Episode #183 – Tony Zarembski On Scavenge Opportunities To Land Your Dream Clients

by John McIntyre

Tony’s Mom was a first grade teacher who taught thousands to read…

including him.

Tony’s Dad was a technical writer and before long Tony was editing papers for the likes of Mobil oil.

He learned about research long before ever entering the world of copywriting.

Tony tried both psychology and business in school but hated both and thought he’d never use either…

how wrong can you be?

Instead, he took German classes because he wanted to date a girl in class.

Ya gotta have priorities.

He sold computers for Circuit City…

but couldn’t sell the warranties (they dumped him).

He sold advertising door-to-door but couldn’t find a way to sell even ONE 20 euro ad.

Fast forward and his copy has beaten controls for $8,000 programs.

How did someone without the “copy gene” raise himself up from such meager beginnings?

Tony thinks you can do the same.

That’s the subject of today’s Email Marketing Podcast.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How Tony got his first two clients and the hilarious and valuable results of his work.
  • One proven-effective way Tony lured one of his dream clients into submission.
  • The copywriting book that got him started. Found sitting on the shelf…a gift from his father.
  • The two dream clients Tony targeted right from the outset. He’s now worked with them both.
  • “Kool-Aid” drinking copy secrets to simplify… focus…and become at least twice as productive.

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 183


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

David Allan: Hey everybody, we’re back with another
edition of the podcast my name is David
Allan from makewordspay.com your host as
usual. We’ve got a very exciting guest here
today and I say a very exciting because
he’s a copywriter and he’s been in your
shoes if you’re just starting out
he’s very accomplished now but he’s
gonna tell us exactly how he he got that
that level you know exactly the steps he
took some of the crazy you know awesome
people he’s worked with and Tony Zarembski,
welcome to the show

Tony Zarembski: Thanks for everything

David Allan: I got your name right I

Tony Zarembski: You actually nailed it which is
it’s impressive.

David Allan: I think of batting pretty much
like a baseball player most names maybe
but I don’t know I have to go back and
look because it’s probably because he
spelled it out when he sent over your
one sheet probably helped me out but
yeah so you’re a copywriter you’re
you’re in the thick of this whole thing
you’re one of the people I think our
audience is gonna adore listening to
because you’ve been where they want to
go you are where they want to go and
you’ve been where they’re at now chances

Tony Zarembski: Yeah and recently enough that you
know it’s not like someone who’s you
know absolutely brilliant like Clayton
Makepeace who you know the starting out
is a distant memory for

David Allan: That’s very
important because a lot of people I
think they either don’t really remember
exactly how it all went
or I mean that’s a long time to remember
and also maybe that that’s not in their
best interest sometimes to say exactly
how it went – in some cases for I’ve seen that so
let’s start from the beginning how did
you get into all this tell us your
superhero origin story and then bring us
up to the present…

Tony Zarembski: So looking back it
seems so clear to me that this is where
I was going to be mmm but but I’m still
maybe I would say six years ago even
though he’s doing some of this stuff I
didn’t know it existed so I grew up in a
household where my parents loved
learning and reading and writing I was a
first grade teacher and she taught over
a thousand kids
to read including me so that love was
there from a really young age obviously
as a copywriter is huge so walked into
that my dad is fantastic at public

relations and a technical writing and

walked into that as well so in Middle

School in high school you know while

other kids were going on dates you know

I be copy editing these you know

technical documents of press releases

and you know just different technical

documents for companies like Mobil Oil

and I’ll which for some of those clients

yeah and you know again just luck of

being in that household if I had been

born in any other household that would

not have been a thing you do when you’re

right so straight straight luck pervaded

your early early career yeah exactly and

then I’m you know it’s funny when I went

to college with just what you’re

supposed to do if you take honors

classes for high school you know at

first I want to study psychology I

thought God I’ll never do anything with

that switch to business

and it didn’t talk to a counselor at all

to you know figure out a way to get out

of school in four years plan well you

know switch the business hated that I’ll

never do anything with that I’ve only

had some German classes that were great

yeah one of the teachers in the language

and one of the day to girl in my class

so um you know switch to German it of

course as you do yeah I don’t regret it

for a minute I mean oh the people are

fantastic experiences work you know

looking back I learned from that how did

you research on I mean much more obscure

things that I’ve ever encountered in

copywriting what’s what’s the origin

this word from you know that was used in

other thing you can’t get more in the

weeds than that so it’s it’s been really

helpful around this time you know in

college I sold PCs and other electronics

at Circuit City and it was pretty good

at my job could never I could never

figure out well like I couldn’t really

spell the warranties because by the time

I got there they were just worthless

right so yeah I learned at that point my

first kind of

sort of copywriting which is you know

you have to start with something you

believe in so if I could saw all these

computers and couldn’t sell one warranty

well you know it kind of kind of tells

me something and because I didn’t sell

the warranties I have I I wasn’t let go

from the job but I uh I looked in a

schedule one week there were in the

hours there like I asked yeah I asked

like you know what happened oh you know

what we’re kind of moving the schedule

around next week next week by like a

month and I’m just like should I check

the schedule next week now but you were

terminated on the sly so to speak yeah I

was technically never fired

maybe I’m employee should collect

benefits one day and say hey so you were

unceremoniously dumped from from the

computer sales department yeah and where

did you go from there so you know at

this time with side-story getting a

grocery store which that looking back

was hugely helpful because I had been

shy when I was a little kid but you know

walk to the bus and people would say hi

Tony I didn’t notice them I mean by the

time as clear is over all these kids

probably thought I was an asshole never

once said hi to him so you know the

grocery store that was working at the

time really kind of forced me to have

these conversations with people and

interact in the word how different

people thought and you know at that time

too I had an internship in Hamburg

Germany doing a basically direct sales

so door-to-door sales for advertisements

like basically for business ads for this

english-speaking newspaper hmm yeah so

it was it was interesting well you know

what one thing was this about 100

degrees out and I’m in business attire

you know going door-to-door around

basically the biggest city in Germany so

you know looking back the first thing I

realized was you know this sucks don’t

dododo door-to-door doo doo e-mail doo

doo mail do anything but door-to-door so

you’re a delight you were going to

door-to-door you’re delivering this like

you’re pitching basically yeah and you

know one of the problems I encounter was

it was in German I mean not that my

pitch would have been great in English

but it was

it was not as good in German yeah


so you know looking back and a couple

things that got out of that one I

thought its first time is probably the

ads were 20 euros I did not sell a

single ad I could not figure out how to

sell a 20-year ad beaten controls

selling $8,000 programs now okay I was

table stakes I couldn’t do that right I

don’t know if there’s like a copywriting

gene but if there is I did not have it

so you’re starting out even at more of a

disadvantage than maybe some people yeah

and really the the only good thing I did

at that point or knew at that point I

realized was they you know you go to

this office

this long defunct company and there’d be

stacks of newspapers on delivered

newspapers because they hadn’t sold

enough ads and you know they’re running

all this capital in it and and it enough

that it would have known a great way to

do this but you know in a meeting with

the company said what if we take this

digital-only and it’s gonna be able to

help us maximize our ad sales because

then people can actually boost their

search engine ranking you know so that

was basically the first good marketing

idea I had they eventually went with

that but then through a series of many

things are no more something befell down

this time yeah exactly so that’s good so

you were know when did you get out of

there that would have been we think

summer of 2006 okay not that long ago no

not too long ago so it seems like a

lifetime now yeah so you leave the

door-to-door non-selling ad vocation and

and what was and where did that take you

from there so began during path still in

school you know mm-hmm I took a couple

classes multiple times to make sure it

supported all the rules yeah exactly so

you know six and half years later after

I started I graduated with my German

degree okay and business minor you’ll

never use psychology never use business

German all the time of course

so one question before you move sir did

you ever date that girl in the in the

class we dated for a few years I’m

looking back I was not nearly mature

enough for a long-term relationship and

it you know it was a great experience at

the time and I’m happy I got the data

and wasn’t you know you took it for the

right reasons it sounds like that yeah a

lot myself too so I’m going processes

self-improvement I can look back in that

time and think like okay you know I

actually made it less one time here are

all the things I could improve and it’s

an all these different areas especially

relationships that’s tell me a lot of my

marriage I think too so you know look


win-win all right so you finally get out

of there you know the ad the

door-to-door stuff you got your degree

and when did when did you start getting

it when was the first like did you ever

aside from the I guess the direct sales

door-to-door was sort of your first

inkling of directs you know direct

selling and the sort of direct selling

style businesses but what was the first

time you heard about copywriting sure so

I’ve been writing technical copy for a

long-term client eyes I still do work

with her phenomenal people and basically

a freak set of events let me direct

marketing literally it’s one of those

things where if I hadn’t opened the mail

it never would have happened so when I

was up when I was a kid I had seen I’d

read these Gary Pennsylvanian Clayton

Makepeace ads because my grandma was

really into health care and I would you

know I had no idea what I was reading

but I would think you know ten years old

oh my god it might have clogged arteries

noise no idea how he did that no idea

what’s going on just like oh my god it

really I really think I need this you

know that’s this Phillips letter


prostate problem yeah yeah they were so

good and but you know I so I was doing

technical writing I had long wanted to

be a basically just edit anything I love

that eating more than writing I still in

a lot of ways due to the steak and I got

this letter from you know just say a

newsletter slash sales pitch Singles

letter from this charity ASAP I donated

to okay and you know I I read it inside

this doesn’t work I mean they’ve already

given them money I went to uh give them

money right and I know they’re a really

good cause so it was a Friday night my

friends were gonna be going out and

partying and I ended up pouring myself a

glass of chocolate milk and taking apart

this entire letter and rewriting it and

I still have to stay and mean to frame

it but I did that and I’m like oh my god

I wonder if this thing had no idea and

meanwhile on my bookshelf I’ve got a

couple bookshelves and I’m one of my

bookshelves my dad had gone blind if

years before that and gifted me just

this incredible library that I mean for

our family that it’s the biggest gift

you could give anyone I mean you know I

could be down to one pair of clothes one

outfit in and have my books and I’d be

okay but not the other way around

and I’m that shelf was tested

advertising methods oh wow and yeah hey

I’m looking through my count how the

hell do I connect this letter I picked

apart with a thesis a thing as you know

this is the thing that pays money can

you do this there was cables and that

was that was when I really started down

the rabbit hole right so you you read

that book you picked it off the shelf

when we’re reading that yep reddit found

out what he read you know I found out

who he worked with also you know of

course it’s I think you know we may

cover this later but that led me to

Hopkins the Bible I read me – you know

Schwartzel any – Collier Schwab you know

a great bird – who you know work with

cables let me – all these brilliant and

wonderful people so you read that book

and you think hey this is a thing yeah

and you know what had happened was I I

think I’ve been in reactive mode for

most of my life and this is the first

time I started you know I stumbled into

these things I guess I was less reactive

and then I ain’t know took German and

dated a girl in my class but it wasn’t

even a plan it was like this is kind of

my plan I guess that’ll work yeah sort

of a half sideways plan kind of thing

exactly I need I started doing something

brother been doing really inspired me

you know you’re doing for so long and

planning in Reverse it was you know who

do I want to work with so I wouldn’t

work at drayton bird because well he’s

brilliant you wrote

and he’s taught me a lot I want to work

with the rates or me TT because abuses

courses and they’ve helped me and my

friends a lot I mean everywhere else

resumes my friends got you know overtime

like $30,000 raises basically just on

the strength of those resumes along like

I need to work with this guy because he

does credible and then it was that

process of you know actually getting

getting my first client free work

getting my second client free worker

then eventually paid work and pay work

with the people I really you know what

was so thrilled and excited to work for

what so who did you offer the free work

to when you first did these things on

for free for people who were who are

your clients so I had to I started with

one was on this productivity blog called

eighties and efficiency owes its nine

dollar product and and I I was you know

I thought oh my god I could beat this

control I just read Jaipur him II know

how to review the system like you know

pinch myself to them basically said hey

I want to make you more money all I

asked me to turn to so you know a

reference testimonial once I meet your

control I was kind of cocky more than I

should have been you know once I meet

your control basically you know they

were super nice about it they sent me a

graph and like I’m the graph showed like

I personally go I beat this I mean look

at the values in the graph and it’s like

so the thing that I thought I would tear

apart not not statistical significance

but like I lost again and that was like

okay I’ve got a crack down here now time

to study a couple hours a day and also

the next one was on fluent in 3 months

Benny Lewis great guy and I know who

that is yeah ok yeah so you know at this

point he had his sales copy was

basically just you know it’s kind of

something he’d written and you know he

does a lot of things well like learning

more languages than I could fathom yeah

but you know somewhere in between

learning and dozen languages didn’t have

time to study copywriting as much so I I

helped him boost conversions and sales

on one of those courses and I also found

that’s what I kind of realize like also

was good at I didn’t know the name for a

type of marketing strategy because you

know he had such a compelling storage

but the way was telling you at that

point was basically you know you you

know everybody wants to learn a foreign

language it’s not that hard I drilled

down with him you know over a couple

hour period of asking just peppering

with questions I spent

like 10 hours writing questions out you

know one of things I asked him was okay

how did you get started and it turns out

he basically I think he got like a C or

a D in a Spanish class in high school

and you know kind of the same thing with

us copywriting work you didn’t have a

knack for it it isn’t you have to start

when your kid door in a language it’s

not you know all these things people


he actually had that story so I

connected those threads and like a while

later I saw him and I don’t want to say

was Good Morning America or something

and it was it clicked because I see him

you know basically using the same ideas

and phrases ayat and I’m like oh my god

that’s one of the things I could do for

my clients right that was kind of a that

was I guess a pivotal moment to write

was saying oh no this is how this is how

you’d get their story out and gonna make

it into connection that’s what people


excellent so that was that was the first

two clients yeah I need to work for free

basically exactly just for testimo I’m

not for free you got testimonials yeah


you know thank you so much for helping

they’re really really genuine guys work

thanks so much for helping you know yeah

we get statistical significance in at

Ava’s haven’t heard back from it yeah

but with Benny you created real value

exactly so your partner how did you

parlay that into something more

significant for your own pocketbook and

career looking at the people I’d wanted

to work with them at the top of the list

were Mead and Drayton right because I

just have so much respect for them and

they’re you know they’re brilliant I

obviously could learn from them and so

in both cases I just I figured out

where’s the connection so with their

meet were meet meets brother is close

friends with Benny Lewis so so you know

you know your brother knows him will

have to work with you and I pitched meet

multiple you know I comment on his blog

I pitched him multiple times and each

time you know I I did her a sponsor but

it was like thanks for setting this or

you know right well keep that a minor

divert um and so you know I kept setting

these suggestions it’s probably a half

year and one day I realized as I’m going

through like the members portal where

you see you know the different courses

that are offered it was basically just

like here’s the name of the course like

oh my god here’s my opportunity so I


you know I spent probably I mean it it

was a short email but I probably spent

eight hours on this email you know why

if I then girlfriend now wife was like

what’d you do today I worked on an email


select you know it’s cool but did you

you know did you take an app that you

you know play video games no no I worked

out an email for the entire day you know

it’s mostly done I’ll set it tomorrow

but I basically rewrote that explain the

logic behind inside you know I figured

here’s something work you know people

who are already members of a course or

program are the people most likely to

buy again yeah and by putting in actual

sales copy in this place like like

literally the weakest link in the entire

company there’s other stuff this play or

like I could have not changed a word

nothing I could you know like the

weakest link and you know I said okay

this is this is really good

I’ll change that came back has changed

in like two days later I got an email

from the copy chief you know saying okay

we have this test for you you know if

this works then you’re in nice like

finally if you go you know if you go

down to something you know you can do

that helps them enough then I fact I

found that that tends to open doors

right and you did it in a way where

you’re kind of you just give you just

adding value yeah constantly and you

know eventually works so you ended up

working for a meet how long did that

continue I want sort of exciting

projects and stuff that you get to work

on so that was about I would say six or

seven months of pretty much full time

with them and you know after that point

I still do project work with them but

you know the the employee thing wasn’t

quite for me right you know great people

the worker throwing so I got to work on

you know some quite a few actually quite

a few upsell pages got to work on a lot

of email autoresponders those campaigns

across cells up cells I got to work a

bit on their fyke ship launch zero to

launch right and that was going in at

the tail and they had this colossal

sales page and you know gave me like an

hour to you know say you go through and

you know make suggestions or changes so

I’m like okay this is eight hours so


had a day is like that downing caffeine

and going through this copy and we like

okay this is great you know what what

can I actually approve and you’re

finding out there’s a lot of that

excellent so that’s a you’re not one

person off your list you knocked or meet

off your list or you working with them

and continue to work with them and the

guy at the top of the list was Drayton

Burt yeah just you know just interpret

for anybody who doesn’t there’s an s

familiar with Drayton

you know David Ogilvy said he knows more

about direct response advertising than

anyone else in the world right that

alone was enough for me just brilliant

guy and I don’t remember you know now

it’s actually it’s been long enough at

Dover exactly I pitched him but I kept

emailing saying you know I you know in

this point it’s like I take it this John

Carlton course I’ve read all these books

I really want to work with you basically

like I’ll work on anything at you know a

buy my time I didn’t think I said it

that well but at no cost right and just

to work with you and you know finally I

think he just for wented I said you know

okay you you this you know I’ll read it

afterward and that you know for me began

a process of mentoring we worked

together probably I would say maybe 10

ish times was just that the first time

where I’d been I think exposed to that

level of having someone pick apart my

ideas and knowing that the the backstory

on their ability to do that is you know

almost half a century of being really

good at their craft so I was having a

legend pick apart your stuff so what did

you know what is what are some of the

things that you learn from working with

these people like you you’re attracted

some things working from Ramin of course

work for me and obviously working on one

side and having drayton tear apart your

stuff what are some of the things that

you might not have learned maybe if you

hadn’t had these opportunities and

taking advantage of them sure so I think

with that I’ll start with some read

since you mentioned the first a couple

things one and it’s not necessarily in

copywriting but is you always want to

start with the strongest product you

have me when I was on the inside there

you know without giving any any

proprietary details away they would have

like there is a portal and you could see

products are being built and it’s

literally we know three years from now

we’re gonna launch this we’re working on

it we’re researching it we’re testing it

we’re fine tuning it we’re doing a

you know the marketing research were

interviewing people and so you look at

that and it’s a completely different

canvas for me to work with as a

copywriter compared to someone who says

hey made this thing people seem to like

it here are some testimonials you know

right so that was huge and also I you

know I I had weren’t kind of been

indoctrinated to the hard sell thing I

know or meet one of his big critiques at

first was ok I get it you want to sell I

get it you’re a copywriter but we you

know this email we need to you know back

way off and make them laugh and teach

them something and demonstrate more

right and that was huge trade ok so now

it was hard selling and every email

kinda thing yeah and you know I know the

back side of that for me as a business

now was I was a disorganized mess before

I work with I will teach right I would

have I would have notes everywhere I

would have you know some stuff with my

calendar some stuff on a paper calendar

things in a thousand places and they had

systems for everything everything was

streamlined they have working procedures

you know here’s how you do XY and Z and

implementing that made such a huge

change for me as far as being able to

complete projects effectively and

efficiently and not lose my mind drop

the ball for client right

so you set up your own systems going

forward yeah exactly

exactly so what are some of the things

that maybe you I mean obviously you’re

you’re disorganized but it comes to

actually writing the copy and stuff what

sort of system to be implemented so I

right now kind of do all the non

creative stuff inside a sauna and in any

any task management software works but

basically I have a template because a

lot of times especially if it’s you know

for a new client integral you have the

same themes the same questions the same

things you have to do every time so you

know for instance every time you go into

any copywriting project you need to know

where is my research right you know

what’s the league gonna look like when

are these things do what are the pieces

I have and so you know I’ve systematized

that even down to in some cases template

emails of okay this is great here’s my

you know here’s my contract you know

once you sign this and so I can just go

into Google and just like basically

clone this email clone this email and

that frees up my time to focus on you

know going really deep into the product

to offer the campaign strategy you know

mind mapping outlining

all the usual suspects there and then

the writing itself

awesome awesome yeah I think that’s a

probably a problem a lot of copywriters

have is that disorganized chaos and

although it’s capable some people is

even capable thriving than that to some

degree I think it would be though who’ve

them probably to implement more systems

we had a be Woodcock on the show not

terrible yeah work great person right

wait you worked alongside I’m sure yeah

and she was big on systems and stuff as

well obviously from the same resource

yeah you kind of drink the kool-aid it I

knew how does everybody else I have ADHD

so it’s how can you live without the

structure you know mmm

and I think a lot of fields I know right

fur does some I’m sure the majority of

copywriters do so anything you do that

can give you that framework and save you

time and helping your clients where

money is beautiful absolutely so you

incorporated systems and learned a lot

from or meet and the very good advice

very good advice now if people want to

get a hold of you either – you know

inquire about having you work for them

or to get some additional help and some

thoughts and maybe ask you some


how do people best get a hold of you the

best way to get a hold of me as my

website which is at tony’s from skis.com

and i’ll spell that because it’s it’s a


so www dot t– o– NY z as in zebra ar e

M as in Mike B as in boy s k i.com

of bloomer time t ony Z a REM as it

might be as in boy s ki I know it’s not

an easy one and right now I basically

just have a landing page because I spent

you know or the past queer so much my

time doing projects is helping other

people grow a businesses right but I

realize finally I should probably my own

website so I could find me there join

the newsletter I promise I will be

putting out some great tips for people

and also a report on what to look for in

your next cat Prater so expect that in

the next few weeks

awesome awesome well it’s been a real

pleasure having on the show Tony you

really give him a lot of value here

today excellent thank you and

everyone else listening I hope he took

notes and we’re gonna listen back to

this because Tony’s been where you are

now or he’s you know it’s slightly ahead

of maybe where you’re if you’re

intermediate or getting into advanced

and you know you’ve heard it’s ejected I

know the path to take so for everyone

else we’ll be back again next week with

another exciting guest until then

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