Have you spent a lot of money on a website that isn’t performing well for your business?
Do you feel stuck because you are failing to reach people online?
Do you have a genuine passion for people and know that your products or services will help them, but something about your website isn’t “clicking” with them.
You know your website needs help, but you have no idea what to do to fix it?
You have spent a TON of money with LITTLE return on your investment.
If so, then these blog posts are for you.
In these posts we are going to show you not only what is wrong with your website, but how to get started in getting those issues fixed and towards getting more customers online.
Let’s start with copywriting.
Do you copy?
You should. Most choose not to have copywriting on their website because when they hear that word, they think, sales. No one wants to sound pushy and we don’t want to come across as cheesy and obnoxious.
So we opted just to provide our visitors with the basics. We give them facts. But what every business owner needs to understand (and don’t take this personally), people don’t care about you.
They care about themselves.
What they should see on your website is not necessarily “Who you are”, but “How you can help them”.
Copywriting does that. It takes the information your company wants others to know about and with laser focus, aims it towards the emotions and desires of the customer.
Hubspot’s marketing professionals found that your calls-to-action (CTA) are 202% more effective if it is made “personal!”
So copywriting is critical for the success of your website.
Why does it work?
Here is a little buyer’s psychology.
No one buys what they need. We buy what we want.
If we only bought what we needed then we would be living in tents and eating ramen noodles. But we’re not. We say things like, “I need a new pair of shoes” and chances are the soles of the ones you have are not missing, nor are you walking around barefoot.
We don’t just want a house, but a dream house.
We don’t just buy clothes; we buy clothes that fit our style or represent us the way we want to be to the world.
We don’t just buy food, we buy the kinds of foods that make us feel healthier or happier.
The reality is, we’re buying what we want and justifying it by saying it’s what we need.
Copywriters know this. We can use our skills to take someone who is merely searching for say, “dallas web design”, directly to a website that does more than display great design, but can also speak to the benefits of having a beautifully designed website and how it can get you leads!
How copywriting works.
Question: What is a website?
The “official” definition is a collection of web pages that lives on the internet and provides a broad overview of your business.
In some ways, we think of it sort of like businesses used to think of a yellow page listing. You want to be there.
But what if we thought of your website more as an online showroom. Suppose you were to open for business and invite the public to get a taste of what services/products you provide.
Changes your thinking doesn’t it?
Rather than a digital placeholder, a website should be your most effective marketing tool!
It’s your virtual handshake with your “should-be” customers.
It is your first impression.
This means that not only are you wanting them to feel welcome on your website, but you want them to feel like they are being spoken to and “understood”.
Your website is an invitation to your ideal prospects to stop in for a cup of coffee and a chat to see if what you sell is the right fit for them. So in writing “copy”, you get to relate to them:
What are their pains?
What is the solution?
What are their fears about trying this solution?
Who else has made this decision (and what do they think)?
Copywriting is careful to make sure that any features of your business get thoroughly marinated in benefits.
Ex: If you are a service provider, instead of saying, “We’ve been in business for 30 years.” Say, “Our 30 years of experience ensures you that you get service that is knowledgeable, reputable, safe, etc.”
Ex: If you do lawn care, don’t bore them with the specs on your new weed whacker. Show them how you can make them the envy of the neighborhood or at least the kind of yard people that will make them want to do a slow drive-by.
Summing it up.
People don’t want your products and services. They want to feel safe. They want transformation.
A better life.
Buying can be fun. Being sold to is not. Good copywriting will not push your clients away but will keep them on your website and lead them to take the necessary action and lead them straight to your door.
How do you market yourself online? How can you capture more leads and make it easy for “come-back” customers?
After taking 5 courses, reading 50+ books, and listening/watching to tons of videos and lectures; I figured it was time to save time for all my business friends out there sweat’n it. To give them a “short & sweet” summary of all I’ve learned.
So without further ado, let’s do this….
The Digital Marketing Checklist
1. Decide: Who is your target customer?
I delayed answering this one for some time. Mostly because I was afraid of limiting myself to only one type of client.
Don’t make this mistake!
In the book “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” Al Ries explains that “The power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope”. This means the more you narrow your target client the more potent your message and the greater your potential for recognition and success.
Even though you think everyone needs what you have to offer and you are eager to offer your services or products to the whole ginormous universe – laser your efforts to your dream client. If possible, you can even choose a specific location, like Fort Worth, TX.
Spend some time typing up a “ghost bio”. Who are they? What do they love? Where do they live? Age? Height? Whatever you can come up with. The more the better.
2. Know: Who you are.
Let’s face the facts – you are likely NOT the only person offering what you are offering. So you have to ask yourself, “Why choose me?”. It’s called your USP (Unique Selling Position). It is what sets you apart from your competitors.
No matter how small or common you think you’re business is – try and list everything that makes it stand out. Try and list ten if you can and stay away from words like “better”. Saying you are better is only going to nauseate your audience and make them want to tune you out.
Get a company “voice”. Learn how to talk to your customers. How will you sound? How will you speak to them on your website, mail-outs, and various offers and promotions?
For more help on finding a “branding voice” see this article I wrote for Copyblogger.
3. Create Demand
Now that you know who “they” are and you know who “you” are, you can start to gain awareness. Begin to use your blog (and yes you should have one) to give away all that you can to educate, engage, and entertain that specific group.
Make sure you give them your best. Hold nothing back. The fear of “If I give away all my tricks they won’t hire me” is a lie. They will. You will earn their trust and gain their attention.
You might want to find groups on Facebook & Instagram where you can simply be a voice who speaks into that category, offering advice and feedback to your audience.
4. Capture Leads
Imagine you are going fishing. You know what you want to catch, so now what tactic is best for that specific fish (worm, topwater, trout line, etc.)?
What can you offer at this stage that they would find valuable?
How-To eBook Checklist / Guide Datasheets
Free Consultation with a Specialist
Buyers Guide for your Product – you get the idea.
Copywriting is crucial. If you are not a copywriter – hire one! Make sure that what you write is attractive and persuasive with strong calls to action.
5. Nurture Leads.
A lead has subscribed. They “opted in”. They are following you on social media perhaps. Continue to provide them with engaging & educational content. Keep at it! Set up ways you can converse with them as needed (email, surveys, etc.).
If you have done steps 1-5 well then all you have to do now is… ASK. Make sure you know what their needs are and offer them only what you think will be the most beneficial for them.
7. Close, Deliver & Satisfy.
Give em what you promised. Make sure you are specific on deadlines and action steps that they need to receive your services.
8. Referrals & Follow/Up
They hired you! It went well. The job is done.
But you are not.
Make sure and continue the conversation. Be sure and find out what their experience was like and give them ways to tell others about you. When a customer becomes a fan you have scored big! Make sure to optimize their voice.
If it didn’t go well (and yes it happens to us all), their feedback is still valuable. Our critics are also our coaches. Make notes of their experience with you and seek ways you can rectify the problem. Make sure you leave yourself a note of their comments to return to and use as a tool to self-correct or improve your business.
Back to what I said earlier, if you get frustrated or confused with the zillion+1 tips, articles, and books out there telling you how to get more business, just remember…
Marketing is about relationships. Real people. Real lives. Treat people well and it will come back to you.
Have you read these lines on websites before? We all have in one way or another and we have built up a resistance to them over time. I mean really, how enticing is “new” anyway? Have you looked at how many “new” items are introduced every year?
Quite a few
People are also always talking. It’s one of the pitfalls of communication. We are not there in person to communicate as copywriters, so if what we say is dull and drab, it gets immediately brushed aside. It’s like a media buffet and we are the club crackers next to the silverware. We always get missed.
Realize that the visitors to your website and are not even really reading it. They are scanning. The mindset of most of our traffic is “I’ve seen this all before, blah blah blah”. As content strategists, we have to choose the right words and phrases to stop those scanning eyes and make them pay closer attention to your unique offer and benefits.
So we need our website content to stand out!
Using simile isn’t a NEW & IMPROVED way to do this. In fact, it’s as ancient as Keith Richard’s grandmother, but it’s always evolving – always getting better.
Simile takes ordinary, everyday things and latches them into extraordinary things and experiences. It’s like plugging words into the power socket. Suddenly the lifeless and motionless is transformed and readers notice…
Let me demonstrate…
How about saying your product or service is “exciting”? “Exciting” isn’t really that exciting, is it? What we should be thinking as copywriters is, sooooo how exciting is it?
Like getting your first credit card?
Like a toddler seeing a new balloon?
As exciting as your first kiss?
Like going 90 down an old farm road at night with your headlights off?
That moment you are woken up and realize you got one hour more to sleep?
Instead of saying this is a “great product”, you could say, “it has blush making power (or not)”. All you are doing with simile is helping bring “great” close to home. Making it real. Less allusive.
Here are several more simile substitutes to try…
as coffee made from used grounds.
as someone after donating blood.
as the flavor of fat-free rice cake…
as a mixture of vinegar and baking soda.
as a squirrel in a cage.
as ants on a sugar high.
as Ronald McDonald’s feet.
as the 60’ s.
as the pride of a teenage rock star.
as horse nostrils.
Or you can make a comparison…
As with “longer”
as the shelf life of strawberries to beef jerky maybe?
Just don’t let your writing be as boring as a bowl of grits, a one-stringed guitar, or a broke casino. Use your imagination and don’t just say it – paint it.
If your content smiles – your audience will smile back. And if you can make them smile you are one step closer to making them a customer.
If you’re new to the freelance copywriting game you’ll get a lot of value from this. Benefit from my f**k ups and you’ll be happy (and probably richer too!)
1: NOT BUILDING ASSETS –
If you’re not currently building your list, or creating your own product. Start today. Do something NOW the 10 years older you, will thank you for.
2. THINKING CLIENTS ARE YOUR FRIENDS.
They’re not. They just want you for what you can do them. And don’t really give a s**t about you. Find comfort in the discomfort. Be “friendly”… polite… courteous…. with your clients of course, but understand there is a ‘line’ and respect it.
3. NOT USING CONTRACTS.
If I was ever paid all the royalties I was due from copy I’ve written over the years, I’d be a millionaire. Nuff said, eh?
4. NEVER GUARANTEE SPECIFIC RESULTS.
As copywriters you SHOULD be confident about your ability to get something to convert.
You should be certain about your skills. That’s not the issue.
The issue is… in a successful marketing promotion the most important factor is…
‘The Traffic Source’ Not your copy. Doesn’t matter how good it is.
I once had a client hire me, and this well known traffic expert to build a funnel.
I created the copy. And it was good. The client hired a traffic expert…
And results were dismal. Who got 100% of the blame? You guessed it. Me, the copywriter. Even though I told him the targeting was way off! Does it make sense? No. Is it fair? No. But that’s the way it is.
5. NOT READING – KEY PERSON ON INFLUENCE by Daniel Priestly –
I’ve toyed around with specializing in multiple niches over the years. All with the idea of considering where the money was… The first niche, I considered was specializing in Why Women Buy * the actual domain name was why-women-buy.com Stupid.
Of course some men CAN write for women subjects. But I’m not one of those guys. I’ve since settled into men’s dating. Which is really just ‘self improvement’ for men. Which is cool, because it means I get paid to research stuff I enjoy reading about anyway.
6. NOT ADVERTISING. Yes, I know how stupid this sounds. But its more common than you think.
In fact, most top copywriters don’t advertise themselves or other products.
But you SHOULD. (even if you don’t need to!)
Here’s why… First of all, its good practice.
You get to test your copy with your own money, and get LIVE feedback. Which is the greatest copywriting teacher of all in my opinion. Secondly. it will force you to have to overcome and understand all the other metrics that goes into a marketing campaign. It was only when my own funnel was up at the end of last year did I fully begin to take note of the CPL — CPS – ACV etc.
I knew the terms before. But not so much.
What’s more… By promoting copywriting tools… Or your own gardening tips product etc.
You’ll open up new revenue streams.
7. BUYING INTO SELF HELP ‘ ABUNDANCE’ BULLS**T.
I used to be a big self help reader. And I realized this first hand, when clients I’d work with who were supposed to be of the “abundance mentality” Started ripping me off.
Claude Hopkins said it best: “Marketing is like warfare without the venom”
Its’ NOT abundant. There is a limited amount of money out there and you are competing for it.
Have you ever noticed that the people who preach abundance are always the ones trying to sell you something? That’s reality. And its a wonderful thing. You need to build your own fortress.
Take your biggest success stories in any niche. And publish a book… report… white paper…
Something of REAL quality you can build your fortress around.
Make THAT your thing. Own it. A hard copy book is best, I don’t know why. Nothing says authority more. Publish articles on it. Set up Facebook groups on it. Becoming the MAN or THE WOMAN for that ‘thing. Remember…
As Dan Kennedy always explained.. (I read this ages ago, but still failed to heed.)
“Start Narrow, Then Expand.”
You can start off as an expert copywriter for the Forex Niche or what have you. And once you’ve done that… You can EASILY take that credibility and expand OUT into other niches in the financial word. Like ETF’s… spread betting.. Precious metals etc etc.
8. NOT CHARGING WHAT YOU’RE WORTH…
When you’re starting out… and you’ve got no track record you’ll go through the ‘cheap whore’ phrase. That’s normal. But once you’ve built up a track record. Once you’ve achieved good results for clients. Raise your fees accordingly. For 3 years, I charged £3k for a sales letter. Despite increasing my skills constantly. Despite investing in more courses… mentoring etc and offering more value. Silly. Then, I learned there were people charging £25k. If my work converts just as well as there’s why the heck should I charge less? So, I charged the same.
I just wished I did it earlier. And forget about your hourly fees. Look at the VALUE you can create for clients… If its a sales letter you’re writing… enquire as to how much traffic will be sent to the page, ask about the source of the traffic? Is it cold leads (strangers?) Or is it people who know like and trust you who will be more predisposed to buying?
Ask about what type of conversion rates would they expect? Let’s say they say a conservative 2% response to their own list. If you achieve that… how much money will they make? And how many mailings could they do in 12 months? Ask about the long term customer value?
Create a complete picture of the VALUE you’re giving. Explore every angle they will profit from.
total it all up… Show it to the client in a perfectly logical way and charge a small percentage of that.
Obviously, the bigger the client, the better the relationship they have with their list… the better conversions will be.
9. NOT BUILDING TESTIMONIALS & REFERRALS INTO YOUR T&C’s!
Here’s the thing you’re never told…
Let’s say you charge $8k for a project with a client. And you do a stellar job. You make the client a boatload of new cash. Do you think that clients wants to see you progress and move on?
NO. Reality is, its NOT in that clients best interest to promote you to the world.
And again, this leads into Mistake 3 “why clients can’t be your friends’
In fact, if you’ve done a good job for them, at a good price… then the LAST THING they want is for you to become super business and double your rates. This is why very often, it can be extremely difficult to get a client to give you a testimonials. I’ve done million dollar launches for clients – and been threatened with ‘cease and desist’ letters for talking about it. These things do happen unfortunately. Which is why I recommend before you even BEGIN work on any projects you explain to the client upfront that after the successful completion of this project…
You would like a testimonial… and 3 referrals of people who may be interested
in your services.
OPTIONAL: You could also reward the client with a 10% of the project fee for any successful referrals. That way, once you deliver the copy, run the copy and hopefully got some great results
You can rightfully draw your clients attention back to your initial agreement re: your testimonials and referrals. Some still might not even give you one. But most people are decent and will.
10. WHEN THINGS ARE GOOD ACT LIKE THINGS ARE BAD, WHEN ITS BAD, AT LIKE THINGS ARE GOOD.
In your freelance journey you’ll go through lots of good times and bad times. In the good times, when you’re swimming in cash… It feels like the gravy trains gonna go on forever…
(It won’t!) This is the time when you want to act like everything gonna be taken away from you… ACT SCARED. Concentrate on using your resources to build a fortress. To gain a huge foothold in your market.
When things are bad…Like when you’re just starting out and struggling to get your first client. Or … when you’ve been going a few years… and the client you were working for who was paying you great money decides to close his business or stops hiring you for any reason…DON’T PANIC.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive. Especially when you’ve got bills to pay and the wolves are at the door… but if you panic, you may spiral into desperation it will only make things worse. Bad times are like quicksand. The more you struggle, the deeper you sink. My advice? Add more pleasure to in bad times. Take 60 minutes pleasure breaks during the day — even 10 minutes can be enough.
To just go for a coffee. Listen to music. Mow the grass. Talk to your girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, wife, husband.. Or, if you’re single… go to talk to other attract single people for awhile…
CLEAR YOUR MIND. Go swimming… get a massage…Shit, Go buy yourself a really good burger!
(I know that might sound silly, but that a five guys burger, helped bring me through some very tough times!) When you act like things are good… (even when they’re bad) strange things happen. When you’re out swimming… or out eating that 5 guys burger, you’ll get ideas on how to improve your situation. I don’t know why this works, but it just does.
Heed these mistakes… and I wish you the best success in your copywriting career!