Our dog never used to be afraid of storms.
We got Finn as the cutest little 6-week-old German shorthair puppy, and he’s basically been the sweetest, most loving dog ever. He’s never had a want or a fear in his little life.
But last year he was outside during a really loud burst of thunder. Is that a thing? A “burst” of thunder? No wait, it’s “clap”. A really loud clap of thunder. Anyway ....
That one loud clap of thunder terrified him, and from that moment on, he gets really upset when the weather gets stormy. He whines, runs for a stuffed animal (his ultimate “prize” or comfort toy), and becomes super-glued to one of us.
It doesn’t help to remind him that he wasn’t afraid of thunder before. It doesn’t matter if we reassure him and try telling him he doesn’t need to be afraid. He had an emotional experience, and it has permanently changed how he feels about storms.
He is afraid of thunder now. It’s just something that IS.
Change Affects People Too
Right now, the whole world is reeling from a thunderclap unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. Try as we may, it doesn’t help to remind ourselves that we weren’t affected by pandemic before, or that everything will be okay and we don’t need to be afraid.
Things are different now. And that’s just something that IS.
Once you’re affected by something, it changes you. It changes how you feel and think, and it changes how you make decisions and what actions you take. It changes what you need help with and where you look for that help.
What does that have to do with your clients’ marketing?
You Can’t Continue To Market The Way You Did Before
If crisis teaches marketers anything, it’s that we must help our clients create messaging and offers that are relevant to today. What your client offered before the pandemic may not be what their audience needs in the midst of or after the pandemic.
If you haven’t helped your client assess where their target audience is in terms of their needs, wants, emotions, beliefs, and actions, then your client may be missing opportunities to better serve their audiences.
They also may be missing opportunities to grow their businesses, even during crisis.
The world needs enterprise and entrepreneurship and small and large businesses right now. As marketers, we can help our clients create a plan to meet their audiences right where they’re at and serve them at a high level.
If your clients can create ways to give their target audiences what their target audiences need NOW, guess who they’ll come to tomorrow, and next month, and next year?
Lessons From a Dog
The best thing our clients can do for their target audiences is to meet him where they’re at and be there for them in the way that helps them most right now. For Finn, that means letting him hover with his chin on one of our knees and telling him he’s a good boy.
For our clients, that may look like creating some educational content, showing up live more often to offer help and assistance, opening up more ways their audience can contact them, or creating unique offers that specifically address issues they’re having right now.
Those who can do this now and do it well build trust and validity with their ideal clients and customers. Here are a couple of examples of several clients and friends of mine who are doing it will. (Names are withheld for privacy reasons.)
Client A has created a day-long virtual workshop to help marriage partners and family members gain the skillsets, tools, and strategies they need to create more peace and harmony at home during social distancing.
Client B has created a Facebook group and is going live every day with the open invitation for business owners running ads to come and ask questions for free so they can keep their ads up and running well.
Client C broke open their vault of amazing resources and created a new, financially-accessible membership specifically designed to teach entrepreneurs and business owners how to create systems and processes needed to help their businesses grow during the crisis.
I could go on and on with amazing examples of how I’ve seen people step up to the plate and really, truly serve their audiences right now. And there are many, many small and easy-to-implement ways to serve right now too, like free guides, extra training sessions, or extended access to membership features that would normally have expired.
More from Christa Nichols Messaging
The point is, we’re in a new world working towards a new normal. The way we marketed before will not work today. We need to meet our audiences where they are and serve them with value. And if you’re a service provider like I am, you can help your clients come up with ways to do the same for their audiences.
Want to learn more about how I work one-on-one with clients to create sales conversion copy that helps them catch audience attention, connects with their audience on a personal level, communicates important information, and leads to conversion? Visit https://go.christanicholsmessaging.com/home
“That sounds GOOD,” I thought, leaning back in my desktop chair and stretching my arms overhead. “It’s going to work great!”
When I first started out writing copy, I didn’t know what I was doing. Sure, I had a degree in journalism and mass communication, and my time in newspaper and magazine taught me how to write targeted, concise, and attention-grabbing copy, which is a solid foundation for a copywriter.
If you’d asked me why I was good at writing sales copy that converted, however, I couldn’t have given you a reason. It “just did”. … until it “just didn’t”.
The copy I was patting myself on the back for above? Total fail. Oh sure, it was clever, it was funny, it was attention-grabbing … but it didn’t convert, and I had no idea why.
“How could the audience not like it?” I huffed in frustration. “It’s so funny! That’s just crazy.”
I’ve learned a lot since that moment years ago. The things you SHOULDN’T do when it comes to sales copy are just as important as the things you should. This article covers three mistakes copywriters make and offers solutions that will stop these mistakes from sinking your sales copy.
But don’t worry, I’m not going to just tell you all the “don’ts” and leave you hanging out to dry. I’m packing this article with solutions and free resources!
MISTAKE #1: Too Much “You” in the Copy
Just because I think something sounds great doesn’t mean the target audience will agree. You have to take yourself out of the equation when you’re writing sales copy because if you don’t know the target audience and what they want and need, your copy won’t resonate with them, and that’s a problem.
This one might be the most difficult for me to avoid. I think I’m very entertaining, and it’s easy to default into my voice and my style if I haven’t done enough of one of the most important things we copywriters do. Research.
THE SOLUTION: R-E-S-E-A-R-C-H
Out of all the solutions, this is the easiest (although likely most time-consuming) one. Research is research. You don’t have to make judgments or try to create angles during the research phase. You just want to gather as much information as you can about the target audience and the brand voice.
Your goal during the research phase is to get to know the target audience as well as or better than your client. It’s going to take more than a single-page questionnaire or a quick glance at the client’s website. If you really want to get your client results, know their audience.
When we write for clients, our goal is to write AS the clients. That means we have to know what they sound like, words and phrases they use, and how they normally communicate with their audiences. You don’t want the target audience to feel disconnected from the copy, especially when sales are involved. Need some help knowing how to dial in on the brand personality? Download my FREE Personality Booster Pack here.
MISTAKE #2: Focusing Only On The Features
You know how you tend to get really, really excited about your favorite new thing? You can’t wait to tell everyone you know all about its features and how awesome it is. Our clients are the same way with their offers. They’ve worked long and hard to create a product or service, pouring their heart and soul into creating something valuable that checks all the boxes and does all the things.
So when they talk to you about their offer, oftentimes they focus almost completely on the features, descriptions, and bonuses of the offer. They’ve been in it so long that they forget what it felt like BEFORE.
Their audience is still in the BEFORE. While they might be wowed by features and bonuses and clever descriptions, that’s not what really coverts them. What converts them are the results they’ll experience because of the offer. If the sales copy doesn’t give the audience a clear and compelling description of how their lives will improve because of the offer, they’ll be gone.
THE SOLUTION: Give The Reader What They Want
Go back to your research on the target audience. If you don’t know what they want, you can’t give them the solution they need. Make a list of the problems they have and the results they want, then connect each of those things with the offer in a way that shows how the offer is the solution to their problem.
Not sure what questions to ask to get that information about the target audience? I have a downloadable guide that gives you the eight questions I ask EVERY client that really helps me pinpoint exactly what the target audience needs to hear in order to convert. You can download it for FREE here.
MISTAKE #3: Ignoring The Data
I saw the DM notification and my heart sank. Reluctantly, I clicked over to Messenger and read my client’s message.
“The landing page isn’t converting. Can you look at it again?”
Ugh. We’ve all been there, right? Here’s the hard truth - sometimes campaigns don’t go the way the client wants them to, and one of the first places the client tends to blame is the copy. When you’re a sales copywriter, that is the one thing you do NOT want to happen.
In reality, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to a campaign not converting up to par, and it’s not always the copy. Customer service, the offer, the ability to close the sale on the back end - all of those things can contribute. So how do you determine what the cause really is? How can you communicate with the client about it in a way that is confident and respectful, especially when it’s NOT the copy’s fault?
Your new best friend in these situations is the data. When it comes to paid traffic, data is invaluable to copywriters … but it’s not something many copywriters even talk about. This is a big, big problem.
THE SOLUTION: Learn To Read Analytics
There’s only one way to correct this mistake, and that’s learning to read analytics. There are certain analytics in the back end of ad campaign data that will tell you what you need to know in order to:
Learning how to read analytics has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business, and not just in terms of client results, although that’s certainly true. It’s been something that allows me to make recommendations and confidently guide my clients towards solutions that work.
Take the situation above. I could have panicked, cried, changed everything on the landing page, and prayed it worked. Instead, I asked her some very specific questions about what her Facebook ad analytics were showing and calmly pointed out what the problem might be, suggesting what I believed should be changed first. The situation ended up being a win-win.
Want to learn more sales copy tips so you can get Written Results for your clients? Click here to follow me on Facebook.
The 3 Most Important Things You Can Do For Your Clients (That Have Nothing To Do With Writing Words)
“I’ve hired other copywriters before, but they just didn’t get it,” my client said. “I feel like I ended up with something that doesn’t sound like me. My target audience isn’t responding at all, and now I’m stuck with something I paid thousands for that doesn’t even work.”
If you’re a copywriter, pay attention.
I’ve heard stories like this countless times, and they tell me one thing. If we’re only focusing on the words, we’re missing the very things that should be foundational to our calling.
This may be surprising to hear from someone who makes her living as a writer, but it’s not all about the words. In order to be good - really GOOD - at writing sales conversion copy, the work starts way before you ever open up that blank Google document and start writing headlines.
There are three things we must do for our clients in order to be able to write sales copy that will get them the results their offers deserve. These three things are the foundation of my business. Without these three things, I would not be the writer I am today, helping my clients serve (and generate!) millions.
The crazy thing is, on the surface, these three things have nothing to do with writing.
First, You Need to Care
What your clients are offering their target audiences matters deeply to them. There’s a reason they’ve put their time, energy, and resources into creating the product or service they’re selling.
To them, this is PERSONAL. Sometimes it’s so personal they struggle with what to say and how to communicate with the people who really need what they’re selling. They have a hard time being objective. That’s why they come to us.
They need us to see the importance of their offers. They’re trusting us to create something that supports them in their desire to serve their clients and customers, and that trust is a gift. If you don’t care - if you’re only doing this project for the money - it will show in the quality of your work.
But when you do care and can put heart and soul into their messaging? That’s when the magic happens. Audiences pick up on that. They feel seen and heard, and so will your clients.
Second, Ask The Right Questions
I consider it one of my main jobs to ask questions. It’s the best way to get down to the nitty gritty and get the answers I need so I can write copy that converts. In fact, I have a whole framework of questions I take new clients through so I can make sure I’m covering any objection, any false belief, and anything else the audience might be holding onto that might keep them from buying.
I ask tons of questions about their target markets and what they want and need and what they’re thinking, feeling, and experiencing. I ask about their current campaigns and what types of results they’ve gotten in the past. I even ask about the client’s own goals and dreams for their offer.
Often, I ask questions even the client has never thought to ask themselves. Getting the answers to those kinds of questions can literally unlock the exact hook or angle an offer needs to get off the ground and get results.
Finally Research, Research, Research
The last thing copywriters need to do for their clients before they write is research. Research is the last brick in the foundation your sales copy will build on, and it’s SO important.
Once the client and I have gone over all the answers to my questions, I dive into the research phase. I study the target market. I study the industry the client is in. I study the offer and others like it. I look for what’s working and what’s not. I take note of cultural and societal factors and situational and circumstantial occurrences that can affect sales.
It all comes into play. It all matters. Then when I have a clear understanding of the entire picture, THAT’S when I start writing. If I missed even one of those three things, I’d be doing my client a disservice.
So before you sit down with a pen (or keyboard) at hand, build the foundation. Focus on caring, questions, and research.
Steal My Questions
Want a jump on asking the right questions and diving into the research? Grab my FREE 8 Must-Ask Questions guide. This guide gives eight of the key questions I ask all my clients before I write and comes in a downloadable, fillable PDF you can save and fill out over and over again for different clients.
Want to learn more about me and what I do? Visit my website at https://go.christanicholsmessaging.com/home. To get your hands on the “8 Must-Ask Questions You Must Ask In Order To Write Copy That Connect & Converts” resource I mention in this article, click here and I’ll send it straight to your inbox!
If you’re a copywriter, pay attention.
If your brain can take words and form messaging that communicates clearly, deeply, and meaningfully, lean in.
If your weapon of choice is a keyboard and your words can make people, laugh, cry, or sing, wake up.
It’s time. Your job is more important than ever. People need you. Businesses need you. The world needs you.
Words in a Time of Quarantine
I’m not a doctor or a nurse, not a respiratory therapist or lung specialist. I’m not fighting on the front lines to save people’s lives from a deadly virus that destroys lungs and lives. No one can take the place of these and other brave public servants who daily sacrifice their own health for others.
We owe them all a debt of gratitude that can’t be repaid, although we can try. There are things we can do that help protect them and the job they do from afar. We can stay home. We can practice social distancing. We can wash our hands, pray for them, and practice kindness.
And if you’re a copywriter like me, you can use your talent with words to serve your clients in a time of quarantine. This is no time to freeze up or sit idly by.
We have work to do.
Words are powerful, but then I don’t have to tell you that because you already know. You wouldn’t be a copywriter if you didn’t. Even though the current circumstances our world is facing is such new territory for everyone that it seems to defy description …
… there are still a whole lot of people out there who need what your words can do. I know we can’t heal a pandemic. We can’t fix a shut-down economy. But during times of high stress and crisis, each person can step up and do what they can to lighten the load for others.
As service providers, some of our others are our clients and the businesses we write for. Does what we do make a difference for what they’re going through now? Heck yes! Here are three ways you can step up as a copywriter and use your words to serve your clients during crisis.
Reach Out to Your Clients
The first thing copywriters should do when any kind of crisis occurs is check in with their clients. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with how circumstances are affecting you and your business, but remember - they ARE your business. Now is not the time to freeze up, panic, or hide.
Make a phone call or send an email, DM, or voice message just to let them know you’re thinking about them right now. Let them know you’re here for them, and ask them if there’s anything you can help them with that would make navigating what they’re going through any easier. Here’s an example of a message I sent to my clients during the first few days of social distancing.
I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking about you and your family. I know that this are troubling times, and I wanted you to know that I am here and ready to serve you as you sereve your clients and customers right now. We’re all communicating a bit differently right now, and if you need any help going over your messaging or sales copy so it effectively reaches your audience where they are right now, I’d be glad to hop on a call.
Most of all, your health and safety is important to me, and I appreciate you,
It’s tempting to think, “Oh, I can’t reach out to my clients right now. That just seems icky- like I’m asking for work when they’re already super stressed.”
If you DON’T reach out to them and let them know you’re here when they and their clients and customers are in crisis, you are not serving them well. You’re abandoning them in their time of need.
Connect With Your Audience
The next thing a copywriter should do is check in with their audience. Don’t forget about the people who follow you and your business page on social media. And your email list - they’re still there too. The same people who follow you and consume your content because they want to learn from you or just plain like you and think you’re cool need to hear from you now.
You don’t have to put on a brave face. These are your people. They want to connect with another human right now, so show up. Post about what you’re doing in your business to help others right now. Commiserate about the trials of becoming an overnight homeschool teacher. Encourage them to share what’s going on where they are.
There’s one crazy thing I’m doing right now that’s bringing people joy. Several times a week, I go Live on Facebook with what I call “Goat Therapy.” Dr. Fraaank (my goat) is in, and he’s just the gosh darn happiest goat ever that he makes everyone smile.
Does this have anything to do with my business? Nope. But it’s fun, and people need that right now. Your followers do, your clients do, and you know what? You need it too. Don’t isolate yourself. We’re all in this together.
Serve with Your Business
The last way you can use your words to serve is going to require a bit more effort, but you can do it. I want you to come up with something you can offer for free that will help people who are struggling right now.
I live in a really rural area. There are more farms and small businesses out here than influencers and 7- and 8-figure entrepreneurs, the people I usually serve. My heart broke for small business owners because I know social distancing will most likely affect their livelihoods dramatically.
As the owner of a small business myself, I wanted to help. There’s no way I can sit down and write sales copy for them all, and to be honest, that’s not necessarily their most urgent need right now. But as someone whose built two businesses from the ground up, I do know a little something about running a business from home.
THAT’S something that interests a whole lot of people right now. I created a PDF that listed my top 10 favorite online tools that I use every day in my home office. I gave a short description of each one, what they do, and how I use them in. Then I put it out there and gave it away for free.
That crazy little lead magnet has added almost 1000 people to my email list in the last three weeks at just $.60 each. That’s insane - and it’s all because I looked for a way I could offer something they need with no strings.
Now it’s your turn. Asking yourself these three questions will help you zero in on some ideas for your audience:
There’s an added benefit in this for you as well. Not only are you serving, but you’re widening your reach and gaining visibility and street cred as someone who has valuable knowledge and cares about others.
Guess who they will come to when they DO need help with their copy?
I’m also a copy coach with a series of courses on how to create solid messaging frameworks that are the foundation for copy that converts. Some of the people who downloaded my free guide may be looking for a way to learn skills that will them help generate income from home that doesn’t require a lot of overhead and is in high demand right now.
Now that we’re connected, I can continue to serve them with my courses and trainings as well.
Copywriters, we’ve got to get creative because our clients and target audiences need us. They need us to show up and help them pivot their messaging so they can serve their clients and customers better. They need us to show up and share our knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work.
Words matter, so let’s get busy!
More from Christa Nichols
Want to learn more about me and what I do? Hop on over the my website at https://go.christanicholsmessaging.com/home. To get your hands on the free resource I mention in this article, the 10 Free Tools For A Remote Office, click here and I’ll send it straight to your inbox!
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!