My Friday the 13th Freelancer “Ask Me Anything”

On Friday May 13th, 2016 at 12PM I went live on Facebook and made myself available for an “AMA” … better known as an ASK ME ANYTHING.

The next ~75 minutes were non-stop question and answer and I had a blast. Thanks for participating and thanks for watching!

~ James 🙂

Why You Should Ignore a Publisher’s Offer for FREE Advert Design

I visited with a client today and during the conversation it became apparent they were having issues with their advertising – print advertising to be precise. They showed me the original advert and told me it cost them a little more than $1,700 to place the ad.

When I asked them who created the concept, the copy and the design – the client smiled and said the publisher had included it for free! Free is a fabulous concept in marketing, but not when it comes to the design and production of your advertising materials!

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who think the design of the advert and copy concept are not important enough to pay a professional to develop. They’ll spend thousands buying advertising space and they’ll skip over the design of the selling mechanism. Here’s an analogy that might help you see my point of view:

So you buy some ‘space’ where your prospective clients like to shop and they’re walking around happy and fat with cash – and what do you do now? Well, the smart move would be to place a professional sales person in the crowd, but no… you’re too darned cheap.

You look around (trying to save a buck) and pressgang the first warm body you can find in the office – and it’s Ethel the almost ready-to-retire cleaning lady who is adored by everyone for her friendliness, but she’s terrible at sales. But hey, you don’t care. You don’t believe the ability to sell or captivate the audience is important. You just bought the space where your clients shop, what more do you need?

Ethel is your advert. She stands there with her bucket and her mop and smiles. She’s friendly and talks to people who stop and wonder what she’s all about. The day drifts by and it’s time to go. Ethel has sold nothing – but she’s really friendly, and she was ever so cheap. Maybe if we buy the same space again tomorrow and put Ethel back – maybe then we’ll make some sales.

Put like this it sounds absolutely stupid – and yet every day thousands of business men and women make this decision. However, you can’t blame them – they have come to the conclusion that the advertising publisher, who is offering them the free design service, knows what they are doing. And the publisher does… they know how to sell advert space to you…by giving away free advert design!

Seriously, if you spend $1,700 on placing an ad and it generates no sales then was it worth it? If you spend and additional $1,000 on the services of a marketing strategist who develops the copy, concept and design and the resulting advert sells more product – was that worth it? I’d say so.

“Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish” as my Grandma used to say. And for those in North America that don’t get the joke it roughly translates into “don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish.” An advert at any price which sells nothing is not worth it – no matter how cheap it was. And an advert that sells more than it costs is worth it – no matter the price you paid.

Here’s why I used the F-word during a client meeting (my bad!)

Email rocks. I get so riled up when I hear a graphic artist tell a client “a picture is worth a thousand words!” Really? Way to misquote that old chestnut of an over-used cliché!

Sure a picture may be worth a lot of words … but WHICH WORDS?


Show a picture of a lion to one person and they smile and reminisce about their time at the zoo when they were young, or they think of powerful leaders.

Show another and they experience fear as they recall that horrible time when …

My point is this: pictures without context are a crap shoot. The media knows this and uses them all the time to “mis-represent” or “mis-lead” our minds. It’s all optics.

And while we can monkey with your mind through words … at least I get to choose the voice inside your head. It’s my words you read, your voice saying them aloud.

My ideas winding through your consciousness subtly altering your perspective or encouraging some action.

Email rocks … and words matter.

Today email is still the most powerful personal marketing media in the world – even more than social media (which also kicks butt!) But email is over 2x as effective with the dollar per dollar ROI on email being something close to $42 – amazing huh.

Anyway, my point is this … (and please don’t misunderstand me – I trained as a fine artist and graphic designer in college!) … pictures alone, branding for ego, artsy work – it is not what you need. You need action, you need sales and you need it now. You need a ‪#‎copywriter‬ (like me.)

Stop gambling with “art” and start commanding the results you require with words that work. Oh wait … a picture of a kitten … “must buy wool.”


James Burchill

Helping You Turn Relationships Into Revenue
Trained 12,000+ Students in 142 Countries
3x Bestselling Author & Top Instructor

PS. I really did drop the f-bomb during a client meeting when I heard their graphic artist tried to turn my carefully copy-written email into something “pretty” as they put it. Normally not so unprofessional, but I was having an off-day. 

PPS. The email I wrote (sans prettiness) has now gone on to be the client’s BEST PERFORMING EMAIL ever – producing more than 2X the results than anything before … all without images, colour or kittens!