How to Secretly Dominate Your Market

In this podcast, coach and speaker Ed Rush grilled me on copywriting, marketing, SEO, and positioning, and how to use these to secretly dominate your market.

Ed Rush’s EdTalks 83

On September 10, 2020, I appeared as a guest on Ed Rush’s EdTalks Live Videocast. Ed Rush is a consulting client, a good friend, and a former F-18 top gun fighter pilot and business advisor.

EdTalks Live! is a live, interactive, dialogue-style show. We talked about marketing, copywriting, selling, psychology, business, SEO, and more. It was only an hour but we had a live Q&A before the end.

Ed Rush live with special guest Michel Fortin

EdTalks Live! Episode 83 With Michel Fortin

Ed Rush: It’s not what you say. It’s what people hear. In other words, there is a way of communicating so that you can create ambiguity, confusion, and inaction, or there’s a way to communicate, to create clarity, certainty, and action.

On today’s show we’re going to talk about communicating. I’m going to interview a guy that I’ve followed and been impressed with for over 12 years now, who is now one of my secret behind the scenes guys helping me out in my business.

And we’re going to open up the doors on 20 plus years of marketing experience, going from offline to online and show you two or three things you can do right now to get more customers, more leads and have more fun.

Edtalks live is next.


Ed Rush: Hey, what’s up party people? My name’s Ed Rush. Five time Number one bestselling author, your host for the most positive place in the planet for insanely implementable ideas. We’re here every Tuesday and Thursday, 10 o’clock Pacific, one o’clock Eastern. And boy, do I have a great show planned for you today.

I’m going to bring in my friend Michael Fortin, who I’ll introduce in just a second. Simply put one of the smartest marketers I know, one of the most experienced marketers I know with multiple seven-figure promotions under his belt, we’re going to talk about marketing, copywriting and promotion.

What you need to know now in 2020, not what worked three years ago, but what’s working now and what’s working next before I do that Let me just tell you, jump in the chat on the right hand side, tell us who you are, where you’re from, what you do, join the community.

I know some of you watch, some of you watch the show, but haven’t said a lot, which is fine. You are welcome. You’re welcome to hang out in the shadows if you want to, but come out every once in a while and say hello, and you never know what’s going to happen. You may get a business associate. You might find a new client or customer right here in this community. It’s happened before.

And speaking of chat, let me jump in and say hello to some of our longtime friends.

What’s up Barry? Good to see you from, we were talking about the fires earlier this week, and now all of a sudden it’s cool. I woke, thermometer in the office, 73 degrees here. Same thing, how about that? Good to see you Barry. Wendell Buggs from Houston, Texas, what’s up my friend.

Good to see you as well. Jim Butts, Wendell I’m not even sure if they, if Houston still has a baseball team, do they still has a baseball team? It’s hard for me to keep track. Jim, what’s going on? Good to see you as well. Hi, Diana.

I sent an email out this morning, by the way, called the future bank. And if you didn’t get that email, go to hit the middle button that says weekly flight brief, and you’ll get signed up for all the weekly flight briefs.

What’s going on? Good to see you. He says, it’s not what you say. I actually read a book called: It’s not what you say to people hear, it’s by Frank Lutz, a big political commentator and it blew me away.

The idea that you could, have you ever had a conversation. You had a conversation with your spouse and you know what you said, but then you know what they heard? Well, sometimes that’s their fault, but sometimes that’s your fault. And we’re going to talk about that in today’s show.

Charles Good to see you. Can’t wait to see you in a couple of weeks in Denver for our mastermind. By the way, if you’re looking for a mastermind to join, email me [email protected]. I have two spots open for this year and this year’s group is amazing.

What’s going on, Anita, Good to see you as well. Hey, Gary, welcome to the show. Glad to have you as well. And everybody’s starting to say hello to everyone else.

Watch the future bank. I thought that was good. And I tell you I always watched my videos or not always, but most of the time I watch my videos. When they come out this morning, I woke up with my two-year-old this morning. So I was up at like six o’clock in the morning. And I said, I pulled it up on my phone.

I was sitting there on the couch, watching my YouTube video and my other daughter walked in and she’s 15. And she’s like, you watch your own videos in the morning. What is it? You just, like I said, I truly love to hear the sound of my own voice. So anyway, it wasn’t really that. I was just trying to make sure everything looked good. She’s like, well, you’re watching your videos all morning. I thought that was pretty funny.

All right. Good morning, everybody. Glad to have you. I am going to bring my man, Mr. Fortin. What’s up Michel, Michael Fortin how about you buddy?

Michel Fortin: I am good Ed. How about you?

Ed Rush: We’re just laughing. So normally I do this like long interview that I downloaded from some website, but this one, because we know each other from the heart. So the first thing I’ll tell you about Michel Fortin is I’ve known Michael Fortin for the last 12 years. It’s only for the last four months that I’ve known Michelle Fortin. Because what I realized is because he’s Canadian, right?

So he does a lot of work in America and in America, apparently we have an issue calling people who are named Michelle, Michelle. So everyone in America calls Michael, Michael. So when I get introduced to Michael 12 years ago, I knew him as Michael.

And then we were doing some work together and I read his email address and it said, M-I-C-H-E-L, I said dude, have I been calling you the wrong name? He said, do not worry about it, all the Americans always coming to Michael, but his real name is Michel, which as you know is a male name in the French parlance.

So that’s not even my introduction. I’m just telling you the mistake that I made about his name. There’s no A underneath over here on his name, but let me just tell you a little bit of the background.

So it was about 12 years ago, Mike, Michael, Michel…. (It was) Mike Capuzzi was the one who introduced me to you and told me about you. He said, you got to check this guy out. He’s got like the best copywriting blog online. And you had at the time a forum where the world’s leading copywriters, I’m talking about people like John Carlton, Gary Halbert people who are in the internet game, like John Reese, Armand Morin, Frank Kern, we’re congregating to share copywriting tips.

This wasn’t like some junior varsity situation. These are some of the best people in the world. And that’s when I first found out about, I didn’t know that you’ve been doing marketing copywriting before all those years.

And so I had an opportunity to follow you and to learn from you. And then just recently of this spring, we actually started doing some work together and full transparency.

And I tell you on the show, when this is true, Michael is one of the people that I pay for advice and implementation in my business. So some of the best sales letter, some of the best emails that you’ve seen have either been written or drastically improved by his brain.

He’s one of the smartest marketers I know. And he’s one of the guys that some of the best marketers in the world bring in through the back door to help them with their marketing and promotion.

So sometimes you see someone out there and you go, wow, his marketing is really good. Well sometimes there’s somebody behind the scenes that are really kind of choreographing and quarterbacking things. And so Michael Fortin, Michel Fortin, we can go both ways today welcome to the show, dude. I’m glad to have you.

Michel Fortin: Thank you. Should I called you at Edward?

Ed Rush: Yeah, no. I would tell people Ed, easiest name to remember, except in the South where they changed my name to Eyud, E-Y-U-D. So they’re the only people in the world that can make a two letter name into a two syllable name in the South. So welcome to the show, man. So tell us in the background, a little bit about your story, because you have an incredibly rich marketing history that you leverage on. So let’s start there.

Michel Fortin: Wow. Well, 30 years ago when I first started out, my very first job was in sales and I absolutely hated it. I despised it. In fact…

Ed Rush: You were doing phone sales or one-on-one sales.

Michel Fortin: Life insurance. I was selling life insurance. Yeah. The good old knocking on door type of process. And I hated it. I later found out that I had ADHD or have ADHD. And I found out that it was because of my ADHD, that I was very sensitive to rejection, which is kind of the reason why, but at the time I really wanted to fight this fear of rejection.

So I decided to go into sales and of course I failed miserably. And I decided one day, you know what, I’m just going to write a sales letter. I’m going to write a letter. I’m going to mail it out to people in my territory. They’re going to call me up and book an appointment. That way they don’t have to say no, they won’t reject me. I’m not going to get the door slammed in my face.

And I went from bankrupt because I was living on like 12 credit cards at the time to becoming the top salesperson in Canada for Prudential insurance. And that was because…

Ed Rush: Because of the sales letter.

Michel Fortin: It was because of a sales letter. And it didn’t click that time. And what happened was when I decided to change jobs later on, I decided to go into another job that involved selling. I decided to use that like, hey, it was, and it worked still. And again and again, and I thought, Hmm, there’s something that is copywriting thing, I think. And so,

And here I am today because it was a domino effect.

One thing led to another where one client hired me to do the same thing that I did for the other client. Then promotions, writing ads. I wrote infomercial scripts that run late at night.

One of the top people that I’ve listened to and learned a lot about that back then was a Dan Kennedy. And so that kind of inspired me. And then one thing led to another, to the point where I became very well known amongst internet marketers. And I am who I am today.

Ed Rush: The late, not late Dan Kennedy, as I like to call him. And then he made this miraculous comeback and he’s alive. And now everyone thinks it was a marketing trick, which sounds like something Dan would do.

But it is interesting the sales letter thing, because you were on the cutting edge. I think of, it used to be, it used to be in neighborhoods that people went door to door just to say hello to their neighbors, you know, and they would bring pies and stop in and visit for a while. And then we stopped doing that, but we still kept sending salespeople out to do something that had changed, you know.

And so that move for you from that idea of going to someone’s door, to writing a letter that they could read in the comfort of their home and respond the way they wanted to, to internet marketing.

I mean, you’ve essentially been following the movement of marketing for all the years that you’ve been working in marketing. So let’s start with that.

What are some themes let’s start with what works like from knocking on doors, one-on-one all the way to writing you know, some of the best Facebook ads, what’s the same? What do you see that works every single time you put it into the marketplace?

Michel Fortin: Let me give you a bit of a history and it’ll answer that question for you. So what happened was when I first started writing sales letters for clients, it became, it went to the point where clients were asking me to put the sales that are on their websites. And I knew how to code. I knew HTML. I was doing web. And this is back in the days where websites were very, very rudimentary.

But what happened was, if I wrote sales letters for a client who would, they would take it and put it on their websites, it often didn’t look like I wanted it to.

You said something at the very beginning of our discussion today, you said, it’s not what you say is how people hear. And it’s very similar in the sense that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. And in the case of a sales letter, the way it reads, I mean, top copywriters in the world have all said that the design of a sales letter, the way it flows, the way it draws the eyes in what we eye gravity is critical.

And so what happened was, especially back then when I was writing sales letters, that I knew that I was going to get in hot water, if it didn’t convert.

So I said, look, you know what, I’ll format it for. You. I’ll tell you how to do it. So I was wireframing. I was showing them what I wanted in terms of pictures and placements and headlines and the way the headlines looked and different colors and all that stuff.

So that really helped me become really about, 20 years ago, the internet marketers type of copywriter, where I was doing a lot of copy for internet marketers, because I also had a hand in the way it was designed, the way it was read. And that has never changed.

I think that you look at a lot of the top sales letters like Gary Halbert, when he talks about how you used to write sales letters, he would talk about putting a penny on the sales letter or a pen. He calls them eye grabbers. Well, it’s the same thing with websites, but the difference is the way things are positioned on the page.

So in my case, when I write copy, I don’t just write content. There are a lot of copywriters who will just write text. I tend to write it where I want it to be read as if you were saying it, as if you were in a sales presentation, one-on-one, belly to belly, as they say, and that’s why bolding, italicizing, underlining those things are critical because everything you do to a page when you read it adds emphasis to some keywords that are critical.

And I’ll finish with this. Like for example, if you take a text I didn’t say he stole the cookie and I would emphasize each word of that. I would literally create two, four, six different meanings. I didn’t say he stole a cookie, or I didn’t say he stole a cookie. I didn’t say he stole the cookie. I didn’t say he stole the cookie or I didn’t say he stole the cookie. Every one of those means something different.

Well, when you put copy on a webpage or on a sales letter, whatever the case is, the way you structure your content, and the way it’s read will give different meanings. Even at a very unconscious level, it’s called the metamessage, the message behind the message and the metamessage is so much more powerful than just the message itself.

So that is pretty much what has not changed. It’s just different mediums right now. So it’s all about persuasion and influence, right?

Ed Rush: It’s interesting that the way that you just said that, and I’m thinking about certain elements of sales copy. So for example, one of the phrases that I truly hate that’s used all across marketing is people say, if you’re not satisfied, you can return your item for a refund and I’d tell people, why would you say not satisfied?

Why would you embed a picture in someone’s head of them being not satisfied? And so what I gave them was just a different phrase, which is if you’re not totally blown away, because I don’t want them to imagine satisfaction.

Nobody cares about satisfaction except for Mick Jagger at times. But what they, what people really want is that other picture.

So even little things like that, it’s interesting how you said that and how important those words can be. You and I both do the same thing with our sales letters, by the way we were talking about this one day, we almost did it on the exact same day, where, when we’re about done with the sales letter, we both print the thing out, walk around the office and read it out loud.

And I’ll tell you, as you’re watching this, it’ll blow your mind how different your letter sounds or your email sounds or your promotion sounds or your content sounds when you read it out loud, you’ll stumble over things you didn’t even realize you put what twice in the sentence, or you’ll say things that doesn’t make any sense. I should say it this way, and you begin to emphasize things or pull things out. So I think that’s really interesting.

Michel Fortin: And you know why whenever I went into sales, when I drove it to sales, I totally immersed myself into “how to sell”. I’ve bought tapes. And I mean, back then it was Nightingale Conant. If you remember that. I bought tapes from Tony Alessandra, Brian Tracy, Tom… Tom Hopkins. Exactly. And so I bought all these tapes. I learned how to sell it.

Ed Rush: Shouldn’t I, shouldn’t you, didn’t I, wouldn’t I, wouldn’t you. That’s Tom Hopkins [laughter]. Sorry, go ahead.

Michel Fortin: That’s good. But the point though is I learned how to sell and I even though I hated knocking on doors, put me in the door, which is in the case, when I wrote the sales letter, they would call me for an appointment. They were already presold. Put me in front of a person face to face, I’ll be able to close them. But before getting to that point, that’s where I had a big fear.

So to me, writing a sales letter, I didn’t even know how to write a sales letter. So all I did is, was I did my pitch that I had in my mind, if I was in front of a person on a piece of paper that I would mail out and of course it made me who I am today. So the point though is, I didn’t write to impress academics. I didn’t write to impress grammarians. I wrote to impress my clients.

And so conversational is very important, the tone, and as if you were belly to belly, the same thing in a sales letter, and it’s something that all the top copywriters Gary Halbert talk about. If you’re writing a sales letter right it one-to-one, don’t write it and don’t use the capital WE, we are here to serve you. Just speak as if you’re one to one.

Ed Rush: Speaking the second person singular, right. To the person you’re talking to. You said grammar. So when I got on the Marine Corps, I started this business as you know teaching people how to be fighter pilots. I wrote this long sales letter, just basically me talking to a 21-year-old kid about getting into the service essentially was that sales there.

And I was talking to a buddy of mine, like a year and a half later, the guy was in the Marine Corps still at the time. And I thought, Hey, what do you think about the site?

And he said to me, he said, well, I think the biggest issue most people have with your website is all of the grammar and the spelling errors. And I was like, Oh, man, that hurt for a second. And then I said, I said, did you know that website’s making like $12,000 a month? And he’s like, really tell me how can you do this?

Like all of a sudden, his demeanor changed from grammar and spelling to like, Hey, can you teach me how to spell bad so that people can, you know, the point is like to have bad spelling, but the real point is like, when you and I talked, like we transcribed this interview right now, you would see awful grammar inserted by a bunch of ums and uhhs and pauses and sentences that started, but then changed into a different sentence.

And that’s normal when two people talk to each other and sometimes copywriters spend so much time trying to create war and peace.

Well, when your job is to speak directly to the person you’re talking to about the thing that they desperately want and then deliver that to them. I mean, it’s actually not even that hard, but it’s so interesting that process that you said, I just sat down with whoever I was going to talk about it and I would just talk to them, but I put it in writing, you know, so I love that.

So let me do this real quick. I just want to welcome, a whole bunch of you just joined us.

My name is Ed Rush. I’m here with my good friend and actually one of my go to marketing gurus, Michel Fortin from the great North, the great white North, as it were, we’re talking about how to secretly dominate your market. We’re talking really about copywriting right now. And we went through a little bit of history of direct marketing, if you will. And what’s always worked, what’s changed.

I mean, you were one of the first guys like back in the John Reese, Armand Morin, Frank Kern days, like I’m talking like wild, wild West is when I got into internet marketing too, back in 2006, 2007, like back in the day, back when people were doing million dollar, multimillion dollar product launches, like that.

There were a lot of old time marketers, Kennedy and Halbert and people like that who were saying, look, there’s no such thing as internet marketing, it’s just marketing that’s done on the internet. And while they had a point about the principles, a lot changed, a lot changed.

The attention span changed, the way people consume things changed, the medium changed, the way that people move through the sales copy chains. So we talk about some of the things that stay the same. What changed when you saw that revolution going from paper into digital ones and zeros, what did you see changed that made the biggest difference for the people that took advantage of it?

Michel Fortin: Well, thank you for asking me that question because that’s something that’s near and dear to my heart. I wrote a manifesto in 2004, right after the John Reese million-dollar day, that kind of made me become known as the “Roger Bannister” of online copy.

Ed Rush: That’s good, man. I should have used that in my introduction of you, Roger Bannister of online copy.

Michel Fortin: Yeah. Oh, because after that day it was, that record was broken so many times just like Roger Banister, Frank Kern did his million-dollar days and tons of other guys.

Ed Rush: But I think I personally, I think it’s six. I tried counting it the other day and I think I missed one, but I think I did six seven-figure promotions in the course of like four years, same model, same model. Jeff Walker’s [product launch] model.

Michel Fortin: Yeah, exactly, exactly. And the reason why I wrote that manifesto was a couple of reasons at that time. See, I had been on the internet since I was a kid, since I was 11 years old, I was on Bulletin board services doing dungeons and dragons on a text-line browser on a 300 baud modem.

Ed Rush: Connecting with a prodigy, plug into the wall modem.

Michel Fortin: Yeah. And my browser was loaded up with cassette tapes.

Ed Rush: That’s an early adopter.

Michel Fortin: The point though is, and here’s the way I explain it. In back in 200 years ago, sales letters, you know, people would write letters to each other to persuade, to influence, the battle of Gettysburg was written down, all those things. The medium was written. And then we would read a letter in a certain way.

When radio came along, then we would hear it. So it would be the same thing, but people would talk about it and you can hear it. And you can actually add different, like different inflections. And the thing that I just talked about in terms of how you say it.

Then TV came along. So now it was the eyes at the same time with the hearing or the auditive. And then when the internet came along, we have an extra thing it’s called the mouse. So it becomes tactile.

So you went from written where you read to hearing, to seeing, and now it’s touching, scrolling, clicking, browsing, actually being dynamically involved in the sales process.

So what has changed? The basis of it has never changed. Human psychology and persuasion have been around since time immemorial. But what happens is the way we consume that information, the way we read a sales letter, the way we go through the process of taking action, whether it’s on a website, whether it’s in an email or on social media, is now different.

You don’t have to have these long sales letters, although sometimes it does. And it really depends on the audience and on the process. But you know what?

People now have funnels where they really have a entire sales that are broken down into bite sized chunks that are spoonfed back to them in terms of email campaigns and drip campaigns, in terms of different messages they see on social media, in terms of people who are being retargeted and remarketed with social media ads.

And then once they hit the website, now you have, you can create landing pages that meet specific criteria, different types of audiences, different types of psychographics, and also different levels of stages of awareness of the market.

And I’ll end with this. There’s Eugene Schwartz in his book, Breakthrough Advertising calls this the levels of sophistication. I call it the stages of awareness. And I use an acronym called oath.

How prepared is your market to take an oath? Are they oblivious about the problem? Are they apathetic about it? Are they thinking about doing something about their problem or are they hurting? And they want to have it solved now? O-A-T-H.

And the more oblivious they are about the problem, then you’re going to have to have either a long sales letter or different steps in the process to educate them on why they do have a problem.

If they’re empathetic, now they know about the problem, but they just don’t really care. So now you’ve got to create fear. You got to create an understanding of what happens if you don’t take action.

And then of course thinking, they’re looking around, they’re shopping, they’re looking at alternatives. They’re thinking about the price. What’s the value behind this? And of course, hurting is the one that every marketer would want to have a market in is people who just buy the product without even thinking. Go ahead.

Ed Rush: Keep going.

Michel Fortin: And so my point is, taking the person from the O to the H could involve either a very quick one sales letter, or it could be various steps. I’ve worked with enterprise level, yeah, enterprise level firms that had a long sales cycles.

We’re talking engineering equipment that would take two or three years before they would buy. And that’s a long sales process. And that would not take a very small sales letter. It would, of course take a lot of different steps, business tech people, and email, a nurturing and all that stuff.

So my point though is, and I’ll ended with this, is the process of how we deliver the information or the process and how people consume the information has changed. So we need to, when we write a sales letter or we write copy or write content, we have to think about when that person reads that piece, what are they thinking about, what’s their state of mind, what are the distractions in the environment?

Are they reading it on a cell phone, in the middle of a commute to work? Are they also in the process of shopping around, because right now, when you have a sales letter in front of you, you have a chance to make a sale, but when you’re online, now you’ve got the entire world as your competitors in a single browser tab.

So you have to look at all those things that can make people take action, but maybe not necessarily in a single click, it might be over a period.

Ed Rush: Yeah, that’s interesting, man. I love this idea, by the way, I’d love someone to write this into chat. It’s O-A-T-H, oblivious, apathetic, thinking about it or hurting. O-A-T-H.

And there’s a great question in chat that I’m going to get to in just a moment. Michel, I’m going to actually ask you to answer it, but I want to this, I like this.

I like this framework. And I’ll tell you what I’ve been teaching entrepreneurs is, I call it a one sale environment or a two-sale environment. I’ll explain what I mean. When I go speak to entrepreneurs I have a product on productivity called 21 day time, freedom.

So often I’ll go speak to a group of entrepreneurs. And at the end of my talk, I’m going to offer them my productivity course. That’s what I call a two-sale environment.

In other words, no entrepreneurs walking into that event going, man, if I could get my hands on a productivity product today, it would change my life, nobody think that in the morning right? And so my talk is designed to get them to realize they could be more productive, get them to realize that they could achieve more if they were more productive and to get them to realize that they need something to help them get more productive, that’s sale number one.

Then the second sale is I’m the guy to help you with that. So the first sale is I need this now or I want this. And the second sale is Ed’s the guy to help me, right? That’s a two-sale environment. There’s nothing wrong with the two sale environment. It just means that you have to create this desire. Then you need to fill the desire with your product or your service.

A one sale environment is this. Someone just gets diagnosed with diabetes and they go online. And they’re like, what do I do? I don’t want to take any medication. I want a natural remedy from diabetes symptoms. And they’re typing in natural remedy for diabetes.

And what Michel said was very important, which is this is a hurting, but very active. I think the comment said, Alex I wrote this on chat. Dynamically involved in the sales process. This is dynamically involved in the sales process. And this is an active person. This first sale has already happened. They know they need something. The only second sale is, I’m the one that help you with that.

So I think what he just said is brilliant. That doesn’t mean that you may not work or target oblivious people. Ideally, you’re going to go directly for the people who want you, because then you can make one sale. But just understand if you’re in this two sale environment, step one is to create the need or want for what you provide. And step two is to sell them on that.

So I’m going to get to some chat questions, anything on that before we move on?

Michel Fortin: Well, I think it comes back. It’s a great point that you’re making. It comes back to something that Robert Collier said in The Robert Collier Letter Book, one of the most well-read books on copywriting. He says, you need to enter the conversation that’s already going on in people’s minds.

Ed Rush: That’s right.

Michel Fortin: So when you write you write copy and or any kind of sales process, you get the person to go through on the internet, whether it’s through a social media, whether it’s a funnel, whether it’s a video on YouTube, you need to be entering the conversation that’s already going on. And that conversation may be at any one of those stages. You just need to be aware of it.

And I think the most critical thing that you need to do in all kinds of marketing, including copywriting, is to know your market. Do your market research, the more you know about your market, the better your copy is going to convert. That’s the best thing I can say.

Ed Rush: Yeah. I mean, that’s why I think, I don’t know how to say this. I feel like, so most of the great copywriters I know, not all of them, most of them have massive substance abuse issues.

And I feel like part of the reason for that is the best copywriters are so deeply empathetic that they actually feel, they feel what their market feels. And if you’re not able to deal with that, maturely, it ends up in drug or alcohol addiction basically is the way that I look at it.

So, I mean, I’m telling you, you can count on running to fingers and toes to count the number of great copywriters who had those. But I feel like it’s this empathy thing. So I guess my encouragement to you, as you’re watching the show is develop deep empathy for your market without the drugs.

Michel Fortin: I gave a seminar once with Brian Keith Voiles, who is a very well-known copywriter, he was actually the author of a book called Ad Magic. He said during the seminar, something that struck me, he says, when you write copy, write it knowing that you are now a blessing in that person’s life at that moment. That your product, your offer is a blessing in that person’s life. And that’s kind of the epitome of, and Brian is also a very sensitive person.

I think that’s, you say substance abuse. I love my coffee, so thank you. But I do believe that we are sensitive people and we are empathetic, and it’s very crucial to connect with the person that you understand their problem, their plight.

Ed Rush: I mean, I did an event once and there was a woman who sitting in the back row. I didn’t even know she was paying attention, right? So like on day two, she raised her hand and she said, I don’t know how this stuff’s going to work for me. And then she told me what her market was. It was spa owners, essentially spas and spa owners, and she goes, how’s this stuff going to work with my spa owners.

And I won’t go through the whole thing, but I said, let me tell you about, now I don’t know much about spa owners, but anytime I write copy, I put myself directly in the person’s shoes. Literally I was picturing myself at the front desk of this spa that I own, but I’m working like 14 hours a day and my staff makes more money than me.

I was literally imagining this whole thing. And as I’m describing this person’s plate, I actually started getting choked up about the person that I didn’t even know that I was pretending to be. And then she started to get like, emotional about this person while I’m talking to her about that. And I said, this is how you think about that.

And she’s like, Oh my gosh, she paid me $21,000, right after that to do one on one coaching with me and this, and she’s still with me, this is her third year. And it actually started with a deep connection for her market.

So I’m just encouraging you as you’re watching us today, having this fun conversation, which we needed to do this again, buddy. Is that kind of deep connection with your market, this is not a product or a service. This is something that’s going to change their life. And if you can dial that kind of feeling in, oh my gosh, you’re going to change the world.

Let me get into some of the comments real quick, by the way, if you just joined us, my name’s Ed Rush, I’m here with Michel Fortin. I don’t think that’s how you pronounce your last name, but I liked that extra French pronunciation. So we’re talking about copywriting, how to get people to say yes.

So let me go jump into chat real quick. We’ve got some really great clients, really great comments.

You know what we’re going to do, by the end of the today show you and I are going to come up with a list of at least the top five copywriting books. Cause you’ve mentioned two so far. I mentioned one and you mentioned one and I think it would be fun to do a little, we can do it in chat too.

So I’ll tell you when, and maybe like five, 10 minutes, but I think it’d be fun to do because there are some great copywriting books and most of the great books were written in like the early 1900’s. Uncle Claude Hopkins, 1927, baby.

So very good stuff, Angela, welcome to the show. Glad to have you. Yeah, the reading out loud. It’s definitely an incredible way to do it. I’m going to get to your question. This is a question for, I don’t know the name, but it’s the businesses generations now. And I’m going to get to that a second.

This is O-A-T-H, oblivious, apathetic, thinking, hurting. Very, very good.

Alright, so here’s the question. And I’m going to give this to you for, I tell you, what I’ll do like a 20 seconds on it, and then I’m going to pitch this to you.

They said we work in geriatric healthcare, and on principle, we try not to create fear or emphasize pain or hurting. We do that positively. And I’ll just start by saying, I don’t think anybody wants to create fear or pain. We want to alleviate the fear of pain, but to do that, sometimes you need to acknowledge the existence of fear and pain. Go over to you, Michelle, for the longer answer on that.

Michel Fortin: Well, I wrote an article not too long ago about that and the premise or the way I started the story was about Y2K. When Y2K came around everybody was freaking out. They thought that the world’s going to end, planes are going to drop out of the sky at the stroke of midnight on the year 2000.

And so the point about me saying that is whenever we use, we use fear. We talk about fear. Sometimes we don’t need to, sometimes people already know about it, so you can do it in a way that is bringing it to the top of their minds. And that’s where you, when you have a conversation or in this case, when you are writing copy, you’re not trying to instill fear.

I know there’s the old saying by Dan Kennedy problem agitate solve. Make sure they understand the problem. Then you agitate the problem. You make it bigger. You make it more concrete. You make it more real, more present, and then you solve it. Well, sometimes you need to kind of use fear to do that, but you don’t have to, you have to create fear. You can just talk about the fears that already going on in their minds. So you can tell stories.

Sometimes you can do it indirectly. You can talk about a story where a person had the same kind of fears. So you’re not saying it, but you’re using a story or a case study or something that actually implies the fear. And the second thing is, I think the biggest fear of all that is most popular right now is especially with COVID and everything that’s going on is FOMO, the fear of missing out.

Ed Rush: Amen.

Michel Fortin: And I think that we don’t have to, we can talk about the fear that they’re having right now, and we want to solve it, but we can also talk about the fear of not getting the benefits of what we’re offering. That’s the fear of missing out.

So we can talk about why this product is such a great solution to their situation, their problems right now. And we then imply the fear that they would get, or that they’re probably going to have if they don’t get that product or service. So without shaking the tree, so to speak.

And I truly understand what generations now is asking because I’ve worked in medical situations where you not only cannot say that because for legal reasons, there’s limitations, how you can say, how you can market a medical service or healthcare related service. But at the same time it was counterproductive.

We didn’t want people to freak out. We wanted to create clients or patients this case.

So the way we did it was we used copy or content that either told stories that we use case studies, or we talked about the different aspects of the product that people who don’t have that, not them, but people in general, how they’re not, joined the benefits of the product or service at this moment. So that kind of brings the fear to the top of their minds without actually doing it, without actually mentioning it, without actually driving fear or instilling fear.

Ed Rush: Well, in pain, the blessing of pain. And I mean that, when I say the blessing of pain is it leads to change. I’ve been telling people this for six years now, I’m talking about our American political landscape, which I know you live in Canada, but it’s hard not to see.

I said, look, in the 1980s, our politics were completely screwed up. It was corrupt and it was a disaster, but it was just okay. And nobody ever changes anything when it’s just, okay, now it’s not okay. And everybody’s like, it’s not okay.

It doesn’t matter what side you’re on, by the way. I’m not either just so you know, but now’s the perfect time to change. This is what I keep telling people. Now’s the perfect time for good people like you and me to get in and make a change because the pain, because the pain.

Now one thing for you generations now, and then I’m going to, I’m actually going to show you this article that you just mentioned, because it’s outstanding article that you should go read right now. And I’m going to show you how to do that if you’re watching.

The way to approach someone with this pain is to say, I know you’re in pain, and I know that’s very hard for you right now. And you, and I both know if you keep doing things the way you’re doing them, the pain is going to stay the same or even maybe get worse. So would you commit with me to making some positive steps towards relieving this pain and creating a better future?

And that is not only pretty good scripting, but it’s also a copywriting framework, acknowledge the pain, show them that without change, that pain will remain there, show them how you’re the one that’s going to be able to help them and coach them out of the pain into a brighter future. And fundamentally what I just did there in two sentences is copywriting.

That’s it, acknowledge the pain, show them a solution fundamentally. That’s what it is.

So I want to show your website though. And as I do that, I’m going to put a website below the screen as well. The website is M-I-C-H-E-L-F-O-R-T-I-N…

He’s smart enough, by the way, if you type in Michael Fortin, it’s going to go to that website too. Okay. So whenever you registered that domain back in like 2004, whatever, that was smart enough to put both to register both of the domains.

When you go to his website. So this page is actually the article he was talking about and it’s called on the marketing of fear which cleverly quotes, Prince in the first line there. I’ll I will put this link in the chat.

But I wanted to show you, this is the kind of great content that Michel has on his website. It’s really, really impressive. And there’s just great free content.

So here’s what I’m going to recommend that you do. Just go to his main website: Go put your email in there. Okay. So it’s very simple. Just put your email in there. He’s not the guy that’s going to send you millions of emails about nothing, but the emails are going to be good and you’re going to get great content.

And his blog is like, you just go. I mean, like, by the way, some of this stuff, I don’t even know.

I mean, he took over my website for about two months in the spring and I don’t even know all the things he did, but I will tell you this, when I type in my name into Google, a lot more shows up, a lot more. And there’s part of that is just structural stuff. So he talks about some of that stuff on his blog too, is some of that is really, really important stuff. So the website’s below go check that out.

Anything you want to add? I got another question I’m going to go to, but anything you want to add into?

Michel Fortin: Well, I think it’s important to know that, you talked about content architecture, which is something that we talked a lot about in SEO. It still comes back to copywriting or at least understanding how people are, what they’re thinking about, what they’re going through when they hit your website, no matter what an article or our blog page or whatever the case is.

So as long as what you’re doing is you’re continuing that conversation. That’s what’s going to cause you to get up in the search engines. A lot of people say, do I need to stuff my articles with keywords, do I need to, do all this SEO wizardry in the back, no, you don’t need to do that. Just create good content that people want at it solves problems. And it helps them. You’re going, you’re going to increase your SEO kind of naturally that way.

Ed Rush: So I said this seven years ago, and I’ve been saying it since then. I said it was back in, Oh, I can’t remember. The Google did this big update back seven or eight years ago, which I was working with Mike Koenigs at the time with Traffic Geyser, which basically made Traffic Geyser like obsolete in an afternoon, you know?

So, but it used to be, you could massively spam the search engines with content and get your website up. And then all of a sudden, Google just started making these changes. And I told people, I said, Google’s making their algorithm think like a person. And they’re making their algorithm like, act like a person. And so what you should do, because Google is taking a computer and turning it into a person is what you should do is you should write your website for people.

You know, here’s what people don’t do. People don’t read white on white text at the bottom of your website. People don’t do that. People don’t read stacks of white text on white paper, that’s for a computer and see Google’s trying to get their computer to be a person. So if you want your website to stand out, write your website for people, cause eventually Google’s algorithm will be identical to a person.

Michel Fortin: There is an update.

Ed Rush: Just as evil I don’t know.

Michel Fortin: There’s an update that just came out not too long ago, actually January, I think called Bert. And please don’t ask me it’s, bi-directional something, something, but basically it means natural language processing and what natural language processing means is that the computer or the artificial intelligence, if you were to call it that the machine learning process over at Google is going to learn what your content is about.

Not just from the key words, but from what’s around it or how it’s linked, how people link to it or the links inside of your article. And all that stuff. So it’s not just about content. It’s also about context.

And so now you don’t have to stuff your blog posts with articles, as long as you’re talking about what we call topics, it’s all about topics. And you’re going to attract clients. You know, you’re going to attract people naturally because basically Google is you’re doing what Google wants. You’re writing for people. Exactly what you just said. In fact, you and Google have shared the same clients. It’s the users.

Ed Rush: So interesting what you just said. So, technically, if you said, if you had a webpage and the webpage said maybe it had a few links and then it had some words and it said, menu reservation, pizza, ravioli, manicotti. Google knows that’s an Italian restaurant, even though it doesn’t say Italian restaurant.

Michel Fortin: It is exactly it. Yes. Because it’s the surrounding content, the structure on the site. Nowadays we don’t, when we do search engine optimization, we don’t do keyword stuff like you just mentioned. We mostly do it. So that is, it is easier to navigate.

Find and consume the information on a website. And so, I always say this SEO comes down to two things, the quality of your content and the quality of the experience on the website. So the easier you make it, the more that your content communicates and connects with your audience and the easier it is for them to consume that information.

Is your page loading fast? Is it secure? Is the information easy to read on a mobile device as much as on a desktop? That’s called user experience or UX, so good content and good experience together. You’ve got pretty much half the battle done right there.

Ed Rush: I’m going to just do a demo real quick because this comes up. I’ll tell you man, I’ll bet you this comes up on almost half of my initial calls with my client. I want you to watch this website for a second. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to reach to the outside of this website and I’m going to squeeze it in and I want you to watch what happens as I squeeze it in.

Do you see how the website begins to change? And that box actually went down towards the bottom, how the content all kind of squeezes together, but it’s still, this is what it would look like on a phone by the way, do you catch that. And if I take it back out again, it actually reformats itself dynamically as you go. So that’s a term many of you knows, but that’s a term called a responsive website.

What that means is no matter the size of the screen, no matter the device it’s going to look right. And I would, I don’t know what your percentage is. My guess is about 40% of the initial websites I see with my initial client meetings, about 40% aren’t, which is basic internet stuff. And by the way, Google will de-rank your website based on lack of responsiveness alone.

Which is why I always tell people. If you are like, if your website looks like you made it in 2008 in your basement, because you made it in 2008 in your basement, step up to the big leagues a little bit and hire somebody who actually does this for like a living. Neither one of us do that by the way. But if you email me. My email, by the way is, coaching Ed Rush, I will introduce you to my web team.

You know, you’ve been working with my team. They’re awesome. And they’re fast, but just taking that step to get your images on AWS so that they load faster than coming off of your like blue host server, whatever, a little things like that, make a huge difference.

And I know today’s show wasn’t all about websites, but I wanted to just say some of those little hinges swing some big doors. If you’re like, why isn’t my website not showing up? Well, you’re part of the reason your website is not showing up is because Google is like, it’s not even responsive. We started doing that 10 years ago.

Michel Fortin: But you’re talking about websites is actually relevant to the degree that we talked about how copy has changed. And it’s about how we consume that copy. Well, now with most copy these days, it’s done on a website.

Well, you got to make sure that it’s done in such a way where it’s, it’s going to help you in SEO. It’s going to help you attract traffic. But the most important part is you’re actually serving the audience that it’s meant for, the better you serve that audience, the more sales you’re going to make.

Ed Rush: Amen. All right. So welcome. For those, you may just join us. My name is Ed Rush. This is Michel Fortin. We’re talking about how to secretly dominate your market, we are having a fun conversation about copywriting and marketing.

Normally at this point, if an interview is great, which is what has been awesome. Normally at this point, I say, I would love to have you back on a future interview. And then my guest says, well, that would be great, but I’m not even going to ask you. I’m just going to tell you. You come back. Okay. So I don’t care what you say. Let’s do this again in maybe in a month and talk a little bit more in depth about copywriting. Cause we could talk for a long time.

One question I want to get to. And then after this question, you and I are going to do have some fun making a list of books, a copywriting book list. I’ve got a couple in mind. I’m sure you do too.

But this is a longtime friends and clients of mine. This is Charleston Elaine Sanger who work to help people write books. And they’re brilliant at it. They have their own publishing company. Our candidates they set are at different levels and phases of OATH. Where’s the best place to focus as you revise your website to hit all levels. How do you hit everybody along the way, no matter where they come in from?

Michel Fortin: Two things. One is if your market is hit all four, which of those stages of awareness is your market most predominantly in and focus on that stage.

If your market is kind of split really equally amongst those four stages, then you have four opportunities to create four funnels. Four entry levels, four entry points that people can come in and then be educated at a different level, a level in a different pace. So once they all join at the same time where they are hurting in this case or thinking or looking at a different options. So that’s one thing.

The second thing is, if you have a website that has content like SEO, for example, articles that are meant to attract traffic and they attract traffic at different levels of awareness, just make sure that once they land on that article, that you kind of take them by the hand, so to speak through that process, to get them from let’s say O A and T and H you don’t want to get people to come to a website, reading an article when they’re at the oblivious stage.

And then all of a sudden you hit them over the head with an offer.

So that they may be more appropriate if you have another article that talks about, you know, are you hurting and and it’s content that drives the hurting person to buy right away. That’s great.

So what I do is I say to my, a lot of people, for example I talk about the rules of one, the three rule, the rules of three ones, I say it backwards. And it means make sure that an Atlantic page has one message, one market, one outcome.

So make sure that it has one message. You’re not giving a whole bunch of different messages that are confusing people. One market. So if your market is one type of market and they’re predominantly in one particular stage of that OATH formula, then you tackle that stage and then one outcome, you have to get them to do something.

And if they’re hurting, of course, it’s by now. But if they’re not, then it’s joining my list. You know, get a course, get a free email course. How about, let’s say, for example, I had a client who was a data migration company. They were a data migration company and people who would approach him would be at different levels of where it is. Sometimes they have very old servers and they needed to switch them right now. And other people like, Oh, I’m not sure.

So some people we would offer them a free assessment right away. Some of them, we would offer a test, like a poll online that will actually determine the level of risk that their servers are actually at, at this point and how to take them to the next step. What they can do to take them to the next step. Maybe it’s applying for an assessment or maybe it’s calling or joining an email list and then being a drip campaign that tells them what they can do until that point.

So anyways, that’s, my answer is you’ve got, you might have different ways to bring people together. If you have one landing page, one sales page that caters to all four, you’re going to peeve off a lot of people, or you are going to get people to not really understand what you’re selling?

And if they do buy, they probably end up either, you know, refunding or whatever, because it’s not really what they want.

So make sure that you have different levels of different funnels that serves every level of awareness that your market is in.

Ed Rush: Good comment. Jim Buts said, what I like about this? So you can focus on your ideal client, but they might be at a different level of, Oh, that doesn’t mean they might be not ideal.

Then so just a thought to Charles Elaine. So, my experience in the past has been, there’s usually an like what Jim used the term ideal client. There is usually an ideal client for me that I don’t have to do a lot of convincing.

You know what I mean? Like there’s a person who would join with me and say like I don’t care what it takes and I need to work with you. Like, that’s an ideal thing for an ideal person to say. And the more work I have to do ahead of time, the more of that person, it’s probably best for them to be in my content funnel for a little while before they get to that point.

So I think another strategy is just to look at the States that you’re trying to find someone at and then market directly to that.

Let’s do the book thing a second.

Alex says: Funnels within a funnel, hot, cold, warm audiences. Incremental offers, love what you’re discussing. So many business owners don’t understand the necessity for a staged approach to the total market. Thanks, dude. I appreciate your awesome comment there as well.

All right. So we’re going to do something fun. We’re going to talk about our favorite marketing books.

By the way, if you haven’t done. So there’s a little button down here that says, subscribe, hit the subscribe button right next to that as a little bell that will show up that gives you notifications when there’s a show, I do shows Tuesday and Thursday, but I often do something called a weekly flight brief that comes occasionally via video. That gives you a notification for that is powerful stuff. And usually less than 10 minutes and the latest ones came out yesterday.

All right. So you can get that, if you want to see yesterday’s head to And it’s one of my favorite shows so far and I’m biased, but that doesn’t mean I’m not right. All right.

So you mentioned Robert Collier letter book, which I read back when I was, by the way, when I started in business in 2006 to 2009, I bought all the copywriting books I could buy. I’m talking like some of them were used books that you couldn’t even find on anywhere else. And I bought all the copywriting courses.

We were talking about this ahead of time. I probably listened to a hundred hours of Gary Halbert. I probably listened to another a hundred hours of John Carlton. And I definitely listened to over a hundred hours of Dan Kennedy, three of the world’s leading copywriters.

I read all the books and I got good because I learned it. And then I did it. Okay. So if you want to know how to write copy, you don’t necessarily have to hire quick great copywriter. Although sometimes that does help. You can learn it. You just need to immerse yourself in it for a little while, just like with anything.

And so one of the first books I read was a book called Scientific Advertising.

By the way, I’d love it if somebody would keep some notes in chat on this one. Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. I was joking about uncle Claude. Claude Hopkins wrote this book in 1927. And the principles you could directly apply in 2020.

Okay. It’s crazy. He talks about describing a beer that he was trying to market and how the purity of the process and the water. I thought that this is exactly like the strategies we can use now. So there’s one for me over to you, let’s make a fun list.

Michel Fortin: So besides the ones that I’ve mentioned, or do you want another one?

Ed Rush: you said Robert Collier. What else?

Michel Fortin: So another one is John E. Kennedy Reasons Why Advertising.

Ed Rush: Okay. Reasons why, Dan Kennedy’s book, the ultimate sales letter required reading. He also has another book called the ultimate marketing plan. I’d start with the ultimate sales letter.

Let’s see, I think the book, the title change, but Cialdini’s first real book was called influence, but I thought he changed the title to yes or something like that recently. Anyway, look for influence.

Oh, this is another one. Anything from Donald Moines, his first book I think I have it up here on the shelf someplace, sorry for the back of my head. I used to send this book to all my clients, anyway, anything from Moines, Moines is a scientist. Let’s see. Boron letters.

Michel Fortin: I was going to say that, that was on my list.

Ed Rush: Well, I mean, you can get that stuff for free. It’s I think it’s just the There’s a book called words that sell, and I think the author is named ban Bayan, Richard Bayan. It’s essentially a bunch of words. I haven’t read Trey Galley’s book, no, influence. Interesting guy though. Influence by Cialdini, anyway that’s like seven books. What else?

Angela. You are awesome. She keeping track by the way, but she did her own. Boron Letters, Scientific Advertising, Modern Persuasion by Moine, Reasons Why Advertising, Ultimate Sales Letter. This is a really good list. Somebody just dropped a hundred bucks on Amazon.

Michel Fortin: And you know what?

As a lover of podcasts, and I just talked about this to my list this morning. I listen to a lot of marketing podcasts, sales podcasts, persuasion podcasts, but I also listen to a lot of true crime podcasts and something that another copywriter, her name is Alex Cattoni.

She actually has a YouTube channel. She’s amazing. She said this on one of her shows that she listens to a lot of true crime and she says why it’s so critical for copywriters is that it helps us to understand the human psyche, what makes people tick? What makes people do what they do.

And it’s great. It’s also for me as a marketer, a great way, a great lesson on storytelling because you know, really copywriting is all about telling stories.

In fact, Gary Halbert calls it story selling. So, It’s all about how to tell a good story. And if you can learn how to tell a good story, like for example, Stephen King’s book on writing, Stephen King On Writing. That’s another great book that I use, or I talk about for copywriting, even though it’s nothing to do with copywriting, it talks about how to get into the mind of the person’s reading it, right?

Ed Rush: Yeah. I mean, great. I love reading fiction. Great fiction writers essentially are great copywriters because if somebody can convince you to not go to bed at 10, o’clock not at 10.30 either, and not at 10 45 and not 11.30. And I was up last night. I shouldn’t have been, I was up after midnight reading, ‘cause you get to the end of a chapter and you’re like, Oh, did he die? And hat also is great. Truly great copywriting.

Let’s see, couple of more that went in there. This is really good. There’s another book. Yeah. It was More Words That Sell by Bayan. It was Richard Bayan I think it was, Breakthrough Copywriting by David Garfinkel and Mike and real crime podcasts. What’s the one that I was listening to from NPR about the guy, the college kid that was accused of murder, but then maybe he didn’t do it, then maybe did it. I can’t think of the one that I’m thinking of.

Michel Fortin: I’ll have to look it up, we’re running out of time, which could we could save for another time.

Ed Rush: All right. So take us home, man. Last thoughts as we wrap up today’s show.

Michel Fortin: If there’s anything that I want to impart on today’s show is this.

The more you know about your audience, the better you’re going to sell, the better you’re going to write copy, the better content you’re going to write, the better SEO you’re going to do. It really comes down fundamentally to the core thing, your audience. And it’s the same people who use Google as much as the people who follow and read your content, that buy your stuff.

So if you are stuck or if you want to know how to sell more, how to drive more traffic, just know more about who your market is and what they want, and just give it to them. It’s really that simple. It seems hard because sometimes we want to make it hard, but it is that simple. Just learn more about your market.

Ed Rush: So learn about your market, find out what they want and give it to them. That’s marketing. That is like business right there in three simple steps. Man, thanks buddy. I appreciate your time. Let’s do it again. Want to do it again?

Michel Fortin: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Ed Rush: Thanks buddy. I appreciate your time.

Don’t forget to tune in next Tuesday. I got another guests coming in and you’re not going to want to miss. His first name is Jonathan and his second name is Sprinkles. And some of you know, when he comes on the show, he brings the heat. So I’ll see you on Tuesday. EdTalks Live! is… Out.


Avatar of Michel Fortin

By Michel Fortin

Michel Fortin is a digital marketing advisor specializing in SEO, communications, and strategy. For over 30 years, he helped hundreds of thousands of clients increase their visibility and their revenue. He is also the VP of Digital Marketing at Musora, the company behind award-winning platforms Drumeo and Pianote. He is the author of the More Traffic Memo™ SEO email newsletter.