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In my review of the book

Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero’s Quick Start Guide to Writing Red Hot Copy

posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A very user friendly guide to writing copy with one big drawback

This is a very easy book to read and understand in contrast to some of the heavyweight tones on copywriting.

The author explains an interesting process of writing copy which, after her extensive experience, doesn’t involve starting with the headline and lead. [continue reading…]

For years I’ve been disgusted by the horrific problems created by “dirty water” around the world but particularly prevalent in Africa.

I’ve meant to made a donation to a clean water charity. As I explain below, I love Africa.

As Americans say “Shoulda, coulda, woulda”.

I’m ashamed to say I did nothing.

That changed last night when I received an email from Brian Kurtz (of Bottom Line / Boardroom fame). I watched a video from Charity:Water that was incredibly inspiring and a made a commitment. A commitment I’ve honoured this morning by setting up a monthly donation.

I urge you to watch the video. When I was doing my exercises this morning in front of the TV, I saw a Water Aid advertisement (a different charity) which said  “in the next two minutes, another child will die from dirty water.” Two minutes later, another and then another.

Here is the link to the webpage with the video.

Charity:Water The Spring Monthly Donation

Then, if you’re moved as tenth as much I was, please make a donation. Anything will help.

Brian’s Ethical Bribe

Brian sent out an email about the importance of ethical bribes and makes an offer to encourage anyone interested in copywriting and direct marketing to make a monthly donation to Charity:Water.

I hope he doesn’t mind if I cut and paste the important elements.

P.S. I want to appeal to your greed right now…and use that greed to encourage you do something that will make you feel so great as you share the love on Valentine’s Day.

There are ethical bribes involved (i.e. more gifts for you) so please read on and participate.

I mentioned that one of the incentives to repeat this concept about ethical bribes today was my call with Scott Harrison, the innovator and world changer behind charity:water.

Scott is the hero who started this noble mission which is an organization dedicated to bringing clean water to everyone on the planet.

Like you, I give to many charities…many of which focus on a single disease that has hit someone in our families or circle of friends…and often just something that moves us in bigger ways.

When you think about how many diseases or causes of death can be eliminated by simply making sure everyone has clean water to drink, an organization like charity:water is one of those missions that is so easy to get behind…it’s kind of an “Uber Charity.”

I also love charity:water because 100% of the money donated is used to bring clean water to people around the world. That is, they have a completely separate fundraising division that finances the overhead of the organization.

I’ve decided to only support charities using this model going forward.

And if you join me today, I have five (5) ethical bribes for you, which as you learned earlier, would be more than if I offered you only two. 🙂

I met some of the amazing people who fund the overhead for charity:water (this special group is called “The Well”)…and they are some of the most heart centered entrepreneurs and business people you will ever meet…many of whom are quite famous, names you would know (but I don’t think they want their names mentioned–they are not about the publicity).

But to repeat: Every dollar donated by folks like us builds wells and/or brings clean water to places where people are constantly sick (and dying) because all they have access to is contaminated water.

Scott set up a page just for me (and you), my fellow Titans, to give you more details on this one-of-a-kind organization…and the video on this page tells such a compelling story.

And the page also makes it easy for you personally to bring clean water to places around the world that need it most.

Please watch the video here and I encourage you to set up a monthly donation.

I hope you will join me in donating any amount you can on a monthly basis.

Many of you have already donated to this monthly giving program in the past which they call “The Spring” (thank you!) and today I would like to encourage many more of you to contribute for Valentine’s Day…and for the 5 ethical bribes too.

For a monthly donation of any amount, I will send you the following:

1) The best summary of Breakthrough Advertising ever written by marketing genius Rich Schefren: While I want you all to buy the book, Rich has written what I believe is the best summary on the most important book on copy, marketing and human behavior ever written. It’s way more than Rich letting us know that “Greed is good.”

2) Titans and Tweets: This is a 136 page priceless document which was put together by direct response marketing pioneer (and Titan himself), Ken McCarthy.

During the landmark Titans of Direct Response event in 2014, Ken wrote (and then tweeted) as many of the gems as he could–during the event– from the most amazing lineup of speakers ever assembled in one place.

There are hundreds of rules of thumb in this document.

3) “Titans Collection” from Jay Abraham: This is a 100+ page document that another Titan (and one of my mentors) put together–which came as a surprise to me.

Jay took 22 of my past blog posts (his personal favorites) on a variety of subjects and put them into one document…and since he thought it was worthwhile to gift this document to his tribe, who am I to argue that it might be worthwhile reading for you too?

Hope you can get some useful tidbits from my writing, especially if you are new to my online family.

And I know not all of you open my emails every Sunday (sigh)…

[Piece taken out as he refers to another promotion in the main email]

4) 5,500 of the greatest headlines ever: This is something else Jay put together–a personal collection/compilation of the best headlines he could find…anywhere and everywhere.

These headlines are applicable to any medium.

It’s also a swipe file that will prevent you from ever having writer’s block as you think of your next great headline, subject line or lead for a sales letter.

5) Dick Benson’s 31 Rules of Thumb…don’t you need the other 29? I’ve got them for you in one nifty Word Document.

To receive all of these gifts, go to this special page and watch the video…and once you donate, just email me back here and put “ethical bribe” in the subject line.

I will send the 5 bonuses above (immediately) to you.

I am looking forward to sending out these ethical bribes to everyone who donates.

Please donate here.

What I Did – The UK Version

You will see the page refers to making a USD donation since the main charity is in America. However, if you are British, there is a big reason why you shouldn’t use this but, instead, go to the bottom of the page and look in the right hand corner. There you will see the ability to switch from the US charity to the UK registered charity for Charity:water.

This opens up GiftAid for UK tax payers, where the charity can reclaim from the UK government, the basic rate of tax you’ve paid on the donation.

This turns a £100 donation by you into a £125 donation to the charity.

If you’re a higher rate tax payer, you get the extra tax back through your self assessment form. For more details, see the HMRC Gift Aid page.

I’m hoping Brian won’t mind because every dollar, every pound, every euro etc donated to help rid the world of dirty water, is a small step to making it happen sooner.

I’ve asked him to confirm UK donations will still count for his ethical bribe and I’ll confirm it here too when I hear back from him.

Why I Love Africa

In my forties (and before my health took a major turn for the worst), we had six holidays in Southern Africa, mainly to South Africa but also we spent time in Botswana twice and Zambia.

Being 6′ 4″ tall and weighing back then about 17 1/2 stones, the 10 or 11 hour flight was horrendous but it was so worth it when we got there.

The big attraction for us was the chance to get out into the game reserves and remote African bush to see the animals. We also spent time in Cape Town regularly and toured along the Garden Route so we had a chance to experience the culture. In Zambia, we did what tourists do, and that’s go and get absolutely soaked walking down to admire the “Smoke That Thunders” (also known as Victoria Falls). At the time, the Zambezi was at record flood levels and a huge amount of water was flowing over the falls each minute.

These trips also revealed a level of poverty we didn’t know existed in the world outside of famine torn crisis areas and war zones.It’s a level of poverty way below levels that exist in the UK.

It was devastating to see and, in African terms, the countries we visited are relatively rich countries, especially Botswana and South Africa.

How Poor and Vulnerable Are The Countries In Africa?

According to Wikipedia, the GDP per capita in 2017 of the three countries have visitedwas:

  • Botswana – ranked 71st in the world – $18,146
  • South Africa – ranked 89 – $13,403
  • Zambia – ranked 142 – $3,997

Other well known countries further down the list are:

  • Kenya – rank 149 – $3,496
  • Uganda – rank 160 – $2,352
  • Ethopia – rank 166 – $2,113

Down at the bottom of the list:

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo – rank 186 – $785
  • Central African Republic – rank 187 – $681

Turning dirty, diseased water into clean water is not a problem these African countries can solve on their own. It need people in the West, just like you and me, to help.

Please watch the video here and I encourage you to set up a monthly donation.

The full title of this book by Dan Kennedy is

Magnetic Marketing: How To Attract A Flood Of New Customers That Pay, Stay, and Refer

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a Five Stars rating. This means it is Excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Here is my book review.

Another tasty morsel from a master of direct marketing

Magnetic Marketing is the name of the author’s most famous premium priced course and it’s the one that has helped make his excellent reputation.

Kennedy didn’t invent direct response marketing – its origins go back at least as far as the late 19th century – but he’s done a great job of bringing it to the attention of business owners and entrepreneurs along with others including Jay Abraham. I’ve always felt Kennedy was stronger on the initial aspect of attracting new customers while Abraham was better at expanding the backend, that is the ongoing business with the customers. Books by both deserve a place on the bookshelf of a well read business owner. [continue reading…]

The full title of this book by Craig Simpson with Brian Kurtz is

The Advertising Solution: Influence Prospects, Multiply Sales, and Promote Your Brand

In my review of the book posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Five Stars. This means it is Excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Here is my book review.

I wish I hadn’t ignored this excellent book for so long after buying

I’m ashamed to say I bought this book in November 2016 and hadn’t even opened my Kindle copy until January 2019. Why? Well I tend to go on buying binges and there’s the constant risk I start my next buying binge before I’ve worked my way through my last purchases.

The problem was I don’t like the main title – The Advertising Solution – or the subtitle if I’m getting picky because it mentions brands. After I’d bought it, I’d forgotten it was based on the work of six direct response marketing legends. Nor did my unfamiliarity with the main author – Craig Simpson – help me. It became a book to read some time, not next [continue reading…]

Drayton Bird is a legend in copywriting circles as he sold his own agency to David Ogilvy and worked with Ogilvy for many years. At Ogilvy and Mather, he was vice chairman and worldwide creative director of the agency which is now called OgilvyOne, according to his entry at Wikipedia.

Ogilvy is on record saying “Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world.”

Another important point is he’s British.

Why?

Because the British are generally quite reserved and can find the American direct response copywriters as brash. That’s not to say the techniques don’t work in the UK, just that there is more resistance but once hooked…

Drayton’s many years of experience marketing in the UK will give you more confidence to push through your natural reservations in your marketing. You don’t want prospective customers to sit on the fence because you haven’t given them enough convincing reasons to buy, backed up with proof.

What is Ask Drayton?

Ask Drayton is a monthly membership website where:

  • Drayton shares about 60 minutes of ideas and advice each month in the form of videos about copywriting and direct marketing.
  • Members are encouraged to ask questions and there’s a good chance that he’ll answer provided your question is realistic.
  • There is a vault of extra goodies from his career which are released monthly for the first ten months.
  • You get pdf version of two of his books – the classic How To Write Sales Letters That Sell (and given five stars in my review) and How Even A Business Idiot Like Me Made A Million Or Two.
  • Another section he calls the Golden Key, which includes two videos of a presentation he gave along with two more books as pdfs, 51 Helpful Marketing Ideas and The LOST 51 Helpful Ideas (not previously published).

Ask Drayton Review

The Good Points – What I Like

Drayton is correct. People can be easily overwhelmed with information products and learning so the idea of limiting it to just 60 minutes per month is a good one. It avoids the problem of falling further and further behind.

It is a tricky balance since people also love to get plenty for their money which can immediately create the overload.

The trial price for the first month is just $1 and you get a lot of valuable marketing information, just for giving it a try.

When you start watching the videos, you’ll see Drayton has plenty of charm and a wry sense of humour. You’ll also see that he has plenty to say which is helpful.

I also like the idea of asking him questions.

I’ve had mixed success but he does say that sometimes he’s very busy and there will be a wait before he gets around to answering. What you can’t do is ask something along the lines of “I want to start am online business selling premium priced watches. What is my marketing strategy and detailed plan?” Obviously he’s not going to answer that kind of all encompassing question unless he accepts you as a client.

The Bad Points – What I Don’t Like

There’s a feeling that this membership website has never been properly resourced. Navigation around it is poor as you can’t move up and down, back and forward easily.

This isn’t a problem when you’re only in month 1 or 2 but it becomes an increasing problem.

There also isn’t a search facility so you can’t review what he’s had to say about “email subject lines” or “direct mail” without going down into each month’s contents.

It wouldn’t take a web designer long to fix these points.

Much of the content is in the form of videos which you can download and often the audio has been stripped out as a separate mp3 to download for those who prefer to listen than watch.

Both however are time consuming compared to having the ability to skim read so I’d have liked to have seen pdf transcripts. This would also help with a search facility.

Another issue is that there’s no clear structure to the information. This is not a course where there is a logical order of material to work through. It’s much more random so you don’t know what’s coming next month.

The titles of the videos are also often written as teaser copy. For example, here are the first three of eleven marketing gems from month 1:

  1. What to spend your marketing money on. There’s a lot of truth in the saying, when everyone is zigging, it’s time to zag.
  2. How a little planning can go a long way. But most people have no idea where to start..
  3. Money squandered by the lazy. I see this time and time again. Make sure it’s not you.

Overall Thoughts About Ask Drayton

I believe the good outweighs the bad and if you’re looking for a way to gradually improve your knowledge of marketing issues, then Ask Drayton is well worth trying.

Indeed, the first month’s trial at $1 is a bargain and irresistible value.

However, if you’ve recently bought structured marketing or copywriting courses to work through, I’d clear those first. It will give you a better perspective to approach the words of wisdom from Drayton Bird.

If you’re currently successful and money isn’t a problem, then the ongoing monthly membership fee is trivial. You will gradually build up a large store of successful direct marketing ideas.

If money is a problem, the lack of structure of the membership website is an issue. Drayton Bird is an excellent direct marketing expert to follow but I recommend you buy his two best known books – How To Write Sales Letters That Sell and Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing. When you’ve put the ideas in those two books to work in your business, it’s then time for this monthly dose of his thoughts.

Where To Join

You can join Ask Drayton at this link https://askdrayton.com/

What Do You Think?

Comments are open to either tell your story about Drayton Bird, share you thoughts on this website or to ask me questions about it.

The full title of this book by David Garfinkel is

Breakthrough Copywriting: How To Generate Quick Cash With The Written Word

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave it Five Stars. This means it is Excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Here is my book review.

Important new structures for copywriting

I started listening to the author’s excellent weekly copywriting podcast because I thought I’d enjoyed his book. Then he started referring to ideas I was unfamiliar with and I discovered I’d bought the book several years ago but not actually read it.

I’ve quickly put this mistake right and I wish I hadn’t allowed myself to get distracted. [continue reading…]

In my review of

The Art of Seductive Copywriting by Shirley Long

posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of 2 Stars. This means it is disappointing.

Here is my book review.

Did the author write this book? It’s very similar to another.

When I started reading this book, I had a strong feeling of deja vu. What was written seemed incredibly familiar . It reminded me of another book I’d read recently when it came to talking about common copywriting mistakes. [continue reading…]

The Boron Letters By Gary Halbert

In my review of this book

The Boron Letters By Gary Halbert

posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave it four stars. This means I think it is good and worth reading.

Here is my book review.

“Babblings” of a great copywriter from prison

I first read these letters written by the author to his son from prison on the Gary Halbert Letters website and bought the book to add to my copywriting and marketing library.

These letters date back to 1984 so don’t expect tips about the Internet, email and social media. Instead expect advice that goes deeper than modern media. Their purpose was to teach his youngest son about marketing and life. [continue reading…]

Smart Marketing for Engineers by Rebecca Geier

The full title of this book by Rebecca Geier is

Smart Marketing for Engineers: An Inbound Marketing Guide to Reaching Technical Audiences

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of 4 Stars. It is good and well worth reading.

Well worth reading if you work in a large electronics company

There are few marketing books which look at B2B marketing issues and those that focus on selling technical products or services to engineers are rare and precious.

This one looks at the post Internet development of inbound marketing, sometimes called content marketing. It’s about establishing credibility so customers come to you when they want to buy. This contrasts with traditional marketing where businesses blast out marketing messages to anyone and everyone who might buy some time. [continue reading…]

Jay Abraham has released three full length books on pdf today. All he asked is you tell 25 entrepreneurs you know.

The third is called

Putting Your Marketing Genius to Work

This is what he says…

“It’s a lighter introductory to Jay Abraham, designed and intended to stimulate entrepreneurs unfamiliar with me and my work to seek more of our products, programs, services — due to the exciting realizations the book quickly brings out.

While not as deep as the other two, it is an excellent fast-track review of my body of work and might stimulate YOU to want more/deeper access to our products.”

He also warns there are promotional elements in this book which are absent from the other two.

You can get the book here.

My Thoughts

I haven’t read it yet but I can tell you:

  1. Jay Abraham has been a major influence on my thinking about business growth, opportunities for profit and marketing.
  2. His book “Getting Everything You Can…” is one of the books I recommend all business owners read.
  3. This is the book which, on first sight, appeals to me most. My knowledge of Jay Abraham will go far beyond the elements in this book but it’s always useful to read an overview which lets you see the jigsaw puzzle put back together.