The Underground Marketer Podcast

Episode 36 – David Deutsch Shows How Direct Response Can Help Your Business Survive & Thrive

The Underground Marketer Podcast
Episode 36 - David Deutsch Shows How Direct Response Can Help Your Business Survive & Thrive

Learn How to Write Great Copy From an A-List Copywriter 

In today’s episode, I will engage in discussion with David L. Deutsch, a world-renowned direct response copywriter, marketing strategist, author, and copywriting coach. In addition to creating winning promotions from scratch, he often works with clients and writers behind the scenes to turn under-performing promotions into winners.

3 Big Ideas 

  1. Direct-response advertising is useful to all businesses, no matter their size or revenue because it gets you feedback from your market. It helps you to get to know your market and to differentiate yourself. 
  2. Testing different approaches is vital in order to find out what works best for you. Become a student of response – everything you do, try to measure and record the response.
  3. Knowledge and experience go hand in hand. It’s good to have some knowledge of the past and how advertising developed – it may even be an inspiration. However, practice makes perfect, so make sure to write all the time and ask for feedback. 

Show Notes

[01:06] David briefly discusses how he got started and his journey to the top. 

  • David started at Ogilvy & Mather on Madison Avenue, working with clients such as Merrill Lynch, General Foods, and American Express. 
  • He worked in regular advertising and then moved on to direct-response advertising. He was inspired by Jay Abraham. 
  • He left the advertising industry and became a freelancer in direct response. He enjoyed the feedback and the certainty of doing it. 
  • He likes to work the most with entrepreneurs who do their own copy because they know their business best. 

[03:50] David talks about his transition from Ogilvy to freelancing. 

  • He was trained at Ogilvy. There, he had to read books by Claude Hopkins and John Caples.  
  • While he initially wanted to work as a marketer, he soon found out that people would easily give him money to write copy. So he became a freelance copywriter. 
  • He says that being able to write copy enabled him to have his own business instead of working for an ad agency. 
  • Nowadays, he is more of a Jay Abraham type marketer, working on a consulting basis. 

[05:57] Tudor asks David about the efficiency of direct-response advertising for small and big businesses. 

  • For a big company like Apple, DRA can be a strategy that they can use. However, Apple sells mostly through retail, not DRA. 
  • You need to think about whether you want to sell your product through DRA. Even if you don’t sell through DRA, you can still do advertising that gets a response. 
  • The mindset is doing advertising in a way that gets you feedback about your marketing. 
  • The internet is built for DRA, so use it to your advantage. Direct response is the future. 
  • Tudor thinks that start-ups and small companies can benefit a lot from DRA. The feedback will help you figure out what your market wants and lead to differentiation. 

[14:30] How to develop a mindset that focuses on the people. 

  • Don’t think that the market doesn’t understand you and don’t blame the market. Instead, think about how you can better understand the market. 
  • The market is the ultimate authority, at the top. You can’t change what it wants, you can only adapt. 
  • The first step to test the viability of a product or service is to talk about it with other people. 

[18:09] How to get authentic feedback when testing. 

  • David says that there is a continuum to testing, the ultimate test being if people will actually buy your product or service. 
  • But you need to test to get to that point, so you’ll need to settle for what they say. Try to grasp how enthusiastic they are and how likely they are to pay for what you offer. 
  • You need to be aware of cognitive biases or other factors that may impact people’s honesty when giving feedback.
  • Feedback is a useful tool, but not ultimate. Take it into account, but don’t base your entire business on it. 
  • As Gary Halbert said, you need to know the market and what people are actually willing to pay for. You need to understand them. 

[24:23] David talks about the best way to learn direct-response advertising. 

  • DRA means copywriting. You need to learn how to write things that resonate with people.
  • Keep track of how people respond to your writing, be it blog posts, social media posts, emails, etc. 
  • Once you figure out what people respond to, implement that into your marketing and advertising. 
  • Also, test everything! 

[27:35] David thinks that both knowledge and experience are important. 

  • It’s useful to have knowledge of the past, how advertising developed, and where it is today. Use it for inspiration, not as a step-by-step guide. 
  • Don’t overthink writing and don’t imitate others. You already know what works to persuade people, so just do it. 
  • A good strategy to get in touch with your inner persuader is to record yourself while imagining that you are talking with a friend. 
  • You don’t need to hire someone to teach you how to write copy – you can just look at their copy and figure out what triggers they use. 
  • Understand why a copy works, reverse engineer it. Deconstruct the template. 
  • The more you write copy, the better you’ll get at it. Experience matters just as much as knowledge. 

[35:27] David shares his top book recommendations for anyone who wants to learn more about copywriting. 

  • His favorite author is Claude Hopkins and his books Scientific Advertising and My Life in Advertising. Hopkins has beautiful and simple writing. 
  • He also recommends reading John Caples because he explains what makes copywriting and DRA work. 
  • Another great book is Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. It’s quite an advanced read. He explained the different levels of market sophistication and how to appeal to each of them. 
  • David Ogilvy’s books are brilliant as well and his writing is charming. Ogilvy teaches you to write about what people are interested in. 
  • Lastly, read books that are not about copywriting, but that are relevant, such as Gerry Spence’s How to Argue and Win Every Time or Cialdini’s Influence. 

[40:43] David talks about his group-coaching service that helps people with their copy. 

  • Don’t write your copy in isolation. Get it looked at and ask for feedback from others as you’re writing it.
  • David has a group-coaching service that gives people a chance to have their copy looked at.
  • It can be an eye-opening experience for all involved. Many people have blind spots in their writing, so he points out what they are and how to overcome them.
  • David encourages everyone to reach out to him if they need any help with their copy or advertising. 

Recommended Resources 

David L. Deutsch Website – For more resources and to get David’s eye-opening eLetter every week full of his latest copywriting and marketing secrets

David’s Inner Circle – For serious copywriters and marketers only… find out more about David’s exclusive live online coaching group

Decoding Greatness by Ron Friedman

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins 

My Life in Advertising by Claude Hopkins

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz 

How to Argue & Win Every Time by Gerry Spence 

Influence by Robert Cialdini

Full Transcript 

Read The Full Transcript

Introduction    00:00:03    Marketing explosive growth and revolutionary secrets that can catapult your business to new heights. You’re now listening to the underground marketer podcast with your host, Tudor Dumitrescu, the one podcast devoted to showing new businesses how to market themselves for high growth.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:00:24    Welcome to the underground marketer. This is the place where we deliver the real truth about marketing and explore big ideas that can help new businesses thrive and grow into big ones. I am your host Tudor and today it’s my distinct pleasure and honor to welcome David Deutsch. He’s an A-list copywriter and a professional copywriter, a superstar I could say in the industry. So welcome David. 


David Deutsch    00:00:50    Oh, thank you. Tutor. It’s great to be here. Right?  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:00:53    So I would like to start David by asking you, if you can tell us a bit about yourself and how you basically got started as a copywriter, how you entered the direct response industry and tell us a bit about your job.  


David Deutsch    00:01:06    How did I enter the direct response industry? I started in regular advertising at Ogilvy and Mather on Madison avenue in New York city, which was a big advertising firm run by a guy named David Ogilvy. And unlike a lot of ad agencies on Madison avenue, David Ogilvy himself was kind of intro into direct response. He believed that advertising should sell, not just win awards. And so that gave me just a great foundation in the fundamentals, direct response and in the mindset of direct response, which is you want people to respond to your advertising. Somehow you want them to send for more information, you want them to buy something you don’t only want to improve brand image or create awareness for your products.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:01:51    So good, good.  


David Deutsch    00:01:52    Yeah, yeah. Or make people say, wow, that was a great commercial. And then they can’t even remember who it was for. And so I was working with different ad agencies after that. And one day I discovered direct response. I really discovered Jay Abraham and was fascinated by this world. I’m fascinated by the way he thought. And of course, part of his mindset was direct response. And so I left advertising and became a freelance writer in the direct response industry. And I just enjoy the feedback of knowing what I do, whether it works or not. Right. Knowing that I’ve increased, you know, increased response by 10% or even that it didn’t. Okay. So let’s try something else. Right. Let’s try three things and see what, see what we can do. So today I still do some writing. I mainly work with copywriters. Like I’ll be sort of a freelance creative director for a company, right.  


David Deutsch    00:02:48    I’ll work with their copywriters that they have in house or even their freelance copywriters and make what they’re doing better. A lot of times I’ll work with owner copywriters, like people who have their own business and do their own copywriting, which is really, I think that’s a huge, competitive advantage, right? When you’ve got the owner of a business guy that runs the business, the guy that knows about the business or the girl, but the guy that knows the business, writing their own copy, they’re like the best qualified person to do that. So I really love working with entrepreneurs that do their own copy because that turns into such a huge competitive advantage for them.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:03:26    That’s fantastic. David. I mean, I love hearing about Jay Abraham. He has had a big impact on myself as well and all of his writings really. So that’s really fascinating to hear that he had a profound impact on you as well. How exactly did you make the transition from working in an advertising agency with Ogilvy to going freelance yourself? Did you find that difficult or was it really a natural progression? Yeah,  


David Deutsch    00:03:51    I didn’t find that very difficult maybe, especially because I was trained at Ogilvy and I kind of had that mindset to begin with. He made us read books like Claude Hopkins and Sean Caples. Yup. I kind of wanted to be like a junior Jay Abraham. Right. And do Abraham Jay Abraham type 25% of increased profits deals. But I soon found that people were more than ready to hand me cash to write copy. And I just kind of got, I sort of became more of a freelance copywriter than the Jay Abraham type marketer that I thought I would become now. I sort of do more of the Jay Abraham’s type stuff. Right. I work with people for a percentage of sales and profits. And I work on a more consulting basis, you know, as Jay Abraham says, I become someone that the person’s thinking partner in a certain way, but being able to offer copywriting made it a lot easier to start my own business and go from, you know, working in an ad agency.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:04:49    That’s really fascinating to me. So my journey, you know, I’ve also started as a copywriter before being an agency owner. And I worked in the direct response space and really, I think that this skill of direct response marketing, and it’s not necessarily the ability to write copy, but it’s the ability to think about a market and what offers are going to resonate with them, how you’re going to present those offers to them. I think that that skill is super important for entrepreneurs, but our general education, new entrepreneurs, they almost never hear initially about direct response marketing, many entrepreneurs I speak with, you know, they don’t even know what’s the difference between direct response marketing or, and for example, brand advertising. They just think that advertising is one in the same. I want to ask you at this point, from your perspective, and from your experience working with entrepreneurs, how important is direct response marketing for somebody who is starting a new business compared to say direct response marketing for a huge corporation like apple and what are the differences?  


David Deutsch    00:05:57    Well for a company like Apple, direct response advertising is kind of a marketing channel, like a strategy that they can use. They use a very interesting retail strategy, right? They don’t really sell through direct response. They sell mainly through retail, but they do also sell, you know, you can buy it. I think I just did buy an apple computer from apple itself through direct response. They don’t really, I don’t know that they really promote that though in a certain way, because kind of what led me to buy that computer was like, I wanted to buy it in an apple store. Right. I wanted that experience. I wanted that speed, but I wasn’t able to because they don’t have them in stock. So I just had to order it. I just ordered it to be delivered. So you have to think carefully about how you want to deliver your product, right?  


David Deutsch    00:06:43    Whether you want to sell it through direct response, but even if you’re not selling your products with direct response, you can still do advertising. That gets a response, right? You can still get people to request a free report. You can still get people to send for more information. You can still get people to book an appointment with you, right? So it, the mindset, if anything I think is that is how can we get people to respond in some way that gives us an indication of how the marketing is doing, how the advertising is doing so we can improve it. How can we get people to respond in a way, and then continue to market them right up the funnel as we call it, right? We can send them emails. We can send them things in the mail. We can call them on the telephone because they responded. And we have their information of course, with the web. Now that is a lot easier than it was when I started. And really the response had to be, you send a coupon in the mail or you call up on the telephone. Now in a way with the internet, everyone is a direct response marketer in a certain way.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:07:48    Yeah. I think that the internet really is built for direct response. I mean, if you look at ad platforms like Google or Facebook, everything, they’re the metrics that they give you and everything it’s geared towards direct response really, and getting a response from people immediately on the spot.  


David Deutsch    00:08:05    A lot of the advertising we see of course on the Super Bowl and things like that. It’s not that right. It’s feel better about buying this beer or this coal or these household products, even big advertisers, even the big package goods firms. And you know, I, and I work with one of them actually on this is they are selling their products more and more through direct response, right? You can go on the internet and you can order a lot of the same household cleaning products that you see on supermarket shelves. You can subscribe to them. You can do all sorts of things now, because of course we’re less and less going to stores. I’m just going to say so again, the trend is more and more toward direct response. 


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:08:54    I agree. And going back to our initial discussion about the differences between small companies and big companies, when it comes to direct response, I feel based on my own experience that small companies and startups, they really need direct response, you know, in a way that a big corporation doesn’t  


David Deutsch    00:09:12    Necessarily, they can still get away without it, because they already have so many distribution channels set up, but a new business doesn’t have that. And literally every dollar in that business counts, right. And every dollar has to pull its own weight, so to speak. Yeah. And the nice thing about response, especially in a startup company is I think the success for a lot of companies depends upon feedback. It depends upon the market telling you what it wants, right? Like big companies know what the market wants, right. They know what kind of beer they like. They know how many bubbles people like or don’t like, but when you’re creating a product on your own, whatever widget, whatever coaching you’re offering, whatever product, whatever service feedback, and that’s what response is, right. It’s feedback from your customers, from your prospects is just so valuable, right? To know, ah, my customer, they don’t want this kind of coaching.  


David Deutsch    00:10:07    I thought they wanted coaching about how to manifest your life. Turns out they want someone to push them for accountability, right? Like you might discover that when you start to get feedback and that feedback could either be people writing you and telling you, Hey, I don’t like your woo-woo type coaching. Right? Why don’t you offer some accountability coaching? Or it could be that just, wow. Every time I run an ad where I portray my coaching as this type of coaching, right? It does well when I pertain to it as this type of coaching, it doesn’t do so well. People seem to like more of the accountability aspect than they do the secrets. 


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:10:44    Secrets of the universe. 


David Deutsch    00:10:46    Secrets of the universe and getting in tune with your inner self kinds of things, or maybe the opposite, right? Maybe people don’t like to be, I mean, I don’t like to be accountable. Maybe other people don’t like to be accountable and they want more of that. Or maybe they want something you didn’t even know they wanted. Right.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:11:05    They think that this is fascinating because from my perspective, feedback is what ultimately leads to differentiation in business. And from my experience, working with entrepreneurs, a lot of people, when they start out, they start out very similar with what’s already on the market. And by the time that they become successful, they’ve gone through the feedback loop and their product or service, whether it’s coaching or whether they’re offering a widget or whatever it is, ends up going through the feedback mechanism and ends up being very differentiated and very specific. So it’s very interesting and fascinating to me, how direct response can help speed up this feedback loop and help you understand your market much better because that’s ultimately at the heart of entrepreneurship, right?  


David Deutsch    00:11:53    I’m always fascinated by stories of how companies started as opposed to how they wound up. Right? Because I think that people aren’t flexible enough. They don’t pivot easily enough. So many like Honda, when it first came to this country, were trying to sell, I don’t know, motorcycles or something. And they found out people really wanted small cars. So they started making small cars and were really successful, but they didn’t know that until they tried to sell motorcycles. Right. And I was reading today that nuMe, you know, is the app for dieting, yeah. It’s like a super successful app where you, it kind of guides you in dieting and neurofeedback. It’s meant to, you know, it’s got coaching and stuff like that. They actually started as a company where they were trying to make, uh, an exercise bike and a calorie counting thing. And it had this kind of app that they developed that went along with it.  


David Deutsch    00:12:43    But people really liked the app. And so they became an app company, but at first they had no idea that the app would be so popular. And one of them, um, what do you call it? Communication platforms. I think it’s Twitter. It might be Slack, but I think it’s Twitter started life in the same way. It was like they had this product, right? Whatever. It was some service, some product. And they were like, ah, we need a way for people to talk to each other within this product. I know we’ll do this little thing where you do little, send little messages to each other. I’ll write an app for it. Right. And so I’ll write a little software code for it. And they did that. And people, they didn’t really care so much about the product that it was like, but they really loved this little way of communicating that they had developed and it became Twitter. Right. But they didn’t start out. We’re going to make Twitter. We’re going to make a thing where people can communicate in 160 characters, little message bites. They had no idea. So I think a lot of entrepreneurs like to be open to that. Your ultimate success may be with a pivot into something that you’re not even thinking about.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:13:49    How do you think that people can go about developing this humility? You know, and basically this capacity to listen to the market with quite a few entrepreneurs that are struggling, I’ve noticed the tendency, you know, to do the opposite, to sort of blame the market and say, you know, the market doesn’t understand what I’m doing. How do people develop? Because I mean, this mindset, the way I see it’s at the, at the essence of direct response, you know, I mean, Gary Halbert used to say, you know, look for the stuff that’s already selling for what people already want. Eugene Schwartz said, uh, you know, you can’t get people to desire something. You can only channel existing desires into your product. So I mean, how do you go about developing this mindset?  


David Deutsch    00:14:31    I think it starts with not having that mindset of the market. Doesn’t understand me and having the mindset of, I don’t understand the market, teach me. I want to learn from the market. Right? The market is the ultimate authority. I bow down to the market. The market is my boss, right? Like a makeup organization chart, and put the market up at the top. Right. Because that’s the boss. Right. And otherwise you try to educate people, you try to change people’s minds. And it’s really, really hard to do that. Let them tell you what to do. Look at Silicon Valley, how they develop products. Right. They do like a minute, what they call an MVP, right? A minute, a minimum, minimally viable product. Let’s just put out some little thing that’s not fully finished just to get some feedback from people. Do they love it or do they hate it? Right. So I think just always being open to that kind of pivoting. Right. But we don’t know what kind of company will be tomorrow.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:15:34    I think it starts also with having, with knowing that what you have is ultimately you have a hypothesis, you know, it’s not set in stone.  


David Deutsch    00:15:42    It’s always a test. We’re always testing.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:15:45    It’s absolutely fascinating to me. And I mean, is there any process that you use now? I mean, with all the experience that you’ve gathered over the years, is there any process that you have in place to help an entrepreneur, for example, put that first hypothesis out and test it. I mean, how do you generally approach this problem with business owners?  


David Deutsch    00:16:07    Well, I think the first way to test something is right. Is to talk about it with other people. Right. Don’t just keep it to yourself. Don’t just like, be like, I’m going to make shoes that glow in the dark. Right. Don’t just like, go get some prototypes, manufactured and show them to people. Right? Like talk to people, say, Hey, I was thinking that it’d be great to have shoes that glow in the dark. What do you think? It’s really hard to find your shoes at night. Like sometimes when you’re out for a walk, cars can see you better. Don’t you think it’d be great. If shoes load in the dark and people might go, wow, that’s like a great idea. Do you like, I’d love, like, let me know when you find them or make them or whatever, or people might say, Hey, I don’t know.  


David Deutsch    00:16:45    That’s kind of silly. I don’t want my shoes blowing in the dark. Right. Because like, they might give an objection. You didn’t think so, then if I leave my shoes by my bed, they’ll be glowing all night and I won’t be able to sleep. Right. Like, whoa, man, I didn’t tell you that. I almost spent half, a billion dollars to make shoes to glow in the dark. I didn’t even think that people aren’t going to want them because they leave their shoes by the bed and they’re going to keep them up all night. Or maybe it means I make shoes to glow in the dark, but I can switch off that they glow in the dark or whatever. Right. So you just add nimbleness, like, right. Like you ever watch Mohammed Ali box and he’s like, oh, he’s ducking and he’s dancing around and stuff like that. You gotta be like a butterfly, right. Float. Like a butterfly sting, like a big, you gotta be bobbing around. You’ve got the, oh, maybe that’d be over here. Oh, maybe I should be over here. Right. Let me check with the market.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:17:36    This is all fascinating. I wanted to ask you because when you speak with other people, one of the issues that sometimes comes up, especially for example, if your product is in a market, that’s more say rescale, like dating or something of that nature. People are not always forthcoming. And they’re not always honest in actually telling you what they want, but they’re honest when it comes to taking their money out. Right. And buying something. So how can you navigate that problem when doing this initial testing?  


David Deutsch    00:18:09    Well, you certainly always want to, I mean, there’s kind of a continuum right. Of testing. And the ultimate test is will people reach into their pockets and give you money back? That’s absolutely right. But sometimes you have to settle for, will people say will reach into their pockets and give you money. Right. Or how excited do people see them about this? Right. You’ve got to kind of extrapolate a little bit. Can I force people to make a little effort to find out more about this? Like they have to click or something. Right. Can I make people, can I do a rating? Right. Like, let’s say, you’ve got five ideas, right? You’ve got there’s shoe. She was a glow in the dark. You’ve got a pen that never runs out of ink. You’ve got a coaching service or whatever. Maybe it’s this kind of coaching service or that kind of coaching service, like making people rank them. Like, what’s your favorite idea, right. Which of these? So you may not know they’d be willing to give you money for it, but you would know at least that they’re more likely to give you money for that than any of the other ones on that list.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:19:11    I mean, for me, the most fascinating scenario is when the answer is, if you ask people if they want a certain something and then they say no, but that no is not actually the truth. You know, because in some cases it’s not socially acceptable or it doesn’t shine a good light on them if they say yes to that question, but they would actually want it. There’s quite a few products of that nature. I found those situations personally very difficult to navigate. So, you know, so I was wondering if you have any sort of advice to help people who are dealing with such situations better test and better get a feel for the market.  


David Deutsch    00:19:50    Well, I mean, you always have to be aware of any number of cognitive biases, right? Any number of accounts for people, maybe not telling you the truth about certain things. So for instance, if you’re asking people, would you rather, would you prefer to buy the works of Shakespeare or the most titillating stories from the national Enquirer for the past 20 years? Right. Like, you know, everyone’s going to say they want to Shakespeare, but no, one’s going to really buy Shakespeare. Yeah, exactly. And maybe want to make that survey anonymous, right? Like it’s an anonymous survey and you make it clear, it’s anonymous or, I mean, that’s, that’s really the best way. And also just, you’ve also got to see what people have bought in the past, right? Like what do people buy? What is possible? What, that’s, why writers look at, learn this from Dan Kennedy, look at the bestseller list on the New York times. Right? That’s what people buy, no matter what they say, they may say they want quality content, but they’re buying the latest biography on the fights that are going on in the Royal household. Right. Or they’re buying Harry Potter or whatever it is. Right. Shakespeare is not number one on the right. So unless Shakespeare is number one on the bestseller list, you want to be careful about coming out with an edition of Shakespeare. All of the complete works of Shakespeare.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:21:12    I think that this is fascinating. I mean, this is sort of what Gary Halbert was also saying, like he was big into the SRDS list and checking for what’s actually selling what people are actually buying. I think that that’s the ultimate test, you know, knowing what people are paying for with many products, especially if it’s something innovative, a lot of people nowadays, you know, they’re doing technology startups and all sorts. It’s a bit more difficult to really get data on if people are basically willing to pay for that. Right. Because there’s no history to it.  


David Deutsch    00:21:46    Yeah. I mean, although there could be a history of similar products or, or whatever it is, but yeah. A lot of times an app is very different. There’s not a lot to compare it to.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:21:58    And it’s very hard to pull off successfully. Like if you ask me most of the successful business owners that I know personally are people who have started local businesses, you know, doing regular stuff pretty much, but just with better marketing and better outreach than other people. And then with stuff like apps or stuff, that’s very advanced and there’s nothing like it, let’s say blue ocean stuff where there’s, where it’s something completely innovative. It can be super successful, but the chances of failure are also much greater because you’re really guessing a lot about a lot of things. And I, I really think that you need a lot of capital to make that work and to pull it off. I mean, that’s why they’re all going to venture capitals.  


David Deutsch    00:22:42    Right? Well, yeah, people don’t realize unless like you are, you’ve kind of got an insight into that. People don’t realize that access to capital is a huge, competitive advantage. Forget about great copywriting. You know, if you’ve got access to capital, all things become, become popular, become possible. But I think also you made an interesting point too, which was that a lot of times it depends on the market. I mean, you can research all you want as to whether people want something or don’t want something, but good marketing will sell stuff because today, especially you can reach those people more easily that once choose that glow in the dark, right. Or that want this type of coaching or that type of coaching, right. Like, yeah. Okay. One may be more popular than the other right. 30 million people may like this type of coaching, 35 million people may like that type of coaching, but Hey, there’s how many coaching clients do you need, right? You don’t need 35 million. You only need 50 or a hundred or 25 or whatever. And the marketing is what’s going to make the difference then how well can you articulate your point of difference? How well can you copyright the understanding of the people in your market, right. And make them feel that you know who they are and what they want and could serve them. How well can you articulate the benefits of glow in the dark shoes? How, what are your marketing channels, distribution channels? How cheaply can you get it manufactured?  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:24:09    I wanted to ask you what’s in your opinion, the best way for somebody who is new to direct response to really go about learning direct response, like what’s the process that you would recommend based on your experience?  


David Deutsch    00:24:23    Well, I think ultimately when you talk about direct response, you talk about copywriting, which is really my love. Right. And kind of, for me, the secret sauce, right? I know you remember them. I don’t know how many in your audience might be, what are those? The clothing catalogs they used to have Pendleton Pemberton, uh, Peterman. Yep. The Peterman pat Kellogg’s right. That was all copywriting. It was all just brilliant storytelling, copywriting that made people buy. Right. And so to me, if you want to learn about direct response, then learn about how to get right. Things that people respond to. Right. When you do your blog, right? When you do your emails to customers, like keep track, like what can I do? How can I write in a way that gets more people to click in the emails or get more people to read the blog or get more people to subscribe, or it gets more people to do whatever it is you want them to do, right?  


David Deutsch    00:25:21    Start to connect your writing, your copy to response, right? You make a post on LinkedIn, right? Oh, this repost got a thousand views and twenty-five reactions. I do another post and I get 2000 views and 50 reactions. Wow. Okay. What did I do differently? Why did people respond more to this one then to that one? And then when you start to realize what makes people respond, you can then take that into your advertising and promotion. Cause you realize people respond to this benefit. They don’t respond to that. People respond to being talked to in a certain way. People respond to a certain voice, right? They like it. When I take a tough parent, like yeah, you ought to do this yard. I brought Barbara and they responded to that. Or they respond to a softer, gentler, you know, we’re all in this together and everything’s going to be okay.  


David Deutsch    00:26:14    They seem to like that voice better. They just become a student of response. Really? Everything you do try to measure the response, right? You send an email, right? How many people, you know, send an email to your list or, or to your customers, right? Keep track how many people respond, how many people don’t respond, you raise your price rate, you lower your price. How ‘s the response to that test raising your price and lowering your price and see how people respond. Right? If you’re a coach, but if you did a test where you doubled your price, right? You went to a certain market, a certain segment, a certain list, whatever it was. And you just said, okay, I’m you know, this is what I charge. I charge $200 an hour. Whereas before you were charging a hundred likes, see what the response is. We think people will be turned off and won’t respond. But a lot of times people don’t mind paying for something that they want like that. And in fact, they think it has an even higher value because you’re charging more for it. But you don’t know, unless you measure the response,  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:27:12    You think that it’s best to approach this. I mean, the process of learning copywriting straight by testing things out. And the reason I’m asking is because a lot of people recommended newcomers, start with books, or they start by reading successful sales letters or ads from the past and trying to figure out what made them successful. How do you stand on these issues? Well,  


David Deutsch    00:27:36    We need to do both, right. It’s good to have some knowledge of the past. And what’s happened in copywriting and what David Ogilvy says, and Coplin says, and then even the present, right? Who’s doing copy now that’s successful. What are some good templates to follow? Not to follow slavish only. Right. But to see, okay, oh, I see how it works. I’ll look at that as an introduction, then there’s like a problem. And then there’s a solution to the problem, which isn’t the product, but it’s kind of what the product does. Right? Right. Like it’s, it’s not the actual product, but it’s a way to solve the problem. And then the product comes in as the way to get the solution in the easiest way. Right. So you can do that solution yourself. It’s a lot of work or you get this product and that solves the problem for you.  


David Deutsch    00:28:23    And then there’s a little bit about proof and how it solves the problem. And then maybe there’s a guarantee and then maybe there’s a close and there’s certain types of closes. And then there’s, and then there’s a call to action or whatever. Right. So it’s good to know that stuff and variations of it and what other people are doing. But at the same time, if you only have that, you’re just going to do that slave asleep. You’re not going to know what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. You know, you need to always be testing, right? You need to figure it out for yourself. Well, maybe I don’t want to start with the problem first or maybe I don’t want to do it like this, or maybe I want to put the guarantee in the beginning because I’m offering double your money back. So I’m not going to put the guarantee in that toward the end.  


David Deutsch    00:29:04    I’m going to put it in the beginning. If you’re not flexible, you wind up, sorry. It’s a little rant of mine that, you know, people follow templates and things and formulas. So slave mostly when people are such great persuaders, right? Like we all have this ability to persuade our partners, right. To go to a certain movie and not another movie. We know how to do that. Right. We know how to get them to go to a certain restaurant. Like maybe they don’t like Chinese food, but we’re going to persuade them to go to this Chinese restaurant because we’re going to tell them that they have other things on the menu. And that there are really good Chinese restaurant that even people that don’t like Chinese restaurants really like, like, like we don’t need a template or a formula, or to read a book to know how to do that.  


David Deutsch    00:29:48    We know how to do that. We know how to persuade people, but then we sit down to write and we think, oh, I’m a writer I got and now I’m writing and I need to get a great grade. Yeah. Yeah. My sixth grade teacher used to yell at me if I didn’t write in a certain way. And so I got to write in that way and I got to remember all these formulas and all you have to do is get in touch with your inner persuader, but people just leave that behind and just become like third grade copywriters right there. They’re kind of imitating what they’ve heard. Copy. Sounds like when they have such beautiful, unique, persuasive voices, hidden inside them, just waiting to come up.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:30:28    It’s fascinating that you say that because one of the tricks that I’ve been using for a long time to write copies, basically to imagine that I’m speaking to a friend recorded and then transcribe that and then just edit it out. Many times, you get beautiful copy coming out like that, you know, pretty much straight off the cuff, you know, after of course you’ve immersed yourself in your market, you understand the market, you understand the people you’re speaking to. And so on. I found that very effective. Yeah. That’s a great  


David Deutsch    00:30:57    Hack for accessing that inner persuader because you know, when you’re talking, you’re not in that writing mode. Exactly. And so, yeah, just record yourself, actually talking to someone, trying to sell them, you know, that’s a great way to do it. Yeah. There’s all sorts of things that you can do to kind of bring that out.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:31:17    And many people, I mean, many novices, I noticed that they also make the mistake of not learning from copy that they see, you know, they think, for example, they need to pay $20,000 to this guy to sell them a copywriting course or whatever, instead of why don’t you learn from that? Guy’s marketing because I mean, the triggers that he’s using and the patterns that he’s using, they’re in there, you know, and they’re working on you. So I think he can be very effective in trying to learn from something like that. You know, something that has a pool on you so that you can feel the effects,  


David Deutsch    00:31:50    Right? Not only that, I mean, that’s a great point because the other thing that happens, if someone hands you a template, right? You have no understanding of that template and how it works, why it works, how you might be able to bury it. But if you look at a great piece of copy and you extract the template that they’re using from that copy, you understand why that copy works. Boy, that’s that it’s so much better than getting it from a book where someone else did that work. Um, and there’s a great book. It’s called deconstructing greatness, deconstructing greatness, decoding greatness by Ron Friedman. And it’s a book about something that I’ve always advocated, which is just like reverse engineering. Great copy. Like it’s right there on the page for you. It’s not like a painting right. Where you can’t see, well, what or Stokes did he use?  


David Deutsch    00:32:41    How did he mix these colors? What kind of canvas did he use? How did he know? The copy is right there. Everything is there right for you to deconstruct, right? What’s the general, what’s the overall structure, right? What did he do first? Here’s the proof. Okay. There’s proof here, here, here, here. Where does he bring out benefits? Okay. Here, here, here, here, here. Where does he do this? Where does he do that? Every sentence you can deconstruct, right? Oh, look, he uses little short sentences. Oh look, he uses simple sentences, right? Not period. Not sentences where you have to read like a whole paragraph and figure out that not only the beginning only is revealed at the, the meaning is only revealed at the end, right? Like in German into the sky, the plane is going right. A lot of people write sentences like that, where you have to get to the end to read it, to understand it. So, but no, I see that this writer uses very simple sentences so that the meaning is immediately clear and his paragraphs are all three or four lines. Right. There’s so much that you can deconstruct just like someone in Silicon valley, like taking apart a computer to see how it works. Right. So they can make a better computer. Right. You can do that with copy. 


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:33:48    This is fascinating to me as well. I mean, um, I do that all the time. And I think that a lot of people, when they read copy, they just read the copy, but they don’t look for the underlying patterns. Like it’s most obvious in a headline, like for example, you can have a headline, which says how a certain benefit helps the target audience without a certain unwanted effect. Right. But many people, they just read that sentence, but they don’t see that underlying pattern of it. And I mean, once you start seeing those patterns, you can really start reusing them whenever you need them. And I think that that’s something very powerful that’s not often talked about and it can be a huge arsenal for a copywriter. Yeah.  


David Deutsch    00:34:31    Yeah. Absolutely. I think so many times people, all, they see the superficialness of it. Like they read a headline, like they laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play that, so they write a headline, they laughed when I said I was going on a diet. But when I started to lose weight dot, dot dot, because they don’t see that there’s a deeper pattern of vindication. Right. And that could lead to a whole bunch of headlines, right? Like the story of how someone went to the doctor and the doctor thought their scale was broken. This is a story of someone that was, that was laughed at for some, you don’t have to use that exact, those exact words like that. Because like you said, you’re seeing the underlying pattern. You’re seeing a deeper pattern.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:35:11    I’m very curious, David. So a lot of people always ask for books. So I have to ask you this question, what would be the top five books that you’d recommend to somebody if they want to learn, or if they want to get into copywriting and become a copywriter themselves? Well,  


David Deutsch    00:35:27    Certainly be Claude Hopkins, right? Scientific Advertising and My Life in Advertising because that’s such a, I mean, his writing so beautiful and so simple and so powerful that it’s kind of a great foundation. So I would read John Caples because he really spells out what makes direct response work. What makes copywriting work and in terms of these types of headlines, right? In terms of a lot of what he’s done. So he had done so much testing with him, certainly Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz is a little bit more advanced, but you could read that 10 times to get everything out of that. Absolutely. Right. The different ways of saying a benefit and making a benefit come to life that he does is just so important. And then the stages of awareness, right? The idea that, cause I think this is where so many people miss the boat when they write is they write to a market, like they’ve never seen an ad for this product before.  


David Deutsch    00:36:31    Right? Like for this type of product, before they write the same type of ad as for a market that has seen everything. Right? So you can’t write an ad to a weight loss market, but you see in everything, like it was the first weight loss ad that ever came out. You can’t say lose 50 pounds overnight or something. Right. It’s just, you’ve got to be more clever than that. You’ve got to be more why French women never get fat or the new south beach diet or something. So, you know, he’s the first one that really explained the different levels of sophistication and awareness that a market has and how to address each one, which is just so important. Like it’s like we were talking about coaching, right? I like to use that example a lot because a lot of people I work with or coaches or, and I do coaching and get coaching.  


David Deutsch    00:37:15    So it’s an area that I really liked. And it’s interesting to study from a writing point of view because there’s so many damn coaches out there. Exactly. Right. So how do you differentiate yourself? You can’t write to people as if they’ve never seen an ad from a coach before, but I think a lot of people die, not intentionally obviously, but a lot of people are writing. Like this is like going to be the first ad they’ve ever seen about how great coaching is and why you should get coaching with me. When, in reality, to a market like that, you’ve got to differentiate yourself so powerfully and you’ve got to have something that’s so eye opening to them in terms of a new way to look at coaching and look at themselves, right. That’s going to engage them and get them to find out more about you.  


David Deutsch    00:38:00    So that book, David Ogilvy’s books are brilliant in terms of advertising, thinking about advertising and just his writing is so charming. Right? He’s a great example of charm in advertising, which is something I learned from Drayton bird and just so important to write in a way that people are interested in, right? Whether that’s like Ben settle, who’s got a kind of an arrogant swagger to his writing that makes people read to Gary. Bencivenga, who’s got a really lovely likable. You can’t help, but like the quality of his writing, to Gary Halbert, who’s just sort of interesting. Right. And colorful. 


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:38:36    Mysterious.


David Deutsch    00:38:38    So Ogilvy stuff. And, but also like, I always like to tell people, read books that aren’t about copywriting that are relevant to copywriting, like Jerry Spence, How to Argue and WIn Every Time. That’s like a great book on copywriting, but it’s about what a trial, right? It’s about a trial lawyer, but we’re like lawyers we’re advocating for our products. Right. And the same things that he says about how to argue in front of a jury are so applicable for copywriters. Right.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:39:06    That’s awesome. I haven’t read that one myself. So that’s next on my reading list.  


David Deutsch    00:39:11    Yeah. And uh, yeah, so books like that, and of course Cialdini’s book on persuasion. Right. I forget what it’s called. I think it’s called persuasion actually, that just influenced that you, that just came out again in a new edition. And that’s just probably the best thing you could read on persuasion itself, which is ultimately what we’re doing. It’s  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:39:30    A bedrock. Yeah.  


David Deutsch    00:39:31    Yeah. You know, the other thing I would say to people in addition to reading is get your copy looked at by other people, right? Like don’t write your copy in isolation, right. Talk to people about it as you’re writing it, Hey, I’m working on this thing and blah, blah, blah. And I’m thinking of this kind of approach, but then show it to people, right? Your partner, you know, your friends, whoever will look at it. Other copywriters, other business owners that, you know, because we don’t do that because it’s kind of painful to get feedback, right. It’s like, oh my God, I just spent a week writing this thing. And now you’re telling me it’s boring and unbelievable, but that’s what’s going to make it better. Are you going back now and making it not be boring and not unbelievable.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:40:13    Right. I mean, that’s one of the key things, you know? So I always try to tell people that getting feedback, as soon as you can on your copies, is the most effective thing. And one of the problems I know is that people struggle, you know, to find a, um, a group really, of people who understand copywriting, who can help them with that. I know that you have a service for that, which is really great. I mean, we’re going to put it down in the show notes for people, but I don’t know if you want to say anything about it.  


David Deutsch    00:40:43    Oh yeah. I, one of the things I’ve got is kind of a, of a group where I look at copy and work with people to make it better, you know, give critiques on it, answer questions. So it’s nice, really gives people a chance to have their copy looked at on a level that they don’t usually, I don’t usually get a chance to have someone with my level of experience looking at their copy and that sort of thing can really be eye-opening for a lot of reasons. I mean, not only do people make more money because we make their copy better and it works better. But just as importantly, I think a lot of times people have blind spots right. In their writing, they’re doing something right. They’ve got a fault in their writing that they do over and over and over again. And they just don’t see it.  


David Deutsch    00:41:29    Right. And a lot of times I can help people and really point out what that is and how to overcome it. You know, sometimes it’s just writing too passive of a way. Sometimes it’s just not dimensionalizing benefits. Sometimes it’s just helping them access that inner persuader we talked about. Right. Sometimes it’s just like making them stop writing from the place they’re writing from and getting them to write in a different place. But that’s my inner circle coaching group. And we’ll, as you say, we’ll have a link to that. Um, and a link to my website where they can go and find out about everything  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:42:03    On your website. I’ve signed up a while ago for your newsletter. That’s really great. So I definitely encourage our listeners to check it out with the website in the show notes, for sure.  


David Deutsch    00:42:16    Okay. Can I give the website now? Yeah,  

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:42:18    Yeah, absolutely.  


David Deutsch    00:42:20    Uh, www.davidldeutsche.com, D A V I D L as in Larry and then D E U T S C H E.com.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:42:31    So that’s really, really awesome. David. So I wanted to ask if there are people among our audience who want to work with you or who really want your help in their business. How do you work when it comes to that and who should be reaching out to you?  


David Deutsch    00:42:47    Yeah, like, you know, like I said earlier, especially business owners that write their own copy. I find I can really help a lot. Cause they’ve got, they’ve got the CA the they’ve got the product knowledge, they’ve got the market knowledge, right? All they need is a little bit of copywriting help, whereas a copywriter, they need a little bit of copywriting help sometimes. And they also need to figure out how to get the market knowledge and the product knowledge, which they’ll never get as good as the business owner. I work with business owners, but I do also work with copywriters. As I say, I work with companies where I help act as a kind of creative director, look at the copy that’s coming in from in-house writers and freelance writers. Sometimes I’ll actually work with the writers themselves, or I’ll, I’ll edit the copy before it goes out. So I work in a lot of different ways to do that. It’s pretty expensive. That’s why I have group coaching, which is much far more reasonable than that. But you know, working one-on-one can be such a powerful thing as well. So if anyone is interested in that, then feel free to get in touch with me. You can get in touch with me on that website. There’s a contact area there, and be glad to discuss that more with you.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:43:56    That’s awesome. So I really appreciate this, David. I have one final question for you. You know, Gary Halbert, he used to say that there are three factors that go into the effectiveness of direct response marketing and number one, it’s your list or your audience, the people you’re going after. Number two is your offer. How good the offer is for that audience. And number three is your copy. And he used to say that copied itself was a distant third in terms of its importance. Do you agree with that? Do you think that has changed over time now that the markets are becoming more competitive? What’s your stance on it?  


David Deutsch    00:44:35    You know, it’s a hard question. It’s like saying what’s more important breathing or digestion, right? Well, if your breathing stops, you die. If your digestion stops you die. Like I can’t really say, which is more important. It’s the same thing, right? If your copy is totally terrible, you’re not gonna sell anything. If your offer is totally terrible, you’re not going to sell anything. If your marketing is totally terrible, you’re not going to sell anything. They can only in a way reinforce each other, right? Like the great offers make for great copy. And what was the third thing? Offer copies  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:45:10    And coffee.  


David Deutsch    00:45:11    And list. And right, obviously if you’re going to the wrong people, no one’s going to buy anything. If you’re going to the right people, if you’re going to a list of people that love weird shoes, you’re going to have a pretty easy time selling those shoes, that glow in the dark. But more often to try to answer your question, I think copy is kind of the thing that makes the ultimate difference, right? Because let’s face it. Everybody’s got access to the same lists. Everybody’s got access. Everybody is capable of making a good offer and creating a good product and calling themselves a coach or getting China to manufacture shoes that glow in the dark and selling them. Right. We can all do that. So the thing that’s going to distinguish one company from another, in a way it’s going to be the copy is going to be how well you can get that message out there, especially in areas like maybe supplements, financial newsletters, info publishing, maybe things like coaching, where there’s a lot of competition, right? Where there’s a lot of the same products out there. The copywriting is just going to give you an edge and it’s a much easier, it’s, it’s an easy edge in a certain way. I mean, I’m not that learning how to write copy well is not hard, but it’s a lot easier than trying to find a list that no one else is using or a lot easier than adding sometimes in adding something to your offer, which could be expensive if it’s not an info product.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:46:36    Absolutely. So thank you very much, David, it’s been a pleasure to have you on, do you have any final words for our listeners?  


David Deutsch    00:46:44    I would just say, I think that write a lot of copy. I think a lot of what makes people good copywriters is just a, they write more copy than anyone else. So they, you get better and better, right? The more you write. So write more, I think is really key. Uh, but people hesitate to, righ?. They look at it as hard work and they look at themselves as not being good at it. But the more you just put yourself out there and write, send emails to your list, right on a blog, the better you will become at it, like volume counts, right. Reps count. Right. Just like an add in exercise. So get out there and write  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:47:21    That’s awesome advice. Thank you very much, David. And thank you to all our listeners, stay tuned for the next episode. And until next, remember to keep growing your businesses and providing massive value to the world, you are the reason why we’re all growing richer. Our freedoms are expanding and we’re all living in greater prosperity. Thank you.


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