🐻 Bear with me

Happy Tuesday! After a big sell off in the stock market yesterday, Morning Brew posted this thread asking people to name a movie that described their portfolio. Our favorites: Gone in 60 Seconds, Catch Me If You Can, There Will Be Blood, and The Departed.

Mentioned in today’s newsletter: Google, Skynet, the S&P 500, and Horizon Worlds. Plus an overlooked red flag for new freelancers, a different way to think about compound interest, and our favorite email marketing tool.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes and 24 seconds


Making the Rounds

  • Google engineer placed on paid leave after claiming chatbot AI is sentient. Blake Lemoine thinks Google’s LaMDA chatbot should be treated as a sentient being. Google disagrees. Is this the innocuous beginning of Skynet? Let’s hope not. Fun fact: apparently Lemoine had been teaching LaMDA transcendental meditation before being placed on leave.
  • S&P 500 officially enters bear market territory. After a surprise inflation increase reported in the Consumer Price Index on Friday, the index fell 3.9% yesterday, completing the 20% pull back that signals a bear market — and strengthening signs of a coming recession.

  • Horizon Worlds adds Voice Mode. The update lets users voice chat with others around them in the metaverse. Bizarrely, it’s enabled by default. So a word of wisdom for any metaversal pioneers: if you’ve never voice chatted with random strangers on the internet, proceed with caution. People are less friendly than you might think 🙃 

Working With Clients

If You Have to Explain This to Your Client, Run the Other Way

If you’re just starting out as a freelancer…

It’s natural to try and sign anyone with a pulse and a credit card as a client.

But that’s a big mistake.

Here’s why…

Marketing and advertising can be boiled down to taking financial risks on creative ideas.

Some of them pan out.

Some of them don’t.

In fact, it’s normal to have to iterate 3-5+ times on an angle, offer, or marketing campaign before you find a winner.

But if you’re working with a client who’s never hired a freelancer to produce any marketing assets for them before…

Or someone who’s never spent a dime on paid ads…

The odds of them having unrealistic expectations are sky high.

Which means you’ll have a hard time satisfying them unless you hit out of the park on your first at-bat.

So…

Aim to work with clients who understand (and have experience) with marketing and advertising.

People who understand you have to spend money to make money.

People who understand that you need to “buy” data through testing before you can optimize your campaigns.

People who understand that even the best copywriters and media buyers in the world don’t hit home runs every time.

Now you may have to work a little harder to find and land clients like this…

But it’s an investment that will pay off big time in the long run.


Working For Yourself

A Different Kind of Compound Interest

Finance experts say the secret to building wealth is compound interest.

That’s why Warren Buffett accumulated 97% of his wealth after his 65th birthday.

But while we may not all be able to replicate Buffett’s investing success…

There’s another way freelancers can put this mechanism to work for themselves:

By stacking high-income skills.

You see, it takes a very long time to master a deep skill like copywriting or media buying…

And while it’s definitely worth committing to…

If you can develop other skills that complement or intersect with your primary skill…

You can see some explosive gains.

For example: 

Most copywriters know nothing about paid traffic…

And most media buyers can’t write copy.

The same thing goes for copywriting and graphic design or funnel building.

It’s an unusual combo you don’t see very often.

So by developing competence where those two skills intersect, you can carve out a unique position in the market…

Opening the door to many more opportunities than most other freelancers will ever get.

And over time, mastering these skills will deliver a much higher return than any other investment you could make (unless you are Warren Buffett, of course ;).


Tools We Love

No Computer Science Degree, No Problem

As the publishers of a daily newsletter, email marketing is the foundation of our business.

And throughout our freelancing careers, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many of the biggest email service providers out there.

But the problem is…

Most of them have so many fancy bells and whistles that you need a PhD in computer science just to figure out how to make them do what you want.

That’s why we’re proud users of ConvertKit.

It’s simple, intuitive, and incredibly easy to use.

Their Sequences and Automations features keep your account neat and tidy. And if you’ve ever been into a big Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, or Hubspot account, you’ll know this is rare.

No more Frankenstein workflows that span 27 segments and cover the entire lifespan of your subscribers.

If you’re looking for a simple way to grow your online audience with email marketing…

Try ConvertKit for free today.


Quote of the Day

“Do not let your grand ambitions stand in the way of small but meaningful accomplishments.”

Bryant McGill


👀 Privacy state of mind

Happy Monday! Another pole position, another race loss for Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in Baku yesterday. Meanwhile, Jurassic World: Dominion topped expectations with a $143M domestic opening.

Mentioned in today’s newsletter: Facebook, AdBlock, Gen Z, Ghostery, Google Chrome, and YouTube Premium. Plus why new client onboarding matters, the #1 attribute of high-performers, and a copywriting tip that would get you an F in college.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes and 20 seconds


Making the Rounds

  • Ad industry pushes back against federal opt-in privacy proposal. The bipartisan proposal would prevent companies from tracking users online without their explicit consent. 
  • Facebook facing steep drop offs in user activity. As Gen Z flocks to Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, eMarketer is projecting Facebook’s adult users will only average 30 minutes per day on the platform this year, down 7% compared to 2021.

  • Chrome planning to end support for legacy extension platform. Popular ad-blocking extensions like AdBlock and Ghostery may no longer work as well — if they can even make the transition to the new platform in the first place. Could this be Google’s top secret plan to juice YouTube Premium subscriptions?

Working With Clients

Is Your Onboarding Process Making New Clients Seasick?

What’s the most high-stakes aspect of working with clients?

A) The sales process
B) Submitting your work for approval
C) Seeing how your work performs
D) Getting paid

Answer:

None of the above.

The most high-stakes aspect of working with clients is the onboarding process.

That’s because the onboarding process sets the tone for the rest of your work together, including what expectations they have, and how they perceive your work.

In fact, according to ZenDesk, 62% of B2B customers buy again after a good customer service experience.

But unfortunately, most freelancers don’t have a structured onboarding process in place.

So new clients are stuck feeling like they’re prepping to cross the Atlantic in a rubber dinghy…

Instead of a $40M yacht that will get them safely and smoothly to their final destination.

If you want to give your clients clarity and confidence that the project is going to be a smashing success, develop a rock-solid onboarding process.

This should include:

  • Signing an official agreement
  • Filling out any worksheets + background docs you need to start the project
  • Getting access to any software tools, ad accounts, shared folders, etc
  • Discussion of timeline, budget, project expectations
  • A kickoff call to review and make sure everything is in order before you begin

If your onboarding process could do with a little bulking up, share the newsletter with just 3 friends and we’ll send you the Digital Marketer’s Template Toolkit — a bundle of worksheets for new clients to fill out so you can extract all the information you need to knock the project out of the park.


Working For Yourself

If ‘Ifs’ and ‘Buts’ Were Candy and Nuts

One of the hallmarks of high-performers in any arena is a high say-do ratio.

When they say they’re gonna do something…

They do it.

Plain and simple.

No ifs, ands, or buts.

Following through on what you SAY you’re gonna do builds confidence and centers your locus of control.

So if you keep saying you’re gonna…

– apply to more freelance jobs
– start doing cold outreach
– post more on social media
– find a mentor
– go to a live event
– grow your network
– raise your rates
– etc etc etc

Then do it.

Prove to yourself you are in control.

And save the excuses for later.


From The Copywriting Gig

Your English Teacher Wouldn’t Approve

Good news for anyone who couldn’t stand studying Shakespeare:

The art and science of writing words that sell has nothing to do with what you learned in English class.

In fact, it breaks pretty much all the rules.

Some key points to focus on:

  • Keep paragraphs short (1-2 lines)
  • Avoid using big words (3 syllables or less)
  • Ellipses are your friend

It may feel funny at first…

But if you want to sell more stuff, train yourself to write conversationally and in plain English.

Looking to speed up the process? Put your copy through Hemingway before submitting it.


Quote of the Day

“Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.”

Elvis Presley


🍎 Apple vs Google?

Happy Thursday! 20 years ago today, The Wire premiered on HBO. Despite never being a big ratings hit, the show ran for 5 seasons and is widely regarded as one of the best TV shows of all time. 

Here’s the latest…


Making the Rounds

  • New social media censorship law blocked by Supreme Court. The controversial Texas law would prevent social media platforms from enforcing their own content moderation policies and allow users to sue them for violations. We’d venture to say it would also reduce the fun quotient on Elon’s Twitter acquisition by a factor of 10 to the power of 7823489, as platforms could be flooded with lawsuits if the law takes effect.

  • Is Apple planning to launch its own search engine? Google pays Apple $10+ billion a year to be the default search engine on Apple devices. But that agreement may be coming to an end: the iPhone maker is apparently working on a search engine of its own.

  • Elon tells Tesla employees to come back to the office or GTFO. If you ever wondered where the Technoking stood on remote work, now you know. In an email to staff earlier this week, he explained that anyone wanting to work remotely had to be in the hours at least 40 hours per week. At least you can still put in overtime in your PJs.

Working With Clients

Try This Simple Growth Hack to Get More Clients

Most freelancers tend to overcomplicate the process of getting clients.

So here’s a simple tip to try:

Once you’ve scored a big win for a new client and asked them for a video testimonial…

Ask them for a referral.

Keep it simple and straightforward by saying something like…

“Given how we’ve been able to [achieve client’s desired result], I wondered if you might know anyone else looking to [achieve desired result]. I’m looking to fill a spot on my client roster and I’d love to help someone in your network achieve similar results.”

That’s it.

You can also get creative and incentivize them by offering a discount, gift card, bonus, or referral fee. 

Bottom line is:

Referred clients are typically much higher-quality than those found via cold outreach or on freelancing platforms.

Plus, everyone likes to “have a guy.”

It allows us to build social capital by playing the connector.

So when it comes to finding new clients, you should always start with your existing client base.


Working For Yourself

Table For One

Work-life balance is a constant struggle for freelancers.

That’s why, in addition to having a structured workday where you start and end around the same time…

One of the best ways to create separation between work and personal is to eat lunch away from your desk.

Even if it’s just 15-20 minutes…

Giving yourself a break from the computer screen is good for mind and body.


Tools We Love

Fred Has Entered the Chat

Taking notes on a Zoom call can be a major pain in the you-know-where.

Listening and typing at the same time is no small feat……

Meanwhile, everyone else is forced to listen in as you hammer away on the keys as fast as you can.

And sure, you can record the call..

But if you’ve got to go back to review something someone said…

You’re often stuck skipping around trying to find the exact moment where it was discussed.

That’s where Fireflies.AI comes in.

It’s an AI assistant that lets you record, transcribe, and search across your voice conversations.

Once you sign up for free, all you have to do is invite Fireflies (aka Fred) into your meeting.

Then he takes care of the rest.

After the meeting is finished, you’ll have a searchable transcript so you don’t have to worry about taking notes.

Try Fireflies.AI for free today.


Quote of the Day

“You come at the king, you best not miss.”

Omar Little


💻 Can this new browser compete with Chrome and Safari?

Happy Memorial Day! Bad luck struck again for Charles Leclerc yesterday: a pit strategy screw up cost the Ferrari driver a win at his home race in Monaco. Meanwhile, Tom Cruise had much better luck in Hollywood, notching the first $100M+ opening weekend of his career with Top Gun: Maverick.

Now here’s what else is going on…


Making the Rounds

  • Ads are coming to YouTube Shorts. Google just announced they’re rolling out ads to Shorts worldwide. CEO Sundar Pichai recently revealed Shorts are getting 30 billion views a day, which is a helluva lot more than we would’ve guessed.

  • Investors file class action suit against Elon and Twitter. The suit alleges that Musk acquired some of his Twitter shares at an “artificially low price” thanks to a late disclosure that may have saved him $156 million.

  • New Arc browser aims to disrupt Chrome and Safari. Startup Browser Co. is reimagining the web browser to rescue us from the curse of a million tabs. 

Working With Clients

WANTED: Money at a Discount

Let’s say you’re a copywriter, media buyer, or funnel builder.

The “product” you sell is actually a service, right?

Wrong.

As a service provider, the “product” you sell is an OUTCOME.

  • Leads
  • Appointments
  • Product demos
  • Sales calls
  • Clients
  • Free trials
  • Purchases
  • Renewals
  • Etc

Clients aren’t looking for another line item to add to their expense report…

They’re looking for the fastest and most direct way to achieve a specific outcome.

And in marketing, that outcome usually means “buying” money at a discount (by paying you to produce a result that generates revenue for their business).

So the next time you’re pitching a new prospect…

Remember: clients don’t buy services, they buy results.


Working For Yourself

Files Gone Wild

If you’re looking for ways to work faster + get more stuff done in less time…

Keeping your digital workspace organized is just as important as keeping your physical workspace organized.

Here are a few tips to help you digitally declutter:

  • Establish a naming convention for files (ex: [CLIENT] – Document Name – MM/DD/YYYY)
  • Create a master folder
  • Organize subfolders with numbers (ex: “01. [FOLDER]”)
  • Maintain a tracking sheet (with links to all documents for a given project)
  • Have a dedicated scratch pad (for quick notes or off the cuff calculations)

Bottom line: a cluttered Drive folder makes for a cluttered mind.


From The Copywriting Gig

When Reverse Psychology Backfires

Persuasive direct response copy tells the reader exactly what to do and when to do it… right?

Not so fast.

If you want to convert as many people as possible, there’s a hidden psychological landmine you’ll want to avoid.

It was first discovered by Sigmund Freud in the early 1900s…

And it’s called “psychological resistance.”

Translation: people don’t like being told what to do. 

So they rebel by doing the opposite.

How does this apply in copy?

Using the word “need” — as in “this is exactly what you need to achieve XYZ” — can trigger psychological resistance in some prospects and lead them NOT to buy.

So if you want to sidestep this little IED embedded deep in our psyche…

Avoid framing your solution as something your prospects “need” to do.


Quote of the Day

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

Helen Keller


🥷 Facebook security breach

Happy Wednesday! As a wise man once said: hard work never went out of style.

Here’s what’s happening…


Making the Rounds

  • Snap stock plunges over 43% after warning of revenue miss. CEO Evan Spiegel sent a note to employees on Monday warning the company would miss its revenue and earnings target for Q, dragging down other tech stocks like Alphabet, Meta, and Twitter with it.
     
  • “Buy now, pay later” firm Klarna lays off 10% of its workers. Given their current workforce of 7,000, the news means approximately 700 workers will soon be working on their resumes.

  • Newly disclosed Facebook bug made it possible to hack into accounts using Google to log in. A security researcher was able to break into Facebook accounts by exploiting a bug with Gmail’s authentication code. Facebook revealed they patched the bug in March, but pardon us while we go change our password anyway.

Working With Clients

Positioning 101

Struggling to land your first (or next) freelance client?

Breaking in can be tough when you don’t have a proven track record or a long list of big wins to share.

So here’s a trick to help you differentiate yourself…

Work in niches you already know.

“The riches are in the niches” is something you hear a lot from successful entrepreneurs…

And it applies to freelancing too.

Positioning yourself as a specialist within a niche is the best way to create an unfair advantage.

And it’s as simple as this:

Your freelance skill(s) + a deep understanding of the people in that niche = specialization.

This works if you’ve got brick and mortar experience…

If it’s something you studied in school…

Or if it’s just a topic you’re really passionate about.

Leverage the assets you’ve already got and you’ll have no trouble getting clients and closing deals.


Working For Yourself

Social Media Domination

People follow leaders, not experts.

That’s why creating content on social media is so important for freelancers…

Because content creation is leadership.

And even if you’re not an A-List service provider with a track record full of big wins…

Sharing your perspective on social can help establish credibility and authority…

Which can lead to lucrative deals you may not have landed otherwise.

But here’s an important piece of advice:

Pick one social media platform and go all in on it.

Don’t try to be on Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram all at once.

Each platform has their nuances…

And unless you’ve got 2-4 hours you can dedicate to creating content every day…

The sacrifice isn’t worth it.

So take the time to learn the ins and outs of your platform of choice.

As an added bonus, once you’ve built a following and created some top-performing pieces of content…

You can easily repurpose them on other platforms.

For example, Dickie Bush recently shared these impressive results just from posting his top 50 tweets and threads on LinkedIn.

Moral of the story:

Focus on getting traction one platform at a time.

Then move on to conquer the next one 💪


From The Copywriting Gig

The One Thing All Top Copywriters Have in Common

Pop quiz — what do all A-List copywriters have in common?

A) Natural writing talent

B) Dashing good looks

C) PhD in English Lit

D) A drinking problem

The answer is: none of the above.

The one thing all A-List copywriters have in common is that they READ great copy every day.

Fortunately for you, you’re already subscribed to this newsletter 😉

But here are a few other Gig-approved email lists to help you step up your game:

If you want to stay sharp, you’ve got to be a student of the game.


Quote of the Day

“We are all a great deal luckier that we realize, we usually get what we want – or near enough.”

Roald Dahl


🎯 Politicians take aim at Google’s ad biz

Happy Tuesday! On this day in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was officially opened for the first time. Connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, it took 14 years to build and cost $15 million to make — approximately $320 million in today’s dollars. HBD, BB 🎂

Now here’s what’s going on…


Making the Rounds

  • Twilio CEO suggests opening coffee shops instead of offices. With 50% of his workers going remote during the pandemic, Jeff Lawson wants to experiment with a different approach to in-person work.
     
  • Etsy announces SEO update for product listings. Retailers can now optimize their search engine ranking based on keywords.

  • Will Google be forced to break up their ad biz? A new Senate bill would prevent companies generating more than $20M in yearly ad revenue from participating in more than one part of the process (i.e dominating both the buyer and seller side of the transaction).

Working With Clients

3 Magic Words to Make Clients Trust You

If a client asks a question, you should always have the answer… right?

Wrong.

In fact, trying to weigh in on something when you’re out of depth is the fastest way to make yourself look silly.

So, what’s the answer?

Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.”

Being open about what you don’t know shows honesty and will give you credibility.

This is known as the “damaging admission” in copywriting…

And it’s often used on purpose to build trust and reduce skepticism.

Plus it creates an opportunity for you to find the answer and demonstrate your resourcefulness to the client.

A win-win for both of you 💪


Working For Yourself

Level 10 Productivity: Activated

When the kitchen, the couch, and the TV are all just a few steps away…

Or the hustle and bustle of the coffee shop rises up to the level of a dull roar…

It can be tough to focus on work sometimes.

That’s why listening to non-lyrical music can help you put the blinders on, drown out distractions, and get sh*t done.

Some of our favorites include:

  • Lo-fi
  • Chillwave
  • Binaural beats
  • Atmospheric sounds

Experiment with each and see what works best for you.

If you’re looking for an eclectic mix of lo-fi, chillhop, house, and spacey vibes, check out The Future Beats Show.


Tools We Love

Simplifying Split-Tests

Running split-tests is key to extracting maximum profits out of your marketing and advertising.

But if you’re working with a site built on WordPress… 

Or you’re operating on a lean budget… 

Or if you’d prefer not to use traditional solutions like ClickFunnels, VWO, or Optimizely, which can often hurt your page speed…

Then it’s time to check out Google Optimize.

It’s a simple and free split-testing tool that lets you run experiments, track conversions, and analyze results.

Optimize integrates directly with Google Analytics…

So there’s no need for any fancy funnel building or split-testing software…

Making it the perfect choice for freelancers.

Set up your next split-test in minutes by setting up Google Optimize for free today.


Quote of the Day

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Samuel Goldwyn


📺Ads incoming

Happy Friday! Today marks the only Friday the 13th of 2022. Can somebody tell the crypto markets?

In the meantime, here’s what’s going on as we head into the weekend.


Making the Rounds

  • Elon plans to reinstate Trump’s Twitter account if the deal closes. At the Future of the Car conference, the Tesla CEO said he thought it was wrong for the platform to ban the former President. Trump claims he’ll stay on Truth Social even if he is reinstated, but if there’s an over/under on him coming back once the deal closes, we’ll take the over.

  • Netflix warns employees that ads are coming. After losing 200k subscribers in Q1 (along with $170 billion in market value over the last year), Netflix is moving quickly to launch an ad-supported tier of streaming service by the end of 2022.

  • Google announces the first-ever Pixel Watch. The new smartwatch will launch this year alongside the Pixel 7 and will integrate with Fitbit accounts.

Working With Clients

When in Doubt, Refer Out

Got a lead you can’t help?

Don’t just send them away…

Refer them to someone else in your network.

Becoming a “connector” helps you build goodwill and social capital with both parties — the lead and the person you refer them to.

Something that often comes back around to you…

Whether it’s a referral fee, a client being referred to you, or something else altogether.

And if you don’t have a network of other service providers you can refer to, it’s time to start building one.

Aim to have at least one person you can refer to for all the services adjacent to yours.

– If you’re a copywriter, get to know someone who runs paid ads
– If you run paid ads, get to know someone who does graphic design or video editing
– If you’re a graphic designer, get to know someone who builds funnels

A bigger network always means more opportunities.


Working For Yourself

If Ifs and Buts Were Candy and Nuts

One of the hallmarks of high-performers in any arena is a high say-do ratio.

When they say they’re gonna do something…

They do it.

Plain and simple.

No ifs, ands, or buts.

Following through on what you say you’re gonna do builds confidence and centers your locus of control.

So if you keep saying you’re gonna…

– apply to more freelance jobs
– start doing cold outreach
– post more on social media
– find a mentor
– go to a live event
– grow your network
– raise your rates
– etc etc

Then do it.

Prove to yourself you are in control.

And save the excuses for later.


From The Paid Ads Gig

The Lazy Media Buyer’s Guide to Riches Winning Video Ads


Hooks are often what separate winning video ads from creatives that won’t convert.

So…

If you’re producing video ads, or having someone else produce them for you…

Record the first 5 seconds separately from the rest of the video ad.

This way, you can easily transplant new hooks onto an existing video to test new angles.

And what you’ll find is…

A new hook can extend the life of a winning video ad, sometimes by a lot.

Eliminating the need to create entirely new videos from scratch.


Quote of the Day

“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.”

Margaret Thatcher