Black Bus Driver Reinvents Marketing and Prevents a Suicide While He's At It

Heartwarming.

Big lesson, too.

Here’s how a regular guy used the single most powerful persuasion technique to save a life.

And, like I always teach: he used persuasion to achieve a greater good.

Darnell Barton was driving his bus on a Buffalo highway.

A woman stood perched on the edge of the bridge.

Our world and her world were about to disconnect – 7 seconds and 400 feet from now.

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Here's How You Know Marketers Are Lying to You

Sometimes I get real annoyed.

Especially when I see people trying to befuddle honest people like you and me.

Here we are, trying to carve out a niche and make a nice living for ourselves.

We have a business, a plan, a strategy, and we’re working hard.

Along comes some supposed marketing guru, telling you:

“Stop, you’re doing it wrong.Forget everything you know, because everything has changed, and business has never been easier.

All you need is this here new product.

Buy this, and you won’t have to worry.

Sales will be automatic and the internet will be your cash machine.”

And then they start telling you all the things you can ignore.

Design? Doesn’t matter, just drive more traffic!

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This is Why Encyclopedia Salesmen Don't Sleep at Night

I walked into the living room and surveyed what, as of today, was my new home.

Desk will go by the window, big plant in that corner… this place was going to be fantastic once the movers bring my furniture.

 

The emtpy room echoed my steps as I turned and walked towards the kitchen.

And then I saw it, sitting on a shelf, all by itself.

Leather-bound, in its full 1,5 meter glory.

24 full-colour volumes of encyclopedia.

Untouched, unused.

Left behind by the previous tenants.

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Hype copy: Even More Devastating Than You Might Think

Yesterday I told you about hype copy, and what a filthy beast it is.

But hype copy (or aggressive marketing strategies in general) have a dark side beyond a lack of ethics.

See, if you sell based on hype and scare-tactics, you attract the wrong kind of customers.

When you use hype you prey on the weak.

That’s dirty, but it also means that you’ll get buyers who buy only because they are scared.

After all, hype is a mix of overblown claims (eww) and frantically pushing pinpoints (scaring people).

If you generate a sale with that, you may have closed, but you’ll also have a problem.

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Hype Copy? EWWW. What Kind of Girl Do You Think I Am?

Every now and then I get asked to write hard-hitting, high-persuasion copy.

And then they say: “Kind of similar to this one”.

When I click the provided link, I see a page that sells based only on hype.

Headlines that shout at me, overblown claims, hyperbole in every paragraph.

 

Obviously, that’s when I decline to take the job

No hype copy here. I’m just not that kind of girl.

See, there is nothing wrong with being persuasive.

Not if you really solve a problem.

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I Can't Help Myself – You Gotta See This

Most copywriters are more than happy to write a page for you and get paid for it.

Problem is, a page of copy is only part of the equation. There’s a lot that goes into the mix: SEO, strategy, funnels, traffic, followup, offer and price – that sort of thing.

That’s why I think – arrogantly, perhaps – that I’m not a bad choice if you want to grow your business, because I happen to be kind of good at that stuff.

As evidenced by the following testimonial that I received yesterday:

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The One Profession That Does Well No Matter What, and How You Can Benefit From It

 

It’s common knowledge in the world of marketing and sales that the last guy who needs to worry about his job is…

… the salesman.

The theory goes that there will always be a need for people who can sell something for others.

Makes sense, too.

And, it’s true.

Salespeople generally continue to do well, regardless of what an economy or an industry is doing.

For me, that’s good news: I’m a copywriter, which is just another word for ‘written-word salesman’.

But if you’re not ‘in sales’ – if you’re a coder, designer, artist, artisan, novelist or anything other than sales person – what do you do when sales are low?

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Tell Me If You've Heard This One: I Used to Be a Tailor

Not the kind that shortens trousers for your dry cleaner, either.

I’m what is called a bespoke tailor.

That means I used to create fully handmade suits, entirely made to individual measurements.

I used to be pretty good at it too: People used to call me an artist, and said things like ‘magnificent’ and ‘most comfortable ever’.

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Uh-Oh – Client About to Make a Fatal Mistake

Note: I was planning to do a copy review today, but I thought this would be fun and useful instead.

It’s an actual email that I just sent to a client, because he’s about to launch a company – making one mistake that can completely nullify his initial traffic investment.

He only hired me for copywriting and not consulting, but when I saw the mistake I just had to tell him, obviously. Glad I caught it, too.

Here goes:

Hi Clive,

Here is new copy, it’s down by about 100 words, I think. Let me know what you think.

Note: there’s a problem with the optin form from a UX point of view: if they are new, they don’t have an account yet so ‘sign in’ is the wrong cue to give.

It’s a good optin form and looks good, but it should read and look like the one in the attached doc.

Also – and this really is getting to turn into consulting, but you need to know this or it’s not going to work – you’re asking for an awful lot of info on the ‘create profile’ page.

Address, company, date of birth, language… That’s way too much.

Know that the highest conversion rates are when you ask only an email address and nothing else.

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Why You Don't Fix the Plane Once It's In the Air

Here’s a mistake many businesses make, especially startups.

They build a site, a product, prepare to generate traffic.

Build content strategies and set up list management software.

Sometimes I get called in to write copy at that point.

Very often, I have a hard time deciding whether or not to take the gig.

Because very often, there are big mistakes in their site, their funnel and their strategy.

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