John Mulry (yes, you saw that right) joins us for the 256th episode of The Copywriter Club podcast. John is a direct marketing expert who was trained by Dan Kennedy. He’s the creator of Email Academy Pro and Expert Authority Formula. Currently, John’s the Director of Marketing for Todd Brown Marketing*. If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, this is the episode for you.
Here’s how it goes down:
- The process of writing a book at supersonic speed.
- Bringing direct response marketing to different countries.
- Going from fitness expert to marketing master.
- How helping people can look different for everyone.
- Bridging the gap to help business owners connect on a deeper level with their audience.
- The key to being seen as the expert.
- How unplanned events and experiences can change your life immensely.
- Should every copywriter write a book?
- Finding joy in finding your first clients.
- The acquisition of new skills and how to accelerate your business.
- Do you need to be great at sales to be great at marketing?
- What it’s like being the Director of Marketing for Todd Brown.
- How to acquire new customers in a crowded market.
- Best practices for building a 3 part acquisition funnel.
- How to engineer your offer to get repeated stripe notifications.
- What is AOV and why it’s important for your funnel.
- The real job of copywriters. (Hint: it isn’t to write words.)
Want to uplevel your marketing skills? Listen to the episode or read the transcript below.
*Since recording John has transitioned into taking over as COO of Todd Browns Sister Company E5 Agency
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Kira’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
E5 Nation Facebook Group
Rob: One of the things we love about being copywriters is that we’re not just hired to make our client’s words sound good, we’re hired to solve problems. But here’s the thing, clients don’t always understand that that’s what they’re asking us to do. They come to us with projects and ask things like, “Can you write my website or can you help with a case study or a sales page?” What they’re really asking for is help solving a bigger problem, help me sound professional or help me prove that I can do what I say I can do, or help me sell more products and make more money. The more we sell ourselves as experts in solving complex marketing problems, the more we’re able to work with great clients and earn more money.
Today’s guest for The Copywriter Club Podcast is John Mulry. John is the Director of Marketing for MFA, that’s Todd Brown’s company, and he is focused on solving very complex marketing problems for Todd and for Todd’s clients. And what he’s shared in this interview may give you some ideas on how to do that for your own clients and in your own business. But before we get to our interview with John, good news, Kira is back. Hey, Kira.
Kira: Hi. Hey, Rob. Good to be back.
Rob: Yes. How have you been? It’s been a while.
Kira: I’ve enjoyed the podcast interviews while I was away where every intro, I feel like you were like, “And Kira’s still on maternity leave.” I feel like towards the end it sounded like maybe there was a little bit more frustration in that over the last few episodes, but I’m back.
Rob: I don’t think I was frustrated. If it sounded that way, I’m sorry then.
Kira: Maybe it was just to me. But yeah, I’m happy to be back on the podcast. I’ve had a fun time listening to other copywriters speak on the podcast and add their commentary and their thoughts. I think it’s strengthened the podcast. So I feel like you don’t really need me here. I’m just going to leave right now. I don’t think you need me here at all.
Rob: We definitely had more than one person offer to take your place in the future should you decide to make maternity leave permanent? So who knows?
Kira: Tell me who they are, I will fight them.
Rob: Well, we’ll see that for-
Kira: They’ll hunt me down.
Rob: Yeah, exactly.
Kira: Rob, how do you feel like running the show over the last few months, I guess, what is your biggest takeaway from running the show, Sans, Kira and building the show in any way?
Rob: It’s been fun. Obviously, I missed your insightful question asking when I’m doing interviews on my own, like the one that we’re going to be doing here in just a second, it’s just me and John talking. But it’s also fun to get insights from other people beyond you and me. I think that you and I have said a lot of things, we kind of repeat ourselves sometimes. There’s only so many ways that we think about niching or experiences that we have. And so it’s been fun adding some additional voices and I think moving forward, that’s something that we’re going to continue to do. So it won’t always be you and me jumping in here and making comments, but it might be you and someone else or me and someone else and sometimes it’ll be you and me and we’ll just see how it all kind of moves forward. So it’ll be a lot of fun.
Kira: Okay. Sounds good. So let’s jump in to all the serious stuff like this podcast is sponsored by the Copywriter Think Tank. That’s our mastermind for copywriters and other marketers who want to do more in their businesses, maybe like creating a new revenue stream or stepping on stage or creating a new product, podcast, a video channel, maybe you want to build an agency or a product company, maybe you want to become the best known copywriter in your niche. High paying clients call because you’re the name everyone in your industry knows. That’s the kind of thing we help copywriters do in the Think Tank. To learn more, visit copywriterthinktank.com.
Rob: Okay. So as we usually do, let’s take this episode off with John’s story. It gets a little crazy at times. So I think you guys are going to like listening to what John has to share about becoming a marketing strategist.
John: It’s a funny story as it all kind of stems from me being in a similar position that people be in when they start their own business, they start their own venture, side hustle or whatever it may be. So I had come back from a year in South America. So originally I was in the corporate finance world and maybe we can dive into South America in a bit, but I was originally in corporate finance and I completely hated it. And I was working the typical 9:00 to 5:00 for somebody else and it was just, I was miserable. I was depressed. I was miserable. I was drinking more often than not, and it was just that something had to happen. So I decided to head off to South America with my friend at the time who was in London.
And the two of us went to South America and volunteered for the year and traveled around for a year. And while I was away over there, I changed an awful lot specifically from a health and fitness point of view. And I kind of made the decision that when I would eventually come back to Ireland that I was going to grow up my own in some way, shape or form. So when I got back to Ireland, I started putting plans into place to start my own fitness business and personal training business because I changed so much from a fitness point of view and a health point of view. And I had a big shift from unhealthy drinking the whole time to actually looking after myself and seeing the results from that. So I got qualified and everything else and did the courses in self-fund, then started my own business and quickly realized that it wasn’t just a case of opening up the doors and people would flood in the door, you actually had to do stuff to get people in the door. And this was just completely new to me.
I was sure because I was good at what I did and I got results and that’s enough, but obviously we know that it’s not. We have to do a lot more to get our names out there, to get people in the door and so on and so forth. So I started studying and looking into… Well, first of all, before I started studying, I started looking into different ways to market myself. And what I initially started doing was blogging. So it’s just basically telling my story online. I started a really simple and ugly WordPress blog, just kind of blogging articles and stuff that was interesting to me and stuff like that. And while I was doing that, I started to kind of trying to find out how can I get more blog visitors, what can I do to get more people to the website and so on and so forth. I started kind of falling into this world of marketing.
And from there, it kind of snowballed and got sucked into a lot of different areas. But specifically the idea of direct response marketing really hit home with me because if I do X, I will get Y. And Y may be a good result or a bad result, but at least I know what that result is. So then from there I came across a guy called Dan Kennedy, which I’m sure everybody is familiar with. And I just had enough of his very direct approach, no nonsense approach, no BS approach. And I started to listen to a lot what he was saying, but also started to do what he was saying to do as well, which I feel, and I’m sure you’ll agree that so many people that they do listen to a lot of things and they do follow a lot of things, but the implementation side of things could sometimes let them down.
One of the things that I learned from Dan initially was if you want to get results in your market, whether it’s a local market or not, you need to stand out. And he himself, he used his books to stand out. So I was like, well, if it works for Dan, I’m going to create… Nobody in my market at the time locally had their own book or a tool that I could use to get clients for themselves. So I said, right, I’m going to start working on my own book. And I remember I arrived home one day from the office to Jess and Jess is a journalist, Jess is an amazing editor, amazing writer, and I said, “I’m going to write a book.” And it was never on the radar at all and she was like, “What?”
I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to have it done by the end of the month.” And she was like, “What?” And so I locked myself in and I just started documenting everything that I went through and the lessons that I had learned and so on and so forth. And then I had this rough manuscript and I was like, well, I really want to do the best I can with this. So it was like, well, I’ve learned so much from Dan, I wonder, would he be interested in hearing about this and hearing about what I’ve been doing, learning from his stuff. So I’d sent emails to the firstname.lastname@example.org, emails to Dan. And it was like, well, Dan doesn’t take emails, you have to send faxes. So I got the fax number after doing a bit of digging. I was faxing his assistant and not getting responses.
I sent a couple of letters and didn’t get any responses. So then I was like, okay, well, I need to be creative. I need to stand out like Dan says. So I got my manuscript printed up. And I also went to a local place where I was living in Galway to do kind of a heritage and to do meanings of names and surnames and stuff like that. So obviously Kennedy was an Irish surname. So I got up and scrolled up with the meaning of the surname Kennedy and it actually stems from the first king of Ireland, like his heritage stems from there. So I got that scrolled up and I FedEx my manuscript and the scroll of Kennedy directly to… Who I told was Dan, but it was actually his assistant and his assistant then passed it on to him.
And I think within a week I had a rushed FedEx letter back to me saying, “You’ve got my attention now, Mr. Mulry.” And it was from Dan. And eventually what happened is then they invited me over to Texas to meet GKIC and meet the team. And we had like discussions of what we were doing. And eventually I partnered with GKIC to start bringing direct response marketing to Ireland because while this was happening, I started to realize that as I was getting more clients and getting really good at getting clients, I was actually more excited about getting the clients than I was actually servicing the clients from a fitness point of view. And that’s when I realized that my true passion wasn’t necessarily the fitness, my true passion was helping people still, but actually helping people true marketing, helping people get better results for their own businesses and for their own marketing.
Because the majority of my clients actually that I’d naturally attracted with my own messaging and my own marketing, they were all professionals. They were all self-employed people in my local area. And I was charging a premium, which was higher prices than everybody else. And from there it was like, well, it’s a natural progression. So when I launched the first book, Your Elephant’s Under Threat, that’s when I made that transition. And about six months later, Dan and I kind of launched the official direct response marketing in GKIC brand in Ireland and everything kind of just snowballed from there then.
Rob: Okay. Yeah. That’s an amazing story. And I know you sort of, especially the year in South America, you kind of glossed over a lot of the experience that you had there. You wrote about it in your book obviously, and so if anybody picks up the book, they’ll get that. But let’s go back to that before we come back to all of the marketing stuff. You’re going from stressed out working in corporate finance to then coming home and being a fitness expert, obviously amazing transition. What are just a couple of the highlights from that year that made you come to that realization like I’m doing the wrong thing and this is what I want to do moving forward?
John: The big thing really for me is that the main piece is where we’re volunteering. Initially we were volunteering in Ecuador in like an animal refuge, basically just in the middle of the jungle, essentially just mining monkeys and playing with monkeys and playing with different animals and making sure they were safe and then they’ll be released into the wild. But then the second place where we volunteered was in a place called Pisco in Peru. And Pisco was destroyed by an earthquake two years before we had arrived. And one of the local guys there set up this volunteer center called Pisco Saved From Terrorists. And essentially what it was, it was just helping the locals get back on their feet because so many of the locals had lost their families, they had lost their homes, they had lost their livelihoods and everything else.
So we came across this place and we said we’d love to go volunteering there. And underway down to… We had just finished doing the Inca Trail, so we just finished doing the Inca Trail and underway from Cusco, which was the nearest place to the Inca Trail to Pisco, we were getting a bus, I think it was going to be… I can’t remember exactly what it was mostly going to be, say like a 16 hour post-flight maybe, maybe more, maybe slightly less and my backpack underway got stolen. So everything I’d owned was stolen. So all I had left was my phone, my passport and my wallet, everything else that I’d built up and brought with me the previous, I think it was there about three months at this stage, was just completely gone. And when I arrived to Pisco, that night we just kind of settled in the place where we were going to volunteer.
And the next morning we had to stand up and introduce ourselves and tell something interesting about ourselves. So I stood up and said, “Hi, my name is John. And I’m from Ireland. And everything I own was stolen yesterday.” And everyone kind of just went, “What?” And from there, after the breakfast and everything else, I was shown to where we were going to be sleeping and what we’re going to be doing initially. And everybody just started to come around. Someone gave me a backpack and everybody started donating pieces of clothing, pieces of stuff to help me. Like literally, I didn’t have a two-person in that bad thing. And that initial kindness from strangers was just huge to me. And then we were supposed to stay a week, we ended up staying, I think, 12 weeks initially. We went back again eventually, but 12 weeks initially.
And just seeing people who literally had nothing, like these people who their lives were absolutely destroyed smiling every single day, being happy to see us help them every single day, that kind of a reward that I was getting and it might sound a little bit selfish, but you couldn’t put a price on that feeling that you get when you help someone that truly, truly needed it. And it wasn’t about money because there was no exchange of money.
It wasn’t about money at all, whereas previously I was very much into finance world, I was like, I want to work in this place initially to build up some experience. And I move to London and do investment banking and make loads of money and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The typical kind of finance thinking. Whereas over there, it was just like money never entered my mind at all. It was all helping people and that just kind of snowballed and snowballed and snowballed when I was over there. That was probably one of the main experiences that I had along with some crazy stuff that happened as well. But initially, seeing people who were so happy yet they had absolutely nothing really, really hit home with me. And it hit hard and it definitely affected me in the best way possible.
Rob: You mentioned other crazy stuff. I mean, obviously getting your backpack stolen is pretty crazy, but, I mean, one more crazy thing with what stands out to you there?
John: There was a period of time in like, obviously I did Ayahuasca in the middle of the Amazon jungle and that had a massive impact on me as well. If I cannot say… I’ll mention two crazy things because I think they’ll be good. So definitely the Ayahuasca experience was surreal and I’d never taken the psychedelic drugs or anything like that before. I did a little bit of crazy things, but in my own time with a lot of alcohol and stuff like that, but never took any kind of psychedelics around my time in the Amazon jungle. We arrived in a place called Iquitos, which if my facts are correct, it’s the one of the largest cities in the world that you can only get there via a plane or a boat.
And we took a three day riverboat to get there. And it was amazing going up the Amazon river for three days and sleeping in a hammock with about five or 600 people underneath the boat. And it was just like all… I think we were the only foreigners there. It was about six of us. And all the rest were just locals traveling to Iquitos to go to work and stuff like that. And you’d get three meals a day. You’d get kind of like a sloppy porridge in the morning. You’d get a sloppy stew in the afternoon. And you’d maybe get like kind of crushed up plantings, which are kind of like the mannas of the evening and maybe a bit of fruit or something like that. So there was no kind of like a flash dining or anything like that.
But once we got to Iquitos, we went on to look for somewhere to do this Ayahuasca. So we found these guys and they kind of seemed dodgy. And that whole thing seems dodgy if you go with the course you should have. But we said we give them the money anyways and they put us in this kind of a cabin, and they made us drink this black stuff from a plastic bottle. And they gave us each a roll of toilet paper, and then they left. And then within about an hour, every one of us were getting sick. And every one of us were using the toilet paper.
I won’t say exactly what we were doing, but we were using the toilet paper, enough said, and it was horrible. It was just horrible. We were like, this is just horrible. So after a few hours, we went back to where we were staying. And we’re like, surely that wasn’t what was supposed to be. It was just a horrible, horrible experience. So when we met a local and we explained to him what happened, and he was like, “Oh yeah, you got scammed.” I mean, if you want to genuinely do the Ayahuasca experience, I’ll show you where you can do it. So he brought us to another guy and the next day we got to kind of like a mini half canoe, half boat. And we went up like really kind of slim rivers on the Amazon. And we eventually got to this little kind of what was essentially a mini village or a village or a town in the middle of nowhere.
And we met the guy that was going to help us do Ayahuasca. And it was the chairman and we met him and first of all, he brought us through the jungle and he showed us the jungle and he showed us where he’s going to be getting the Ayahuasca from a particular tree and he’s going to be mixing it with something else. And it was a real experience. And then that evening we did the actual Ayahuasca of ritual and it was completely different.
It was an actual ritual where we were all around in a circle. We all tasted a little bit and went around and we had some more, then we had different experiences. And then we got back into our canoe, went back to where the guide was living and we all kind of just had our experiences. And my experience was so on point. It was essentially me… My whole experience was so many things that happened at night, but the crux of it was essentially me constantly trying to grab things, but constantly not being just say that much away from being able to grab it or further away, not being able to reach what I wanted to reach.
And the meaning I took from that right or wrong was that I was trying to reach for things that weren’t for me. I was trying to grab on to things that weren’t for me and I needed to change something because what I was reaching for wasn’t meant for me, I needed to just start going after things that were meant for me. And that shift in thinking, that shift in perspective afterwards was huge because that helped me change my direction, helped me take what I’ve learned from the volunteering and helping people to maybe this is what my focus should be. Maybe I should focus less on trying to help myself and more on helping others. And so that was definitely a surreal experience. And the second one, which for time purposes, I’ll tell it as quickly as I can was this seven day period in Brazil where it was just mayhem.
In seven days, I got essentially kind of kidnapped, but not really kidnapped. I got beaten by the most corrupt policemen in Brazil and threatened with deportation. And I got air rescued by a helicopter in Rio, in the Corporate Cabana beach. In a period of a book fight seven days, it was just surreal. I mean, I’ll probably write a book and just-
Rob: I was going to say that should be its own book. That sounds like a thriller right there. And if I remember right, because I read the first book, you barely mentioned that in your book, if I remember right.
John: Yeah. So essentially what happened, it was we had friends from home, from Ireland that we went to Brazil to meet and myself and the guy I was volunteering with because we were doing so much volunteering, we weren’t doing a lot of drinking. But these friends that we met were essentially our drinking buddies from back home. So we went on a major bender and unfortunately myself and my friend, Kranchis, we got extremely, extremely drunk. And our friends that we met just kind of disappeared and left us in the middle of nowhere. And we didn’t know what was going on. So we held down a taxi and we said to the taxi in our broken Spanish, obviously Brazilian speak Portuguese and we said what we thought was bring us to our hotel and when we get to the hotel we’ll give you the money to pay for the cab.
And he took that up as we’re not paying for the cab, screw you. So he drove us to a police station and he obviously told them that these guys are trying to skip the cab or whatever the case is and we were arrested. We were put into separate cells and we were beaten on the hour every hour until the next morning. And we were then brought to a doctor who signed off on the wounds that we had, which were pretty serious that were inflicted on us before they actually picked us up. And then we were brought to Rio de Janeiro Airport handcuffed together, dragged to the airport to be threatened with deportation. And then eventually the Kanady, what I can only assume is like a higher up police, like national police, we were in their offices and we were explaining what happened and they were so apologetic. They were like, this is a complete like Ferris and this should have never happened.
And they were so nice to us and someone came to us was like, “Look, you’re not going to be deported. We’re going to sort this out.” But essentially what happened in the end was they said was like, at the end of the day, it’s your word against the police’s word and you’re not going to win. So we have to do what we have to do, but we’re trying to be as fair as possible to you. And the fairest thing we can do is give you seven days to leave Brazil and you have to leave Brazil. And if they ever come back to Brazil, you have to pay a fine. And we’re so sorry about that but that’s just the way it is. So we went back to where we were staying in Corporate Cabana, and Kranchis said, “I’m going up to Sugarloaf Mountain.” And I was like, “The last thing I want to see in the Sugarloaf Mountain, I’m going to go down to the beach.”
And I went down to the beach. I said, I’m going to go into the water and just kind of clear my head and I’m not a good swimmer. And I didn’t notice, but the waves in Corporate Cabana Beach are ridiculously dangerous and smaller little currents can suck you out. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I was in water up to barely past my ankles and the next thing I was in water that was way above my head. And I didn’t know what was going on. And a surfer came over to me, which kind of shows you how far I was taken out and he gave me a surfboard and he started signaled to the lifeguards.
Two lifeguards came out and they couldn’t bring me in because the waves were so tough. So one of them left and the other guy stayed with me signaling for a helicopter. And about 40 minutes later, a helicopter came with a big fishing net, scooped me out of the water and then dropped me on the side of the beach. And the guy just goes, “You’re okay?” And I was like, “Yeah, I’m okay.” And he’s like, “Okay, we’ll see you, bye.” And then just took off and I had to do a walk of shame from where they dropped me back to the hotel with loads and loads of people just cheering me and cheering me. And it was very, very embarrassing, but it was also… Like looking back now, it was just so surreal and so crazy. And it does make for one good story as well, but it was a crazy experience.
Rob: You need to have grandkids just so you can tell these stories to them because they’re kind of nuts. Okay. So we could talk I’m guessing for hours about that experience. Well, let’s get back to the marketing stuff that’s kind of where we’d like to focus. You came back, you started focusing on growing. I mean, building your own authority, not just with Dan, but you’ve done other things as well. I know you’ve got several book funnels that you used at certain points to bring in clients. We talked just a little bit more about how what you were doing to get noticed and to build your authority as a marketing expert.
John: So the two things that I really kind of focused on was massive value upfront regardless of what happens. So regardless of if I get to sell or if I don’t get to sell, if I get a client, if I don’t get a client. And then from there, for me, it was about acquisition. And then essentia. So I used teams like digital products, like say so if it’s a digital course or something like that on something like Facebook ads, or if it’s a book or physical books or a combination of digital products and low price, low end or not low end, but low price front-end offers like a free plus shipping book or a book. And then from there, I’d send a certain percentage of those people into clients.
So I would give away my books for free, people just had to pay the shipping and handling. And then from there when I send out my books, what I was doing initially was I would send out my books and everyone who bought it would get a signed copy of the book and a letter personalized to them. And that worked extremely well. So say for example what I used to do is I used… Because it was just myself and my business, I didn’t have a massive team, and part of my USP at the time was that when you work with me, you don’t get my team of agencies, you don’t get my hired help, you get me and my expertise and my knowledge on your business as if we’re partners.
So I didn’t need a lot of clients to run the business that I wanted to run, I would have a certain amount of clients and then I would essentially stop my marketing to a point. Now, not completely, but I would essentially stop my marketing. And if a client project finished or if a client left for some reason, I would essentially run some ads to drive some book buyers. And I knew that out of every 100 books that I would give away, what I was doing on the backend, that I would generate a certain amount of consultations. And I knew from there, the base, how I was doing those consultations and who I was attracting that I would more often than not get a handful of clients out of that, which would help me bring myself back up to where I wanted to be for my client book level, if that make sense.
Rob: Yeah, totally makes sense. So if I were going to copy that kind of an approach to marketing, the key is offering big value up front. So that is the book or that is the training or something like that or would you do something even beyond that before somebody is actually purchasing a product from you?
John: I kind of still did a lot of blogging from like writing essentially content marketing and then driving to the book. But then as I started just getting more and more aggressive with my advertising, obviously, essentially using ads to drive people to my books or I also did… So at the time as well while I was expanding my network and expanding my market, I did a few online launches with some different marketers. So I launched some of my programs to affiliate launches and stuff like that, which obviously brought in a decent amount of leads and buyers, which I then went on to various coaching programs and client programs from there.
But essentially what I was doing was value upfront and making your front end sale, so like acquiring a customer. And then what made me different from just sending them to your backend offer was I went heavy on the personalization. So I would have on day when they got the book, the book was signed to them. So when Rob gets the book, Rob gets the books saying, “Hey, Rob, thanks so much for getting the book. Check out page 53, I think it would be relevant for your business.” And then that creates a connection that just can’t be created by a fulfillment company. So it took a lot of extra work, but when you’re not looking for thousands of clients, that work is well work put in because a potential client to me was worth many thousands and if they stayed for a long, long time it was worth tens of that.
So it was well worth to me in my mind putting in the extra effort to get the extra reward. And I think that’s something that so many people these days, because of automation, because of digital marketing is so easy and we can automate so many different things. People want to remove the personal from their business when essentially people do business with people, not an automation or a responder, they do with the person who’s sending it. So why not bridge that gap was my ticket.
Rob: As you created all of these funnels, was there a particular topic that tended to resonate more with clients than others? I know you had a book before Your Elephant’s Under Attack book, which tells your story and basics of direct marketing. I know you did a book with Dan Kennedy on direct response marketing, you did a book on authority basically writing books. I think there’s at least one or two others out there, which of those resonated the most with the audience that you’re trying to attract?
John: Some of them work better than others and some of them were done for different reasons than the other. So say for example, the book on authority and everything else, that book was specifically created to feed people into my expert’s authority formula like online course. So that was the only reason I was serious because I didn’t want to go out and sell like a $1000, $2,000 course straight up. I wanted to feed the pipeline further by giving a condensed version of essentially what was in the course away on a free plus shipping and then I send them up if that was relevant.
The Your Elephant’s Under Threat was probably in terms of building a connection with people, that probably brought in the most connection because it was so personal and it was so kind of unique to me versus like there are many books out there on say email marketing, there are many books out there on building authority and so on and so forth and direct response marketing, whereas the Your Elephant’s Under Threat was more personal, which probably drew for more connection, which meant a lot more clients coming from that I’d say.
Rob: Yeah. So if I were to copy of that in my business, going personal would probably be a pretty good way to do that. Okay. Let’s talk about your process for writing books. You mentioned to me when we were talking a couple months ago that you kind of have a way where you get a book done very quickly. Obviously you wrote your first book in less than a month, but if I remember correctly, you were telling me you could actually do it in a weekend or so. Tell us about that process and how you produce. I mean, these aren’t necessarily just skinny books 70 or 80 pages, sometimes they’re two or 300 pages, how do you produce that in so little time?
John: Yeah. So the first one was very much blunt force and that’s what I actually called it was just the Blunt Force Method, whereas you’re essentially locking yourself away if you have the capacity just to get it done. And not everybody can do that. Not everybody has the focus to do it. And to be honest, I don’t even know if I’d have to focus myself to do it now to just kind of lock myself away for that length of time. But back then, I had no other option. I had no other idea. It was my only thing I was focusing on because I was kind of just starting out and I didn’t have as many commitments as I might have now. But then in terms of my process for getting a book done extremely fast, it’s essentially what we do is we would take some of your best content that’s not in a book format, not in written format.
So say for example, I had a two hour kind of marketing masterclass that I had, which is like obviously two hours, 120 minutes. When you actually transcribe something like that and actually like say transcribing will be the first stage, you end up with about 150 pages of like a lot of jumbled kind of stuff. So it’s obviously it’s all over the place. So essentially what we do is say like for my book, The Truth Say, I had a two hour masterclass and I had lots of other supplemental training. So what I did is essentially was I took some of my video content, took some of my video material that I had and an older material that I had and I essentially fleshed those out into the book and it could be done relatively quickly.
I mean, the initial part of the truth, when I initially got it done out where it was, I think it was 109 pages and then I fleshed that out with lots of extra training, lots of extra content into something like I think it’s 160 pages. And there was very little editing. Obviously I didn’t do the editing. It’s not something that would be recommended to do yourself, but it can be done essentially really quickly.
If you’ve ever done a webinar, I know, Rob, you’ve done plenty of webinars, if you’ve done multiple webinars on say one core topic but different angles from each, you can take that content and you can get it transcribed, lightly edited, and you essentially have their book because if people attend your webinar and they love your webinar and they like your content and I say, if it’s like evergreen content and it’s not stuff that can be outdated, if they like it in a webinar, they’re going to love it in a book because it’s essentially a different format for them to consume it, which you can add to it, you can add commentary to it. You can have an introduction to it and so many to it and essentially you get a book done very quickly that’s high quality, high content, and people love it.
Rob: And then the next step, once you’ve written it, you’ve got it edited and published obviously there are tools for setting up a funnel to make sure that you’re getting into the right hands, running ads to it. But if that were something that somebody wanted to try out, any other expert tips that you would just throw out in addition to getting the book actually written?
John: Yeah. What I did was when I’m going through this process of say, for example, we’ll take you for example, so say if you have a couple of webinars on persuasion and offense copy and things like that and stuff that you’re just a magician at. So say you take them and you know that you’re going to be putting together something around the whole persuasion, around the whole, say, copywriting angle, so then you know that that’s kind of what the topic is going to be focused around. So then what I would do then is I would run book cover tests. So I would run ads, say, with two book covers and I would say, “Tell me which one of these covers you like best.” So I would have a rough working title. So it might be the persuasion into a new economy fragment and say it might be your working title.
And then I would have two radically different book covers. And to be honest, neither of them maybe the finish one, it doesn’t really matter. And what do we do? We do an ad with the two images saying, “Which one of these book covers do you like best? I’m releasing a brand new book on persuasion and I’m looking for help from the public, click here and tell me which ones you like.” So they would be brought over to a page where they can vote on which book is best and then say, “Well, if you’d like a free copy in advance, put your name and email and address in here.” So then on they’d opt in.
They’d vote first, then they would opt in and then on the thank you page, I’d let them know, well, if you were to buy a book or get a book on persuasion, what else would you like to have in it? And this is on a thank you page. And then they would tell me what they would like to see in the book. And I would just go through that, kind of bring it together and make sure the bulk of what gets repeated from people is included in the book. So then I know when I do release it to the public, I’m giving the public what they want on top of like what I think they might want.
But you’re also building your list as well and then those people, when the book goes live, we would not just send them to book and say, “Thanks very much.” We would send them the book and then offer them a chance to move on to the next stage, maybe getting a strategy session or getting access to a product if it was completely digital or whatever the case may be, which you’re building an early bird list is what I would call it ahead of time, but you’re also getting valuable feedback from people so you do know what you’re putting into it is the stuff that you should be putting into it.
Rob: Okay. I like that. I’m definitely stealing that for my next book there’s no doubt about that. So let’s break in here and talk a little bit about a few things that John mentioned so far. Kira, it’s been so long since you’ve been on the podcast as a host or co-host, so let’s start with you. What jumped out at you?
Kira: I was bummed that I was not there for this particular interview with John. I was really looking forward to it. So I’m glad I could at least listen to it and add some commentary. To start with, he had crazy stories to the point where I was listening and I had a couple WTF moments where I was like, what? How is this possible? How did this happen to this man? And that hasn’t happened in a lot of our podcasts interviews. I think it’s just not the content we usually focus on in marketing. But the kidnapping, that definitely stood out to me. And then after being kidnapped, being pulled out by a tide in the water and almost drowning in the water and being helicoptered to the shoreline, I mean, it was just stuff that was so bizarre and opposite of marketing. I guess we could always draw connection to marketing, but it was fascinating. And really I was loving, especially at the beginning of this interview and I wanted to hear more of the crazy stories.
Rob: Yeah. John writes about some of those in his book, Your Elephant’s Under Threat, which I misspoke a couple of times, and shares a little bit of that stuff. But you and I have talked a lot about travel and we’ve talked with guests who have traveled and done copywriting as they’ve gone through that location independent kind of thing. We don’t hear stories like this very often. Usually they’re all, I didn’t get great Wifi or I struggled to connect with a client because of the time zones or whatever. And so it’s kind of interesting to hear these different kinds of stories there. It sort of reminds me Rachel Pilcher who was in our think tank a year or two ago and she travels full time as a copywriter and runs her business on the road. And she’s always sharing fun stories and things in her Twitter feed. And so it’s fun to hear the weird side of travel as well.
Kira: Yeah. It definitely makes me want to start traveling again. As you and I have discussed, we both miss traveling and I know many copywriters do. And so yeah, it definitely triggers that travel bug in me.
Rob: It’s time to go. Yeah. So one other thing, this isn’t really a talking point necessarily, but I find it really interesting how many people that we talked to or that become copywriters marketers tend to come from the fitness industry. The people like John, Todd Brown himself, we interviewed Dave Ruelle on the podcast a while ago and he’s from that industry, Ryan Lee, they’re just… And then in the broader marketing space guys like Russell Brunson and Matt Furey and a lot. So there’s something about running a fitness business, I think, that forces people to figure out marketing. So there’s a bunch of fitness people that are in our industry and learn it and then put those ideas to work for other clients. And it’s just kind of an interesting thing that kind of stood out to me as I was listening to John.
Kira: Yeah. I mean, it’s such a competitive space that I think you have to understand the marketing principles and stay up to date and cutting edge on that in order to have a successful business in that space. So it makes sense that it bleeds over into the marketing world.
Rob: Yeah. And then this other, the really big thing that stood out to me is John started talking about finding clients and whatever is this thing that you and I have talked about a little bit, but maybe not so much on the podcast. And that is your first job as a copywriter running your own business isn’t necessarily getting your website put up. It’s not even necessarily choosing a niche or choosing your products or whatever, it’s making a sale, it’s connecting with a client that you can solve a problem for and figuring out that process so you can do it over and over. And all of the other things, packages, websites, pitching strategies, all of those kinds of things help you do that but the most important thing any of us does is connect with the client and sell a solution to a problem that they have.
Kira: Yeah. I actually was just having a conversation with a copywriter right before this in our think tank about the same thing. And her most critical need right now is to get clients, to get work, to get that steady income. And so we just prioritize what’s most important. I think it’s really easy to get lost in all the marketing stuff. And we were talking about pitching podcasts and all these long-term strategies that do work. They do work, but they don’t land those quick projects that can put cash in your bank. And so that’s most critical when you’re just starting out to stay really hyper-focused on how do I get a project? How do I get clients? How do I get paid?
Until you hit the point where you have steady income and you have a wait list for the next two weeks and then for the next month, and you have some of that stability, that’s when your business starts to change and shift into the next phase where you can focus more on the long-term marketing play and focus more on, oh, I wonder how I could create a new revenue stream and start thinking about products and all these fun aspects to our business. But at the beginning, it’s not about that. It’s just, how do I get clients? How do I get paid? How do I get that experience? How do I get those testimonials? And how do I get it quickly?
Rob: Yeah. There’s nothing more important at the beginning of your business than to prove that you can do this thing for somebody besides yourself. Finding clients is critical.
Kira: Yes. Also it was fun to hear about John’s relationship with Dan Kennedy and how he had landed working and that opportunity to work with Dan Kennedy. And I hadn’t heard that before. So what stood out to me was just John’s ability to really stand out and to continue to try to get Dan’s attention as Dan is one of the busiest successful people in our space and only has a fax machine. John worked through that challenge and figured it out, okay, well, this is what will grab his attention and put a ton of time into it too. And that really stood out to me because it just shows that number one, you have to figure out the creative concept that will grab attention.
And number two, you have to do all the legwork and put in the time that most people aren’t willing to put in in order to actually execute on the creative idea. And as copywriters, most of us come up with tons of creative ideas. That’s not the problem, but the execution is where we often fall down and not with John. He put the time in to actually create that package that he then sent to Dan Kennedy to land to that position and start talking to him.
Rob: And we’ve talked several times about how do you connect with mentors? How do you get on their radar? That’s one way, obviously joining programs that they might offer, being in the same room with them is another way, but there’s almost nothing that can help move your business forward faster. Once you’ve got the basics in place, then connecting with somebody who can introduce you to the right people, save you time with shortcuts, help you not make the mistakes that they made on the way up. And so our listeners should be thinking, okay, who are the mentors that I might want to connect with in my industry or within copywriting or within marketing? How do I get their attention? Can I join one of their programs? Can I figure out some way to send a shock and awe package that includes some of your best work or maybe a recording or something that you’re doing or you build a website that hosts cool videos for them?
There are probably 30 or 40 different ways that you can do this, but getting people to take notice of you is important. And we’ve been lucky with the podcast that we’ve been able to connect with several people on the podcast. That’s how we met Brian Kurtz and really got to know him and then his group. And that introduced us to a whole bunch of other people. And the important thing here is like, figure out how to connect with somebody and then you just keep connecting and moving through those groups and figuring out what the next step is. And I love how John did that in order to get the attention of somebody he wanted to connect with.
Kira: Yes. And you two talked a lot about his books and what it takes to actually ship a book and then how to use it in a funnel. So Rob, you have a book, we’ve talked about books on the show before, do you think that copywriters would benefit from having a book and where does that fall in our career? Is that something that we should do upfront and early like John did or wait until later?
Rob: So as with all the answers we always give, it depends. I do think that copywriters should have a book. I don’t necessarily think they should have books about copywriting because so many of us serve niches and we do so much more than just writing words. Like we said earlier in the introduction, we’re solving really big problems for our clients and so writing books about marketing in a niche, for instance. So let’s say that I work in the SAS space, writing a handbook, a marketing handbook for SAS marketers could be a way to introduce myself to literally hundreds of potential clients. And if I just wrote a book about copywriting or about marketing, that’s not focused on that niche, it would be far less successful. And so I do think that books provide a huge opportunity.
They’re not easy to write. It takes time, it takes focus and then setting up a funnel like John has, and John has five or six books that he’s built funnels for and used them to fill his programs, to connect with people one-on-one, his funnels are really interesting and you can track them down online if you want to look for them. But having that in place so that when you do need clients, you do need to connect with the next person, you can turn on a couple of ads, you can drive traffic, you know that it’s going to work and it’s going to generate that interest in your business, I think that can be a game changer.
And for the people that we’ve talked to who have books, people like Robert Scribe who uses his book to connect with his clients. Laura Gale, talked about her book. Well, we talked to her before she had her book, but her book is awesome about writing books. It’s all about how do you write this book that’s going to get you a business. And so I do think there’s a huge opportunity, something I want to do in our business. Actually, I’d love to have you and I work on a book that then can help attract people to the things that we want to do.
Kira: Right. But then I hear that and I’m like, “Ugh,” that’s so much work, that’s so much time. You and I barely have enough time to focus on the priority project. So that’s where I usually put the book idea and project opt opposite side. But what I like that John shared in the interview is that you can kind of bust it out and he did that I think in a month. And if you can’t do that, you can also find where your content currently lives. And you and I have a ton of content, so we could take podcast interviews or we are interviewed or we could even take shows that from this current show and turn those into a book. We could choose one of the best ones or maybe the most popular podcast episode and turn that into a book and start there and make it easy. It’s just, it can feel so overwhelming and I like that John broke it down and showed an easier way to do it by starting with content that you already have and building it out from there.
Rob: Yeah, I agree. I think if we were to say, “Hey, we want to write a book and we’re going to do it all about building your copywriting business or something, starting from scratch,” that’s a really big job. But if we were to you or I, or work with somebody who could say, “Hey, here are the six most important things that you’ve talked about in this topic, here’s the trainings that you’ve done in the underground or in the free Facebook group, we’re going to put all of this stuff together,” that gets us halfway there. And then it’s just a matter of editing and tweaking and maybe adding some experiences. So who knows? We may have a book here soon. Who knows?
Kira: Well, and if you don’t have a podcast a or you don’t have your own course content that you can just transcribe and turn into a book, you could just look at where you’ve published content previously or start booking yourself on other podcasts and talk about different concepts and see which ones are more popular, see which ones resonate and then take those guest interviews and transcribe that particular show where you had the most interest or you felt the most excited or most confident in the content you were sharing. I don’t think you have to… I don’t think you need a podcast or your own course in order to create the book the way that John’s talking about it.
Rob: Yeah, I agree. In fact, I don’t think John had that stuff for his first book. I think what he started doing is just a voice memo or just starting putting thoughts down. And if writing the book is too complex, opening up a voice memo and talking about a topic for 10 or 15 minutes, and then talking about a related topic for 10 or 15 more minutes would be a good way to get that first draft.
Kira: Right. Yeah. I feel like we could talk about books for an entire episode because there’s so much to dig into and so much around timing and when it actually makes sense for you in your business and when it doesn’t make sense.
Rob: So if you’re listening and thinking a book funnel will be really cool, Google, find one of John’s funnels because they are really good or check out some of the other book funnels that other marketers are doing. There are a bunch of them out there. I’m sure you’ve seen them, but look at what appears to be working, what elements are being repeated in each different funnel? The Todd Brown’s E5 book funnel is phenomenal. We’ve kind of stepped through that before with a few people. There are lots of examples out there to borrow from and use if a book is right for your business.
Kira: Let’s go back to our interview with John and learn about out his process for engaging with a new client.
Rob: Okay. So let’s go back to when you were taking on clients. I know you’re not doing that currently. So somebody would come through one of your funnels and you would start an engagement. What did that process look like? I know you weren’t necessary copywriting for them, although some of what you did involves copy for sure. But how did you go through the assessment of what their needs were so that you had that high value problem that you knew how to solve and could help them make progress on that?
John: Yeah. So it all started with like a diagnostic, essentially like an application where they would fill out there what’s going on in their business right now, what they’d like to see happening, what’s been holding them back from getting there and getting into a little bit more detail then from there. And actually at one stage I had a consulting funnel, so like a coaching or a consulting funnel that actually Russell Brunson reviewed as part of… He used to do reviews of funnels and he got access to mine through GKIC and he reviewed it. And I still have that video from him, which is pretty cool. But one thing that I was doing that he kind of pinpointed in his review was I had people pay a deposit before they got on the call with me. And it was just phenomenal. I think if I remember correctly, it was like $25 deposit.
And that just helped massively with my show up rate. It was just the amount of people that I was obviously getting, but they were obviously qualifying themselves as someone willing to pay to get on, which was a good thing. And then when they get on, obviously regardless of what would happen, I would refund their $25 deposit. But once we got on, it wasn’t a sales call because I’m not a salesman, I’ll never be a salesman, I’m not good at sales. It’s like much like Todd. Like Todd doesn’t need to use sales because of what he does with his marketing. I mean, he just need to use sales trickery or things like that. But I wasn’t a salesman. I generally have a grown up adult conversation with someone because we are all adults and it’s like, “Okay, well, this is what’s going on in your business, I recommend we do X, Y, and Z. And is that something you’d like help with?”
So that was essentially like my close, if you want to call it, was, would you like help with that? So I would map out like a game plan of what I would recommend them doing based on my experience, based on what I had seen working with the clients and was working with based on what I built up of my knowledge. And I would say, “Well, I’d recommend you do X, Y, and Z. Would you like help with that?” And then if they said, yes, fantastic, what I would always start to do is initially as part of the plan that I would outline, the beginning part of the plan was always around the low hanging fruit.
So it was always like, how can I get this person to win as quickly as possible? Because if I can get them to win early, that’s going to build up their excitement to want to continue work with me because it was important for me, but also important for me to get them to win because not only did I want them to stay working with me but because I wanted to genuinely ensure that I could do everything I can to help them. So it was about what’s the low hanging fruit for in the business. And generally speaking, the low hanging fruit for a lot of the businesses that I was working with were they weren’t communicating enough with their audience. So we could implement some sort of ongoing communication process, so they are communicating on an ongoing basis.
Like people might have 2000, 5,000, 10,000 leads in their database and communicate every eight weeks. So it’s just crazy. So we would implement some sort of a campaign under business or some sort of an ongoing process and then we would look at, okay, well, how effective are you at sale? Like how effective are you at X, Y, and Z? So how effective are you with generating leads? Well, I’ve no problem generating leads. Okay. Well, how effective are we converting those leads? Well, that’s where my issue is. So I was like, well, let’s focus in there. Let’s try and fix that constraint.
So it was all around their constraint. And if that meant that they needed a funnel built and they needed copy, well then, because I brought my expertise and it was me working for them, I would get that done for them. So I would build a funnel for them. I would write a copy for them. I would help them. I would write scripts for them to do videos or whatever the case is. So it was very much a done with you approach, but it was all kind of tailored to their particular desire. Some people might need help with getting more leads and not so much converting those leads and others might be visa versa, so it was all very much tailored.
Rob: So I can imagine somebody listening saying, “Okay, I get what John’s doing but it’s easy for him because he had Dan Kennedy in his back pocket.” Obviously that was an accelerator for your business, but do you think you could have done the same thing with your business if you hadn’t made those kinds of connections that you did earlier on.
John: To be honest, I think the Dan Kennedy thing was huge, but so many people that I worked with hadn’t heard of Dan Kennedy. So I think it was more huge for me. It gave me confidence to go out there knowing that I built up this expertise, but kind of in my back pocket, I had that knowing that someone else had that kind of the confidence in me as well to kind of endorse me and partner with me and to do that. So it was more of an internal confidence than… Like I wasn’t going out there, “Work with me because of Dan Kennedy.” It was very much, “Look, this is what I have to bring.” And it was like more of an internal confidence. So I think absolutely I could have… Especially nowadays, things are so much different that it’s not so much about you, it’s about the actual person and can you actually get them the result and if you can get them the result, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.
So I knew I can get them the result and looking at it now and if it was me now or someone else now, all that matters is the result. So if you can get someone the result, that’s all that matters. Whether you’ve been endorsed by X, Y, and Z, that doesn’t matter because if you were endorsed by X, Y, and Z and you can’t get the result, you’re not going to last that long. So at the end of the day, it comes down to the results.
Rob: Yeah, that makes total sense. Okay. Let’s shift gears a little bit. You’re not doing consulting with a variety of clients anymore. You’re working exclusively with Todd Brown. You mentioned Todd a couple minutes ago. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing with Todd’s organization and what that looks like day to day?
John: So at the minute, I’m the Director of Marketing for Todd and day to day we have our flywheel and our flywheel consists of a number of different things like acquiring new customers, having conversations, introducing people to the E5 method, whether it’s the coaching program or some other area. And then the next part of our flywheel is getting people results and then showcasing those results by generating case studies and testimonials and so on and so forth. So my day to day at the minute right now, as I’m speaking right now is focused around our front end in terms of our new customer acquisition. As well as being the director of marketing, my current focus is customer acquisition, buyer acquisition.
And actually, just before we jumped on the call today, I got some ads for a brand new front end offer that we’ve just launched. And we launched it kind of as an early bird to part of our list, just to see how we would do with it. And the results were very positive. So we’ve launched it to cold traffic today. And we’ve launched this new front end offer for kind of two particular reasons. So one is that we’ve… And I’m sure you’re aware, obviously because you’re in our world as well, that we’ve seen a shift lately in terms of pay traffic and acquisition and so on and so forth.
Obviously as media, cost have been rising and the cost of traffic and the cost of acquiring customer has been rising specifically in markets like ours, where it’s a lot more competitive and we are working against and working alongside some of the smartest people in the world who are equally as good at what they do. So in knowing all that, we’ve put together this particular front end offer. It’s something that’s quite different to what we’ve done before, but we’ve engineered it in a way that it will help us combat the rising traffic costs, the rising media costs and allow us to acquire a significant amount of new buyers, new customers at scale.
Rob: So as you talk about some of the challenges with acquisitions and especially costs going up, is it even possible for somebody who’s just starting out to compete on Facebook to find that traffic? And if it is, what are some of the things that might work for even a copywriter who’s like, “Okay, I want to start doing something on Facebook in my niche,” and maybe it’s not copywriting related, it’s directed to my niche? And what are some of the best practices they should be thinking about to make an acquisition funnel actually work at a price that makes sense?
John: For us right now, there’s kind of two big things that we’re focusing. Well, I would say three things, but two main things or maybe I’ll mention the third thing as well. The two big things that we’re focusing on right now in terms of acquisition, in terms of the rising cost of media is the actual offer and the offer components and how we actually engineer the offer. And a second is AOV, so average order value. So how much on average is an order worth to us. Because so many people focus on trying to get the traffic for the cheapest clicks and the cheapest traffic and then trying to get their conversion rates sky high, when the reality is these days, conversion rates isn’t as important as it used to be, these days it’s more of a vanity metric.
And what one should be focusing on is an offer that people will genuinely go crazy for and an offer that is structured in a way that people, when they see the offer, hopefully they’re thinking, well, this sounds exactly what I need and I’d be foolish not to get this. And then after that, if we can engineer an offer that is that good and obviously it’s no easy feat, but if we can, the second part of that is focusing on more on AOV and less on conversion rates. So focusing more on what can we do to increase your AOV? What can we do to have our AOV at a point where we’re not worried about the rising traffic costs, because if your AOV is high enough, the rising traffic costs becomes less and less of an issue.
Rob: Yeah. So just that I’m clear on this, I know I’ve heard you and Todd talk about this before, we’re more concerned about the average order cost less or once you’ve taken out the cost of acquisition, right? And then that number is the number that you’re really going after.
John: Yeah. So as Todd talks a lot about, there’s three levels of acquisition, there’s level one, where from your paid advertising, you’re looking to make a profit and from level two is you’re looking to break even. So if you spend a $1000, you make a $1000. And then level three is where you don’t mind going into red a little bit, you don’t mind going negative to acquire customers. So you spend a 1000 and you may make back 750 on day zero, but then you know on day seven, day 14, day 30, day 19th and so on and so forth, that lifetime value will start to go up.
So generally speaking, we recommend people operate from a front end point of view at level two. So we try to break even. And how you could break even is it’s say if it’s costing you $200 to acquire a customer, you have to engineer your offer and your funnel. And when I say offer, that might include the initial offer, your bump upsell one, possibly upsell two, if you have two upsells and so on and so forth. You should try as best you can engineer that initial offer and funnel to have an average order value of $200 as well, which obviously is very hard to do on something like a $7 product or a $17 product to get your AOV to $200 is very difficult.
Whereas in an initial offer, say if there’s a copy writer who’s looking to create an initial front end offer to acquire customers or to acquire buyers, I would have something probably these days in and around the minimum, I would say 49, 59, 69, possibly even up around the $97 mark. Because if your front end offer is $97 with a really savvy bump and a really solid upsell one, you could have your AOV North of 200 very quickly with a good upsell and or at around that price point.
So if you think about it from that respects, especially these days with the rising traffic costs, it’s something that we’re putting a lot of focus on around the offer, making sure our offer hits certain things. And then from there making sure our AOV is where we need to be, because if our AOV is where we need it to be, as we scale and as we spend more money, initially from a launching point of view because we’re focusing on AOV, we can be less and less worried about the rising traffic costs and more and more focused around dialing in the actual offer and dialing in the AOV and scaling it as much as possible.
Rob: So I can see two ways that copywriters can use the stuff that you’re talking about. Number one, obviously we work with clients who are selling products or selling coaching packages, that kind of stuff. And so helping them create funnels like that to get people in at an AOV that makes sense is a pretty easy thing to see, but what about a copywriter that wants to use this for themselves and they maybe don’t have a product? They’re not necessarily selling a course or maybe if they do, it’s maybe a template pack or something, but what they’re really trying to sell is the service or maybe you could call it coaching, but it’s really like, I want to write your sales page or I want to create all the support materials for your launch over the next two months, does this kind of a funnel work for that as well or would you change it up in some way in order to bring in the right kinds of clients for that?
John: I mean, my personal default would always be to acquire the customer and then ascent. I’m not saying you can’t go out there and have a campaign where you do like a strategy session model or a webinar model where at the end they apply to become a client and so on and forth, I’m not saying that can’t work. It absolutely can work. It still works. It does work. But my default would be, well, what can I create for them that would have them be happily take out their credit card to buy and then from there, what’s the next logical step? How best can I move them into become inclined from there, whether it is a discovery call or whether it’s something else, but my default will be to acquire buyers first.
Rob: Okay. So I’m curious, you obviously had a really successful business. You’re doing a lot of great things and then you decided to go in-house working with someone, tell us about that thought process and why that might be the kind of thing that other people would want to consider doing as well.
John: For me, it was relatively straightforward. It was getting the… There was only one and I don’t know if Todd watches this or listens to this, I hope he does, but for me, the only one reason why I considered it was because it was Todd. And it was because getting to work alongside someone who had learned so much from, someone who I had looked up to, someone who I was essentially in awe from a marketing point of view. And it was just for… It was like a no brainer. It was going to give me the opportunity to flex my own marketing muscles alongside Todd and to grow alongside a team, which was something that I wasn’t versed to. So when I was me on my own, it was me on my own.
I had a couple of admin guys working with me, but it was essentially me running the business, essentially me doing everything and so on and so forth. So getting the opportunity to not only work in a team environment and grow a company as a team, but getting to work alongside Todd and everyone else from there was just going to be huge and like getting to be around everything that Todd brings to the table in terms of his own insane experiences, insane marketing knowledge, his insane ability to attract and to do what he does from a direct response point of view and what he has done from a direct response point of view, but also everything else that comes from that, like the guys that Todd does be around, like the people in top one, like yourselves, these superstar people to be around those people to me was going to be a no brainer. It was going to develop but also allow me to help those people in any way I can.
Rob: And speaking of that, in the time that you’ve been working with Todd, are there two or three huge takeaways that you’re willing to share from that experience?
John: Every Tuesday, we have a training with Todd and it’s by far my favorite part of the week, because Todd goes so deep into areas in his thought process around copy, around messaging, around offers and everything else. It’s just like not anything I’ve seen. And those choices are fantastic. But if I was to choose one thing from being around Todd and everything else, especially from a copy point of view, because we are copywriters, and this is going out to copywriters, it would be the idea of softening our copy, which might sound strange. It might sound so menial or tiny or whatever, but the fact that these days there are so many people making claims, there are so many people shouting louder promises and there are so many people claiming to do X, Y, and Z, and making all these absolute statements on how to do X without Y and all this kind of stuff, but making general absolute statements, the idea of softening the copy to me and I’ve seen it working is huge.
And so instead of making absolute statements, it may be like… The perfect example, the example that comes to mind is we have a front end offer called the Offer Bundle. Todd’s essentially got his training on how to construct an offer and multiple other trainings that go with it in terms of how to decrease your abandoned rate, how to increase your AOV, how to decrease refunds and increase lifetime value all bundled into training. But the main headline, if you go to the sales page for it doesn’t say that this is the easiest way on earth to make sales from your marketing, it’s phrased as a question. It’s like, could this be the easiest way on earth to make more money from your marketing or make more sales from your marketing? Question mark.
It’s a still very, very strong copy, but it’s softened. It’s like, it’s more believable. And I think these days, because there’s so much hyper nonsense out there, the idea of softening your copy and making it more believable and making it less in your face is something that there’s going to be a shift towards more and more as we continue and more and more people come onto the scene.
Rob: I like that. So what’s next for you, John? As you look into the future, the next three to five years, obviously you’re not looking to leave Todd, at least I don’t think you are and if you were, I wouldn’t ask you that anyway, but what’s next for you in the business and where are you going from here?
John: So next here is, well, again, my main focus at the minute from our marketing team point of view because we do have a marketing team, we do have guys working on different areas of the business is focusing more on the front end and dialing in our front end. And at the minute, it’s focusing on the dialing in our AOV for our new front end offer. But from there, from a company point of view, we’re all about helping entrepreneurs and we say that we’re… And it kind of sounds clichéd especially for me being from Ireland and we are very much to the point, but like we have a marketing company, but the business that we’re really in is helping changing lives.
Like we’re helping entrepreneurs every single day change their lives going out there, in my mind, who are genuinely the most important people on the planet, the guys and girls that go out there and strive to do great things in their business with no backing from the government, with no backing, no safety nets and everything else, guys that are out there every single day risking their lives, risking their family’s lives, risking everything to go out there and succeed. And more often than not, they’re doing it while helping others as well. To me, that’s huge. And to our company that’s huge and we just want to continue to help more entrepreneurs help more business owners grow, grow, grow, because as more business owners grow, everything just flourishes from there.
Kira: So that’s the end of our interview with John Mulry. Before we go, there were a couple of other things that stood out to us that we want to highlight. Rob, what stood out to you?
Rob: So as I asked John about his process working with clients, he talked about having that first call. It was really a diagnostic of what’s going on in the business. And we’ve talked a lot about what that sales call ought to look like, but I think thinking of it as a diagnostic, almost like you’re going to the copywriting doctor or you’re going to the marketing doctor and you’re saying these are the things that are wrong with my business, at least your client is and going through that diagnostic process to find the low-hanging fruit, to figure out where you can make them biggest impact I think that that’s a nice reframing of what a sales call really ought to be. So it’s not focused on, hey, I’m an awesome copywriter and I helped Rob and Kira write this and I helped this client do this other thing and it was a 10 X whatever, really focusing on diagnosing what’s going on in your client’s business is a nice way to look at what that interest call or sales call ought to be.
Kira: Yeah. It’s just so simple and it feels so achievable for me when I think about his process and I think we over-complicate it, but I love how he just keeps it simple with the actual diagnostic. And then, hey, this is what’s going on in your business and just flat out telling your client like, here’s what I see and then leading into the sale by saying, “Would you like help with that?” I think that’s such a powerful question. Would you like help with that? And John mentions that he’s not naturally a salesperson. And so this proves that you can build in a sales process even if sales is not your strong suit and you just possibly don’t even like it, this is a script and a process that can work for all of us. And it just feels really natural too. Right? It doesn’t feel like, oh, I have to jump on this sales call. It’s like, no, I just have to tell them what’s wrong and offer to help with it. It’s just a reminder that once again, we’re problem solvers and John built his process around being a problem solver.
Rob: I also like that he charged up front for people to get on the call, even though it was a minimal amount just 25 pounds or 25 euros or whatever and it’s fully refundable. So once the call’s over, he’s either going to apply that to the next project or he is going to give it back to the person. It does call the looky lose, the people who aren’t really serious about the business and just want to talk to you. It just gets a more serious potential client on the line. And I think it’s a really smart thing that maybe I’ll start adding to my interest calls as well.
Kira: Yes. Okay. What else stood out to you, Rob?
Rob: So I asked John about his relationship with Dan Kennedy and whether he thought that that helped and he said he did not… I mean, obviously it did help him, but not in the way that I was thinking. And as I was thinking about that, I’m like, that’s kind of the way certifications work for us. A lot of people are really interested in certifications and they put those badges on the website or whatever. I’ve certainly got badges on my website, lots of copywriters do that, but that certification is less important to the client and more important to us in giving ourselves permission to step into this expert role to solve bigger problems. And so I’m not saying that we shouldn’t put those things on our websites, but the purpose of these kinds of relationships, certifications, that kind of thing is really about us stepping into a larger, bigger role where we can solve bigger problems, work with better clients and earn more money. So just another connection that sort of went off in my brain after we were talking.
Kira: Okay. And I really love how John shared the changes that he’s made with Todd Brown’s team and the company around softening copy. And so that was a small detail and you didn’t cover it for that long. It was at the end of the interview, but I thought it was really interesting that as the space gets more competitive and as it shifts that that’s a change this highly successful company is making as well. And I like the examples he shared around adding questions, instead of saying this is what you’re dealing with, or this is what you are, this is the solution for you, but adding more intriguing questions that are more an invitation for the reader to kind of say, “Well, yeah, I am dealing with that,” and make it more believable. And so that’s something that stood out to me because if Todd Brown is doing it and his team’s doing it, although that’s certainly something I want to pay attention to in our own marketing for the Copywriter Club and for the work I do with my clients.
Rob: Yeah. I agree. I think it’s a reflection of what’s happening in the broader marketing world where that really intense heavy pushy marketing, it still works. I’m not going to say it doesn’t work, but it turns people off as well. And I think there’s a better way. We don’t necessarily have to step away from the stuff that works and say, oh, that stuff is awful or horrible, but we can change our approach so that we’re not pushing things on people, we’re not trying to convince them of things, but through the art of persuasion, we’re helping people see for themselves where the opportunities are, what the possibilities may be and letting them persuade themselves or make those decisions. And so that less pushy marketing thing, I think is something that we’re going to see more and more of at least until it stops working and we need to try something else.
Kira: And John shared the Todd Brown flywheel and what he’s focused on within the company and the priorities. And again, it’s simplifying what we all do in our own businesses, but I like how he broke it down because it does make this really simple path. This is what we should all focus on, whether we’re a larger company or we’re just a solopreneur, it’s acquisition, creating conversations, which are really sales conversations, teaching and sharing, for him it’s the E5 method, but for us it’s our own methodology or our own X factor in sharing that and then getting results for our clients so that we can share those results. And when he broke it down like that, it was like, it’s so obvious and easy, but again, I feel like we over-complicate it and this is really what we need to do on repeat to get the marketing engine running. And those results are a key part of it too. We can’t forget about that last piece of getting our client’s results, because if that’s not working, then the whole marketing engine starts to fall apart.
Rob: Yeah. The other part of that that John was talking about that I think maybe we skip over a lot because we get hung up on things like conversion rates and click throughs and that kind of thing and John basically said the only numbers that they focus on are the average order value and whether that is more or less than the cost of acquisition so if that’s what you’re spending on ads or whatever. And if that number is even and you can make money on the back end or it’s positive so that you’re making money from day one, you’ve got a decent business. And if that number is negative, then you might be in trouble.
The one last thing that I’ll say about that part of the interview is as you listen to somebody who’s successful like John, he’s got multiple book funnels, he’s got clients coming to him, he’s helping and then he leaves to go join another company, oftentimes we’ll see people talking about it in the free Facebook group. It’s like, I’m thinking about going in-house. They even sometimes talk about how that represents a failure because they weren’t able to make it as a freelancer. And I think it’s a validation that there is not one right way to be a copywriter. You can do it on your own as a freelancer, you can do it in-house with another team, you can in the agency world.
There are definitely more than one way to succeed in this and none of them are a failure if they’re meeting the needs you have. And John left to learn from people who are as smart or maybe even smarter than him. He’s adding to his skillset if someday he decides to move on to something else, it’s just another win and not necessarily a retrenchment from a failure moving forward. And so anybody who’s thinking about going in-house or working as a copywriter in a different capacity than what we normally focus on here, that’s not a failure, it’s oftentimes a step forward and a big success.
Kira: Yeah. And that could even mean just forming partnerships or working and building your own team or for the two of us like, I learn a lot from working with you, Rob, and from working with our team members. And so I get a ton of education just in our day to day here. And for any copywriter that maybe feels like they are interested in learning more from peers or other experts, but they’re not quite ready to join another company, you could just look at who you’re hiring or collaborating with on projects. Are you learning from your colleagues and your peers? And if not, how could you bring that into your company so that every day you’re learning from your colleagues and you’re getting paid to do it too.
Rob: Yeah. I love that. And obviously John is all about learning, growing, building. So that’s something I admire about him. We want to thank John Mulry for sharing his time with us. If you want to connect with John, the best way to do that is to send John an email at email@example.com or you can find him occasionally hanging out in the MFA Facebook group. If you reach out to him on Facebook though, be sure to tag him in your comment because he doesn’t see everything that happens in that group. And you can find several of John’s books on Amazon. Some of them are priced really affordably, so we encourage you to look there. We’ll link to those in the show notes as well for this episode at thecopywriterclub.com.
Kira: That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter, David Muntner. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard today, please visit Apple Podcast to leave your review of the show. Thanks for listening. And we’ll see you next week.