Helping indie makers and very small companies with email copy

Alexander Kluge, Bootstrapper at naii.io

Hey, it’s Alex. I’m a bootstrapper like you.

On this page I’m introducing myself and how I work. I want to give you a clear idea about my process so that nothing surprises you in our future cooperation. Expect details. Below you can see an overview of this page’s content. Enjoy your stay :=)

Intro:

Main part:

Outro:

You’re the hero with a thousand startups

I have a thousand ideas and a few projects running. Most of them were not successful which is why I’ve been freelancing on the side for more than 12 years. It pays the bills and gives me enough time and energy to work on them. But I couldn’t have done it alone, there’s someone supporting me. Maybe you can relate.

Then my newest startup hit a nerve because I found a market. It happened while I was traveling through Morocco, Southern Europe, the US, and the UK. I documented all 120 days.

But it wasn’t always like that. I’ve tried many things before…

I was a salesman, psychiatry worker, cleaning person, long-term student (and M.Sc. graduate in Int’l Media & Computing), amateur athlete, street soccer player, the person stocking shelves in a supermarket, designer, writer, novice filmmaker, entrepreneur, and a book publisher. All of that with small to no success. Believe it or not, cleaning households was one of my favorite businesses.

Now I’m doing copywriting with a specialization in email marketing and strategy. Writing and storytelling are not new to me. I studied user experience and media-driven storytelling for 7 years, I’ve been writing commercially since 2008 and teaching storytelling since 2016.

Oh… and the startup I was talking about earlier is the biggest search engine of voiceover recording studios, and although I’ve gained almost 100 partner studios so far, I haven’t made a penny from it. That’s why I’m offering email copywriting as a service to you. But money is not my core motivation. Read on…

Here’s why I’m doing it

I’m best at encouraging people - in person, through writing and with the help of my vocal voice. It’s my natural gift. My particular interest lies in encouraging independent makers like you and promote what they do. Promoting can take various shapes and sizes. In this context, I will only talk about email marketing and copywriting.

And, independent means bootstrapped and funded with no 3rd-party capital or VC capital.

My plan is to analyze a hundred landing pages and ninety email campaigns for free (no strings attached) and build up a relation to the individual indie maker who I made the analysis for. I have zero expectations in terms of the outcome because this is a long-term project and strategy.

My hope is that eventually people see me as someone they can trust because I did something for them (that is extraordinary to a degree) but it’s actually for the benefit of the indie maker community as a whole. I could talk about how much I care about the indie scene and their importance but it would „just“ be words. That’s why I decided to pick something that I’m good at, that adds value (also business-wise) to the maker and that I enjoy doing because it’s actually a fun ride to do these examinations :)

I’m also naturally a giving person because to me giving without worrying about a return is awesome.

By demonstrating to the indie maker that I care about what they’re doing it should feel more natural for them to trust me. I’ll see how that works in the long term because I know that building up relationships takes a while.

Of course, I can’t always work for free. I have to make money. So, my incentive to work with people and make money is so that I can put the money I made from client work into my own small startups (like freewritecamp.org or studiolist.org). Eventually, I want to lower the amount of client work and dedicate more time to develop my products and services.

How much money do I need out of client work? While this can seem like a cry for help or some sort of crowdfunding strategy, it’s not. I’m only transparent about business goals and numbers because I think it’s important to talk about them openly…

For example, I want to save money so I can continue working on studiolist.org. Traveling to the studios while working on the website costs a certain amount of money. In those 4 months that I mentioned before I paid 12,400 euros for all expenses incl. education investments. That’s 3,1k a month. So, if I can make 3-4k a month with copywriting I would be good to go: I could continue working on studiolist.org and do client work for about 20 hours per week.

I also want to have sufficient capital for other creative, entrepreneurial projects and I want to continue my social projects like in the Philippines, Cuba, and Madagascar.

And there’s more…

The bigger picture (with some manifesto-esque words)

My obsession with indie makers is socio-economic-politically motivated: More indie makers (= those who dare to make) means there’s more choice and more variety of products. This makes the marketplace more colorful and creates a nice situation of coopetition in my desired kind of economy (Economy for the Common Good).

By empowering indie makers and putting them in a powerful (democratic) position, I’m contributing to the avoidance of establishing monopolies or de-facto monopolies. If you think you can’t do anything about a situation, becoming an indie maker (writer, painter, photographer, designer, marketer, filmmaker, attentive citizen, tech service provider, etc.) is your sure shot to have a belly belt of options and things you can do for yourself and those you care about.

You can call it my mission statement if you want. Whatever the name is that you find for it, when I think about the empowerment of you and all those other great independent makers in my late-night walks, I know that this the right thing because it feels right. And if I learned one thing in the last years it’s that: If it feels right, it is the right thing to do.

Now that you know the big picture, here’s my most precise idea of how I work and who I want to work with.

Our roles and responsibilities

You want results—the sooner the better—and with the least amount of involvement from your side. You expect me to be efficient in my gathering of information. You also expect me to be thorough and to get everything I need from you at the onset.

That’s why I’m working with my clients in the following way.

You are the client in our relationship. As a client, you are responsible for three things: goals, value, and content. You determine the goals, define the value, and provide the content. If I don’t have all three things, I won’t start the project. Note that defining the value is an exploratory process that takes time.

You come to me with content and goals, and we talk about the value. I take the content and goals and produce the value-driven result. I’m fully responsible for the execution and solving the problem. That’s what you hired me for.

You’re the expert in your field and I’m the expert in mine. You know your market, you know your target audience. You know your business and you know your goals. I will seek your expertise in every area that is your specialty. I do this thoroughly and I do it at the beginning (and if required during the campaign). I gather the information pertaining to your expertise before the project begins. So, your involvement in the process is the communication of content, value, and goals at the beginning of the project. I welcome your input in the preliminary phase.

I don’t allow you to get involved in the execution of the project and give input in the middle of my process. Execution is my area of expertise.

Objection: Why work with a new email copywriter

I understand your hesitation working with a newcomer in the email copywriting world. I would doubt this person myself. I want to make your decision easier.

So, here’s why you should work with me…

I’m hungry for new exciting projects.

I have no bad habits.

I’m connected to some of the best copywriters and I can run the copy through them before you even see them.

I’m a teacher and practicing writer and storyteller.

I have 15 years of experience working with clients in various fields, and I’ve built up startups myself.

If you’re convinced that I could be a great fit, read how I can help you and what I would need from you.

The kind of projects I can help you with

These are the kind of projects you can reach out to me for:

  1. Email strategy & planning
  2. Email campaigns (auto-responders/automated sequences)
  3. Email opt-in landing pages (analysis & optimization of copy and HTML/CSS code)
  4. Content strategy/storytelling
  5. Interface copywriting & customer service optimization

If you need something different, just ask. (As long as it’s related to email marketing/copywriting, words as part of a software interface, better customer service workflow, content strategy, and landing pages, I might be able to help.)

Your Benefits

I’m offering these services so you can lower your marketing costs, work more efficiently by automating marketing tasks and become a self-service (software) company that doesn’t need an army of people in sales, customer service, and training to learn your software. And if you’re not a software company, that’s ok. Automation is your friend as well.

If you work with me you won’t get overwhelmed because I will set up processes while you are handling daily business. I have your back. We will maintain your high-quality customer service despite introducing some automation. Your „human touch“ will stay intact.

And your move towards more automation will emphasize that you are a customer-first company. Your customers will still be impressed by your friendly communication, but your customer service will become more efficient and you can handle tickets faster.

Who I’m looking forward to working with

I like working with people who are excited about their product. If they give me the honor of working with them to help make their product better, I’m all in.

I’m talking about bootstrapping solopreneurs, indie makers, and very small companies (2–5 people). The people I’m spending most of my time with want to help their customers and audience thrive. They also know their target audience well and have a clear sense of what they need to accomplish to make progress with their business. These people are looking for professionals who take full ownership of their process to craft something effective for their needs. And yes, I’m one of these professionals.

Email copywriting is an exciting new field for me. I’m new here but because of prior business experience, I have certain expectations when working with clients and I want to present them to you now.

Requirements for email copywriting clients

I have a list of criteria that you need to meet. These are basic requirements that allow me to potentially achieve great results for your email marketing:

  1. You have an email list.
  2. You have subscribers and they opted in for your emails with their consent.
  3. You’ve been trying to turn existing email readers into buyers and grow your email list. Keep in mind though that the size of your email list is less relevant than you might think. A business friend of mine made five figures in pre-selling his course and he had only 283 people on his list.
  4. Your product is great and ethical.
  5. You have a working system to implement email campaigns. If you struggle I can help you figure out how to set it up.
  6. You are profitable. I make exceptions but I’m mostly working with companies and bootstrappers who make money already. If you need guidance, we can talk about mentoring or consulting.
  7. You are a cool person. I want to enjoy communicating with you but if your ego or pride stands in the way we won’t have a good time.
  8. You are honest. If you lie to me, we will not find a way to work together.
  9. You are open to experimenting. Copywriting is science and art. Half of the time, I research to find the one big idea. Then I craft the story, edit the words, and present the results to you. There’s a lot of testing involved, and I need you to be open for experiments and getting out of your comfort zone.

Sounds good so far? Let’s move on and see my copywriting process.

How I work

Before you invest the time to fill out the application form with your project request, I’d like to tell you a bit more about how I work so you can determine if applying is a worthwhile effort for you.

My process is unlike many other copywriters’

My sales copy is the result of a process that allows me to deliver my best work.

In my process, I take full responsibility for creating the sales copy rather than asking clients or third parties to do my job for me by putting executive decisions on their shoulders.

This means that I don’t include changes, revisions, or multiple versions in my projects. Instead, I deliver my best solution, based on my client’s goals. This approach frees my clients so they can focus on what’s most important for their business or organization, and it gives me everything I need to craft something that your audience can connect with.

I’m confident to achieve great results and eager to learn but I’m not failsafe. So, if my solution doesn’t work as expected because the data says so, I’m giving it two more tries (three in total). Read how I execute.

Three best shots: A step by step execution

This is how my execution works: We will test a series of three things, and I’ll give it three shots.

In the first round, you run the copy exactly how I wrote it. You can only change a word if it’s legally or factually inaccurate, or if it’s not written how you would say it (in terms of your writing voice). If it doesn’t work, I’ll give it a second try.

If we do that again, and you run it word for word the way I had written it and it doesn’t work, we’ll go into the last third round. If it doesn’t work either, we’ll have to admit that the tests failed. We will then wrap up and review the project and I will try to find someone who I think can help you better.

Summary: I’m giving it three hard, solid tries. We test it and see if it’s working. These three shots are covered by the project fee. No additional charges apply.

If you’re ok with my execution process, you can see below how I work, live in action!

See me work—for free!

I’ve written emails for startups that I was involved in, and I’m currently writing a monthly column for one of the most popular German finance websites for private investors with more than 2,200 email subscribers.

Read my work process or cut the theory and take action. Here’s my special offer for our first cooperation…

Email Campaign Analysis (ECA)

The first 90 email campaigns I analyze for free. Read below what you get and how it works.

What you get (and why it’s free)

You see how I work, and only if the results blow you away will we talk about compensation. I want the results to speak for themselves and make it a no-brainer for you to pay me good money.

You don’t want to buy a pig in a poke, and I want you to run a more successful business. That’s what you get.

How it works

  1. Send a blank email (I wrote the subject line already), and I’ll reply within 24 hours—consider my availability.
  2. I’ll ask for your first name, the URL of your email-opt-in landing page to see your email campaign in action (one campaign per person and request) and the stage of the buyer’s journey your reader is at. If you don’t know about the buyer’s journey and its six stages, I’ll tell you in my reply. Note that a campaign is usually 5 to 7 emails. I decline campaigns that exceed this number of emails.
  3. Within 15 to 30 days, I’ll send you the analysis including the good, the bad, my optimized copy, and my suggestions for your email marketing strategy.

What previous clients and business partners said about working with me

Find below a selection of testimonials from people I’ve worked with.

Titelheld., a storytelling company, worked with me on their new website (as a visual designer). It was a client-contractor relationship. At the end of the project, Dominik Schmidt (Director Titelheld.publishing) said:

Dominik Schmidt, Director Titelheld.publishing

Alex understood very well what we had in mind with our new website and implemented it according to our business goals. We enjoyed his transparent organization on Trello, the friendly tone and his informative way of dealing with the meetings. He handled formalities (work contract and briefing) in a professional manner.

Stupid And Simple, a design and branding agency, worked with me on various client projects. I took the role of a content writer, project manager, and UX consultant. It was a collaborative relationship at eye level. At the end of our cooperation, Jan Richter (Creative Director & CEO) said:

Jan Richter, Creative Director & CEO at Stupid And Simple

Alex fulfilled his work with diligence and care. His way of working was groundbreaking and inspiring for the entire team. He demonstrated extraordinary working speed and excellent results. Also, he proved again and again to be a professional and competent partner, who showed impeccable time management and delivered very good work.

He quickly and effortlessly integrated himself into the team and was a strong team player. In problem situations, he always knew how to help. Tasks that he had to manage himself, he fulfilled particularly well. Alex decided to end his work with us to tackle new challenges. We want to thank him for his impulses, the successful cooperation and the help with the structural development of our agency. We wish him continued success on the way forward and in his professional career.

How I do business

Over the years I’ve developed a philosophy of how I want to do business with people. You’re maybe surprised by what you will read…

I’m not charging for consulting unless it’s part of a project where I’m doing hands-on work. I don’t believe that having a conversation, an exchange of words, experiences, and knowledge, should be charged for. Education should be free of charge and open.

Only if what I told this person resulted in a financial gain for them will I ask for a 10-percent share of the increase. In case the person doesn’t tell me about it or lied when I asked, and I find out, I won’t have another conversation with them. The person died for me.

This doesn’t mean that I’m wasting my time or don’t consider my time a valuable asset. The contrary is the case. I’m very picky who I talk to and consult with. And if the conversation is great and we are both enjoying it, I’m happy to talk longer than initially scheduled. That’s ok as long as there’s a fire and „magic“ between us. You can schedule a call or meeting here.

I’m not a numbers person and I only get partially excited about increasing sales. But I absolutely care about making people care about your product and your story. My email copy is conversational, not salesy, it’s humane not manipulative, and it’s worth reading because of the story being told. I focus on connection and care because then the sale follows naturally. Of course, I can only do that if the product addresses the needs of the buyer and solves their problem.

Why email matters (also in 2019)

Emails are alive. In 2019, an estimated amount of 300 billion emails will we have sent and received.

Emails are personal. They are intimate. You are close to the reader. They actually open the email because the message is only for them. Your email makes them feel special.

Email is the most effective form of marketing in terms of engagement. It’s not a surprise. In an email, you talk 1-on-1. Email is like a chat with a friend at your Starbucks. You share what you wouldn’t post online. Through email, you feel comfortable to open up.

Your reader cares about you first and buys your product after.

Email is not about total numbers. You’re not reaching every single subscriber. As I learned from my informal business teacher Sean McCabe, you are reaching the top 10 percent that is the most engaged. Those people are your customers.

Everyone knows email is important for business

Emails convert higher than social media. Real-world numbers show that. Proof is here. Your reader cares about you because you cared about them first. You connect as people. Then you connect them to your product. Email helps build a connection from a reader who doesn’t know you to a person who buys your product—again and again, and again. And, I’m your companion writing these emails.

„…email marketing is still the most profitable channel for marketing online in the history of the internet..”—Chris Orzechowski

Email marketing is effective. According to the „National client email report 2015” conducted by Jordie van Rijn and UK-based Data & Marketing Association (DMA), Europe’s largest professional body representing the direct marketing industry, „email has an average ROI of £38 for each £1 spent”. That makes email marketing one of the best ways to increase your return on investment, and despite being one of the oldest digital media still in use, email will evolve.

I write high-converting and effective emails for your organization, and I cure low-engaging email sequences because I consider them to be sick. They are a life threat to your business, and I’m treating them as such. I help you so your reader cares about you first and buys your product after.

Learn below 👇 some tricks (and a secret ingredient) to say the right thing at the right time to the right person and sell more every time you send an email.

Sell more with efficient 🐝 email copy

Something is wrong.

You’re working smart and hard—as a bee.

Your product is fantastic.

And sales? Only crickets, lots of them… 🦗🦗🦗🦗🦗🦗🦗🦗🦗🦗

People tell you to „Run ads on Instagram“, „Do content marketing” and „Increase email subscribers”. Great tips but none of them is your problem.

Your email subscribers aren’t buying, you don’t know why?

Luck is playing your cards

You’ve been guessing at what to say because you never had the right words. No new subscriber felt like you were understanding them, so most of them unsubscribed. Yes, you sold something here and then but if you make a sale, it’s by accident.

You’re a very lucky person if you can „accidentally“ grow your business. But if you don’t believe in luck, get in charge of your sales message yourself. Do what’s in your hands to control and let the „lucky“ people get their cards sorted by others.

Learn 3 Tricks (And A Secret Ingredient) To Write Higher-Converting Email Copy That You Can Apply Immediately And Sells While You Sleep (Without Increasing Subscribers And Without Luck)

In this 3-part email course, you learn how to say the right thing at the right time to the right person, and you will learn a no-brainer sales formula that a community peer has applied successfully. I’m happy to share it with you.

Stay subscribed. After the email course, I will send you an email once a week in which you will learn to write email copy that sells without feeling awkward, how to position yourself as the obvious solution and how to make your email subscribers feel like you’re reading their mind.

In my weekly email 📧 tip I will also show you how to improve the copywriting of the email campaigns for your product newsletter, never run out of topics and ideas to write, and be original and unique.

You can also expect an observation of the copywriting world, a lesson from the front lines, or timeless advice that is worth remembering when writing email copy and copy in general. But always only one piece to learn, never overwhelming and never too long or boring to read. A clear takeaway with added value after you read my email. That is my goal. If you don’t find this kind of value in my emails, unsubscribe anytime.

Delivery

Wednesday around 6pm cet/cest is when I deliver. I work efficiently and I’m punctual. I deliver on time. I don’t charge by the hour because my goal is to deliver a stunning result, not an inflated invoice that baffles you.

Great results require time, and you’ll know in advance when to expect my delivery. But if there’s not enough time to do good research, I won’t rush it because it’s not in your interest. And I don’t allow anyone to micromanage my execution or watch the clock.

This means that I don’t do rush jobs. But since I’m not living under a rock, I know that circumstances can be crazy and unpredictable sometimes. So, if you have a very good reason (emergency, S.O.S.) why a job with a challenging deadline needs to get done, and you’re willing to pay my expensive rush fee, go ahead and read on. This is the exception, not the rule, and I would prefer to keep it like that.

Availability

I work on Monday and Wednesday. That’s when I’ll reply to your emails or have calls with you. If I have questions that are urgent and important I will ask you immediately (and not wait until Monday or Wednesday). Wednesday is when I send the deliverables (see above). I’m off-duty on the weekend (Fri-Sun), during my annual research trips, and every seventh week. Here’s my availability status…

I’m currently available ✍️ for new projects. If you want to work with me, consider my availability and follow the process.

For your convenience, I’ll be unavailable on these dates…

…and on every weekend (Fri-Sun), see 4-day workweek.

(no research trip in 2019) 😕

Keep in mind that the availability above is valid as soon as we start working together (signed contract and first payment made). That’s important to me because better work gets done when there’s a higher time constraint. Productivity is increased and it’s healthier for everyone.

If we are not yet working together, please read my entire page to get to know my process. This step is not optional. You must have read, understood and accepted my process before filling out the application form to work with me.

If you do not agree with my process or parts of it, then there will be no cooperation between us. It’s the underlying framework for my work and only by using this framework can I achieve outstanding results. It is also in your best interest to invest 25 minutes in reading the process in advance rather than having lost hundreds of hours into a project that will have drowned later.

Available for English and German projects

I’m not a native English speaker. But to make sure my English is top-notch when writing copy I have a business partner from the US (actually a couple) who double-checks my texts. That’s why I’m confident about writing in English. And because German is my mother tongue, schreibe ich auch auf Deutsch.

Sidenote: Deadline

Entrepreneurship (making shit happen) is about challenges and solving difficult problems. It’s also a way to feel alive when facing these obstacles and mastering them (maybe). That’s why my copywriting service has a deadline and a condition: If I can’t make 6,000 euros revenue until December 31, 2019, I’ll be getting a regular day job. The challenge started in July. So I gave myself 6 months to make 6k.

But I DON’T WANT TO GET A DAY JOB after 12+ years of freelancing. I want to stay „unemployed“. So, that’s my incentive.

You can help me achieve this goal by teaming up so I can help you produce excellent results for your company.

What to do now (and what to expect next)

I would appreciate if you read the whole page. I know it’s a lot to read but it’s better to invest those 25 minutes beforehand rather than waste hours in a cooperation that went south.

If you agreed with what you read, then please click the button below and fill out the form.

I will review your application, and after that, one of three things will happen:

  1. I will reach out to you within 1-2 business days and send you a link to schedule a call. During the meeting, we will talk further about your project, go through the answers you gave in your application, and there’ll be room for more questions and answers. This call will also give us the opportunity to see if the chemistry between us is right.
  2. If I can’t help you, I will reach out to my network and find someone who might be a better fit. If I found someone I’d get back to you.
  3. You won’t hear from me if I or someone in my network can’t help you or if I’m not interested in your project.

Click the link below to team up:

Let’s Team Up

P.S. Caring is contagious. You pass it on, intuitively.