Episode #160 – Mike Abramov On What The Best Clients Need. Become A Full-Service Copywriter And Write Your Own Ticket.
Mike laid in his bed with a horrible stomach flu surfing the ‘net.
His passion for hoops and NBA dreams found him pouring over basketball products.
Several years later he sent in a glowing testimonial.
At 16 years old he never thought that would set him on a career path.
The owner of that product company like Mike’s passion and needed people to champion his brand.
Mike’s success in customer service led to the owner writing him a game-changing email…
“Want to make more money?”
Mike wrote content and then sales and upsell pages and then whole funnels as time went by.
The owner turning him onto some classic texts in direct-response.
Along with on-the-job trial and error, Mike learned the game.
Now after 6 years he’s left that first fruitful gig and is on to other pastures.
If you’re new (or even an old hand at this stuff) then there’s a lot from Mike’s journey you can take and apply to your own.
His skill-set are what modern DR companies look for.
In this episode, you’ll discover:
- One mistake copywriters make that leaves them deadly short on what clients look for.
- The advice an A-list copywriter gave Mike that sums up why most copy doesn’t resonate.
- How to avoid the horrible “tiptoe” mistake most businesses make with their weak copy.
- Stick to these and you can’t go wrong when building up your complimentary copy skills.
- The “can’t lose” method most businesses leave completely out. (This is where all the money is!).
- Mike’s website
- Dan Kennedy’s Books
- Joe Sugarman’s Adweek Copywriting Handbook
- David Allan’s Make Words Pay
Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO
David Allan: Hey, everybody we’re back with another edition of the podcast. I’m David Allan and we got a really interesting guest here today that was recommended to me by another guest Justin Goff we had on the show – by the time this is live you’ll have heard Justin’s episode. His name is Mike Abramov and I hope I pronounced that correctly and he is a digital marketer copywriter – in direct response. We’re going to find out everything about him in the next little while here as he starts by detailing his sort of superhero origin story. Mike welcome to the show.
Mike Ambramov: I appreciate you having me on.
David Allan: It’s awesome to have you on. And you were recommended Like I said by Justin and Justin’s a good guy. So he knows what’s what. So maybe start because I know very little about you other than what Justin told me on and off the air. So maybe give me sort of the rundown of where you were who you were and how you ascended to where you’re at now.
Yes I mean growing up I was obsessed with basketball. I thought I going to the NBA as every tall athlete thinks they are. I myself included actually. So I actually came across a sales page surf the web one night looking at basketball training and drills and tips and that kind of stuff like that and I ended up buying it. I sent over a testimonial a couple of years later to the actions of the owner and he was really impressed. Testimonials like you know what I need great dedicated guys like you. Would you mind helping me out with customer service and you pay me and all that. I was like I was 16 at the time. So I was like Yeah let’s let’s do it. Which is a risky thing for him to do but I’m glad he did.
So over the next 12 months I kind of answered e-mails or whatever I needed to do and he kept on giving me more and more responsibility to the point where when I was 18 he asked me he said mean enough. He literally just said do you want to make more money questionmark. I’m 18 at time. The answer is yes. All cash or exclamation points. And Rainer he asked if I could write some content emails about basketball OK I did just that. From there the relationship kind of flourished. I started doing a lot a lot more stuff in terms of actual copywriting I mean I edited some upswell page Aspern itself pages and then writing all those out. And that’s how kind of I came
to be where I am today.
So that’s basically you know you lucked into in a way this guy who happened to be pretty but it sounds like a pretty advanced marketer on his own accord. Yes. OK. So I was pretty lucky. Are you excited by that product.
Oh 100 percent I it’s actually really interesting because the only reason why I saw the product was because I had the stomach flu so. Oh wow. So the only thing I did that days instead of going to school I google stuff about basketball. So if I hadn’t had the stomach flu I would have never got into this.
It’s weird how it works like that. It’s crazy. We were talking off the air and people have heard this story probably 10 times on this podcast and so I want to go into it but you know that’s sort of how I learned about Gary Holbert and getting into it with a product similarly.
And that’s it’s just weird how one little thing you know you may order something or buy something it just leads down this rabbit hole.
Yeah and it’s I’m just I’m thankful for that. It’s definitely an awesome lifestyle.
So once you started you know this guy started upping your responsibility and your pay what sort of things did he have specific things that he wanted you to read to go through courses you recommended books. I mean he he tried to educate you internally or did you we’re looking outside for things it little bit of both.
I was very fortunate because he was a fairly decent guy at the time so he gets it down at me and say hey go line by line say hey I don’t like this I like this change this. This could be better. And this is why. But the majority of education which is through trial and error I did read. I mean like you have John staples right. I read everything Dan Kennedy book out there. I read breakthrough advertising a bunch of ugly stuff. Robert Collier all of them even help stuff. But the majority of my education was through trial and error. Just kind of writing something sending to him sending it to him and then he would send it back all marked up which is great for me. And that’s how I got to start it.
So he was like a copy chief basically nails all of the time. That’s awesome. How long did you stay with that company. Six years. OK. From 18 to 24 and how old are you now. No I was from 16 16 to 20 to 16 to 20. I’m 22 now. OK. So you just basically just recently left. Yeah. OK. OK. That probably goes right into what Justin had to say about you finding another job with somebody else.
Yeah. I reached out to Justin and he connected me with a couple of people that he knew and all sorts initialisms said you know this guy knows what he’s doing and that’s how we kind of got connected and I’ve been working for a couple of people since that.
Ok cool. It’s good to have a connection. I don’t think we can overstate that on the show whether it’s going to live events or reaching out to your network and like you do with justin. That’s a those are powerful things.
Get reading in front of proper clients deafening I got an every single one of my clients or sort of gigs through referrals. Of course every single one.
So when you left this company did. I mean what was the owner was he sad or did he like to go get it. You know what was there.
We had a little bit of a falling out in terms of it was happening to me in terms of our agreement we couldn’t just see eye to eye on certain things and it was time to part ways. There’s no bad blood on either end so it didn’t. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Right now at that point were you like confident that you could take the skills that you learned and parlay that into something new. Or was there some trepidation because that was your first job.
I was a little bit hesitant at first. I took it in kind of a week to kind of grief about it but it just sort of understand what had happened in my office and all of that. And I reached out to Justin. He was really helpful in terms of calming me down and letting me know that these things do happen and I am I’m very grateful for that because I think it really skyrocketed everything else. And when did you first meet Justin. I met Justin actually he was a good friend of the past owner.
It’s funny how things work out sometimes when somebody looks super good friends with another guy you’re having a little acrimony with I referred you to somebody else. So yeah definitely.
So maybe for people that are are young like you are maybe take us through you know maybe some of the important ways maybe you wish you’d educated yourself you know aside from what you actually did and maybe some of the lessons you learned along the way of being you know quite a young person that would say to get sort of get into things and get moving so fast.
Yeah I mean I think the biggest thing that’s set me apart in Justin’s eyes was I think most copywriters just focus on the actual writing of copy which is extremely important but I think that kind of puts you in a box and what I mean by that is it’s important to learn about Vanos and customer acquisition and everything because when you can approach a company or a client with that full package and that’s full understanding of not only can I write copy but I also can take the customer from where are you from where he is taking to where you want him to be. That’s super important. So that’s what I wish I learned a little bit earlier.
So it sort serve the big picture from start to finish.
Yeah. Because I mean there are plenty of copywriters that you can just give them a product and say hey here’s the market right. Sales page and a ton of them can do it. If you ask them for specific ups sells down sells things that work in terms of pitching them on something else in the future continuation promise continuity. A lot of them are stuff right. And that’s what I think sets apart a lot of copperheads.
Yeah I’m just Justin and Justin’s episode. He talked a lot about that he talked about having that complete package as a copywriter to sell yourself because he said that a lot of direct response companies are looking for people and sort of that you know that middle range I guess they had low end copywriters who charge a couple of grand for things they can’t afford yet perhaps the people that are seen.
So they’re looking for those people that sweet spots are in the middle sort of over $10000 dollars. You know how those extra skills you know to bring to the table and maybe take charge of the marketing departments. Direct Response companies.
Yeah I mean I think a lot of people can charge you know 10 k for a full fundable when you have everything in place to make sure that you’re not just creating a one time purchase but you increase the LTV. You can easily spike your prices and it’s warranted. People are OK with that because they know that they’ll make more money on the back end.
Now for people who didn’t have the you know the luck if you will of stumbling into a job with somebody who was already advanced at marketing what would you recommend for people to try to learn some of these extra things. I know some of the things I’ve sort of done to get up to speed on different response you know products and so forth I’ve purchased but maybe from your point of view you know what things could you recommend to people who are looking to add those extra skills to maybe their copy.
Yeah I mean I think it boils down to reading as much as you can and I say that with with the caveat I get a lot of people tend to just buy 30 different books and really go through each one and then they don’t really learn anything at the end of the day. I would choose three to four books and reread them over and over and over again which sounds really daunting and annoying but I think it’s really a point to really cement some of the concepts inside and that’s what I did. I mean I read everything that Dan Kennedy has ever put out multiple times. And I think that’s what kind of helped me because I could learn it and then I could implement it in actual business.
Right. And he sort of covers all those things from the customer acquisition all the way through and back and that’s everything.
Even like time management stuff which I think is important.
Is there other. Is there any particular books of bands that you find particularly helpful that spring to mind.
Yeah I mean the ultimate marketing plan the ultimate sales letter and then all its entire Noby catalog of books was really good. I really also enjoyed all of Joe Sugarmann stuff especially the ad copywriting handbook that was good and I think what else and I really enjoyed Schwab’s how to write a good advertising write better shrub. Those are those are kind of I find myself going back to those books more and more just kind of set the refresh.
Now when you were part of this original company sort of worked for had he given you those books or had you just gone out into the interweb webs and search those out.
He basically told me read X Y and Z. When you’re done let me know and then I’ll give you more books to read.
OK. So he was very proactive in educating him very very which is which was great for me.
And again I can’t stress how lucky I was. I have doubt that.
It’s different nowadays I guess because even six years ago it was a different world.
Yeah. I mean I was like but I remember I remember my first day on the Internet you know I played at a bookstore get on the internet for the first time like a dollar an hour or two hours. And that was not long ago.
You know so as it’s interesting now that I mean there’s a lot of stuff at people’s fingertips now but there’s also something a lot of overwhelm and some of the questions I get from people who are getting into copywriting or who are sort of in that first couple of years they want to know aside from you know maybe some of the more modern things too that people are put out in the last five or eight years or so that are more because funnel became such a buzzword and so forth. You know what sort of things you recommend on that front. Is there products you’ve indulged in that have helped you.
I have it. One thing that I’ve tried my best to do is kind of go back to some of the contemporary stuff. I never really got into that in the newer stuff because I feel like there are certain principles that will never go away and direct marketing right. I think it’s it’s as soon as we start deviating from that and we want the new new thing things start to kind of crumble. Right. So I’ve tried my best to stick to the proven guys who have done this in the 50s 60s and even before that.
Right. Not so good. That’s good advice I think because it’s easy to get caught up in that sort of shiny object.
Yeah. I mean it’s so easy to just read a blog and just go like oh ok cool I know what I’m going to do to make a million next week.
We want to get well you may want to give me the address that I blog.
Yeah I will. I wish that’s how it works and unfortunately there’s a lot of testing that goes into these things and at least for me I think that’s that’s one of the biggest problems that I see when other people approach me is send me their stuff and I take a look and say OK what are the what does the data say and they go data and I’m like well let’s let’s work on that first.
Yeah. I mean it’s been my experience.
And then you can speak to your experience is that they’re just testing it seems to be a very time honored direct response you know thing. Part of the direct response world. It doesn’t seem like a lot of people that I’ve come across are really unless you’re a super high end marketer or you know small like a Gora’s I’m like You’re not people aren’t testing anywhere near what you think they would be.
Yeah and I think it stems from a I don’t want to say a lack of understanding how to test really I think we all know the level that we can split test things. I think they just don’t know how they could. And I think that’s the biggest problem there are plenty of softwares out there like I mean VW so will I use foot testing for fairly cheap price. I know certain email service providers depending on what you’re using you can send out different subject lines right things that way. I think if more people did that they’d see much bigger not only responsive mortars.
Yeah because could really I mean and this is probably you know for people listening this taking the time to listen to something like this that we may be beating a dead horse but I think it bears repeating. You know often enough is that you’re leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t continue to try to beat what’s going on right now. I mean that’s the biggest companies like you know are gorra and Rodale Philips in the past and so they were like constantly trying to beat themselves.
Yeah. And then one of my biggest clients I mean I’ve rewritten their sales page maybe four times and it’s not because I didn’t do well. I beat their control it’s just once I get data back. Right. It’s always weird for me to go back in and continue kind of fine tuning thing.
So what sort of things have you seen figure to give an example for somebody you know maybe they’re not involved that or they don’t work for somebody you don’t have any clients that are that are that aggressive. How should they broach that subject and what sort of avenue should they go down in terms of what they do wrong with their finals or what they do wrong and then maybe how should you like let’s say you know there’s been people I’ve worked for where I didn’t have control the thing.
You know I just wrote sales played or I wrote up in a squeeze page where I wrote certain aspects but I didn’t have any control of the funnel like from start to finish. And that obviously makes it harder because is like a congruity so often and I always try to pitch people more make them all one thing.
But for you you know how would you approach people that maybe you know the client to explain to them some of the stuff about how this all needs to be sort of one message and also the mistakes that people are making in their finals that are like either easily correctable or just blatant.
But I think if you have a proven track record it’s very easy to show them and say hey let me do this. If you don’t for a lot people are starting out I think doing that one up there with that one sales page without grants. If the funnel is important to show them that you have the skills right and then once you do that first project on the second and third project desk and you can approach them and say hey I could easily do this but I want the company to swing for the fences right. I want to take care of this entire funnel from start to finish. And once you have that trust built in it’s very easy to kind of let them have let let them give you the freedom to do that. Yeah. As far as what people do wrong with their finals. Some of the big
stuff is probably just a lot of times I see people being scared to sell and I don’t know if that’s a problem with they feel manipulative or they don’t like the way it feels which is completely fine. But to be specific I mean certain people don’t have even follow up sequences WESH which is nuts to me. And when they do they don’t ask for the sale. They like kind of tiptoe around it. Right. A general audience if they’re not specific they’re not granular they’re not talking to one person. They’re not saying hey I could get this right. And one of the most and I mean one of the most revolutionary things that I’ve learned which seems super kind
of simple is David Deutsch. He and I spoke for a while and he basically said you know it’s supposed to be like bar talk. Right. You wouldn’t approach this person at a bar and say the exact same thing that you’re saying why would you write it. Tranq and that’s something that blew my mind. And it seems so simple but I haven’t I wasn’t writing in such a conversational tone. So I think it starts with them being scared to sell. And then when they do sell they sell like a used car salesman. So I think it’s finding that medium is kind of that sweet spot is that what. Other stuff is like. There’s no list segmentation in a lot of clients that I work with some reason which is huge because if you’re selling the same thing to people who who
might not want it here a lot of money on the table. And then again just the testing stuff I think that’s super important and I know it sounds like a beating a dead horse but it’s something that’s really really important.
So when you go let’s say you get a new I know you do have a couple clients now you’re working for but let’s say you get a new client when you’re providing the package whatever they get you to do. Are you providing a number of headlines and stuff to test or you or what sort of things would you give them for maybe people that are new to copy. They’re not sure what you know how much to give to people or how much you know they should be giving for their flyers fees or whatever.
You know just so like when I write little packages for clients I definitely try to give them two or three subject lines to test out if they have that capability. A lot of times before I even start writing I ask for their old stuff to kind of look at and see what’s working and what’s not for what they have. And then from there I craft something that I think with would do well for them. So I’m I’m always trying to give them things to test whether it be a subject line or a headline moving things around etc. and that goes for the same for sales pages and squeeze pages and stuff like that.
Very nice print. Are there any things that perhaps you know in your relatively short career I guess are the things that struck you as counterintuitive where you thought.
Well I didn’t think it worked that way or I would have never figured that out. Someone told me or whatever it was like just it. I’ll give you an example just in. And this seems probably because a lot of people too. But it bears repeating I think as he said that you know the easiest thing to sell somebody once they’ve bought something is more of the same. Yeah I’m going to say actually.
And that’s it seems counterintuitive because you think they just but let’s say you just bought a copywriting course let’s say. Why would you want another copyrighted chords and Nancy’s great coverage because you like to think I’ve got that handle I just bought one but it doesn’t work that way.
Yeah and I think that kind of kind of connects with the previous question you asked me to as well as the what they do wrong with their final is once you have a customer or continue giving them more stuff their customer for a reason.
Right so I think that’s the number one thing is getting the back and this has been a really great conversation by a lot of fun to talk to and you’ve got a lot of knowledge for being so it’s meaning.
But I mean you obviously even got into this at the right time in your life for early you know and seems like you’re making the most of it.
I mean I appreciate you having me on. Seriously it’s been it’s been awesome.
If people are looking to get in touch with you personally where can they find you and how do we get in touch.
Sure there’s a couple of ways. Feel free to add me on Facebook. And look let’s chat. It’s under Mike Abramoff and my web site Mike Abhimaan dot com super original. I know those are really the best places to contact me then there should be a contact form on my web site as well as your mother what can you hit me up on Facebook. Awesome awesome.
It’s been a real pleasure. I want to thank you for taking the time to come on the show and help educate our audience because it’s been and it’s been a lot of fun you for everybody else will be back again with another exciting guest hopefully half as funny and insightful as make it Marv