Former professional basketball player and current email copywriter, Big Jason Henderson, joins Rob and Kira for the 43rd episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Jason shares how he went from Australian basketball star to highly paid email copywriter and in the process talks about:
• the too-easy-to-believe advice for writing great emails
• how he keeps his emails personal by writing to “one” person
• the recommended number of links that should go in every email (jk)
• the tools he uses to track clicks and revenue
• his go-to writing formula for emails
• what it means to sell the click vs. sell the product
• which is the better motivator—the carrot or the stick
• why there’s no such thing as an email expert, and
• how he manages stress and overwork (when he doesn’t sleep for two days)
Another eye-opening episode packed with lots of lessons, tactics and strategies you can use in your own copywriting business. Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
Marketing Sherpa Email Summit
Caleb O Dowd
Email Response Warrior Course
Dr. Flint McGlaughlin
Arman Morin Seminar
GKIC (Dan Kennedy’s events)
John Carlton’s Simple Writing System
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at Airstory.co/club.
Rob: What if you can hang out with seriously talented copy writers 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 Kira and I do every week and The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the club for episode 43 as we chat with email copywriter big Jason Henderson about what he has learned about sending more than a billion emails, creating high performance email funnels, the things you should do with email that the experts tell you not to do, and why your value proposition is the most important element for increasing conversation.
Rob: Hi Kira. Hi Jason.
Jason: Hi, good to be here.
Kira: Great to have you Jason.
Jason: Thanks for having me.
Rob: Jason, I think we really want to start with your story, but before we get into that, I got to know how big are you?
Jason: I’m only about 6’11”.
Rob: Okay, so not that big then.
Kira: Not that big. That’s nothing.
Rob: Yeah, why don’t we start with your story. You’re famous for email, tell us how you got started as an email copywriter?
Jason: In 1996, I was playing professional basketball in Australia, and it was really laid back so I had plenty of free time and the local universities let me go into their computer labs, so I was just going around and I started with Acl and local businesses, and I started doing email and e-commerce back then. Little did I know, that e-commerce was going to be huge, I should have stuck with it.
Yeah, I just started with that and I became … Have you heard of the about.com brand?
Jason: So back then, they were the mining company and I was the exercise guy. So they basically worked with us to drive as much traffic as possible, so they were teaching us about building email lists, writing articles, attracting free traffic, and for email all they said was, “You know it’s like having a one on one conversation, so if you can do that, then you can write an email.” And that’s basically all I knew. I was like, “Yeah, I can do that.”
I think that’s an advantage for me starting way back then in 1996 because all I had was that one simple statement, it’s like having a one on one conversation, versus a lot of people today, they’re met with a lot of BS and like don’t do this, you can’t do that, and this doesn’t work when basically people are projecting their failures and what they can’t do on everybody else. Like, if I can’t do it, no one can. But I didn’t have that, so I was using personal images, and writing very personal conversational emails. And then in 2006, I came upon MECLABS and MarketingSherpa and that was huge because I’d heard a lot of IM crowd talking about them but when I went and visited MECLABS and MarketingSherpa, I found they weren’t really practicing what they preached.
So this last April, was my 12th year going to the MECLABS MarketingSherpa email summit in Las Vegas. I’ve spoken there twice, I’ve taken their email messaging value proposition development, landing page optimization, and online testing certifications probably about eight times each. So that’s where I’ve gotten a lot of my email knowledge, email ideas, and just ability to come into scenarios where companies have done the same promo over and over again for years and it’s stagnating. It’s kind of like an old control that’s getting a little stale, it’s not doing like it used to, and I’ve been able to come in and with different lenses be able to see what other email marketers can’t see.
Kira: Okay. So let’s start with the question, some of the copywriters are probably wondering what are most of us doing wrong when it comes to writing an email?
Jason: You’re focusing more on the words. You’re focusing on being an email copywriter and not a salesman in print, I would say. Gary Halbert used to say all the time that it’s about what you say, not how you say it. I look at some of my old emails where people are just besides themselves about the results and just the personal conversational tone, and I look back and I’m just, wow that’s … And as far as like a prose and like “writer” it’s not very good. I was just interviewing [inaudible 00:04:15] one of Gary Halbert’s best protégés and he was remarking about Scott Haines who Gary Halbert called his best student, and he’s like, “Man, I look at Scott’s letters and they’re not impressive, it’s not pretty. But he would go for the jugular, very simple plain english, fourth grade level.” So I think that’s the biggest key right there.
Rob: I think a lot of people will say about Gary’s writing too because a lot of the letters that he wrote, they’re not real pretty, they’re very basic and very plain, but well-thought out.
Scott, one of the things that you mentioned is that people don’t understand that you’re trying to be a salesman in print in your emails. And then you also said that it’s a one on one conversation. And I think a lot of people might be thinking, how do I square those. We don’t often think of sales as that kind of an intimate conversation especially when you’re pitching to large group. What do you think about that?
Jason: What I do is I just project them on mine, there is someone across from me depending on the niche. Sometimes it’s this guy with a beard and he is a redneck, and he’s got a beer in his hand. Other times it’s the guy with the really nice custom made silk suit, and we’re at a boardroom. And other times I’m in the kitchen, I’m sitting on a bar stool with my elbows on a counter and there is a middle aged woman talking to me as she is cooking lunch.
Kira: So Jason, to back up, before you have these images, what does your process look like before you can even envision these people that you’re writing to? Before you even start the writing portion, what does that really research stage look like for you?
Jason: It’s similar to long period sales letters, you’re interviewing the product expert with the owner. I have find that if there’s partners, that it’s the silent partner that usually has the best info. The lower level employees have really good info sometimes. And one of the first things I always ask is, I want to know if someone replies to an email, where does it go, and I want to see them. If they say, “Okay, we can get you the last week’s.” I’m like, “No, I want to see everything.”
Yeah, it’s either a help desk or it’s a regular email with the inbox. I always want to see it, I find that’s some of the best gold right there. And depending on the niche and the products personal blogs, depending on if it’s health related, or something where there is a lot of pain and suffering. Like, I was doing some work for how to protégé and anxiety, and I found some amazing personal blogs where it’s just wailing and gnashing their teeth and talking about their issues. Typically, those types of blogs tend to gravitate towards other people with the same problems. So you got not only the blog writer writing about some amazing language and just writing emails for you, but then you got people replying and commenting they have the same problem. So it’s just amazing to get a lot of fear, pain, anxiety, and issues that you can use for your emails.
And then also I find depending on the niche is professional articles because a lot of the time you have these professional writers for either offline publications that are online, or just strictly online publications. And they’ve done a ton of research, they’ve written some amazing articles … Like I was writing for Survival and this writer basically went out and interviewed this survival proper fundamentalist and he was saying all kinds of crazy stuff like, you know it’s a fact that after seven days both women and children will turn to prostitution.
Rob: What? I can’t wait to find a link for that in the show.
Jason: So it’s just like gold like stuff like that and really good language even if you’re not familiar with the market. Revolution golf, like I’ve never golfed before and I’ve never taken a lesson, I used to hate watching it and then revolution golf came calling and my MECLABS background helped with that because they wanted someone that was really good with data. I find a lot of email marketers are not good with data. They don’t know what really works the best. So yeah, a lot of golf magazines, watching golf, talking to people that golf, stuff like that.
Rob: I’m curious Jason, especially the beginning of your career as an email copywriter, how did you find your clients? What is because you were working in-house, that you were networking, or did people just come to you because they knew you were an expert?
Jason: I would say it was events. I went to a lot of events … And you have to admit I have kind of a built in advantage over most people, I kind of stand out. And so I’m 6’11”, I was wearing custom made silk suits where most people were in jeans or shorts, and so I got a lot of people coming up to me asking what I did because you know standing out, and I then I would just tell them and they would be like, “Oh, I can use.”
Rob: Very cool. So you were talking about how one of the things that you do differently is that you understand data, and I assume that includes tracking and that sort of thing. And this is something you know as I’ve sent out emails, I don’t do a lot of emailing for clients but for myself, I’m totally curious if you can walk us through what that means, what it looks like, and how you follow up and track and have become an expert in that?
Jason: At the minimum, it’s very simple. It’s basically, if you’ve ever used Google analytics UTM code, it’s the exact same thing. Whatever link you are using in your email, you’re just attaching a UTM code and you’re … What I like to do, is I like to put for the term I like to put the subject line but just makes it easier in the tracking report to have that subject line in there. And then I will put the call of action, I’ll put which email it is, I mean, if it’s in a series of emails. And here is the most important thing, which I think is a huge problem for most email marketers. Is I’ll put whether it’s a text link or an image link, and I’ll say which numbered link it is. So if there’s three links in the email, I’ll do one, two, and three. So then you get a lot of data like you can see … You know, I’ve seen a lot of BS about, like three links is the optimal number of links, no it’s not. Not if you’re actually tracking and you see is like, huh.
So I’m putting a link every time after a paragraph or so in the email and it’s getting a lot of clicks, which doesn’t surprise me that’s just natural because people just aren’t attracted to that blue underline link. But if you actually use Google analytics you can see like, wow, I’m getting way more clicks on this top link but hardly any sales. The people that are reading the whole email, they’re converting the highest. And I find that over and over again, niche after niche because I think people assume that if someone is a really targeted prospect, they want to leave right away. And I don’t really agree with them. I’m like, if they’re really the targeted prospect, then they’re not going to have any problem reading your whole email.
Rob: So that’s interesting. So you say that there’s not an optimal number of links, would you recommend for a lot of people to hold the link to the bottom or is there a reason to stack your links throughout? And I guess another question, as you are tracking this because you’re using the UTM code, you’re generally doing this in analytics I’m assuming, but are there other tracking methods that you’re using as well?
Jason: I use clicky.com because [inaudible 00:11:28] Google analytics has changed but the last time I checked it doesn’t do real time revenue tracking. So especially when you’re doing split testing, it’s really cool to have clicky, which does real time revenue, so I can see exactly how much money is being made from doing a split test, which email is bringing in the most amount of money and then I can send off the winning email to the rest. So clicky is good. And then yeah, you just have to make sure that you’ve got either clicky or Google analytics revenue tracking set up on your thank you page.
Kira: For copywriter who are listening and maybe the tracking, this is all a little bit much for them but they want to learn about it, what do you recommend or what courses or training programs do you recommend for people who really want to understand how to do everything you just shared and provide more value for their clients?
Jason: I have a course at emailresponsewarrior.com but I mean, literally, you can just go to Google and search for a URL or a UTM code. And Google analytics they provide a tool where actually it will build the link for you. You just enter in what you want for each one like [chun 00:12:33] and source and then you just click a button and it puts it out for you. So those are two options right there.
And another thing, this is really good for if you’re writing a lot of emails for clients because it depends on your deal, like if you have a flat or commission-based or just strictly commission-based, this helps a lot for actually knowing what difference you’ve made versus relying on the client to say like, oh, it’s pretty good but not difference, whereas, you have this actually proof. One example is, I had a client say, what I just said, it’s like, “Yeah, it was pretty good, I don’t know how much difference you made, but you know, good job.” And I looked at the reports and said, “Yeah, we actually made over $200,000, and our agreement is 10%.” They were like, “All right.”
Rob: That sounds like a very good project.
Kira: Okay, so I want to back up again, and we were talking about your research and then sitting down with this housewife and really thinking through your email, do you use frameworks or certain frameworks as your go to when you sit down and you’re staring at that blank page?
Jason: I don’t. If I’ve used anything, it would be basically be the typical [ada 00:13:43]. But I just really focus on what I need to say to get the click. And depending on … If it’s at a fully promotion, depends on who you’re writing for. Like if I was promoting [inaudible 00:13:56] sales letter for this copywriting course, I would be definitely be selling the click. I won’t be focusing on selling the product. But some people, they are really good people, they have really good products but they’re not the greatest copywriters and sometimes you do have to do a little more selling in the email. So it kinds of depends on that. If it’s a series, obviously when agency towards the end of the email, that plays a factor in it. I find that typically, last second emails plain text works the best. Very simple, like you have get this or it goes away. But yeah [ada 00:14:30] is typically my go to, if anything, typically I’m just, what do I need to say to get the click.
Rob: So let’s talk about that. What is the difference between selling the click and selling the product? What does that look like in an email?
Jason: Okay, let me give you an example. So for revolution golf, I wrote an email that got the highest opens, the highest clicks, not the highest amount of sales because it was a low price product, but it was basically reach par fives into… That’s not a go to, is if I’m doing a really sure sell the click email, it’s sometimes the easiest thing to do is do a Gary Halbert if then. So I basically said, “if you want to reach par fives and two without changing your current swing, this could be the most important product you’ve ever seen. Click here to reach par fives and two.” And that’s basically 38 words or something like that in total. And it was like 166,000 open, 77,000 clicks.
Rob: And that takes you to a landing page where you are selling the product?
Jason: Right. And in this case, it would have done way better. Like I have a lot of people even including Scott Haines before he passed, reviewed this email, and they could not anything to it. And we all theorized why it didn’t do more sales, and was because the sales letter was more generic for a generic product. I found this hook buried in one bullet, that was the only way the landing page address there was just one bullet. And I told my client, we know we need to do a custom landing page for this hook. And they didn’t have the bandwidth to do it.
I think that’s another important factor is when you can have little control of the landing page as well and have a little more consistency from the email to the landing page you going to see a lot of higher conversions.
So that was a really short sell the click email versus I wrote in self defense for the last year, and here is another bonus is self defense is typically male, like 90% are more. And I was writing for my client’s biggest partner … I was writing the emails for my client and for their biggest partner for a big webinar and a sale, and I wrote a story about a woman, so obviously the owner, my client, and the partner was like, “What the heck are you doing? Our target is men.” And I said, “Yes, but all the men have wives, so trust me, you got to test this.”
And so basically, it’s a story about a woman who is really prepared it, used the image, a real image she that she actually had her gun in her pantyhose, and she send us a picture with her dress hiked up just a little bit and her handgun in pantyhose, it was an amazing picture. I put it at the top of the email kind of like a Gary Halbert grabber, and I told the story about how she was in a public parking lot, a home improvement store, it was daylight, she had a service dog and she had a husband that was a former state trooper, so she was highly trained. And she still got attacked from behind and she was able … This is just a summary, she was able to basically knock the man to the ground, bruise his throat, and break his knee cap. And he was screaming for the police.
Other than one urgency email, I wrote this before the urgency started, which is people say all kind of stuff about, oh, this email works great, or this is the way you should write emails and if you look, typically they start with urgency. That is just a side thing is that urgency plays a huge factor and kind of over rides things. It got the most clicks and the most sales out of all the emails before the urgency started. And it was a huge hit. And then my clients started using in Facebook ads, in content network, and it worked really well. And so basically, that’s an example where you’re using a really good story where you’re actually selling the product.
When I visioned, I was talking to that guy, that guy who is probably been in the service, is a redneck, he likes guns, he’s drinking beer, and I just was talking to him, hey, just because you love guns and you typically don’t do to places where there is no gun zones, you can’t be with your wife all the time. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t let her go out at night, a late night at ATM, you never know what’s going to happen, this is a crazy world. So that’s what I was talking.
So yeah, that email was basically me saying, you have to have this is you want to protect your wife.
Rob: So Jason, when you’re writing emails and you’ve identified that target customer, how much are you thinking about the psychological triggers that you need to pull or the human behaviors that you need to make happen? As you think through the process, what is that look like, what’s going on in your brain as you’re figuring out what needs to be said?
Jason: Big time, like the woman in the home improvement lot, it’s basically fear. Something that can happen to your wife. One good example of this is a PPC a paid traffic management company, they’ve been doing a paid Facebook ad for a webinar to get more clients. And that conversion people but they heard about me in the MECLAB stuff, so okay, we can’t really get any improvement on this, can you take a look at this. And based on my research, I felt that it’s the whole carrot versus the stick, what type of the person is the prospect.
And based on my research and my interviews, the first thing that I noticed was that the Facebook ad and the webinar opting page and the follow up emails to get them on the webinar and the webinar itself was all carrot based. And based on my research I said, “I don’t think that’s really the psychological trigger that’s going to get the biggest bank for the buck here, I think you going to see a big improvement if you test more stick-based strategy.” And so I told them to test the Facebook ad on how much they could lose.
And the one key question that I asked that got me some specific numbers is, Okay, so your target prospect give me an estimate of what you think they’re losing by not using your services, whether it’s running their PPC ads themselves or using one of your competitors, what would you say? And he gave me that number and I used that. And we did the first test on the Facebook Ad … And here’s another one, they only want to test the headline, and I said, no. That’s another thing you learn from MECLAB is that you don’t need to be testing this small little increments. It’s called a radical redesign, you test everything.
And so they wanted to just test the headline, and I said no, we’re not testing the headline because think about if we go fear-based in the headline and then the rest of it is carrot based, it’s not congruent. You got to test everything. And you can come back and test little things later on but if you get a 400% increase in click through rate or sales, then who cares who what did it, you can find that out later.
So they finally agreed to test everything, the headline, the body copy, and the called action in the ad, and boom, it was a 27% increase in click through rate. And I said, okay, now we’re going to take that and we’re going to apply it on the opting page, I told them what to say on the opting page. Then myself, I’m the one that redid all the emails, again fear-based, and then I went through the webinar again. And again this is important, if you just change all the emails, and the landing pages, and the webinar, and all the rest of the collaterals in congruent were inconsistent with that, you’re going to see a huge decrease in conversion.
So they let me change everything. I changed the emails, the opting page, and the webinar itself, and the follow up emails all to fear-based and it shot through the roof across the whole spectrum.
Kira: What are some other misconceptions that copywriters have about writing emails, especially new copywriters, where maybe we get really hooked on writing a certain style that we learned or achieving a certain length? We feel like it has to be long because people are paying us to write it, so we can’t write a short email because we’re getting paid, which doesn’t make sense. What else are we doing or have you seen new copywriters doing their emails that is incorrect?
Jason: I see a lot of copycats, they buy a course and so and so writes an email a certain way, and that’s all the way they’ll write. And they limit themselves. Like, well, so and so writes plain text emails and they make a lot of money, and I’m saying like how much money are they leaving on the table. So you can’t limit yourself and can’t blindly follow people because most people don’t have any data, so you don’t know how well they’re working.
Back to the whole data thing, a lot of people don’t really know the email that’s working the best, what type of email works the best. Another big problem is this whole, well, how much money did you make this month and did you make more? Okay, then great. But I’m just like, why would you … It’s the whole 80/20 principle. Why would you just throw a crap against the wall and not know what works the best, and keep doing everything even if it’s possible that only 20% of what you’re doing is bringing in the most amount of money. So again, just blindly copying people, not knowing what works the best and just limiting yourself.
Rob: I want to ask about a type of email that I’ve started seeing coming into my email box more and more, and that is the sales page as email. I’m seeing this a lot in financial emails especially. But it’s basically, instead of selling the click to the landing page, they’re actually throwing the whole landing page in the email and selling the product. What do you think about that approach and they’re segments that that works better in your experience?
Jason: I’ve seen that before, and again, I don’t know how well it works. So I won’t be able to comment on that, I think it’s possible it could work depending on the right list but that’s all I can say.
Again, it depends on the data because putting in an entire sales page in an email probably because the email is going to be so big it could land into a lot of spam folders, but it depends, if it gets through enough targeted people it might increase in sales. But you never know if they’re actually split testing that or they’re just like, let’s try it.
Kira: When you’re sitting down with a new client and you’re packaging a project, what are you thinking through to determine how many emails should go on a sequence during a launch period?
Jason: A lot.
Rob: That’s a really helpful number.
Jason: You basically got to sit down and plan it all out and you got to take into account … This is another thing I see people miss, is the follow up emails because you’re going to see a huge amount of increase in not only sales but click throughs and response to emails when you’re doing follow ups. So what I’m talking about is like you send it first out in the morning early and then later in the afternoon maybe you change the subject line and you leave the email as is, and you follow up to people that haven’t clicked through. So I always put that in my quote. Now you got your early bird bonus emails, you got your follow up once they sign up, and then you’ve got your launch emails, and then you’re follow up launch emails to people who don’t click or open, and then you got your customer emails, that’s another big thing that I think a lot of people miss.
So I try to tell my clients is that, hey, once the sale is done it’s not over, you want to reduce refunds, you want people to consume the product, you want them to be happy, you want to continue building a relationship, so I always factor that in that they need to have a customer stick sequence.
Rob: Jason, we like to ask people about money. And we know you’re sort of at the top of the game so you might be a bit of an outlier. But what does a typical project engagement look like to you from a financial standpoint? What are charging to engage with the customer and if you can break that down on a per email, that’s awesome. But I’m guessing that it varies quite a bit.
Jason: Yeah, I’m kind of out of per email game now, I don’t do that anymore. It’s more per project. Typically it’s a lot of times I’m doing $1,000 per hour, so typically I’ll do a one to three to five hour initial consultation. And then it’s either like, okay, this is awesome, we have the bandwidth, we have the manpower that can actually follow this, or holy crap, this is awesome, we need you to do it, so what can we do there.
And then, from there it’s typically a flat fee plus a percentage. And that kind of depends, if they’re like really in the game and they have a big [inaudible 00:27:14] and they can make X amount of dollars just by putting a one line email, sometimes it is a percentage over their average of their last three months.
I recently did this for a client and they were averaging 300,000 per launch, and I said, “Well, that’s 300,000 using myself that you’re still using from my last project.” So there is that. What we did came to an agreement was 10% of everything over 200,000.
So that’s typically a nice big flat fee and the flat fee is just always got to assume you’re going to screwed on the percentage, and I always insist on using a tracking either clicky or Google analytics or both and access to the data. If it’s a longterm, sometimes I’ve done like 10 to 15K per month plus. And here’s another thing, I found the sweet spot for percentages when it’s consistent and they have a big [inaudible 00:28:13] and lots of promotions is 5%. I found that 10% or anything higher than that, the contracts end some than later because as Gary Halbert says, our clients suck and it doesn’t matter how much money you’re making them, they write that check every and they’re just like, oh, man, what if I can just do this myself how much money we’d be saving yadi yadi yada.
So I found that my longest contracts have been at the 5%. And they’ve always been big clients with lots of promotion, so it’s worked out well as long as I have that descent flat rate.
Kira: And when you’re determining that flat rate, are you really just sitting down and estimating based on your experience how long this will take you for this project given the $1,000 per hour rate?
Jason: No, usually I send that $1,000 rate through the window. It depends on, do they do daily emails, are they setting an affiliate promo every single day, if they’re not, are they doing two promos a month? I just figure how much work it’s going to be and how much potential money I can make on that percentage.
Kira: What does your initial consultation look like, you mentioned it’s a couple of hours, but how are you position it and providing value in that, and then also extracting what you need to determine if it’s even a good fit for you?
Jason: Oh, yeah, I’m jut asking for all the data. I want access to the email service provider. I want see any data they have. I want to see their opting pages. I want to see their entire funnel … Again, and sometimes you have to educate them because a lot of people come to me and it’s just all about, “Fix our emails.” And I’m like, “Wow, it’s not just about your email.” So like what’s the frame that they’re coming in on. And it’s not the opting pages, like the paid traffic management company, you got to look at the paid traffic ads a lot of time to see what’s the psychological framework that they’re coming into your funnel, are you going to blindly generate crap leads? So I got to analyze all that. So that’s for the paid ads, opting page, if possible access to all the past emails, the entire funnel pages. I take that and we do the call and just for information on what they’ve being doing and the strategies that they’ve employed and what’s their main goals.
I’ve learned to get all the data before the call, but that’s it because if you talk to them too much, they kind of like take advantage, they want to get a lot of stuff done before the call. And my time I valuable, so I kind of insist now that, hey, just give me your data so I have it with me sitting here I front of me and we’ll look it over when we get on the call.
Kira: Got you. This is more of a personal question for me, I have been charging per email and I’ve raised that rate a bit, should I change to pa er project when it comes to email after you have been doing for a little bit or does that make more sense?
Jason: Are you just writing emails and that’s it?
Kira: Sometimes I’m also writing a sales page. Usually we’ll have the sales page write and then I’ll have the email write.
Jason: I mean, that’s just me, I don’t like the per email anymore. So yeah, I tend to think what’s the value of writing this email, it’s more about how much potential money it can make. So yeah, that’s basically my answer.
Rob: So Jason, if someone was to say that they want to be the next big Jason Henderson, they want to be the next email expert, starting from scratch, what would you recommend that they do? Other than maybe adding 11 inches to their height as I would need to do.
Jason: They should use bunny rabbits in their emails. Well, first of all I would recommend not become an “expert” as doctor [inaudible 00:31:57] MECLAB liked to say, there are really no email experts, there is only experienced email marketers and expert testers. Yeah, I would definitely recommend becoming a specialist. Even if you do write sales letters, I typically don’t, I can work with existing sales letters and change them up for different promotions, but it’s really not my specialty. But if you can specialize in email and become known for that, then I think you’re going to be able to make a lot more money and command higher fees.
But yeah, instead of becoming an expert, become an experienced email marketer, know the data, know what works best, and stand out from the crowd.
Kira: I love the idea about standing out, and yes, you have advantage in height but one of our previous guests [inaudible 00:32:46] mentioned that she stands out through her fashion and she wears a bun. And so I think we can all figure out how to standout. I’d like to know which conferences you typically attend, or you’ve attended in the past where you found the best clients?
Jason: This is back in the day, do you remember that [inaudible 00:33:05] seminar?
Rob: No, I’m not familiar with that one.
Jason: Yeah, he doesn’t do seminars anymore but that’s the ones that we went to the JKIC, Dan Kennedy events?
Jason: If you deal with more corporate clients, then MECLABS MarketingSherpa email every year in Vegas is huge for that. When I spoke I got a lot of people coming up to me and I’m just like that, I’m not really interested, I focus more on entrepreneurs and small businesses, not really the corporate crowd. Not to say that they’re not entrepreneurs and small businesses up the summit but it’s probably 80% more corporate.
So yeah, JKIC, I would say Brian Dices event, and Russell Branson’s event, those two probably.
Rob: Nice. Both of those guys are incredibly smart marketers.
Jason: Yeah. I haven’t been to Russell’s, but I have been to Brian Dice’s. I went with a few Halbert protégés, and we basically went into half of one session the whole time, and we were networking the whole time. So yeah, it’s really good for networking.
Rob: So you’ve mention that several times that we’ve been talking, the Halbert protégés, and you’ve been involved with a group of copywriters who all knew Gary personally. And so I’m curious about that group and your experience with them and I understand Scott Haines was one of those who recently passed away, and you’ve been doing some stuff with that, tell us about your experience with those guys, and what your doing with Scott’s stuff?
Jason: Sure. In 2009, it was probably my first big public product lanch. I was working with a copywriter who’s studied under Craig [inaudible 00:34:38] and helped him write his copywriting course Tony Flores, he was a simple writing system coach for John Carlton and there was a simple writing coach mastermind in San Francisco, and he was allowed to bring a guest, so he brought me. And when I got there Bond Halbert and Kevin Halbert, Gary Halbert’s sons were there. The first thing that John Carlton brought up to discuss in the mastermind was email. So they basically let me talk for half an hour. So Bond is very big data guy, I asked him myself, what would your dad do Gary Halbert if he came to you at the end of the month and you had been running three ads in three different newspapers, and he said, “Okay, how well did you do?” And you said, “I’m not really sure but I know we made more money than the last month.” And like what would he do? And he said, “My dad would fire me.”
So he’s really big on data knowing what works the best and doing more of what works the best and doing more of what works the and less of what doesn’t. So he really was attracted to my line of thinking and stuff, so we got to talking, and then he introduced me to Samuel [inaudible 00:35:40] which was Gary’s last protégé. Ghost wrote a lot of the sales letters his last year that he was here. And then Sammy introduced me Ahmed Suneja another Halbert protégé, and they had a skin care business and I wrote emails for them, I did the [inaudible 00:35:54] series and that worked really well.
And then I worked for Samuel Markowitz who within three months of working with Gary, Gary said he was one of the 10 best copywriters in the world, and I did some anxiety for him and I’ve recently worked on their health supplements launch.
And then the last person to meet was Scott. He’d just happened to be moving back to Vegas where I lived with my wife. We went out to dinner, and we both loved UFC. So I kind of became the email marketing go to guy for Halbert’s protégés Carlton, and all Halbert’s protégés come to me when they have a problem about email marketing because they understand that it’s about the right message to the right person and the right time, it’s not just writing great words.
Yeah, so Scott moved to Austin after me and my wife moved to Austin. And we were hanging out here, so basically the last four years I’ve probably hang out in person with Scott more than anybody. Both of us are introverts, so we just like ourselves or one or two people, we don’t like big crowds, stick to ourselves. This past Christmas, he went to Tulsa to be with his family and we had talked about what we were going to do when he got back and all that, and he had a massive stroke on Christmas morning at hos brother’s house. And about two and a half weeks later … I went up within 24 hours, I drove to Tulsa and I was at his bedside for about three weeks and then he finally passed away.
And what I’ve been doing at the request of the family, is just continue his legacy and going all stuff and getting testimonials. One thing I found that no one knew was that he was basically hoarding tons of home runs, like he had a course that was already selling … Not at the time, but before called, Shortcut copywriting secrets. And he had How to sales letters volume one, so about 9 or 10 or so huge home runs that he’d written.
But on his computer, I found tons and tons of home runs that not even Caleb and Sammy and Bond had seen including four controls that are three of them are still running today. One is a 14 year control, and I got in contact with his longest running client and he said he’s still can’t find any copywriter to beat Scott today. So pretty impressive.
So I’ve just been doing ad breakdowns on his best ads, contributing to the second version of his course. Guys Grieg [inaudible 00:38:15], John Carlton, Parris Lampropolous, David Deutch, and a lot of big names. So it’s been awesome to see the outpouring of support for Scott.
Kira: Where can we access those courses for Scott?
Jason: Yeah, I have a wait list right now, I’m still updating the course, it’s at shortcutcopywritingsecrests.com
Rob: And you’ve been sharing small pieces of what you’ve been working on, on your own Facebook group that you’ve done around shortcut copywriting secrets as well?
Kira: All right, Well, I’m going to shift gears a bit and ask you about the future, and we’ve had a couple of conversations in the club about the future of copywriting and whether or not robots will take all of our jobs. But I really want to hear from you based on your experience where you see opportunities for copywriters over the next few years?
Jason: I don’t see AI taking over our jobs. I’ve seen all the stuff that’s supposed to be like, oh, we’ll write all your emails for you, you just put in a couple of words, and it’s just crap.
Rob: Although, let’s be honest a lot of email marketing already is crap…
Jason: Yeah, it’s true.
Rob: So it’s not going to be a whole lot worse.
Jason: No. Guy that don’t really on that are going to stand out even more. I have one example, I had an email marketing student and he was a copywriter, there was another student that was struggling and it was kind of out of the scope of the coaching, and so the other copywriter I’m talking about say, “Hey, Jason, would you mind if I have some copy codes, would you mind if we kind of worked on … Helped him with his email a little bit more.” That’s outside of the scope of this coaching, I said, “Sure, feel free.” And so he did and the next call, this guy that got the help, he read his email and I likes, “Dude, what the hell is this crap?” I said, “This sounds nothing you, this is like robotic.” And what had happened was, the copy codes had used a “Template” and wasn’t personal, wasn’t conversational, sounded nothing like my copy club that was struggling. And I see the same thing with all this AI stuff.
So I’m not a big fun, I got asked to promote a recent launch for something like that and I didn’t want anything to do with it. So again, it’s all about standing out and being able to write the right email to the right person at the right time. Knowing the data, I don’t see it going to AI, I see people being able to do the research and say the right words to get the click or the sale of the email. I don’t like the AI.
Kira: One last question before we lap. I watched one of the testimonial videos of you and your client, and I was like in love with you and some one said that you hadn’t slept in three or four days, something like that.
Jason: Three days.
Kira: And i just remember thinking, oh my goodness, I need to stop complaining about just not sleeping for a couple of hours. So how do you handle this big launches like physically and how do you manage just the grind so that you’re not totally burnt out? If you do.
Jason: I’m not as hardcore as much. I think the longest is two days now not three. But I like to work out in the morning first thing no matter, even if I haven’t had a lot of sleep. I like to at least do some cardio, do some stretching, and I find that works the best. This [inaudible 00:41:33] does and the green juice, I forget the name of the company, but yeah, a lot of green juice. And I’ve been doing the [inaudible 00:41:41] fasting, and that’s worked really well as well.
So that’s how I’ve been managing, is working out first thing in the morning, taking naps … So instead of just focusing on, oh my gosh, I have so much crap I got to do, is taking that time even if it’s just half an hour to 45 minutes, might just feel so much better. I’m so much clearer … My wife is a good help too. I’ll send her an email like, okay, this is the next email, and she’ll send right back and say, where my husband, this is crap, you need to take a nap.
Jason: I’m being dead serious. So either say is like, I’m telling you, you got to write a book, or she’s like, where the hell is my husband, this is crap.
Kira: That’s great. Well, I appreciate now, I will feel better about my naps. I will feel much more confident as I take more naps. So we want to thank Jason, this is incredible. And I want to be like Big Jason when I grow up.
Rob: Yeah, me too. Where can we find you online Jason, if people are looking for you, want to connect with you, where the best places to locate you?
Jason: Facebook just search … I believe it’s Facebook.com/bigmarketing and then emailresponsewarrior.com.
Rob: Fantastic. Thank you so much for just the information that you’ve shared, your expertise, the generosity it’s incredible. Lot’s to learn here, thanks.
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