Once upon a time, there was a skinny little Iowa farm girl who loved to read and write stories. Most of them lived in her head and never made it onto paper, but they became part of how she thought and the way she saw the world.
When she saw people, she saw their stories and she felt their feelings. She discovered this made her a good communicator. As she grew up, she became the person people came to for advice when they weren’t sure what to say or how to respond in different situations. This made her feel useful and appreciated, and she never saw it as her way to invest in and give to the people around her.
But she never saw it as something she could build a business around. That little farm girl, of course, was me. And I didn’t discover how to put my innate gifts and talents to work inside a business until I was 38 years old.
You might say I’m a late bloomer, but I truly believe everything I had done in my professional life had brought me to this calling at the right place and the right time for me. All the same, when I think about how many years I spent in a job that didn’t fulfill me and only tapped into a small fraction of my passions, it makes me a bit sad.
I don’t want that for you, dear reader.
There may be someone out there reading this right now who is wondering if a person really can earn a full-time income as a writer. They might be questioning whether or not they have what it takes, and if success can come to more than just a few lucky ones.
You can. You do. It does.
If a stay-at-home Iowa mom with a part-time business as a graphic designer can make a stark pivot at almost 40 years old and grow a new business that generates multiple six figures in revenue in the first year, anything is possible.
It turns out, the exact skills I had made me a natural at writing direct response sales copy - the kind of copywriting that calls people to take a specific action, like make a purchase.
Was it an easy transition for me? Nope. I had to learn a whole new set of skills, build a network, change the whole structure of my working environment, break down what I believed was possible, and take a chance on myself.
It was worth it. All the tears, frustration, fears, long (LONG) hours and uncertainty was 100% worth everything I experienced on the journey, and I’m just getting started.
If this resonates - if the idea of earning a full-time income as a sales conversion copywriter makes your heartbeat a little bit faster and your brain shift into overdrive - then you’re going to love the rest of this article.
Keep reading to learn the 9 tell-tale clues you might be a good fit for the sales copywriter life.
Clue 1: You Love to Write
This one kind of goes without saying,but you can’t be a sales copywriter if you don’t like to write. You’ll never enjoy spending hours a day on a client’s copy if you dread having to put words together. If writing is something you enjoy and look forward to doing, then you might just have a hidden sales copywriter in there somewhere!
Clue 2: You Can Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes
When you’re a sales copywriter, you don’t write for the client.
“Ummmm, I thought that was the whole point, Christa.”
Stick with me. You’re writing on BEHALF of the client, yes, but the people you’re writing FOR is the client’s target audience. In order to be a good sales copywriter, you have to be able to see things from other people’s point of view and put it into words in a way that connects with them.
Empaths, or hypersensitive people who experience a high level of compassion, consideration and understanding towards others, make great sales copywriters. I’ve found that being a sales copywriter helps channel that quality into purpose.
Clue 3: You Don’t Mind Research
The most important thing a sales copywriter can do is know the target audience like the back of their hand. How can you write for an audience you don’t know? That means you have to be willing to dive into the data and research that will give you a good understanding of who they are and what they want. Without knowing those things, you can’t create copy that reaches out and connects with them the way it needs to in order to sell.
Clue 4: You Ask a Lot of Questions
This one goes hand-in-hand with Clue 3. In order to be a good researcher, you have to know the right questions to ask, and you can’t be afraid to ask. There is no assumption. Assuming is bad. You know what they say, when you assume … well, it’s true. Ask all the questions!
Clue 5: You Take Feedback Well
As a sales copywriter, you have to work closely with the client and the client’s team. That means a good number of people may be putting their eyes on your copy and weighing in with feedback. It really helps if you don’t take it personally and take it all in stride. In other words, you can’t get so married to your copy that you’re not willing to listen to what someone else has to say about it.
On the other hand it’s important to know when to concede and when to stand firm. As you gain more experience and get better at reading the target audience, you’ll get a feel for what’s going to work and what’s not. You’ll be able to absorb the feedback and stand up to it when you need to - and sometimes you’ll need to.
Clue 6: You Like Learning New Things
As someone who writes for a variety of different clients with unique offers, I learn a lot of things about a lot of things. I usually have 8-10 clients with open projects at any given time, and their offers might range from a course on money management to menopause products and supplements.
So yeah, I know a lot of random information on a lot of random topics, and I think it’s fun. I’m open to learning about different industries, businesses and offers.
Clue 7: You’re a Chameleon
When it comes to sales conversion copy, it’s important for the client’s or brand’s voice to shine through. After all, that’s what has attracted the target audience in the first place. So … how good are you at impersonations?
If you find it easy to slip into someone else’s way of communicating and let that come out in the way you write, you may just have a future in sales copywriting.
Clue 8: You Like Fishing
Sales copy begins with a hook every time. There has to be something present that grabs audience attention and pulls them in to keep them reading. If you’re great at commanding attention (and maybe even a little dramatic), you’ll be able to come up with all kinds of creative hooks to try. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Clue 9: You’re a Critical Thinker
I always say that a sales copywriter has to be part mind reader, part storyteller and part lawyer. You have to be able to address pain points and objections in the copy before they even come up. You also have to be able to defend your client’s position by coming at offer promotion from all angles.
Just because YOU understand the value of the offer doesn’t mean the target audience does. If you enjoy brainstorming audience reactions, past experiences and thought patterns, sales copywriting could be right up your alley.
So … How Did You Do?
Is there a hidden sales copywriter inside you? If reading this article made you feel like someone opened up your brain and looked inside to read your mind, then you might just be an amazing sales copywriter in the making!
Want to learn more about what it really takes to write sales copy that converts consistently and gets big results for clients? Click here to learn more information about Written Results Academy, the only online training platform for sales copywriters that addresses writing plus sales strategy, psychology, data and analytics, mindset and business building.
Whether you’re trying to avoid the roundabout at the corner of Cedar Avenue or the long string of stop lights on 5th, a good shortcut can save you time and energy that could be spent elsewhere.
When it comes to writing sales copy that converts, however, there are certain things you can’t shortcut - not if you want to get the best possible results for your clients.
This article is going to break down the three things a copywriter should never take a shortcut on and why, then give you some ideas on what to do instead.
Shortcut 1: Skimping on Target Market Research
The number one thing a sales copywriter absolutely cannot take a shortcut on is target market research. You may know who you’re writing FOR, but if you don’t know who you’re writing TO, you might as well put down the laptop and back away slowly.
I walked out to the mailbox the other day and found the usual stack of flyers and junk mail. There was an unmarked business-sized envelope too - obviously a form letter of some kind, as it wasn’t hand stamped or addressed. Just for fun, I ripped it open.
As I unfolded the letter inside, I had to laugh. It was a letter from one of those student loan forgiveness programs. “Your Student Loan May Be Eligible For The Federal Government’s New Student Loan Forgiveness Program” read the headline.
That’s great … except that I don’t have any student loans and never have. One eye roll and a flip of the wrist later, the letter sat at the bottom of my trash can, never to be seen again.
I’m sure that somewhere out there, some marketing company purchased a mailing list and decided that using a blanket approach with the student loan offer letter might pay off enough to make it worth the stamp.
But you’ll get much better results for your clients if you get to know their target audience like close friends and write sales copy that talks directly to them. They’ll feel heard and understood, which builds trust between them and your clients’ offers.
Every minute spent researching the target market is WORTH IT.
Shortcut 2: Ignoring Brand Voice
“I’ve written for an offer like this before, so I’ll just use what worked for the other guy.”
No. Just no.
Most copywriters have a niche. It would be impossible to master writing for every industry under the sun. Nobody has that kind of time, right?
But just because you’ve written for dentists before doesn’t mean that what worked for one dentist will work for another, even if the target market for both dentists are middle class working parents of kids ages 5-10. Why?
Because every client has their own unique personality and brand voice that plays a part in attracting the right kind of people to their offers. If you fail to bring that personality and brand voice into their sales copy, you’re not only doing them a disservice, you’re cheating their target market out of the opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level.
The LAST thing any entrepreneur or business owner wants is to be seen as “just another”.
She’s “just another” female empowerment coach.
He’s “just another” digital marketing agency owner.
It’s “just another” sales funnel building platform.
See what I mean? “Just anothers” don’t create die-hard followers and raving fans. Brand personalities do. Make sure you’re taking the time to dig deep on what makes them and the way they communicate unique.
Shortcut 3: Neglecting Nurturing
Ever been hit up in the mall by the people selling things from those kiosks? I have, and it’s always such a pleasant experience.
“Hey, your hands are dry. You need this hand cream!”
“You look like you could use a good pair of sunglasses.”
“Want to try Proactiv?”
I mean talk about going straight in for the kill. Nothing makes me want to avoid eye contact and walk fast while looking busy like cold sales. And I don’t think I’m the only one.
Unfortunately, sometimes that’s what our clients try to do, isn’t it? They’ve developed an amazing offer. They may have even tested it on a beta audience, and it got results. They’re sure it’s going to be a hit, and they’re ready to blitz the market with it.
Then … nothing. Crickets.
“Why isn’t it selling?” they wonder. “I thought people would love it! Something must be wrong with my ads/sales copy/funnel. FIX IT!”
The thing is, it’s not that easy. If everything else is optimized, integrated and dialed in, yet the audience is just seeing something for the first time, the client is not going to get the best results they could because the target market isn’t ready.
They just feel sold to.
In a few cases here and there, an offer will hit a cold market that’s really ready and get some results. But a warm, nurtured audience always gets better and cheaper results. Always.
It’s so important to “take the temperature” of the target audience and give your client an honest assessment of how ready they are to buy. Only then can you make sure you’re preparing the right messaging at the right time to get the audience warmed up and ready to buy.
Doing the Background Work
So much of sales copywriting takes place before a word is even written. Target market and brand research are absolutely essential parts of what we do. Although it’s tempting to want to skimp out research by grabbing templates or just relying on what worked last time, don’t. It’s not worth it. Not only would you be selling the client short of their results, but you’d be selling yourself short on being able to write to your best ability.
More from Christa Nichols
Want my best resource for target audience research? Grab my FREE Target Market Mastery guide HERE. This fillable PDF download contains a framework you can fill out again and again for each client’s target audience so you can dial in on exactly who they are, what they want and how to communicate the offer to them clearly and compellingly.
“You can’t make a living as a writer.”
“Good luck finding a job.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to just be a professor and teach writing or something?”
I’m sure glad I didn’t listen to any of the naysayers back when I was a journalism major in college. Why? Because it made it a whole lot easier to just keep right on not listening when I began writing sales copy and turned it into a very successful business in just two years.
The truth is, if you can write words that sell products and services, you will never go hungry. If you can do it really well, you can generate more income than the naysayers would have ever believed.
As long as there are basic human needs, sales will always exist. And as long as sales exists, there will be a need for writers who can communicate in a way that brings buyers and offers together to create sales.
We just so happen to live in a commercial society where billions of dollars of goods and services that are well beyond basic human necessities are sold every day. So yeah, you’ll never be out of a job if you can do two things: write sales copy and get clients.
Where Have All The Clients Gone?
Even though there’s a lot of opportunity out there for sales copywriters, that doesn’t mean breaking into the business and creating a reputation for yourself will be easy. In this article, I’ve compiled my list of five simple strategies to attract copywriting clients WITHOUT using paid advertising.
When you’re struggling for clients, the last thing you want to do is drop money on Facebook ads, am I right? These five strategies can be done for FREE with nothing but a cell phone or device with a wifi connection. They take nothing but some time and attention, so set aside the first 30 minutes of your working day, grab this list, and let’s go drum up some business!
Strategy #1: Optimize Your Social Platform Profiles
It seems like a no-brainer, but be honest - there’s a social platform out there with your name on it that hasn’t been updated in awhile, isn’t there? I could raise my hand here too, because I know for a fact that my LinkedIn needs my attention too.
The thing is, you want to make sure that wherever people see your name or your business’ name, your information is current and attractive. That means go to your Instagram account, your Facebook page, your Pinterest, and your LinkedIn and read it like someone who is NOT you.
Read it as if you’re someone who is looking for a copywriter - someone you would LOVE to work for. Then ask yourself these questions:
Basically, you want to make sure you’re positioning yourself so that your dream clients can’t help but stop and take notice because you’ve got exactly what they need and you’re making it easy for them to get to you.
Strategy #2: Give Value in Groups
I know you’re not unaware that there are about a bazillion Facebook groups out there where people gather to share and talk about their common interests. If you haven’t already, go out there and join a bunch.
But don’t just join ANY old Facebook group. Do your research. Find the ones where the people you want to write for are hanging out. For instance, if you live to write for e-commerce sellers, join Shopify groups and Amazon groups and WooCommerce groups. Join the groups run by the big names in e-commerce. Join groups that promote training platforms or software used by e-commerce sellers. You get the idea. Just target the groups where the people you want to write for are, then visit regularly.
Don’t just be a lurker though. No one will notice you if you’re just hanging towards the back, throwing a “Like” or two in there every now and then. Go in with the intention of providing value to people. Answer questions. Give advice.
There’s no need to hold back on the information you share. Give your best information right there in the group. They won’t use it against you. In fact, the more value you give, the more you’ll stand out as an expert they’d love to work with.
Strategy #3: Network Your Face Off
If I had to say what the single most powerful asset I’ve ever leveraged in my business was, it would be hands down my network. I don’t know who said the net worth is in the network, but they were 100% correct.
People want to work with people they like. They want to recommend people they like. And you know what, if they don’t even know who you ARE, then they definitely can’t pass your name along to friends and business buddies.
You WANT people to pass your name along to friends and business buddies. So while you’re in all those Facebook groups, make friends. Share memes. And if you can, join a mastermind group or two. It doesn’t have to be a high-ticket mastermind, although those are the groups that tend to have the high-level connections.
For now, just join some group masterminds where you can rub elbows with and get to know other people in the industries you’re interested in writing for. And when you can, I highly recommend joining a paid mastermind.
Mastermind groups also have the added benefit of upleveling your skill set and offering a community of support and accountability. And when someone in another member’s network says they need a copywriter, guess who’s name they’ll mention first?
I have personally generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in client work and recurring contracts because of networking alone. It’s worth it!
Strategy #4: Ask for Testimonials
Yes, your results will speak for themselves … but they’ll speak a WHOLE lot louder coming from the mouth of happy clients!
I know it’s awkward and feels braggy, but you must get testimonials from your clients and you must use them. Video testimonials are best, but written or screenshot will do. Just make sure you get permission first. Most of your clients will have no problem boosting you up when you’ve done something to help grow their business.
Here’s one way to think about asking for testimonials that has helped me a lot. By not asking for a testimonial on how your work impacted someone else’s business, you’re keeping that information from someone else who NEEDS what you can do for them.
In this way, getting testimonials is actually serving your future clients better!
Testimonials are so powerful. Don’t neglect collecting them. Seriously. Testimonials sell you without you having to say a word.
Strategy #5: Ask for Referrals
This one sounds kind of awkward too, but I promise, it’s easier than it sounds. If you’re looking for clients, go ask your current clients if they know anyone in need of your services.
Not only does this give them the opportunity to help their friends or business associates out by connecting them with an awesome copywriter (you!), but it may jog their memory of another project or two they’ve been meaning to bring to the front burner and put you on.
Think about it this way - don’t you trust someone your friend or business buddies recommend? That’s how it works here too. Your client is trusted and liked by others who need what you can do for them. Let them be your hype man. They’ll probably be thrilled to do so!
Go Get ‘Em!
So there you go - five simple strategies to finding copywriting clients that don’t break the bank. All they take is a bit of time, and several of them you can start doing right now. In fact, why don’t you go email your clients right now for some testimonials and referrals?
The worst they can say is no, and then you’re no worse off than you are right now.
More from Christa Nichols Messaging
Want to learn more about how to close clients on calls? Read this blog article here, then grab my 8 Must-Ask Questions guide for the eight questions I always ask about my clients about their target markets. These questions help me write copy that follows the five stages of sales copy - and it WORKS. Click here to download it now: 8 Must-Ask Questions For Copy That Connects And Converts.
This one goes out to all the copywriters and creatives out there whose quality of work rises and falls depending on how well things are going in the world around them. For creatives, their emotions are very much tied up in what they do and how they do it.
I’m looking at myself because that’s me. Right now. Today.
I’m having a day today. I don’t want to say it’s a bad day, because it’s too early for that. I guess I’d just describe it as strange.
From the moment I woke up, certain things just have felt heavy. The economy. The health crisis. Politics. The fact that I’ve been on a healthy eating plan for almost four weeks and have lost a whole total of three pounds. My people, I love food. The sacrifice is real.
But guess what? My day can’t just stop because things feel heavy. In fact, Tuesdays are some of my busiest days. Several groups of students are depending on me to show up and deliver, I have to do some heavy edits on a sales funnel for a client, and then of course there’s this blog article I need to put out there.
Make no mistake about it, I’m going to show up and deliver, but it might look a little bit different today. So how do I pull it out when my emotions aren’t matching up with the intensity of the day? How do I stay creative when things are feeling heavy?
I’m going to give you a list of 12 - no wait, 13 - things I do that help me stay creative, even when things feel heavy. Some of them are drop-dead serious, and others are funny and light-hearted. I’m convinced we need both.
Ignoring the funk you’re in doesn’t necessarily make it go away. Actually, for me it probably just prolongs it because I’m refusing to just admit it and be real. It takes some of the pressure off to just admit to myself, “You know, I’m just feeling kind of bogged down today. Must just be one of those days.” The truth is, everybody has days like this sometimes, so you’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with having an off day. Go ahead and give yourself some grace!
One of the best ways for me to get my mind off myself and my stinky mood is to send up an SOS and ask for help. God is a great perspective changer, and He’s not even a breath away. It’s easy to forget that on heavy days, but that’s when we need Him the most. I feel super comforted just being reminded that He’s in control even when I feel like nothing else is.
Phone a Friend
Good friends have a way of simultaneously supporting us while refusing to leave us down and out. I know I can count on my friends or my husband to lend a sympathetic ear - but not allow me to wallow. Call someone who is willing to listen, then kick your butt if you need it. Is that annoying sometimes? Yes. Do I need it though? Also yes.
An atmosphere change can prompt an attitude change. At the very least, getting outside puts you in a new environment and exposes you to some Vitamin D. I live in Iowa, so I don’t have bubbling streams or mountain paths. If you have those, WHY ARE YOU STILL INSIDE? But even if you don’t, getting outside reminds you that the world is still spinning, plants are still growing, and goats still love eating marshmallows. (That last one might just be what happens on my farm. If you don’t have a marshmallow-eating goat, I’m sorry about it.)
Let’s just be real. Social media can sometimes feel like things are just one match short of a 5-alarm dumpster fire. It’s easy to get sucked into debates, conspiracy theories, or just plain gripe fests, and nobody needs that in their lives, ESPECIALLY when you’re in the dumps and just need to get stuff done. Log out, turn off the notifications, unplug for the day.
Is it possible to stay bucky when you’re jamming to your favorite song? I think not. So get up out of your desk chair, turn up the volume, and have an impromptu dance party to your favorite song. Not only does physical activity get the endorphins flowing, music is a great mood booster! (Anybody else ready the word endorphins and automatically imagine them as tiny little jumping dolphins? Just me? Okay then … now you do.) Sometimes all it takes is a state change to bring about an attitude change.
Watch a Funny Video
Slapstick humor, epic fails, animal cuteness, stand up comedy - whatever makes you laugh, go find a YouTube video and watch it. I’m a big fan of the ones where adults act out the kid voice overs. Priceless. Also, and this is terrible but what do you do, I can’t stop giggling at the videos where people slip, trip, and fall down. I think it’s the shock factor and also a little bit of “Well it could always be worse … like that guy.”
Eat Something Healthy
Or get a workout in. Or organize your Tupperware drawer. Do something with a measurable result that you can feel good about. That way at the end of the day you can look back and say, “Well, it may have been rough, but at least I ate my Brussels sprouts. I’m a rockstar.” Oh, and there’s also that thing where healthy food is better for you and provides the nutrients your body and mind need to thrive. Either way, win-win.
Wear Your Favorite Clothes
I don’t know about you, but I just plain feel better if I look good and feel comfortable. For me, that looks like grabbing a top in a bright color or print, pulling on some cute but comfy pants, and going for the big earrings and bold lip color. Sometimes how we look can rub off on our mood, bringing us up a notch just because we can hold our heads high knowing we look like a snack, as my teenage daughter would say.
Have a Good Cry
I’m not a huge fan of crying. I’m not opposed to it, necessarily, but when I cry, I end up looking like I got hit in the face. Sometimes though, you just have to let it out. If you feel like you need a good cry, have one! Our emotions are just that - emotions. They’re not right or wrong, and expressing them can release some of the pressure and give us room to breathe. As Momma always said, “You’ll feel better after a good cry.”
Plan a Fun Activity
When you have to work, you have to work. Sometimes you can’t put everything on hold just because you don’t feel like it. But you know what you can do? Give yourself something to look forward to later! I love this fun mind hack because it totally works on me. I LOVE having something fun to look forward to and can slog my way through all kinds of mundane or stressful activities just knowing there’s something good coming on the other side. I like looking forward to family movie night, a massage, or supper at a good restaurant.
Make a Switch
Work in the kitchen instead of the office. Switching over to a different project. Have iced coffee instead of hot. Okay, so we’re not exactly going nuts here, but change can be good. Sometimes our brains just need to step out of our usual flow and do something else. So go ahead, schedule a Zoom work session with your team or have cake for dinner. Give your brain something else to think about.
Spend Time With a Kid or a Dog
This might be the best one. Dogs and kids are so accepting. They have a completely different perspective - one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Honestly, they just want to hang out and be with you, which is a great ego boost. If you think I’m talking about children, yes. But also, I’m talking about baby goats because they’re hilarious and I have three. They care about nothing but back scratchings and food, and not in that order.
So there you go, 12 things you can do when the world seems heavy and you fall into a funk. OH NO WAIT I HAVE ONE MORE!!! It’s a really good one too. I can’t believe I almost forgot it!
Do Something For Someone Else
One of the best ways to get your mind off yourself is to serve someone else. Serving others is a great way to change your perspective and be reminded that you can have an impact that means something to someone else. It also reminds me that I’m not the center of the universe. I need to step outside of myself and give of myself, my time, my finances, my energy.
So there you go, 13 things you can do when the world seems heavy and you fall into a funk. I promise I’m done now. In fact, I really have to go. There’s a dance party waiting for me and I have a date to brush my dog later.
More About Christa Nichols
Christa Nichols is a sales conversion copywriter who enjoys connecting offers with audiences in a way that makes her clients’ campaigns profitable. You can often find her hanging out on Facebook, coaching in her online school for sales copywriters, Written Results Academy, or consulting with entrepreneurs and business owners on their sales campaigns. For more information, visit her website at https://go.christanicholsmessaging.com/home.
Last week I bought an accent chair for my office. This was a big deal for me. I’d been wanting a place on the main floor of our house where I could just kick back and do some reading, and I had a vision in my head for what it would look like.
It had to be comfortable, and it had to be red.
Why red? I have a canvas a client gave me hanging in my office. It’s entitled “Entrepreneur”, and it depicts one lone red drop swimming against the sea of black drops all going the opposite direction. I love that canvas, and I was convinced a red chair would be the perfect complement to tie everything in the office together.
It took me three days to choose the chair. Yes, I am one of those people - the ones who peruse every option and read all the reviews. It’s so annoying, especially for my poor husband who is standing in the background saying, “Just pick the chair already!”
I picked, I purchased, and I anxiously awaited its delivery. It arrived yesterday while I was on a call with my business coach. I wasn’t expecting it for another two weeks, so I was really excited. I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home and haul it inside so we could get it out of the box and set it up. Little did I know, I was in for a big surprise.
The Great Unboxing
To make a long story short, when we peeled back the flaps of the box and pulled the chair out, there was one glaring problem.
My red chair wasn’t red. It was blue.
Although the box, the mailing label, and the packaging slip said red, the chair itself had not gotten the memo. It’s truly a lovely chair, but it’s not what I ordered. I’m one of the most non-confrontational people in the world, my initial reaction was to try to rationalize just keeping the blue chair.
Blue is a nice color.
The chair itself is the perfect size for the space.
This chair is HERE right now. I can just make it work.
I hate to bother someone about it.
It would just be easier to keep the blue chair, even if it wasn’t what I really wanted. This is when my husband stepped in.
“Call the company. Get the red chair.” He’s a wise man.
I called the company. I ordered the red chair. Everything was resolved quickly, and we all had a good laugh about my “red” chair. Later that evening, the whole experience reminded me of a question someone asked me last week.
Is Knowing the Audience’s Pain Points Enough to Get Them to Convert?
The question made me consider my red chair situation from another angle. Instead of being on the copywriting end of things, in this instance I was the one with the problem that needed a solution. My pain points were:
When I called the company, the woman I spoke to was so nice.
“Oh, I’m so sorry that happened! That must have been so disappointing for you to open the box and not get what you wanted,” she said.
She completely knew and understood my pain points. She mirrored them back to me in her response. If she had stopped there though, I’d have still walked away in pain and probably never shopped with that company again.
The answer to the question above is no. Knowing the audience’s pain points is not enough to get them to convert. In fact, knowing them and doing nothing about it is WORSE than not knowing them at all. Why? Because to the audience, it feels like you don’t care and are choosing to purposefully leave them in pain.
When you address pain points in sales copy but don’t lead the reader to the solution, you’re leaving them worse off than when they started.
In addition to knowing and understanding an audience’s pain points, there are three things you must do in your sales conversion copy in order to get them to buy. Let’s break all three down right now.
Connect, Connect, Connect
Pain-centric sales copy can feel practically abusive if there’s no personal connection there. If the audience only feels beat to death with their problems and shortcomings, they’ll walk away defeated and definitely won’t buy. Instead, make sure you’re connecting with them in a way that shows you’re on their side. Here are a couple examples of pain points without, and then with, connection.
Without: “Stop wasting all your time on supplements that don’t work. You’re only putting fillers and chemicals into your body. That’s such a bad choice. How could you keep doing that to yourself? You really need to buy Super Health 5000.”
With: “There’s a secret nobody talks about when it comes to the supplements we put in our bodies. I couldn’t believe it when I learned it, and I don’t want you to be in the dark about it either. Here’s the truth - most supplements contain mostly fillers and even synthetic chemicals that don’t provide any healthy benefits. The good news is, there is a supplement out there that not only contains all the good stuff, but it DOESN’T use any fillers or synthetic chemicals. Want to know what it is?”
Let Them Off The Hook
If your audience is struggling with a problem that you can solve, just go ahead and let them off the hook. They’ve likely been carrying around some self-doubt and blame as they watch other people get the results they want. They’re thinking things like “Maybe it’s just me. I’m the only one who can’t figure this out.”
One of the most powerful things your copy can do for the reader is come alongside and show them that it’s not all their fault and give them hope that a real solution exists to the pain points they feel. This might sound something like this:
“Listen, you’re not the only one who’s been fed a lie about the supplements you put in your body, and it’s NOT your fault. Most drug companies sweep this information under the rug and hide it there. You’re not the only one who’s been filling their bodies with fillers and synthetic chemicals for years without even realizing it. Here at Super Health 5000, we believe in 100% all-natural supplements that contain only the most pure nutrients available.”
Lead Them To The Offer
The last strategy I want to mention that’s vital to use with pain points seems very obvious, but you’d be surprised how many copywriters gloss this over and don’t give it the attention it deserves.
Once you’ve shown them that you know and understand their pain points, connected with them as an ally, and let them off the hook for what they didn’t have or know, it’s time to take them by the hand and lead them to the real solution they’ve been looking for - the offer.
Pain points are a very effective way of capturing attention, but it’s the RESULT that makes the sale. You can point out pain points all day long, poke holes in what they’ve tried already until the cows come home, and let them off the hook until you’re blue in the face … but if you don’t clearly direct them to the logical next step, they will not buy.
“That’s ridiculous Christa! Of course they will. It’s so obvious!”
Maybe to you it is, but remember, you are much further along in your journey in terms of your offer than they are. Always work to connect the pain points with the offer by clearly showing the result they can expect and how they can take action and get their hands on it.
When you take the audience’s pain points and partner them up with these three steps, you’re guiding the audience logically towards the offer. It becomes the next logical step for them, and that’s exactly where you - and your clients - want them.
More from Christa Nichols
Want to learn more about zeroing in on exactly what the audience thinks, needs, and wants so you can write sales copy that really dials in on exactly what they need to hear to convert? Grab my FREE Target Market Mastery guide by clicking here.
Every entrepreneur and business owner needs to have an email list. As a sales conversion copywriter, one of my main jobs is to write copy for landing pages that entice a specific target audience to willingly hand over their email addresses.
So … give me your email address and nobody gets hurt?
No no no. I said entice, not coerce.
Oh, okay. Yeah, that’s so much better.
I know, right?
Building an email list - also referred to as lead generation - should be a main goal of every entrepreneur and business owner. After all, once you have the email, you own the traffic - and owned traffic is better than borrowed any day of the week for several reasons:
The thing is, my clients don’t want to spend an arm or a leg on paid traffic. They also don’t want to spend all their free time trying to get the right kind of people to opt in. My goal as a sales conversion copywriter is to create copy that will get as many qualified leads for my clients as I can as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
No matter what type of traffic they use though, there’s one common denominator that can be the make or break of the whole lead generation system - the landing page.
Having a high-converting landing page that captures attention, nurtures connection and clearly communicates the value of the offer is the key to cost- and time-effective lead generation. So let’s dive into my four steps for writing landing pages that convert like crazy!
Step #1: Know the Target Audience
I know I’m always preaching on knowing the target audience, but it really is one of the most important things a sales conversion copywriter must do in order to get results for their clients. In order to run successful lead generation that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and attracts the RIGHT kind of audience, a client must:
Step #2: Offer Something Valuable
Lead generation is all about exchanging value.
Think about it like this. Your client is asking the reader to give them their email address. This is information the reader considers to be rather personal, and they’re not going to do it unless they feel they’re getting something they value more than keeping their email address private in return.
I’m not saying my clients should give away the farm or anything, but they do need to consider what they can offer their target audience that they want. I also encourage them to offer something that doesn’t require any personal time or energy on their part besides the initial creation of the lead magnet. Some examples of lead magnets that tend to convert well are:
Step #3: Write a Compelling, Results-Driven Headline
The first thing a visitor sees when they click on a landing page is the headline. If the page doesn’t capture the visitor’s attention in the first three seconds, they’re gone, so honestly, the headline has a pretty big job. In fact, some landing pages ONLY have a headline and an opt-in. So the headline has to capture attention, and it has to do it well.
My favorite way to write headlines for lead generation landing pages is to just get straight to the point with the result the reader is going to get if they give their email.
Notice I said RESULT. Not the actual download or whatever the lead magnet is. The result is where it’s at - where the true value lies. Without the result, the lead magnet is just another file cluttering up their hard drive.
The image above is an example of a high-converting landing page. This lead magnet was run from March through May. It generated 1500 leads at around $1.20 each and converted between 60-80%. Dang, that’s good. The lead magnet wasn’t anything special really. It was just a list of my 10 favorite free tools that I use every day in my online business. Note how simple the headline is.
“Working From Anywhere Just Got Easier With These 10 Online Tools”
This is a very results-driven headline, and it worked because I knew who my audience was and took into account current events. I launched this lead magnet right as everything shut down because of the global pandemic. So let’s run through this so you can see the thought process behind the headline.
What does the audience want? Business (aka money). They are afraid their business is going to suffer because of social distancing. They want to keep their business alive, and they know online is the only way that can happen right now.
What result am I giving them? “Work from anywhere”. I’m giving them a list of tools that they don’t have to go hunting for that will help them set up their business remotely, making their lives easier and their business feel more secure.
I almost always use the result-driven headline for lead magnets, and there’s a reason for that. Sure there are other types of headlines. I could use a pain-points driven headline or a super crazy attention-grabbing headline. Ninety-five percent of the time though, I go with results-driven headlines for lead generation. Why?
Because the promise of a result they want is enough to hold their attention and get them to trade their email address for it. You don’t need to bring in the pain points - not yet. Not until you want to convince them to whip out their wallets. A crazy headline is great for ad copy, but can be confusing on a landing page. Results-driven headlines are where it’s at for landing pages.
Step #4: Use Sub-Headlines Sparingly
I rarely use sub-headlines for lead gen landing pages. Most of the time it’s just not necessary, but because I was running completely cold traffic, I knew that the sub-headline I used here would add to the value of the offer by giving it street cred. Check it out.
“These Tools Are The Tested & Proven MVPs In My Remote Business ... And They're FREE!”
It helps the reader to know that these tools are being used successfully inside a remote business already, and the reminder that they’re free really dials in on the fact that the reader only stands to gain by opting in.
Step #5: Keep Copy Brief
Landing pages for a free opt-in do not have to be long. In fact, short and to-the-point landing pages almost always outperform longer ones. Here’s why I think that is. If you have something that’s valuable and free, you shouldn’t have to talk the reader into it. It should be a no-brainer for them.
Most of the landing pages I write for have a headline, a short piece of text or three bullets that clearly outline the result they’ll get, an image of the lead magnet, and the opt-in. That’s it. I don’t even encourage clients to include a bio or About Me section. Short, sweet, and to the point is all it takes to get readers to convert to a free offer if steps 1-4 are already in place.
More From Christa Nichols
Ready to try out these tips on the next landing page you write? Awesome! Before you do, click here to grab my FREE targeting guide. It will help you zero right in on exactly who your client’s target audience is so you can craft the exact message they need to read.
Everybody wants the freebie, but nobody wants to buy.
Is that really true? No way! Buyers are out there, and as a copywriter, you’re in the unique position of being able to help your clients find them. In this article, I’m going to let you in on five non-negotiable steps you must take to successfully move audiences from the freebie list to the red hot buyers list.
The best part is, these five steps work at any stage of the client’s marketing strategy and can be used to move audiences from free opt-in to the tripwire and on up the value ladder to the main offer and beyond.
Step 1: Provide Value
There’s a common three-step digital marketing strategy that goes something like this:
Lead magnet (free opt-in) > Tripwire (low-priced offer) > Main offer (moderately priced offer)
It looks super simple on paper, but is it though? Is it really? It’s so frustrating to slave over a beautiful opt-in and a flashy tripwire, only to end up spending a bunch of ad budget generating leads that never become buyers.
The first step to moving people into becoming paying clients and customers actually starts with the free lead magnet. Make no mistake - just because a lead magnet is free doesn’t mean it’s worthless.
A good lead magnet contains valuable information or services that the audience is willing to trade their email address for. In this day and age of spam-filled inboxes, people are less and less motivated to give away their email addresses. In other words, make sure everything you offer is GOOD.
But just because the lead magnet needs to contain a lot of value doesn’t mean it has to be labor or time intensive for you. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure the lead magnet doesn’t require your personal time and energy beyond the initial creation of it. You’ll quickly burn out because that’s not sustainable.
Good lead magnets should be things that are one and done for the business owner or entrepreneur. Some examples of good lead magnets are downloadable guides or cheat sheets, e-books, or short training videos. These items can be easily delivered to an email inbox over and over again without needing the client’s direct input.
Step 2: Create a Measurable Result
There are a lot of lead magnets out there that contain a lot of value that still don’t do a very good job of moving people from freebie-seekers to buyers. Yep, there’s MORE. The lead magnet also must, if implemented, create a measurable result for the user.
For example, let’s say your client has a lead magnet that has 16 pages of information on why dentists need online sales funnels. Is that information valuable? Sure. There are plenty of dentists out there who could benefit from understanding what an online sales funnel can do to help grow their practices.
But it’s all facts and ideas. It’s a nice read, but it doesn’t give them a measurable result. There’s nothing there for them to say, “Wow, that’s amazing! Look at what that did for me. I’m going to stick around to see what else this guy has got!”
What if, instead, your client’s lead magnet was a step-by-step checklist with 10 steps they can take right now to make sure their website is ready for traffic? Now THAT’S a lead magnet with actionable steps and a measurable result. They read it, they do it, and when they’re done, they have a website that’s ready for traffic - something they didn’t have before.
Now your client is the expert in their eyes, and they’re going to pay attention the next time they see something your client puts out.
Step 3: Give Them the Next Logical Step
Once the audience has been primed with an actionable, results-driven lead magnet, they’re ready for a paid offer. Not just any paid offer will do, however. There’s one main mistake I see clients make with the tripwire that practically guarantees the tripwire WON’T sell - and totally preventable.
They don’t offer their audiences a tripwire that’s the next logical step to the lead magnet. I’ll illustrate this with an example many of us can relate to - ice cream.
A Tale of Two Ice Cream Cones
It’s a super hot day, and you’re outside walking your dog in the park. Fido needs his exercise, hot or not, but you’re dying. Then you hear the happiest sound in the world - “Ice cream! FREE ice cream!”
You pivot towards the sound so fast that Fido gets whiplash. There, in the corner of the park, is a little ice cream stand, and sure enough, they’re handing out cones for free. YES! In about two seconds you’re in line with your hand out, and as your scoop of vanilla is made, the ice cream man asks, “Would you like a bowl of flamin’ hot chili for just $5 more?”
“Are you kidding me? It’s about a million degrees out here!” you exclaim. “A bowl of hot soup is the LAST thing I want.” You thank them for the free ice cream, and you wander off with Fido at your heels, happily licking your ice cream cone. You never think about the hot soup offer again.
That’s how it feels to people when the tripwire doesn’t match the lead magnet. Now, let’s look at this example again, only a little differently this time.
Same day, same dog, same ice cream stand. Only this time as you watch the ice cream man scoop your cone, trying not to drool, he says, “For just $5 more you can turn this cone into a double scoop and have access to the add-ons bar.”
You look where he motions, and there, next to the ice cream stand, is a salad bar display set up with all kinds of toppings - crushed candy bars, fruit, whipped cream, sprinkles - you name it, it’s there.
No brainer, right? You fork over your $5, doctor up your double scoop, and wander off with Fido at your heels, happily licking your (now enhanced) ice cream cone.
Now THAT’S an offer. See the difference? Although the bowl of chili and the toppings bar were both food items of the same price, one was a raging success while the other was a flop. Why?
Because when the freebie is valuable (ice cream on a hot day) and provides a measurable result (something yummy that cools you down) people WANT to take the next logical step to whatever the freebie is.
When your client’s tripwire is the next logical step for the audience member, they will be MUCH more likely to buy it.
Step 4: Ask More Than Once
Of course, not everybody will go after the paid offer straight out of the gate. A number of people will walk away before taking the bait (even if it is as good as an ice cream toppings bar).
Humans are skeptical, and this is a normal human reaction. Studies have shown it takes approximately seven unique “touches” to get people to take action. In other words, don’t give up too early!
Remember when you were a kid, and you really really wanted something? Like, REALLY really? You would dog your parents for days about it until you finally wore them down and they gave in, right?
I’m not suggesting that you do that to your client’s list. At all. But what I am suggesting is that sometimes our clients get discouraged and just plain give up too soon. So send the follow-up email. Engage the Messenger chat bot. Give those freebie fans one more chance to buy.
Step 5: Stay Visible and Present
Of course, the end goal is to continue to move the tripwire buyers up the value ladder so they’ll become main offer and potentially high-ticket buyers. Post-tripwire purchase is not the time to drop them. In fact, it’s time to turn up the heat, and by heat, I mean nurture them towards becoming red-hot buyers.
So make sure they’re added to the post-purchase email nurturing sequences. Have your client invite them to Like and Follow their Facebook page. Encourage them to keep up on their social media posting.
This is the long-game folks, and so many business owners forget that. They take the sprint, then die out before they ever reach marathon status, thinking that’s just the way it goes.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Continuity and longevity is possible, and it’s vital to the growth of any business. This is the perfect opportunity for your client to stay in the game and use that amazing lead magnet tripwire combo you’ve helped them create to keep people in their spheres and serve them better.
More from Christa Nichols Messaging
Make sure the lead magnet and tripwire copy is a perfect match for the target audience by asking your clients the eight questions I ask all my high-ticket copy clients in my FREE guide, “8 Must-Ask Questions For Copy That Connects & Converts”.
"Yeah, I’m a runner,” she said as she laces up her Nikes and heads to the treadmill for her daily two-mile jog.
“Yeah, I’m a runner,” he said as he slips on his Vibram 5-finger runners and hits the trail for a ‘short’ 20-mile loop.
Are they both runners?
Heck no! She’s not a runner. She couldn’t handle a hardcore ultra race.
He’s crazy! That’s not running. That’s torture to the extreme!
In the general sense of the word, sure, they’re both runners. But when it comes down to what they actually do and how they do it, the word “runner” seems to have multiple meanings depending on the circumstances.
The same can be said for the term “copywriter.”
Two Types of Copywriters
There are two main types of copywriters - content copywriters and sales conversion copywriters (sometimes called direct response copywriters). People outside the copywriting industry tend to group all public-faced writing under one umbrella and often don’t recognize there’s a wide gap between the two types.
Let’s break down the two types of copywriters, what they do, what they accomplish for their clients, and where you might see examples of both types of copy.
What they do: Content copywriters write the words that fill the spaces target audiences go to for information about their clients (hence the term “content”). Don’t let this definition of content fool you - content copy isn’t just throwaway copy, not by a long shot. Quality content copy makes a huge difference.
What this does for their clients: The main purposes of content copy are to engage and entertain the client’s audience, keep them visible and top of mind, and educate and indoctrinate the audience about the client’s mission and vision. Content copy also helps drive search engines by providing the SEO-based keywords needed to attract Google’s attention and push traffic.
Where you’ll see content copy: You’ll see content copy on websites, blogs, social media profiles, and everyday emails.
SALES CONVERSION COPYWRITERS
What they do: To put it in really simple terms, sales conversion copywriters write the words that sell the things. They write super targeted copy that urges readers to take a specific action.
What this does for their clients: The copy that sales conversion copywriters create accomplishes five objectives:
Where you’ll see sales conversion copy: You’ll see sales conversion copy in ads, sales emails, sales funnels, direct mail sales letters, and sometimes in social media content.
“VS.” OR “AND”?
Is one type of copywriting better than another? No way! Content copy and sales copy are both important, they just accomplish different goals. The truth is, clients need both types of copy in their businesses. Why?
Because nobody likes to be communicated with in the same way all the time.
If all a business did was entertain and engage their audience, it wouldn’t be a very profitable business, right? On the other hand, if all a business did was sell, sell, sell, the audience would quickly tire of it and feel used.
A healthy mix of content copy and sales conversion copy helps balance both sides and give the target audience an enjoyable customer experience. When it comes to business growth, it’s ALL about serving the customer and nurturing the customer experience.
SHOULD COPYWRITERS SPECIALIZE?
If content and sales copy are so different, what does that mean for copywriters and business owners? Should a copywriter specialize by choosing to focus on either content or sales? What’s important for the business owner or entrepreneur to know as they search for the right copywriter to support them?
The longer I serve clients as a copywriter, the more convinced I am that you can get better, more consistent results for clients if you specialize. Can one person write both types of copywriting? Yes, but it can be a challenge. As you switch back and forth between the two types of writing, you’re constantly requiring your brain to go back and forth between sales mentality and content.
Specializing allows you to stay in one zone for your clients. When you can devote more time to one type of copywriting, you grow those skills faster and can more quickly become known as an expert in that area.
As for the business owner or entrepreneur looking to hire a copywriter, understanding the difference between content copy and sales copy and which type they need is really important. Hitting the market with “I need a good copywriter. Anybody know one?” will send a mixed bag of recommendations to their inbox. They may end up having to wade through a bunch of copywriters who don’t have the expertise they’re looking for. Bummer.
Does that mean sales copywriters and content copywriters can’t coexist?
Are they destined to live on separate planes, never crossing paths like two ships in the night?
Not at all! Copywriters all have the same bottom-line goal - to support the client. When content and sales copywriters work together to present a unified and cohesive messaging across all channels, it’s SO powerful. Campaigns are enhanced (and so are conversion rates!) when the content copy messaging matches the sales conversion messaging. The best-performing campaigns I’ve ever worked on had content and sales copywriters to cover both the engagement and sales spectrums simultaneously.
THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT
Will our two runners ever run the same way? No, probably not … and that’s okay. They don’t have to, because they’re doing two different and equally valuable types of running.
Content copywriters and sales conversion copywriters are in a similar position. Will they ever write the same way as each other? No, and they SHOULDN’T. This can be a tough one for the client to understand sometimes.
“Why doesn’t my sales page sound more like my website?”
“Why can’t my blog be used as my Facebook ad copy?”
Just as our runners in the example above wore different kinds of shoes for different kinds of running, so copywriters must use different strategies and techniques for different types of copy.
It’s a GOOD thing.
More About Christa Nichols
So what about me? What do I specialize in? I’m a sales conversion copywriter - I write the words that sell the things. Want to learn more about being a sales conversion copywriter?
Download my FREE 8 Must-Ask Questions For Copy That Connects & Converts PDF Guide. It gives you eight of the questions I ask every client before I ever write a word. These questions are so foundational, and no one ever talks about Question #2!
Have you ever just gotten something SO WRONG that all you can do is laugh?
I have. This week, in fact.
If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that we’ve been on vacation for the last two weeks. You’ll also know that while we traveled through the Western states, something special arrived at our farm.
Two pot-bellied pigs.
If you’ve ever seen a pot-bellied pig, you know that they’re really something. And by something, I mean they’re so ugly they’re cute.
These two have it all going on - the smooshy snouts, the hanging bellies, the wiry, bristly hair. And the willingness to eat anything and everything you offer them.
So, of course, we gave them names befitting their appearance. They look like big, bad piggos, so we named them after some big, bad personalities - Hambo and Chunk Norris.
I love it. I’m still laughing at “Chunk Norris”. It’s definitely the pinnacle of my pet naming career. Or so I thought …
A Shocking Discovery
And here’s where it all went wrong. Last night a friend of ours stopped by and asked us a question that stopped me in my tracks.
“So are you going to breed your pigs?” he asked.
“What do you mean? Wait - are they GIRLS?” my husband replied.
Yep. The “minor” detail we had neglected to verify was that Hambo and Chunk Norris are, in fact, female pigs.
I was instantly horrified. We gave our girl pigs boy names! What is the world coming to!?!
Getting Your Audience Right
Of course, Hambo (Hambina?) and Chunk (Chunkita?) Norris could care less. They get back scratches and leftover spaghetti. They’re living their best lives.
It’s not quite the same when it comes to digital marketing and your human audience. Get the target audience wrong, and you’ll know it. How? Well, either the campaigns won’t convert, or you’ll get backlash from the audience you are targeting. Probably both.
Target market research is SO important. It’s more important than just about anything else in marketing, especially when it comes to writing sales copy that converts. If your client doesn’t know who needs their products and services …
… and I mean KNOW know, as in who they are, what they do, and what their needs, desires, and pain points are …
Then they don’t really have an offer - not one that will sell anyway - and you will have a really hard time getting results for them, no matter how good your sales copy is.
Your clients’ products and services exist for someone else, and that someone else will not buy them if they don’t feel your clients understand and relate to them. And the only way you can communicate well with someone else’s target audience is if you put in the time and energy on target market research.
Getting the Job Done
Target market research is a necessary step, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. I do it over and over again for my clients, and I’ve broken it down into a step-by-step process that’s easy to follow, yet very effective.
Want to see it? I have a FREE downloadable cheat sheet that will help you dial in on exactly who your clients’ target markets are so you can serve them well and write sales copy that’s specific to them.
Not Hambo and Chunk Norris.
Click here to download the FREE guide now.
It’s a rare occasion that I don’t close a prospective client on a discovery call.
I don’t say that to brag. Believe me, I spent my fair share of calls filled with imposter syndrome, doubt and desperation oozing out of me. When I first started out as a digital marketer, I agreed to any and every project that came my way at whatever price was offered.
Even if it was something I didn’t enjoy doing (like social media platform management).
Or didn’t really know how to do (like build sales funnels).
I burned out in six months.
It wasn’t until I dialed in on what I really loved doing and was good at that things changed for me. I fell in love with my clients. Work became fun again. And discovery calls got a whole lot easier.
Today, I close around 80 percent of my discovery calls. Of the remaining 20 percent, most don’t sign because they’re looking for a cheaper option, which is completely understandable. I don’t try to sell someone into something they can’t afford - that’s just not my style.
The Key to Closing is in the Questions You Ask
So how do I do it? Am I some super-celebrity rockstar with a huge reputation?
Nope. Except for within a few niche communities, I’m sure most people have never even heard of me. I’m just an Iowa housewife who happens to be good with words and discerning human behavior who loves helping entrepreneurs and business owners sell their stuff. I love it to the point that I’m pretty well obsessed with helping them get inside their ideal clients’ and customers’ heads. Sounds creepy, I know, but it works.
The thing is, they don’t know that before they hire me.
They don’t know how well I’m going to do on their sales copy. I can show them examples of my work, and give them client testimonials and results, but until we work together, there are no guarantees. Yet I rarely have a discovery call that doesn’t result in a signed proposal, and I’m convinced a great deal of the cause for that are the questions I ask them on the call.
There are 5 main questions I always ask the prospective client on a business call that knock their socks off and make them want to work with me above other writers, even if they’re more well-known than I am.
Question #1: Is your offer a converting offer?
There’s a huge difference between writing for a brand new offer, an offer that has converted but has never seen paid traffic, and an offer that’s consistently converting with paid traffic. Each scenario requires a different approach.
Why this is important: It’s important for you to know this at the outset so you can meet the client where their offer is and set reasonable expectations as far as turnaround time, revisions, and testing and optimization. Reasonable expectations are good for EVERYONE.
Question #2: How large is your list?
The size of the list is a great indicator of where the campaign needs to start. Conversions aren’t just about sales, they’re about list building, webinar attendance, and challenge enrollments.
Why this is important: If the list is small, the client will want to start with list-building. Emails are owned traffic, and owned traffic is money in the bank. It’s much easier to get conversions from someone on the email list than a random person hopping in the funnel from social media.
Question #3: How warm is your target audience?
Most of you probably already ask about the target audience on the discovery call (if you don’t, start now!), but do you ask where they are in terms of their engagement? Even entrepreneurs and business owners with huge lists struggle to sell if the list is dead cold.
Why this is important: A warm audience buys faster, easier, and with much less financial investment. List size is important, but don’t ignore the fact that a small hot audience will outperform a large cold one every day of the week. Pitching to a cold audience can result in poor sales conversions. Nobody wants that.
Question #4: What campaigns have you run before and how did they perform?
This won’t apply as much to a prospect with a brand new business or offer, but knowing what has worked and what hasn’t for the prospect can help you get a quick feel for what their audience likes and doesn’t like as well as what marketing has proven effective. If they’re new, that’s really important to know too. See question #1.
Why this is important: Knowing what they’ve done before gives you a place to start and a baseline for growth and improvement. It also gives you a look at where to start in terms of optimization where things aren’t working and where to not reinvent the wheel for things that are working.
Question #5: What are your average conversion rates?
There are several different stats I ask for - cost per lead, cost per click, and cost per acquisition. I also always ask for the landing page and sales page conversion rates. Most prospects I talk to have never had a copywriter ask them about conversion rates before. Sometimes they themselves don’t have a clear idea what their baselines are.
Why this is important: Asking about their conversion rates lets the prospect know that you’re about results and that you understand that the data tells the story when it comes to what’s working and what’s not. They will feel like you are on their team working towards a common goal instead of just looking to get paid.
The discovery call process is not just an interview. Yes, it’s an opportunity for the prospect to ask you questions, and they should. Let them guide the discussion and ask you whatever questions they like, but the discovery call is as much for you as it is for them. Make sure you sneak these five questions in.
These five questions serve two purposes. Not only do they really impress the prospect and show them you know your stuff, but the answers provide you with information you need to be able to make informed suggestions for their campaigns and even decide whether the client is a good fit for you or not.
More from Christa Nichols
Want another list of questions I always ask my clients once we start working together? Grab my FREE 8 Must-Ask Questions guide. Inside you’ll find eight questions I always ask about my clients’ target markets. These questions help me write copy that follows the five stages of sales copy - and it WORKS. Click here to download it now: 8 Must-Ask Questions For Copy That Connects And Converts.
Hi, I'm Christa, an Iowa-based messaging expert specializing in targeted messaging, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. I have one handsome hubby who's my partner in crime (not literally) and two great kids who keep us busy (Track and field! Volleyball! Basketball! All the sports!) Using words to help people promote what they love is my favorite!