By Kim Krause Schwalm
Issue #93—February 14, 2020
Hope you're having a wonderful Valentine's day!
It's been a busy work day for me, but I'm looking forward to lobster and champagne and perhaps a roaring fire in the fireplace as we hunker down on this chilly night.
My honey already had a dozen red roses waiting for me on the kitchen counter this morning, so my day got off to a great start.
I did get some sad news though...the great direct marketer and legendary copywriter Ted Nicolas recently passed away. I never learned directly from Ted, but know of many people who did. Some, like my friend Pauline Longdon, are successful working copywriters today. Others are no longer with us, like one of my first clients, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj--author of the book, "Your Body's Many Cries for Water". "Dr. Batman" used to travel to seminars that Ted put on. As an entrepreneur who published his own books and videos and sold them via direct mail, he wrote much of his own copy (until he hired me to help him on various projects). He swore by Ted's teachings and shared many of the valuable lessons he'd learned from him with me when we worked on copy together. So I feel I had the chance to learn from Ted, albeit indirectly. One of the first to teach the art of copywriting Ted spent the last several years of his life living in Switzerland. And what I learned from a tribute letter his son sent out to people on Ted's list earlier today, Ted lived a fascinating life. He started out with nothing more than a high school education and became a highly successful door to door salesman who sold vacuum cleaners. He then got into the candy business--a real life "candy man". It was during that time that Ted got fascinated with the power of words in various combinations--and how they could drive sales. He ended up experimenting and gaining knowledge that he parlayed into his own publishing business. He wrote and self-published one of the best-selling business books of all time, on how to incorporate your own business. Ted branched out from there to writing books such as "Magic Words That Bring You Riches" and conducted marketing seminars and workshops around the world. He was one of the first to teach the art of copywriting. I actually found out yesterday about Ted's passing. Out of curiosity, I visited his website and got on his email list. By doing so, I got a valuable report "87 Marketing Secrets of the Written Word", which I encourage you to get yourself. While some of it refers to direct mail or may seem dated, I assure you every lesson is completely timeless...and will help you boost your sales and write more effective copy. You can get your own copy when you visit this link. (Note: you might get a message that seems like the opt-in didn't go through, but even though I got that message I still got the confirmation email and I was "in" after clicking the link.) While you're there, be sure to check out some of Ted's promo swipes that he gives away on his website. His direct mail promo for "How to Fight Cancer and Win" is one that I recall seeing back during my early Phillips Publishing days. It was a highly successful promo, in a health niche that can be tough to make work. Make sure you grab a copy of this promo here. You'll want to study the fascinations and structure of the promo, as there's a lot there you can borrow from that can work like "gangbusters" today! Send a "love letter" to your mentors while you can
Speaking of Phillips Publishing, I was reminded when I read the tribute email that Ted's son sent out today of something I did for Tom Phillips five years ago.
Tom founded Phillips Publishing and was there during the 6 years I spent at the company. I considered him one of my mentors, and he had a leadership style that made every employee feel that he truly cared for them.
He also launched a company and created so many opportunities for people...many of which changed the course of their careers. I know it did mine.
That's why over 5 years ago, at a holiday get-together with some of my former Phillips colleagues, we all reminisced about how much we had to thank Tom for.
And that's when I got the idea to put together a book of "love letters" for Tom Phillips from his past employees. Why not tell him these things now and show our appreciation, while he was still alive?
Once I threw the idea out, it spread like wildfire. A few months later, I had compiled a 91-page book containing more than 54 letters from past employees--like top copywriters Carline Anglade-Cole and Brendan Talty--as well as other people Tom worked with and considered friends, like Clayton Makepeace and Jay Abraham.
I printed off a handful of copies, which I had titled, "It's a Wonderful Life" (I know, how original!), and sent two of them off to Tom via FedEx just in time for Valentine's day 2015. (He called a few days later to thank me. I know it meant a lot to him.)
The great Gary Bencivenga got his "love letter" for Tom to me just after the book "closed", but I was able to pass his letter along. I wish I could share it here...I wish I could share all of the letters here, as they were packed with so many lessons on leadership and building a successful company.
But I will share this snippet from Gary's incredibly well-written (as you can imagine) letter, as it ties in with the overriding message I have for you on this Valentine's day...
That's the message I have for you today. Thank your mentors. Thank those who helped you get where you are now. Thanking those who paved the way for you is as meaningful for you as it is for them to hear it.
It's always better if you can do it now, while they're still walking this earth with us.
Valentine's day is a great day to do it. But really any day will do!
Yours for smarter marketing,
P.S. We all have people we can thank for where we are now. Thinking of them, and reaching out, if you can, is a great way to practice gratitude. I'm grateful to YOU for being on my list and reading whatever I feel like writing. I hope you've been finding it helpful! Happy Valentine's day!!!