This weeks guest on my Thursday Throng interview is Dorset’s very own, Carol Bentley, the author of ‘I want to buy your product .. have you sent me a sales message yet?’.
According to Amazon “This is probably one of only 5 or 6 books I’ve ever seen in the world that explains vividly how to increase the response that your advertising, your sales letters, your website, your email communications, and your brochures result in by, what is seeming to be a minimum of around 20% to 25%, sometimes 200%, 400%, 500%, even 600%, and often more. If the reader follows the workshop activities, then by the end of the book, which is very easy to read, even the most sceptical business writer has a letter and response form that can gain impressive results.”
Review of the Original – unfortunately at the time of this interview Carol’s updated book was yet to be finished but I can say that the original (seen in the book cover), is an exceptionally good introduction and instruction book on how to create marketing missives that actually work. If you need to get your book, product or service in front of an audience that cares, then this is the book you need to read.
Hello Carol and welcome to the interview. My first question for the day is ‘What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
Very few people know that I run dog dancing classes in Dorset. It began when we were shown at the dog obedience club I attend how to get started with leg weaves.
One of the other class members and I got our dogs to do a very short sequence together, which we demonstrated at a few local fairs during the summer of 2011. I began to study the heelwork to music and freestyle experts and attended a 1-day freestyle workshop with Richard Curtis (who has won at Crufts numerous times and judged the Crufts HTM and Freestyle in 2012).
I looked for local dog dancing classes but there weren’t any. So when the trainer, who runs our dog obedience & agility club, asked if I would show other people who had expressed an interest in learning the ‘dog dancing moves’, I agreed and started running the dance classes. Since then I’ve attended more of Richard’s workshops to give me ideas for my classes.
It is good fun, but we do not take it seriously and I have no intention of trying to train my dog to Crufts standard!
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
The best review I had was an unsolicited comment from a fellow copywriter about the first edition of this book. Here’s what he said and his reply when I sent an email to thank him for his feedback:
“Carol has obviously studied copywriting with great intensity, utter dedication and with total passion. To be as good as she is – she must have learned from all the experts, read all the books, gone to the best seminars, and listened to the tapes – everything. So have I…and thanks to all the “gurus” I have become a top notch copywriter – and thankfully making lots of money.
But here’s the thing – I have spent 20 years and close on to £35,000 to learn the skills – and virtually ALL of them are in Carol’s book which you can buy for under 15 quid. If only Carol had written her book years ago…not only would I have found fame and fortune…I would have saved £34,985.05!
So not only can YOU become a world class copywriter…you can do it with a few hours of study…and for a pittance. If ever you needed the luckiest break you’ll ever find…you’ve found it…BUY her book!” Steve King, Copywriter, Devon, England, UK
This is his reply to my ‘Thank You’ email…
“I really do find your book invaluable. I have learned all my copywriting skills from Dan Kennedy, John Carlton, Gary Bencivenga, Gary Halbert (not for the easily offended!), and recently Scott Haines (his course is good). Ohh, and our mutual friend, Paul Gorman and various others. As well as all the classic Ad and sales books.
But when I need a ‘review’ rather than wade through all the manuals and tapes….it is so much easier to pick up your book and get the answers. You absolutely must write Volume 2 – “Advanced Copywriting Skills to Send your Response Soaring even further into the Stratosphere” And can I buy the first copy?
If I had the time I would love to do what you do – and teach people how to become copywriters. As 98.7% of the Ads and sales letters are dreadfully bad – costing the advertisers zillions in wasted advertising costs and sales – the market is phenomenal (don’t worry, if I ever do it – I won’t ever step on your toes…).”
How did you choose a title for your book?
It was a bit of a cheat for me. My business mentor at the time (Paul Gorman) suggested the title for the first edition of this book, and it certainly got a few interesting comments.
When I surveyed my readers about publishing a revised version, one of the questions I asked was about the book title. I gave a choice of 6 titles, including the original. An overwhelming majority (70%) chose the original title. The new book has material in it that is more relevant to the digital age, so I tweaked the title slightly to reflect the updated content.
Have you ever written naked?
Yes, frequently. It usually happens when I’ve woken up with an inspirational thought in my head (often for a client’s sales letter I’m working on) and I’ve dashed into my home office, regardless of what time it is (even as early as 2 a.m. occasionally) to get it written down before it disappears. You have to strike while the iron is hot… erm, not literally of course!
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Getting it finished. The original book was on the burner for over 12 months with not much happening. I finally made a commitment to a business group I belonged to that the first draft would be done by our next monthly meeting. I met that deadline.
For this revision I had a personal coach to help me keep on track to hit the deadline I’d set for publishing.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
My tip is more to encourage business owners to write a book about their area of expertise, even if it is only a short tip or guide book. Apart from the satisfaction of becoming an author, it elevates perception of them to expert status, which in turn can attract more customers. A number of my private clients learnt about me through my books. They contacted me to ask for my expert help with writing their material or teaching their staff the professional secrets of a direct response copywriter, so I know that as a marketing tool publishing a book is a worthwhile exercise.
Do you have any favourite resources you would like to share with our readers?
From a business perspective, it is important to keep in touch with your customers and – just as important – to know what they expect from you. I daresay the same can be said for any author because if they don’t write a book that their audience wants to read they are not going to sell many books.
I’ve found one of the easiest ways to find out what my readers want is to ask and I use a survey to do that (as I did when I was considering whether or not to publish a revised edition of this book). I use SurveyGizmo (www.surveygizmo.com) because I find it very easy to use to create a survey and the reports their service supplies give me a clear picture of what my customers expect from me.
How to Grab a FREE Copy of Carol’s Book
If you’d like to be in with a chance of getting a FREE copy of the updated book then all you need to do is leave a comment on the interview here. At the end of next month I will draw one name from a random hat and the winner will be notified.
Where to buy the book and find out more about Carol
Carol very kindly sent over a whole list of links to where you can find her on the social web, and they include her website and copywriting services site at carolbentley.com, copywriting and business tips at copywriting4b2b.com . You can find her on Twitter at: twitter.com/carolbentley and link up with her on my favourite network LinkedIn at: linkedin.com/in/carolbentley, and finally catch her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/carolaebentley.
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/