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One of my readers, Selina, asked an excellent question last week. She asked:
“I’m wondering why you say to only write in the first person. I have seen other people say that it is better to write in the third person to convey a sense of professionalism. You suggest writing the homepage in the first person. Would this also apply to the about page, and the whole website?”
Firstly, great question, Selina. And I have very strong views on this subject.
I’m going to assume that because you’re reading this blog, you’re the kind of person who cares about the outcomes that you deliver for your clients. You want to help them overcome something (or many things) that’s bothering them and live a better life or have a better business.
You also want clients that you enjoy working with, so you need clients that genuinely like you, your work & your particular style of working. In other words, you need to feel (and have) a connection to the people who enquire about working with you; you need them to already be primed to work with you because they know, like & trust you.
Now that we’ve got that sorted… I most definitely do not recommend that you write your website in the third person.
Here’s why: your dream clients aren’t going to leap at the chance to work with you if you talk in the third person.
The third-person uses an objective narrator who tells the story without describing your thoughts, opinions, or feelings. It sounds like the story is happening to a distant, far-away person.
It’s very hard for your readers to feel a connection to you if you put a narrator in between you & them because they can’t get a sense of your thoughts, opinions, or feelings that define you as a business person.
And if your audience can’t get to know the real you through your website, then you’ll have a much harder time attracting the right clients for you.
Generally, third person copywriting is done by big, bland, corporate companies who are not known for caring about their customers.
Let’s take a look at Microsoft. The Microsoft Australia’s About Page starts with:
Established in 1985, Microsoft Australia is the Australian subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”), the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.
Does that make you feel connected to or interested in Microsoft & their work? No.
Do you feel any loyalty to Microsoft? Probably not.
Are you excited to share their website with others? Definitely not.
Why? Because all they’re doing is talking about themselves, instead of showing you how their products can transform your life. They write about how awesome they are & how great their product is, instead of focusing on you & what they can do for you.
Think about it: when you visit a website, do you think about how your money will help the business increase its revenues & let the owner take more holidays? Of course not. You want to know how the store’s products & services can help you reach your goals & make your life better.
Your audience is on your website because they want you to solve their problems & improve their life. That means they need to feel like you actually understand their problems.
The fastest way make your audience feel like you understand them is to talk to them like a real person. That means not writing in the third person.
When you talk in the first or second person, instead of the third person, it allows you to focus on your audience & shows sensitivity & understanding of their needs & problems. And that helps you build a strong relationship with your audience that makes them feel understood.
And that feeling of understanding triggers an emotional response – it creates connection.
And connection creates loyalty.
And loyalty brings repeat customers.
Writing your website in the third person puts a barrier between you & your dream customers.
On the other hand, writing in the first or second person lets you build a genuine connection with them, show that you understand them & are able to solve their problems. If you want to be one of the lucky ones with dreamy clients that you love working with, it’s the best way to go.
Your business is built on the people you serve and the person you are.
You (hopefully) already know enough about yourself, but how well do you know the people that you aim to serve? How intricately do you know their needs, wants and absolute must-haves?
It’s a huge part of your entrepreneurship puzzle and lots of people haven’t spent the time learning about their dream clients. Yes, it can take some time to figure it out. But this time is an investment in your business that will pay off tenfold once you get it done and action what you learn.
When you have boat loads of information about your dream client, then you can write web copy that attracts her, post during times when she’ll see your content, create products and services that help solve her problems and so many other great things that this list may never end.
The goal is to get more information about them so that you can learn how to attract more people like them.
I’ve created this list to help get you started learning about your dream client. Everything listed here is free, fast and super effective.
Hang tight, this is a long + thorough post.
You know that super inspiring, dream woman that you’ve worked with in the past? Your favourite clients that you could work with over and over again?
There are probably links between all your past clients – characteristics, attitudes, goals, ambition, working style, communication style, willingness to invest in working with you.
Think back to working with these women and make a list of reasons why you enjoyed their company. These might be:
You’re most likely listing intangible things – things that you should feel when meeting with your dream clients. And that’s ok. You’ll learn more tangible things about them in the next steps.
Google Analytics is a free tool that can quickly and easily give you mountains of information about the people visiting your site. You can learn:
The trick is knowing how to use it without getting overwhelmed.
If you’re not yet confident using your Google Analytics, check out this Skillshare course: Master Google Analytics In 1 Hour for Beginners. I learned a lot from this course. I can now open Google Analytics without flipping out and understand what the information is telling me. Highly recommended. And you get a free month of membership if you use this link.
Surely there’s no easy way to find out more about your dream clients than to go straight to the source and ask them.
You have two options here: you can ask everyone on your mailing list some questions or you can target your favourite clients.
I’m going to assume that you’ll choose to target only your favourites, but the process is the same if you want to email everyone.
Start by writing out a list of your awesome clients – the ones that you could happily clone and work with over and over. The more, the merrier. Or, in this case, the longer the list, the more responses you’ll get.
Next, think of 6 or more questions that you’d like to ask them. These might be something like:
Once you’ve got your questions prepared, create an online form to gather answers from these questions. Google “free online form” and you’ll find lots of options.
Finally, email your favourite clients (or whole list), ask them to fill out your online questionnaire and provide a link to it. HINT: If you actually ask people to do you a favour – use the word “favour” in your subject line – it can boost your response rates for practically zero effort.
Traditional businesses and start ups often pay tens of thousands to some market research company to hold focus groups and send them some data about their findings. Poor schmucks.
We’re smarter than that. We know that we can do that on the cheap.
Let’s say that you’re a one-woman bakery and you sell mouth-watering cupcakes at your local farmers market. You could ask each buyer if they’d be willing to chat to you for a few minutes and in exchange, you’ll throw in an extra cupcake of their choice.
Have a few questions prepared, so that you get comparable information from everyone you talk to. You might ask:
The secret benefit to this approach is that you’ll get to have real conversations that build relationships with your buyers. Plus, you’ll get more memorable information than mere data.
Maybe, like me, your dream clients are other women entrepreneurs who do soul-charging, world-changing work. It’d be a safe bet that you can find thousands of these dream clients hanging out in Marie Forleo’s private B-School Facebook group.
There are groups and forums like this for every industry + every niche. You just need to go hunting to find them + join.
Once you’re in, listen to what members have to say and take note of their pain points – what are they finding difficult, what don’t they understand, what frustrates them, what keeps them up at night?
You’re in luck. Amazon is a secret hideaway for all sorts of copywriting gold + now I’m sharing that secret with you.
Amazon houses some amazingly in-depth book + product reviews written by everyday people. These people are essentially testing out the messaging attached to those books + products and letting you know their feedback.
They’ll tell you what they like, what the product doesn’t do and doesn’t achieve. If you’re lucky, they’ll even tell you what they wanted but didn’t get – and this is pure gold when it comes to creating messaging + positioning against your competitors. It’s basically a free test audience.
If you sell products, you’ll want to search for competitor products on Amazon + read their product reviews.
If you sell services, you’ll need to find authors that your dream clients follow + read their book reviews.
Look at multiple reviews for multiple products in your niche. (Looking at one review won’t give you enough information to really make a difference to your business messaging.) Seek out the reviews that others’ considered to be helpful – luckily, these are the ones displayed at the top of the reviews section.
What are the common themes in these reviews? What do most people want + aren’t getting? What needs are already being satisfied?
For example, maybe you’re a life coach who helps your clients transition out of boring corporate jobs + into self employment. Your dream clients probably read Pamela Slim’s book Escape from Cubicle Nation.
After reading through the reviews, you find this gem:
This review is written by a Top 500 reviewer and is considered helpful by 27 of 27 people. You can quickly see that these people want:
The reviewer is also very specific and detailed about the things that she doesn’t like about the book.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Look at multiple books and multiple reviews for each one to get a thorough look at your dream clients wants + needs.
Now you’re in an excellent place to start meeting your dream clients needs – including a better idea of how to phrase your offering to appeal to those needs.
There are 6 simple, but stellar ideas in this post.
Whether you implement one or all of them, you’ll be in a much better position to tailor your offerings & your message to those that you most want to work with.
You’re a difference maker. You started your business to make a difference to the people you can help.
And while you know you need to market & sell your wares to pay your bills, you hate the idea of being a pushy, sleazy salesperson.
Don’t we all.
“When I grow up, I want to be a salesperson!” said no one ever.
Icky self promotion is no one’s idea of a dream marketing system. So how do you market your business without feeling pushy?
First, let’s start with…
For centuries, the greatest marketer or salesperson was someone who knew his product (or service) inside out and could persuade someone who knew nothing about the product (the ignorant buyer) that it could solve a problem that the buyer didn’t even know they had.
Hence the ultimate salesman cliché: “I could sell ice to eskimos.”
Umm… eskimos don’t need ice, buddy.
That shiz has been going on for centuries and we’ve all caught on to the saleman’s game now. We’re hyper aware of the tricks of the trade.
We haaaaate being sold to.
The game has changed.
We’re too cynical for the same old tactics to work on us. We’re sick of having things pushed on us & just want someone to LISTEN to us.
@@Listening to your client is now the starting point, NOT your [email protected]@
You’re assuming your dream client knows something that they don’t.
Your entire marketing strategy rests on your dream client’s awareness of their problem. Your offer is secondary to the client’s perception of their problem. You MUST know their level of awareness.
You’ve got to meet your clients where they’re at. Then you help them get where they want to be.
If you assume they’re somewhere they’re not, your marketing begins to feel pushy.
If you misunderstand their level of awareness, you’re talking into the wind. They won’t hear you, no matter how much you try to convince them.
Trying harder won’t turn them into converts. It’ll make them want to run away from your pushy self.
You’re someone who wants to work with clients in a win-win scenario where you both get a lot of value & satisfaction out of the business relationship. You want it to feel good.
But it doesn’t feel good to your potential client when you don’t know your their level of awareness & you think they’re better / faster / different than they really are. That’s when your client begins to feel like you’re being pushy.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine you’re marketing gum that helps people quit smoking. And imagine you’ve found a magic time travelling portal & you’re talking to Jane from 1960.
In 1960, smoking was all the rage. There was hardly any evidence to suggest that smoking would be harmful – it was just plain cool, ok Mum!
In other words, Jane have a very different mindset & perspective about smoking than you do. Jane has zero awareness that her cigarette habit is a problem that needs solving.
But you happen to know all the important, scientific information that we know now. Smoking = bad.
You can’t simply assume that 1960s Jane will believe you, especially not when everything else she hears contradicts your message.
The marketing conversation with 1960s Jane might go something like this:
You: Check out my gum that’ll help you easily quit smoking without the withdrawal symptoms!
1960s Jane: Quit smoking? Why would I want to do that?
You: Smoking is bad for you. You’ll feel so much better if you quit. Trust me!
1960s Jane: Pfft.
You could then turn to your fancy pants science and try to tell her what smoking does to her lungs or how it makes her age faster… but you’ve got her awareness level wrong, so now you’re just trying to force her to see your perspective.
You’re now coming off pushy.
You tried to capture her attention with the wrong thing (“this will help you quit smoking”), so she quickly lost interest. When you keep trying to persuade her, you turn into that pushy sales person you hate.
@@Your marketing feels pushy because it IS [email protected]@
Meet them where they are, then guide them towards the realisation that your product or service will genuinely help them. You can’t force them to believe you. But you can guide them.
Imagine how different 1960s Jane’s reaction to your quit-smoking gum would’ve been if you asked her a question like, “Are you worried about ageing too fast?”
She probably would’ve said yes & then you could’ve started explaining to her how her cigarettes are making her age faster. You could acknowledge that her “little smoking habit” may seem harmless, but there’s lots of damage it’s actually doing to her body behind the scenes.
Now, you’re having a conversation and moving her from completely unaware to problem aware.
Then, you can take steps to get her from problem aware to solution aware. Once she’s at that level of awareness, she knows she the results she wants, but not that your quit-smking gum product offers it.
Next, you can start to introduce her to your product and all the ways it will benefit her.
And that starts with getting to know your dream client & meeting them where they’re at.
Let’s say you’ve got your dream client interested – you’ve piqued her interest. But she’s a little confused about what precisely she’s going to get out of working with you. She’s interested, but not 100% convinced yet (which means she’s not ready to give you her money yet either).
Her fear of making a bad investment is starting to overtake her interest in working with you.
She clicks away & hires someone else. Bummer.
Because your dream client wasn’t sure she was going to get what she wanted out of the investment. She couldn’t picture how it would help her – which means she can’t imagine herself working with you.
They click away if they think (and can’t find the answer to):
The key to convincing your dream clients that you’re what they need to solve their problems is to answer this question:
Seems easy enough. The problem is that your answer needs to be meaningful.
But you have no idea how many people say:
Seriously, everyone says that… which means that those responses become white noise that no one bothers to listen to anymore.
They want to know what value you bring to the table & they want more precisely than “I help you save time.” They need to know what they’ll actually get from their investment.
You want to stand out from the crowd, so we’re going to do a 2-part writing exercise today.
It’s designed to help you get laser focused on how your work changes your client’s lives or businesses for the better, so that you can start adding those benefits into your marketing.
Get a pen & paper ready now.
Imagine you wake up tomorrow and discover your service/product has been widely adopted by all of the people who need it in the whole world.
The problem is, everyone who’s worked with you or bought your thing remains anonymous. The only way to know who they are is by looking for signs.
What’s the first, tiny sign you’d see that would make you think, “AH! That person must be one of my customers!”?
Write down everything that comes to mind.
One thing that kills conversions is that your reader just can’t imagine herself as your customer.
So you’re going to tell her a story. You’re going to paint a picture of what her life will be like AFTER she’s worked with you.
It starts with:
Imagine this… / Picture this… / How would it feel if this was you? / Would you like this to be you?
Then you’re going to describe what her life / business / hair / weight / wardrobe / relationships will be like after she has worked with you.
She might gain confidence, ease, support.
Or, she might lose fear, confusion, overwhelm, wasted time.
Write down everything you can think of about what her life looks like after working with you?
How has your work transformed her life for the better?
Make the list as long as you can. Leave no stone left unturned because you usually have to wade through the vagueness to get to the ideas that are actually usable.
Once you have your list, weave your biggest, best dot points together into a short narrative. Keep it to 3 paragraphs or less.
My client, Angela Marie Patnode, has done an excellent job of this on her homepage. She works with people who deal with anxiety & feeling stuck. There’s a lot of emotions tied up there that she can acknowledge & say, “hey, I understand how hard this is for you right now.”
Then, by helping her dream clients picture how different their life will be after working with her, they think, “omg, yes! That’s exactly what I want for myself!”
It’s no coincidence that Angela’s client inquiries quadrupled, plus she increased newsletter subscribers by 10-15x.
I’m not even one of her dream clients, but it still gives me chills to read her homepage.
This shiz works.
You can tell this story on your home page or your sales page(s) or your about page… just about anywhere. It’s that powerful.
Give it a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
They say opinions are like arseholes. Everyone’s got one.
It’s easy to feel confused about what you should be focusing on in your business because everyone has a different opinion. It can feel like the advice is pulling you in hundreds of different directions & you don’t know which one to choose.
Asking for feedback can often feel like the answer. Twenty brains are better than one, right?
Feedback is a delicate business. It can be brilliant & enlightening. Or it can be misguided & disheartening.
When you feel your confidence wavering because of something someone else said as “feedback,” it’s usually not a sign that person was right. It’s a sign that you asked for feedback from the wrong person, at the wrong time.
To get feedback that lifts you up & steers you in the right direction, you’ve got to go about it in the right way.
This post gives you my 3 DO’s + 5 DON’Ts for asking for feedback. I hope they steer you towards people that will give you excellent advice.
To be able to give you good feedback, we need to know what you’re trying to achieve. Without that, all the feedback you get is just going to be random.
And when you get a wide range of conflicting feedback, it brings confusion, not clarity. Always get specific about what you want feedback on.
I’ll use myself as an example.
When I first started my podcast, I wanted some confirmation that the name of the podcast would work. So I went into 2 different Facebook groups full of people whose advice I respected and wrote this:
Hi guys. I’m starting a podcast & I’d love to get your feedback on the name: Confessions of a Female Entrepreneur.
I’ve narrowed it down to this one for 2 main reasons:
1 – I want it to be clear that it’s for female entrepreneurs, so I wanted something about that in the name. (And I worry that anything like ‘lady boss’ or other supposed synonyms are a bit condescending.)
2 – I want the interviews to be like eavesdropping on a conversation between 2 business BFFs. I hope the “confessions” part of the title reflects that it’ll cover new territory & reveal a few unexpected secrets.
What do you think? Is it intriguing enough to click on?
The advice I got was so helpful because they knew exactly the kind of result I was trying to achieve with this name.
It would’ve been a very different result if I’d simply posted, “Hi guys. I’m starting a podcast & I’d love to get your feedback on the name: Confessions of a Female Entrepreneur. What do you think?”
It couldn’t have been absolutely anything that came back in the feedback, which would’ve left me more confused than when I started.
You want to work with a very, very small percentage of the population, so most people’s advice won’t apply to you.
One of my lovely clients got feedback from a digital consultant at KPMG that told her (amongst other things):
If you want to run a heart-centered business, don’t get advice from KPMG. They’re the antithesis of that.
If you want to work with extremely feminine businesses in a new, feminine business model, don’t ask advice from macho, corporate men.
If you want to work with entrepreneurs, don’t ask for advice from your mum who is a teacher. (But if your mum is an entrepreneur or you target teachers, go for it!)
And that’s not to say that any of those people don’t know what they’re talking about. They do. They’re smart & successful for a reason.
But just because someone has had success, doesn’t mean their advice is right for you. Build a tight circle of people whose advice you trust & be cautious about getting advice outside that circle.
Even the best advisors don’t know you as well as you know yourself. Sometimes, they can give you well-meaning, but not-quite-right advice.
Maybe it’s just because you weren’t clear on your goals yet?
Maybe it’s because you didn’t communicate what you wanted well enough?
Maybe it’s because you both have a different definition of success?
Maybe it’s because they have a different business philosophy to you?
There’s a bunch of reasons that extremely qualified, talented people could give you advice that’s not right for you. It’s your job to be able to spot it & tell them, “you know what, that idea doesn’t feel like the right fit for me because of XYZ.”
Trusting your gut & opening the doors to that conversation gets you closer to the advice that IS right for you.
It’s a process. It won’t always happen perfectly the first time, so trust your gut when it’s telling you that something is off.
I see a lot of these feedback requests on Facebook: “I just launched my new website. I’d love your feedback.”
Feedback on what?
Who are you trying to appeal to?
What’s the goal of your website?
Are there specific areas that you’re worried about?
And feedback from whom?
There’s no way all 8,000 of those people in that group are going to know you well enough to give you good advice. Nor are they ALL going to be your target market.
You’re setting yourself up for a fall by blindly asking for feedback on Facebook without considering the kind of person that might respond.
Let’s imagine that you’re asking a group of 8,000 people for feedback about your new web copy. Some people will tell you they love it. Some people will tell you it doesn’t resonate with them. And some people will tell you that you’ve missed the mark completely.
But who do you listen to?
To know who you should listen to, you’d need to click through to each person’s website & figure out if they’re the kind of person you want to appeal to. Otherwise, you’re taking advice from the kind of clients that you want to repel with your web copy – and that doesn’t make any sense.
It doesn’t mean you can’t ask for advice on Facebook. It does mean that you need to think about who is in the group, are they the right audience, do they know enough about my work / industry?
Be selective when asking for feedback. It’ll prevent you from getting a confusingly broad range of feedback that keeps you going around in circles.
Someone I know is a web developer who works in a really traditional environment. He certainly doesn’t work with small businesses or solopreneurs, like us.
But one night, he was giving me loads of advice on “how to make my website better,” which pretty much involved a total overhaul of everything.
It wasn’t until he said the words, “You don’t see big corporations doing that on their website & for good reason.”
That simple statement reminded me that he was trying to get me to look like & appeal to a completely different market. I want to appeal to real people. He had the wrong background, experience, training to help me do that, so I had to ignore his advice & stick to my guns.
When people give you unsolicited advice, ask yourself:
Does this person “get” what I’m trying to achieve?
Yes → Great, thanks for that helpful feedback.
No → Then, your feedback doesn’t count.
Would I actually want to work with you?
Yes → Great, thanks for that helpful feedback.
No → Then, your feedback doesn’t count.
That person at KPMG had no idea what he was talking about when he said, “you need to cast a wider net if you want to make good money.” Totally crap advice. There are entire books dedicated to the fact that you need to be different & not try to appeal to everyone.
(Two good books you should read to dispel those myths are Purple Cow by Seth Godin & Niche: The missing middle and why businesses need to specialise to survive by James Harkin.)
He’s basing that advice on other businesses that try to be a one-stop-shop & service big business. It has definitely worked for those kind of businesses in the past.
But if you don’t want to serve big businesses & you want to serve solopreneurs in a hands-on, intimate way… then that advice is way off base.
So make sure you don’t take advice from people who don’t understand your industry enough.
The corporate world moves so slowly that they haven’t caught up to all the awesome strategies & tactics that work for small, nimble businesses like ours.
So when getting advice from a mentor, ask yourself:
Are you a mentor with a business that I admire?
Yes → Great, thanks for that helpful feedback.
No → Then, your feedback doesn’t count.
All my clients are really smart. (I’m sure yours are too.)
So when they come to me for help turning their copywriting into a sales machine, it’s not because they’re bad at what they do, or they have no idea how to run a business, or their content is bad.
It’s because there are so many nuances that go into website conversions that it’s hard to get them all, especially when you’re so busy. Plus, some of it seems downright counterintuitive.
I get it. You genuinely care about making a difference for your clients, but it just doesn’t translate into website sales.
So let’s talk about the 6 reasons why your web copy isn’t converting visitors into clients.
These are totally fixable, even if you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to copywriting.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: your website is NOT about you. Your website is about your dream client.
You want her to read your site and think, “I’ve been searching for this woman! She gets me.”
And you can’t get that kind of result if you don’t know who you’re talking to. So before you start, take the time to think about who your dream client is.
I know you feel like you’ve done that exercise a thousand times. But you need to do it again because your dream client is constantly growing & evolving, just like you are.
Having an intimate understanding of your dream client lays unshakeable foundations for your marketing success.
But maybe you do know lots about your dream client and are wondering when the results will show up?
If that’s the case, there’s a good chance your web copy is too informative, too clinical, too distant.
Your dream clients want to feel like you understand them – which means knowing how they’re feeling.
Think about when you make a new friend & feel strangely connected to them really quickly. It’s often because you jump into the deep & meaningful conversations that create a bonding experience.
In other words…
@@Friendships are forged over shared emotions – and so are client [email protected]@
If you want your copy to convert like crazy, speak to your people’s EMOTIONS — information is not enough. Be super specific when you describe their emotions to make them “feel it.”
I’ve written entire blog posts about the fact that your clients care more about themselves than they care about you.
It’s human nature to ask: “What’s in it for me?”
Your dream clients want to know how they will benefit from hiring you or buying your thing.
The answer to that question might surprise you. They often don’t care about the things you might assume. It’s usually much deeper than you first think.
For web designers, she doesn’t want a new website.
She really wants to have a website that brings in more clients or reflects her real personality or… you tell me? It’s your job to find out what they really care about & focus on that in your web copy.
This blog post will help you figure out the benefits that they really care about.
Then, you need to explain that they don’t just get 5x coaching calls or 3x social media templates (or whatever you sell).
Use your web copy to tell them what they’ll really get out of those features & focus on the benefits that they get from each of those features.
People don’t know what they want. They freeze up when faced with too many choices.
If we get too many options, we get paralysed by overwhelm. And instead of taking action, we do nothing.
So if you give them the options to:
… then that’s way too many choices.
And there’s a very high chance that they’ll take ZERO of those options, which means you won’t make any sales.
If you narrow your call to action down to just one thing, it reduces the overwhelm, makes the next step look really easy & gets you far more responses.
Basically, 1 call to action ® more sales.
Did you know that we only have 8 second attention spans when we’re online these days? That’s less than a goldfish. (It has 9 seconds.)
That startling fact makes your headlines even more important. They’re your chance to quickly grab your audience’s attention in 8 seconds or less before they click away.
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest… which makes headlines the most important thing you’ll write.
@@Your headline is the gateway to your [email protected]@
Without a great headline, there’s a very, VERY high chance that the rest of your content won’t get read. And if that happens, there’s 100% chance that your services won’t sell.
This blog post will give you 20 of the Greatest Headlines of All Time to help inspire you when you’re stuck on what to write for your next headline.
Risk dominates the hiring decision, especially as your price goes up.
You’ll know from personal experience that you put a lot more thought & consideration into spending $10,000 than you do when spending $100. You want more info & you need more persuading to part with that much money.
So what does that mean for you as a service provider?
It means that the higher you price your service, the more information you need on your sales page to convince people that it’s the right investment for them.
(I’ve written about how “no one reads long sales pages” is a myth over here.)
@@Higher price = longer sales [email protected]@
You want to make sure that you’re outlining:
All of those things combined help them see that you understand them & are a total professional that will deliver on everything you promise.
Check out the Sales Page Masterclass.
This LIVE masterclass will give you a step-by-step, repeatable process to write a sales page that lets more of the BEST CLIENTS through your digital door.
The Sales Page Masterclass is going to change your thinking about sales pages.
You don’t need to re-invent the wheel every damn time you write a new sales page. (Just the thought of that makes me want to tear my hair out… and I’m a pro at this.)
Find out more here.
When you’re writing your web copy, you need to show your readers that you rock & that they should listen to you. They need to know, like & trust you before they can hire you – and a lot of that comes down to building your credibility. (Then your winning personality will do the rest.)
That’s great to know. But how do you actually do that?
It’s hard to figure out what makes you credible, but if you don’t do it, you won’t be able to tell your clients why they should hire you.
If you’ve ever thought, “meh, there’s nothing that makes my skills special,” then you’re definitely not alone.
But that’s very rarely true.
Let’s say you’re a graphic designer. There’s really two types of designers – those that went to design school and those that were trained at the school of hard knocks.
If you’re from the self taught at the school of hard knocks, you might feel like you’ve got no credibility.
But you’d be wrong, my friend. Just plain wrong.
If you have no training, how did you learn your skills? Trial and error. Experimentation. Experience. Making shit happen.
That stuff takes time & skill to acquire. And when your clients hire you, they’re saving themselves months (if not years) of figuring all that out on their own, like you did.
Get this super actionable, 1-page Credibility Booster Cheat Sheet to boost your confidence & get clear on why your dream clients should hire you. You can refer back to it any time you get stuck.
But back to your question: how do you find your own credibility boosters?
Try these on for size:
Make a list of all your possible credentials from the collection above – plus, all the extra reasons your clients want to work with you. Then, add them to your about page. You can either sprinkle them throughout the page or put them all down under a heading like ‘Reasons you’ll love working with me.’
You’ve got this.
P.S. If you’re still not sure what makes you different, better & worth working with, I’ve got just the thing you need. It’s my free From “ho-hum” to “um, whoa!” – 4 Day Memorable Messaging Audio Training.
Have you ever had a client relationship go bad?
(Every entrepreneur in the world raises their hand.)
Needless to say, you’re not alone.
When you’ve got an online business, it can sometimes feel even harder to make sure there’s no miscommunication because you’re mostly restricted to communicating via email.
You can’t exactly walk down the office corridor and ask a question if you’re stuck on your client’s project.
That means, you need to know how to write crystal clear emails that your client can’t possibly misunderstand – because misunderstandings go south way too quickly. And no one wants an unhappy client.
Good client emails help you stay on message, keep projects running smoothly & make your clients think you’re a brilliant investment. When that happens, it’s infinitely easier to get referrals to keep your client pipeline full too.
Here are my best tips on how to communicate with your clients via email.
It’s so easy to think that the things that come incredibly easy to you will also be clear and easy to your clients. But they’re definitely not as clear as you think.
Don’t assume that the client will know what such-and-such terminology means. Explain it to them. It helps them see you as a professional & builds trust in your expertise.
People who do done-for you services, like copywriters, designers & developers, can suffer from this one a lot. We can tend to assume that clients will inherently respect our expertise and never question us. But that’s rarely true.
Let me use myself as an example.
A little known fact about writing bullet points in your web copy is that the brain is trained to remember the first, second and last thing on the list. In other words, you want to have the most important bullet points at number 1, 2 and last position.
But if I do that for a client, will they automatically know that? Nope.
They may wonder why one of the most important bullet points is last on the list & ask me to move it to the top. (It would also be doing them a disservice to just “follow their orders” without explaining the value behind why I’ve done it that way in the first place.)
I could save a bunch of time by not assuming the client will inherently trust my professional expertise (and bullet ordering skills) & give her a reason to trust me. And that can be as simple as a quick note that explains where we want the most important ones to appear on the bullet points list.
This follows on from #1 above.
Don’t assume that they’ll understand why you did something in a particular way. Use the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise & clarify what you’ve done and why.
Pretend for a moment that you’ve just hired a web developer to help build your new website.
How would you feel if your developer changed something that you’d agreed on and just sent it to you with a quick email that said something like, “Here it is”?
You’d probably be confused about why it changed and potentially be a bit annoyed. “We already agreed on that, buddy! Why are you changing it?!”
Compare that with how you’d respond if the developer sent you an email like this:
I’ve been working on that XYZ that we agreed on, but I’ve found an alternative solution that may make it easier for you to maintain on your own.
If we do it that way we originally planned, it’ll look great visually, but you’d have to get me to make changes for you if you ever want to change it. That’s fine by me, but it would add to your ongoing website maintenance costs.
On the other hand, if we do it the way that I’ve demonstrated in the attachment, it’ll look a bit different than we had planned, but you’d be able to maintain it on your own. Changes would take you less than 2 minutes to make and you could make changes as often as you need.
Naturally, it’s up to you. But I strongly recommend we go with this new approach, especially since I know you want to be able to maintain the site on your own as much as possible.
Happy to hear your thoughts.
That kind of email builds a lot of respect for your expertise and helps get the client on board with your proposed approach. Plus, it shows that you respect her opinion, which clients love. It makes it feel like you and your client are on the same team.
If you’re ever thinking, “hmmm not sure what the client will think of this,” then take the time to explain your thought process. They’ll respect you for it & it’ll be much easier to bring them around to your point of view.
One of the biggest mistakes I see is that people send a client an email that simply says something like, “here’s that deliverable you paid me for.” And that’s all the email says.
Let’s imagine that you’re a graphic designer and you’ve delivered a client’s logo options via email. Don’t just write an email that says, “here’s your draft logo.” Take the opportunity to provide some clarity & map out the next steps.
So, what’s the next step for the client?
If they have to pick one version to move forward with, tell them that.
If they need to get their feedback to you by Friday, remind them of that.
If they get two more rounds of revisions, remind them of that too.
It’s incredibly hard to keep projects on track if you’re NOT constantly reminding your clients of the next steps. And the longer a project goes, the harder it is for you to start on & complete the next one.
You may have mapped out your process or your project milestones in other places, but you need to constantly remind the client of what they have to do & what’s next, every step of the way. They won’t remember what they read in those other documents after weeks have passed and the project has moved forward.
You’re a professional and that means you’ve got to take responsibility for your client projects. Even if you’re dealing with the most annoying client of your life, never point the finger at them.
It always ends badly.
You probably know from personal experience that when you’re struggling with someone and they blame you for it, you see red. It often ends in a battle of the wills:
“You think this is MY fault?! What about ABC that you did? You’re the one that screwed everything up”
“I did ABC because you did XYZ. None of this would’ve happened if you hadn’t screwed that up first!”
Ugh. What a total waste of time.
Be a professional and don’t try to lay the blame. Stay as neutral as possible. Graciousness goes a long way.
Following these tips also helps prevent you ending up in a situation where miscommunication has happened so frequently that it just feels like you & your client are adversaries because you aren’t on the same page anymore.
Here are 3 potential options for your draft logo. As you know from your client welcome pack, you get to pick one of these to move forward with and we’ll do 2 rounds of revisions to get it just right for you.
To keep the project on track for your launch date, your feedback is due on Friday. After that, I’ll have the second round of revisions back to you in 3 working days.
Great progress today. Congratulations on all the hard work you’ve put in to get to this point. You should be really proud of yourself.
As we just discussed, your focus areas to cover before our next session are:
We’ve got 2 more sessions left and you can book your remaining appointments using this link…
If you get stuck on anything between our sessions, you can always email me and I’ll talk you through it. You’re not alone.
I have a little secret that helps me keep my clients happy & keep my projects on track all at the same time.
It’s client email templates.
I have all my standard responses to the typical things that happen written up & saved in my canned responses in Gmail. So whenever something happens, I don’t have to faff about trying to figure out what to say. I just go to the template & edit it to suit the current situation – which takes soooo much stress out of the situation.
I have all of my email scripts available for you too if you want to implement the same approach & save yourself some hassle.
It’s a digital toolkit called, How Should I Say That?: 15 Email Scripts for Hassle-free Client Relationships & Keeping Projects on Track.
Your work is competing for attention in a hectic world. There’s so many things that can steal our attention & I even read somewhere that we now have sorter attention spans than goldfish.
Your content needs to STAND OUT. Because the only alternative to standing out is blending in to all the noise.
There are lots of ways that you can stand out & get your sales page read. But no matter which strategy you use, the first step is always the same: writing a knock-out, jaw-to-the-floor headline.
Headlines are the gateway to your content. They’re the biggest deciding factor in whether or not someone clicks on your link to read more.
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest… which makes headlines the most important thing you’ll write.
A headline’s job is to grab enough attention to entice someone to read further. They read a little bit, then BAM! Another (sub)headline.
So, while the first headline is arguably the most important, all the others play a meaningful role in getting your reader to keep scrolling down to the “buy now” button.
I’ve got 3 secrets for you & I use all of these in my own business at different times, depending on where the inspiration strikes me.
These headlines have been working for decades. You see examples of them everrrywhere.
Here’s a popular example: How to win friends & influence people.
It’s one of the best headlines of all time & these are just some of the recent headlines that I’ve noticed which have been inspired by it:
You can imagine just from seeing this one example how many headline ideas you can get just by scrolling through my list of The 100 Greatest Headlines of All Time.
I honestly do it every time I need headline inspiration. I keep a hard copy next to my desk – that’s how often I use it.
If you do the same, I’m almost willing to guarantee that you’ll uncover your golden, attention-grabbing headlines so much faster.
I’m even giving you a sample list of just ”20 Of The Greatest Headlines Ever Written” to inspire you.
For one week, I want you to write down every single headline that you click on. Every. Single. One.
Make a note when you click on something on Twitter.
Make a note of the email newsletters you open & what the subject lines were. (Those subject lines… they’re headlines too.)
Make a note of what you click on when scrolling through your favourite blogs.
By the end of the week, you’ll have your own list of clickable headlines to inspire you the next time you’re writing a blog post or sales page or anything that needs to get your dream client’s attention.
If the greatest headlines of all time are feeling old, stale & uninspiring, now you’ve got a list that appeals to you more personally. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to inject some attention-grabbing mojo into your headlines.
We’re not all creative geniuses all of the time. Sometimes, we just plain suck at writing headlines, myself included. It’s normal.
Half of the headlines you create will be ridiculous, some of them will make zero sense at all, & plenty of others will be flat & boring. But, it’s so satisfying when you strike upon one that’s perfect.
The trick is to get out all the muck, so that you can get to the gold.
So I challenge you to brainstorm 25 headlines for your offer. Yes, twenty-five. Two. Five.
I know it’s a lot, but it’s soooo worth it. After you’ve got 25, you can scroll through your list & easily spot the one that leaps off the page the most (because, lets face it, most of them won’t).
If you invest some time working on your headlines (instead of just using the first one that comes into your head), you’re almost guaranteed to create something that will open your sales page with a BANG & a butt load of attention.
So make sure you get your list of ”20 Of The Greatest Headlines Ever Written” to help you kick your next sales page off with some extra oomph.
We’ve already discovered how your client’s mindset around your product, service and offering affects the strategy you use to interact with them & persuade them to work with you. That’s called market awareness & it all comes down to this question:
Market awareness = Do people know this kind of service exists & do they want it?
If you don’t know that already, check out Part 1 of this series.
Now, in Part 2, I’m going to reveal how your client’s mindset around your messaging impacts what they need to hear from you to know that you’re the right person for them to work with. The fancy term for this is market sophistication.
Together, these 2 posts will help you lay the foundations for everything you write in your marketing to get your clients to sit up and pay attention.
Sophistication = How tired are people of seeing the same old messages about this kind of service?
By now, you know your product or service like the back of your hand. And you know your market awareness because we covered it in Part 1. So without further ado…
The questions you need to ask yourself to figure out the ‘sophistication’ of your market are:
You’ll fall into this category if you’re an industry leader. You’re solving your dream client’s problems with a completely new offering that’s never been seen before. The problem you’re solving can be a long held one, but the way you’re solving it is totally new & exciting.
There are no others like you (yet). Think: GoPro & Facebook when they first started.
When no one has really seen a product or service like the one before, readers need to know immediately what it is. Copy-wise, this meant that simple, concise, and direct works, especially in the headline. Nothing more is needed because people have no idea what they’re really looking at until they keep reading.
Your innovation is enough to capture attention because you have no competitors (yet). Trying to be creative with headlines or hooks would do a disservice here. Clarity is key when you’re introducing something completely new.
A good example of this is when Apple introduced the iPod with the “10,000 songs in your pocket” messaging. There’s no confusion about what the iPod does or how you benefit from it, even though no one had ever seen or heard of an iPod before.
You’ve already seen that someone has had great success in your niche & now you want a slice of the action. You’re releasing a service that only has one other competitor.
(And that’s fine – don’t let yourself be fooled into believing that all good businesses have to be the first of their kind. It’s ok to let someone else pave the way & prove that an idea works. It means there’s less risk for you when you follow suit.)
Keep in mind that we’re talking about newer products or services, but they can still be in competitive markets, like health or social media marketing. What matters is that your service is the second of its kind, even if your industry has been around for eons.
Show them how your service is better than the one other option out there. Ways to do that:
Showcase how your offer is doing it better, faster, stronger than competitors.
Highlighting some real, measurable difference between your service & your competitor’s service.
Pointing out the benefits of your service.
Making bolder claims about your service (Just like, “Hands that look lovelier in 24 hours – or your money back!”).
Since your service is only the second of it’s kind, it means that there’s only one other source of messaging that you’re competing with. It gives you a lot of room for creativity – especially when you remember that the industry leaders are using clear, precise & concise messing (as mentioned in #1 of this list).
You can get a little more creative and dramatic in your copywriting and headline. Headlines here tend to promise an outcome and a meaty guarantee. Here’s a headline example from a hand cream product: “Hands that look lovelier in 24 hours – or your money back!”
By now, there are lots of other “competitors” out there touting similar products or services to yours – the market is pretty saturated. This is where your audience is getting jaded about all the claims made by the growing number of folks selling variations of the same thing.
The underlying desire or problem that your offer solves is still there – people are still struggling with it & they still want to solve it. But they no longer believe the usual promises that they hear about services like yours.
So, if you’re in a market that is in this stage… are your marketing efforts falling on deaf ears because it’s just like everyone else?
The old promises won’t work as well anymore because they’re overused. You need to separate your service from the rest of the ho-hum crowd & highlight what makes your offer different, better & worth working with. It’s time for fresh, new creative messaging.
Here’s a few ideas on how to do that:
use a headline that immediately captures attention by highlighting what makes your service different from the rest – and HOW it’s different, like “The secret is in the [special feature that your competitors don’t have]“.
use lots of strong testimonials to back up your claims & prove that they’re legit.
emphasise HOW your work is different & better than your competitors. What makes it unique? (You can have more than one unique factor here… the more the merrier.)
If you’re a designer, coach, or healer… do you have a proven framework, methodology or process that you created & use with your customers? Do they get mind-boggling results with it?
If yes, give it a special name and – Voila – you have found what makes you different, better & worth working with. A good example of this is Braid Creative, who have the Braid Method.
Essentially, you’re trying to say: Yes, you’ve seen lots of other services like this one, but this is different. This one is BETTER.
And you need to repeat that messaging over and over and over throughout your sales page.
Your market is now so saturated that variations of the same messages seem to be playing on repeat, like a broken record. And lots of the companies making big claims have products that don’t live up to them – which makes your dream clients wary.
By this stage, your audience has heard the claims & promises made in Stage 3 over and over and no longer trust that those claims are true. They may have even tried some of your competitor’s products & been disappointed.
They have a lot of fear around buying yet another thing that won’t work or doesn’t do what it says it will do.
You want to immediately lower their anxiety and fears around old claims and promises and products they no longer believe in.
This is where it becomes important to use the concept of “Even If…” headlines. Here are some examples:
Struggling to earn the kind of income you want – even though you’re working your butt off?
This course will help you heal your adrenal fatigue – even if you’ve been struggling with it for a decade & have tried everything under the sun.
Finally get the home that you’ve always wanted – even if you have no natural talent when it comes to interior design.
Get the support you need to finally make a profit from your business – even if you’ve already tried 50 billion courses & none of them worked for you.
You can’t rely on promising your service will deliver something specific for your dream client anymore. You need to prove that it does it easier, quicker, better and/or promise extra benefits. It’s time to focus all your energy on breaking down their objections, so make sure you know the objections inside & out.
The cynicism is through the roof. Your audience knows so much about your industry, they will not buy into whatever you have to claim anymore.
You’ve got to put a completely new spin on your work.
It’s time to be innovative, creative, and position the product completely differently than it’s been positioned before. How? By tapping into their emotional desires that relate to your product.
Your strategy should shift from focusing on your features & benefits to empathising with your dream clients. Identify with them.
You need to deeply understand the emotional elements that are driving them. What is really motivating their behaviour, even if they have every objection possible to your service & what it claims? What is their deep driving force?
For example, if you’re a health & fitness coach, your audience might be tired of hearing messages about losing weight, getting fit or being healthier. After finding out more about your dream clients, you might discover that they’re really motivated by wanting to improve their sex life & have their man (or woman) look at them they way he did when they first met.
So you might focus on the words women wish their guy would say about them. You could use those words in your headline. Like: “I can’t keep my hands off of her!” That’s a great headline to connect the offer to having better sex & genuinely tap into your audience’s true motivations.
Having success when your audience is in the 5th state of market sophistication comes down to deeply understanding your audience & their motivations.