As a part of our series about “Marketing Strategies From The Top” I had the pleasure of interviewing Carmine Mastropierro. Carmine Mastropierro is the founder of Mastro Commerce, a copywriting agency that helps businesses generate traffic, leads, and revenue through writing services. He has written for Neil Patel, GoDaddy, Social Media Examiner, and other publications.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thanks for the opportunity! I had an entrepreneurial spirit ever since I was a child. I was opening lemonade stands, selling trading cards, you name it. I also loved everything about the internet and computers. Naturally, I knew I somehow wanted to mix the two together.
I dabbled in internet marketing while I was in high school and officially studied business in college. That’s also when I began freelance writing and growing internet companies. These included affiliate and e-commerce businesses.
I launched my digital marketing agency in my first year of college, as well. However, I performed a wide variety of services like web design, logo design, etc. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to focus on copywriting because it was my greatest skill and interest. From there, I began growing the agency through outbound sales, inbound marketing, and other strategies to get where I am today: working with big brands and household names.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh, there are so many embarrassing ones. I would say an early marketing mistake I made was thinking when I created my first passive income website as a teenager. I thought I could enter health and fitness, probably the most oversaturated market, and rank for search terms like “Get abs fast” by writing two hundred word articles and stuffing them with affiliate links. I was going to be so rich. Unfortunately, it didn’t put me on a beach sipping pina coladas!
I learned from those first few blunders that you need to think of every business in the long term. Specifically three to five years minimum. Be patient, create a plan, and simply enjoy the journey and the results will naturally begin to manifest.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
The main tipping point in my career was when I decided I was going to focus on my copywriting agency and nothing else. It’s easy to get sidetracked and distracted when you have a million different side hustles. I love business and everything in between. So, I commonly would launch other websites and businesses on the side. These would end up taking up too much of my time every day.
I decided that I was going to focus on my copywriting agency and it’s growth over everything else. I feel infinitely better and productive as I only have one company to grow and take care of now.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There are a few different things that make my company stand out. Firstly, I believe my values play a role. This is because I take pride in being easy to work with, having great communication, and crushing deadlines. This keeps my client’s marketing performance consistent while giving them peace of mind that I’m taking care of everything. Secondly, my agency doubles as a personal brand. Because my name and face are on it, it holds me accountable and adds an extra layer of transparency.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
One recent exciting development that I’ve started is I’m now donating a portion of all projects I do to animal-related charities. It’s a great way to give back in a passive way. It also makes my clients feel good.
Outside of that, I’m beginning to launch my public speaking career, locking in gigs and opportunities in my local area. I’m also around the corner from releasing my first digital product which is an online course teaching students how to grow their own copywriting agency.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Take a break. And, structure your schedule. Make sure to take a break every set amount of time like two hours, for example. Go for a walk, drink water, stretch, or grab some coffee. Also, having a clear schedule prevents disorganization and panic because you know what you are doing ahead of time.
I’ve also loved the Tony Robbins quote “Health is energy,” too. I exercise every day, fast, and have a strict diet. I feel amazing. My physical and mental energy feels infinite. Everything improves. Make sure you’re getting up from your desk and moving every day while watching what you eat. Drink more water, remove the junk food, etc.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My father. He was an entrepreneur when he was my age, so he understood the hustle and lifestyle it brings. He told me if I was going to do business. I had to go all in. Otherwise, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves for growth.
Additionally, he instilled a lot of morals and ideas that indirectly affect how I conduct business. These include always being a good person, helping others, being patient, and working hard without complaining.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history? Can you explain why you like that so much?
Without a doubt, it’s David Ogilvy’s Hathaway shirt campaign. It featured a print ad of a man wearing a fancy dress shirt along with an eyepatch. You immediately want to know who he is and why he has an eyepatch. The copy goes into detail about the amazing quality of the dress shirt, its materials, comfort, style, and price. By the time you have read all of the copy, the man remains a mystery but you want the shirt. It’s an amazing example of advertising and copywriting in one fell swoop. Everything from the image to the story and product is engineered to make you read from the first to last word.
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
I would break down a campaign into three different parts. The first is understanding the customer’s interests, pain points, values, and feelings. This ultimately allows you to produce a campaign that resonates with a hyper-segment of consumers on a deep emotional level. The copy can be directed to their problem while positioning the solution they’re searching for, too.
Secondly, it needs to be promoted in the right places. This goes back to understanding your target customer. Where do they hang out? What channels do they use? What material do they read? Audit these and advertise the campaign there to maximize its performance.
Thirdly, it needs to be measured. Otherwise, it’s a shot in the dark. Gauge what the most important metrics are for the campaign such as sales, click-throughs, impressions, etc. This also relates to running experiments and A/B split tests to find winning combinations.
Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
Copywriting has remained relatively unchanged for many decades. The same strategies, techniques, and processes that worked 30 years ago are still used today. I’m looking at you, ugly long sales letters.
However, I believe that we will begin to see more targeted and personalized content and copywriting campaigns thanks to technology. AI, machine learning, and CRMs allow companies to segment audiences and give them slightly different materials based on their wants, desires, and pain points.
We will also continue to see more free value in the form of podcasts, video, and webinars. All of which are growing in popularity and performance.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started? Can you please share a story or example for each.
1. Always create an outline for sales copy
Writer’s block is the worst enemy of any copywriter or content marketer. I produced content and copy for years practically off the top of my head. Little did I realize that creating outlines for sales copy and similar projects can save countless headaches and hours of time. I began creating skeletons of every project moving forward which mapped out the intro, conclusion, major points, and sub-points. When I begin writing this way, I know exactly what to write about next and never get writer’s block.
2. Be patient and think of the long term
A business takes a long time to be successful. It’s interesting looking back at how everything was meant to be in terms of failures, successes, and lessons. They all add up over a long period of time to create a lucrative company. Understanding this early on and building with the end in mind would have made the overall journey easier. I recall being impatient and wanting to generate results faster than they were coming, but later realize it’s all in due time with enough effort.
3. If it isn’t working, move on
Contrary to my previous point, I believe entrepreneurs need to move onto new strategies, products, or ventures when current things aren’t working. Yes, you need to be patient, collect data, and optimize, but there comes a point where some things are not obviously working. It’s better to learn from the failure and move onto something better than constantly trying to fix it.
4. Learn to measure strategies
It’s not enough to perform inbound marketing and the underlying techniques like content marketing. It’s critical that you measure them, too. For a long time in my early days as a digital entrepreneur, I rarely looked at analytics, heatmaps, or similar data. I would perform strategies and if they worked, I continued them. I now understand that it’s extremely important to be measuring the effectiveness and ROI of every campaign and strategy.
5. Outsource once it makes sense
As you scale a business, it gets to the point where you can continue being a one-person show or work more productively by outsourcing. Thanks to freelance platforms, it’s easier than ever to hire contractors to handle client work, emails, and other tasks. This frees you from having to do these yourself while dedicating time elsewhere. I was guilty of trying to juggle everything myself while running the agency and it was too much to handle. Eventually, I began building a remote team and it was the best decision I ever made.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners to become more effective marketers?
I can think of dozens. Firstly, I highly recommend looking into automation tools like Zapier or IFTTT. These connect various tools marketers use to automate task sand processes between them. For example, you could have new blog posts automatically published to all of your social profiles, sent out as a newsletter, and more without having to do it manually.
Since search engine optimization plays a large role in any online business, search engine optimization solutions like SEMrush are priceless. They allow you to keep tabs or organic traffic, keyword rankings, competitors, link profiles, and more.
Similarly, BuzzSumo is a fantastic tool for researching content ideas and understanding what topics are trending in any niche.
Lastly, Trello and Slack need to be in every marketer’s tool stack. The first helps organize projects, team members, and individual tasks. Slack, on the other hand, streamlines communication and collaboration.
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skils?
Seth Godin and Neil Patel are two marketers that I look up to and learn from daily. In particular, Seth’s book “This is Marketing” and Neil Patel’s YouTube channel are goldmines. I’m also a huge fan of Russel Brunson, Authority Hackers, Tony Robbins, and Eric Siu. Other successful people I study to sharpen my marketing skills include:
● Brian Dean
● Gary Vaynerchuk
● Robert Greene
● Napoleon Hill
● Anne Handley
● Claude Hopkins
● David Ogilvy
● Dale Carnegie
● Gary Halbert
● Robert Bly
● Joseph Sugarman
Who is your hero? Can you explain or share a story about why that person resonates with you?
I really look up to entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s all about self-fulfillment, working hard, patience, and being a good person. These are values and beliefs that I hold naturally, so his content has always resonated with me deeply. I remember when I first stumbled upon him by a friend sharing one of his YouTube videos. He wasn’t necessarily teaching me anything new, but it wasn’t a bad thing. Rather, seeing someone very successful like him share the same values made me more confident in what I was doing.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Meditation. I’ve been meditating since I was a teenager and it does wonders for your attention, focus, happiness, and more. It’s not spiritual mumbo-jumbo unless you make it into that. I’d love to see more entrepreneurs — who are already stressed — relax, unwind, and learn to get out of their heads for a few minutes per day.
How can our readers follow you online?
Feel free to visit my personal website at www.carminemastropierro.comor find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.