Fire your advertising agency

I met up with a friend of mine yesterday who runs a male dating company, and we talked about how he’s looking to outsource all of his advertising.

He keeps running all of his own ads, which takes up a lot of his time, and that’s why he’s been looking for someone to manage his advertising.

He already tried working with a few agencies and freelancers, and all of them just tanked his performance.

And it’s not like he was cheaping out – he doesn’t care about the price as long as it nets him a decent positive ROI, but he keeps running into people who promise him the moon but deliver crap.

It seems like everyone’s got the same problem…

On Tuesday, I spoke with a business owner who hired a well-known advertising agency who burned 10.000 € of his cash and generated 800 € of revenue.

That’s what … 0.08x ROAS? lol

I told both of them that if you want something done well – you need to do it yourself.

Especially when it comes to advertising and copywriting; the two money-making skills every business needs.

Outsiders don’t care enough for your business to try hard enough.

And hiring isn’t always the solution …

Because if you’re not skilled at both, you’re going to have a hard time figuring out if your candidates are full of shit or actually good.

I know that might sound weird coming from a guy who owns and runs a marketing agency …

But it’s the truth, and most business owners don’t want to accept it.

I’m not saying you need to go back to the basics and learn every little detail…

But it’s smart to hire mentors that can teach you the 80-20 of copywriting and advertising.

It’s how you can quickly pick up these two crucial skills and start moving the needle on your revenue.

Just this week, I started mentoring Nik, who owns a fitness company, and so far, I love it.

Sure, it’s a bit strange because it’s one thing to write copy, but it’s something completely different to explain how to write copy…

But it looks like I’m going to have plenty of time to practice because next week I start mentoring yet another business owner on the same thing.

I feel like I keep jumping from one thing to another, and like my work-week is pure chaos.

On top of all of my copy work, I’m now mentoring two businesses on copywriting, funnels, and sales…

I’ve got mixed feelings about it – on the one hand, I friggin’ love it, but I also want to have a simple schedule where I sit on my ass and write.

But that’s the lazy part of me talking…

Because I love challenges, and I’d be bored out of my mind if I didn’t have a little bit of chaos in my life.

The 6 types of leads

I was just going through some of my notes that I kept from the Agora Copy Camp and I noticed the chapter I wrote on leads.

I kind of just skipped over it because I thought for sure that I had already covered it in my daily newsletter, but when I went to look through my emails it was nowhere to be found.

So let’s jump into it now.

The lead and headline are the most important parts of your promo.

It’s what drives most of the conversions of any offer. That’s why it’s super important to practice this part the most.

If you’re a business (or a freelancer working for one) and you’ve got an offer that’s already kinda dying because it’s been running for a while … just changing the lead can revive the conversions.

Meaning you don’t have to write a completely new sales letter from scratch.

Which is pretty cool, and just goes to show how important the lead actually is.

But as with all things … The most important things are usually also the hardest to get right.

Especially because you can’t just “follow X steps” to create one.

But to make it a little bit easier to understand we can break them down a little bit.

First you need to know that there are only six types of leads.

They are:

1. Prediction (X is going to happen in Y time and you need to take action now)
2. Problem – Solution (If you’re dealing with X then Y can help you)
3. Secret / System (The secret X that solves Y)
4. Invitation (Join X happening on Y)
5. Story (Listen to what happened to X)
6. Offer (Save X on Y)

The easiest to write are “offer” leads.

(“Buy 2 Get 3,” “Everything 50% OFF,” etc.)

Those can work well on warm traffic, high awareness prospects or whenever you’re running Free + Shipping deals (Grab your free gardening book now!).

Since they’re the easiest, that’s what most beginners start with, and why they’re the most common in popular marketing.

A big step-up from there are emotional stories.

That’s where you share a story of a person that makes solving a problem as relatable as possible.

But whichever type you choose the lead needs to do at least one of these 3 things:

  • Empathize with the prospects.
  • Tap into their frustrations.
  • Validate their beliefs.

It doesn’t need to do all three … but the more you hit the better it will perform.

Those are what lets you speak ‘directly’ to a prospect and have them feel like you understand them.

In essence: the job of a lead is to tell people what they want to hear.

That’s not always easy … because it takes some ‘mind-reading’ to do it.

Mind-reading = research.

A good source of what’s working for the general public (which covers pretty much ALL prospects – even in the B2B world) are tabloids & pop magazines.

Just watch Elon Musk post memes on Twitter. 

Memes, tabloids, pop magazines … They’re an awesome source of topics, ideas, and you can use them to build templates for sales copy.

Even if you personally don’t read that just know that the average consumer is a 40-50 year-old working-class woman.

And guess what they like?

Gossip and soap operas.

And they’re not alone.

People are programmed to respond to that stuff. 

It’s how Russia manipulates US right-wing voters…

Or how the US democratic party enrages their base over everything Trump does.

It’s why we all want love, good relationships, and beauty…

Why we want more money, success, and fame in our lives.

You can’t get around that when you’re doing marketing.

If you want people to like your ads and want to pay attention then you need to approach them with a topic they want to listen to – and present it in an interesting way.

Getting clients/jobs

Another application landed in my inbox today, and … well … it’s not very impressive.

So I wanted to spend some time today talking about client-getting / job-landing strategies that actually work.

Most people assume that the only way to get a job/gig nowadays is to have a direct connection / get referred.

And in some ways, that’s true.

Especially because marketing is an unforgiving field, and if you don’t have any experience / skills, it makes things tricky.

I kinda avoided all of that by getting lucky when I successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign back in 2014.

A few days later, I started getting calls from other people looking to launch their campaigns, asking if I’d help them.

It slowly spiraled into a part-time gig where I was writing email campaigns for a well-known Slovenian copywriter…

And a few months later, a friend of mine introduced me to Matej, who gave me an incredible opportunity to learn and work at his DR company.

That’s where I learned most of my skills, so when I went back to freelancing, it was relatively easy to position myself as an authority by hosting webinars and sharing knowledge.

And that’s a great way of landing clients.

But obviously, when you’re just starting, you can’t do that…

So what I recommend you do is follow a piece of advice I learned from Justin Goff.

It actually involves cold mailing.

I know most people assume that it doesn’t work …

But it actually does if you do it the right way.

Before I get into that, let me tell you about the application I received today and why it’s so bad.

It’s the usual pitch … My name is XYZ, I’m looking for a job, I’ve got 100 years of experience in marketing, I studied this, I did that, I’m very motivated and hard-working, attached is my CV, can we jump on a call, blah blah blah.


But besides being boring, it puts me into a position where I need to do a lot of work to figure out if this person can actually deliver on what I need.

Instead, what you should do is provide value in the first email.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say I want to land a new gig for an ecommerce business.

I’d write a new cart abandonment sequence for them for free.

Then I’d tell them that if they like it to let me know because I’d love to write more stuff for them.

That completely changes the position they’re in.

Instead of trying to figure out if I’m good or full of shit, they can start running my emails and see how they perform.

And guess what?

If the emails work, they know I can make them more money than they’re going to pay me – which is exactly what any business is looking for.

The bottom line is that you need to show, not tell.

Don’t make it a hassle for employers to hire you – make their job as easy as possible, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting your foot in the door.

Most marketers are afraid of this

I had a funny exchange with a client of mine that I just recently finished a portfolio page for.

A while back he sold his 7-figure business and decided to start consulting.

He’s pretty good at what he does & delivers projects that net his clients $500k / year in extra revenue.

So when he said that he wants to have a “I’m available so get-in-touch” button on his portfolio page I immediately pushed back.

You can’t make $500k / year for clients, but then be constantly available for work.

It just doesn’t make sense.

If you deliver results like that then you’re constantly in demand.

So I suggested a soft middle ground – a “Book a call (average wait time 29 days)” button, but he was extremely skeptical.

He said: “but, I want good clients to contact me and not make it a huge hassle for them.”

Heh – I really, really understand where he’s coming from.

We all want to find a way to get good clients while turning away bad clients.

And there is a way to do it… But you need to first figure out one thing:

Are they excited to buy from / hire you?

If the answer is no … then they’re not highest-priority prospects.

But how can we judge ‘excitement’ as marketers?

Well, one way is to make prospects jump through hoops to get to you.

Like not including a contact on your portfolio page if you’re a highly sought-after professional.

If they’re willing to search / ask around to find a way to work with you – that’s a very good sign.

It’s not that useful when you’re running a store though … so the other way to do it is to try and make them commit instantly to whatever offer you’re making.

“Take it or leave it,” kind of thing, and see if they bite.

But you need to be careful when you’re doing that.

You can’t just start with that in the beginning of your copy… (except in offer type leads).

You need to massage people into it, which is the job of the Lead and the Body.

And only after readers already believe that they want what you have do you start the Close.

That’s when you start introducing scarcity & urgency to see if they bite.

There are two ways to do both:

Natural & manufactured.

Natural scarcity is when you’ve got six Aston Martin DBR1 cars and you absolutely can’t get ahold of more of them because they’re one of the rarest cars on the planet.

Manufactured is when you’re running a sale and the coupon is valid for 100 purchases in total even though you could make it valid for more.

Natural scarcity is ALWAYS better than manufactured scarcity.

But manufactured scarcity is ALWAYS better than nothing.

The same thing goes for urgency.

So how do you do it?

How do you add some scarcity and urgency into your copy?

Here’s one way:

First you acknowledge their wants:

I’d love for you to get the product…

Then mention scarcity:

But that’s probably not going to be possible…

Explain why:

Tons of people have been ordering in bulk and it’s caused havoc in our supply …

Then explain what this means for them:

So you likely see a “SOLD OUT” sign on the site, but if it’s not there then you’re extremely lucky to be able to purchase right NOW.

Stomp on their greed glands:

If you don’t see a “SOLD OUT” sign then don’t wait because restocking usually takes weeks.

Remind them that other people are willing to suck it up:

It’s crazy how people are willing to put up with our production problems, just goes to show how happy they are with the product.

Stomp on their greed glands some more:

Honestly, I think the limited supply is just creating even more demand, because it keeps going out of stock faster and faster.

And so on.

Scarcity and urgency are all about power plays.

Some people are desperate to get clients and are willing to accept anybody.

Others have too much demand and get to pick and choose who gets what.

Doesn’t matter which group you belong to, it’s always better to pretend you’re in the latter.

Would you rather eat at an empty restaurant in the middle of a busy street, or a jam-packed restaurant at the edge of town? 😉

“Common sense” marketing

Marketing is a hard niche to try and be an expert in.

Especially if you’re vocal about your beliefs and strategies because marketers are a ruthless bunch.

If you’re reading this then you probably know some stuff about marketing, so let me ask you a quick question:

When was the time you read someone’s opinion / advice online and just thought, “what an idiot”?

It happens way more often than most of us are willing to admit. Everyone has their own opinion on how things should be, and we’re quick to put down people who we disagree with.

Now that I got that out of the way …

Let me talk about what pissed me off today when I read a very popular post online talking about email marketing.

The author was whining about being micromanaged by their boss, and during their rant, they talked about their marketing strategy.

Here’s what they wrote:

I am the sole communications/social media person for a small company. I went to school in this field and have done it professionally in a few different spheres.

I always schedule our email campaigns spread out enough so that people aren’t getting bombarded (generally one per week at most). This is one of the most basic rules of comms and should be common sense even if you don’t have a degree in this.

Something about the way they matter-of-factly state that crap just rubs me the wrong way.

“Everyone” knows you should only be sending 1 campaign per week. I went to a comms school, so I should know.

Well … let me tell you something.

That’s not one of the most basic rules of comms.

It’s not even common sense.

It is, however, common bullshit.

One of the easiest ways to raise your email revenue is by simply sending campaigns more often.

Your goal should be to send out a daily newsletter with interesting stuff your readers want to read.

Hell, if you’ve got something important to tell your list, you should send more than one email per day – like during launches or big sale events.

People receive hundreds of emails each day, and if you’re not one of them – you don’t exist.

So don’t get bogged down by “common sense” marketing.

No one understands the market or knows what’s objectively always right.

Do your own thing and keep checking the results.

But in general – try to sell harder, push harder and close harder.

Most people are way too timid.