CLARKE  ECHOLS
Independent Freelance
B2B Direct Response Copywriter

Because:
"Techniques and methods may change...
But principles and human nature
Never do."
“Even the Best B2B Copywriters Use Stories”
Break Down Barriers and Engage Prospects & Customers
With Well-Written Stories in Case Studies, White Papers,
Websites, and Other Marketing Collateral.
(970) 667-6736
1579 S. Taft Ave.
Loveland, CO 80537
 
Want to see my work?
Get your copy of my white paper that Gordon Graham — “That White Paper Guy” — liked so much when he read it.  Absolutely free — no opt-in required.
One change in how you market can slash advertising costs, increase sales and boost your reputation is built around two revealing case studies that will change your perspective on the world of marketing and advertising.
 
Charter Member
In Good Standing

PWA Logo

 
A few firms I've done projects and provided services for:
Hewlett-Packard Logo
Hewlett-Packard Company
Electronic instruments &
Micro-electronic devices:
Manufacturing & test engineering (10 years).
Computers: Online help systems design & implementation, Hardware & software plus Unix operating-system reference manuals & learning-products engineering (20 years).

RICHARD GAGE & ASSOCIATES
Richard Gage & Assoc.
Attorneys at Law
www.RichardGage.net, www.RichardGageLaw.com
Complete turn-key web projects: Website planning and design, custom XHTML and CSS programming, market positioning, and copywriting.
These websites load faster than 99% of all sites tested by 'pingdom.com'.

Street Hypnosis Logo
Street Hypnosis
Igor Ledochowski & Clifford Mee
Large project: Dozens of emails for world-wide, online marketing of their popular hypnosis-based, self- improvement products and programs.

Ensign Power Systems Inc. Logo
Ensign Power Systems, Inc.
Installation, Operating, And Maintenance manuals for custom high-reliability, military power supplies sold to US and foreign governments.

Settlement Professionals Inc. Logo
Settlement Professionals Inc.
Special report used by a financial planning firm to market their services related to structuring and managing personal-injury settlement funding.

Endorsed and Recommended
By:
Elite Lawyer
                 Project Logo
Elite Lawyer Project
Your Personal Injury Resource Center


Pardon our dust.
The site is still under construction but we wanted you to have access to the good, new information now instead of making you wait.

Getting to Know Clarke Echols:
The Personal Side

Even in B2B, business is conducted between people within companies, not between companies directly. After all, a company, being an invention that exists on paper, is not capable of making buying or selling decisions. Therefore people are necessary if commerce occurs.

It is also a clearly proven fact that people like to know about the people they do business, or the people behind the company they transact with. This is especially true if you are selling to small businesses, as opposed to large corporations.

The rest of this website pertains primarily to my services, skills, and work as a B2B and B2C copywriter. This page, on the other hand, is dedicated to my personal side, so you can get acquainted with some of the things that led me to where I am today as I create opportunities for you to benefit from my knowledge, skills, and experience in your business.

Enjoy the journey as I show you one way stories can be used to help you in your business as well.

Unordinary Beginnings

In the high mountain San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado — the source of the Rio Grande — lies the small farming community of Manassa.

Best known as the birthplace of Jack Dempsey — Heavyweight Champion of the World who was widely considered one of the greatest sportsmen in the entire history of boxing — it was a quiet town. "The Manassa Mauler" had left the ring and was by then operating a restaurant in New York City.

It was only a few months before the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Another man, also born in Manassa late in the previous century, had grown up in southeastern Arizona. Barely age 19 when he married a wife barely 15, he was a rancher eking out an existence raising Angora goats along the Arizona-New Mexico border when her death left him a widower still responsible for two of his three teen-age daughters, the youngest only 15.

The path had been hard through the decade called The Great Depression. But now his girls were all married, and it was time to return to his birthplace — the small, one-mile-square town of Manassa ... to visit family.

Range Wars and Rattlesnakes

A decade-younger schoolmarm also lived in Manassa. When the 43-year-old, uneducated goatherd expressed interest in dating her, his cousin's wife insisted any such effort would be in vain for it was well known the object of his intentions had no interest in any man who didn't speak good English and appreciate good music — in particular Brahms, Chopin, Beethoven, and the other Masters.

She was a college graduate with a fine arts degree. He an unwealthy goat rancher whose mother died when he was but 16 years old, leaving him with scarce interest in school, and little mastery of the finer social graces.

But he was not one to be daunted. He had survived being shot twice in a range war less than 100 miles from the OK Corral and Tombstone where Wyatt Earp gained his claim to fame — was shot by a careless hunter, survived a rattlesnake bite and had numerous other close calls with death. Two years earlier, his father was murdered. Life was tough. But he'd survive this too.

Strike While the Iron Is Hot

Six days later, he took the school teacher to a rodeo some 40 miles distant. On the return trip, he proposed marriage. She accepted. He had neither culture nor good English, but she loved him.

Before the following month had ended, she was 500 miles from her former home, living in a small lumber shack with her grand piano, out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by scorpions and rattlesnakes. It was September of 1941, mere weeks before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

But she tired of the isolation.  So ever the loving, supportive husband, he, without complaint, packed up their belongings — piano and all — and returned to the small, quiet town of Manassa.

Yes, it was a quiet time — until...

D-Day was still a couple of months away ... the end of the war a year later ... the baby boom yet after that ...

But there was no more peace in Manassa. A new offspring had shown up in the Echols household ... and the world — at least for some — would never be the same again.

In Another Place Not Far Away

Meanwhile, in another household some 20 miles distant and 14 months earlier, a farmer's 24-years-younger wife gave birth to their third child. Five more would follow. They'd married when he was 43, she 19.

The newborn was very premature, weighing just over three pounds. Survival rates in those days were not high in such circumstances. But this young thing was one stubborn, strong-willed, determined individual, and survive she did.

It is a true saying — dynamite comes in small packages.

Growing Pains

I suppose my growing-up years were about as normal as anywhere. We moved to a farm just north of Romeo, 2 miles west of the northwest corner of Manassa, when I was about three years old.

Having a school teacher as a mother has advantages. No kindergarten was available in the small school in Romeo, so being able to read at the start of first grade provided enough head start to justify skipping the third grade.

Money was scarce, but opportunities were still made available for learning. Christmas included a Tinker Toy set at age 4, Erector set at age 6. American Flyer train set in 4th grade at age 8 — the year of discovery that Santa Claus had been a misrepresentation.

Work and Responsibility

I was elected eighth-grade class president at age 12. One afternoon, the teacher, who was also principal, left 31 students under my charge for the afternoon, while out for a meeting. It went well, but imagine teaching English to 31 eighth-graders at age 12 or 13! And today, teachers complain about 20 kids in a classroom.

Work was a way of life. My dad put me in the field driving a tractor and plowing fields at age 8, planting crops by age 14. It was hard work, but good training for future responsibilities.

I learned to weld at age 13, and soon was performing most of the maintenance and repair on much of our farm equipment.

High school wasn't difficult, but I was a challenge — in a positive way. More than 20 years after I graduated, the man who had been principal my senior year was the education-department head at a university. He told my wife and I he was still talking about me in his college classes (intended as a compliment, fortunately :-) ).

Life Takes On Direction

At age 15, in my junior year, the previous principal offered me an opportunity to learn radio and TV repair through an adult correspondence course he'd been taking but didn't have time to finish.

I got the education without the expense, and completed the course a few days after my 16th birthday. That formed a solid foundation stone for my future education as an engineer following several years in other aspects of the electronics industry.

I finished high school a couple of months after I turned 17. My freshman year at college, I jumped into sophomore-level physics and calculus. I didn't want to be bothered with freshman classes, and as a pre-engineering student, the college was willing to bend the rules at my physics prof's request as my faculty advisor.

My sophomore year I started at a university with a higher than normal course load. Included were differential equations and engineering statistics — junior-level courses. The other students in the class must have been at least 3-4 years older. I look back now and think, no wonder those courses were so tough! I was only the age of kids coming out of high school!

After that semester, I returned home to prepare for a 2½-year church missionary assignment to Denmark at age 19.

Broadening Perspectives and Culture

I arrived in Copenhagen in May 1963, not knowing a single word of Danish — a very difficult language for Americans to learn to pronounce well.

But with lots of hard work and help from an Unseen Power, I was able to master it sufficiently that 18 months later, when a Danish shopkeeper asked me where I was from (thinking I was from another part of the country) and I told him I was American, he didn't believe me.

I had been dating the girl mentioned earlier for most of a year before I left, but now we were half a world apart. She had made no commitments to the relationship when I left, but I determined I was going to "seal the deal".

A few weeks after my arrival in Denmark, I made my first attempt at bona-fide direct-response marketing. I sent her a letter proposing a joint business venture manufacturing "tricycle motors". She read it three times before she figured out it was a marriage proposal.

She accepted, and less than six weeks after I'd left, we were engaged.

Some months after that, I convinced her she should also do what what I was doing (since dating is not allowed and I was intent on making my prize inaccessible to any competition). She went to Peru and Bolivia for two years, and after our three-year engagement with no personal contact other than weekly letters, we got married less than two months after her return.

From Radio Broadcast Engineer & Announcer
To Business Owner

Upon completion of my assignment, and while awaiting her return, I resumed full-time studies at the college where I had begun as a freshman four years earlier.

I also found employment as chief engineer and an announcer 20 hours per week at an AM radio station nearly 20 miles away, where I installed a new transmitter and rewired the antenna system for better performance.

But with a change in station management and the end of the school year, I left and took a job as a farm-equipment mechanic for the summer.

After our marriage, I started a business in our apartment as a commercial sound contractor, and as a 2-way radio, and electronic service and repair technician.

I was on full college scholarship for books and fees, and the financial aid advisor recommended I not start our family until I was out of school and established in a career. I thought it was bad advice then, and I still do.

Our first daughter was born in the middle of final exams the following spring, and a couple of months later I bought a retail TV shop and two cable TV systems.

The next two years were a very fast, tough, challenging, and highly educational frenzy of school, business, family, and growth. We had two children, and I was one class short of a degree when I could see it would be wise to take the experience, get out of retail storefront business, and try the corporate path for a while.

Experiencing the Corporate Ladder

A degree in physics does not an engineer make. I joined Hewlett-Packard as an industrial electronic technician on a production line. 15 months later, boredom drove me to request a bigger challenge.

I was transferred to integrated circuits manufacturing, working as an advanced technician with engineers. Two years later, I had enough graduate-level engineering courses to pass the interviews and become a full-blown technical-staff engineer for the next seven years.

More Changes and Challenges

I did some really neat stuff. Some of it was fun, but I tired of the politics that sometimes pervades even the best of professional organizations. I had done a lot of writing as an engineer, creating process and procedure documents for manufacturing, and my managers were pleased with my work.

Deciding my ladder of success had been leaning against the wrong wall, I went to marketing as a senior technical writer. My family deserved a less-stressed dad coming home at the end of each day.

It's a well-established fact that most engineers seem to make lousy writers. But I had the "misfortune" of having an excellent English teacher my senior year in high school.

Discovering the "secret" to descriptive writing ... and my insistence on a one-semester typing class that same year for me and a close friend who later became an aeronautical engineer... laid the ground work for a very productive and rewarding 20 years in that new field.

After a few years, my title was changed to learning-products engineer because of the level of my work and performance. During the last half of my time at HP, I had only two managers — one for ten years; the other for the remaining five.

They did a fantastic job of shielding me from the political nonsense, as I produced a long series of often complex projects that came off very well...

Well enough that a year after I retired (12 years ahead of the usual Social Security retirement age) they were asking if I'd like to come back. Six months after that, the man I worked for for 10 years was aggressively challenging me to name a price for my return...

But I'd had enough of the corporate office environment.

The Important Side of Life

It's difficult to separate work, home, and family. I don't think it's appropriate either. They must be properly balanced together.

Our once small family kept growing until we had nine children who liked to eat and needed space to live.

That meant a bigger home. We couldn't afford what we needed, so I built one for us. My labor meant I could invest more in material instead of borrowing to pay someone else's labor, followed by paying finance charges on that labor for decades in the future. Saving several hundred thousand dollars for four years' part-time work in the 1970s is a huge pay-back!

We had bought a lot for $25 down and $25 per month because that's all we could afford at the time. We started the home when I was making $1200 per month. When it reached its final form, it was over 8,000 square feet in size, on 1.5 acres.

The biggest lessons I learned were:

  1. Decide who you're not going to listen to because you'll always have critics.
  2. Find a trusted, competent friend willing to be your mentor.
  3. Make sure your dreams and goals are worthy of you, then be willing to risk failure in pursuing them.

The most successful people you'll encounter in life are often also those with many failed attempts. Critics abound, but there was never a monument built to the critic. I had lines of them for years. But failure was not an option.

Expanding the Enterprise

Corporate salaries are incompatible with large families. It was necessary to supplement my corporate income, so I engaged in assorted small, mostly home-based businesses that helped make ends meet, while providing some very helpful tax advantages.

But more important was the experience gained from those businesses, some of which required intense immersion in direct sales.

But that combination: experience from corporate employment, personal and family-owned businesses, direct sales, managing a complex family with a complex budget and complex demands, while keeping it all going...

Is a huge undertaking. And having my wife there through the thick of it as we near our 50th wedding anniversary, no longer years away, is ample proof that yes...

Dynamite comes in small packages, she is indeed very stubborn and determined (and everyone knows I'm not outspoken nor opinionated, right? ... Yeah, right)...

And I'm very glad I had enough sense to marry her. She's been a huge asset to have on the same team — even when things aren't going perfectly, as is nearly always the case if you're married.

Why Is This Important For You?

But why is what I'm saying important for you as a purchaser of copywriting ... and web-based marketing and consulting services?

There are things in life that you can't learn in college, university, and business-school classes.

For one thing, there are too many over-educated people called "professors" who perhaps are called that because too often they "profess" knowledge they really don't possess.

Products of the academic environment, too many of them are nearly devoid of practical, useful, real-world experience and perspectives. I even wonder at times why some enterprising attorney doesn't figure out a way to mount a good class-action lawsuit against some of these big Ivy League universities (and smaller ones too) for false advertising and delivering a faulty product.

Two of my children have business degrees and have clearly stated their objection to my rants on this topic, but it's true: Most corporate marketing departments have a severe shortage of people who understand the world from the perspective of customers instead of from what they were taught in a classroom or seminar.

I don't claim to know everything ... and it's true — There's a lot I don't know or claim to know. But I have learned much, and I know how to use that well.

There's one thing I'm particularly certain of:

You can get way ahead in the game if you learn to avoid the "everybody does it so it must be right" mentality and start listening to what people really want, not what some canned focus group or phone survey says they want.

But there are no easy answers.

And advertising is hard.

Just know this: I will always give you the best I have to give on any project.

And if I can't do that, I won't take the job.

Let Me Help You Balance Your Load

As a business owner or marketing manager, you have a big responsibility. Finding talent to do the job — and help when you're short on staff — can increase stress as well.

And if you're frustrated trying to find a competent writer who understands B2B marketing, you'll like what I can do for you.

When you need to plug those profit gaps and improve the effectiveness of your marketing — especially in the little things that annoy prospects and customers—

Give me a call or send me an email.

Let me know what you need, and I'll help you find a productive answer.

I'm easy to find. Monday-Friday from 9:00 to 5:00 Mountain Time at (970) 667-6736, or email me at clarke@verinet.net.

Parting Shot: Some Personal Views

I feel sorry for people who spend huge sums getting a college degree so they can get a job they hate from some company they don't enjoy working for...

While living in fear that a surprise downsize or economic calamity will leave them on the street or standing in an unemployment line.

Then they spend half a lifetime paying back the school loans while trying to buy a house someone else built for them that they too often can't afford, then forego children and family because that's too restrictive and cramps their "style".

I have nothing against men and women being successful — even in corporate circles. But too often they sacrifice more important things for that industry award or company title...

Or they spend their life living out of a suitcase, while viewing family, home-making, and molding the next generation as somehow less important or less rewarding.

A Lesson From A Wise Father
I have been greatly blessed to be the son of two dedicated parents who sacrificed much for their children to have opportunities to learn, grow, try things and fail, try things and succeed. I marvel that my dad was so tolerant of my experimentive pursuits.

But I also marvel at his wisdom. As I mentioned earlier, his mother died when he was 16 years old, and he quit school. His greatest desire was that his children have a good education so they wouldn't be condemned to toil their entire lives like he had to. He was able to quit farming at age 75. Five years later, he was gone to his eternal reward.

Yet I found myself asking how could he, with so little formal education, be so wise about important things in life?

Then I discovered what I think is the key:

He spent many days, many weeks, many months, many years sitting out in the hot Arizona and western New Mexico sun watching goats graze all day long.

There was no radio, no television, no Iphones, no Ipods, no DVDs, no CDs. And the nearest neighbor might be miles away. This was the 1920s and the 1930s. The area was still just emerging from the "wild west" days.

So he had nothing to do but sit and think. And watch. And ponder. And observe others.

One day when we were riding from Romeo to Manassa, about half-way between the two towns, he gave me some advice that has stayed in my mind ever since. I was 18 years old at the time, so the significance never really caught my attention until years later.

He said, Look at the people around you. Watch what they do. Watch how they live. Watch how they manage their affairs. Then look at the results they get. Look at the important things in life and how they have obtained or missed those blessings as a result of their own choices.

Learn from them so you won't have to learn all the lessons of life yourself — the hard way.

Those aren't the exact words he spoke, but they capture well the substance of what he was communicating.

I commend them to you for your consideration and profit.

But do these principles of always doing the right thing actually work? I was talking with my oldest daughter a few weeks before this writing. She has been through many difficult challenges in life.

Mother of eight and married to an attorney who is also a very supportive husband and father, she seems to have kids climbing on, over, and around her all the time...

Some might see her as "oppressed". But do they really see?

As we talked, she said, "You know, dad — I'm really, really, really happy."

Are you happy?

Really happy?

Are you sure?

Really sure?

Are you really doing the most important things you should be doing right now in your life?

Think about it...

Then go do the right thing.

I can help you tell your story

And when you need help telling your story — whether for your website or in sales collateral, white papers, landing pages, or case studies — contact me:

By phone or email — Contact information:

Clarke Echols
1579 S. Taft Ave.
Loveland, CO 80537
(970) 667-6736
email: Clarke@verinet.net