Gary at work

How To Increase Profit By 1500% With Some Simple Copywriting

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Today I met someone who changed his business forever by increasing profits with a small but clever piece of copywriting.

By reading this article, I’m going to show you what how he did it and how you can do it too.

First, I’d like to introduce you to Gary.

Gary is a busker who travels the world and displays his art in the streets. It’s fair to say Gary doesn’t have your typical business.

So when I saw him in the city of Perth I stopped for a few minutes and admired his work. He’s very talented.

I also happened to be standing right next to a plain white board which had a lot of writing. After viewing the details on the image for a few minutes I decided to read the board.

Here’s what it said;

Attention Photographers

It reads:


Every day at least 500 to over 1000 people photograph me when I am working.

In the one five hundredth of a second it takes you to photograph these images it takes me weeks and hundreds of dollars in time and materials to produce them.

On average less than 1% of people who photograph my work actually tip.

If you wish to photograph me I don’t mind but please contribute to the production of the image you want to take.

Just 5 cents for every photographer will cover the cost of the materials.

For some strange reason people get the idea that arist spend their spare time in fantasy land sitting on toad stools and drinking tea with talking bunny rabbits, where in reality we spend the same amount on rent, food and transport as everyone.

It’s a pretty compelling message really. So much so I grabbed some change and dropped it into one of the few small buckets sitting on the corners of the artwork.

But it got me wondering. How effective was that sign?

So I struck up a conversation with Gary.

Gary at work

A short while ago, Gary was working his craft on the streets of Sydney. Day after Day he was struggling to make any money even though hundreds of onlookers stopped to view his art and many took photos.

One afternoon, his frustration levels hit a new high. He decided to count how many people were taking photos.

In the course of an hour he made a small mark on the pavement as he saw people stop and take photos. Then at the end of the hour he stood up, stretched his legs and walked around his art checking his buckets. He noticed a whopping $4 had been added to his tally.

The total count of photographers in the hour was tallied at 260. It works out that Gary was receiving 1.5c per photo.

Introducing ‘The Board’

That night, he crafted the message on the board and the next day he hit the streets.

A similar amount of foot traffic walked past his art.

A similar amount of photographers took photos.

But his buckets were a lot heavier. 

In fact, Gary had changed his average hourly rate in Sydney going from $4 an hour, to $60! That’s a 1500% increase in revenue all because of a small white board lying on the ground next to the artwork.

Imagine that. I don’t think even Gary expected that much difference from just a short story and a reasonable call to action.

How To Increase Profit & Make This Work For You

If Gary can change his donation rate by 1500%, surely we can all take a page out of his book and improve our business.

We live in a world of visual overload. Lots of people could walk past your shopfront or surf the net without taking too much notice unless we get our message right.

Think about where your customers see you. Your office front, website, brochure, whatever it might be… It probably looks like a something they’ve seen before. So what are you going to do to make a difference?

Copywriting is one of the most underrated skills.

I challenge you, think about your copywriting. Think about the message you’re telling your clients.

Gary’s copywriting message was simple;

  • He had a story.
  • The benefits his audience received were obvious. When I read his message, I could see people taking photos.
  • He told me what he really wanted me to do (donate).
  • He finally ended his message by creating empathy.

If you haven’t really thought too much about copywriting, this is probably a good place for you to start.

Try the following;

  • Tell your story.
  • Be clear with your benefits & provide some proof if possible.
  • Make a clear and solid call to action.
  • Create some kind of connection with your prospects.

It’s simple right? But almost every piece of successful copywriting has these elements.

So go ahead. Give this a try and leave a comment if you have some success – we’d love to hear from you.