Do ‘Old Skool’ Copywriting Skills Still Work In 2015?

A poster on that hive of scum and villainy, writes:

“It has always been of interest to me, how people believe that old skills in copy writing are no longer effective in this day and age of technology.

“I’ve been rereading John Caples, How to Make Your Advertising Make Money and the 4th edition of Tested Advertising Methods, the past 2 weeks.

“John never believed that just because more mediums were invented that natural human appeal would change.”

My opinion?

It’s not that old school direct response copy doesn’t work.

It’s that something is WORKS BETTER “in this day and age” on certain popular global platforms.

On these various platforms, human nature, as he calls it, has decidedly shown it’s dislike in “pitches.”

Users are so vocal about it in fact, these platforms’ terms of service prohibit specific types of promotional language as well as graphic design.

These terms were not created because old school copywriting doesn’t work. It’s because IT DOES and people dislike it, and are rejecting it when exposed to it.

THAT’S human nature. THAT’S the wisdom of the crowds.

No matter what cold traffic channel one is using, you and your website must conform to that specific ecosphere or you risk being banned.

If you’re running cold traffic on these channels, you already know this. The possibility HAUNTS you every waking minute of the day.

And if you’re a direct response copywriter and you’re forced to write with one hand tied behind your back, not able to rely on old school copywriting skills, what are your options?

That’s why I am a strong advocate of trying MULTIPLE THINGS, whatever they may be.

I believe old school copywriting on these platforms is the proverbial whipping boy right now and my opinion is it’s only going to get worse.

So what works better?


And be prepared, if you find something that converts, the herd “follow the guru” mentality of marketers obsoletes a particular strategy’s effectiveness quickly.

You cannot rest on your laurels for a moment.

This is why copywriter generalists who rely on old school copywriting skills are charging a proverty-destined $97 for a sales letter.

Today’s copywriter needs to specialize. You have to be great at Curly’s one thing. (YouTube it if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

To wrap it up, personally, I used to love reading old copywriting books.

But a better use of my time these days, is studying the markets I’m writing for, perpetually on the hunt for something NEW and DIFFERENT.

Make sense? Let me know what you think.

– Matt

PS: Quick tip from Neo. From the movie, the Matrix:

Trinity: “Neo… nobody has ever done this before…”

Neo: “I know. That’s why it’s going to work.”

You Charge HOW MUCH?!

Many of my clients are a little shocked when I first tell them my fees.

“You charge more than John Carlton!” being one of the more memorable responses.

Now, I have no idea how much Sir Carlton charges but this slightly shaken client was referring to a request for on-going commissions.

Too many marketers are way too scared to give their copywriter a percentage of the deal.

That’s scarcity thinking.

Flip that thinking around and you’ll see how bringing a skilled copywriter on board simply makes a bigger pie for everyone.

When I create a sales video or put together an entire funnel for a client, I want an up-front fee, sure, but I ALSO want a piece of the action.


Because, from my perspective, I want to feel like my client’s business is MY business too.  I want us both to pull in the same direction.  I want us both to have the same goal.

Here’s the way I look at it:

If I’m making great money with you as a client… that means YOU are making OBSCENE amounts of money.

It’s a total win/win.

Now, the majority of copywriters will charge a one-time flat-fee.  I used to do that too.

You get paid, you write the copy, you move onto the next job.  Nice and easy, right?

Well… what if the copy doesn’t get the result your client is after?

Do you rewrite for free?  Most “big dog” copywriters would say NO!

“You want a rewrite you gotta pay me again!”

Now, this is supremely arrogant, don’t you think?  If your copy doesn’t perform surely something needs to be done about that?

Of course, from the copywriter’s perspective, the client’s cash bought the copywriter’s time and effort… and now that’s all used up.

The results?  The client and copywriter at loggerheads.

How can you as a client solve this?

By making your copywriter part of your team.  Offer a handsome percentage for his efforts and you’ll be rewarded ten-fold.

Here’s how it works for me:

When I wake up in the morning, I’m thinking about my client’s business…

  • How can we become the #1 business teaching marketing online…
  • How can we grow to 9-figures as a health publisher…
  • How can I make this guy the celebrity in the dating field he deserves to be…

You get the idea.

Now, if I was getting paid a flat-fee for a project, would I think this way?  Doubtful.

As a copywriter and marketing consultant, I want to be inspired, I want to be the guy who makes shit happen for you.

Next time you’re looking to hire a copywriter, hunt down the best and think how you can entice them to work their asses off on your project.

My friend Brian Kurtz (CEO of Boardroom) said it best…

Being a cheapskate with your copy and creative is a huge mistake…and feeling bad because a copywriter “makes too much money” is shortsighted. It’s also thinking scarcity, not abundance.”

The Upsell Success Secret

If you’re not upselling, you’re leaving serious amounts of money on the table.

It’s no secret that a customer is most likely to purchase again right after they make their initial purchase.

So don’t be shy, make ’em another offer!

Thing is… putting together an upsell sequence is not as easy as it looks.

You can’t offer just anything.

Right now, a client of mine is riding high with an upsell sequence  converting 70% of his initial customers.  That’s pretty damn good if I say so myself.

Can I reproduce the sequence here?  Sorry, I want to keep this client.

What I CAN do is tell you the secret to successful upselling…

Your upsells or “one time offers” must complement but never conflict with the front-end purchase.

In other words, they need to go hand in hand with whatever your prospects just bought… but not overlap.