Episode #113 – Dan Ferrari on Being A Struggling Freelance Copywriter & His Rise To Total Success In A Very Short Time

by John McIntyre

When Dan Ferrari quit his corporate job to declare his new life as a freelance copywriter,

..he took a big chance.

A necessary risk to break through to the next level in life of course…

But he didn’t know what would happen,

He went all in anyways, freelancing his way up the ranks.

Starting at small-time and severely underpaid jobs (we all have to start somewhere right?),

To busting out email autoresponders, long form sales letters and tripwire funnels for an established internet marketing company, The Motley Fool.

Dan Ferrari made it through the Copywriter’s Gauntlet,

Proved his worth,

And now works for arguably the best marketing company out there that’s been accumulating loads of useful data from their clients since 93′.

What this means for Dan is that he gets to be a part of this all,

A part of something that many would pay to learn from.

Yet Dan is the one getting paid now.

Learn the best high-level strategies that top marketers are implementing today from Dan in this episode.

We get into some very fun email marketing and sales funnel related conversations.

You are bound to come away with some big “Ah ha” moments.

And will be wanting to get these implemented in your business sooner than later.


In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • how everyday can be new and exciting in the right job, even it if is a job (with the freelancing-freedom-craze going on.. know that a job can be a dream come true too)
  • Dan’s recency versus familiarity formula that creates way higher conversions on sales funnels
  • when to come in with higher priced product offers for all your warm leads (learn the art of pitching within autoresponders)
  • why getting a click on the very first email is a strong indicator of this person’s commitment down the line (and how to make sure you get more of those first email clicks)
  • how to handle people that don’t buy after going through your trip-wires within your sales funnel (and easy trick to pick up conversions from these non-buyers)
  • the perfect time to drop in that SOS Andre Chaperon style email series in your sequence
  • why you really ought to have more than just one or two or even four products (the real money comes in the back-end products that you’re not even promoting up front.. a recipe to explode your customer LTV)
  • the simple technique that will get you to outbid all your competitors with PPC

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 1


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO


Raw transcript:

Download PDF transcript here.

It’s john McIntyre here, the auto responder guy. I’m here with Dan Ferrari. Dan has a really interesting story and it is funny, coz we started chatting. It was in Feb 2014, he replied to one of my emails about Phillipines, he was living in Hawaii at that time, surfing, he was just getting into copy-writing. He is working for one of the biggest publishing companies online. He has exhilarated his carrier really quickly. Now I do my own thing. Dan took a copywriting skill and took it in a different direction…less than 18 months which is really impressive. Today we get him on, listen to his story, find out lessons he is learning in his day job as a copywriter. So we are getting to that in a minute. Dan, how are you?

Dan Ferrari:  I am good, how about you?

John McIntyre: It is good to have you on the show

Dan Ferrari:    Yeah, man. Thanks for having me.

John McIntyre: Before we get in to the email stuff, can you give a background on who you are, what you do and how you got started?

Dan Ferrari:  Sure, I mean you pretty much nailed it. I was living in Hawaii, surfing, getting into water as much as possible. Than it kind of floated by me that copywriting is a way to have a flexible schedule from wherever you wanted to in the world. So I left corporate job and declared myself a freelance copywriter, started climbing my way up from the bottom. I have been doing it for several months since you and I first connected. At that point I got to writing some freelance stuff for Multliful, that went well enough. Several months later they offered me the fulltimed job. That’s where I am now, writing copy for Multliful which is an investing, publishing company, finance, it is a great place to be

John McIntyre: This is a big company, it is not just five guys selling an ebook online, is it?

Dan Ferrari: No, this is about 300 person company. Pioneers at taking marketing to the Internet. The company has been around since 1993. It has seen different stages of expansion of ecommerce online, selling information online. Really a lot of history here.

John McIntyre: It’s cool. How does it feel to work in a company like that?

Dan Ferrari: It is exciting, there is just so much going on here every day. There are so many really talented and brilliant people. I was telling a buddy of mine, this is the best mastermind in the world. People would pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to be a part of the group that’s here, experts in traffic, design, analytycs, to product strategy, copywriters and everything.

John McIntyre: It is interesting too. Right now that complain about cubicle generation, everyone want to quit their job, follow their passion and try be entrepreneur. What I see going on here. As far as jobs go, this sounds like a great job. Before we started recording it, you sounded like you are enjoying it, right?

Dan Ferrari:     Yeah, especially coming form the freelance world, I was very hesitant to take the job, I might not be able to work anywhere. To be honest,  I still might not be able to work anywhere. It is interesting, you brought up that our generation wants to be  entrepreneurs. This is the most  entrepreneurial, corporate environment I can imagine. I can go with any idea and say: “we need to be doing tripple funnels, testing on our email funnel, we can just go and test that.” This is one of the most amazing things about companies like this – we can just test everything. We test and we learn and we test again. Entrepreneurial spirit of failing forward is always there. If something doesn’t work – we errate, if works – we scale. It is awsome

John McIntyre:    …What is is like to work at a company like that?

Dan Ferrari:             Day to day it is pretty wide open. I am pretty flexible with my hours, so. The way that I try to structure my days is I come in, .. three four hours on the project I am working. Right now it is some email stuff, some autoresponder I am writing, a week from now it can be sales letter or tripple funnel. The second half of thee day is the mastermind type of thing; we meet, we talk, we throw ideas against the wall. Everyday it is something new and exciting. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, I am sure it will be the same thing

John McIntyre:         Cool, man. This has been traditionally the email marketing podcast   I know there are things you can’t share, but what have you discovered  in working with especially the email marketing type of things. What’s working in the industry?

Dan Ferrari:    The big concept that I have been digging into is recency versus familiarity. So if you think of someone who has opted in your email…, right at that moment you got a lot of recency with that person. They gave you their email address, they gave you your microcommitment and they are ready to go. On a flipside they have very little familiarity with you, even if they went through a fairly wrong conversion process, they get that email, they still don’t know you that well. The thing that I’ve noticed in a lot of data, people who are early in the … there is a lot more of them, right? Hundred thousand people might come in, because of that recency effect, you are gonna convert a lot of them in the first few days. You should be making a lot of offers to capture that. Unfortunately, conversion points at that moment are not going to be that high. Just because the pool of people was so big, it is gonna have a lot of impact on your business. Now the challenge comes, after you worn through that recency window, which might be 3 days, might be seven days, it is kind of the first few days that they are with you. After you worn through that – you are gonna start loosing a lot of people. People come in, they are excited, and than they start falling off. But the people who do survive, who go through, say, your 14 days – they are gonna start converting at much higher rates as they are gonna be familiar with you; they are gonna start  to know you; they are gonna start to like you,  start to trust you; so they come in with the second wave of offers, maybe higher price offers. They are gonna start converting at a fairly higher rate; and then you know tying those two ends of spectrum together, the extend to which your email funnel and email copying and the experience that you bring them through can keep people engaged, keep them from falling off – you can have even more people going through piece of the funnel. That’s were a lot of things like story telling,… soap opera sequences and things like that can be really big; coz you open up a story in the beginning, when you have this recency effect. You make some offers, but the story is not complete, right? So people will stay with you… and than you can make some serious offers down the line, get them there.

John McIntyre:   So how long we talking, making offer one email  every day for three days when they first sign up?

Dan Ferrari:   Yeah, and realistically, the first email is the most important. Interesting thing that I’ve seen is getting a click on your first email can be a very good predictor of the person’s likelyhood of buying down the line

John McIntyre:   Hm

Dan Ferrari:  Honestly, I cannot answer you what that window is. My suspicion is it is anywhere from 0 to 7 days. That’s kind of some of the stuff  I a working on right now, testing few of those hypothesis and seeing if we have any data that supports any of that

John McIntyre:          Interesting. Funnel. Someone signs up, for the first 7 days, in first email you hit them with an offer and then they fall off that offer for the first week. After that we switch into content or stories, what happens next?

Dan Ferrari: First set of offers, there is gonna ideally be some sort of urgency, device there; you might get a one-time offer on a bundle: “If you buy this today, you also gonna get this for free of the next 72 hours.” So then you close sort of that sales period. And your next email, exactly what you said, you are gonna open up basically a new story line that ultimately gonna lead to a different offer. Or at least a different positioning of the same offer. Coz you want the people who went through that first offer series and didn’t see it, you don’t wanna alienate them once they get the second offer and have them feel like you just pull the wall over their eyes.

You want them to feel like that is also a good offer, maybe it is reposition, maybe different bonus bundle, maybe it is an entirely different product altogether or a different price. This is not something we are doing, this is conjecture on my part. You have somebody come in, you will have some low priced offers in that first few days; your next “storyline” is a webinar registration; and then the next group of emails is basically a product [?] launch or webinar preparation; you get to that webinar and you sell at a higher price than in the initial series of emails.

Because people just didn’t want that entry level product, they are looking for something more advanced, that’s when the second level comes in, that’s when you can make a higher price offer. That’s when they are more likely to convert, they know you much better, it is easier to move up the scale.

John McIntyre: Right, right. Traditionally the advice that I’ve seen someone [?] juncs in the funnel, …they only move to the next step if they buy tripple …offer. So if they didn’t buy tripple… offer in, say, two weeks of emails, they are “dead”, what do you do with them? What you are saying, we keep rotating people through these offers. You start with that one offer, with tripple…, move them to another one – put them on a next sequence

Dan Ferrari:          You can have even some self selection. Maybe they havent bought tripple…and in the end of that series you have another email that puts options to segmenting them into three more series, right? So that they can self select into whatever they wanna hear about, you can have offer to that. A lot of this assumes that you have a robust product line to appeal to a lot of different people. But I think this is where it becomes difficult, you have to have a product strategy to support a lot of different people that come into your funnel. If you have one product, you can only reposition it and repackage it and sell it in so many different ways. Just by definition you are gonna be missing out on the people who are in the market but are interested in the different offers of that market.

John McIntyre: Yeah, right. One thing, I was with the client   recently, we were working on a funnel. He had 5 products in the funnel. The idea was: “they come in, they get a webinar and they buy the first product. After that they go into a sequence where 1) we send them content email to build the value, we send then another email, which we call “trigger” email; and if you click on the link in the email it is like voting and saying: “I am interested in trading options.”…They get moved to another list, sort of a mini-adventure for 5 emails, they get 4 emails sequence there that builds up and it sells a product. At the end of these 4 emails, we move them back to the main sequence, when they get another content email, then another ‘trigger’, that puts him in a different funnel, different product, and constantly rotating, is that sort of what you suggesting? Or do you mean everyone gets the same offers?

Dan Ferrari: No I think what you are driving is perfect. You know, tailoring the offer to the people who want to see it. Making sure that people who have certain motivations, that they are willing to share their motivations, the way of collecting those that you can put them into proper funnel – that is absolutely brilliant.

John McIntyre:         The other thong too, we were talking before this call. I was on the phone with someone yesterday, they might listen to this episode; they were looking for autoresponders, John, I need those ten emails. We are on the phone looking at his structure. And it is not like he has one product, he had several different products; he had a lot of stuff going on, he wasn’t sure how to fit it into overall picture. My advise to him was: he doesn’t need autoresponder, he doesnt need more emails. He needs to work on product strategy, set a business model, business plan. The business exists to solve a problem. You can do it with one product, you can do it with hundred products. How many products do you have?

Dan Ferrari:         On a front end we have 5 different products, we have a portfolio backend products that take someone from that initial low price point from hundred dollars a year to bring them up to hundred thousand dollars a year

John McIntyre: … with this idea: “the person who spends more money to acquire  a customer wins” hands down. If you spend more money than your competitors to require a customer you can outbid them on everything, whether we are talking online marketing or by lists. When that comes in, the person who spends most money – sells most expensive products, making the most profit.

Dan Ferrari: Yeah, and largest lifetime customer value, for sure.

John McIntyre:      So it is almost like. To make this sales funnel and all these different things work, to have a campaigne, you need to have five products, six products, seven products, you need to be always creating more products to meet the demand, because that’s where the money is. Advertising is when you buy customers is straight forward

Dan Ferrari:          Absolutely. If you think of this on the level of external PPC ads, once you can start to do that – you can be the only ads that people see when you start bit your competitors out of market place. It just creates a self fulfilling cycle. The higher price you pay, the more impressions you gonna get, the more customers you are gonna acquire, the more profits you gonna have, the more you can reinvest back in the advertising

John McIntyre:        .it is pretty magical, like that positive feedback that’s gonna explode things. What’s with the emails your company (Moltliful) is sending out? What is their structure? For example, Gorus have emails, they have a header at the top, grey background, white in the middle, it is newsletter style. What is Moltiful doing? Why is it doing it that way?

Dan Ferrari: You know we do have templates on our emails, I don’t know the history where they came from, just knowing the people who work on them, I am assuming we’ve tested those I know they can convert better at a different format. But in terms of the actual copy in there. It kind of depends on the use of emails. Our emails are what we call “carriers”, a single email that leads to a long sales page. That email is bidding a click, you are bidding an intrigue for what is on he next page. Not really revealing too much, just getting the person to get exciting to see what’s next.

And then selling that click for everything it’s worth. A lot of these email funnels like we’ve been talking about. Here, like I said, you need to be selling a click, especially on that first email. It is a little more bouncing, you are trying to get them to stay in that funnel. You don’t want to be too hard. You don’t wanna be too upfront. So you need to get them to the story and next email.

John McIntyre: How hard is too hard?

Dan Ferrari: Ideally, you can be tailoring every message, also the frequence you are emailing based on who is getting  that email. Somebody who has opened an x number of emails is going be more likely to respond to sort of more aggressive and harder copy than somebody who has opened one email. The more engaged this person is with you – the more you can email them every day. People who open our offers a lot, the more offers we make them, the more they buy. Somebody who isn’t engaged – you start making them more offers, they get fatigued easier, they drop off the list

John McIntyre: Uhm, so it is almost like we need here. Maybe it already exists. Let’s say, you got three main funnels, three main lists that you have. One of them is let’s say the coolest. Maybe they open one email a month, one every two weeks, something like that. Than there is another one when people are opening at least one email a week, and another one when people are opening every day. What we do is we assign scores based on what people have, lets say the cold  ones are 10-25, the warm ones 25-75, and hot ones 75-100. Based on what the score is, we use algorythm to move them from list to list. They start cooling down, they start getting less emails, they start heating up, they start getting more emails. Something like that could be pretty amazing.

Dan Ferrari: Yeah, I mean that is awsome, that is hard to do from my experience and our experience here. It is the holy grale. If somebody goes to autoresponder and they stop reading email three, for example. If you could just keep sending the email three with different subject line, in stead of moving to email four, you probably are getting a better response out of that person than they finally opened and then you send them to email four as opposed to maybe they are gonna open email four, and it is somewhat of connected sequence, but they missed email three and now they are confused on what’s going on.

John McIntyre: Uhm, maybe that is the other thing, making the system so that they don’t get email four till they open email three

Dan Ferrari: Absolutely

John McIntyre: And then you get three attempts, that would be pretty easy to do, right? You write one email, create three subject lines. Imagine system do this, you send an email copy, then for the subject line you write three subject lines. It’ll send the first one-  they open it, they go to the next email, if they don’t – they get second subject line, and the third. Say, up to 5 subject lines per email. I don’t think that would be too difficult to do. You need a system that is programmed differently. Basically, if someone doesn’t open this – send them this. Or you triggered. Once they open email three, send them email four

Dan Ferrari: Yeah

John McIntyre: Instead of being automatic or autoresponder, it will just queue up to happen automatically. They don’t move forward in the funnel till they take a specific action.

Dan Ferrari: Yeah, I think that’s the key and that’s where I see a lot of funnels going, dynamically on the behaviour they exhibited

John McIntyre: You can do it just right now, I just realized. The reason I am mentioning this right now – anyone listening can implement this, who has software like [?] Drift, which is email software I am using. You create a single campaigne for each single email. Say email one – that’s gonna be a campaigne. And in email one campagne you have five emails. The five emails are the same, the only thing different between them is the subject line.

This is gonna be a nightmare to set up. Ten campaigns. Some people are gonna drop off. So this is why it might be ten campaignes, it might take them three month to get through. So then what we do, you have ten campains, each campaigne has five emails. One email has five different subject lines. So they sign up and they go with campaigne one, they get email one with subject line one. They dont’ open it – they go to email two or campaigne one with same email but with second subject line

Dan Ferrari: As soon as they open it, they get dropped off campaigne and …

John McIntyre: Exactly

Dan Ferrari: Absolutely

John McIntyre: That would be “pain is the ass” to set up

Dan Ferrari:  Ideally you can start retargeting, drawing further channels to make sure you are not missing them at all. That’s kind of the other piece of all this. We’ve been talking about email. With things like Twitter and Facebook, you start to see a lot of people curate their content and their information through social media or through the web. So maybe they are not even email person. But they are still interested in what you have to say. So then you can start segmenting based on their consumption behaviour too. So you are more aggressive with people who exhibited email behaviour with emails, or you get more aggressive about retargeting and spending your money on them if you notice they are not taking emails. Maybe they are more active on your website or some of your other properties.

John McIntyre: I guess this isn’t your business, not your software application we are coming at right now

Dan Ferrari: It’s cool, man

John McIntyre: The way Agra [?] works, you plug in your emails, you plug in your retargeting information and it figures out where people are. Even with retargeting information. If someone is on email… you can retarget them with the page on your side, the goal is to move people through a very specific sequence of content process, which it really is. We can enforce the fact that they don’t get to the next step until they completed the current step and so you do that with retargeting. You can do that with emails. You can say stuff like: “If someone visits sales page but doesn’t buy – send them this campaigne. If they visit the check out page but dont buy – send them this email, and show this retargeting campaigne.”

Dan Ferrari: What you just said there about controlling their experience. If you think about VSL, this is the reason VSL outperforms a text based sales page. You are controlling the flow of the information,  so that you can put your logical selling argument in order and they are gonna consume it in order. When they reading it on the page – they can skip around, they miss on something, you have to repeat things, make sure they got everything.

So you are taking that VSL concept of controlling the information and you are just expanding it to every channel someone can possibly be experiencing your stuff online

John McIntyre: Exactly. I am not a coder, otherwise I would set something like this up. This sounds like a sweet piece of software. I hope someone who listens to it – builds it

Dan Ferrari: Sends us some royalties

John McIntyre: This is where technology is amazing, right? As it gets more efficient, everything gets more cost effective, gets more competitive, say, on adwords. People are getting better at using retargeting, emails to plug the conversion wholes in their funnel. It is higher than it has been ten years ago, twenty yeas ago coz of this behavioral stuff. This makes advertizing and marketing so much more effective, because we are getting the right message to the right person

Dan Ferrari: Yep

John McIntyre: People who dont need that message at this time, dont even hear about it. It makes the whole thing more efficient. And this is where the software, which in stead of having simple autoresponder, which most of us are doing right now, straight broadcasts, we customize the entire experinece. The same way the video sales…applying the same virial, the same idea of controlling the experience and doing it entire way through the funnel, not just sales page.

Dan Ferrari: Yeah, it is really powerful stuff

John McIntyre: It is exciting, man. You should talk to the guys on… and see if they can put it together.

Dan Ferrari: We are working on it.

John McIntyre: Cool, man. It was good to have a chat with you. Casual and relaxed, my favourite kind. Before we go, if someone wants to get in touch with you, send you an email, send you a twit, what should they do?

Dan Ferrari: Probably the best way to get in contact with me, I have a website at ferrarimedia.com. Ferrari like the car F_E_R_R_A_R_Imedia.com. Opt into the list, shoot me an email, say I heard from you on John’s podcast. I’ll reply. Not a lot of …

John McIntyre: If you get a million out of this, will you reply to all of them?

Dan Ferrari: Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.

John McIntyre: Do you have anything that people can buy it?

Dan Ferrari: No, nothing for sale. Just working on Mulliful stuff at the time. I don’t have a lot of time for anything else

John McIntyre: That’s fair. Cool, man. I will have the link to ferrarimedia.com at mcmethod.com, hopefully you get at least a million.

Dan Ferrari: That would be nice

John McIntyre: I hope population in China listens to this podcast. They might not speak English, some of them. You have to polish your Chinese

Dan Ferrari: I can hire a junior copywriter for Mandarin and Cantonese

John McIntyre: Mulliful in China, that would be interesting. Alright, man. Great to have you on the show.

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