Here's an archive of blog posts I've shared since 1999, including articles, interviews, books, and news. Topics include marketing, digital marketing, copywriting, communications, and business.

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Forced Continuity: A Different Perspective -

Forced Continuity: A Different Perspective

April 23, 2008

Preamble: In response to some excellent rebuttals as well as countless comments I've received on my previous post, “The Real Sinister Side of Forced Continuity,” I believe some people are missing the point of my argument, and I want to clarify a few things.

I'm not a lawyer by any stretch. But as a copywriter and business owner, I do know the rules enough to know that there's a difference between “optional continuity,” “forced continuity,” and “hidden continuity.”

Optional continuity is self-explanatory. Forced continuity is a very common marketing practice (I'm not a fan of it, but I don't mind it).…

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The Real Sinister Side of Forced Continuity -

The Real Sinister Side of Forced Continuity

April 21, 2008

Rant warning: what follows may offend some people. But I wanted to throw in my three cents on the topic of “forced continuity,” which seems to be the subject of a lot of debate these days.

Several well-known marketers have made offers of late with forced continuity. What it means is, the intended product you want to buy can only be purchased when you buy another (often, a continuous subscription) billed to your account every month or so until you cancel.

Forced continuity is nothing new. (In direct marketing, they call these “Til Forbid” offers.) It's another type of offer, pure and simple.…

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writing, notes, pen

How I Broke Into Copywriting

April 4, 2008

My last post, where a disgruntled copywriter demanded “the truth” about creating wealth in copywriting, inspired copywriter Andrew Cavanagh to share the story of his beginnings on my forum:

“Here's how I made my first ‘money' in copywriting.”

Then one by one, other copywriters started adding their own. The responses were nothing short of amazing!

Many of the stories show that there's indeed hope. They also show that we were all struggling copywriters once, too. And we didn't all become overnight millionaires with million-dollar clients, as “Chuck,” the disillusioned copywriter, postulated.

I loved it so much that I posted my own story.…

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foot, shoe, sneaker

There's More to Tracking than Conversion

March 13, 2008

One of my coaching students recently asked me whether it's better to offer a free trial or a $1 limited time trial as an incentive to sign up for a paid newsletter subscription.

The answer involves the vital role of tracking and testing throughout your entire sales funnel.

Generally speaking, a free trial is likely to convert more visitors initially, but the $1 trial may be the better choice over the long term. Such generalizations have little place in business. The only way to determine the right answer for your business is to track and test the process from beginning to end.…

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Interviews With Copywriting Legends -

Interviews With Copywriting Legends

January 24, 2008

Recently, I held three rarely given teleseminars — a call with Gary Halbert, another with John Carlton, and a second follow-up call with Gary Halbert. These men are undeniably two of the world's most in-demand copywriters.

Each interview lasted for two hours for a total of six. Both Gary and John kept listeners riveted as they answered pressing questions from people like you and me about how to write effective copy that sells.

Listen online to these copywriting aces as they shoot the breeze and reveal some of their most prized tips. The recordings are available online, and the transcripts are included, too.…

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incredible hulk, superhero, green

Interview on In Search of Heroes

January 23, 2008

Ralph Zuranski: Hi, this is Ralph Zuranski. I'm on the phone with Michel Fortin. He's one of the leading copywriters in the world today. He is so successful in his writing that he's helped a number of the Internet marketers achieve $1 million dollar days in sales.

He has been at a number of the Internet conferences. Michel Fortin knows more about copywriting and testing copy than anybody that I've ever met.

I think that's one of the reasons why he's such a great teacher and also such a great copywriter. He tests every aspect of copywriting to find out what works.…

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nature, plant, tulips

Internet Marketer Hit By Car

January 5, 2008

I couldn't talk about this when I first learned about it, but now that it's public I wanted to pass the info along.

You may or may not know Julie Perry.

She's a very dear friend of mine, a well-known Internet marketer, and an entrepreneur. We constantly see each other at seminars and always have a great time. She's always laughing, fun to be with, and a great person.

If you can't picture her, to help you here's a photo of the both of us — you might have seen her at Internet marketing seminars, yourself:

She's known for her love of boats.…

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number, ad, yellow

Three Hot Trends to Watch Out For

December 30, 2007

Since the new year is right around the corner, bloggers and marketers alike are posting their predictions as if a psychics convention has come to town.

So in keeping with that tradition, I'd like to post a few of my own. But unlike those who post their predictions in point form, I won't make a specific list but rather share with you some of my thoughts.

(Near the end, however, this post will culminate in what I believe will be three major trends to watch out for and dive into, if you want to make some serious money in 2008 and beyond.)…

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How to Improve Your Email Open Rates -

How to Improve Your Email Open Rates

December 28, 2007

With spam incessantly inundating our inboxes and people's attention spans constantly shrinking, some have claimed that email marketing is on the way out.

I say “nonsense.”

In fact, it's because of those very reasons that email marketing is now stronger than ever before. I personally know of some marketers who have made literally millions of dollars with email marketing alone in recent weeks.

I'm talking about legitimate, law-compliant, optin email.

Remember, the most common use of the Internet is still email — not instant messenging, social networking, or browsing websites. It's often the very first thing people do when they log onto the web.…

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time, stopwatch, clock

Digital Scarcity: Does It Still Convert?

December 15, 2007

Scarcity is an effective tactic often used in copywriting to create a sense of urgency in an effort to convince the undecided reader to make a purchasing decision.

After all, people procrastinate, and they do for a variety of reasons. It's simply human nature. So the goal of applying scarcity is to prevent prospects from procrastinating.

As online consumers become wise to these direct-response copywriting tactics, one question often arises:

“What about digital product downloads, like ebooks and software? How can you create a sense of urgency for something that, in itself, is limitless or perceived as such?”

Here's how to use scarcity selling effectively with digital products:

Limit The Offer

Many people use this strategy ineffectively.…

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Strategic marketing consultant Michel Fortin