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Dinner with Gary

I'm baaaaaaaaaack!!! And I have stories. Over the next week or two, you'll be hearing them...along with some valuable copywriting and marketing lessons, too. I'm going to share with you the stories and lessons gleaned from my dinner in New York city with Gary Bencivenga...my dinner in Honolulu with Dan Ferrari...and other meet-ups with folks like Parris Lampropoulus and a few of my superstar copywriting mentees. I'm going to share with you a funny story about meeting up with one of my Copy Insiders in Kauai...plus tell you how to take advantage of a special free offer from one of the most successful marketers I know (look for that tomorrow). But for now, let me briefly share some of what Gary and I talked about a week ago at dinner. I say briefly because for some crazy reason my day is packed with calls, so I gotta get 'er done (don't worry, I'll be back at you throughout the coming week...) So let's talk about that epic dinner I had a week ago with Gary (and his wonderful wife Pauline, business partner TJ "The Olive Oil Hunter" and his wife Meghan, and my husband "The Grappa Guy" Bruce)...

Anyone who's ever had the opportunity to meet Gary and/or hear him speak knows that aside from being one of the most brilliant copywriters to ever walk the earth, he's also one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. I had the pleasure of first meeting Gary when I attended his $5,000 two-day seminar in New York back in 2005. I was about 7 years into my freelance copywriting career and had a few big controls under my belt. Even though it seemed like a princely sum of money at the time, and it was difficult to get away with two young children at home, I didn't think twice about going. And the pay-off was huge. Not only did I get to meet Gary, I learned so many incredibly valuable lessons that I still use to this day. I also had the honor of Gary calling me out at one point during his presentation and asking me to stand in the middle of the packed room of 150+ attendees. Gary then asked me about my Personal Finance control and had me talk about why I thought it was working (this is the promo I wrote that ended up beating the legendary Jim Rutz twice). The thing about Gary is, he's incredibly generous. He's a giver in every aspect of his life. Him giving me the spotlight at that early point in my career bolstered my confidence and visibility. And this is something Gary does all the time. He gives. So a few quick lessons here...#1: if you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like I did to attend a potentially game-changing copywriting event like Gary's $5,000 seminar--or some other event in your niche, you've just got to find a way to do it. When you make smart investments, the return is often multiplied many times over. The connections (including with Gary and his wonderful wife Pauline) that I made at that one event have lasted nearly two decades. What's lesson #2? Well, this came out of a conversation that Gary and I had at that epic dinner a week ago. It's the importance of a good email subject line. You see, Gary is one of my long-time Copy Insiders. But he'll be the first to tell you, he's not much of an email guy. He doesn't check his email that often, and doesn't like to spend that much time reading them. But he told me at dinner how much he loved my email subject lines, and finds them impossible NOT to open. (Huge compliment, coming from Gary!) In fact, I'm hoping he found this email impossible NOT to open, seeing how it's got his name in it. So now I've made Gary have to read this email--sorry, Gary! He asked me how I come up with my email subject lines. And I have to say, a lot of times they just pop into my mind. But they still have to go through my filtering process... Is there enough curiosity? Do they open a loop that just begs to be closed? Do they avoid sounding like everything else out there or something the reader has heard way too many times before? I'm always surprised when I review other people's email copy how many times they give short shrift to the subject line copy, often only offering up one option. I always come up with at least a dozen or so email subject lines for copy I send to clients, and then narrow it down to my top 5 options, often in my order of preference (and after multiple rounds of edits). That way they have several different options for testing. Anyone who tells you email subject lines don't matter (or that open rates don't matter) is wrong. Sure, it's getting harder than ever to get reliable data on open rates...but that doesn't mean they don't matter. Conversion rates ultimately are what matter, but if you don't get enough eyeballs to your sales page or offer in the first place, obviously that hurts your bottom line. Your email subject line is your headline or ad for reading your email. So spend some time on them...but don't be afraid to have a little fun with them, too. It often pays off big. That's all I've got for you today...look for more stories and lessons from my past month of adventures in the days ahead! Yours for smarter marketing, Kim P.S. Oops, I almost forgot lesson #3: be a giver like Gary. If you can help lift someone else up who's coming up behind you...whether it's taking the time to critique their copy, connecting them to a potential client, or shining the spotlight on them to boost their confidence and visibility, then do it. What goes around, comes around--though ultimately, giving is its own reward.

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