Episode #139 – David Allan On How A Street Magician Copywriter Seizes Attention And Positions Himself To Make Money Appear

by John McIntyre

TITLE ­ Email Marketing Podcast Episode #139 David Allan has been traveling for almost three years nonstop.

He used street magic to create freedom while he found his copywriting groove.

He also found the enormous crossover between the two.

Especially when it came to positioning.

Whether it’s building crowds or attracting freelance clients…

…this magician understands psychology.

In this episode, you’ll find how real “street smarts” can find freelance clients now and show you the money!

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How a world famous copywriter lured him into buying a product AND a new career!
  • Newbie copywriters and street performers always do THIS… and miss out on making any real money!
  • Key strategies street performers use that will improve your copywriting immediately
  • The truth behind how performers and copywriters make their end product great. (HINT: It almost never starts out that way).
  • What drunken, vacationing tourists have to do with the readability of your copy

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 1


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

John McIntyre: Alright, it’s John McIntyre here, the Autoresponder Guy. I’m here with Dave Allan
from from Canada. Now I’d give you a web site here, but It’s currently under construction.David Allan: Yes.John McIntyre: [laughter]David Allan: That’s true. I was going to interject there. It’s – It’s going to be called, It is called but
it’s just the site is down currently for some reconstruction. But It’s called MakeWordsPay.com.
John McIntyre: Good. Good site man.
John McIntyre: Pretty simple. Pretty easy to understand. Anyway, So – you’re from Canada,
you’ve moved to California, you’re a digital nomad. Like you said you’re a professional magician
and you go into direct marketing copywriting because of Gary Halbert, which is a cool story that we
can get into. Now you’re running a book on combining magic with marketing which sounds pretty
cool. Now, I think I’ve mentioned before we hit record here that you know you’ve got one portion of
the audience. You know one type of listener is going to be the copywriter or aspiring copywriter
who wants to get clients maybe has a job maybe doesn’t have a job but wants to figure out that side
of things – then you’ve got the business owners that have an established business and they’re
looking for for ideas to grow the business sell more stuff. And the reason you know we started
speaking is we’re actually emailed for you know I think several times in the last couple of years
you’ve been around for for a while now and I thought it would be good get to get you on the show
have a chat – I think the magician things really good and I think you probably have a unique
perspective. You know it’s not going to be like seven tips on how to do X Y Z and it’s going to be
how many copywriters do you meet who are magicians, right? For example.
David Allan: No, that’s great. So thank you for having me on the show John and I have been
following you for a while we have exchanged e-mails over the years I’ve watched your ascent to the
heights of email copywriting and you know you just seemed like a real cool guy, I know you hang
around with you know luminaries such as weirdos like Dan Meredith and so forth.
So I think it’s just that you know fantabulous to be on the show and I think it’s always fun to talk
about copywriting and marketing. So thanks for having me on. Yeah man it’s going to be great. So I
am a professional magician and have been for I think like 11 or 12 years now at this point I don’t
know what year it is. But I was I hit the road became a digital nomad not quite – just shy of three
years ago. It will be three years in December, actually. And so I used magic to make myself
independent digital independent or just independent at the time. And at the time I was doing a little
bit just a little bit here and there as I was learning copywriting and really sinking my teeth into it
and started to do stuff for actual clients and so forth. And so I’ve done more of that in the three
years hence and I continue to do street magic which is what actually I was able to use to go
independent and travel. So I’ve been traveling for for three years almost now straight.
John McIntyre: OK so you actually got into this I guess the digital nomad, it’s more of like the
magical nomad lifestyle. So that’s going into the travel sort of lifestyle – the digital nomad thing.
And Magic was what sort of kept to going at first but that is how you made this transition – you’re
still doing magic but now you’re also doing the marketing. ‘Cause I’m sure there is – as we’ll talk
about – there’s a lot of similarities between them.
David Allan: Yeah there are a lot of similarities. You know this. Is funny because once you’re
doing one thing and you learn about another you see it’s remarkable how a lot of things are similar.
When you get into deep dive into different fields you notice a lot a lot of similarities once you’re in
them. And Magic – when I was just doing a high-end private parties as a magician that was sort of
one thing that sort of helped me and for aspiring copywriters and freelance copywriters, I can talk
about that in the future too but what I learned from working for high end clientele how to get those
high end clientele and so forth became you know much of it became much easier when I became a
copywriter. And also when I started to transition from doing private parties going location
independent with the magic and actually doing street magic was what I used to go independent and
started traveling around just starting impromptu magical theater on the street corner. That I sort of
had to assimilate a new skill set and a lot of those skills are actually a form of marketing – and
marketing concepts distilled down into sort of you know what you use to to make a street show. So
it was really interesting to see the connection of the two parts – the copywriting marketing and the
street magic because the principles came to life you know because I was doing less copywriting at
the beginning the principals came to life in the street magic and then you saw this crossover where
you went back and said I know what this is, you know.
So for instance, because examples are always best I’d say – when you start a street show of course
you’re just there by yourself usually And there’s just people walking by or congregating or usually
working in some sort of tourist area. But the first thing you must do is get people’s attention and you
really get to know pretty quickly that people walk around in a virtual daze, you know, especially
because you’re working for tourists you’re in some sort of touristy location where people are
congregating. I mean I don’t know about you John, but when I go on vacation I don’t want to do
math, you know. I’m not trying to do any complex psychological games or anything. I’m just trying
to relax. Probably happen a few drinks. You know do some fun activities or whatever you’re into.
And as a result you know it’s hard and something hard to focus people’s attention. I would say the
same applies to copywriting and stuff you see ads, marketing materials all the time that have a very
weak you know headline or a very weak start to whatever the marketing piece is. And as a result it’s
very hard to get noticed. In street magic its the same too, it’s got to sort of start with a bang. And
you can kind of tell people what to do. I learned that very quickly because when you’re doing street
magic and you’re out there and it’s very daunting because you’re out there by yourself and you’re
trying to start a show impromptu. People are just going by you and luck and unless you can really
extrovert yourself. It’s just not going to get started and you’re going to just look like a crazy person
talking to themselves.
John McIntyre: [laughter]
John McIntyre: And I was going to say there is this you know five six years ago I was doing you
know we’ve all probably you know when you’re in the mall you see like these people trying to sign
you up to a charity. So I had that job six,seven, eight – I think 2009 is a long time ago. Seven years
ago. It was the same thing. It’s funny how you know copywriting is you know this on a page but
any kind of human communication is. Yes step one, get their attention and with charity thing its the
same thing that you’re wearing like a charity T-shirt. People know that you know you get with a
board like you look like you know you got like a big you know sign on your chest saying you know
I’m a salesperson I’m trying to sign you on to this thing. And when people stop – like we would try
all sorts of you know,gambits you might call them, or headlines to try to get them to stop because I
mean like you said people that people are rushing – I imagine with magic its even harder because at
least with me, I’m a charity so they kind of like well you know it’s you know it’s nice that we can
help the world out of it all have a chat to them whereas you know it was magic you don’t really have
that benefit. It’s more like Hey, look at me I’m special. People are in a hurry you know. It’s tricky.
David Allan: It’s very tricky. You know it’s stunning sort of as a more you get into it. It was more
stunning to me how you know, how you chose to craft you’re basically playing a character you
know out there and how you crafted the character has a lot to do with who you’re going to draw you
know to your show. Who’s going to stop and watch. And it’s very interesting to see the crossover
and copywriting where you have you know you’re trying to target a specific market and really a
specific person – a real customer avatar of some kind where you know these very hopefully, if
you’ve done your research you know these very specific things about these people. And the same
street magic you get to know depending on what you know because it’s all done by trial, you get to
know who your people are. And if you want those people at your show maybe you should go in this
direction more in this direction more. And the beauty of both a street magic show, which I think all
copywriters and people aspiring to be copywriters who are just getting into this. What I really
appreciate is really street magic is like a testing battleground – Basically – because in copywriting
you know you’re testing different headlines you’re split testing you’re doing ab testing and testing
different offers and so forth or you should be. I think most people probably don’t but they should be.
Also in the street magic thing, the iterations are so fast because you can do another show 10 minutes
from now you can do another show 10 minutes from then – that you make these corrections and
these choices and everything happens. Yeah happened so fast you know. So you get to really see
what works.
John McIntyre: Right. Yeah, that be really cool. Sometimes a problem with something with doing
life is you get one chance at it. You know once a week or something you don’t get enough data in to
try different things to test it for new ideas. Yeah with the magic you’d be at it’s it’s not just the
opener but the entire show and find that will because you get at the end of the show. You ask people
did that you know give some money basically people watch the show so that you’d be out to test
different like that would be a call to action. So it’s like what do you have to say at the end to get the
money. Do you go for the pity angle and talk about how you don’t have any money or do you go for
you know a different angle where it’s you know they’re investing in Harry Potter or something. I
mean if there are a lot of different ways to do it.
David Allan: There are, there are there’s almost like an infinite – just like there an infinite number
of ways. You know it really depends on who those people are or what you know and when you get
to know that over time but you can only know it by doing it just like with testing you may come up
with this brilliant idea for what you think might sell this and overcome different objections these
people have and so forth.
But until you actually put it out into the world you don’t know diddly squat basically. And the lucky
thing about what you should be doing with your copywriting if you’re a business owner and what
you should be doing your street magic show is you get to it you’re just constantly testing new things
and slight variations so that you can understand what’s actually happening. You’re keeping things
constant you’re changing. You know maybe one or two things and a lot of people do play around
with the money aspect of it. A lot of people do a speech of some kind near the end right before the
finale. You know other things, a close – a call to action. And it’s just it’s just fascinating how the
two things really overlapped. Once I was immersed deeply sort of in both worlds it was it was really
fascinating. And here here’s a good example. We’ll talk about this maybe on a different episode but
of course we’re recording this the day after Donald Trump won the U.S. election. What do you think
about Trump or not. People are excited and not about that – his campaign slogan “Make America
Great Again” was very simple and direct, easy to understand, and I think it had even another little
special element too which was people were able to fill in in their own minds whatever that meant.
So they were you know dissatisfied with whatever – . Now in a street show that has a lot of impact
as well because like I said you’re delivering a message to people who are on vacation usually
because you don’t get many locals, you usually get more of that you know your whole crowd is
mostly tourists depending on where you are and you’re delivering it to people who are on a reduced
mental faculties because of a inebriation or just because they are on vacation and they’ve tuned out a
bit. And so simple and direct messages and the jokes you make and so forth in the show, usually
show has humor in it. A lot of humor usually. And that really is able to get at people and make them
enjoy the show. Whereas on a copywriting message you keep the reading level low so people are
able to understand it and comprehend what you’re trying to get across. And that makes it easier to
read as well.
John McIntyre: Right right. I’m actually curious because there are some things you mentioned to
you know standard copywriting stuff, you know like how to headline – you’ve got to be out to get
their attention you’ve got to have a strong call to action and you’re really going to be testing this
process the whole way through. I mean the big thing that a lot of people takes time to learn is – a
big part of developing great copy is number one doing your research, number two taking the time to
sort of try different things like the great copywriters don’t generally write things out of you know
great out of the gate. It’s a process almost like a sculpture you start with something roughly in the
direction that you need to go and you gradually refine it over time. But the you know one of the
challenges and I’ve seen that comes up again and again when I’m coaching people when I speak to
especially people who are, not necessarily new to business or copywriting for example, but just sort
of at an early stage of the game it might even be they might have been in business for a while now
it’s starting something else. It’s really you could call it positioning. You call it – You mentioned that
part of it is figuring out who are the people that are likely to show up who you want to show up and
then targeting you know your headline and targeting you in the case of magic targeting messaging
in that situation to attract the people that you want there might be that people that are most likely to
spend money at the end, because you might notice that business people despite having more money
are actually kind of shitty customers, basically as far as I’m concerned. But you’ve got like little kids
you know get all excited and then drag on their parents t-shirts to give them money so they can give
it to you. So you might find that that then you need to headline towards the kids for example and
ignore the business people. So how do you how do you relate that to copywriting. I know a lot of
people struggle with this like how do I, How do I position my site, like you know you said you had
a site, make words pay, and I think that’s a great positioning statement because it clearly says what
you do. Whereas I’ve seen other people and I don’t want to mention any specific. You know I don’t
want embarrassed looking and then people come up with these names that sound really cool like a
brand, a brand sense. Right. But they don’t actually – like I’m seeing this is actually you know
maybe kind of, what does this person actually do? Maybee they do everything copywriting, writing
emails, sales funnels like they’re a sales funnel copywriting person but I don’t know like who do
they serve. And what do they actually do for them like this. No clear concise simple way to set a
how. How would you frame that up for someone.
David Allan: You know it’s very interesting like years ago there was a famous entrepreneur
amongst entrepreneurs now a guy by the name of Eben Pagan and he started you know with an alter
ego by the name of David D’Angelo and a dating book. One of the things I thought somewhere
along studying him and some other stuff he was doing in his online marketing and so forth I heard
somebody made the point I think that was another copywriter, I think it was Craig Clemens if I
remember correctly – but he had said that because he had worked for Eben – that Eben doesn’t have
a site like ebenpagan.com He has his site so that you know what you’re getting into basically. So it
doesn’t you know he might have an ebenpagan.com now I have no idea. But at the time, it made a
very strong impact because you want to able to communicate very quickly why that person might
want to be here. You know if you’re here you’re talking about a web site and for positioning
purposes. Now on the on the street. What I did and I did it very specifically was I. You know
people are very familiar with certain archetypes. And so I used the traditional, like when people say
magician – If I say to you right now John what does a magician look like?. Give me a little rundown
of what you think.
John McIntyre: All right.
David Allan: What’s he wearing?
John McIntyre: Probably black, he might have a hat. You kind of look a little bit old like old
school in a sense almost like a bit theatrical, like he’s walked out of the 1800’s and he’s wearing
black. Maybe wears boots –
David Allan: Yes exactly. And a lot of people associate of course rabbits with magicians and so
forth as well. Now what I did when I did street magic was I sort of glommed onto that archetype
you know with the top hat and the you know, I had a suit jacket originally and a vest , and I was
kind of like a Victorian style magician.
John McIntyre: Right. Right.
David Allan: Because everyone instantly recognized who you were when they were coming down
the street the like they didn’t think I was anything but a magician and especially children which was
interesting. So and then because I was dressed a little bit better than everybody else generally and I
got this tip from Penn Jillette. Of Penn and Teller fame, for anyone who knows anything about
magic and on TV magicians Penn and Teller Penn Jillette originally was a street performer and he
always said to dress better than the crowd because people often give money to people who you
know are trying to force money on people who don’t need it. It seems kind of counter-intuitive, but
from a position standpoint from people who are listening and getting into copywriting and stuff
there’s a lot of people who end up fighting at the very bottom you know making like no money. You
know, going through what you know you call it the dog days or the shameless whore phase. I think
Jon Carlton calls it, where you’re really fighting at the bottom rung of a ladder. That’s not necessary.
I’m not saying you don’t pay your dues but if you start on the right foot of knowing what these
things are worth – you know what your services can do. You know in copywriting I heard
somebody say one time that you’re basically selling money at a discount. Right. And that’s a great
statement. And that’s a very simple way of you know if you can comprehend that you know exactly
what I’m talking about. And for doing the street magic because I looked up upscale and so forth that
because I looked a very classic archetype then families and so forth, you know, generally who have
money that they have several kids and they’re brought up on vacation. They resoundingly, you
know, were magnetized to me and the way and the way you know I spoke in and the words I used
and still even though you’re sort of dumbing everything down slightly for people who are sort of
daze or drunken stupor, clearly I was educated.
And so all those factors start to come into play. You know a good street sort of like has all these
layers like a good sales promotion has all these different layers. You know when you’re writing for
instance bullets as a copywriter often, you know, It’ll be one bul – I know this has happened to me –
it can be be one bullet that it just absolutely resonates with that person and they end up buying and
the same thing with the street magic – one joke that I told which by-passed maybe you know a good
chunk of the audience because of their educational level or what or whatever or there cultural
differences. But it would resonate with those two or three people who really had money and they
wouldn’t be like – This guy is one – He’s one of us as opposed to you know we’re not one of them
almost you know. So it’s fascinating how the two things are so closely intertwined. And for
positioning purposes like I said earlier when I first started I sort of started with a bang and my
magic career because I sort of started with high end parties almost by accident. And the way I did
that was I had someone ask me at a party I was attending of a friend of mine and somebody asked
me if I would do magic at their party. I was just at a friend’s party. I was just doing magic for people
in the corner you know because I was attending the party. But I had some guy ask me if I do the
same thing at his party –
Because I didn’t really want to because I really wasn’t a professional magician at that time. I just
tried to blow him off by asking for quite a bit of money and sort of you know fake it to make it I
guess is something people call it sometimes. But I think I employed a little bravado where I was
kind of like well I don’t work for free and you probably, it will cost a lot to come to your party so I
don’t know, I don’t think you really want to do that. And the guy was like all over it. So those things
you know think about this if you’re listening to John and I talk about these kinds of things. And as
we go forward you – the positioning aspects are so crucial because you know if you position
yourself wrong – and I positioned myself wrong on the street at the beginning big time you’ll get the
wrong clientele and those people in the case those magic they have no money you know. And
likewise with your copywriting clients you want people who are serious who are capable – who
understand what it is you do, of course, and are able and value it because you built up this value
through your positioning.
John McIntyre: There’s definitely this element where you have to stand out and you have to stand
out in a way that’s going to bring in who you want and I think its really smart where you kind of go
with the archetype of the magician,you know if you look like a farmer or something and you started
trying to do magic, there’s so much cognitive dissonance there that you’re calibrated to what they’re
expecting. Then again though, that might work you could be like he magic farmer. Because it’s so
different. You see this a bit in the in the marketing space where you’ve you the standard internet
marketing so that with these big bold headlines usually got a red yellow highlighter, it’s like it’s
pretty standard stuff. And so some people love it. You know they really resonate with and that’s
why people do it. But then you see guys like Neil Patel, will tell you I’ve gotten a lot of the you
know the latest updates to the McMethod off. It’s it’s all clean it’s very – it’s not corporate say, but
it’s it’s you know sort of like a 180 away from the standard stuff you expect of internet marketing.
You’ve seen the same thing with Digital Marketer, they’ve done a similar thing to it. There’s still a
lot of copy there. But the way it’s presented is much more it’s much less you know hey I’m a
marketer. It’s much more hey we’re like a legitimate business when we do have things that can help
us sort of this interesting and they do it. Both strategies work and other strategies work too, but it’s
interesting how you’re going to attract different people to your company or service from how you
look and also the way you write the copy and all these different factors that you’ve got to keep in
David Allan: No it’s true. And at the beginning of this you’ve said that you know you correctly
stated that I’ve been sort of dragged into this direct response copywriting world by Gary Albert.
What happened there was – and this will tie this all together – what happened there was I was 19
and I bought a bodybuilding course. I can’t remember what the – Optimum Training Systems I
believe was the company at the time and I was just – the sales material that they had in the magazine
or wherever I got it from was so compelling I just had to have that course like I just oh man, I can
remember even right now I can just feel the anticipation of getting that. Now years later I found out
that Gary Halbert was the copywriter who wrote that piece Wow, when I found that out I was like
somebody put that together and specifically targeted because I can still create such an emotional
response and it had such juicy stuff in there that I just had to know. So now when you go into
copywriting I was kind of like, man, this is really interesting. And so I didn’t know at the time when
I first heard it that it was Gary Halbert or that Gary Halbert was so famous – it wasn’t until a few
years even further when I found out he was an extremely famous direct response copywriter. Now
one of his I should say I guess his most famous letter is the coat of arms letter which was mailed out
like six bazillion times.
John McIntyre: [snickering]
David Allan: And if you look at that letter like John was just saying it’s very unconventional to
what John mentioned in regards to what’s sort of current nowadays when you get a sales letter and
even some of Gary’s later pieces where you had that sort of classic headline and so all that kind of
stuff. You look at a coat of arms there it’s very much like a personal letter and has that sort of pulled
back approach almost if you will and you don’t think so the bejesus out of those coat of arms things.
So I see what you’re saying with Neil Patel’s stuff and Digital Marketers stuff and it is, it’s you
know, there’s different ways to skin a cat and really knowing who you are getting those messages in
front of, is so paramount.
John McIntyre: I mean absolutely it’s it’s a bit like how I find when people get into this. I get emails.
You know they you know they sign up and they’re asking questions about how to how to do
that copywriting how to represent themselves and part of the issue and I think we’re all like this
when we first start to learn anything everything is black and white. Just period. The things like that.
You know if if sales letters with big red headlines and yellow highlights works, then that works for
everyone and that reality, or daily emails for example another thing that everyone talks about is all
day. You know I’ve talked about this in the past and maybe I was you know a bit younger. I had a
little bit less experience and I was like man, daily emails, they just they are amazing they work for
everyone and the truth is they don’t. The truth is that there’s far more nuance to it you know if you
want to attract you know Sales Force or Google or, you know major world- leading companies like
that you better not look like an internet marketer, because if one of them sees that looking like that
they’re going to like this guy’s, this guy’s a douche bag. Let’s go work with the real company. Even
if you can get better results, the issue is that there is this cognitive dissonance or you’re not really
congruent with that market so this aspect of daily emails can work. Or even text based emails can
work, but there was a – .I think I’ve mentioned this before in the podcast – I worked with a start up a
while ago, couple of years ago now, and they went and got a bunch of copywriters – I was one of
them to write an email for them and I went with the standard text based approach you know hi name
was lots of you know, a couple hundred words and the e-mail I wrote was one of the worst
performing e-mails, if not the worst in the 8 or 9 they got done. Which either way was fascinating to
me and when I thought about like why you know my copy of my e-mail had failed in that sense. It
wasn’t that it was necessarily bad copy or you know in that sense it was that I think it was poorly
matched to you know they’re a big company. They were I think a winning e-mail had a logo in it so
it looked more – it was a branded email and only had one or two sentences that was basically trying
to get them back to the site whereas I used a couple hundred words of copy to try to persuade them
which I think in retrospect that was total overkill. There was no brandingso that people thought it
was a bit spammy and a bunch of problems with it which on the other hand if it was something like
a weight loss product – .and we were all trying my my email would do better because we would
have needed to explain the story a bit more to get someone to be interested in his weight loss
products. So there’s this all, You’ve really got to match, matching the message with the right market
and with the right medium too. And that’s another thing with people you know if you’re trying to
write e-mails to a market that spends all that time on social media it’s not going to work.
David Allan: You know, that is so true. I have another example that may aid people, I’m sure
people are understanding this but just to clarify a little bit – I have a couple of chiropractors in my
immediate family. They are in the same city but in different demographic areas. Whereas my
brother in law charges, you know, X number of dollars – a lower price let’s say . It’s what the
market can sort of bear in that particular region. But for the same services that my sister offers she
charges a much higher price. And we’ve had many discussions about this and she said that you
know if she didn’t, she knows her people, if she didn’t charge a higher price you wouldn’t gain any
respect, they wouldn’t respect you they wouldn’t because they think something was wrong. That you
weren’t charging as much.
And that’s one of those weird counter-intuitive things you come in contact with when you get into
marketing and copywriting pricing products and so forth and how you position yourself because
you have to be aware of who is getting in front of, and then if you’re doing freelance work, who
you’re trying to attract. You know so it’s very important to decide who you want to work for now. It
may take you a few iterations to decide – you know you’ll see the red flags go up with clients that
you’ve had in the past, you know you go through and say I don’t want another guy like that or
another person, or another business like that because of X Y and Z you know and we can talk about
that kind of stuff perhaps in the future – rather how to safeguard against having clients you never
want to hear from again. But it’s all a matter of getting that sort of straight from the outset. And I
think what you said when you first learned something is very black and white. You’re Right. It is
very black white and by the same token I think a lot of people when they first learn something they
feel undeserving. You know they feel like they couldn’t charge a certain price because they are new.
And even that, you know because I’ve seen some people pick up things very quickly and they may
not have the most, the biggest, the most experience with this but they know what they’re doing and
then with a little bit of experience they’ve been able to go quite far, quite fast. But a lot of it has to
do with people’s own self-esteem and mindset. All these sort of weird woo-woo type things that
you, people often you know don’t like to talk about because if you don’t get your mind straight
you’re often keep yourself at the bottom rung of that ladder.
John McIntyre: Right and this is interesting thinking that when you’re talking like part of the
challenge with this is like if someone is all rich people wealthy people are more likely to be put off
by a low price than a high price that says you know it can lead to the black and white thinking of
boy you have to create products for rich people or wealthy. And the issue is that you know, that’s
not how it works it’s because you might find that often yes especially with client work, the higher
the price the more premium service you might you may have to offer it might include phone calls or
lots of emails from them because they’re concerned because they’ve invested so much money. No
it’s sometimes you get someone who pays a lot of money and just wants to hand the problem off to
you and doesn’t even want to talk to you about it and their great clients. But there are sort of tradeoffs.
If you have a low price like the selling of say a $500 done for your service you can usually just
smash it out. People aren’t going to, you know existing businesses generating revenue they’re not
going to be too fussed as long as they get what they ask for it’s pretty good. Once you start moving
into like probably around above a thousand dollars for stuff people get a bit more finicky about
what they want, what services involved and so there’s more money but it’s not necessarily more
work, might be more, you know, mental. Just to think about it. It is these trade-offs between all
these different things that some people will prefer just based on their own personalities to do the
selling expensive stuff, like a few high priced products to wealthy people, wealthy businesses. But
on the other hand some people with other personalities that don’t want to do don’t want to manage
projects don’t want to talk to clients will be much better off selling a cheaper product to a large
number of say,you know, smaller businesses. And so there’s not a black and white thing you know
and part of the answer is you can’t figure this out just by thinking, you’ve kind of got to go and try
to get a few really expensive, you know, really wealthy high-paid clients and see what they’re like.
David Allan: That’s true. You know I think – really, what you’re saying there is so important
because whereas it might be, you might make the most money, if you don’t have the right
personality for dealing with those people, it’s going to be a miserable slog for you to get through all
that, you know, whereas you might be much happier with less demanding clients, who are paying
you less, but the work is easier, or is less fraught with panic or like you said, people who are on you
all the time.
If people are getting new into copywriting and they’re listening to this, or they’re into the
intermediate phase, then Dan Kennedy is a good resource for someone who has positioned
themselves in a very specific way, kind of a cantankerous expert. That is one extreme. Now if you
look at that and think about what he’s doing there and if you’ve been through some of his products,
the way he talks about clients is quite funny, and you can’t even get a hold of him, you have to fax
him and do weird things to get a hold of hi. It’s very interesting to see those things at work. Then
you can sort of decide – try a few of those things and see but one of the worst things I will say and
this goes for street magic and selling anything really is, you really don’t want what we’ll call the
tire-kickers or freebie-seekers.
John McIntyre: Yep
David Allan: They make your life in marketing a living hell. And so, if you’re at all getting
anything from this, know that this, you know, you get into this and you start to cut your teeth on
stuff, this can be a very good career choice for anybody and it’s very valuable, and this is the same,
I’ll make another correlation between street magic and copywriting, you know, when you do street
performing, a lot of people who just get into it are very reticent to ask for money. Right – they’re
scared to ask for money. Because at the very beginning it seems like this impossible wall to break
through, like are these people really going to give me money.
John McIntyre: Yeah
David Allan: And it’s kind of the same in copywriting. Until you start asking for fees that are a little
above what you think is reasonable, you don’t really understand some of the psychology at work
with how to price your services and stuff like that. So don’t be afraid to step off a few precipices too
because, yeah, you can always dial it back , and the same with the street magic,you could always go
in a different direction later. You know, test a few things out. Because, you’ll be surprised at some
of the boundaries you can push.
John McIntyre: Absolutely, absolutely. Well, let’s finish on that note, I feel we could keep going for
a long time. It’s sort of like a meandering discussion. I think these are my favorite podcasts. Having
done these podcasts for a while, I think this will be episode #139 –
David Allan: OK, wow –
John McIntyre: Yeah, it’s been a while. But, it’s interesting, I don’t know if you’ve seen this but from
different podcasts, but I’ve found that when you have a really strict formula, and this is an
interesting side note I guess, but when you have a set formula, it’s OK but it starts to feel a bit
canned – like some of the podcasts out there – and when you have this open-ended discussion
sometimes it kind of leads you down some interesting paths you wouldn’t have gone down
David Allan: Yeah I think that;s true John and I’ve always preferred listening to those type of
podcasts which feels like a conversation with two people sitting around talking like they normally
would. I was always a big fan of Joe Rogan’s podcast, and those one would go on for three or four
hours sometimes. And, you know, because it’s more natural and sometimes like you said, you
unearth things you wouldn’t have talked about if you had stuck to a more rigid format.
John McIntyre: Cool, awesome. Well, before we wrap this up, if the listener wants to learn more
about you, I know you said – do you know when the site will be up. Might be up when this goes live
I’m sure.
David Allan: Yeah, probably, I dunno, I want to say within a couple weeks, but I’m not the guy
doing it so I don’t want to throw him under the bus either. That’s sort of what he’s said so we’ll see,
but you can get a hold of me on Facebook, David Allan, probably when this goes live we’ll have
links and stuff to get a hold of me if people want to talk.
John McIntyre: And you’ve got your own podcast too, you’ve put out a lot of interviews –
David Allan: Yeah, I’ve interviewed a lot of the superstar copywriters and so forth that the world
has right now, and a lot of contemporaries and stuff, it’s called the Takeover Tuesday Podcast and
it’s sort of something that’s been keeping a low profile, sorta just been doing it for about a year and
people can probably find me through that avenue too.
John McIntyre: Awesome. Cool. We’ll have links to all that in the show notes at
themcmethod.com, Dave, thanks for coming on the show man.
David Allan: Thanks a lot John, it’s been great.

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