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The behind-the-scenes secret to persuasive online copywriting that gets you more clients (stolen from the pros) – Part 1

There is the one simple question you should ask yourself before you spend any money on advertising, take time to write a blog post, or even think about creating a marketing strategy.  This question is so important yet 99% of solo businesses overlook it. Use this one question to transform your bland web copy into a persuasive online copywriting powerhouse.

You might think that mindset is the domain of life coaches and woo-woo lovers (like me). But it’s also an important part of your marketing strategy too. Just not in the way you might think.

Good copywriting means stepping into your dream client’s shoes, picturing what they’re thinking and feeling, then writing words that speak directly to what’s happening in their hearts & minds. Its your key to being persuasive in sales.

And step one of that process is understanding the mindset of your dream clients.

This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. In this post, we’re going to talk about their mindset around your product, service and offering. This is called market awareness.

In Part 2, I reveal everything you need to know about their mindset around your messaging. 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.

The most undervalued secret to online sales. And it’s just one question.

Market awareness =  Do people know this kind of service exists and do they want it?

This idea of ‘awareness’ and ‘sophistication’ of your market was laid down by Gene Schwartz, and is one of the best ways I’ve seen to nail your copywriting strategy – because we all know that copywriting isn’t just about putting pretty words on your website, right? Copywriting is about finding the right words that will get you results & help you achieve your business goals.

By now, you know your product or service like the back of your hand. So the questions to ask yourself to determine your market’s ‘awareness’ are:

1. Do people know what this service is, what it does, and do they know that they want it?

These people don’t need to know anything about your product. They have all the information that they need to know. This is why you see signs that say “Hotdogs, $1.99!”. There is no copy needed to explain. You want a hotdog, or you don’t. You know what it does and what it is without having to be sold on it.

These folks are usually the first to buy, the first to share, and the ones that devour everything you write.

How to hook them:

You don’t need to do too much to hook these peeps because they’re already hooked. They’re your raving fans.

Make sure they know you created this product or service for people just like them. Show your appreciation. But you’ve already done most of the hard labour when you converted them to raving fans in the first place.

2. Do people know of the service, but don’t know what it does, or whether or not they want it?

These people have heard about your offer, but it hasn’t grabbed their attention enough for them to buy it yet – they need more persuading. These people are like your window shoppers. They’re interested, but not quite enough to commit to coming through the doors to finding out more.

You’ve got to pique their interest enough so that they’ll take the next step to learning more about your offer.

How to hook them:

Your web copy & messaging will be focusing on explaining what your product or service includes, what it allows them to do, how it will make them feel, and reinforcing the outcome it provides.

Give them social proof, like testimonials, case studies & past client results. If you don’t have those things, create a free challenge that solves one of their major needs and will prove that your work gets results. Then, offer your product or service for sale at the end of the challenge.

3. Do these people have a want, but simply don’t know this service exists or know what it does yet?

These people are confident that there’s a solution to their problem out there, they are just trying to find the right one. They may know who you are, but they don’t trust you yet because they’re too new to your world. These people may be newest to your community. 

This is a very typical state of awareness for online courses/coaching. For example, someone may want to be surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurial women…but don’t know Marie Forleo’s B School exists. 

They may land on Marie’s website and know that they want what she’s offering, but they don’t know enough about it to buy right this minute.

How to hook them:

You need to persuade them that your offer has been created for people just like them. It’s designed to address their specific and unique need. You need to know their needs inside and out.

They don’t necessarily trust you yet – so don’t go for the hard sell.

Gently move them towards a purchase with multiple blog posts or emails. Each piece of content you write should be designed to address one more objection and make them feel more confident in your offer so they’re just one tiny step closer to buying from you.

4. Do these people have a need, but they don’t see how you can help, yet?

These people know they have a definite need, they just don’t know who you are or what you can do to help them yet. This is common for physical products, like acne solution. They know they need to fix their acne, but aren’t convinced that a particular product or service will truly help them yet.

In the online world, these are the people that land on your site by Googling: “how to fix my ______.” They know nothing about you or your offer. They’re just looking for a solution to their problem and are not in a buying mindset just yet. (Hint: It’s your job to get them into the buying mindset.)

How to hook them:

You’ve got to build their trust, show that you can help solve their problem and educate them about the solutions you’ve got for them. 

Focus on solving their problems. Be helpful. Create content that reveals new tips, ideas or solutions that they didn’t know before finding you, then ask them to subscribe. Slowly prove that you know your stuff with a brilliant autoresponder.

5. Do these people have no idea if they want the product or service (or even if they have a general want that needs filling) and no idea that the service exists?

They may or may not have a problem that your product or service can fix. They don’t know. And if they don’t know, it’s extremely hard for you to figure it out for them. 

This is one of the most difficult states of awareness to tackle, and I can almost guarantee that you’re not in this category (because you’re too smart for that).

How to hook them:

Don’t bother. Move on.

How to describe what you do in one simple sentence

You may wholeheartedly believe in what you offer, but you will only make a difference to the world if others can see that you're what they need to solve their problems. And that is why you need to be able to succinctly describe your unique value.

What do you do?

“Well…um, I guess I, sort of, like… I want to…well….hmm, it’s a little complicated… It’s… kind of hard to describe.”

Can you feel all the eyes in the room rolling over?

People don’t buy what they don’t understand, so it’s important to be able to describe what you do so it’s clear, succinct & memorable.

You may wholeheartedly believe in what you offer, but… @@You’ll only make a difference to the world if others see that you’re the solution to their [email protected]@

And that is why you need to be able to clearly describe your unique value.

Luckily, it’s easier than you may think. And that’s because you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

You don’t need to be witty, clever, whimsical or even original to get the results you want. In fact, messaging that works best is usually the short, sweet & simple kind. 

You need to have a clear, short & memorable response to the question, “what do you do?” Because if you can’t clearly explain it, then no one will know if it’s for them or if they should buy from you.


No matter who you ask, any advice you find on how to tell people what you do will include 3 key pieces of information. 

1. Who do you serve? (i.e. your audience)

2. What problem do you solve? (i.e. your benefit)

3. How do you solve it? (i.e. your most memorable features, process or solution)

These are non-negotiables.

They’re proven to help you craft a clear and meaningful value propositions without having to hire a clever and talented messaging coach, like me.

Let the formula free you from all the ideas that you have swirling around your brain right now. It’ll help you get clear on what makes your business special.


As Albert Einstein famously said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” This is true whether you are a life coach, designer or energy healer.

Your dream clients want to understand what you do — they just need a bit of help from you. That help comes in the form of a simple, clear description. 

Try this simple formula to get you started:

I’m a [job title] who helps / works with / serves / inspires [target market] to [result that you achieve for your clients] through / by / using [tools, methods, teachings, etc that you use to get your results].

It’s a simple, but powerful formula. And it works best when it’s written the way you speak. You know that it still needs work if you feel squirmy when you say it out loud.

Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean you can’t jazz it up. Get creative and move the puzzle pieces around until you find the clearest, most memorable version that will appeal to your dream clients.

Now let’s see some examples, shall we?

How to describe what you do when you’re a coach – 3 examples for the coaching industry

  1. I’m a health coach who works with 20-something professional women to help them feel more confident in their bodies while conquering the corporate ladder by teaching them how to fit healthy eating into their busy lives.
  2. I’m a literary coach who helps passionate soon-to-be authors get unstuck and finally get their books down on paper. I teach mindset strategies to help them overcome their writing blocks and get more writing done in less time.
  3. I’m an accountability coach who works with ambitious entrepreneurs to help you break free of stress & uncertainty to unlock your goals, creativity, & intuition. I help you focus on what really matters and ignore the rest.

How to describe what you do when you’re a designer – 3 examples for the design industry

  1. I’m a web designer who designs for barefoot adventurers. I use my graphic design skills to help them make their business profitable, so they can live their ideal lifestyle. 
  2. I’m an interior designer for zen-loving homeowners who want to achieve peace and harmony at home. I make the design process stress-free by removing the pressure on creating beautiful rooms, injecting bold colour, or being trendy, and just focus on you and your desires. 
  3. I design one-of-a-kind accessories and clothing so that you can express who you are in whatever you wear each day. I bring out the beauty in each person and their unique way of expressing themselves through their wardrobe.

How to describe what you do when you’re a healer – 3 examples for the woo-woo industry

  1. I’m an energy healer who works with entrepreneurs who struggle with their money and abundance mindset. I help clear the unconscious blocks that are stopping them from reaching their revenue goals.
  2. I’m a naturopath who specialises in pre-natal care for mothers who are battling stress and dealing with a new pregnancy. I make sure we’re starting a new life off on the right foot & improving the health of our generations to come.
  3. I’m a kinesiologist who reads the information held in your body to unleash your inner guidance so that you can grow a business that is in true alignment. I serve ambitious entrepreneurs and high achievers who want to run a fulfilling business with deep integrity.

How do you know when you’ve struck gold?

@@You can’t create anything in a [email protected]

This formula is an excellent start, but you need to test out your creation to make sure it resonates with your audience & will get results.

Use this simple formula to get clear on what you do. Then, start using it next time you get asked, ‘what do you do?’ See what kind of response you get.

If the response is a bit ‘blah,’ re-evaluate your message, insert more of your client language and keep perfecting it.

If the response is something like, “OMG my sister totally needs that,” then you know you’ve got something. Your message should make people understand what you do so well that they can visualise who needs it. Look for that kind of recognition when testing your message.

Once you’ve mastered it, it’ll be so much easier for your audience to understand what makes you different, better & worth working with. All of your marketing and self promotional activities will start to resonate more with the right people & you’ll begin to see bigger and better results. 

How to be persuasive in your sales copy (Hint: All good sales copy is stolen)

Sales can be a very scary thing for us heart-centred entrepreneurs, especially if we also happen to be female. “Mummy, when I grow up, I want to be a salesperson,” said no child, ever. You grew up wanting to make a difference & help people.

And most of the traditional salespeople that we’ve encountered (think: used car salesmen) have been overly pushy & uncaring. That’s definitely not who you want to be.

But sales & marketing is how you get your work into the hands of the people who need it most. It’s an important part of running a sustainable & profitable business.

You need to have persuasive sales copy (and sales conversations) so that you can have a positive impact on your dream clients’ lives.

Luckily, you definitely can be a good salesperson & a helpful, caring person at the same time. Best of all, it’s must easier than you think.

Here’s the secret…

All good sales copy is stolen

That’s right: stolen. 

The best sales copy is stolen right out of the mouths of clients.

Whether you’re writing sales copy or having a sales conversation, you get the best results when you use the EXACT words that your clients use to describe their problems.

Let’s imagine that you’re looking to hire a fitness coach & you’ve narrowed it down to 2 possible coaches that you might want to work with.

You’re looking for someone that will help get you fit enough that you can run rings around your children without having to sacrifice too much of your family time to training. This is the main thing in your mind as you browse these coach’s websites.

Potential Fitness Coach Number 1, Jane, has a sales page that tells you everything she can do for you. Then, she ends with, “at the end of our time together, you’ll be fit enough to run about 10kms.”

Potential Fitness Coach Number 2, Sally, also has a sales page that tells you everything she can do for you. But at the end of the conversation she writes, “we’ll do all that so that you get fit enough to run rings around your children without having to sacrifice too much of your family time to training.”

Yes, Sally repeats your exact words & thoughts back to you.

Suddenly, you feel like she really understands you. You feel like Sally is genuinely aware of your needs as a busy mum — and she is. She’s paying such close attention to your needs that she could clearly articulate them & repeat them back to you.

All of a sudden, Sally has blown all her other competitors out of the water.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”

— Ralph Nichols

How to steal words straight out of your clients mouths

It all comes down to listening & recording what you hear.

I use Evernote for this.

(Also, side note: if you want to learn more about how Evernote can streamline your business, I highly, highly recommend checking out this Evernote guide. Not an affiliate link. It’s just plain awesome.)

If you don’t want to use Evernote, you could just as easily use Google Docs or anything else. The goal is to keep it all in one place — it doesn’t matter what tool you use.

I created a folder in Evernote called, “Voice of my customer.”

Let’s say you & I are in the same Facebook group & I see you talking about how much you struggle with writing your web copy. I would immediately take a screenshot of that & save it in my “Voice of my customer” Evernote file.

Like this:

using Facebook to be persuasive in sales

Then, when it comes time for me to write a new sales page, sales email or have a sales conversation, I know exactly what people like you are struggling with. I know what words you’re using to describe your struggles, which means I know what words will resonate with you.

Use this simple trick & you’ll soon have words that are truly attractive to your dream clients, not just some pretty words put together to sound good.

Here’s a little secret about my own business that will help you see how well this works…

This year, ALL of my clients have landed on my website & immediately hired me straight from the sales page.

I didn’t have to get them to sign up for my list. I didn’t need to create a “nurture sequence” to inch them closer & closer to buying from me. They landed on my sales page & BAM! They’re hooked.

What’s more, the feedback that I most consistently hear is that “it felt like your sales page was talking directly to me.”

Because it was.

I pay close attention to my dream clients & the words they use to talk about their copywriting woes.

I use this exact tactic in my own business, as well as sharing it with my clients, because it really works.

Is this one word costing you new clients & thousands of dollars?

This one word tweak can make it seem like hiring you is a no-brainer so that you can get more clients & make more money with no extra effort

People do business with friends. We buy from others that we know, like and trust because risk dominates the hiring decision.

We’re afraid. 

Afraid that you won’t get our vision.
Afraid that we won’t communicate well together.
Afraid that you’ll vanish on us.
Afraid that we’ll spend a bunch of money & not get the results we wanted.

To get the job / win the contract / get hired, you need to show that you’re the lowest possible risk.

That’s why it’s your job to make your clients at ease, make them feel comfortable & confident about hiring you. They want to feel like you care about them, that they have your full attention, & you’re going to help them achieve their business mission.

And there’s one outrageously simple way to start making them feel like you’ve got their back. 

It’s so simple that it’s just one word: You.

Yes, this is simple.  But it really works. ‘You’ is one of the most powerful words you can use in your web copy. Here’s why…

Everyone cares about themselves more than they care about you

The number one thing running through our minds at all times is: “what’s in it for me?” It’s the human condition.

Eat your broccoli. “Why? What’s in it for me?”
Come travelling with me. “Why? What’s in it for me?”
Call your mother. “Why? What’s in it for me?”
Hire me. “Why? What’s in it for me?”

It doesn’t matter what you want someone to do, or how obvious its cool-factor may seem. Their first response will  a l w a y s  be to think about whether it’s worth their effort to do it. Will they benefit from doing it? What will they get out of the experience?

(That’s why all good sales & persuasion material focuses on the benefit to your customer – it inherently answers the “what’s in it for me?” question.)

@@Your job is to tell your brand story in their [email protected]@

‘You’ language shows that the most important person in the business relationship is you, the customer.

All of your copy should focus on your customer. Everything you write should appeal to them & highlight how you can solve their problems. That’s the point of your web copy, & that’s really the point of being in business in the first place.

Solve this problem in 30 minutes flat

Read through your website again & find out how many times you’ve used the words I, me, my, we, us, our. Then, compare that to how many times you’ve used the word ‘you.’ 

Make whatever edits you need to make ‘you’ the most common word on your website. You’ll soon notice how much your words can resonate with your audience when it’s written with a ‘you’ focus.

Because this one-word tweak can make it seem like hiring you is a no-brainer.

The ultimate list of tips to attract more customers to your business (Part 2)

You finally get up the guts to open your own business.  You hang up your shingle, ready for the flocks of customers who will be thrilled to buy from you.  Except...  ... Crickets.  Successful businesses have customers marching through their (sometimes virtual) doors to give them money. It's a simple concept, but can be harder to achieve in reality.  How do you attract more customers to your business?


This is Part 2 of a two-part series. 

The first post focused mostly on things you can do to attract more customers using your website.

But, this week, we’re going to focus on broader things you can do ranging from customer service to asking insightful questions.

So, following on from the 8 tips you’ve already got, let’s get started.

9. Under promise and over deliver

Generosity trumps all the other tactics you could possibly use in building your business. Generosity lets your potential clients see you as a real person that they know, like & trust, instead of some stranger that’s trying to sell them something.

Alexandra Franzen is the perfect example of this.

She has 10,000+ people on her mailing list, works with huge names across the internet & 7-figure businesses. Yet, she still offers really small, intimate workshops for people who aren’t as far along their entrepreneurship journey. Her blog posts are crazy helpful. She has cheap, useful books & guides (under $10) for anyone who needs help, but is on a tight budget.

And a core element of her teachings is to create little miracles. She wants you to think about what would feel like a miracle to your clients.

Then, do that for them.

Alex has built a healthy 6-figure business using this tactic & you can too.

You do not need to be a sleazy marketer to be an online success.

In fact, I think the opposite is true. The more honest and above board you are, and the more you really care and try to provide value for your customers the better you will do. If not in the immediate time frame, then definitely in the long run.

10. Get strategic copywriitng.

There is a big difference between creative copywriting and strategic copywriting.

There’s an avalanche of creative copywriters servicing the female entrepreneur crowd these days. But creative copywriting doesn’t necessarily pay your bills.

Creative copywriting is often focused on making your website seem “sexy” or “seductive” – essentially, it’s just you handing over good money for someone to give you a new way to describe your work.

But how do you know that new way of describing your work will actually resonate with your customers? You don’t. It’s a gamble.

Strategic copywriting looks at who your customers are… what they need / want / desire that you can deliver them.

It’s about doing the research into who your customers really are & how to speak their language so that they know for sure that you “get” them.

Strategic copywriting is about psychology, consumer behaviour & truly understanding how your audience ticks. It’s what persuades people to buy.

Let’s say that 1% of people who make their way to your website decide they want to work with you. Out of 1,000 visitors, 10 people sign up & pay you. It might not sound like much, but that’s actually a pretty good outcome. (Pat yourself on the back.)

Now, imagine this… simply by changing the words on your website, you start to get 2% of your website visitors signing up to work with you.

Now, twice as many people visit your site & agree to pay you for your wisdom & expertise.

In other words, you’ve DOUBLED your revenue practically OVERNIGHT simply through your strategic copywriting – the kind that actually gets your products or services into more hands & makes you money, instead of merely filling the page with prose.

11. Know what really motivates your customer

Generally, your clients or customers will come to you with a project — “I need you to do XYZ for me…” But that’s a red herring.

Your job is to understand The Real Why behind the project. Your goal is to uncover the core truth that really brought this project idea into the client’s mind.

Let’s say that the project is designing a website…

You need to figure out first what’s wrong with their current website. Why do they want to spend more money on a brand new site?

(Hint: it’s not because it’s ugly or out dated.)

If you ask questions & work backward, you’ll soon be able to get them to admit that the problem is not about the look of the site – it’s actually that it doesn’t attract enough customers.

They’ll admit that their gorgeous online store isn’t making enough money to be sustainable, & they blame their website for not getting them the customers they desperately need.

And knowing this gives you a huge advantage over your competition.

Imagine you’re the client for a second. You’re meeting with  2 different designers & trying to decide which one to hire. One designer is busy talking about code, design & copy.

The other designer is talking about how to create a design that will attract more clients, growing your business & helping you recoup the money you invest in them.

Which designer would you choose?

See how valuable it is for your client when you really, truly understand their needs?

By focusing on attracting customers & not the appearance of website, you can deliver a much better outcome for the client.

And they’ll be delighted with the result.

Then, they’ll be raving about you to all their friends & colleagues (which will bring you even more clients).

12. Write stellar proposals

Let’s assume that you have a service based business where clients approach you for a quote and you have to respond by giving them a proposal of what work you’ll do together.

The proposal is the gateway to getting the gig.

So, you have 2 options to getting more clients through your proposals:

  • get more proposals out to more people by churning them out faster

  • write fewer proposals of a higher quality, with a higher chance of persuading your potential client that working with you will be good for their business.

Which would you rather do? The one with less effort & better results? I thought so.

Check out Marie Poulin’s proposal makeover for inspiration on how to spice up your own proposals.

13. PIggyback off someone else

Have you heard of the high-end women’s clothing boutique that piggybacked off BMW’s client list?

They offered a free silk kimono to every female customer of a local BMW dealership. The women had to come into the boutique with a letter sent by the dealership offering the gown as a thanks for buying a BMW.

More than 600 women took up the call, picking up $100 kimonos that cost the store just $16 apiece. Those 600 women spent an average of $400 on other things in the store during their visit.

If you’re not good at math, let me break it down for you: the boutique spent $9,600 &, in return, they got about $240,000 in sales.

Most importantly, it also helped them begin building their own client list.

If you, too, want to piggyback off another business, start by making a list of all the businesses that serve your dream customers.

Then, create a customised offer that you can pitch to each business. Pitch the plan & make sure you highlight the benefits to the host business.

Take it a step further & write a letter for the host’s to use, so that it’s super easy for them to participate. It’ll also help get the ball rolling a lot faster.

Don’t forget to create a strategy to convert redeemers into repeat customers. You want them to take up your offer AND spend more money, so that you can build a longer term relationship with them.

14. Learn to write a great email newsletter

When people sign up to get email updates from you, it’s like they’re raising their hand to tell you, “yes, I’m interested in hearing more from you; yes, I might like to work with you one day.” It’s their first step on the buying journey.

Some people are early adopters and may buy from you the first time they land on your site. Others (like me), like to take their time & want to hear more from you before they buy.

Writing a great email letter (that they open & read) makes you more likely to be at the front of their mind when they’re ready to buy what you sell.

If you want some inspiration on how to write an awesome newsletter, check out Denise Duffield-Thomas and Caroline Winegeart’s Self-Made Society. They’re both completely different & completely awesome. You might find inspiration in them to start writing your own newsletter.

(Caveat: do write one, but don’t actually call it a newsletter. Find something more compelling & persuasive – like Caroline calling hers the Self-Made Society.)

15. Blog more frequently

Every time you publish a blog post & share it around, people come to your blog to read it. Those people might also click around your website & get to know more about you.

They’ll start to learn what you do &, if you keep writing great blog posts, they might even keep coming back for more.

People have repeatedly signed up to work with me 1-on-1 without ever having met me because they’ve come to know, like and trust me through reading my blog posts. And you can get the same effect too.

So, if you’re blogging once a week & you start blogging twice a week, people will most likely come twice as often. You could have twice as much blog traffic & twice as much opportunity to persuade people that you’re an expert that they should work with.

(P.S. This tip comes with a caveat.

Blogging more frequently does not mean doing it everyday. It IS possible to blog too much – meaning, you’re investing so much extra time in it, but not attracting any more readers. Keep an eye on your analytics if you’re worried that you’re overdoing it.)

16. Surprise them

We’re all very internet savvy these days. We use it every day. We’ve seen just about every trick in the book from internet marketers. We’re very conscious when we’re being sold to – and it puts our backs up & our blinders on.

So, if you can find a way to shake up expectations, then you’ll shake off those blinders & get more attention.

For example, just about everyone has a horizontal opt-in box under their website header these days, so we’re starting to glaze over them.

Instead, try a different tactic, like they did on the She Takes on the World website.

The opt-in is prominently featured at the top of the page, but it’s a graphic that looks like real mail. It’s noticeably different to the mainstream appearance of opt-in boxes these days, so it makes you sit up & take notice.

For copywriters, like me, you can switch up the way you describe things on your site. For example, which of these do you think sold more gift cards:

  1. $3 for 8 cards

  2. 300 pennies for 8 cards… which is a bargain!

I wouldn’t have guessed, but it’s actually the second one. It sold double what the first one did.


Because, when you surprise your website visitors, you disrupt the brain’s autopilot & they have less resistance to whatever you’re showing or telling them. (You don’t even need to trust me on this one – it’s supported by research.)

Shake up their expectations & you’ll get more attention, while also lowering the resistance that can often stop customers from buying from you.

The ultimate list of tips to attract more customers to your business using your website (Part 1)

ultimate list of tips to attract more customers to your business

You finally get up the guts to open your own business.

You hang up your shingle, ready for the flocks of customers who will be thrilled to buy from you.


… Crickets.

Successful businesses have customers marching through their (sometimes virtual) doors to give them money. It’s a simple concept, but can be harder to achieve in reality.

How do you attract more customers to your business?

How do you get more people to think of your products and services at the exact time they’re ready to buy?

This is Part 1 of a 2 part series in attracting more customers to your business. All together, these 2 blog posts will make up the ultimate list of tips to attract more clients to your business.

1. Have a website

If you’re looking for more customers, your business needs a website. I thought this one was obvious. That was… until a friend of mine was advised by a fellow business owner that she doesn’t need a website to launch her business. Oh, dear…

What bad advice. Here’s two big reasons why:

Because your customers are online. Over 2.2 billion people are online worldwide. So, it’s no surprise that small businesses with websites have an average of 39% more revenue per year than those without websites (according to the US Small Business Administration).

Because it establishes credibility. When we can’t find a company website it raises lots of questions. Does this company really exist? How legit are they? Can I trust them? People don’t think you really exist unless you have a website.

Twice in the past week I’ve wanted to do business with someone, only to find they didn’t have a website and changed my mind. One was a lawyer, the other was a lawn mower guy. It doesn’t matter how big or little the investment in your services is, having no website is often a big deal breaker.

In fact, 58% of global online consumers said they’re more likely to trust a company with “owned media,” like a website, versus one who doesn’t (Nielsen Advertising Survey, 2012). In other words, if you don’t have a website, you’re probably being overlooked by 58% of your potential clients.

2. Have a good meta description for your website

What’s a meta description, you ask? It’s the little descriptive snippet that appears under your URL in a Google search.

The goal is for it to be an enticing description that the searcher wants to click on to find out more. Ultimately, it’s one important way that you can turn an average Google searcher into a website visitor.

It represents the first touchpoint between your brand & the world.

Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally truncate snippets longer than 160 characters. It is best to keep meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters.

3. Make sure your customers immediately know what you do as soon as you land on a site

This is about your value proposition.

The average person has an 8 second attention span… compared to a 9 second attention span for goldfish (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, The Associated Press).

One top of that, the average page visit lasts a little less than a minute. That means when someone lands on a page on your website, they probably only stay on that same page for 60 seconds or less.

So, make sure that when a visitor lands on your site, they know what you do, what kind of site they’ve landed on, if your site is made for them.

That means, your website headline should never say, ‘Welcome.’

It looks amateurish and it wastes valuable real estate that could be used to grab attention. There’s nothing captivating about ‘Welcome.’

Think about times in real life when you say, “welcome.” It’s always when you’ve already got someone’s attention. When they’ve just walked through the front door of your house. When you’ve just shushed a crowd to start your speech / event.

On your website, you don’t already have your audience’s attention yet.

You need to earn it.

So instead of ‘Welcome,’ it should say something meaningful like:

That gives them everything they need to know.

“I’m Paul Jarvis [who you are].
I create simple, meaningful things – like best-selling books, courses & websites [what you do]
for creative people like you [who this site is for].”

That’s how you get attention from the minute they land on your site.

4. Know your customers. Intimately.

Everything you do should be in the best interests of your customer. That means you need to have a detailed understanding of their needs, wants, problems, hopes, dreams and day to day life. You need to understand where they’re at right now.

  • What is keeping them stuck?

  • What is causing fear or holding them back?

  • How does that manifest in their daily life?

  • Or, what aspirations do they hold for themselves?

  • Where do they really want to be?

  • What would her life look like if that problem was solved for her?

Talk to them. Find out who they are, what they struggle with, how you can help them.

The more you can see your potential customers as real people (not just people that you kinda sorta hope exist), the better you will be able to meet their needs and make them happy.

The more you can see your potential customers as real people (not just people that you kinda sorta hope exist), the better you will be able to meet their needs and make them happy.

And happy customers refer other likeminded people to your business that will probably enjoy working with you just as much as your existing customers..

5. Make sure your customers can find what they need within 2 clicks of a button  

There’s a saying in website design that if you haven’t given them what they want in 2 clicks of the mouse button, then you’ve lost them. (As you now know, we have shorter attention spans than a goldfish.)

We use the internet because it’s fast & easy. When your site navigation doesn’t meet the ‘fast and easy’ criteria, then your visitors click away to another site that is easier to use.

If you don’t give them what they want straight away, they’ll get sidetracked by remembering to hang the washing on the line or screaming children or they’ll find a website that is easier to use.

(Confession: I do this all the time when I can’t find what I’m looking for on a site.)

What does this mean in practical terms?

You need clear and simple website navigation.

If you offer trainings & courses, don’t hide that behind a page called “More Info.” Your visitors won’t know what to expect when they click on that page, so they won’t bother clicking at all.

That page should simply be called “Courses” or “Training.”

Don’t let your poor website navigation help other people land customers. Keep it simple.

6. Make it easy to buy from you

I saw a Work with Me page recently that had decent copy on it… except that it didn’t outline the next steps to working together. I didn’t know how to buy, so I bought nothing.

If you want your customers to visit your bricks and mortar store, tell them that. If you want them to buy from your online store, link to the relevant page on your site. If you want them to email you directly, tell them that and tell them exactly what they need to tell you so that you can suitably answer their enquiry.

Perhaps most importantly, use the squint test.

Look at the page where your customer goes to buy / pay you.

Now, squint.

Can you easily find the payment button while squinting? If no, it’s the wrong size and/or colour.

Make it bigger.

And make sure the button colour is different from your regular brand colours. Red or orange are especially good colours for converting friendly window shoppers into happy, paying customers.

7. Build a referral network

I recently went to get my hair cut at a new hairdresser. Afterwards, I got a plastic card with a barcode on it, like a credit card. It was registered to my name & my account at the hairdresser.

Then, I also got 2 extra cards each with a $20 voucher on them – these were for me to give to other people and were also linked to my name.

So, when my friends uses their referral card, she gets $20 off & the computer pings and recognises that I’m the one that referred her and credits $20 to my account too.

Not only did they give me a reward for referring people, they made it really easy for me to do it. The next time I saw my sister, you bet she got a referral tag.

But how do you implement something like this for your own business?

One easy way is to add this question into the end of your Client Welcome Pack:

“What would you be happy to receive as a personal thank you from me for a referral?”

That way your clients know from the beginning that they should be thinking about other people to refer to you because they’ll be rewarded for it.

For this to work though, you need to clarify what kind of gifts you’re willing and able to offer. You don’t want people asking for a flight to Paris so offer some examples: a bottle of wine, Amazon voucher, Starbucks card, a gift certificate for their favourite store, etc.

It sets the expectation that you want referrals if they’re happy with your work and lets your customers know that there’s a reward if they give you one.

Referral gifts are a great addition to your business. I recently got a referral from Evan Leah Quinn. And since I read her blog, I know she’s a fan of Super Love Tees. So I bought her a gift voucher out of the blue to say thanks – and it made both of us feel really good. She was happy; I was happy that I made her happy.

Now, imagine how many new client referrals you might get if you add that into your regular business practices…

8. Find out where your customers hang out on social media

There are at least 6 major social network platforms around at the moment:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Pinterest
  4. Google+
  5. Instagram
  6. LinkedIn

Real people that you want to serve hang out on these networks everyday.

The question is: which network do your dream clients hang out on the most?

My audience is women entrepreneurs and Pinterest has a huuuuge percentage of women in their social media network. So, I learned what makes a pinnable image and tailored my blog post images to match that. It’s now where most of my traffic comes from.

You don’t need to master EVERY social media platform. Just find 2 or 3 that your customers use most and that you enjoy using to connect with those customers, then stick with those.

If you hate using one of those platforms, it won’t work for you because you won’t put the energy into making it work. You’ll be resentfully dragging your heels every time you log on.

Personally, I hate Facebook with a fiery passion. So… I don’t use it. Controversial, I know. But, guess what? I miraculously still have a business & I still find clients.