My husband loves working on old trucks. There are several in our machine shed right now that are in various stages of rebuild.
To be honest, I don’t know much about fixing up old trucks … or new trucks … or even remote control cars, but I do know there are certain things a truck has to have in order to run well.
An engine, for one. A gas tank, transmission, battery and steering column to name a few more.
In fact, there are hundreds, even thousands of parts that have to work together to get the truck in tip-top shape.
Come to think of it, the offers we write for are a lot like that too. Copy is just one part of the equation, and yet it’s often the first thing blamed if a campaign doesn’t perform as expected.
It’s not always the copy’s fault.
In this article I’m going to break this lie down and show you how to respectfully stand behind your copy with confidence.
An Early Lesson
I learned really early on as a sales copywriter that it’s really easy to blame the copy when campaigns don’t go well. After all, copy is one of the first things target audiences are exposed to in ads, funnels and email. It only makes sense that if sales aren’t happening, it’s all the copy’s fault ... right?
WRONG. Totally, completely wrong.
Assuming it’s the copy every time a campaign doesn’t perform is a big mistake for several reasons. I’m going to break those reasons down, but first let me give you a parallel that I think helps clear this up.
Let’s say my husband brings home a new project truck - a 1977 Chevy Silverado.
“The owner said it runs!” he exclaims. “Let’s hop in and take it for a spin!”
He pours some gas in the tank, climbs behind the wheel and turns the key to the ignition with the anticipation of a kid at Christmas.
“I don’t understand. The owner said it was fine - that all it needed was gas. Why isn’t it working? This is stupid. There must be something wrong with the gas. I’m never using this kind of gas again!”
Yeah, he’d never say that.
He knows there are so many other things that also have to be in good working order. Yes, that 1977 Chevy Silverado needs gas to run … but that’s just ONE piece of the puzzle.
When the Chevy doesn’t start, he dives under the hood and does a thorough inspection to see if he can spot any existing or potential issues that might be causing the problem.
The same thing applies in marketing campaigns. There are so many factors that go into creating campaigns that produce ROI. If even one of them is off, it can skew the results for the whole campaign.
There are certain things that need to be in place before the copy is ever written and certain things that need to be done well after the copy is written in order to get best results. When you know what those things are and how they work together with the copy, you can quickly identify where the breakdown is occurring.
Let’s take a closer look.
Before Copy Is Written
So much of what we copywriters do depends on what goes on before we ever enter the scene, including target market research, exploring brand voice, offer creation, and audience building and engagement.
When a campaign doesn’t work as planned, ask these questions first:
Campaigns that get the best results have a well-defined and researched avatar, a consistent, relatable brand voice, an irresistible offer the target audience wants, and a company or face of the company that’s actively engaged with the audience and building their list.
After Copy Is Written
A lot goes on in campaigns after the copy is submitted too, including traffic and targeting, sales funnel optimization, email integrations, sales processes and client/customer service. If everything checks out with the “befores”, ask these questions:
Putting It All Together
Knowing how all the pieces of a campaign work together gives you a roadmap to help walk the client through if they’re questioning your copy or discouraged about how their campaigns are performing. It’s not helping the client at all to allow them to blame the copy without first exploring the campaign as a whole.
This roadmap is also really helpful for you, too. If there is a problem with the copy, you can walk through this roadmap yourself to identify where the breakdown for you occurred. Did you not capture the client voice well or create a CTA that was confusing or unclear? Regroup and do better next time.
More From Christa Nichols
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We see their brightly-colored ads and we wince. It’s hard not to. When something is portrayed as “fail-proof”, “plug-and-play” and “proven to convert”, that’s attractive. And when it only costs $7 or $17 or $27, it’s pretty darned irresistible.
Yes, I’m talking about the massive number of swipe file and template offers being advertised in the market right now.
Now before you get triggered, I’m not saying templates and swipe files are bad. I’m also not saying they don’t work. This article isn’t a bashfest on tiny offers and tripwires. It’s not a down-with-all-scripts diatribe.
Swipe files and templates are huge time and energy savers for people who don’t have the time and energy to put into writing their own copy or the budget to hire a copywriter to do it for them. They can be great resources for people in the beginning stages of their businesses. All the love. 💗 That said, if you sell templates, scripts or swipe files, this article probably isn’t for you.
The Truth About The Lie
Who is this article for then? It’s for all the copywriters out there who die a little inside every time they see all the templates, scripts and swipe file offers in the marketplace. I see you, and I know what you’re thinking right now.
“How can a copywriter like me compete with that?”
You can’t - but not for the reason you think. You’ve sold yourself on the lie that you’re in competition with scripts, templates and swipes, but the real truth is you’re NOT.
I’ll say it again: You can’t compete with scripts, templates and swipe files because they are NOT your competition.
“Why would someone want to hire me if they can just buy a swipe file for less than the cost of a pizza?”
I’ve heard variations of this type of thinking from copywriters time and time again, and it always makes me sad. There are two problems with this kind of thinking. One problem has to do with what’s going on in the market, and one has to do with what’s going on inside the copywriter. Let’s break it down.
Barking Up The Wrong Tree
There’s an old saying people use to express the idea that someone is looking for something in the wrong place.
You’re barking up the wrong tree.
My dog does this.
We have a family of squirrels who live in our yard. Our hunting dog loves nothing more than to watch this family of squirrels chase each other around. He dreams of the day he would catch one, but he never has.
He’ll sneak quietly up to the front door and wait for us to let him out. As soon as the squirrels see him, they make a beeline for the big pine tree in the front yard. Hot on their heels, he chases them and watches in frustration as they climb up the trunk. He could sit all day at the base of the tree and bark at them, but what he doesn’t realize is they’ve already climbed across the branches to the next tree in the yard, and the next.
He’s looking for the right squirrels, but he’s barking up the wrong tree.
If you think that the same people who purchase templates, scripts and swipe files are your ideal clients, you’re barking up the wrong tree. You’re looking for clients in the wrong place.
People who buy scripts, templates and swipes aren’t your ideal clients. They most likely don’t have the budget to hire a copywriter. That’s why they’re all over the $7-$27 offers, and that’s 100% totally fine. That’s what those offers are there for - to serve people who need them.
Stop trying to compete with those offers, because the truth is they’re NOT your competition. When you see these offers in the marketplace, just smile and keep doing your thing. What you offer is a completely different service for a completely different type of target market. Own it!
Hold Your Head Up
The second problem I see with this type of thinking tells me there’s a deeper internal issue going on - a confidence one.
Copywriting can be a tough industry to break into. Sales conversion copywriting is even tougher. When you’re first starting out, it can be hard to find clients, prove your worth and work your way up to high-ticket rates.
When you’re looking for any and all client opportunities, seeing tiny offers pop up that seem to offer the same results your copy does can be a real blow to the old self-esteem. You start thinking things like:
“Why would somebody pay me hundreds or thousands of dollars when they can just Mad Libs it with a fill-in-the-blank template?”
“Who’s going to hire out their Facebook ad copy when you can swipe someone else’s for $17?”
“Are copywriters even a thing anymore? Just wait until the A.I. robots take over - then I’ll really be out of a job.”
Yeah, that kind of thinking is a slippery slope to nowhere … and it’s all total lies! Copywriters provide personalized, research-based, sales psychology-driven services that help clients dial in deep on their target markets to get optimized results.
And there are millions of clients out there who understand that high-ticket sales copywriting is worth its weight in gold. They’re looking for highly-skilled professionals they can put faith and trust in, and do you know what type of copywriters will catch their eye first?
The ones who can hold their heads high with confidence in the value of their services and can back up their work with real client results.
You’re NOT in competition with the swipe files, templates and script offers in the marketplace today. In fact, maybe someday you’ll be the one selling your own versions. When you stop looking for clients in the wrong places, you’ll see that high ticket clients are everywhere. They’re waiting for you to show up.
More From Christa Nichols
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I’m just going to run down the stairs real quick and put this laundry away. I thought to myself.
It was late evening, and the sun had long since set. It was dark in the basement, but instead of turning on the stairway light like a sane person would do, I decided to grab the laundry basket and walk down the stairs in the dark. Why turn the light on when I’d just have to turn it off again, right?
Famous last words.
Our basement stairs aren’t enclosed. The left side butts up against the wall, but the right side is open to the living room. As I neared the bottom few steps, already thinking about what I was going to do after I put my laundry away, a big hand reached out and grabbed my ankle.
Cue freakout. I swear I lost years off my life. I shrieked loudly, and it’s a miracle I didn’t throw the whole laundry basket up in the air, scattering clothes in every direction.
My husband had been crouched down to the side of the stairs, waiting in the dark for me to get close enough to scare. He immediately burst out laughing while dodging my attempts to fake slap him into tomorrow.
It’s true. I admit it. I am the best victim ever if you want to get a good jump scare out of somebody. All you have to do is catch me when I’m not paying attention to my surroundings, which, since my brain is always ruminating on words of some kind, is often.
Jump scares aren’t the only things that make my blood run cold, however.
As a sales copywriter, there are five statements that create an instant sense of foreboding and dread in me. This article reveals what the five super scary sentences are and gives you some effective strategies on how to deal with them without giving in to fear.
Scary Statement 1: “I need it by the end of the day.”
The conversation with a client or prospect is going great. You’re excited about their project and can’t wait to get started. Then they drop the bomb.
“We’re scheduled to start running ads tomorrow, so we’re going to need it ASAP.”
Instantly, your brain starts furiously trying to figure out how you can make it happen. Maybe if you move that project to tomorrow and put off writing your own content (again) …
It’s easy to fall into the trap of allowing your desire to please a client override what you know is reasonably possible. Believe me, I’ve totally been guilty of dropping everything and rerouting my whole day’s workflow just to make it happen. It always exponentially adds to the stress of my day, and that is a dead indicator that it’s not always worth it.
When I catch myself being tempted to fall into unreasonable client-pleasing responses, I ask myself one question: Who is the boss of my business?
Oooooh, yeah that puts things right back into perspective, doesn’t it? Am I running my business, or am I allowing my desire to please my clients run it for me?
I serve at a high level and will bend over backwards for a client - but it’s not fair for me to do it at the expense of my other clients, time with my family or my own health. To help myself avoid doing this, I have put a couple things in place as hard and fast rules in my business.
First, I have set minimum turnaround times for my main services. Having a go-to answer at the ready when clients ask what’s possible in terms of turnaround is a lifesaver. If it’s the rules of your business, it’s the rules of your business.
Second, I have a separate rate sheet for rush requests. Are there times I can accommodate a last-minute request? Yes, but I don’t want it to happen all the time. I also want to set the standard that just as I respect and honor my clients’ time, I’d like them to do the same for me.
Having different rates for rush projects allows me to present a shorter timeline as an option while still respecting my time and my other clients’ projects. I can choose to pull it out if my workflow has the space to accommodate a rush request, and the client then has the choice to pay the rush rate or adjust their timeline.
If I’m okay with either option they choose, then it’s a win-win. And I do love a good client/service provider win-win!
Scary Statement 2: “I think everyone is going to want to buy my offer.”
Ever heard that one before? Most sales copywriters have, and it’s one of the scariest things to hear coming from a client’s mouth. Why?
Because it’s 100% not true. Unless you sell toilet paper, your target audience is NOT, nor will it ever be, “everyone”. Clients who think everyone wants their offer aren’t as ready to make their offer public as they think they are.
Knowing exactly who the target audience is, what they want, and how the offer helps solve a problem is the most important first step to successful campaigns. Most of the research phase time I allocate for each project is spent going all super-spy on the target audience.
Not knowing enough about the target audience eventually turns campaigns into nightmares. Campaigns won’t perform as well when there’s no clear target … and the sales copywriter tends to end up on the wrong side of the blame when things aren’t converting.
So how do you navigate this scary situation?
I walk the client through a framework that takes them through a deep dive on their ideal clients and customers. This framework helps the client look past their offer to the people behind it. I offer this as a separate service because it’s very time-intensive, but it’s worth it because they end up with campaigns that speak directly to their ideal buyers instead of the general public.
If a client doesn’t want (or have the budget) to go through this framework, then I set some very clear, reasonable expectations for what I can do and how their campaigns may perform before I ever write a word.
Scary Statement 3: “If you take this lower price now, I’ll have a lot more work for you down the road.”
I understand operating within budgets, I really do. I use hard and fast budgets with my own marketing campaigns too. It’s not fair, however, to expect someone else to completely change their pricing structure based on the promise of something that may never materialize in the future.
There’s also another problem lurking beneath the surface. Once you agree to a lower rate with a client, it’s very hard to get them back up to your regular rates. If you’re going to engage in price negotiations, be sure you’d be happy with that rate long term.
My best advice here is to proceed with caution ONLY IF this is a client you really want to work with. Sometimes an arrangement like this can be worth it in exchange for experience writing in a niche you’d like to break into or a testimonial.
Never make the decision to work with someone based on the “promise” of future work. If it doesn’t work out, you may resent the time that could have been spent on a client who believes in your worth and pays your rates happily.
Scary Statement 4: “Hey, somebody just stole your copy!”
As unethical as it may be, there are people out there who have no hesitation about copying and pasting someone else’s copy and using it for themselves. Unfortunately, good sales copywriters experience this far too often.
I once wrote a piece of copy for a large influencer’s Facebook ads. The ads converted really well. So well, in fact, that a year later I did a double take when I saw the exact copy, word-for-word, attached to someone else’s ads.
I sent a message to the not-my-client-using-my-client’s-copy. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they’d hired someone to help with their ads or copy and were unaware their service provider was stealing copy from others.
I never got a response, but I stopped seeing the ads and assumed it was taken care of. A few months went by, and they popped up again. This time, I contacted the client, and they took it from there.
It’s not okay to copy and paste other people’s copy. If this happens to you, my best advice is to go directly to the source of the copy with an open mind and ask them about it. Give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.
At the end of the day, as creepy as it is to have someone else copying your stuff, it’s kind of a back-handed compliment.
Scary Statement 5: “The copy isn’t working.”
This one is the ultimate horrorfest. You pour your heart and soul into your client’s project, and when the data starts pouring in, it doesn’t convert.
Before you panic and accept all the blame, there could be other factors affecting the campaign’s results. Don’t make massive changes to the copy until you’ve answered the following questions:
The most important thing to remember is the data doesn’t lie. As the ads strategist for the landing page conversion rate and the ad click through rate. These two stats tell you a lot about where a breakdown might be occurring.
The truth is, there are many factors sales copywriters don’t have control over within a campaign. The copy is just one (although a very important one) piece of the pie. It’s important to think about how you’d respond in these situations BEFORE they actually occur. Having a plan to deal with these scary statements ahead of time means you can calmly handle whatever comes.
More from Christa Nichols
I’ve been working on something that’s going to be transformational for sales copywriters for over a year now, and the VIP launch is coming this November. Click here to get on the waitlist to find out more.
So you want to be a copywriter. The question is, what kind?
What do you mean, Christa? A copywriter is a copywriter … right?
Well, not quite. When it comes to copywriting, there are two main paths: content and conversion. There’s also a third path, brand copywriting, but for the purpose of this article, we’re going to limit the discussion to content and conversion since those are the two most outward-facing.
Although both content and conversion copy fall under the umbrella of copywriting, there are some pretty big differences between them. Let me give you an illustration that shows what I mean and why it’s important for businesses to have both.
This morning I’m headed outside to feed the critters on our funny farm. I stop at the closet and pull out my old barn jacket. It’s perfect for chilly fall mornings and durable enough to handle climbing fences and fending off goats. It’s definitely my go-to for day-to-day life around the farm.
Last weekend I had a photoshoot for my new website. We had some outdoor photos planned, so before I left the house to meet the photographer, I again stopped at the closet to grab a coat. This time, though, I didn’t reach for the old barn jacket. I reached for the dressy, red tweed peacoat. It’s consistent with my brand colors and makes an attractive, professional statement.
Were they both coats? Yes.
Did they both accomplish the same purpose? No.
They would not have performed as well had I swapped them and used the red tweed for chores and the barn jacket for the photoshoot. I needed both coats, but for different reasons, just like a business needs both content and conversion copy, but for different reasons.
What is Content Copy?
Content copy can be compared to the old barn jacket, and I mean that in the best possible way. Content copy is absolutely vital to a business’s day-to-day branding and online presence. Content copy includes pieces like:
Anything that is perennial and present online that helps inform and educate the public about the business can be considered content copy. Entertaining content that nurtures and educates the target audience can also be considered content copy as long as it’s not asking the audience to take action, which leads us to …
What is Conversion Copy?
Conversion copy (also referred to as sales copy or direct response copy) can be compared to the red tweed jacket. It has a very specific purpose - to get the target audience to perform an action.
Conversion copy isn’t only about sales, it’s about any action that leads to a sale too. The action might be to watch a video, opt in to an email list, sign up for a webinar or make a purchase. You’ll see conversion copy in:
Content and conversion copy are both words written about a business, but like the coats, they serve very different purposes. It’s no surprise then that content and conversion copywriting require a different set of skills.
Benefits of Being a Sales Copywriter
Although brand, content and conversion copy all have an important role to play in a business, I’m a sales conversion copywriter through and through. Besides my own blog articles (like this one), direct response copy is the only kind of copy I write.
Although I love writing of all kinds and have even been known to write short stories and song lyrics, I knew conversion copywriting was the right career fit for me for several reasons:
Challenges of Being a Sales Copywriter
Does that mean sales copywriting is easy? No way! There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to writing high-level sales copy that converts, including tons of research, sales psychology, data analysis, strategy and even mindset work. It’s also more high-pressure than content copywriting, and you have to be careful to set reasonable expectations with your clients.
I can’t tell you how many copywriters I talk to who say, “I could never be a sales copywriter. It’s too much pressure. I just don’t think I’m cut out for it.”
On the other side of the coin, I also can’t tell you how many clients I’ve written for who have said, “I hired a copywriter before, and the copy didn’t do very well. Is it my offer? Is it the copy? I’m not sure how to tell.”
Both situations are tough ones, but they’re not unsurmountable. First, how to write sales conversion copy is a skill that can be learned. With the right training and resources, a copywriter can hone their sales conversion writing skills and start getting consistent results for their clients.
Second, with the right questions in hand, business owners and entrepreneurs can identify high-level copywriters on the discovery call and avoid the pain of paying for copy that doesn’t convert.
More from Christa Nichols
I’m on a mission to help both copywriters and business owners by training a new breed of high-level sales copywriters. Written Results Academy, my online training platform for sales copywriters is launching soon. Want to be the first to know when doors open? Join the waitlist now at https://www.christanichols.com/waitlist.
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.
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!