My heart was beating out of my chest.
My hands were trembling.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but there it was, clear as day…
I had spent days on the prowl, trying to follow the data trail before it got cold. I knew someone was trying to game the system and find a backdoor onto my server. What I didn’t know is that he was already there. After thousands of attempts masked by fake IP addresses and forged accounts, he had finally found his way in.
My course and my content was being downloaded and shared to strangers around the world.
The course I had slaved over for months. The course I built with my sweat and blood, word by painstaking word. The course that supported my family and my livelihood.
I had to suppress a strong urge to retch.
I had been hacked.
And I thought to myself, “This is Ramit Sethi’s fault.”
That’s this guy, if you haven’t heard of him:
Looks a little dicey, right? Who says stuff like that? We’ll talk more about it in a second.
But first, let’s get up to speed and take a little trip back in time to circa 2011.
Like so many others, I spent years chasing the silver lining.
It seemed like every month, a new wunderkind rose out of the ashes. People like Bryan Harris, Kimra Luna, Luisa Zhou, Bushra Azhar. People in the two comma club with 7 figure launches. People who seemed to defy gravity.
And then there were the people who were already at the top of Mount Olympus. People like Ramit Sethi and Derek Halpern. Jeff Walker. Frank Kern.
And then there was me.
After 1 year as a blogger, my entire email list was 162 people. It took me 4 years to even try my first launch. That’s 361 blog posts, 142 emails, and 3 webinars before I had a penny to show for it. Still, I had my funnel. I had my ads. I had my dreams of a six figure launch.
In reality, I barely cracked five.
$12,389 to be precise. Which isn’t the worst thing. It’s just the taking 4 years to get there part.
I remember when I first started blogging, I bragged to my friends that this was going to be my golden goose.
“This stuff is a money machine!” I said.
And so far, it had made me a whopping $3,097.25 per year. Here’s a selfie of me thinking about whether or not to throw in the towel. Do I look like a happy camper to you?
Then came Ramit.
I don’t quite remember how I came across his course, Call to Action. But I do still remember the first time I saw him do a webinar. It was for a product called Earn 1K, and I was mesmerized. I don’t think I even meant to watch it.
But it was as if he had some magic juju that vaporized all resistance. I instantly signed up, though I didn’t dare tell my wife.
I enjoyed the course, but I never wound up using it. After all, I wasn’t really looking for a side job. Like I said. I just couldn’t resist.
And I wondered…
How can you be so damned persuasive that you can make someone buy, when they’re not even thinking about what you’re selling?
I had to know. Surely, you can’t bottle that stuff.
It turns out there was one lesson that really made all the difference. I’ll show you what worked in a little bit.
But it started with Call to Action.
When I first heard about it, I knew what copywriting was, but I had no idea what copywriting was about. If you asked me, I probably would have said that I thought it meant coming up with clever and witty ads to sell sports cars in expensive magazines.
I might also have thought it was a form of legal protection.
It just didn’t seem that writing really mattered that much. I thought I needed to know more funnel building tricks and list growing secrets. Should I use Infusionsoft of Ontraport? Aweber or Converkit?
But, then, that magic juju kicked in, and there I was, handing over my credit card.
Does Copywriting Matter?
The course is broken up into 8 basic modules, though Modules 7 & 8 are both on writing sales pages. So it looks something like this:
Module 1: Copywriting Mindsets
Module 2: Mind ReadingModule 3: Maximizing Email Subscribers
Module 4: Blog Posts
Module 5: Stories, Offers, & Hooks
Module 6: Email Funnels
Module 7 & 8: Sales Pages
Now, there are a lot of different ways to teach copywriting. It can be applied. It can be theory. It can be narrow. It can be broad.
Lately, a lot of people have taken to teaching it in the form of stories. Many have taught it purely through the art of the sales letter. And, of course, there’s always Breakthrough Advertising, a legendary treatise that goes through the theory blow by blow.
So there are a lot of ways to skin a cat.
Ramit’s basically gives you a hit list of essentials for any online marketer, and he wastes no time. He gets you ready. He sets the ball in motion. And it’s off to the races. From the very start he hammers home the one essential lesson in all copywriting, and, frankly, all marketing that everyone must know:
It’s about the audience.
As marketing legend Robert Collier put it, “Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.”
And you’ll see soon that it matters. It matters a lot. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about writing, like you did in high school. It’s about sounding all fancy and formal. No one is testing you. It’s about influence and connection and turning passive tire-kicking viewers into passionate fans who, yes, buy.
Yes, You Can Make Money Online
If there was one word to sum up what made Call to Action work, it would be speed.
And thank god for that, because here’s a little bit of background.
The last module in the course was released on January 3, 2016. My first launch applying it was February 25, 2016. That means, in practical terms, I really had less than 1 month to digest the whole course and apply it.
That’s not a lot of time.
I mention this, because it’s the combination of speed and effectiveness that gets to the heart of what made the course so powerful for me.
And we’re talking life-altering powerful.
It is fast, direct, and easy to follow. There’s very little fluff. There aren’t esoteric deep dives and swirling tangents. It might be more like those rides at the theme park, where they lift you up and drop you down, as opposed to a roller coaster that loops you around and takes you for a ride.
What’s there matters. It works. And you get what you need.
In other words, it plunges you straight into the heart of the magic juju that is persuasion.
Though there’s really no magic to it. I don’t say that to put it down. Ramit says as much himself. It’s not magic. It’s core fundamentals. It’s distilled influence. But they’re fundamentals most people don’t know, and when you don’t know why things work, it does feel like magic.
It’s worth mentioning that Ramit occupies a special place in the online marketing landscape that both avoids being scammy, while staying forceful.
He’s not the type of person who suffers fools, and he brings this perspective to the teaching and the content. You could say it’s the sweet spot between creating just enough intensity to nudge people, while staying honest enough to respect your audience, but whatever the case, it sets the tone for the learning.
Never want to sell from your heels. (That’s an old-school sales term for people who sell, ready to run away).
The formulas are easy to apply and clear in function. I was able to use them almost instantly. The worksheets are equally easy to use.
This Course is a Little Different from Most
Anyone used to taking a lot of online courses is probably used to seeing one video after the next. This course is a little different. It’s a hybrid of text and video, that feels not unlike a long, informative blog post.
I found the format to be a perfect fit for the content. I’ve even used it myself in some of my own courses. It made it easy to absorb everything without that sense of heaviness that accompanies a lot of online learning.
It’s also very clear that the content is drawn from someone who has tested it, used it, and applied it in a today’s climate.
Examples range, running the gamut from the classic, tried-and-true, must-know ads for any aspiring persuassionist to much more contemporary and modern examples that are particular to Ramit.
It’s common that copywriting education focuses on reference to classic direct mail ads. Many of these ads come from the 80’s, 70’s and earlier. There’s nothing wrong with this. If you know your stuff, a lot of it is sheer genius and great learning.
But with that said, that type of approach can also be hard to digest and apply, if you’re not used to it, and bringing modern examples into the mix, while still respecting classic copywriting makes for a nice mix.
It wasn’t just a perfect primer on using words for influence.
It was as if someone gave me x-ray vision, so I could see through my own funnel and emails and blog posts, and actually understand why things worked and why they didn’t.
In case you’re wondering, I get nothing for writing this review. No compensation. No affiliate money. But when something changes your life, you just want to share it.
The Proof is in the 458% Pudding
Of course, at the end of the day, the proof is always in the pudding.
Thanks to Call to Action, I started getting emails like this:
But going back to launches, if you look at my first launch, you can see the numbers. To be precise, my list size at the time was 2,283 people. Here’s what happened:
Grand Total for June 2015 Launch: $12,389
My launch after Call to Action was critical.
Quite honestly, I was getting a little close to broke, and if I couldn’t get things to pick up, I knew I might have to call it quits. So with about a month to pour through the content and make the most of it, here’s what Call to Action did for me. This chart represents both the initial orders and the payments by installment from the launch:
Grand Total for February 2016 Launch: $44,194.56+
To be transparent, $44,194.56 is both slightly high and a bit too low. If you stare at all the little blue lines, you’ll see there’s a tiny, little mini-launch that brought in a few thousand bucks that wasn’t part of the launch in April.
But on the flip side, what this doesn’t reflect is a good $14K in coaching business that I picked up because of the launch. So total profit eas really north of the $55k mark.
Was it all because of Call to Action? No. Not fully.
My list had grown to 3,680 by that point, so it was 161% larger by Launch #2. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not even close enough to compensate for the actual the bump I got.
All told, the launch after I took Ramit’s course brought in 458% more revenue or about $42,600 more than my previous launch for just 1 month of learning. Better yet, I’d be able to use it over and over on future launches, which continued to grow, and I was finally able to make coaching my full time job.
I’d call that a pretty big deal.
But it’s not just about launching.
I’ve run a brand agency, a photography studio, a film production company, and I’ve been a business coach and an online marketer, and Call to Action marked the most significant shift in my approach to marketing ever.
It literally paved the way for all of my growth over the past two years.
And you can see the difference.
This was the headline I used for my first sales page. It was a product for photographers teaching them low-key sales. Ironic, given how desperate I sound:
This was the headline I used for the launch in February. You’ll remember what I said about entering the conversation in the mind. This is the exact conversation in every photographer’s mind. I’ve heard it a billion times:
It worked like gangbusters. I’ve had countless people email me and tell me that this one quote sold them. And that’s really the thing about words. They’re as close to mind control as you’re ever going to get, and they matter like nobody’s business.
If you have someone meaningful to say, and you have the ability to change people’s lives, it’s the right words that will let you open the door to build the connections that matter.
What I Didn’t Like About Call to Action
Honestly, there wasn’t much I didn’t like. The course changed my life. How much more do you need?
I will say that I’ve done a lot of learning since, and I do love the material that goes crazy deep like Breakthrough Advertising, which I mentioned above. I also love the obscure and famous old school ads from the copywriting legends.
Some of the best learning out there still dates as far back as over a century.
Which is to say that if you’re already an experienced copywriter, and you’re looking for a tome to further your life as a wordsmith, this isn’t the course for you.
But if you’re trying to put together the pieces, and figure out how to connect the dots to form a straight line of persuasion, then this is perfect.
I just took a look at the content, before writing this.
And you know what? For all the boning up on influence I’ve done over the past two years, (not to mention the many launches), it still works great.
Maybe what I didn’t like the most was simply that it worked too well.
Here’s what happened. During my last launch, someone (I won’t mention any names. Let’s just call him Mr. X to honor the legendary Jay Abraham) started impersonating multiple people through fake Facebook accounts trying to convince people to do a group buy for my course.
He emailed them. He messaged them. He reached out over and over.
Many of them shared the emails with me. One person shared a full conversation.
It sort of creeped me out.
I tracked all of his activity on my server.
As he masked his IP.
As he made attempt after attempt to find my hidden content. Here’s a snippet from my logs:
He clearly worked very, very hard to find his way in. And as I sifted through his data trip, line by line, I thought about a term from poker.
When you’re acting out of emotion, they say you’re on tilt.
And I thought about how much he must have wanted the content. In fact, funny enough, the name of the course he was looking for was Mass Desire Method. And as I thought about him logging in over and over, trying to hunt down the content, I remembered that feeling from several years back.
That feeling of wanting so badly, it just takes hold of you and doesn’t let go. After all, that’s what got me to sign up for Call to Action in the first place.
And as the salty sweat dripped from my brow as I pursued my hacker, suddenly, I smiled.
Turns out you can bottle that magic juju.
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