that these businesses have, and how can I promote myself as the solver of that pain? Then, let me find a place where that pain is as big as possible, and then I can be the solution and promote myself as a solution to their chief problem that’s keeping themselves up at night.
I think that copywriters make this fundamental mistake that they try to sell themselves as a copywriter, and I get it. I’ve read all the AWAI sales letters, and you live this life as a copywriter, and that’s fine. You can really live that life, but it won’t be because you sell yourself as a copywriter. You’ve got to sell yourself as a problem solver.
Rob: Will you tell us how you do that in your own business? What is the problem that you lead with, and how do you talk to your clients in order to make them want to work with you?
Robert: I work with membership organizations, and to be honest, I work with all phases. I can work on their numbers. I can work on their member acquisition, lead magnets, and their retention, their renewal letters, the content creation, all of it from start to finish. I’ve built several membership organizations. I’ve worked with some of the biggest in the world. I’ve worked with names that you would absolutely readily know, that 90% of the U.S. population would readily acknowledge, maybe even 98%.
But yet, from start to finish, but what I promote myself as is the retention expert. That way, I’m not competing with ad agencies that are selling social media. I’m not competing with other big agencies that are trying to sell them on creating advertising for television. I’m the retention expert.
When I get into the business and start talking to them about retention, of very often, then that ripples into their entire process from lead acquisition conversion and then, conversion of trials into retention. But, I want to be in that conversation.
Now, what that does too is it brings me a type of customer because that’s how the most people in the world of membership want more new members. I could sell products and sell a lot more books if I was promoting member acquisition. No question. Probably 10 times the books. But, the people I would be generating would not be good clients for my services because they need to have a particular perspective on how membership should be run. If retention isn’t a priority, they’re not really a good client for me because they’re not going to let me do what I need to be able to do.
You can acquire customers a lot easier doing other things than what I suggest, but what I help you do is generate 10 times the lifetime value from each customer you generate. So, you’ve got to be willing to look beyond the initial transaction in order for a lifetime value, in order for me to be work.
So, by being that retention expert, not only am I unique and different from everybody else, but I also acquire the customer that has a good fit for what I deliver.
Kira: Right, and I imagine coming up with the title retention expert, it took you years to get to that point, years of experience and identifying which clients are ideal and which ones are not ideal. What would you recommend to a newer copywriter who’s still figuring out their niche? Maybe they’re struggling to figure it out, so they continue to call themselves copywriters because they don’t even know what problem and solution they’re trying to figure out for their clients. What are some basic steps they could work through initially?
Robert: Well, number one, just pick one. Pick a business and start marketing to it because you’ll learn more by doing it than you’ll ever learn by thinking about it and worrying about it. Taking a business and pursuing it is going to be more effective than trying to call yourself a copywriter anyway. So, you may as well just start moving.
Next, I get it. There’s a lot of fear of failure that you’re going to do the wrong thing, and then also, when is it that I’ve just got the right market but the wrong message. Or have you picked the wrong market, and you need to choose something else? I get all of that and have worked through it myself.
In terms of how, I think back when I was running the information marketing association, I worked with hundreds of people who were trying to find their niche, and we had jump start coaching calls every month where I was working with beginning information marketers who were trying to figure out what niche they were going to go with. Almost every time, the niche where they came from, they had some unique knowledge that wouldn’t be available to somebody coming from the outside. They had the insider language. They knew some of the problems. They maybe were even familiar with some people that could be referrals for us. It was a lot easier to come up with a list of names of types of potential customers.
So, I would start from where you came and think about who there would be a good fit. Yeah, I know that you may not have liked it. You may think that there are greener pastures somewhere else. But, I suspect there is a way to make that work that would be fun and engaging for you and still be a more lucrative place than trying to strike out in divergent territory.
Rob: So, Robert, how do you promote your business these days? Is it mostly through referrals?
Robert: Actually, certainly there are some referrals, and those are fabulous. I love when a client is like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’ve got to call Robert.’ But primarily, it’s my book, Retention Point. I wrote the book first by publishing a newsletter. The newsletter, I essentially picked a number. At the time, it was more like a couple hundred prospects that I felt like I could help. I researched and found them on LinkedIn, and then I would Google the name of the business on Google Maps to try to find their address and get a mailing address, and I mailed them snail mail newsletters every month.
Some would call me immediately. Some never called me. But, having a newsletter allowed me to publish and create articles and think about stuff in a way that I hadn’t otherwise been able to do, and it created many of the chapters and pieces that turned into the book, Retention Point.
So, I was publishing the newsletter to prospects for a good four years, and that was generating the clients that I needed in order to keep everything moving and creating the book. Now, the book Retention Point is generating most of the leads now, and that book is written like a sales letter and is really intended to sift and sort whether or not you are a good fit for me. The people who’ve read that book and call are like, ‘Tell me how much. I’m ready to work with you.’
So that, for me, my biggest weakness is my sales. When I talk to a client, I’m immediately diagnosing and actually going to work for them and trying to sell them. I’ve read all the books, so I understand the process, and I can actually teach it very well and actually do it on behalf of clients brilliantly. But, on myself, I just have no ability to sell. So, having somebody call and say, ‘I want to work with you. Tell me how this goes’ is my kind of call.
Rob: I definitely want to ask more about your book, but I just want to clarify. When you sent out the newsletter to prospects, this wasn’t necessarily something that people signed for to get from you. You went out and found the addresses and started just sending out the newsletter to get on their radar, is that correct?
Robert: That is correct. If it was email, it would be called spam, but because it’s mail, we call it … Each article was really a direct response sales letter, so it was written problem, agitate, solution, and the solution was you’ve got to do this. So, you have a retention problem. People are ignoring you. People are not using what you’re selling. They’re quitting and telling you your stuff is not any good. You need to do this, this, and this.
Then, the next article would be about some other aspect. Their credit cards are failing, and then, when you call them, they’re not even responding. Well, that’s a symptom that your program isn’t any good. If the electric company called and said they were going to shut off their electricity, I can promise you they would get a return call. You’re just not a big enough priority because what you’re delivering isn’t important. So, you make it important.
So, as problem, agitate, and you’ve got to be … Most content marketing, it’s a bunch of crap, this whole content marketing idea. It’s like, ‘Oh, well produce good content, and they will call you.’ It’s got to be problem, agitate, solution content in order to be ‘good’. That, in of itself, is immensely valuable if you’re pointing them to the solution to solve their problem and helping them recognize how this little thing that they may have glossed over, this little symptom that they’re like, ‘It’s not a big deal’ is really the hole through which all of their profits are pouring is crucial in order to get them to get off their butts and call.
Kira: I like that you mentioned that you, I forget how you worded it, but you don’t love selling. Even though you know how to do it, you studied it, you know everything about it. You can help other clients do it. So, you have built out this diagnosis process, and I’ve heard you speak about this process before. I think it’s really cool. Can you talk through, share that with us in more detail how this works for you and the diagnosis portion of it?
Robert: Yes. So yesterday, I had somebody who called, and it’s a massive United States brand or actually, worldwide brand. 50% of their customers are international. But, they’re like, ‘All right, how does this work? How do we hire you?’ But no, you can’t hire me. I’m busy, and I don’t know if I’m the right fit for you. Number one, they hadn’t read the book because they were actually referrals. Number one, you’ve got to go read the book, and number two, after you’ve read the book, and what we’ll do is I’ll sign whatever because clients of this size, you have to do a non-disclosure agreement. So, I’ll sign your non-disclosure agreement, and then I need to see the numbers. How many leads are you getting? How many conversions? What’s your trial conversion rate? Then, let me see what you’re sending.
You said, last year, you tried to improve conversion on the trials. You tried to improve retention. This company has a definite season when people are tuned in, and then there is a lull and an off-season. So, I’m like, ‘Okay, I want to see these numbers and this information so that I can come back to you with a few recommendations of what I would suggest.’ Then, based on that, then what I suggest we do and what I think we would take in order to get that done, and then you’d have a better idea of whether or not I’m the right fit for you, and I’ll know whether or not I feel like this could be successful.
So, it’s a little bit of a takeaway sale, but it’s a takeaway with a little gift because I walked away, but I left a gift of oh, wait a minute. For free, I can get some knowledge from this person, and maybe I can implement it. Sometimes, I’ll even tell them, ‘At the end of this conversation, after I present this information, you can do one of three things. You can take it and implement it yourself with your existing team. Two, you can ignore it and do nothing with it, or three, you can decide that I’m going to be able to help you implement this faster than you ever could yourself on your own with your own team, and we’ll work together in order to get it done quickly.’ So, I position myself as an accelerator.
But, when I come back with the diagnostic, I don’t always have the numbers, but probably about at least a third of the time, I’ll be able to come back with their actual numbers. Very few companies even have numbers on conversion rates and the simple stuff that .. even massive companies, you’d think that they’re doing it right. They’ve got some numbers, but it doesn’t count three quarters of what they’re doing because that’s in some other system somewhere else or anyway. It’s almost always the case.
Nonetheless, when I do have numbers, I’m able to show them an ROI story. But generally, after they’ve read the book, they know they have a problem. They know that I’m the person that’s going to solve it, and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah. All right. That would be so much better, and there’s no way we could do it as fast as you could’, and I become the safe choice.
So, they’ve got people they’re reporting to that have told them, ‘You need to fix this problem.’ Then, they can turn around to those people and say, ‘Hey, not only are we fixing this problem, but we’ve got the number one expert, and he’s going to do it for us.’
Rob: I love that your book is such a big part of this process, and I’m going to promote your book for you. I know that our listeners probably aren’t the best prospects for the kinds of business that you do, but I think everybody who is a copywriter ought to get a copy of your book just so that they can model what you’ve done with it as far as how you’ve spelled out problem, agitate, solution throughout the whole book and then, how you use it in your business. I love it.
But, I also think that it’s really useful for anybody who’s not necessarily working in a membership or a subscription business but still wants to be able to retain clients and have repeat business. I think a lot of the principles continue to apply for a lot of different kinds of businesses. So, I don’t know that I’ve got a big question here other than I think that this book is just such a cool piece of your business, and the way that you use it, to me, seems brilliant.
Robert: Thank you. I really modeled it off of taking Ben Suarez’s book 7 Steps to Freedom and certainly Dan Kennedy’s books. 7 Steps to Freedom is like a 600-page book and certainly Kennedy’s books are much longer. Then also, I modeled a lot of it off of Rich Schefren’s Manifesto that he had created. He had this us versus them scenario in it where he positions business opportunity seekers versus business builders, and he talks about all the bad habits biz op seekers face and do versus business builders and the traits that they have.
So, I started out with those sorts of models in mind in order to try to help the reader distinguish themselves as ‘I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to be like this.’ So, anyway. Thank you for that, Rob, and I do feel like it is working. It is a very effective sales tool for me and much more effective than I am over the phone.
Kira: It sounds like the book is a great effective sales tool for attracting high-end clients, high-end retainers. It’s not necessarily for if you’re working for $200 projects as a copywriter. This is for long term high-paying clients. Would you say that’s accurate?
Robert: Well, I would even challenge the premise. I don’t think you go to copywriting school, so you can do $200 projects.
Kira: That is [inaudible 00:30:07].
Robert: Why would I buy courses to learn how to do $200 products? I could just go on Elance and become one of the vendors.
Kira: That’s true. Well, that’s why I want to talk about your business because you are getting paid more than $200 per project, so can we just talk a little bit more about your business today and how you work with your clients to solve these problems, the structure, and that looks like with the clients?
Robert: Yeah, and that’s why the diagnostic is so important so that I can … And all that right now, the diagnostic is free, and certainly, I could charge for it and probably within a few months, I probably will start charging for the diagnostic and build the value a little bit differently of what I’m presenting. But, nonetheless, right now, I’m going it for free, and what it allows me to do is come up with four, five, six things that I can see that need to be changed that can have a positive impact on their business.
So then, what I do is I go, ‘All right, so these are the six things I could recommend. One, two, three, four, five, six, go through. This is the impact that I think that they’re going to have, and this is exactly where I would start with you. If you want to take this and go forward, you’re certainly welcome to. If you would like my help, I think I can help you implement this a lot faster than you probably could on your own.’ What most of my clients really appreciate is I kind of come along side their team, and I work with them to actually get these things implemented.
I’ll do all the writing. If you need the graphic design, I can get that done too. The only thing I can’t do is actually load it into your email system because I don’t have your user id and password, but I can give it to you in HTML, so it’s ready to load, or I can give you the handouts and the emails and the materials so that they’re ready to go out the door so that there’s as little work and overhead on your team as possible because I’m guessing now. I figure that they’re already slammed, busy with what they have to do. Trying to add a whole other project would just never happen.
So, I’ll take care of this, and what I would recommend is that I think we can get this done over the first six months. So, it’s going to be $20,000 a month for six months, and I would expect that based on us working together that we could get this done. But, there is no commitment.
So, while a lot of my clients, and once I start working with them, prefer to keep me on well beyond the six months, if you get what you need in a month or two, you can cancel, and there’s no obligation. I work just like my clients do. We earn our membership every single month, and so if you, for whatever reason, feel like you’ve got what you need, there is no commitment to keep me on. But, I think in six months, we can get these six things implemented and that you’ll be able to see an impact even in month two because of this, and you’ll be able to evaluate what we do at that point and going forward. How does that sound?
Rob: That sounds pretty good to me. If I’m a client, I’m liking it too. So, I imagine that a lot of people who just heard you say that you’re charging $20,000 a month, who maybe listening, their jaws hit the floor. ‘Oh my gosh, how—’
Kira: A little bit more than $200.
Rob: Yeah, how does he charge that much? And you’re not just working with one client at a time. So, talk a little bit about that, the value of going after clients with money or clients that you can really help move their business forward in a really big way because I think a lot of us look at that and think, ‘Oh, that stuff just doesn’t happen’, and you’re proof that it does, and it can happen in a lot of ways.
Robert: Well, Rob, are you going to go fishing for brim, or are you going to go fishing for sail fish?
Rob: Yeah, that probably doesn’t look very good on my wall, that’s for sure.
Robert: You bait the hook. You take different tackle. You go to a different place. You use different bait. But, if you go brim fishing, you’re never going to get a sail fish. So, you have to decide what type of client you want to deal with before you go out fishing. Then, when you find somebody that’s got some money who has a problem, and you go out and solve it for them, offer to solve it. It really is that easy.
Kira: Okay. As a follow up because so many of the copywriters in our club struggle with this and struggle with the mindset component of it, are there baby steps along the way? When you were starting out, what did that path look like? Were you initially charging more like $10K per client per month? Does it take time to develop this mindset where you’re like, ‘Yeah, this is the type of client I’m going after, and I feel confident that I can get these results’? I guess I want to see the path because I feel like so many of us struggle, like Rob said, even to think about $20K per month per client. It’s like, ‘Well, I could never do this.’ Robert Skrob can do this, but I can’t do this. What would you say? What tips would you give to a copywriter who does struggle with that mindset stuff?
Robert: Yeah, I think the mindset of I’m not worthy or I’m not worth it or I don’t know that I … It’s kind of like the difference between the folks who go to Las Vegas and play at the $5 table versus the ones that go to $100. It’s like, ‘Oh well, I’m risking something. I don’t want to lose that much money.’ But, when you’re selling in copywriting services, it’s not like I’m putting $20 grand on the table, and if I don’t get the client, I lose $20,000.
There’s really no loss for asking for that and not getting it. In fact, if they go off and say, ‘Yeah, he’s a great guy, but man, he’s very expensive’, that’s exactly the reputation you want to have.
So, developing the mindset is really the secret. I heard Dan, and I guess I don’t really even know a shortcut to getting that mindset other than just deciding that you’re going to do it. If you’ve got to do affirmations and write that out and tell yourself you’re worthy and tell yourself you’re worth it, all those things are whatever is necessary in order to help you feel that you can ask for that because I remember him for years, back when I was working making a whole heck of a lot less than I am now, him say the ability to ask for big fees and get it is directly proportionate to how you can ask for the money with a straight face.
So, practice. Stand in front of the mirror and ask for it. I can tell you, even now when I ask for $20,000, I feel myself choke on it sometimes. It’s like $20,000 a month. Another reason my sales strategy … Here, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah. I’m a bad ass. I can rattle this stuff off.’ When there’s actual clients there with the checkbook, he chokes all up. But yeah, it doesn’t matter. They still give it to you, not because you’re worth it but because they have a problem. It’s not about you. It’s not about whether you’re worth it. It’s about their problem, and they need a solution, and they’re losing customers. They’re running a business that’s underperforming. They have goals that they want to hit, and you can be the person that helps them reach it.
So, quit making it about yourself and your own little head trip and what you’re worried about and make it all about them and how you can help them solve their problem, reach their goals, make more money, sell their business for what it could really be worth. Be that person rather than the worry wart.
Rob: We could end the interview right there. I think that was golden. That was awesome. Definitely great advice.
Kira: Seriously, can you be my mindset? I want you to be my mindset coach. I know that’s not a part of your business right now, but that was great. I’m going to listen that over and over again.
Rob: You just need to pay $20,000 a month, Kira, and you can get that advice. So, Robert, this isn’t really copywriting related, but you have insights into a lot of pretty amazing businesses. I’m curious, what are the things that some of these memberships and subscriptions are doing right that might be applicable to our own copywriting businesses or those of us who are working with memberships or people are launching courses, that kind of thing, are there different things that they’re doing that it’s like, ‘Hey, everybody should be doing these one or two things’?
Robert: The biggest mistake that I see over and over again, and even good copywriters do this, is they write about themselves. So, it’s so easy by going into these subscription businesses and seeing how they’re talking about what they deliver. ‘And you get access to this, and we have this library, and we’ll deliver these calls, and we’ll deliver—’ That’s so insane. Again, with the dentist, it’s like, ‘Oh, hey. You’re going to come to the dentist’s office. You’re going to wait in our waiting room, and it’s a beautiful waiting room. You’ll love it. Then, we’ll call you back, and we’re going to put on this hazmat suit and put on a bib around you. Then, we’re going to get this metal thing and scrape your teeth.’ No, if you’re writing copy, you say, ‘Beautiful smile in minutes.’
The big thing that really what I am doing is helping these subscription businesses flip from a list of all the stuff they deliver to how what they deliver impacts the subscriber and how it’s going to change their life. I flip this into ‘beautiful smile’ in minutes. So, it’s simple copywriting 101, but for whatever reason, when folks into the subscription space, they feel like they need to create a list of what they deliver.
Kira: I wanted to ask, you mentioned Dan Kennedy a couple of times in this conversation, and our listeners all know Dan Kennedy. What would you say is the most valuable lesson you learned from working with Dan Kennedy?
Robert: Number one, if I know anything and I’ve said anything smart at all, it’s because I learned it from Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer. They were absolutely instrumental in me figuring all of this stuff out. I think the most important thing I learned that I felt like I understood it when I heard it but that has really become more profound, and I think it’s really the central thing that Dan teaches above all, which is be wary of the wizard, and be the wizard. The more you look at whether it’s … even looking at AI and how big AI is in the world of business or cryptocurrency or whatever.
We were joking. I was at an event last week with Perry Marshall and Adam Witty and Travis Miller and this whole group of marketing experts. We were just hanging out having a fun time. We were just talking about our next thing is going to have to be CBD oil cryptocurrency AI, and it’s going to be brilliant because of throwing out all these terms that are each, for whatever reason, exciting to people.
But, if you watch what happens, there are people who come out with ‘This is the new thing. This is going to be huge. This is going to be brilliant.’ I’m reading this book. It’s called Bonanza King, which is about the minds in Nevada in the 1850s, and they were doing the same thing back then. There are people who show up and say, ‘I’ve got the new secret.’ Whenever you see that, know that it’s complete bullshit. Ignore it. Yes, it will be popular. Yes, there might be money to be made, but that’s not the core of what you’re about.
Instead, you want to be the person who is proclaiming the next new way, the next secret, the next breakthrough, and that’s one of the things that you’ll see even within Retention Point, how I am positioning myself as the wizard. This is the secret to growing subscription-recurring revenue. It’s not by focusing on new members. It’s by retaining the ones you’ve got, and there’s no reason to get a new member until you’ve figured out how to keep members around. Why would you scale marketing of something that isn’t working?
So, I am positioning myself as the wizard for recurring revenue growth while, at the same time, trying to avoid the human nature of following the next wizard that has the next wiz bang thing that’s supposed to change my life. I think that is the thing that I feel is the most profound. I certainly learned all about headlines and copywriting and phrases and writing to one person and all that copywriting stuff from Dan and Bill, but above all, avoid the wizard. Be the wizard.
Kira: Wow. Okay, that’s such great advice. I feel like we should just wrap and end there, but I do have one more question, and maybe this is actually related potentially. But, we’ve asked a couple of other guests, what does the future of copywriting look like to you?
Robert: See, I don’t think there is any future in copywriting.
Kira: Copywriting is dead, everyone.
Robert: Well, I think that copywriting is a skill like forehand in tennis. Yeah, okay, you can’t play championship tennis without a good forehand, but tennis requires a lot more than just forehand. There’s strategy. There’s backhand. There’s service, and I think copywriting is a piece of that. Showing up to the world saying you’ve got the best forehand is useful but incomplete, and that the real future is in helping people solve problems that they have and holding yourself out as the problem solver rather than as some service that they really haven’t heard of.
Rob: That’s fantastic. I’m adding the advice that you’ve given us here in my list of our favorite episodes, Robert, because there’s just so much stuff here that I think a lot of us do halfway, and with just a little bit of additional effort, we could be doing so much more.
Robert: Thank you for that. That’s a huge compliment that maybe I’ve moved my way up the list from 148 to—
Kira: This has been incredible, and we do mention you often in our circles when we speak about addressing the problem and viewing yourself as a problem solver, not just a copywriter, and that’s something that I’ve taken away from you from our previous conversations. So, thanks so much for jumping in here with us and over-delivering, no surprise.
Rob: Yeah, for sure. So, Robert, if somebody wants to find out about your latest CBD crypto AI offer of the week, where would they reach out to you to connect with you or even maybe to find your book?
Robert: Well, the book is available on Amazon. It’s called Retention Point. My name is Robert Skrob, S-K-R-O-B, and my website is at robertskrob.com. Those are the easiest ways, and again, I love what you guys do in helping copywriters learn how to be better copywriters and learn how to get clients. So, I’m not a coach or anything in that business. So, I’m just here to help you and your listeners really figure this out. It’s not that complicated, and it is as good a business as folks say it is.
I had somebody show up to the house. They were the pest control guy, and I was sitting out back by my pool with the laptop. He’s like, ‘Oh, you took the day off?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m writing copy here. This is hard work. Gosh, how could you—’ He saw me in shorts and a t-shirt by the pool and thought I was just hanging out. But, to most people, this is really loafing, and we are so blessed to be able to do this job. So, it’s a great, great life, and it’s so much simpler than most people make it.
Rob: Well, thanks so much for coming on. Again, listeners should get your book, Retention Point, at Amazon. It’s worth reading just to understand it, but also as something that they can emulate in their own business as they grow their own clients. So, we highly recommend that. Thanks, Robert, so much for your time. We appreciate it.
Robert: My honor. Thank you.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive available on iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving your review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com.
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