How does a conversion copywriter craft broadcast emails?
Well, it depends on whether we’re writing for clients or for our own businesses…
Ask nearly any content creator or copywriter, and you’ll probably discover that the topic of writing our own copy is vexed.
We either wrestle with perfectionism, and self-doubt, or we’re so busy growing our clients’ businesses, we never prioritize our own content.
Nevertheless. Every successful copywriter gets serious about content at some point.
Content IS the path to success, after all. It’s how you get found. It’s how you make an impression. It’s how you nurture the sale.
And email is still one of the most valuable forms of content, from an ROI perspective.
Here, I’ll share my thoughts on broadcast emails as a conversion copywriter…
Plus, I’ll drag out the archives and share every broadcast I’ve ever sent to my own list, from the very first in September 2019 until this week at the dawn of 2022.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why I Send Broadcast Emails (Almost Regularly)
About two or three years into my business, I wrote a $70k promo email for an e-commerce client. It was so simple. There was nothing to it, but the money flowed in.
Yet it took me 5 years in business to finally start building my own list.
When I finally got started, I found that my brain was on fire with ideas and I’d send out broadcast emails weekly.
Then schools closed with the pandemic, and my cadence slowed to once a month.
For a 10 month stretch in 2021, I didn’t send a single broadcast email to my list. Yet the drip email autoresponders went out in the background, justifying my ConvertKit subscription. (Psst. That’s an affiliate link.)
I’m not 100% sold on broadcast emails. Ambivalent.
On the one hand, email sequences or drip autoresponders can be a very solid investment. You write and set them up once, and they nurture a steady stream of leads as long as you like. I’ve left my autoresponders running untouched for a year or more at a time.
Broadcast emails are harder to justify, though they DO have a place.
“…broadcast emails are sent to contacts that have signed up (opted-in) to receive marketing emails from a company. Broadcasts are sent in bulk, but they’re sent in bulk to consenting contacts.
Email broadcasts tend to be:
- High-complaint” (ActiveCampaign, When to Use Broadcast Emails)
Sometimes you have breaking news… you need to drum up business for a special offer… you’ve published new content.
A smart email marketer I know, Allea Grummert of Duett, recommends what I think she calls “endless broadcasts”. Once you’ve written a broadcast, recycle it as an email in your autoresponder.
I plan to do that. But then I thought, why not post these emails to the site?
Tactical Mistakes I’ve Made with Broadcast Emails
Even the best email marketers are improvising.
Your plan will change, your strategy… You’ll have to send “oops” emails. Maybe even apology emails.
The internet will forget. It’s such a sprawling, messy place.
That said, broadcast emails are riskier. You hit send once and everyone gets the message within minutes.
A few tips to avoid regrets with broadcast emails:
- Set your automated emails (drip emails) to send on specific days of the week and only send broadcasts on other days. That way, no one is getting two different emails from you on the same day. (Little thing.)
- Keep your list organized by tags or segments. When you prepare a broadcast email, decide whether there are some segments you want to suppress.
- Make sure your broadcast emails don’t conflict with any drip sequence emails going out simultaneously. Conflicts could crop up in what you’re offering, what you’re discounting, or even in your brand messages.
These are ways to avoid tactical mistakes, which can be embarrassing or inconvenient to clean up.
Not upcycling or recycling broadcast emails falls into the category of tactical mistakes, too. The most successful content creators repurpose everything across platforms.
Strategy & Content Mistakes I’ve Made in Broadcast Emails
1. Writing for the audience I’d acquired, not the business I wanted to build
In my post on lead magnets that convert, I explain how I threw myself into building my list reactively because of an opportunity to get in front of the Copyhackers audience.
However, I didn’t monetize that list-building opportunity because I didn’t immediately create something to sell other copywriters.
To an extent, that doesn’t matter. You just need to get in the email game any way possible (overcome that fear and procrastination) and learn as you go.
In a perfect world, you’ll have a WHY first and connect your email strategy with your most important goals. Because later, when you want to get serious about email marketing, there will be less to clean up if you start with strategy.
2. Writing broadcast emails to vent
Another mistake I made was using email too spontaneously. Specifically, when emotions were high.
It’s true that emotional, personal content CAN BE stickier, more memorable, and more persuasive.
But before you write, ask, “Who does it serve?”
I’ve written broadcast emails while feeling shocked and betrayed.
- Shocked: Once, a startup founder and total stranger flat-out swiped the headline I wrote for a client and threw it on his site. (And bizarrely admitted it, as per the screenshot in an email below.)
- Betrayed: Another time, I found a whole section of my services page on the website of a younger copywriter I’d been trying to help. (She apologized later and it’s over.)
I could go on…
But now I know that everyone who writes original content will have this experience, most likely over and over.
At the time, though…
To process the rage…
To throw down the gauntlet…
Maybe even to prove that I was good enough to be plagiarized…
I wrote about it in my broadcast emails.
Reading them again, I don’t love the haughty tone in my own voice.
And the second time I wrote about it, others didn’t like it either. (More unsubscribed than ever before.)
Maybe the conversation needed to be raised.
Maybe we should talk more in the copy community about ethical lines.
Maybe it could have been a useful intro to share my own values…
But the expression of emotion in broadcast emails should always serve the audience.
Lesson learned: Go ahead and write when you’re on fire with feelings. But don’t hit send until you’re seeing straight.
3. Jamming too many ideas into an email???
You can definitely send roundup broadcast emails, like Peep Laja of CXL does. He’s established a pattern of sending out a summary of what’s on his mind with several links.
Ann Handley does this as well, very amusingly.
I did something in this vein unintentionally.
Often, I’d go too long without writing a broadcast email and had too many ideas. Since I wasn’t sure when I’d have time to write my own emails again, I jammed quite a bit into each.
- Musings on life in general
- A thing you can click
- Another clickable thing
That is my pattern.
I have NO data to suggest that single-minded broadcast emails are higher performing. The reverse might be true because the more opportunities you give people to click, the more they’ll do so.
However, copywriting theory tells us to stick to one idea per email.
When I write sales emails for clients, I certainly get to the point faster and reign in my own verbosity. Maybe I should do the same for myself?
BROADCAST EMAILS FROM THE ARCHIVES
With each broadcast email below, I’ve shared a screenshot of the email performance report.
You may notice that the list is tiny, but compared to average email marketing campaign stats, the open and click-through rates are super high.
While people engage and take action on my broadcast emails… They also opt-out at rates around 1%. (Where 0 people unsubscribed, I didn’t include the stat.)
I’d like to get that unsub rate down to under 0.5%. But I predict the number will drop when my list reflects my tighter positioning (DTC conversion copy & brand messaging).
Without further ado…
Please scroll down to read the complete archive of broadcast emails from Conversion Copy Co, in reverse chronological order…
Subject: 7 Tips for Writing a Brand Manifesto
January 8, 2022
We’re all a little squirrely these days, am I right?
Ready to burst out and mingle our humid plumes with others and be on with it.
It’s what I tell myself while I patiently wait to see my work go live in a big website launch.
After copy, there’s design and custom coding.
Integrations and automations.
Permissions from Very Famous Clients to use their case studies and testimonials.
So, I am DELIGHTED that a website I wrote last summer is now live: https://uxreactor.com/
It may be the last full conversion copy project I do for a new B2B client. (Read more about why here.)
From website copy to lead magnet, case studies, and emails, it was the complete package.
And I am so proud of the team.
The design, the marketing strategy, the technical execution… 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
Difficult, for sure, but I’ll tell you what was fun:
Writing the brand manifesto.
My copy friend prompted this exchange:
I joke, but all of this is true.
And yet I’ll do it again, not because I’m a masochist…
But because sometimes a brand’s “WHY” can’t be contained in a purpose statement.
Some brands have a manifesto within that’s waiting to be written.
The most potent expression of your reason for being.
The white-hot insight into what must change.
And also an invitation to your audience to see with new eyes and to choose change, too.
As your clients. As your customers. As your raving fans because your brand revealed a soul behind your sales copy.
That’s a conversion.
You don’t need to be the Sierra Club to have a manifesto. You don’t even need to call it a manifesto or give it a full page.
But you do need an original, provocative idea that ties together:
➤ “Here’s why things can’t stay the same” +
➤ “Here’s how we’ll escape the status quo together”
Have a brand manifesto within? Know someone who does?
This brand manifesto service is being sold by word of mouth. There’s no sales page yet.
And though it’s a tool of conversion + branding, it may develop a life outside of Conversion Copy Co.
If you have questions about ⬆️ or about conversion copywriting, hit reply or explore ways we can work together.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: NEW guide to conversion copy services for 2022
December 7, 2021
Thanks for being here for the occasional email this year:)
2021 was evidence of the fact that business is bizarrely elastic.
But energy and creativity?
Those do not stretch.
Without a surplus of time, the spark that fuels content creation starts to sputter.
And rather than let down clients by saying, “I’ve got nothin’,” I shut down Conversion Copy Co’s marketing.
Hung up a “waitlist” sign on the website.
And conserved energy to deliver for existing clients.
It was a useful exercise, to pause.
Because it gave me time to finally narrow my focus and choose a niche that feels specific enough:
Brand messaging & conversion copy for premium B2C e-commerce brands
Companies making better products, a better way.
I’m bursting to share more of the WHY…
But for now, I simply want to leave you with a NEW guide to Conversion Copy Co’s services.
Please feel free to share it with anyone you know who’s a fit. (And thank you for that!)
Or send them to the updated site, with a few new positioning cues like this.
Shein, your days are numbered:)
Alright, hit me with any news on your end — I’d love to hear from you.
And thank you, once again, just for being here.
All the best over the holidays,
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: 🤦 I sat on this for 2 years!
Do you have “that thing I didn’t do” regrets?
I have a few.
One was not climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with my 68-year-old father this past September.
Another is not having published this post for Copyhackers two years ago when I initially wrote it.
It was uncharacteristic. I’m a sucker for sunk costs and so I get shiz to the finish line. Typically.
So, what happened?
The post was 90% publication-ready in early 2020. There were just a few comments from Joanna Wiebe and some images to gather… And then I let myself get derailed by self-doubt.
At the time, I didn’t know any other conversion copywriters who were mapping out a process for brand messaging.
I’d had to figure it out — painfully — by piecing together what I learned from a P&G consultant (as detailed in the post) with the conversion copywriting process.
And it was tiring. I constantly second-guessed myself.
So, I hit pause on the final 10% and let this post lay fallow for two years in my Google drive.
Why did I finally bring this post ↓ to the finish line, albeit on my own site?
(Little too late to drop Jo a line and say I’m ready.)
One, I spent the last two years listening to the increasing buzz around brand messaging.
As you may know, Peep Laja of CXL has been a very strong voice on this topic…
And I can almost trace the thread of his thinking from conversion rate optimization to an obsession with differentiation.
Because it very quickly becomes clear that for some clients, minute optimizations will never fix the fundamental problem.
Changing the button color or using a different copy formula isn’t going to solve those bigger brand problems:
Not being distinct.
Not being memorable.
Not seeming coherent.
Hearing Peep say it gave me confidence. I’d landed on an important problem, at the very least — one that’s not by any means exclusive to small brands.
For example, there’s this DTC mattress brand. I happen to know they’ve been working with one of the top conversion copy teams in the world. And yet…
I’ve visited that mattress site dozens of times, admired the copy, and still could not find a good reason to buy from them instead of from the competitors.
I’d be willing to bet it’s not the copy team’s fault. My guess is that the mattress company refuses to take a risk on differentiation… and as a result, their brand messaging might as well be non-existent.
I get it because I’ve been like that for years, too — hesitant to take a risk on differentiation.
Which brings me to Radical Differentiation — specifically, as taught by Louis Grenier on CXL.
I finished it last night and it’s the missing link. It’s the validation I needed to finally publish my post… but it’s also what was missing from my thinking.
Grenier has developed a much clearer, more step-wise path through the messy, painful, research-based process of differentiation.
Everyone in marketing should take this course. If you’re a copywriter, have your clients take it. If you hire copywriters or brand strategists, take this course before you hire again. It’s what I’d call a pre-req to brand messaging and will certainly become a core part of my process.
And for the first time in ~2 years, I feel excited about brand messaging again.
What about you? Hit me with your thoughts on any of the above. Regrets, messaging, mattresses.
I’d love to hear from you.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: New(ish) on the site + what’s next
February 8, 2021
Hello [FIRST NAME GOES HERE],
This is a good day.
Because for the first time in almost two months, schools are OPEN!
Across town, corks are popping as I write.
It’s also the first day my partner physically makes an appearance in his new law firm’s office, wearing very adult shoes. We took photos.
Amazing how a pandemic makes the simple extraordinary.
Speaking of which, it’s been heads down here all 2021.
But I’ll share something interesting:
Each time the pandemic has closed schools and my time has been cut in half…
I’ve despaired for one hot mo — then managed to get 2x the work done.
Client work, that is.
When time expands, I get comfy and hire myself, investing in my own content.
For your viewing pleasure, here are the latest upgrades on the site:
Revamped key service pages design
Buh-bye DIY design. Hello to a better look for these old pages:
- The Copy Audit & Optimize Treatment: an audit, but with conversion research + optimization of key copy
- Conversion-Optimized Brand Messaging: the “Conversion Copy DNA” package I’ve been flogging for some time
- Conversion Copywriting: straight-up conversion copywriting, as taught by Joanna Wiebe
Upgraded the blog design
Instead of the off-the-shelf WordPress blog, we have a new UX — it’s more like a library, so you can self-serve.
If you click under the search bar, you can see the category landing pages, which make me so, so happy.
You might notice that brand messaging isn’t something conversion copywriters usually write about…
It became my thing after working with a P&G consultant in 2016 to reposition a client’s brand. (Here’s a very long interview on that topic.)
I took the methods of conversion copywriting and merged those with the positioning and brand messaging strategies major CPG brands use.
Lately, I’ve noticed these ideas getting traction elsewhere… In surprisingly verbatim ways.
But to really get the HOW, you need deep practice. Interested in learning? Reach out. I may put together training.
(With the caveat of the year, of course: “We plan, God laughs,”)
Alright, back to the champers. 🥂
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Note to self: just hire specialists (here are 32+)
January 4, 2021
Happy New Year from the grey and chilly outskirts of Toronto!
Wherever you are, I hope you and yours are well.
If your first Monday of 2021 is mayhem, skip to the goods: this mega-post on 7 Conversion Marketing Specialists You Should Hire.
(Bookmark it for future referrals and hires.)
As with every single post I write, the impetus for this was to solve a very specific problem.
In this case, the problem of a) not referring out often enough, and b) not hiring specialists in my biz as often as I should.
Let’s talk about part B.
If you are:
- A perfectionist (“But what if they screw it up?”)
- Even slightly impatient (“Waitlist? This’ll just take me a ‘mo”)
- Curious with a jill-of-all-trades bent…
Then you, too, may know the DIY siren call.
The “Ooh, this is different and how hard can it be?” appeal of work just outside your zone of expertise.
I, for example, have a weakness for SEO…
Which sometimes leads to moments like this.
Like the time in 2020 when I de-indexed my site. For three months.
It was a slap-in-the-face reminder: specialization wins every single time.
And so, in 2021, my top resolution is to revere specialization above all business things.
a) Saying no to work outside my specialization (I.e. “just fixing up headlines” when a brand can’t do conversion research)
b) Becoming more specialized about the brands we serve (WIP)
c) Squashing that urge to DIY (exercising more patience, more humility)
A while back I put out a call for submissions to this post.
And all profiles will potentially make it to a post — but not necessarily THIS post.
As I shaped the post, I decided to optimize for “conversion marketing” — this time around.
(Psst. If I emailed you with a question on your submission, I need that answer before I can decide where to include you.)
Now, to bring this back to specialization:
The biggest challenge in writing this post was extracting the “discipline for market” from each submission.
“Discipline for market” is a term Blair Enns uses in his excellent work for agencies. It’s a mnemonic device to solve for specialization.
Without thinking too hard, anyone who knows of your services should be able to say WHAT you do for WHOM.
It wasn’t always easy to discover in profiles — and I fully empathize because I’m guilty of not getting specific enough on the latter.
Often it’s because I can’t say no without offering some kind of help.
But moving forward, I’ll be pulling from this list to make referrals when I know someone else can do the job better.
I hope it comes in handy for you, too.
All the best,
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: All I wanted was a toque (Allea Grummert on better emails)
December 2, 2020
[FIRST NAME GOES HERE]
In case you don’t speak Canadian, this piece of high-fashion outerwear is what we call a toque.
And well-worth the online hunt.
But I’m not a bloody mountaineer.
I don’t have endless requirements for -30°C outdoor gear.
Which means I don’t need two emails per day from said purveyor of fine woolen toques.
Who else is feeling this? ✋🏾✋🏼✋
In the aftermath of the most intensive email onslaught of the year, let’s talk about doing email marketing right, shall we?
It’s a challenge I haven’t fully solved in my own business…
Which is why I send email rarely.
(Under our toques, we’re naturally reserved like that 😉)
If you, however, want to send a lot of email…
Because more email generally DOES mean more sales…
Then you’ll want to check out what my friend Allea Grummert has to share.
(It’s essentially a free mini-course in email relevance – complete with some killer swipe emails you can use right away.
So, even if you don’t have bandwidth for it today, grab what she’s giving away and file it for the asap list.)
Allea (pronounced like “Allie”) is an email marketing strategist, conversion copywriter and founder of Duett.
She helps online business owners make a killer first impression through welcome & nurture sequences that engage readers, build brand loyalty and optimize conversions for sales and site traffic.
She’s also a PRO at making the tech side of email marketing easy to understand, so you can maximize what you’re already doing for email marketing in a way that boosts conversions — for sales, site traffic and overall list engagement.
I’ll let Allea take it from here…
I get it, the tech side of email marketing can feel intimidating.Hi hi, hello!
You’ve heard you should set up opt-in forms, use subscriber tags or segments, send newsletters, and create automations to boost email traffic and conversions back to your site or to your products…
But you don’t have the skillset (or time!) for that — so instead you just keep working with what you have and crossing your fingers that your email set up is operating as it should be…
While you may either be ignoring your email marketing — or on the flip side, eager to grow your email list and experiment with new funnels, pitches or products…No worries, though! I love the tech side of email marketing — including all those things up ^^^ there.
I want to ask you to take a brief “stop” to take a look at some of the fundamentals of email marketing: your subscribers tags and how your list is segmented.
Instead of trying something completely new, I suggest you make a few simple changes to your existing sequences.
Changes that could positively impact your conversion rates in significant ways (I’m talking about a boost in sales or traffic!).
Because, let’s be honest… crossing your fingers isn’t a super-helpful strategy to actually improve email conversions.
Lucky for us, we can boost these rates simply by focusing on tags and segmentation.
I’m going to assume you don’t spend all day in email marketing platforms like I do, so first…
A little terminology refresher:
Tags allow you to monitor and track the activity of each of your subscribers, so you can personalize their email experience based on their unique engagement.
Segments are developed using tags to identify and group like subscribers into smaller subsets of your whole email list.
Personalization is more than adding someone’s name to an email — it’s about sending subscribers relevant content (including your offers!) based on their subscriber journey, their interests, their skill level or other distinguishing factors.
Personalized content performs better than generalized emails, because it allows you to really speak to a subscriber’s needs and desired outcomes.
This matters, because by using segmenting and tags to personalize the email experience for each of your subscribers:
- You keep readers happy by sending them content that’s relevant to their needs. Happy readers stick around longer, which means fewer readers unsubscribing.
- Subscribers are more likely to engage with your content or click through to your site. In fact, according to a report from Lyris, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists had higher open rates.
- Segmented, personalized offers, could lead to an increase in sales. The same Lyris report saw email marketers who segmented their lists increase sales by 24%.
I set up segmentation for my clients all the time, because especially as you introduce yourself to new subscribers through welcome and nurture sequences, it’s important to maximize your best content, pitch offers to relevant segments of your list, and provide a way for subscribers to learn about your free content and paid offers.
When you personalize your subscriber’s journey using tags, you’re more likely to see higher click through and conversion rates because subscribers engage with content and offers that align with what they’re interested in.
How Allea? How do I do it?!
When it comes to email marketing, you can boost your engagement and revenue simply by changing just a few small, yet significant things about how your email list operates by using tags.
If those three strategies have left you scratching your head — or have encouraged you to see what’s possible — I have a resource for you!
Click here to get my free guide with even MORE tagging strategies and behind-the-scenes video tutorials to help you make it happen. To learn more about how you can use tags to implement conversion-focused strategies that boost your sales and revenue, list engagement and brand loyalty both now and for years to come…
Inside this guide, you’ll get insight on how to use tags to:
- Ask your subscribers to self-segment and lead themselves into a relevant nurture sequence
- Avoid sending subscribers irrelevant content
- And more!
P.S. This resource includes 6 tech tutorial videos to show how these strategies work in action (no stone left unturned!). So if you’re ready to see what’s possible for YOUR email list, get the guide and behind-the-scenes tutorials here!
Subject: This one is for marketing service providers (I’m building a referral list)
November 18, 2020
Does this happen to you?
Someone asks if you know an x (specialist) for y (market).
And you draw a total blank.
Search? It only works if sites are optimized.
LinkedIn? Those profiles are only searchable to a point.
It’s frustrating for everyone and I want to change that.
So, I’ve decided to create a) an internal database with profiles and b) a mega-post on my site listing “conversion marketers”, including:
- Other copywriters
- Designers and developers
- PPC specialists
- Social media specialists
- Email automation specialists
- Content writers
If you’re one of the above (or a service provider I’ve missed)…
And if you’re open to more referrals + potentially a backlink from my site, please fill in this profile form.
(It’s a Google form. If you have any issues, please hit reply.)
To be clear: there will be no referral fees requested. No kick-backs or dodginess of any kind. Just good biz karma creation.
Also, please feel free to share the link – with discretion.
The higher the quality of the submissions, the faster it will be for us to put together a mega-post with profiles.
Because of course, we will be screening profiles and making the final call on which to feature.
But it’s my mission to make as many perfect connections as possible. Help me out?
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Advanced email strategies & recommendations
October 5, 2020
Between writing websites, sales pages and a brand copy playbook…
The past few months, we dug into creating some very fun email sequences.
And it occurred to me:
Getting to the point where advanced email automation strategy is FUN took some time.
A handful of courses were instrumental:
- Copyhackers 10x Emails (more SaaS-oriented)
- Copyhackers 10x Launches, geared to the course-creator/coach and including the legendary “coaching the conversion” techniques by Ry Schwartz
- Brennan Dunn’s Mastering ConvertKit – technically intimidating but this man is an email strategy genius
- Tarzan Kay’s Email Stars, which is a simpler launch/course creator program but very approachable with some solid advice (take it if you want shortcuts to smarter email marketing)
In the midst of living and breathing email copy for clients, I took a huge leap into the unknown of affiliate marketing with my own content.
Together with my email friend, Allea, I created this post on ConvertKit for bloggers – very much geared to the solopreneur who’s on the fence about email or doesn’t know where to start.
Check it out if that’s you.
Heads up: Allea will also be popping into one of my future emails to talk tagging and segmentation to boost email conversions.
It’ll be a treat. Everything Allea creates makes the complex simple and systematic. She’s one to watch if email is your thing.
Final note: To see some of my launch emails live, sign-up for the Win Without Pitching workshop waitlist.
If you’re a B2B service provider, Blair Enns will change how you think about positioning, selling and pricing forever.
That’s it for the reco’s today.
I’d love to hear what you’re doing with email and your own go-to resources. Hit reply to share!
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Since you checked out my Tutorial Tuesday…
September 30, 2020
Note: This one I obviously only sent out to subs on my list who came through the Copyhackers webinar. (People I know are interested in conversion copy research.)
You know what’s funny?
Search volume for “conversion copywriting” is just a wee trickle in the universe of search.
I thought it was huge.
Because I live in a bubble.
Within that tiny universe is an even tinier one: those conversion copywriters who legitimately love voice-of-customer research.
Apparently, you are one.
Because you downloaded my stuff from the Copyhackers Tutorial Tuesday sexily titled, How to Write a Long-Form Sales Page Using Survey Data.
Since you were down for that wild ride, I thought you might like to check out the latest thing I’ve created on this topic.
It started as a website clean-up task and ended up as an epic how-to post on VoC copywriting research complete with links to my own templates, including interview scripts.
Because I couldn’t stop myself:)
You might not need this at the mo, but if research is still in your wheelhouse, grab the templates and pass the link on to anyone grappling with the beast that is VoC research.
(Excuse the blog post headline. It’s for SEO. But I made up for it with over a dozen gifs.)
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Skip this unless you sell online programs
August 17, 2020
Quick one, because it’s a Monday in the dying days of summer here and nobody needs another email:)
I’m guilty-as-charged of having published general musings…
But the most-read content on my site is always the most practical. The ‘notes to self’ I write as reference guides so that next time, I can get x done faster.
And it’s to that end I bring you the latest post.
If you need to brief a copywriter to write your new course sales page with minimum frustration…
And the fewest number of back and forth emails…
If you are a copywriter for course creators, and you’ve written the “here’s what I need from you” email too many times…
Then my most recent post could be for you.
Already nailed down your course launch systems? Please share this with someone else who isn’t there yet.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: How to get/give a good copywriting brief
July 5, 2020
The key to copy that sells is insight.
Some of that insight exists inside the company… and some of it we have to go out and find, in the market.
This copywriting brief sets out the questions you’ll need answered – or need to answer for your copywriter – to even begin writing copy that taps into your ideal buyer’s motivations and moves them to the next most valuable action.
I love this list because it reveals just how much goes into the work of conversion copy.
Let me know your thoughts.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: How we differentiated this agency in a same-again, same-again market
June 27, 2020
Subject: Keys to Conversion Summit (Reboot)
May 22, 2020
Just a quick heads-up. If you’d love to tap into some of the best advice in conversion optimization, free, you can do so from May 25th to May 31st.
The Keys to Conversion Summit that launched live in January is getting a reboot. That means all of the speaker talks are wide open.
Tap into talks by 45 expert speakers to learn how to…
✔️Develop your brand voice and build trust among a community of raving fans
✔️Establish your authority with content that generates a constant flow of traffic
✔️Drive revenue with emails, landing pages, & sales pages optimized to convert readers to buyers
✔️Build your list and sell to a consistent source of qualified leads through email marketing
Scroll down past Joanna Wiebe and just a few others and you’ll find my talk, too.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: ALL the things since April
May 12, 2020
It’s been over a month since I sent out the sales page blueprint post…
And then, hit pause.
Maybe like you, I just took another PT job. Grade 1 and 3 teacher, in my case. The kids are wild. Luckily, there are only two.
But a few things to share in the content department.
1. We launched our shop 🎉 🥂
And the first live product is The Website Copy Framework.
It’s for you if you:
a) Need to write your own website copy
b) Plan to hire out the writing but want to control and define the messaging strategy
c) Are a writer but new to website copy; you just need a straightforward guide and process to use with clients
We had some fab initial feedback from web designers and developers who say the #1 challenge they face is getting clients to deliver their copy. The WCF will help.
If you know someone who needs this, please share and pass on the launch discount code, INSIDER50, for 50% off.
I’m working on a coaching package to support the WCF so it’s a done-with-you solution. Hit reply if you need that and we can schedule a time in June.
2. This ranked really fast 📈
This post on gathering your copywriting brief shot to the top of page one in a matter of days of publishing.
I’m not an SEO writer but there are a few on-page practices I always apply (covered in The Website Copy Framework) and they often just work, quickly. Connecting that to a conversion strategy is a whole other topic…
But for now, there’s a Google doc briefing template link in this article. Just make a copy in your own drive to use it yourself.
3. I’m still banging the messaging drum
When COVID hit, I thought all strategic work would go with it.
I’ve come back around. You just can’t skip the strategy because copy won’t sell unless you know the value prop, the most important benefits, proofs, and more.
So, either we absorb that thinking as part of our copywriting (and feel the pain) or we make it explicit. Strategy first.
Here’s a post on why brand messaging still matters.
And here’s how to create your Conversion Copy DNA. (If you have the downloadable guide, you have this already.)
Case in point: last week I wrote an emergency fundraising long-form landing page in about 2 hours, late at night, drained of the powers to stay awake, let alone write. But I got it done in one shot.
It was only possible because we’d already done the client’s Copy DNA. That last-minute page is converting now at ~17%.
Save time, save money, do strategic messaging first.
That’s it for now. I hope that wherever you are, you’re safe and coming through the other side.
On hope: Conversion copywriting wouldn’t be what it is if decisions were rational – a dark thought – but we also know that with 10x persuasion, good ideas can win.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: the sales page blueprint I used to write for Copyhackers
April 4, 2020
How are you doing? If you’re like me, life got crazy three weeks ago.
In the meantime, I coped by obsessively consuming enormous amounts of information in an unrealistic attempt to predict the fallout. For everyone in the entire world. For the next five years.
But I go through the exact same process with copywriting.
Each time, I need to know all the theory. Everything about the customer.
Especially if the stakes are high, as they were this past week when I wrote a sales page for an influencer whose work I deeply respect…
Meanwhile Covid was completely (permanently?) changing the context in which we sell.
And the timelines were tight.
And the client wasn’t sure we should run with a Copyhackers-style sales page.
But constraints are sometimes just what we need.
I went back to the outline I created to write the Copyhackers 10x Facebook Ads course sales page and I made fast decisions about what could work now, given what we know and what this client would accept.
Speaking of time…
Yesterday, I got a sales email opening with this amazing sample of copy unhinged from reality:
Since when has Covid has opened reservoirs of leisure for entrepreneurs?
Chances are, either you’re:
- homeschooling on top of your regular job
- scrambling to pivot in your business & shift your messaging
- one of the lucky few whose businesses are now in huge demand because of Covid
- looking for an entirely new source of income because the rug has been pulled out completely
Like me, you now need to get everything done in less time…
Even though it felt like there was no time before.
And so, to do my small part, I’ll be focused on creating more practical, more actionable content, as I hope this is.
That’s all for now, but I’d love to hear what’s going on in your world.
As soon as possible, I’ll write a debrief of what I learned spending two days optimizing landing pages with MECLABS earlier in March… little did I know it would be the last in-person meeting I’d have in a very long time.
Conversion Copy Co.
March 8, 2020
[FIRST NAME GOES HERE],
I’m writing this on the flight back from MECLABS, the day I realize I sent out broken links.
If you clicked those to find my 404 page…
- Here’s the post on testing and validating your message
- And here’s the interview with Suzie Yorke on positioning
New thoughts on these topics coming soon, with a MECLABS spin.
But first, a shout out to all of you women out there and those who love women. I came across these photos in a gallery in St Augustine, Florida… a place where you’re just as likely to see signs with messages of only slightly veiled intolerance. It was beautiful.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: testing vs. being pulled in all directions
March 7, 2020
Subject: How sure do YOU need to be about what makes your brand different?
February 29, 2020
Hey [FIRST NAME GOES HERE],
If you’re not sure how your brand should stand out…
Who you’re for…
And why they should choose you…
Here’s what I wish I’d done multiple domains ago when I started running ads to my “freelance writer” site.
Set aside 80 hours.
Two full weeks of research and ideation.
Because that’s the minimum time it will take to get to a solid brand idea.
(Aka an expression of how the brand is different and better for a very specific audience.)
And testing will probably take much longer.
I WISH it didn’t take so long. But I’ve seen it take longer… with questionable results.
Sometimes brand owners spend weeks in self-discovery packaged as brand discovery programs. They’re told to look deep within for their brand… only to emerge with an idea that does not sell.
Or they spend months and tens of thousands in agency creative.
Creative is glorious – it’s the spark that transmits the idea. But IDEA is the key word. And ideas come from immersing yourself in the research, as per Ogilvy.
So, yeah, lots of work.
You might be wondering, is it absolutely essential to know your brand’s “different and better” now?
It depends on how much you can afford to risk.
For copywriters, as long as we’re profitable enough to stay in business, we can rewrite our messaging at any time. And it’s relatively easy to adjust offers.
But if you have to sink costs into your product dev or marketing now, this question can be truly urgent.
Because it’s the hook for all of your marketing messages. And knowing your “different and better” also informs photography, web design, packaging…
You really have to get it tight + compelling enough to sell… EVEN IF it’s not forever.
A minimum-viable message that sells gets you to the next phase of discovery.
The more value and obvious uniqueness you can pack into the expression, the more you separate your brand from commodities… which means you step serenely out of the pricing wars.
Case in point: I was shopping for a monthly WP maintenance package. One package was $60/month, the other started at $250/month… with no message to back the premium price point.
Guess which one I chose?
But you could not claw my hands off my credit card each time Copyhackers launches a new course.
So, the urgency also depends on how long you can keep leaving money on the table.
Alright, your turn now. Tell me, how are you or your clients working through this challenge?
P.s. I’ve finally added a page to the site explaining this process and my signature service: creating brands’ Conversion Copy DNA. (The essential set of messages every brand needs – optimized to convert.) Would love to know what you think and any questions you may have. Honestly.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: POV, experience or 1 of 2 ways to niche?
February 16, 2020
As a copywriter, this question can become an obsession.
Because as we work on client copy, we realize how essential it is to nail the answer to, “How are you different or better?”
But most of us – copywriters and our clients – don’t know for sure, without reservations or doubts.
It was my #1 preoccupation for years. All I wanted was for some guru with a bird’s-eye view of the market to see into my core and tell me the ideal-fit niche.
Maybe you’ve felt the same?
Of course, that fantasy never transpired. And the nagging question didn’t go away.
So, I grilled experts and turned to great books, like Positioning, Obviously Awesome, Beloved Brands. (Have I missed one? Send your reco’s.)
And I narrowed it down to the 4 ways almost any brand can be different or better.
(Even if you’re not the biggest, the oldest, the most popular.)
You can think of these tactics as each targeting an unsolved problem… that might not be immediately obvious.
#1. Have a unique point of view. Be polarizing, tell a new story, use a tone and voice that are unlike the rest.
A memorable POV (tightly connected to what your audience needs to hear) can buy time while you develop something substantively different. Or it can be layered on another market advantage for extra oomph.
The problem this brand solves? “No one really resonates with me/my values.”
#2. Innovate on customer experience. As in, deliver in a way that solves unmet needs.
Be faster, more convenient, ultra-premium, or simpler. Important to note: today, just being ‘really good on customer experience’ isn’t enough to differentiate.
The problem this brand solves? “No one delivers my dream experience.”
#3. Niche vertically. Hone in on a segment that shares certain psychographics or needs.
This is a smart way to get traction with a small marketing budget. And you can test niching funnel by funnel to see which audience works best.
The problem this brand solves? “No one knows my business/me well enough.”
#4. Create a signature product or service. Either have a super-specialized process (the second way to niche) or innovate to create something new. Ultimately, this is where I landed.
The problem this brand solves? “I need an expert or specialized product for this specific thing…”
Brands combine these elements all the time. Once you start noticing, you can’t stop.
In fact, here’s a fun game. Hit reply with examples of brands that successfully combine any of 1-4. I can publish a compilation of your replies.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: People will remember you for 1 to 3 things
February 8, 2020
I was at a Christmas party talking to a spy.
And after running into a conversational dead-end trying to dislodge Canadian intel secrets, I admitted to a recurring ‘my life as an international spy’ fantasy.
Probably has a lot to do with Keri Russell. (And completely contradicts my radical pacifism.)
Here’s why: people routinely forget meeting me.
Does this happen to you?
Me: “Yeah, we met in October 2018. How’d it go with that gestalt therapy?”
Other person: “Wow… yeah… ” (Zero recall.)
Happens all the time.
So, what’s going on here?
This is a gross simplification, but here’s one theory.
You have to TELL people what they should remember about you. Knowing full well, they’ll probably remember 1 – 3 things.
And in the online world… where our networks are stretched thin, we have to be a lot more strategic about how we’re remembered.
Take Tarzan Kay for example.
You might think, she’s just too much! Too much personality.
But who’s going to forget the name and the image of her in a purple 80s prom dress hamming it up with a pile of dollar bills?
Only, guess what?
Tarzan’s offers aren’t primarily around money mindset or management.
She wants to be known for email and recently admitted that her site wasn’t aligned.
That’s why you don’t see the money splashed everywhere as of late.
She’s refining her positioning – which is hard.
And it’s probably harder if you, like me, prefer to be the forgettable person whose secret weapon is disarming people into disclosing everything while dripping out only the fewest possible personal details.
But you know what?
I bet that spy now remembers me as the ridiculous Keri Russell wannabe.
Actually, his follow-up comments were, a) No, people would definitely guess you are a spy, and b) we’re hiring, interested?
So, what are the 1-3 things you want people to remember about you?
(In business, I mean… but crazy personal details are always welcome.)
I will read and file away every response. Because when it comes time to give a referral or consult an expert, making that instant memory connection is invaluable.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Flint’s Southern charms and how to run a kick-off
January 30, 2020
It pains me to say this because I’m such a superfan. But before there was Copyhackers there was MECLABS.
Somehow, I never ended up in Flint McGlaughlin’s funnels, but my client just hired him! The man himself!
Today we met in a kick-off call… which should be of interest if you’re in the business of providing expert services.
We’re all heading down together to Florida to work with Flint at MECLABS Institute this March.
Without revealing my client’s investment, the two days with Flint surpass my yearly training budget BY FAR. So I’m paying close attention. And I’ll be documenting as much as possible about the process.
If you’re interested in landing pages and value propositions, more to come…
Alright, signing off. Send me your Jacksonville recommendations if you’ve been. Crazily enough, I had just added St. Augustine to my travel list this year!
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: No such thing as a copywriting emergency
January 21, 2020
Imagine you’re sleeping…
(Just ignore the time on this screenshot.)
And suddenly your phone makes a panic-inducing fire alarm sound at top volume, accompanied by this text:
Followed a bit later by this “the thing we said wasn’t an emergency really isn’t an emergency” text.
Issued with another the-world-is-absolutely-ending sound.
Facebook that day was exploding with sarcastic “marked safe” memes.
At least a quarter of the province was having an apoplectic fit – based on my sweeping assessment of personality type distribution.
But can you imagine the employee who hit SEND on those? That’s the story I want to hear.
For the rest of us…
Anything that goes “wrong” in copy can be fixed and forgotten.
And thank goodness.
Because when you hand over your client’s brand messaging – their “Conversion Copy DNA” – you open up more room for, erm, creative interpretation.
Because suddenly they’re empowered with the messages and they get the WHY.
And that’s a good thing.
But they also have to know what messages to put where.
And that does take copywriting training.
The other week my Copy DNA client soft launched their brand and I jumped on sharing it…
Only to realize as the days progressed, the copy kept morphing.
Sections disappeared. New pieces appeared. Bits cropped up in unexpected places.
I just watched it unfold, horrified, thinking about all the people in my network who KNOW what good copy looks like and wondered, ‘What on earth?’
More importantly, visitors were getting confused. Because hierarchy of messaging matters.
Lessons learned from this?
1) As a copywriter, don’t assume everyone else gets why every single line of copy is essential.
Clients, designers, developers… they all have reasons to make changes. Maybe they want the pages to be shorter or to fit a template layout.
It’s up to us to explain why, based on the visitor’s likely awareness, each piece of copy has earned its way in. In that exact order.
And that conversation is a lot more dignified if it happens before the pages go live.
2) As a marketer, designer, developer, if you’re thinking of rearranging the copy…
Talk to the copywriter first. Find out why they included that piece so you know the implications of nixing it or moving it. Otherwise, you might find traffic bouncing for very simple reasons.
So, not a copywriting emergency…
Because the internet is a massive place where most people are ignoring you.
But it did have me refreshing my screen way too many times on the weekend.
What about you? How do you handle that transition of copy as it makes its way out into the real world?
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: (Today only) Copyhackers selling ebook to raise $ for Australian wildlife
January 14, 2020
If we’re connected on LinkedIn (and we should be!) you may have seen my post yesterday sharing this Copyhackers fundraiser.
And this is a cause that’s hard to resist.
I’m particularly “gutted” as they say in Australia because I spent a really happy year in the area close to the fires. The beauty and the wildlife are astonishing. These little guys can’t run very fast, so they do need our help.
Scroll down for the deal – available until 4 pm PST today.
(Rest of the email is truncated here because it was a copy-and-paste of Copyhacker’s appeal for donations, with links they may not want online now.)
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: The Copy DNA “key elements” download (plus an IRL sample)
January 11, 2020
It’s an explainer on the key messages I’ve found every brand needs when they get serious about conversion copy.
Like my client, Even Atom, whose site also just launched this week. To win conversions in a crowded market, they need very focused positioning and a compelling message.
A message that conveys their strong POV, ethics + what’s functionally different and better about their skincare.
We went through the Copy DNA process to write their launch copy – consider it beta messaging. And since we’re looking for feedback, I’d love for you to check out their site and tell me what you think!
Would you say yes?
If not, why not?
If yes, what tipped your hand?
Also – if you have any questions on the “Copy DNA” guide, process – anything, let me know.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: HNY! (And why PASWTB is the mother of all formulas)
January 3, 2020
Happy 2020! 🍾
Confession: I slept through midnight EST after curling up with an arcane poet’s biography. No FOMO. I’ve covered the bases of things to do in Toronto on NYE and they all involve being way too cold at some point.
Since it’s the topic de jour… I’m curious, what’s your take on goals?
I’d love to be lured into the goal-setting camp, but am currently planning-system agnostic.
In the back of my mind, I always know the biggest rocks I need to move in a year.
Last year, it was the website (WIP), developing a signature service, and finally starting an email list.
This year, it’s to roll out that signature service and wrestle down the beast of time management. So, I can live again. And so I can work on my business more and in my business just a little bit less.
(That said – I am incredibly grateful to work with a small number of truly excellent clients. It is a pleasure.)
The challenge with time now is that I’m doing DEEP work.
When I used to churn out copy fast and have work-life balance, I wasn’t creating brands. I was just writing assets.
But ultimately, I couldn’t live with the messiness of clients’ mixed brand messaging. I knew they were diluting their powers by not having a core set of conversion-optimized brand messages.
And so I developed a signature process to create brands’ core messages. Based on conversion research. (Key differentiator.)
And I called it their Conversion Copy “DNA”. (As in, the source code for ALL of the copy they write.)
But what brand messages are those? What counts as core, as essential?
As it turns out, most of what a brand needs you already know from writing long-form sales pages.
That Problem-Agitate-Solution-Why-Try-Buy formula I outlined in the Copyhackers tutorial in September? Turns out, it’s essentially the master formula.
(If you want to know more about this formula, download the checklist from Paige or take 10x Sales Pages by Copyhackers.)
When you work through this formula for a BRAND, not just an offer, you have something with staying power.
But here’s what separates this from other brand frameworks. We never just brainstorm the brand messaging and pop it into a formula. We always discover and refine it through audience & competitor research.
I’ll be talking more about this and less about copywriting tactics moving forward… so, if you’re not a brand/strategy wonk, it’s ok to unsubscribe. I won’t be offended. This is the current obsession and it’ll only go deeper in 2020.
But the one-way conversation of broadcast emails gets a little uncanny… and so, I would love to hear what you’re aiming to accomplish.
To be honest, I wrote and deleted this email because my early version led with sharing how I secretly sometimes look at job posts when it feels like ANY boss would be better than I am to myself. 🤫
So, it’s not all just wins… but connecting with others on the same path always makes it more meaningful.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: One of my 10x Copyhackers friends is hosting this online summit – pencil it in?
December 28, 2019
How is your end of year going? I hope you’re catching a bit of a break.
It never really slows down in December for my business… but it’s all exciting work. Including prepping for a talk at this online summit, scheduled for January 6th – 9th.
Other speakers in the lineup include Joanna Wiebe (the original conversion copywriter), Kate Toon (one of the best-known SEO copywriters on earth) and dozens of others covering email, content, brand building, social media, publicity and MORE.
Access to the live broadcasts and replays is free until January 9th. Or, get unlimited replay access with a paid pass.
On January 6th, I’ll be talking about my signature service, creating brands’ Conversion Copy DNA. (The set of ~15 conversion-optimized messages my clients use across every marketing asset.)
Let me know if you sign-up and attend!
Here’s a snap of my giveaway:
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: what if those perfect prospects hadn’t ghosted?
December 21, 2019
Would you love a way to capture those hot leads you know need what you sell… but who somehow slip away at the last minute?
Those leads you’ve painstakingly nurtured and know for a fact you can help? The ones whose ghosts kinda haunt you?
Hit reply with a “yes” if you’d love to learn how to keep more of those perfect customers.
That was a little sample of the micro-commitment set-up question.
It’s not a VoC research question because the answer doesn’t matter for your copy. It’s rhetorical.
You’ll see it often in webinars but you can use this technique in any sales copy.
Here’s how it’s done in 3 steps.
1. Early on, before you introduce the solution, ask the audience for a commitment.
Usually, it’s to raise their hands confirming they want an easier way, a better way, etc.
2. As you offer a taste of the solution, bring them back to that commitment.
“Remember how you said you wanted this? I’m showing you one small way to get it.”
3. In the close, hold them accountable.
For example: “Now if you put your hand up at the beginning to say you’re determined to make things easier, I want you to think about what that commitment means. How are you going to make it easier? What’s the next step that will make a world of difference? There’s a way I can help you make it easier – which is what you’ve said you want….”
Remember, it’s only sleazy if you don’t believe in the solution. And it only comes across as sleazy if you don’t use VoC for more specificity, more authenticity.
Thoughts? Questions? Hit me!
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Copy failing to inspire action? Ask this.
December 7, 2019
Problem-solvers ask for pain points. Visionaries ask for outcomes.
No surprise if you’ve been reading these emails, I live in the world of problem-solving. Chances are, you do, too.
But I want to be a visionary. Because visionaries sell bigger solutions.
Most of us get into business to solve a problem. And copywriting reinforces that focus because it starts with the pain.
But we can’t get stuck there or we’ll fail to inspire enough action. We’ll easily sell those buyers who want to staunch the bleeding… but we won’t capture the ones who are ready to pay more for transformation.
To pay for system change. To pay for relationship rehab. To pay for the status that’s always been out of reach.
Great copy toggles between pain and hope. That’s what creates the tension that inspires more action.
You might know people who do this in real-life conversation. I do. They diagnose and put a name to your struggle. And then they tell you about all the potential they see in you.
It’s addictive. You want your pain to be seen and known. But you also want someone to tell you there’s a better version of yourself, your life – and it’s available.
But WHAT IS that better version your audience wants?
We only know if we ask.
Ask the magic wand question, for example. “If you could wave a magic wand and x problems disappeared, what would life look like for you?”
There are several variations on the outcome question – and I’d love to hear yours.
But here’s the thing. We’re all a little short-sighted and consumed by our current situation. It’s hard to raise our gaze and name what we really want. So we avoid answering outcomes questions – even to ourselves.
Which means… you’ll have to work harder to get great VoC on outcomes.
But keep asking so you can be the one who sells the high-ticket transformation, not just the bandaid.
(See that toggle?)
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: 🤦 “swiping” goes terribly wrong (ahem, it’s called plagiarism)
December 12, 2019
Twice in one week I’ve come across my copy swiped for use by competitors! That is, about 75% copied, with just slight modifications – but still recognizable.
First, it was the H1 I wrote for a client. Then, it was key copy from my own site.
Which, while it’s kind of flattering, is problematic for un-obvious reasons.
I’ll tell you why, but first, Exhibit A.
Questionably legal? For sure.
This IS intellectual property.
But also just not smart. Because from the outside, it’s impossible to tell if the copy is actually converting.
I love competitor copy audits. But I use them to nail down my clients’ positioning in the market. I know that “me too” copy isn’t going to get them ahead.
We have to KNOW and SAY why the thing we’re selling actually is different and better – that can’t be swiped from competitors.
Exhibit B I’ll have to save for another time… it’s a shocker as well.
In the meantime, tell me, has this happened to you?
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: let’s make launches less crazy
November 30, 2019
Early on in a stint at a PR firm, I wrote a Walmart fashion show invite for journalists across Toronto – with the wrong street number.
Twiggy had flown in from London to model for the show at the Drake on Queen West, which was the “it” new place to be… but people still needed the address at that time.
That was 15 years ago and I’ve learned a healthy level of anxiety when it comes to details.
There’s no room for error in events. It still makes my skin crawl.
But launches are like that, too.
Everything comes down to that critical moment when the cart goes live.
One of the ways you can set your business up for a more streamlined launch is to have your testimonials sorted, approved, and tagged for each copy asset.
Testimonials are the lifeblood of a launch.
But too often your social proof is scattered about.
And when you’re writing the copy that makes cash flow, you don’t want to be dragged down in exchanges about whether a quote is approved, where it’s been used before, and whether it’s first name + initial or initials only.
I’ve been flogging Aurelius, but really, something like it is ideal.
You can tag each quote as approved/pending approval inside the software.
You can tag a quote for its ideal use: email/sales page/squeeze page/webinar/ad.
You can (and should) even tag the quotes based on the copy formula you’re using. E.g. problem/agitate/solution/why/try/buy. Because some quotes are better for the lead, some for benefits, features… and some are clearly closer quotes.
Alright, back to the business of launching! Always with the motto, “less crazy next time.”
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: “obviously awesome”… or is it? 3 questions to find out
November 23, 2019
Postscript: Apparently I gave subscribers nothing to click!
What if the awesomeness of your offer isn’t coming across in copy?
Whether you’re in-house or a hired copy gun, you might not realize it fast enough. That’s because insiders get hung up on features. And copywriters get briefed by insiders.
By the time a copywriter gets oriented to the product, service, SaaS, whatever… they’re indoctrinated.
April Dunford talks about this gap in her book, Obviously Awesome. (If you get time to read over the holidays, highly recommend it!)
Which is where I got the idea to add these 3 questions to my research process.
Here’s the catch. It’s best if you can get answers from both raving fans and people who either don’t know or don’t love your offer.
Ask your raving fans:
- When you first discovered this solution, what did you think it was for/could do for you?
- What surprised you when you started to use it?
- If you were to tell a friend/colleague about this solution, how would you describe it?
As for those who haven’t tried or don’t know your offer, show them the page you need to optimize and ask a variation on #1. “What do you think this can do for you/for people like you?”
(Of course, rephrase it for your industry AND when you’re talking to those who don’t know your offer, make sure they’re a good match with your perfect customer.)
What do you do with the findings? You look for gaps.
If people who haven’t tried your offer don’t get what your fans get, there’s a messaging gap.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: $20M in funding raised (one day of copy consulting)
November 18, 2019
Note: Why did I send this to just 15 people? It’s been over two years, so I can’t remember, but pretty sure I segmented my list and suppressed copywriter subscribers… These are probably just leads who downloaded the guide to my services.
“It’s open news. You can add the $20M raised to the testimonial now.”
This from my client, CTO of an AI startup funded by Telus and Radical Ventures.
Last winter I worked for a single day with the Untether AI exec team on their Series A fundraising pitch.
While I know next to nothing about AI chip technology, I do know persuasion.
So, we re-structured the pitch like a long-form sales page.
Until this past Saturday, I’d only known that deck was “instrumental” in an eight-figure round. I didn’t know it was multiple eight-figures.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no illusions.
No single day of copy generates $20M.
Copy only amplifies an amazing offer. But without dialed-in copy, the brilliance of an offer might get lost.
I wasn’t going to publish this news because we’re fully booked with copy projects for weeks. And I’m embarrassed every single day that my own site isn’t complete. (The quiz funnel, the service pages… they’ll have to wait.)
A few project slots are opening in December/January if you’d like to book a call and discuss our services. Just hit reply.
The three core services on offer are:
- “The best $100 I’ve ever spent” Copy Audit (direct quote from my CRO agency client after a one-page audit)
- Copy DNA development – every element of a brand’s messaging you’ll need, optimized to convert ($5k)
- Custom conversion copy projects – a bespoke blend of conversion research + copywriting
Why choose us? Well, as that Aussie client said, we’re known for “bloody dedication” over here at Conversion Copy Co:)
And as my CPG client said of his Copy DNA, it’s the “best work” he’s seen. It’s what he’d been hoping to find for over 6 months.
Reach out if that sounds like what you need.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Love research? Hit reply so I know you’re interested.
November 16, 2019
Last week I mentioned dipping my toes in outsourcing research. It helps to have other researchers on call when you’re juggling multiple conversion copy projects.
If you’re one of those people who loves research and would be game to sub-contract, can you hit reply? I’d love to meet you personally and talk about opportunities to pick up outsourced research from my business.
Here’s my client page on research services. Initially, I’ll be looking to outsource the VoC and competitor messaging audits. Down the road, possibly surveying and interviews, too.
Right now, interviews are hard to let go of. One, it’s about reputation, but I don’t fool myself that I’m the only one who can handle asking a series of questions on a recorded call:) The real reason is that customer interviews can be a great way to build your network – especially on B2B projects.
B2C interviews I’m happy to start outsourcing and may have exactly this kind of work coming up in the next 60 days.
So, shoot me a line and tell me about yourself if research is your thing!
Have a great weekend.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: VoC and competitor research template (inside)
November 8, 2019
So, I heard Copy School is coming out with a research course (timing is tbd), and I’m like…
But until then, I’ll be looking for all the hacks to make research faster and better.
Lately, that means dipping my toes into hiring occasional help with research. It’s not easy to outsource because the researcher needs to get copy and even then, may need some guidance. To that end, I created this template/guide.
Check it out and tell me if something like this would help you. (If so, feel free to create a copy in your Google drive.)
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Question every brand should ask first
November 2, 2019
I recently finished April Dunford’s Obviously Awesome. Great, quick read on positioning.
Nailing positioning isn’t usually seen as the work of a copywriter… but without clear positioning, copy can fall flat.
Not necessarily on the page.
Copy without positioning can sound amazing on the page.
But when your prospect comparison shops, well, suddenly all the tone and voice in the world can’t solve the problem of weak positioning.
You have to know for sure how your brand is different and better for your perfect audience. And your copy has to hang on that argument.
I wrote a post about this.
But here’s the upshot. You/your client needs to answer the question,“Why should prospects choose you over the competition?”
It’s easier if you run through this list of possible positions:
- Longevity: Are you the most experienced in the field?
- Scale: Are you the biggest?
- Speed: Can you be the fastest?
- Simplicity: Do you make it easier?
- Popularity: How’s your social proof?
- Breadth/Focus: Can you offer more – or less?
- Personalization: Do you offer something more customized?
- Values: Can you stand for something different?
- Point of View: Do you have a unique perspective on the problem & solution?
- Innovation: Are you revolutionizing the way you get things done?
- Price: Can you stake your place as premium, mass or discount (careful here)?
Some will obviously be out. For example, if you’re brand new, you likely can’t claim longevity, scale or popularity.
Others will be an instant ah-ha. That’s what I hope for you.
If you can firmly stake your different and better claim out of the gate, copy becomes so much more persuasive.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: Can we quote you in a blog post?
October 18, 2019
Since you’re interested in conversion research, this might be a fit.
Zack Naylor of Aurelius is pitching an article to the Copyhackers content team on how copywriters can 10x our research methods. It looks like Copyhackers is excited about the topic and ready to publish.
Now, I’ve shared with Zack my pov on the challenges we face getting from research to conversion insights… but it would be great to add other perspectives. Including yours, if you’re willing.
To collect your quotes and/or anonymous feedback, I’ve put together a Typeform survey here: https://insightresearch.typeform.com/to/JcReSE
Simply add your details in the survey if you’d like to be named in the post. If you choose to remain anonymous, Zack may use quotes or paraphrase you without identifying information.
I know it can feel uncomfortable confessing publicly that anything is hard or messy. But let me leave you with two thoughts:
1) The very fact you’re DOING this level of research sets you apart from the masses who write without conversion insights.
2) There’s currently no 10x research methods course. How on earth is anyone supposed to figure it out without stumbling along a bit?
Hope to see your comments in the survey!
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: another copywriter asked what I’d charge for research…
October 12, 2019
I wasn’t alone on the 10x Facebook Ads launch. Joanna hired a fabulous email copywriter and in the process of the launch, said email writer reached out.
She said my VoC findings made her job so much easier.
What would I charge to white label those services, she asked? To run VoC research in the background for her business?
This is a smart question for any conversion copywriter who’s serious about being profitable.
We’re pulled thin with the work of lead gen, sales, client management, research, writing… not to mention staying experts in our industry by learning.
Now, here’s the thing.
No one in their right mind would hire me for the volume of work I hired myself to do for 10x FB Ads. That was a one-off project and ~50 hours of research was ridiculous.
But if a brand is investing in multiple pages, email sequences, ads… If they’re not cutting corners on the insight needed for copy that converts… they can hire someone like me.
I’d never priced these services separately before being asked. And I’ve never seen these services priced.
Today, here’s what I’d charge.
SURVEY AND INTERVIEW STRATEGY
This isn’t the pricey part because to a certain extent, these questions are standardized. We’re always looking for the same kind of sticky copy.
- Customizing survey questions per audience (e.g. either buyers or non-buyers): US $200
- Customizing interview questions per audience (same idea as above): US $200
You can often ask clients to do this work. But if you do it yourself, you own the data.
- Setting up one survey in software (up to 25 questions with branching logic); writing one survey invite email and two follow-up/reminder emails: US $500
- Identifying good interview candidates from survey or coaching the client to choose (if no survey); sending interview invite emails; organizing interview times: US $500
Ideally, clients will invest in 7 interviews. You need a range of voices.
- To conduct an interview and provide a Rev.com script (which is $1/minute): US $150 for an hour or US $75 for a half-hour interview
- To extract and organize sticky messages from forums, reviews, blog comments: flat rate of US $800. (Often takes an entire day)
This final step takes me some serious time, as you saw from the spreadsheet organizing VoC into themes. Here’s what I’d suggest, but this can be further broken down:
- Organizing data mining, survey and/or interview VoC into themes useful for copywriting; highlighting especially sticky messages; developing ~20-page slide deck for the client on themes/basis for copywriting hypotheses: $1,200
I think it’s really useful for copywriters to break down what we do into separately priced elements.
One, it’s an education for clients. And it gives them clearer choices. People love transparency and the option to create their own packages.
Two, it’s an education for us. Breaking a project down and valuing each piece makes it less likely for you to undercharge.
After I broke this down I priced a custom survey for a new client at $700. Not the analysis or reporting. Just the survey creation.
Alright, as usual – hit me with your strategies for making research saner + more profitable.
Conversion Copy Co.
Subject: My Copyhackers fee – and why I still lost money
Oct 05, 2019
Money, money, money. As copywriters, we’re always learning through trial and error.
I used to charge by the hour and it was so simple.
The problem? It was harder for me to sell the real work of conversion copywriting. I worried that at my hourly rate, clients wouldn’t pay for research.
My own hangup? Perhaps.
Now I charge project rates. And while there’s an excellent case for doing so (i.e. Joanna says to), it sometimes isn’t as profitable as you’d expect.
Take the Copyhackers 10x Facebook Ads sales page.
I quoted and Joanna accepted a healthy fee: $4,000 for what I estimated would be a 4,000 word page.
Ages ago, I calculated I can finalize about 200 words in an hour… but that was before I did the kind of VoC research that went into this kind of sales page.
200 words an hour are possible if you’re doing basic research. Familiarizing yourself with the brand, the audience, the offer, the competitive landscape – on a superficial level.
Had I done that kind of research, I could have made $200 an hour.
As it turns out, here’s how the time broke down (not including the proposal, a cost which you should be building into your fees):
– 8 hours of comment mining (because good quality VoC was hard to find online)
– 3 hours creating the survey and survey request email
– DEEP time theming the survey responses and flagging sticky copy (If I were to guess, 40 hours; that’s 10 minutes per survey response)
– 2 hours creating my findings presentation for the client (Jo)
– 2 hours corresponding with survey respondents to get testimonials
– 30 hours writing and editing
= 85 hours
So, ~$50 an hour.
Not enough if you’re running your own business.
Now, this is not a problem of under-charging. $4,000 is a solid fee to charge for a sales page and Joanna is generous.
Where I lost money is first, clearly, in the survey analysis.
Never before did I have such a volume of VoC and I wasn’t prepared to handle it.
Even big clients I’ve worked with (national and multinational brands) often don’t have VoC like this. They might survey (and tell you not to worry, they have VoC)… but they ask the wrong questions and the data isn’t worth sifting through.
The takeaway? Find a way to streamline or outsource VoC analysis. If you can pay someone $20 an hour and give them a purpose-built tool (like Aurelius), you’re going to save A LOT of profit.
If you have a vertical niche or you’re in-house, go ahead and build a repository of VoC. It’ll become more valuable – and less costly – over time.
Second, I lost money by trying to use ALL the VoC.
It’s painful to have such a wealth of VoC and not use it. But, save that sticky copy to swipe for emails and other assets.
In fact, in the process of theming and flagging the good stuff, I’d partition off what you’ll use for emails vs. sales page copy at the outset. Just put it aside.
Now, crazy as it sounds, I would have written this sales page for free. Because I love Copyhackers.
But you can see that to make a living doing this kind of work, you’ve got to be at least twice as efficient as I was on this project. Or charge twice as much. But if there’s a market for $8,000 sales pages, I haven’t found it.
I hope this helps you as a copywriter or a client who hires.
And I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to write sales pages that convert – while making money for the copywriters who engineer them.
Conversion Copy Co.
Sep 26, 2019
I want to thank you for coming out on Tuesday! It meant a lot to see the excitement around surveys:
Just want to make sure you got all the links.
If you’d like to see how I themed 263 survey responses plus VoC from comment mining, check out the super-manual process here: https://www.loom.com/share/ab4fd3201f35475c9b58e36… (You’ll see how we got the big picture out of the details.)
Want to save yourself some time? Try this qualitative tool instead to fast-track the theming, tagging, and searching process: https://www.aureliuslab.com/ (Zack will help you get set up)
Still prefer the spreadsheet method? Copy this template to your Google Drive and populate away! https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/142-V7w4TwZ…
Didn’t get to watch the behind-the-survey scenes video yet? Here’s the link again: https://www.loom.com/share/2cad3fc130b2422aaa5f69a…
Alright, people! I hope all of your VoC-gathering is like…
Hit me with any questions!
Conversion Copy Co.