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The Art of Copywriting with Guest Craig Clemens: MakingBank S1E52


Craig Clemens

The Art of Copywriting with Guest Craig Clemens: MakingBank S1E52

with Craig Clemens

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As a successful entrepreneur, I know the importance of high-quality copywriting.

From in-store signage, to long-form sales letters, the right words delivered in the right order can transform an ice-cold prospect into a life-long customer.

Now, that might feel like an exaggeration, but any businessman (or woman) worth their salt knows exactly what I mean.

Which is why I’m so fired-up to invite one of the very best copywriters on the planet—Craig Clemens—onto today’s episode of Making Bank.

Craig, like so many other successful professionals, went to the school of hard-knocks to get his entrepreneurial education, spending years working one of the toughest, most humbling jobs on the planet—telemarketing sales.

Did he like it? Of course not. But he did it because he had bills to pay and lessons to learn.

Eventually, Craig got bored of hawking drill bits and credit cards over the phone. He hung-up his headset for good to go write copy for his longtime friend, Eban Pagan, who had been making more than $10,000 a month selling dating-advice ebooks.

In addition to the guidance he would receive from Eban, Craig meticulously studied the work of copywriting legends like Kennedy, Halbert, Hopkins, and Collier. Craig practiced and refined, practiced and refined, practiced and refined, until he became a true master of the craft.

Now Craig runs his own copywriting agency, and produces some of the most successful sales copy in digital business. In fact, over the last two years, Craig has written three of the four biggest direct to consumer campaigns on the internet, one of which reeled 33,600 new customers in just two days.

Tune in to today’s episode to hear Josh and Craig, share a number of fantastic insights, including:

  • The four keys to effective copywriting.
  • Why being dead broke and behind on your taxes is a bad thing—but not the worst thing.
  • How to use diverse professional experiences to your entrepreneurial advantage.
  • The importance of learning to get in the mindset of your customer.
  • Why talking to your customer like a companion is the most effective way to form a bond.

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Josh Felber: I am Josh Felber. Welcome back to Making Bank. I am really excited today. We have a totally different guest than anybody I’ve had online. His name is Craig Clemens and this is a whole area I’ve really been trying to research and dive myself into is the field of copywriting and when it comes to writing brand messages that turn millions of people into happy customers, there’s no on more effective than Craig Clemens. In the last two years Craig has written three of the four biggest direct to consumer campaigns on the internet as ranked by [Ad Bee 00:00:41]. The most successful bringing in 33,600 new customers in it’s first two days live all over the internet and doing so at a profit.

It’s not uncommon for his brand stories to go viral. With a recent message viewed by a startling 28 million people and another by 22 million people, Craig honed his craft mentoring under legendary entrepreneur Eben Pagen and now spends his time working with his own team of up and coming writers. Craig is an avid investor and advisor to tech start ups, including Andela and ZenRez.

Craig Clemens: Zenrez.

Josh Felber: There you go, and always looking for new opportunities to add value. Craig, welcome to Making Bank.

Craig Clemens: Thanks, great to be here.

Josh Felber: So give me a little bit about your background. I mean, what, I guess how’d you get into the whole field of copywriting? Maybe we’re skipping way ahead because I’ve talked to you a little bit so I kind of know a little bit of your story but I guess tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today.

Craig Clemens: Yeah, so my background is actually in telemarketing, phone sales. I used to work in phone rooms kind of like Boiler Room style except we weren’t selling financial services. We were selling tools and industrial supplies, like sets of wrenches and drill bits, things like that.

Josh Felber: I mean were you a natural at it? Was it something that you had to work at? I’ve run some telemarketing rooms for different companies that I’ve owned so I totally know what you’re talking about now.

Craig Clemens: Yeah I mean I was pretty solid I guess. I wasn’t like one of the best salespeople but I would put some numbers up. What I was good at and I didn’t realize I was doing at the time however but when we’d get a new product in to sell I would write up the pitch for it and often times my pitch would get copied and sent to all the other guys in the office.

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: And I’d be like, “No they can’t use that shit, man, I need that,” but that’s just how it works. I didn’t know it at the time but I was writing sales copy. It was interesting because now of course I do that for a living [inaudible 00:03:01] writing and there was an in-between time when I started working for Eben Pagen, who’s an internet marketer who brought me out of the phone room and into the writing room so to speak and when I first started writing copy for him I was terrible and I think if I would’ve treated that sales copy more like a one-on-one conversation with someone, it would’ve done a lot better.

Josh Felber: Okay, so when you first started writing your sales copy what was your focus ‘cause you said you weren’t writing kind of like you were talking to the person one-on-one?

Craig Clemens: Yeah maybe that was skipping ahead a little bit. Let me give-

Josh Felber: Yeah I know we cut out a little bit but I was gonna see if you were gonna bring it back around.

Craig Clemens: Yeah, so I was working one dead end telemarketing job to another from tools and supplies to selling credit card merchant accounts to mortgages and the mortgage one I was actually on one of those dialer machines where you call like 200 homeowners in an hour and get hung up on by 199 of them. It was fucking hell. You gotta pay your dues in the telemarketing room to become a mortgage broker at this company.

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: Then I had a friend, his name was Eben Pagen, and I spoke to him one day and we hadn’t talked in a while and at this point I was in a bad place man. I was you know about 23 years old. I’d been doing this dead end telemarketing jobs for three, four years. I had one that made me a little bit of money and it was a straight commission thing and I spent it all and didn’t pay taxes on it so I owed like 30 grand in back taxes and I didn’t have any money even to go out and eat other than I remember $2 drink night was my savior.

Josh Felber: Ramen noodles and $2 drink night.

Craig Clemens: Yeah I was definitely one of the guys we went downtown San Diego where the drinks cost actual money, my friends and I would be drinking the bottle of whiskey in the parking lot so I didn’t have to buy drinks in the nightclub. Yeah I reached out to my old friend Eben Pagen to see what he was doing and he told me he had written an e-book on how to meet women called Double Your Dating and I was like, “What the hell’s an ebook man?” He’s like, “It’s a book but it’s an electronic book.” I was like what’s an electronic book? He was like, “Well they get a file and they print it out at home.” I was like, “So it’s like a Word document?” He’s like, “No it’s actually what’s called a PDF,” and I was like okay so you’re selling this? People pay you money for this? And he’s like, “Yeah I sell them for 40 bucks.” So they pay you money for nothing basically? And he’s like, “No, no they want the information inside,” and I was like all right man, that sounds like a scam.

He’s like, “Well yeah I made $17,000 selling that e-book last month,” and I was like, “What the fuck? Really? Okay if the cops come knocking on your door I’m still your friend. Enjoy that,” but I thought it was bullshit.

Josh Felber: Yeah.

Craig Clemens: Then I talked to him about a couple months after that and I’m like, “Hey how’s that e-book going? You still out in the free world? Feds haven’t come knocking on your door yet?” And he’s like, “No, it’s an information product. People happily pay the money. No one asks for a refund because the content in this book is really good and they don’t need an actual hard copy book.” This is early internet days.

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: Of course now eBooks have taken over but pre-Kindle and so he told me at that point he was making $70,000 a month selling the ebook. I was like, “All right man, I’m convinced. I’m gonna come work for you. I don’t care what you need me to do, you need me to make you some coffee, I can shine your shoes, I can do your dry cleaning. I just want to find out what the fuck you’re doing with this ebook and how I can make one too,” and he’s like whatever man.

We hung up the phone and I went back to my depressing telemarketing job. I look at this ebook and it was pretty interesting and it had some interesting tips on where to take a girl on the first date and what to say to start a conversation with a woman at a bar, things like that and he sent out this email newsletter as well and this was early email days but I subscribed and I noticed two or three times a week I’d get these tips from him and his alter ego, he had a pen name so to speak, it was David D’Angelo.

These tips would come and they would be written in a very personal manner, so imagine opening up your inbox and it would say, “Hey Josh, if you’re sitting home alone tonight and not sure when your next date is going to be, then you and I need to talk because it wasn’t too long ago I was right there where you are sitting at home absolutely frustrated with my dating life. And then I came across a guy who showed me some secrets about how to start conversations with women and I went out and I used them and I talked to five girls that night and three of them gave me their phone numbers and by that weekend I had gone on dates with all three of them. They were calling me afterwards and asking me when we were gonna go out again and it changed my life and I want to share with you one of these secrets today on how to start a conversation with woman. If you’d like to learn more of these, I wrote everything I learned from this guy in this ebook called Double Your Dating and you can get it right here for 40 bucks.”

So he would send out these newsletters three times a week and I was like that’s pretty brilliant but I can write one of these things, I bet I could. I remember one night, it was like a Friday night, I stayed home from the club which was rare for me at the age of 23 and I sat down. I’m like I’m gonna write one of these newsletters and I started writing. I was careful to write it in his conversational tone.

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: It started off like, “Dear Friend.” That’s how they all started off. “If you’re serious about meeting more women and getting more dates, then what I have to tell you is gonna be really important.” I just followed that same style and I think, well I remember what it was. It was, the headline was two tips to kiss a girl.

Josh Felber: Nice.

Craig Clemens: And I wrote it like two tips to go for a kiss without rejection and I sent that to Eben and on Monday I got an email back and he’s like, “Okay now we can talk,” and I was like yes. I might actually [inaudible 00:09:57] with this guy. He had told me that every time he sent out one of these email newsletters, he would sell $4,000 worth of eBooks.

Josh Felber: Wow.

Craig Clemens: I had this vision like man he sends out three a week, if he would let me write just one of them and give me 10% that’d be 400 bucks a week, that’d be $1,600 a month. That would be life changing money. That would pay my car payment, pay my rent, and I’d have money left over but I should probably start paying my taxes this time around. That’s what I was really hoping for. We started chatting and Eben did me one better. He offered me a full time job as a guy doing, a customer service guy. Basically answering questions that came in about the ebook and he offered me $3,000 a month starting salary and that was life changing money. It literally changed my life.

Josh Felber: Wow, that’s awesome. Can you stick around for a minute?

Craig Clemens: Sure.

Josh Felber: Awesome. I am Josh Felber and you’re watching Making Bank and we’ll be right back.

Josh Felber: Welcome back to Making Bank, I am Josh Felber where we’ve been diving in deep with Craig Clemens on his background and how he got started as a copywriter and we left off a little bit about where you were talking about working for Eben, getting started as a customer service job after struggling for several years and welcome back to the show Craig.

Craig Clemens: Thank you, this is fun.

Josh Felber: Cool man. I guess along the way here so far ’cause you telemarketing, kind of a sales, and testing out some sales letters and scripts and stuff. What were maybe one or two tips that you learned from a sales and marketing perspective that have helped you today?

Craig Clemens: Yeah so when I started working for Eben I didn’t write the sales copy right away. I was answering customers questions but eventually he started grooming me to write those newsletters on a consistent basis and also the longer form sales letters that would get people to buy the new products. So for example Eben made a course called Meeting Women Online and he and I worked together to write the sales letter that got people to buy that course, right?

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: One of the first things he taught me was that when you’re writing a sales message to someone you should speak as though you’re speaking directly to just one person and that is the best way to build a connection with them. One thing you would never do, for example, is if you’re sending out an email to your list, even if there’s a million people on the list, you would always start off and be like, “Hey man.” Not like, “Hey you guys,” or, “Hey all you million people out there.”

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: Whatever, because the instant that you remind them that they’re on an email list and they’re one of thousands of people reading it, it dilutes the message and it doesn’t seem like a one-on-one conversation.

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: So you start off speaking one-on-one and some of the technology allows you to insert the name too, which is even better so you can say, “Hey Josh, I want to thank you for opening this message because I’m gonna share with you today a secret I found about meeting women and getting dates that has been transformative for me and I think it’ll work great for you as well but I want to tell it to you and then you can try it out and let me know what you think.” So that’s the right way to do it. The wrong way would be like, “Hey guys, I found out this new secret. I want all you guys to go try it out and report back and this and that.” It’s just not as connecting.

Josh Felber: Right, okay.

Craig Clemens: That’s the biggest tip I can give to someone on how to create that intimate bond when you’re writing a sales message that I see a lot of people making the mistake of not doing that.

Josh Felber: And then when you target and you kind of zone in on who you’re gonna really focus as your audience, is that kind of the avatar or that specific demographic of people that you’re looking to attract or I guess how do you figure that out for you?

Craig Clemens: Well here’s a great next tip that I recommend. If you want to speak to someone in a connected manner, it helps to know them. If you’re taking to your best friend, you’re gonna speak to them a little bit differently than if you’re talking to someone that you just met before, you know?

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: Another exercise that Eben taught me that has been very valuable is when you’re sitting down to write a sales message for your brand, picture who that’s going to and just picture one person who you think would be your ideal customer and then put yourself in their shoes and actually sit down and write an autobiography as that person.

Josh Felber: Okay.

Craig Clemens: I would imagine that I was a 35 year old guy with a couple of kids that just recently got divorced, is trying to get back in the dating game and meet some new ladies and get some new dates and he’s a little rusty. He hasn’t done this since college and when you’re writing this autobiography go deep in the details man. Write down what your job is, what kind of car you drive, where you live, if you have children or not, what kind of hobbies you’re into and just paint that customer avatar by actually becoming that customer for a minute and write down all your fears and hopes and dreams and all that stuff too. And then flip the script and when you decide to write, imagine that you’re at a bar and that that person is sitting next to you and you hear them tell the bartender about a problem that you have the answer to and then you turn to them and say, “Hey man, couldn’t help but notice,” you know the conversation. “I want to tell you something that I discovered that might help you.”

Josh Felber: Nice. [crosstalk 00:17:06]

Craig Clemens: The other technique of turning to someone that you’re sitting next to at a bar is a technique I got from John Carlton, who’s a great copywriter. He says that’s a good way to get yourself going on the page when you’re figuring out which way to start.

Josh Felber: No that’s awesome and that kind of creates a lot more clarity with, “Hey how do I write and who do I write too and then how to actually speak that language and connect to that person.”

Craig Clemens: Yeah and here’s the third tip that I think is really valuable. First tip is speak directly to one person. Second tip is to figure out who that person is and talk to them about their hopes, dreams, and desires and the third tip is to think about what conversation that person is having in their mind. What thoughts are going on inside their head. If it’s a dating advice customer, the things he’s probably thinking about is why is this girl I like not calling me back or how come I’m at this bar and all these other men seem to be talking to ladies and I’m not? The questions going on in his head and then jump right into that conversation. For example you could say, “Hey man, you ever found yourself out in a social situation and noticed that the girl you wanted to talk to wasn’t available to talk to you and you couldn’t think of anything clever to go and strike up a conversation with her?” I mean every guy’s been in that situation [inaudible 00:18:49].

That’s entering the conversation that any guy’s having in their own head. That’s a Robert Collier technique, who’s one of the all time great copywriters. You must enter the conversation that’s going on in your prospect’s mind and when you do that the prospect will automatically give you credit for knowing the solution to their problem also because they feel like you understand them.

Josh Felber: No those are some awesome tips. Excellent, so you’re working for Eben and you’re writing. You just got the ability to start writing some sales copy with him. Kind of fill us in from there what happened.

Craig Clemens: Yeah so I was really fortunate to be able to have Eben there to tell me when my copy was good and when it sucked and I’ll never forget a big turning point to me. There’s a sales letter message formula that he used a lot in different markets …

Josh Felber: Okay.

Craig Clemens: … And what it is, you say, “If you’re looking to do X, then this will be the most important message you will ever read. So, hey Josh if you’re looking to meet more women and get more dates this weekend then this will be the most important message you’ll ever read.” Or let’s just say you’re selling a golf product. “Hey Josh if you’re looking to lower your golf score this weekend when you hit the course, then this will be the most important thing you read today.” You know?

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: I’ll never forget this turning point that happened to me when I was writing a message and there’s this old formula that I was using that every copywriter knows and it’s like a proven way to start a sales message and it’s an if-then formula and the way it works is you say, “If you’re looking to do X, then this message will be the most important message you’ll ever read.”

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: So using the dating advice market it could say, “If you’re looking to meet more women and get more dates this weekend, then this can be the most important message that you’re ever going to read.” Or let’s say you’re selling a gold product and say, “If you’re looking to lower your gold score and beat all your friends on the greens this weekend, then this message is gonna be the most important message you’ll ready today,” right?

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: I was writing a newsletter and I started it off that same way and I had said something like, “Hey if you’re looking to get more dates this weekend, then this will be the most important letter you ever read. Here’s why: I just interviewed a guy from my dating guru series and the things he revealed about starting conversations with women are just phenomenal. I learned one sentence from him that you can get up and say to any woman in the board and it’ll start a conversation without rejection and it gets her doing most of the talking so it makes an effortless conversation that you almost can’t screw up,” right?

Josh Felber: Yeah.

Craig Clemens: So I had written that. That’s kind of how the message went and I thought it was a really nice sales copy. I mean who [inaudible 00:21:44] and so I sent it to Eben and I was like, “Hey man this is it, you can send this out on Friday. This is the message,” and Eben’s like, “Hey okay, thanks. Can we jump on the phone for a minute?” I was like sure man and I thought he was gonna be like dude I’m so proud of you [inaudible 00:22:00] and I got on the phone with him and he’s like, “Hey man, you’re better than this.” I was like, “What? What do you mean? This is good copy,” and he’s like, “It is good copy but what I want to get on the phone and talk with you about is there’s a next level here that you’re missing out on and I think you can reach it if you put some more thought into this.” And admittedly [inaudible 00:22:32] formula-

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: You know, if and formula. I hadn’t put a lot of thought into it but what Eben says, he says, “Look, who’s this going out to,” and I said, “Well it’s a guy who’s on our email list,” and he’s like, “Has that guy been on our email list for a while,” and I’m like, “Probably.” He’s like, “Has he bought any of our products,” and I’m like, “He might’ve bought one or two.” He’s like, “Okay well what’s that guy doing? It’s Friday night. Put yourself in his shoes. He’s been on our email list for a while. He’s sitting home on a Friday night. What’s actually gonna get him, guy who’s on our list for a while, to get really excited about this and pull out his credit card and buy a product that changes his dating life? Is it one of these old boring if-and statements?” I was like okay let me think about this, you know?

Josh Felber: Yeah.

Craig Clemens: I came back and started writing again and I don’t remember exactly what I came up with. What I did was I really thought about that customer. I thought about the avatar and I put myself in his shoes and thought about the autobiography thing and what I came back with was something like, “Hey man, it’s Friday night and tonight I want to talk to you about something a little personal and it’s something I don’t really talk about in these newsletters very often and it’s loneliness because it wasn’t that long ago when I felt really lonely in my life, I felt like all of my friends on the weekends were going out with women or had girlfriends or going to bar and meet a lot of women and I not only didn’t have that, I didn’t even know where to start. I was playing a lot of video games at the time and I got really into computers and all that. Every once in a while I’d get a wild spark that okay, I’m gonna go out and meet some girls tonight and I’d go out and the same thing would happen. My friends would meet girls and I wouldn’t and I would just feel really disappointed and even more alone.”

“I haven’t really got that deep into revealing this with you before but I felt that it was important that I talked to you about where I used to be because I want to share with you something that helped me back then that I think maybe can help you too and what it is it’s just a little conversation tip that I learned from a guy that I just interviewed and it reminded me about something I had done back in the day that helped me like not only get out and meet more women but cure my loneliness and have an abundance of dates and actually be the guy in the social situation who would have the hot girl talking to him. So here it is.”

Josh Felber: Nice.

Craig Clemens: Okay so that was [inaudible 00:25:35]-

Josh Felber: Right, yeah.

Craig Clemens: The first one’s pretty good …

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: … And the second one really builds that connection, shows exactly where you were then. You were in that guys shoes and pulls all the way from the depths of loneliness to fun and excitement, right?

Josh Felber: Yeah.

Craig Clemens: And you know if I hadn’t had Eben there to tell me, “Hey there is a next level,” I would’ve sent out that first promo. It would’ve done okay, it would’ve got a few sales and I would’ve just kept writing pretty good sales copy.

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: But because I had him as my mentor to smack me around a bit and tell me there’s a next level, I learned to go a little deeper and then we sent that out and it just absolutely crushed it and even got not just sales but guys emailing David D’Angelo back and saying, “Hey thank you for sharing this. Sometimes you seem a little larger than life. Now I know you’ve been where I was and I feel like even more that I can learn from you.”

Josh Felber: Wow that’s cool, that’s awesome.

Craig Clemens: Yeah so I guess my fourth tip would be go deep and always think what’s the next level.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome you obviously had a mentor around you as well. I mean I think that plays a big role in helping push us along and helped you where you were at with your copy.

Craig Clemens: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Josh Felber: Cool, and then what you do? So you worked for Eben for a few years and then what did you dive into after that?

Craig Clemens: Yeah so he and I worked together for five years. I got a world class education on marketing thankfully. I started affiliate marketing company on the side with my two brothers. We were doing some lead generation stuff and today we run a company that does nutritional supplements and [inaudible 00:27:48].

Josh Felber: Okay, awesome. And do your brothers work with you in the business now too or are you kind of-

Craig Clemens: Yeah, yeah we’re all business partners.

Josh Felber: Oh cool, that’s awesome.

Craig Clemens: So nice family affair and it’s funny because my brothers are completely different than I am. My brother Mark is more like engineer, analytical mindset. I always come in with these big awesome ideas that I think are awesome and they’ll be like, “Oh no that’s not gonna work ’cause of this,” and I’m like, “What the fuck man?” They’re actually right though so I have to shut up. It’s good to have opposite minded people to balance me out, you know? Yeah [inaudible 00:28:34] someone who’s thinking of learning copywriting and wants to make a living out of it, it’s something else to think about. You can go freelance and write for brands and businesses and you can make a really nice living doing it or another way to make a living as a copywriter is to partner with someone who is more of an operator type person …

Josh Felber: Okay.

Craig Clemens: … That will run the nuts and bolts of the business so you can focus on the sales and marketing and that’s the type of partnership I have with my two brothers right now.

Josh Felber: Awesome.

Craig Clemens: And we have another partner as well who handles all the ugly financial stuff that we don’t know anything about.

Josh Felber: Yeah.

Craig Clemens: [inaudible 00:29:16] corporations and things like that.

Josh Felber: Yeah, you gotta leave that to him.

Craig Clemens: Yeah.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome. And so I guess what is your passion with all of this and where do you want to eventually see this to go for you and your brothers?

Craig Clemens: Yeah so I love our current operation and I’m having more fun working than I ever had in my life but my passion is two-fold. I want to pass this stuff on. I want to teach as many people as possible how to become a great copywriter because you take someone down the street and you ask them what a copywriter is, they don’t even know. They think it’s making sure patents are protected or something like that and copywriter’s actually a really shitty word to describe what we do. It’s more like we’re brand storytellers.

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: I want to introduce people to this career that can give a lot of wealth and freedom to someone who’s willing to put the time in. It wasn’t an overnight success for me. For three years I only listened to marketing programs. I didn’t listen to music in my car. I only streamed audio books and things like that and Eben was making me write 10 pages of copy a day and that’s an important part too is actually putting the writing work in. If you’re willing to put the work in, the magic of the skill of copywriting is that it’s a unique skill because not a lot of other people know about it, there’s not a lot of competition. If you’re willing to put the time in to get good, you are almost guaranteed to make good money and you can, the people you can partner with are limitless. There will always be businesses that need copy, whether it’s high economic times or low. You just might be selling something different.

Josh Felber: Right, okay and so you were saying you want to pass this on. Are you coming out with a course or a book to pass along your knowledge or what are you doing with that?

Craig Clemens: Yeah, so I’m actually writing two books right now. They say if you chase two rabbits you catch none and that’s probably why it’s taking me a long time to get them done but the two books I’m writing, one of them is on copywriting and how to learn a skill and then make a living doing it and then the other book is about basically just getting your shit together because it wasn’t that long ago I was a 23 year old binge drinking maniac that was basically unemployable. I think that’s [crosstalk 00:31:57].

Josh Felber: Unemployable.

Craig Clemens: [inaudible 00:31:59] I gradated high school with a 1.7 GPA. I was fired from every job I ever had until I got into phone sales. I think I got fired from three of those jobs as well, different reasons. But yeah, I discovered this thing of copywriting and it allowed me to do okay for a while but then when I was really able to take my craft tot he next level is when I actually got my shit together as a man and started applying myself and I’ve come up with some productivity principles that I follow everyday and actually if people Google, I wrote an article. It’s called ‘How to 10X your income in four years’ and there I outline seven things I did that allowed me to 10X my income in a four year period and you can just Google my name ‘Craig Clemens and 10x your income’ and the article will pop up …

Josh Felber: Cool.

Craig Clemens: … And I was so blown away by the feedback I got from that article and how many people have reached out to me and told me that they use these principles to get their shit together and make more money doing it and I think there’s a book there as well. That’s another book that I’m writing is talking about those seven principles and a few more that I have and how to actually apply them into your life and just become a better person and accomplish more. Making more income is a side product of that really.

Josh Felber: Right, definitely. No that’s awesome and that’s exciting. What, who would you say if people wanted to break into the copy field, who do they need to go out and kind of study and start to learn from out there right now?

Craig Clemens: Yeah, so the first book to read is called My Life in Advertising. It’s by a guy named Claud Hopkins. He was like the original copywriter back in the early 1900s and he built some huge brands that are still around today using the same principles of speaking to someone sort of one-on-one and writing engaging advertising that we use today to sell dating products or nutrition and things like that. His book is fascinating about how he put brands on the map, like Pepcidit Toothpaste and Bridgestone Tires and Schlitz Beer. Things that just lasted for decades because they were well positioned with great sales copy.

So that’s the first book I recommend everyone read and the second resource is Gary Halbert Letter. I’m sure you’re familiar with Gary Halbert.

Josh Felber: Yep.

Craig Clemens: Yeah so Gary Halbert unfortunately passed on a few years back but he was the best of the best when it came to writing sizzling sales copy that would just blow you away. So Dan Kennedy who’s another legendary copywriter used to say that if you’re going against Gary Halbert in a market, you’re going to have to have your numbers down extremely well as far as what you’re going to sell them on the backend and that means what they will buy after they buy your initial product because you can’t outsell Gary on the front end. You simply cannot ever write an ad that will beat Gary Halbert’s ad for an initial product, so you have to figure out [crosstalk 00:35:27] monetizing later.

Gary Halbert used to write a letter that he charged $200 a year to subscribe to and he’d send it out once a month and his sons, Bob and Kevin who are great friends of mine, maintain a database of all of his letters on their website. It’s the and they actually put up a product where they have some of the top copywriters of today reading those letters and giving their own input. You can find it on iTunes and I was really honored to be chosen to read one of Gary’s letters in that program and I would say that those two things are great starting points for someone who’s looking to become a copywriter or someone who’s looking to learn how to be able to identify great copy written by other people or just increase their businesses anyway because the strategies that you learn when you’re studying copywriting and communication of this manner will increase any type of business, whether you’re actually gonna be doing the bulk of the writing yourself or just applying the principles to your entire sales funnel.

Josh Felber: And then also too you said writing 10 pages a day is a good action step as well.

Craig Clemens: Yeah so I narrowed down the process of what it takes to master copywriting to four things.

Josh Felber: Okay.

Craig Clemens: And I actually think this mastery process can be applied to anything. I’ve personally tested it in only writing sales copy but maybe you can apply it to a musical instrument or learning to be a professional trampoliner or whatever. Those principles are immersion, which means immersing yourself in the world. You’ve gotta be reading copywriting books. You’ve gotta be listening to the audio programs. Studying great ads that you see running often. If you see an ad running often, that means it’s a successful ad because someone’s paying money to advertise it. Grab an issue of Cosmo Magazine and if you see an ad running two months in a row it’s safe to say it’s a good ad. Immersion is the first principle of learning.

The second one is to have a great mentor. Try to find someone that will be a mentor to you is the best way to do it or go work at a company that hires copywriters because …

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: … When you’re at a company you not only get the benefit of being immersed in it everyday with other people who are interested in it, but you’re automatically gonna have a mentor in the form of your boss …

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: … Is likely going to be excellent copy chief. You can have the benefit of getting a mentor and that immersion at the same time. That’s what I recommend for the first two things and I’m pulling out my notes here to make sure I say them in the right order. Immersion, mentorship, and then application. You gotta do it. You’ve gotta write the 10 pages every day at least five days a week if you want to do it good. You can learn a lot about copy reading advertising and listening to audio programs but you’ll never become a great copywriter unless you write copy yourself and write a ton of it …

Josh Felber: Sure.

Craig Clemens: … And you’re gonna write a lot of shitty copy before you start writing great copy. That’s the three steps is immerse yourself, find a mentor, and then do the freaking work. The best place to do that is go get a job at an ad agency or at a company like my own where you can get in there, you’re immersed, you’ve got mentors looking over your shoulder telling you when your copy’s good or bad, and forcing you to write the damn copy and you’re getting paid to train and then the fourth principle that I think is essential to mastering any skill is time and my theory is that if you do the first three, if you do the immersion. If you find a mentor and then you do the work, all you need to do at that point is put the time in and you are guaranteed to master that.

Josh Felber: Right. Yeah those are excellent tips for sure.

Craig Clemens: Yeah and the time is gonna be different for other people and you’re gonna reach different levels you know? It took me six months before I could write something that Eben would mail to the email list.

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: And then it took me another two, three years before I would write something that would sell one of our bigger course products.

Josh Felber: Okay.

Craig Clemens: It’s one thing to be able to write a short email newsletter but then to be able to write a long form piece that’s like 30 pages asking someone to invest $200 with their hard earned money takes another level of skill. After that it was a few more years before I could write something that would get conversions off of cold banner traffic, and that just means someone’s browsing on the internet that clicks on a banner ad that decides to buy something you have created versus someone who’s already on the email list and in the funnel, you know?

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: But yeah put that time in and get to the mastery point because the higher you climb in these levels, the more your skill will be worth to a business owner who is employing you or contracting you to write copy.

Josh Felber: No that’s awesome and I think we got just so much awesome nuggets of information for our listeners out there today and really appreciate you sharing it.

Craig Clemens: Yeah man, great to be here. I have to say I’ve done a few of these interviews and this one I think was able to drop the most knowledge on how to become a great copywriter and make a living for yourself doing this incredibly exciting thing, so thanks for having me man. I love sharing it.

Josh Felber: Oh yeah no problem. It’s an honor to have you on. So I guess what’s one little piece of advice you would want to share out to any of our entrepreneurial listeners out there?

Craig Clemens: Entrepreneurial listeners I would say that focus is fucking huge man. I see a lot of these other entrepreneurial people going around talking about hustling. You gotta hustle 17 hours a day and hustle on the weekends and work seven days a week and I’m like, “Fuck that man.” I work a lot of days because I love it but I don’t work a long time. What I do instead is focused work. I think focus and immersion are more powerful than hustle. One of my favorite focus methods is to work on a time and what I do is I’ll work for 33 minutes on and then at 33 minutes I’ll take a six minute break …

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: … And I use that number because that’s what Eugene Schwartz, who’s one of the great all time copywriters, used to do is 33 minutes on, six minutes off and then once I start cranking I’ll do 50 minutes on, 5-0 …

Josh Felber: Right.

Craig Clemens: … And 10 minutes off and during that 10 minutes if you really want to speed up your production get your brain working, do something physical man. Like do a set of sit ups or push ups. Eat snack, bathroom, and then something physical to get that blood flowing through your body and into your brain and that’s when you’ll be doing your best work is when you’re doing this focused work and I guarantee you if you’re doing five hours a day of focused work, you will kick the shit out of someone who’s doing 10 hours a day of just like scattered crap. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is man. I’m all about that Pareto principle, finding the 20% that makes the 80% and this is it in effect man.

Josh Felber: That’s awesome. That’s funny you say that because I use a pretty similar, I use 50 to 55 minutes on and then anywhere from five to 10 minutes and I go do some kind of exercise and get the blood moving, drink water, and everything too and it makes a huge difference of productivity and focus.

Craig Clemens: Yeah, yeah I got my water and my coffee next to me. After this I’m gonna go do a set of squats and turn a timer on and start writing.

Josh Felber: Nice, that’s awesome. Yeah and I think heard something you were talking about you kinda hacked the whole workout process for you throughout the week. You’re utilizing big movement forms with squats and dead lifts and bench and things like that.

Craig Clemens: Yeah, I do the same thing with workouts because I don’t want to be in the gym for a fucking hour. I like to get them out in 30 minutes so I go do, I do my deadlift. I do my weighted pull ups and then I do one other back exercise and that’s it. I’m done with that day. The next day it’s bench press, squats, and dips and I’ve worked all the muscle groups and then the last day I do shoulders and abs and the workouts are 30 minutes long. I’m in the best shape of my life and I get just a good a workout as I used to do when I’d go in there for an hour and just dicking around doing like fucking curl with your wrist. No man that’s bullshit. Stop doing that shit man. Just do the stuff that makes the most impact and when it comes to writing that’s working on a damn timer, focused work, one thing, no Facebook, no cell phone, no bullshit. In the gym that’s focusing on the one exercise that works the biggest muscle group, so squats, deadlift, bench press, chin ups, dips.

Josh Felber: Yeah.

Craig Clemens: This thing can be applied throughout your life and you’ll get a lot more done and you’ll have a lot more free time to then go fuck off on Facebook.

Josh Felber: There you go. Cool Craig, well where can people get more information about you? Did we freeze? Hey where can people get more information about you?

Craig Clemens: You can find me on Facebook, on Instagram. Craig Clemens on Facebook, Craig R Clemens on Instagram. If you know the fucker that has the name without the ‘R’ in it, I’m looking for him. I’m putting out a lot of test content on my Facebook page, though, you know to see what people want and just publishing a lot of free stuff. I don’t have anything to sell yet, sorry. Some day. So right now I’m just giving away all this shit for free. Yeah, come drop me a line on there and yeah I love passing this stuff on.

Josh Felber: Cool man, well it was awesome again to have you on the show today and it was an honor.

Craig Clemens: Thanks Josh for having me man. Really fun doing this with you.

Josh Felber: For sure. I am Josh Felber and you’re watching Making Bank. Get out and be extraordinary.