Clayton Makepeace On 1.5 Billion Dollars In Copywriting Wisdom

In today’s episode we talk to the $1.5 BILLION dollar copywriter – Clayton Makepeace. Clayton is an absolute legend in the industry and is now semi-retired, working with just one single client, yet he graciously came on the show to talk to us about how to write world-class copy that increases revenue every single time. This is a must-listen episode!

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Transcript

Jeremy Reeves: Hey everyone, this is Jeremy Reeves with another episode of a sales funnel mastery podcast and today I have on the line, one of the best living copywriters in the world right now, his name is Clayton Makepeace, and I will let him get into his you know, into his background and all that kind of stuff and who he has worked for, what kind of copy he writes, and all that kind of stuff, but let us just say this, he has made — he has up to 1.5 billion dollars in sales writing copy which blows me out of the water.

So Clayton, how are you buddy.

Clayton Makepeace: I am doing good. It is good to be here.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I am excited to have you.

So before we you know, we get into questions and all that kind of stuff, tell everybody a little bit you know, go into a little bit more detail about who you are, who you have worked for, some of the copy you have done and that kind of thing so they can get a good understanding of who they are listening to.

Clayton Makepeace: Sure, well, really quickly. I have been writing copy for 43 years, it is about to be 44. I started back in the 70s. I have written for the health industry as well as for financial. I started out in the financial industry and then people (inaudible 1:11.1) and said, hey, we want to start an alternative health newsletter, would you write a promo for it and I agreed reluctantly.

So we launch Health and Healing which was the world’s first alternative health newsletter. We sold 2 million subscriptions to that $29 newsletter.

Prior to that, I had taken two companies to over 100 million in sales (inaudible 1:42.4) we start from $300,000 a month in sales to $16 million a month in sales in 1 year.

Jeremy Reeves: Wow!

Clayton Makepeace: And then (inaudible 1:49.7) company from about $20 million a year in sales to $120 million and then I started freelancing again and did the Health and Healing thing for Phillips.

Then in the late 90s, I established relationship with Weiss Research and we turned safe money reported to the largest $98 investment newsletter in the world at that time and (inaudible 2:23.4) doing their acquisition program as well as their health style promotions. We just completed one selling high price investment advisory service.

The service went for $3,000 and we did 15 million dollars in 4 months on that promotion.

So it is a lot of fun, keeps you active that is for sure.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, definitely, definitely. So that kind of gives everybody a good background that you clearly know what you are talking about after that much you know, that experience and you know, it is a pretty impressive you know resume.

So I have a whole bunch of questions lined up for you and I could probably have you on the phone for the next like be in a week and a half straight, but we will kind of keep it within you know 45 minutes or so.

So I kind of — I have some questions some are for copywriting you know, just salesmanship and then the other ones are for basically, I think it is going to help really anybody in the service industry you know, get clients and then also make like maximize the money that they make with clients you know, themselves and for other clients.

So let us start with something of the copy questions. So my first one is and this is you know, I know that you could probably talk about this one for an entire day, but you know, when you are researching and you are one of the big things with copywriting and you know, writing any kind of package is the big idea you know, the hook.

So what is your process for finding that you know, because there is one big one for each and another is kind of like a couple of mini ones even throughout the packages, but do you have any kind of specific process that you go through with that or do you kind of just keep like researching until it you know, until it hits you or what are your thoughts on that.

Clayton Makepeace: Well, usually the hooks come fairly quickly to me. I do not have to — I almost never do research in order to come up with a hook.

I am looking for you know, what is a hook? What is the purpose of it? Right. Well it is something that is going to focus the mind on either the problem that the product solves or on the solution itself, right.

So if you are focusing the mind, let us say, in the financial area. You are focusing the mind on the problem well the problem might be an impending crash in the stock market. So that would be your lead. That is where you would be focusing on. You would be explaining why you know this is about to happen. How much people lost last time. How you know, bloody it is going to be this time that kind of thing and you would begin with that. That would be your hook.

If you have a product that has a really unique solution, then you might begin with that and that is basically the big promise headline.

We have — we are working at a promotion right now where the profit potential from these investments if you win is like winning a lottery. It is like you know, even that is $10,000, walk away with 10 million dollars. I mean it is just enormous, okay.

So, on something like that, you might want to lead with the actual benefit of the product. Also, quite often we will look at the product and I will say, what is a good metaphor and we are talking about the lead you know, how to get in, how to start the conversation.

So I will say, what is the good metaphor for what this product does. One of the products I am working on right now, look at it, okay, well this product is like having a rich uncle anytime I need money I just need to call him up and he will send a check or it is like having my own personal ATM or is like having a money tree in my backyard. Anytime I need a little extra money, I just go out and just pick it off of the tree or it could be — maybe it is like a slot machine that pays off every single time you pull the handle, right.

So I came up with a bunch of these metaphors that very quickly focus the mind on the benefit. Wow, could it really be that easy, right, and then it is just up to you to explain, yeah, it can be.

Here is how it works. Maybe it could be a story if you have one or it could be constructed or it could be (inaudible 7:05.7) from the news. Anything that your prospect is thinking about — he has feelings about. So he is worried about it. He is curious about it. He is fearful about it. He is excited about it. So somebody is reading about the elections right now for example that is dominating the news. How are they feeling about the elections. How are they feeling about the various candidates. How can you take what he has already thinking about and insert yourself into that conversation that he is having with himself.

So those are just some of the things that I look for when I am looking for a lead.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, nice. What if it say something like you know, because even in the — I do a lot of work in the like in a supplements base health, the health industry and some of the products that (inaudible 7:54.9) a lot of benefits.

So one example is like turmeric you know, it does not just do one thing, it is like it helps with your brain, it helps with you know, metabolism and fatigue and all different kind of things.

How do you — if it is something like that works not just like the one big benefit or one big problem that is kind of like mixed up you know, how do you take a look at things like that.

Clayton Makepeace: Well I have done a lot of supplement promotions as well. In fact, I have one — we mailed 90 million pieces of. It was for (inaudible 8:27.4) for health resources.

I have to say that, basically, you stopped looking at the product and you start looking at your market you know, if a particular substance lifts your mood and also prevents heart disease which do you think you should leave it. You know, you are going to leave with a health problem that is shared by the largest number of your people and that is also intense enough to make him want to take action to alleviate it and that is why you know, typically and I know there are some promotion now where brain supplements are starting to work and anti-aging to a lesser extent, but those things have never done as well as because you are talking about things that are not screaming, crying, problems that people have right now, right.

So they have never worked as well as the prostate cure, the heart cure, the blood pressure cure, the cancer cure you know, arthritis cure you know, the things have people are dealing with every single day. So I would look for the benefit that shared by the most people and is also intense enough to cause people to want immediate relief.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, got it. That makes a lot of sense. And so you know, speaking of you know, a lot of — I mean really, a lot of it comes down to or almost everything comes down to understanding who you are talking to you know, so I am sure you have some kind of process for doing the research, understanding the market, understanding the product that you are selling, all that kind of stuff.

Do you have like a structure way of doing that or you kind of just start you know, dig in somewhere and then see you know, where it leads you or is it something like you do this first then second you know, how do you —

Clayton Makepeace: I do not have to worry about that too much anymore because I am focusing on the financial market and so you know, I learned decades ago who these people are and I have got a pretty good handle on that. It has not changed much over the years, but for example, when I went in to the health market for the first time it was like 1990 and I was doing my first health promotion and I say, well I do not even know who these people are you know, there bunch of — (inaudible 10:48.7) you know, obsessed with their own health and so I did not share anything in common with those folks and so I went to the bookstore and I went to the aisle with all the books on various aspects of alternative health and I started looking at the chapter titles. The titles of the books and also the chapter titles and I figured out you know, which ones were the best sellers and so again, you know, the people I am going to be talking to are the people who made these the best sellers, right.

Then I went to the news rack and I looked at the alternative health magazine like prevention and others and all other world health magazine and I looked at the various covers that they had and you know, I knew from friends of mine that did work for (inaudible 11:48.6) had several covers for prevention magazine each time it went out and so they had years of research on what kinds of articles (inaudible 12:01.7) on the cover that sell the magazine.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay.

Clayton Makepeace: So you know, by looking at what — again, by looking at what my prospects are reading I got some really good cues as to who they were and what would get them and then also you can go to the Standard Rate and Data Service which is (inaudible 12:23.2) 30-pound book (inaudible 12:25.9) can get it all electronically, but Standard Rate and Data Service, you can look up all the competitors of your client. You can also look up your client and you can find out what the people bought in order to get his list.

Then finally, you go to your client you say, hey look, show me what has worked in the past. Show me what has not worked in the past. Show me the most effective or successful promotion in any of your competitors are using and show me some (inaudible 12:58.1) that they put out there.”

And all of that is — not just a cue to what is working, it is a clue to you know, who your market is and what will get their attention.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, got you. So at this point you know, you have your — you understand who you are talking to, you have the lead, you have the you know, the headline, the big idea all that kind of stuff so then you know, you kind of write the package.

How about the offers? That is an area that I found that a lot of people do not put enough attention on you know, and I have worked with — I worked with I mean everybody from you know, people kind of just starting to work with the 12-figure company right now. And a lot of — I have done a couple with like infomercial kind of products and when I worked with them, I noticed that like 80% of their thinking at least goes into exactly what the offer is going to be you know.

So when you are putting these packages together, how do you put an offer together including you know, the bonuses, the price point, even the names of the products, things like that.

Clayton Makepeace: There is a lot there. Mainly the products for example, we are not selling Campbell suits so we do not have to you know, naming strategies are very different in the retail space than they are in the directors (inaudible 14:14.3) because in the retail space, the whole idea to come up with the name that will stick in someone’s mind so the next time they are at the store maybe they will remember your product and buy it, right. Very tenuous. (inaudible 14:28.0) direct response (inaudible 14:29.1) very nervous with that kind of nebulous, tenuous connection, but that is what they are doing you know. They are just trying to get a name that will stick in your brain.

In our promotions, the name of the product quite often does not show up until 2/3 of the way through the promotion you know. We (inaudible 14:49.6) third of the promotion capturing the guys attention getting him to read. The next they are telling our story and the final (inaudible 14:57.2) presenting our solution which is a product.

So the name of the product is less important to us; however, whenever I may name a product I tried to get a benefit into the name and I try not to worry about it being too descriptive. For example, I am working on something right now, it is a service that helps you invest in small mining shares, right. A gold mining companies that are very small and the stock is cheap. They are called Junior Miners.

You know, somebody wanted to call it Junior Miner, (inaudible 15:39.0) something like that, right. Well that is descriptive, but there is no benefit there and also there is too much information. The word junior makes me think that maybe the service is not worth that much so you know, because I do not know if you are really — if junior is modifying miners or if you know, describing a service you know, it would be quite simple to just drop it and say, Mining Millionaire you know, we are gold mining millionaire. Now you got gold because you know that your market is extremely excited about gold. Mining which is descriptive. We are not you know, we are not buying bullion we are buying money shares and millionaire which is the benefit, right.

So I tend to look at it that way for (inaudible 16:31.3). The author needs to write — if you are a freelancer though your client has already spent hopefully hours and hours on author and comes to you with a product that is fairly well conceived and (inaudible 16:46.4) comfortable with based on their own testing and their own track record.

So that is usually good, but I always encouraged writers if you see something that you think can be improved, talk to your client about it because they love that. They feel like they are getting something extra other than just copywriting.

I just had a situation where they gave me a product per month and I said, I absolutely hate it and they said, well, we are going to do it anyway and I said, well, okay, and I just turned to one of my junior copywriters and I said good luck buddy you know, this is your project and then probably should say this, well, actually Clayton, we are hoping you would write it.

So I said okay, you know, I guess you know, if that will make you happy, I will write about it — tell you right upfront this really sucks.

And so the first thing I did was I changed the name of the service (inaudible 17:42.4) was I changed the focus of the service and the next thing I did was I changed the offer. It was the buy 3 years kit, 5 years offer. I changed the guarantee — basically, I did not have to promote the service that they told me to promote because I completely changed it into something that it was not (inaudible 18:01.4) to promote.

Jeremy Reeves: Nice.

Clayton Makepeace: So when you see opportunities like that, take them you know.

In terms of the author, basically you are just looking to create as much value as you can. We have a fairly standard template in the newsletter field. If you subscribe to 1 year, you will get 1 or 2 special reports and a premium. So you are connected with the subject matter at hand, and if you take 2 years, you will get 3 to 4 additional reports and the reports are given a value and so you know, the best offer you get you know, I just wrote 1 week at $700 in free gifts and discounts and so in terms of the price of those newsletters basically the industry will said the price for you because you are competing against other newsletters and so you know, you look around and you will say okay, well $29 seems to be what I am competing against. We can always have up or down from there, but that is kind of the industry standard.

With pricing for premium service products, the price is directly related to the profit potential of the advice that you are given. So if you are doing an income service where you basically promising them that you will double their yield and they will get 6% instead of 3%. You can charge $5,000 a year for that because unless they got a couple of million dollars that they are investing you are not generating that much money for them. So you know, your price is lower, but if you got option service or a warrant service that has (inaudible 19:40.7) you can demonstrate of 2%, 3%, 4000% per trade.

Now you are talking of service where you can charge a lot more money and the other variable course (inaudible 19:53.0) some of the service is we have to limit the number of people that can get in because of liquidity problems and so we you know, we will limit 500 or 1000 people, with that limit it is just (inaudible 20:08.9) to raise the price. So those are just some of the things that we look at in terms of offer.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, yeah, got you. So how about for buyers, it is kind of another you know, another area that I see — huge mistake that a lot of people make typically online you know, people they call themselves you know “online marketers” you know, they are all focus on getting the lead you know, getting the first customer then they kind of forget about the buyers which is obviously a giant mistake because that is where all the money is you know.

So what about buyers, you know, you write all these promotions to get people, I mean, you know, they are both first time buyers and then repeat buyer promotions, but do you have anything in place any specific examples that you can think of where it was a very structured approach like you had a package that was specifically meant just to get a first time buyer and get them in the door and then you had something that went on or hold sequence that went out to then get them you know, to kind of you know, opt in to the higher level packages.

Clayton Makepeace: You know, for some really good stuff on that you should talk to Todd Brown. I can give you his contact information.

Jeremy Reeves: Oh, yeah, (inaudible 21:18.4).

Clayton Makepeace: Okay, so Todd is really great on this but you talked about funnels and yeah we have — if you buy a product from us, let us say you come in as a lead and your response is something on Americas 10 best (inaudible 21:36.6) right. It is a special report, so you read the report and you opted in, you come to a squeeze page so we have your email address, but you do not buy anything okay, so you come on to our (inaudible 21:50.4) well there is a 7-week funnel process that you are about to go through as a new lead on our funnel.

The first week and it is really interesting because first we assumed that you are (inaudible 22:09.0) because you like the product that you are looking at, but you just did not buy it. So we come back to you with a better offer and then we try another product along those same lines and then we will try something wildly different.

And something else wildly different. Each week is a week long campaign where we — with a deadline because a deadline is the most powerful tool you got online to get people to act. So 1 week campaign aimed at moving you into one of these products. After 7 weeks you see that the totality of what we have available for you.

And there is a very good chance you will obey the purchase. If you come in having bought a product you will also get a funnel designed to introduce you to (inaudible 22:59.4) and introduce you to other products so we could basically cross sell you. You come in on a $29 newsletter, we can cross sell you to another $29 newsletter or we could push you all the way up to a $3,000 trading service, and it is amazing.

Some of these people come in for $29 and their next purchase is $3,000. Others come in at $29 and they will buy another $29 and another $29 for God knows how long so that is on the low end of the scale. It is a wide end of the funnel, right. The leads that come in and the first time buyers of low price product.

So funnels are the answer there and Todd is great because he automates and does all kinds of fancy stuff and he can be working with us on our stuffs too. The other thing is will you buy a high price service. It is a complete (inaudible 23:54.6) deal. If you just spent $3,000 with me I am not interested in selling you another product right now.

What I am interested to doing is making absolutely sure you do not exercise the money back guarantee because you know I sell 15 million dollars worth of products, half of those people cancel I am out 7 million dollars, 7.5 million. So you know, it is very important to me to get you to consume the service and to experience some winners and so the funnel there is not aimed at making a sale at all, but is aimed at getting you to participate to engage with the service, to consume it, and so very different kind of approach.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, definitely. I call that a personal coach campaign because you are kind of taking them through like you know, just getting them to use the product, get a result from it that kind of thing. I love it.

Clayton Makepeace: Exactly.

Jeremy Reeves: Alright. So how about — I have a feeling that we have similar thoughts on this, but what are your thoughts on writers block.

Clayton Makepeace: Yeah. I do not ever have it, I used to, but over the years I have developed an approach to writing so that before I ever have to sit down and do the hard work of actual writing I have something that approximates the rough draft, but I did not have to write you know.

So I go to the process of outlining you know, I will sit down — let us say you give me a product, right. And the first thing I need to do is read the product profile. Identify the benefits and any unique selling proposition. You know, a lot of our products will have benefits that are common with other products that hopefully some of them will also have unique benefits that no other product has so I am looking for that and then I asked myself several questions.

First question is what must my prospect believe in order for this product to become absolute mandatory for him to purchase. What must he believe in order to make this a mandatory purchase for him.

The second question (inaudible 26:13.6) identify 2 or 3 things maybe 3 or 4 things.

My next question is you know, what must I say to him or show him to make him believe those things without a shadow of doubt and that is my researcher question, right. You know, what chart do I need to show. What quote do I need from the famous person. What do I need to show him to absolutely nail down you know, that this is a mandatory purchase.

Then I got this Ryan Deiss we were on the phone the other day with my mastermind group and Ryan is a real cool guy. I love the way he thinks and he said, he likes to sit down and basically draw a word picture of his prospect before he uses the product and after he uses the product you know. Basically this is — and you can use it just like that in your copy you know.

In fact, I did it once with the (inaudible 27:18.9) product where I showed this guy reversing his own heart disease and canceling his appointment with the heart surgeon you know.

In picture 1, he is on the bed at (inaudible 27:30.9) and in picture 2, he is out dancing (inaudible 27:33.6) or something.

So you know, you have this before and after picture. How is this product going to change your prospects life. How is it going to bring value to his life. How is it going to change him as a person.

And then finally the final question I asked is what is he worried about, frustrated about, angry over, or excited about right. What are the things in his life that have him feeling these emotions. There are typically — what I am looking for here are topical things, news, things in the news you know, because this is how I am going to get his attention.

You know that old national anthem (inaudible 28:22.9) you know (inaudible 28:24.8) the word sex and then underneath it just said, now that I have your attention and then you know, it told you what was in the magazine. That is a very effective technique for what we are doing, not quite that blatant.

I am doing a campaign right now for example that has to do with credit spreads, right. What could be more boring than credit spreads, right.

So how did I start the engagement process. Well, I looked around and I said what is that everyone thinking about right now. What is everyone have their (inaudible 29:00.7) right now, the elections, you know. If you are republican, you hate other republicans because they vote for Cruz and you vote for Trump, you know.

If you are a democrat, you hate republicans and you hate other democrats that are supporting Hillary if you (inaudible 29:17.5) support.

So you know, everybody is up in arms over the elections and so that is all anyone is thinking about, it is all in the news.

So instead of starting my campaign talking about credit spreads, I started out by doing a survey and asking people to tell me who is going to win the election you know, who is going to win this nomination, who is going to win that nomination.

And then over time, and I said I will give you my prediction (inaudible 29:44.7) in the meantime I want (inaudible 29:46.7) from you. Like that is the conversation started that way but then later when my analyst said you know what he was predicting. His prediction was you know what, it does not matter because this thing which I named the golden red show, is credit spread is already determined that we are about to go through 4 years of hell in this country no matter who is president and so now is my transition into the product.

You know, that is how you use this topic (inaudible 30:23.7) to get their attention. Now that was a stretch usually you do not have to go through that much of a stretch but that is an example of a stretch.

So that is it, and I take those things and I create a strategy document and I create an outline for what I am going to write then I say, what is the (inaudible 30:44.3) do we need here in order to make this point and that because my research request.

And now I sit down ay my computer and I have got this completed outline with all of the facts and figures in it and it is time to start writing.

Jeremy Reeves: And you are already 80% done?

Clayton Makepeace: 80% done. You are right, you know. So now you just have to turn it into a conversation, simple, you know.

Jeremy Reeves: Nice, I love it, yeah. I actually — I like how you kind of laid it out like what do they have to believe you know and then how do you, you know, what do you have to say to have them believe that. I love that. I am going to start using that actually. That is good.

Alright, so moving into a little bit more of the business side of all this. I have a couple of things in here for people who are on the service side of thing, but then also you know, also clients who are hiring people like us you know, so what do you see — I am trying to figure how to say this, when you are — actually you know what, let us start with this one. When you are working with clients and they complained about people they are hiring you know, contract or service providers, copywriters, marketers, things like that, what are some of the things that they, that kind of you know, piss them you know, that pisses them off a little bit about people they are hiring you know, taking away the results and all that kind of stuff because that is you know, you kind of get the result or you do not. But you know, in terms of like the working relationship you know, what are some of the things that you see clients not particularly enjoying about working with copywriters. Does anything come into mind.

Clayton Makepeace: Yeah. A lot of things. I am a client you know, I have gone to a point where although I write copy every day, I also hire other writers every day and I have got a staff 3 in-house writers. We also hire freelancers.

So I see it all the time. I think the first you know, the first thing is, this is not my first — this is my first rodeo. So do not try blowing smoke at my ass you know. It is physically impossible if 3 grandmothers all die while you are in this process you know, or you know, 6 grandfathers to get hospitalized still you cannot make your deadlines. If you are struggling, if you need help ask for it. If you do not understand your assignment, if you have questions ask them you know. It is a sign of intelligence you know. It is a sign that you thought this through, you thought about it and you have some valid questions.

I am working with Eric Patel right now. Eric is a great writer. One of the top guys in health industry and every once in a while, he will work with me on a financial project. Eric is just, he is great that way you know, he is very intuitive, but there is no question he would not ask.

The other thing is you know, communicate, if you are going to blow a deadline, that is fine. You know, Gary (inaudible 33:54.9) once said to me you know, I hired him to do a project, but I asked him when I am going to expect the first draft and he says, Clayton, my man, he goes the heartbreak of a blown deadline, has quickly forgotten in the warm blow of the new control.

That is so true you know, but just do not be working on somebody else’s project and you know, we are doing — not working on my project and putting me off. At some point, I am going to give you a kill if he did not tell you (inaudible 34:30.1) call me again.

Another mistake that probably the most — 2 mistakes real quick and then we can move on. The first mistake in copy that I see all the time is just (inaudible 34:46.4) or a disconnect between the product or the problem that you are talking about and the solution that you are offering you know, this happens a lot in the financial field. It would happen a lot less in the health area, but in the financial field it happens a lot (inaudible 35:05.8) with some like the elections that their backend is all about something else and there is no connection whatsoever. There is no transition. There is no way that these 2 have halves of this puzzle fit together.

The other one is copywriters who will just simply make grand sweeping statements and expects the prospect to believe them you know, (inaudible 35:37.7) your prospect is not an idiot, she is your wife you know, and so you treat your prospect with respect. If you are going to make a statement as hard to believe, back it up. If you are going to make any kind of a statement that is key to them making the purchase, back it up you know, and respect their intelligence. Do not — you know, read it critically.

One of the hardest things for copywriter to do, you are in love with your copy, you just spent a month on it (inaudible 36:11.5) The hardest thing for you to do is to read it as a critique would, as a scenic you know, read it and say, oh, bullshit every other line you know, and ask yourself how can I make this absolutely believable.

Jeremy Reeves: I actually — sorry I cut you off. Really quick, I was listening to an interview, I think it was David Doidge, I might have that (inaudible 36:35.6).

Clayton Makepeace: We are having dinner with David tonight.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, so you could ask him if he said it. It was a couple of weeks ago, I think I forgot, I listened to all kinds of stuff. I think it was him though and he was talking about the amount of benefits to put in a package and he said, he was saying that sometimes you can have too many benefits because it dilutes the big promise that you are making you know, and I love that and he said a lot of people the mistake they make is saying you are going to get you know, A, B, C, D, E, F, G you know, all the way down to Z and then they do not back up each individual one with you know, with proof and he said that actually because you know, even like little — it kinds of adds up if they do not believe a tiny a little bit it is like okay you know, I will keep going, but then if you say 10 things and you are not backing up 10 things then they are like alright, this guy is bullshit you know.

Clayton Makepeace: Absolutely. Think of the situation where you have the one main benefit that you really focus on your entire package and then in one section of a copy you say, oh by the way you know, users have also recorded the following: Bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, right. But they are pushed way down. You do not have to believe those things in order to buy, right.

The whole reason to buy the product is that one major reason you have upfront.

Jeremy Reeves: I love it. So working with clients, I know you have always been huge on doing you know, (inaudible 38:03.7) deals, royalties, things like that you know. How do you go about structuring it with the client. I know in most of the area that you have worked with that is kind of you know, (inaudible 38:15.1) and all that. That is kind of like what they do you know, so they are used to that, but if you are going after somebody who they were not in that world like it was a new thing to them you know, how do you go about approaching them with (inaudible 38:28.8) hey, I am going to write this for you for X dollars, it will take you know whatever 8 weeks or whatever it is you know, how would you kind of position the pitch to get a royalty from it or some kind of (inaudible 38:40.3) deal you know, something beyond the one-time fee structure.

Clayton Makepeace: You know, Jay Abraham did this with the IcyHot. It is actually a little well — it depends on the kind of (inaudible 38:55.9) you are talking about. If you go to a work for Agora they already have a royalty program all set up. They know what their use (inaudible 39:02.6) you might be able to negotiate up a little bit if you have a super hot hand, and they really want you, but pretty much, they have a standard royalty rate you are going to pay.

When you go to somebody that is not used to paying royalty or does not used to hire any copywriters, then you can do what a friend of mine did once. He just simply said, look, I am going to give you two choices in terms of how to pay for this, you could cut me a check right now for $25,000 and I write this or you can cut me a check for $5,000 now and give me 10% of revenues, if it works, right.

So you know, most of these people are not that bright frankly and they are going to say, I am sorry but it is true, they just instinctively in a knee-jerk manner will go to the lower cost today. They will go to the $5,000 you know, but I had a project once where I had 10% revenues and for 30 days work I got paid 2 million dollars.

So you know, I mean it is a — and Jay Abraham made like 20 million on that IcyHot deal, you know. So you know, I like that idea of giving him a choice.

One time I even went so far if you you know, every once in a while maybe 5 or 6 times in a lifetime if you are lucky, you will come across this guy with a kick butt product who does not have the first clue about marketing and he knows he has got a great product and he just cannot figure out why nobody is buying it, and you can go to him and — you only do this if you are absolutely sure, but you can go to him and say, man I tell you the truth, I would pay you to (inaudible 41:08.2) and write this, but here is what I am going to do, I am going to write a promotion and I am not going to charge you a penny, but I want 10% or ask for 20% you know of the revenues and negotiate down from there.

So you know, either give him a choice or let him pick the one that is going to end up making you the most money because it is less money out of pocket for him upfront or I mean use that — I ended up with a 5 year client out of research publications by making that offer to Johnny Johnson back in the 70s. I said, you know, your (inaudible 41:45.2) I can really kill it, you know, and I tell you what, I am going to write a promotion for you, if you promise to mail it, test it, I will write a promotion for you and if it works, you pay me my normal upfront fee and my royalty, if it does not work, you pay me nothing and it is like a no brainer.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, definitely. I take it you know, if I was hiring someone and they said it to me. I think that is you know, I think you — kind of just have to look at that as you know, what would I you know, what would be a no brainer it is almost like putting together an offer just for a product but you are doing it a service you know.

Clayton Makepeace: Exactly, and think if you are talking to somebody, you put yourself in a client’s shoes. You talk to somebody and they show that kind of confidence you are going to want to hire him.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, definitely. Alright, so we are kind of coming up on time here. So let us do two really quick questions. This first one might take a minute or two and then the second one is a really quick one.

So the first one is, if you look back over your career you know, it is now spanning you know, whatever it was 46 years or whatever it was, if someone was you know, kind of in the beginning stage of that or you know whatever the stage of that and you were looking back over your career and there were like 2 or 3 big things that you know, held you back that you can help somebody to kind of not hit those road blocks you know, what would they be and let me know that — that question came out a little bit weird, let me know if that was clear.

Clayton Makepeace: Yeah, I think you are asking what would I ask if I was you know, —

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, exactly.

Clayton Makepeace: Well, the cool thing is you know, today, there is 9 million people out there well I would not overstate it, but today you have access (inaudible 43:37.8) good copy coaches, right. So back when I was getting started (inaudible 43:43.4) was my copy coach. I was brand new, he is a little older than me. He was already established and so I heard he was a good writer and I figured out who he was writing for and I subscribed to their publications and so I started getting all his great direct mail pieces and I would run you know, run at the mail box grab at one end and get my scissors out, I start cutting them out. I had a book for headlines. I had you know, I outlined a piece so — it was amazing how consistent his outlines were.

And I would look at the subheads, I look at every part of the author. I would memorize it. I never would steal anything but you are internalizing all of the stuff so the next time you write something is there. You get what he is doing right without doing anything verbatim.

So that was how we had to (inaudible 44:37.5) and then my buddy, Gary Halbert, came along, Dan Kennedy came along, AWAI came along and Gary Bencivenga with his Bencivenga bullets. All of these guys are there to help and so you know, you got to take advantage of this. This is like it is a gift from (inaudible 45:03.0) from heaven you know, that you got these writers who have done great things in their careers and they are willing to help you.

The questions that I would have had would have been pretty much the ones that you have asked me today. The ones about how do you connect with your market. How do you organize your promotions. How do you avoid writers (inaudible 45:29.4). How do you structure an offer you know, all of those things, and it is amazing when Mike Palmer came to visit a couple of weeks ago and we have drinks and Mike is a guy that wrote End of America for Stansberry. He sold 750,000 subscriptions after that one video sales letter and you know, just to talk to my — and we were just sharing, well, how do you do this, how do you do that and our approaches were so different, but I learned from him and I think he may have learned a little bit you know, from me. In fact, one time, Mike called me up and said, can I just come to your office and sit in front of your desk for 2 days. I just want to — I do not want to talk, I just want to watch you work and I said sure you know. So you know, he did that and like I said earlier, we have a dinner with David Doidge tonight, your friend (inaudible 46:31.9) to get his career started.

All of these people have slightly different approaches to how they do things (inaudible 46:39.6) will sit down and write 350 fascinations before he starts writing a copy you know, and you can learn from each of them. So you know, I guess what that boils down to his networking you know. Spent time with other writers. Go to the American Writers and Artists boot camp every year in October. You will meet 500 or 600 other writers there. Join a mastermind. I have got a mastermind group. We had a couple of group members and we all share secret Facebook page plus we have webinars every month.

So you are constantly (inaudible 47:16.0) each craft plus you can show your copy to other people, other copywriters give (inaudible 47:24.5) so you know, networking is very, very important. It is a gift that we have today and you take advantage of it.

Jeremy Reeves: Definitely. Fully agree. Absolutely. Alright, so the final question is and you can throw out as many as you want, one or twenty or you know, whatever kind of pops in your head, but what are some of your favorite copywriting or marketing books, because a lot of times you know, some of the best copywriting books are not you know actually copywriting books you know, so besides any of your own stuff obviously you know, because I have gone through them and they are just ridiculous (inaudible 47:59.1) amazing there, but you know, any kind of you know, normal books. What pops in your head as kind of must reads for people either learning copywriting or just marketing you know selling in general.

Clayton Makepeace: Well, you know, I kind of find I guess because I am an old guy you know, when I read modern day books, current day books, and copywriting, they seemed to me (inaudible 48:23.0) regurgitation of what Claude Hopkins wrote, what John Caples wrote, what David Ogilvy wrote, what (inaudible 48:33.5) wrote, what Eugene Schwartz wrote. Those are the guys — I was speaking last year at the boot camp for AWAI and American Writers and Artist and I asked a question, how many of you have read Tested Advertising Methods, and maybe 10% of the people in the room raised their hand. Now these are people who just spent thousands of dollars to go through a conference on copywriting and they had read the masters, you know, blows my freaking my mind. You can go to a library, get this book for free and read it and it is pure gold, right.

So again, Caples, Hopkins, Ogilvy, Eugene Schwartz anything by Mark Ford too, more modern day, Mark is absolute brilliant guy. Ready, Fire, Aim is awesome. He wrote copy logic with Mike Palmer, is also awesome.

So you know, that would be my advise you know, to go to those guys and read all of the masters first and then start building up what they already knew what 100 years ago, 50 years ago.

Jeremy Reeves: They figured it out a long time ago. I cannot even imagine what they could do if they were alive now with all the you know, split testing, so easy now and all that kind of stuff, it is just (inaudible 50:06.0) brilliant, but yeah, I totally agree. For anybody listening, if you know, they were a lot of things for (inaudible 50:12.3) so I will — I will put all of my favorite books which are basically the same ones into the show notes so you can go and I will have the links to all of them and all that kind of stuff so you do not have to worry about remembering all the different names. You just click on the link.

Well, hey, Clayton, I really appreciate you coming on. It was really fun for me. I was really looking forward to this interview as a copywriter myself. You are kind of a you know, you are one of the legends you know, so it was an honor having you on.

Before we hop off you know, what can people do to find out more about you, get in touch you know, wherever you want to — wherever you want to send them.

Clayton Makepeace: Well, you can contact American Writers and Artist Institute. You can go to their site, awaionline.com and poke around, looking for me. If you cannot find information on my mastermind group you can always send an email though to help you out.

Also, ask them about August, I am going to be doing an intensive, I think it is going to be in Denver and the point of this intensive is basically speed writing, I am known as one of the fastest copywriters out there and I am going to take for 3 days, I am going to take a group of 50 writers and we are going to — I am going to teach them my method for creating really great sales pages in a week or less. So check that out too.

Jeremy Reeves: Sounds fun. I am going to check that out myself actually.

Sounds good. It was — again, it was a pleasure having you off and we will talk to you soon.

Clayton Makepeace: Alright, take care. Thanks for having me.

Jeremy Reeves: Thanks.

2 Responses to Clayton Makepeace On 1.5 Billion Dollars In Copywriting Wisdom

  1. Donnie Bryant May 19, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    Amazing interview, Jeremy!

    I always love hearing from Clayton, and somehow he continues to blow me away with his insights and advice.

    I’ve stolen a couple of ideas to start using immediately.

    Thanks again!

    • Jeremy Reeves May 20, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

      No problem my man! It was a fun interview 😉

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