Tarzan Kay first grabbed by attention when I heard her on Amy Porterfield’s podcast.
In this episode, we chat about selling with integrity. We also chat about hallucinogens and Jesus, but you’ll have to listen to find out all the details.
In this Episode:
05.00: How Tarzan started writing Amy Porterfield’s copy
06.28: The incredible potential of email marketing
14.40: Why consistency is key to email marketing
17.28: Tips for writing compelling emails
23.32: How to write emails that convert subscribers to buyers
30.40: Keeping the integrity in marketing
37.52: The effect of ice baths
45.09: Talking Jesus, Psychedelics and Business
Tarzan Kay is a launch strategist and copywriter who teaches women (and a few good men) how to sell bigger, so they can serve bigger.
Tarzan is a master of email marketing and former copywriter-for-hire who specializes in fun-to-read, more-addictive-than-Game-of-Thrones email copy. She also helps freelancers attract better clients who’ll reach deeper into their pockets to pay for top-quality services — also using the power of email, duh!
In a previous life, Tarzan was a music major and – like so many copywriters – did a 3-year stint in law school, en français! She found her way to the online space through blogging and social media (“Whassup, overdue credit card bills and low-paying clients!”).
When T-Money’s not in “Mob boss mode,” she likes to take mid-day dunks in the pool (even at frigid temperatures), stage backyard episodes of Ultimate Beastmaster, and sing show tunes in the shower.
Tarzan lives in Niagara with her partner and two kiddos.
Tarzan Kay first grabbed my attention when I heard her on Amy Porterfield’s podcast, when she used to be Amy’s copywriter. I have been following her since and I’m so honoured to have her as a guest on my podcast. Today’s episode is massive, we chat about selling without being sleazy, how to capture and sell to your audience, and using integrity in marketing… we also chat hallucinogens and Jesus, but you’ll have to listen to find out all of the details. This episode is packed with insights and inspiration, as well as some real food for thought as how to how you run your business.
You’re listening to the Clare Wood podcast, where we talk all things business, finance, marketing, and mindset for entrepreneurs, sharing practical tips, and actionable advice to help you take your business to the next level. Introducing your host: me! I’m Clare Wood, I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, and a reality tv addict, and I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life, because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two. Now let’s dive right in to today’s episode.
CLARE: If you follow me on Instagram you’ll notice I’ve been talking a lot about million dollar energy. I’ve been talking about the feeling of a million dollar business, and as soon as I put the intent out to the universe, all of these signs, people and opportunities have presented themselves. Would you believe, Tarzan shared with me, just before recording, that she has just hit her first $1M year in business this year. See, I told you I am attracting this energy.
Ove the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more about million dollar energy, including interviewing several of my million dollar business owner friends and colleagues, to share their million dollar secrets. I’ll also be sharing with you how I can support you to build a 7 figure business. Keep a close eye on my Instagram @clare_wood_coach and also on your inbox. If you aren’t on my mailing list, grab your freebie from today’s shownotes, so you don’t miss out on any million dollar goodness.
Ok, enough chat. Welcome to the podcast, Tarzan!
TARZAN: Thanks for having me.
CLARE: Can you share who you are an what you do?
TARZAN: I’m Tarzan Kay. I am all about email. I write really good emails and I send a lot of them and I teach other people to also do the same thing, and be the best thing in your subscribers inbox, that’s my goal. I want my people to send braver emails to sell themselves with full integrity. A lot of people come to learn from me and watch what I do. And a lot of them feel like they see things on there feed and think, is this true? Are these testimonials real? There is a lot of mistrust, which is partly due to a lack of transparency in the online world, and also, sometimes the results are a little unbelievable. Sometimes it can feel a bit pyramid scheme-like. But I’m here to bust the myth, and tell you what it really takes, and what it looks like, and also to encourage people to be on the journey. Building marketing and a business I get people say, what you are doing is so cool, maybe I could do that. And I think you probably won’t… because it takes work and commitment. You have to stick it out and go through hard things, but you will learn so much. It’s one of the greatest journey’s you can be on. So that’s what I share, what it actually looks like.
CLARE: So you used to write copy of Amy Porterfield?
How Tarzan started writing Amy Porterfield’s copy
TARZAN: I started out my online business as a copywriter, writing websites then I became interested in digital courses. I took Amy’s course called, Courses that Convert, 4 years ago and I loved the industry. I worked with a lot of course creators and niched down to emails and emails for course launches as well as sales pages. I wrote her podcast emails for a while, and she’d come to me with cool projects. But I wanted to be her colleague not her copywriter, so I am, I am one of her top affiliates, so she makes me a lot of money.
CLARE: Let’s not just brag about you, but the potential of email.
The incredible potential of email marketing
TARZAN: The first time I launched anything, I was one year into my business and I had been accepted as an affiliate of B School. I had 750 subscribers. There was a lot of noise around that program and very competitive, it was like carnage, who can get the most sales. I was like, I’m going to sell B School and it’ll be great. First thing I did was hire an ads manager and added another 750 subscribers to my list. So I launched to 1,500 people selling a competitive product and made 14 sales ($12,000). I was amazed and went and brought a new car. I thought, this works! I had many flops, launched things that didn’t work and figured out what did work, but along the way I continued to email my list each week. I made a commitment to myself that I would email my list every other week and a year later, I’m heavily pregnant, supporting my family, my husband is a stay at home dad, and I’m mainly relying on client work to make my money, so I thought I’d do the B School again, with a similar size list, pay for ads as I don’t create free content, I do Instagram, no podcast, so I mainly pay for leads, and I made 25 sales, which was enormous. I also put out a service-offer, selling my day rate package for buy one get 50% off the second and all these people wanted to work with me. I didn’t know I was nurturing a list of clients. So I made $60,000 in 2 months, so I was able to chill when my baby was born and keep things rolling. But I asked myself when I came back to work, what am doing? I knew if I had more people on my email list, I would have more sales. And I knew if you were on my email list I would wow you, and you’ll buy something from me… well a small percentage would.
Last year, I started running Facebook Ads, for a whole year, and I hadn’t done that before. And it proved to be true, I got more subscribers, which equalled more sales. I knew what my conversion rates were going to be, and it’s a simple maths formula. Add more people = more money.
I’m glad it’s grown the rate it did, I just had my biggest launch ever, we have 250 people in the program this year, Email Stars – which teaching course creators how to sell with email. But customer service kinda broke, and that’s what happens when things grow, things break. I can’t put $100,000 into ads and be an ultra-millionaire, I’m growing a little at a time, and I’m learning each time.
This year, I’ve had a 7 figure year, of all years, when I’m distracted and least committed to financial goals because there is so many things more important, but here we are. And it’s all due to more email subscribers.
CLARE: That’s so inspiring. But I know there is more to it than having a list, you obviously have a way with words.
Why consistency is key to email marketing
TARZAN: Number 1 important thing is, just show up consistently. It’s so underestimated. I’ve been showing up for 4 years, I’ve been talking about the same product for 2 years. You have to play the long game, email marketing is not a short game strategy. When you are new in business you have to have short game as well, and hustle sales, like actually asking people if you can send them a link to your program. Email marketing is more scalable but it’s a long game, you show up and show up again and again, and it tells people I’m legit, I know what I’m talking about, I’m still doing the same thing, you can trust me, you can buy my thing, I will still be here to support you. Put it in your calendar and sit down for half an hour and write an email each week. I’ve written average emails, my emails are good right now because I have become better at them. Before this call I was reviewing a sequence of webinar invites to go out next week, 7 of them, and of them, 3 or 4 are excellent and the other 3 are average, but I’m not brilliant 100% of the time. No one can. That’s the thing with email, a lot of people make excuses and don’t write them, but it doesn’t matter, just write them and put a call to action as a “what is your biggest struggle etc” with what area you help them with. And they will get better. It’s not something you have to be born with, it’s something that is learned. I’m great at it because I have written a s**t ton of emails. Practice and be consistent, and know you will get better.
Tips for writing compelling emails
CLARE: Tarzan’s emails are hilarious. What I love about your emails is that they are surprising. How do you come up with all these angles and stories?
TARZAN: They come from life. It’s a reflex that I had to train myself to do. In the beginning, I wrote down my observations about life, I have a google doc of all the newsletters I will send for the month, then I will put ideas in. My brain is trained to look for email ideas.
I was at a dinner party with a cool family, and the sisters were talking about playing Sim City, and she said there was a code called Ctrl + Function + Motherload and you get $50,000 and make what you want to make in the game. One sister used the cheat code, and the other sister didn’t but she was happy, she went to work and had purpose each day, and the other found herself bored because she used all this money she had from this cheat code. And I thought, what a great story to use for an email! Life is generous and full of moments and is so interesting.
My brain is just trained to look for those stories. It’s like when you think about buying a red car, all you see is red cars. It’s like training your brain to find great stories and when you find them, you capture them because you will forget it, and then deliver it in a way that there is a good hook.
There is a common principal of copywriting. The battlefield principal.
When you tell a story about a battle, you don’t start with the conflict between families or kingdoms, you start in the battle, you start with the two kings sword to sword, dead bodies all around… you want to drop them in the middle of the action. Start with a strong opener. You have to learn to self-edit too. We get attached to words we write, and think we can’t delete that sentence, but part of being a great write is detaching from the words, and keeping what is essential in the email. Cut out the fluff.
How to write emails that convert subscribers to buyers
CLARE: You’ve spoken about writing compelling emails, so let’s talk about the selling part. You are great at it, but others are not. Can you share advice around hooking people in and getting them to press the buy now button.
TARZAN: Again there is short game and long game. What I learned the hard way is they are so excited about their course, and then it’s ready and they launch and it’s a joke, who are you launching to. The pre-launch, runway is critical. The more seriously I treat this runway the better my sales are. If you show up in the middle of a crowd and yell about your product, it doesn’t work very well. Who are you, what is this thing.
I always mention my program name and what it is, like before on this podcast, I’m always putting it out there, and it’s incredibly unlikely that it’s the first time you’re hearing about it. I also do it on Insta, or where I’m showing up. Currently I’m doing an affiliate program for Digital Course Academy, so I’m mentioning that a lot so that when it comes time to sell it, it won’t be new, they know it’s coming. It’s motivating going into a launch knowing how many people will buy. You don’t want to come out of left-field with your thing. But if you are, it’s ok too, just don’t get stuck, rip the band-aid off, launch your thing, it might not be super successful, but that doesn’t matter. Because you might not get the sales you want, but hey, you launched, you learned and I had a client say she launched and got a speaking gig from it, so the money came in a different way.
In terms of the sales period, send more emails. It really surprises me when clients say my launch went ok, and I say give me a look at your promo emails, and I see they only sent 2 promo emails – well come on! I send like 20 promo emails. My emails are entertaining so my customers are highly tolerant of all those emails. Also, if you have an offer, for the first 8 days, you get a special bonus etc, well then you email them every day for 8 days. You will loose subscribers, think about it like a Ferris wheel, people will get on and off, but people will always get on!
CLARE: Talking about selling, I can understand how people feel they are smashing there list and overwhelming people. I’ve asked biz friends before if it was too much what I was sending for a promo/launch, and they’ve replied, are you selling something at the moment? You have to remember there is a lot happening in people’s inboxes.
Keeping the integrity in marketing
You talk a lot about ethics in marketing and it’s something we all grapple with. We are trying to sell things, so we try and put our best foot forward, and find the angle, but sometimes we can exaggerate the truth a little bit, so let’s dive into that.
What does that look like, and what happens in this space?
TARZAN: Before we get into this, let me say I have crossed lines so many times. Not even my former self before I woke up. There have been things I’ve done this year that wasn’t ok. I’ll give you an example; I did a launch this year and it wasn’t my program, one of the coaches on the team said the cart closes at 5pm but actually it stays open so you could send an email to your list and say hey I just saw the sales page is still open and try and pick up a couple more sales. I was in the cart close phase and I was trying to get so many sales and win this competition for sales, and my team said to me, which is why you need to communicate your mission to your team, you know Tarzan, integrity is important to you. And I couldn’t believe I needed to be reminded of that. I saw another affiliate follow through with that type email, saying my emails didn’t go out so I asked them to keep the page open. I thought this is not right. Part of it is, this is how things have been done for a long time.
We are all drinking from this polluted pond. That struck me so deeply. Me and my students see others do it, and think that’s how it should be done. A place when I see people cross the line a lot, when they are new, is when it comes to urgency and scarcity. Like saying “only 10 spaces left” or “places filling fast”. I’ll be editing people’s promo emails and ask, is this true? I’ve done this for clients too before, thinking it will probably be true by the time this email goes out, semi-accurate, but is it? That’s something that happens a lot. It doesn’t mean you can’t have legit urgency, that’s different, you can build that by having bonuses that expire and that you don’t give to everyone normally. That strategy works, having timely bonuses, things going away, which adds a huge complexity behind-the-scenes, but you just have to learn it and use the tools that help us manage that.
When it comes to scarcity, something I’ve done in the past is say I’m doing this thing, I have 5 spots, and they might be gone tomorrow or there might be spots next week, because this is not something I’ve launched before, but if you want to make sure you get a spot, book this now. You can just be honest about not knowing. What is not ok to do is say, book my thing, spaces filling fast. That s**t happens all the time. It’s grey, sometimes I don’t know, but I walk on the side of caution. Don’t just say the same bulls**t everyone else says, even if sometimes it can be true, a lot of the times it’s not true.
CLARE: You’re right, it’s become normalised to use this language and talk about things in a certain way. I saw you call out your own behaviour actually, and it made me look at how I was bringing integrity to everything in my marketing as well.
I recommend everyone follows you, because you do not walk a safe line in business. I feel like you are one of the few people that will have conversations like this. Same in the Black Lives Matter movement, you were extremely vocal about that too. Get on her email list and on her Instagram, because you will learn so much by being in her energy.
The effect of ice baths
This is not related to selling at all, but I find it fascinating, what is going on with ice baths?
TARZAN: My husband starting taking cold showers last year. He’s physically sensitive so taking a cold shower was like he was taking 3 cups of coffee. He’s the primary child provider, we have a 2 and 5 year old, so he was like that makes sense because you have to chase kids all day. He then did an online program with Wim Hoff, and we both do a lot of breathwork, and Wim Hoff has a lot of breathwork in his program, so we were really into this program. I told him Wim Hoff had a retreat in Barcelona, and he should go, so he went for a week. He started training before ether treat having ice baths in our bathroom tub and I thought ok, that’s cool for you, you found your thing. He goes to Barcelona and has an incredible experience. He comes home and says the cold showers aren’t cold enough, I’m going to get a freezer. I don’t want a freezer in my backyard, but ok it’s important for you. We love to have guests over. Our friends are coming over and he is showing them the freezer and I’m so nonchalant about it, it’s not for me. Then this year, during the first couple days of quarantine, I was by myself with the kids, and I sound so wimpy but, after 3 days I was loosing my mind. It’s March in Canada, it’s already pretty cold, so I had a cold shower and I was instantly converted. It woke me up and gave me the energy to deal with the kids. I started doing every day, and jump up and down and scream because it’s f**king freezing. But I still thought this ice bath isn’t for me. Then, it turns to summer and the cold showers aren’t cold enough and not really doing it for me.
It was a big year also with the Black Lives Matter movement. Anti-racism wasn’t new to me, I had been doing some work, but I’d also convinced myself that it wasn’t that important, or I’d do more work later. I was part of that collective awakening though. I was disgusted with myself and the industry, and helpless. I was pushed to my edge and in a state of anxiety and that is when I finally got in that ice bath. In retrospect, it’s funny I thought I would get in the ice bath one time and I would fix all my problems, but it didn’t. But I knew it was important and it helped me get back in my body.
CLARE: I see you do it and think why? But I think I might start wit the cold shower thing though, you’ve inspired me to give it a try.
Talking Jesus, Psychedelics and Business
Anything else you want to share with the listeners, any wisdom or words of advice, what’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt being an entrepreneur?
TARZAN: I do publish a lot of stuff that is controversial. I’ll talk about Jesus and mushrooms in one Instagram post. Even I am often thinking, is this ok? I have to check in with myself and ask how important it is with me. Psychedelics, huge part of my growth. I live in Canada, so psychedelics aren’t as illegal in the USA, but it is still taboo, but really important to my work and development.
A lesson I often come back to is great emails are often polarising, great speakers are often polarising, great writers are often polarising. I’m not saying go out and say controversial s**t to get attention, because there will be pushback and you need to be ready for it, but what is most true for me, for my mission, what am I here to share. Sometimes I wish it was different, but often it’s highly controversial. It’s surprising how little negative feedback I get, partly due to the size of my audience, which isn’t enormous. It’s a great time to practice, showing up as real and honest as you can, and that will look different for everyone. I’m here to model that, be a bit polarising, to inspire my people to be themselves too.
CLARE: I find it super inspiring. Where can people find you.
TARZAN: Sign up to my email list and join me on Instagram.
CLARE: Thanks for joining us!
Thank you so much for joining me today, if you enjoyed this episode, please make sure you subscribe to receive future episodes, and I’d be so grateful for a review on apple podcast! If you’d like a copy of the show notes or any of the links mentioned today, please jump over to clarewood.com.au/podcast and remember that Clare is spelled CLARE, have a wonderful week and look forward to chatting to you again soon!