Has there ever been a more dreaded phrase in the English language than “To be continued …”
I’ll never forget going to the first Lord of the Rings movie with my husband on Christmas Day 19 years ago.
Although he didn’t really know anything about the movie or the series of books, my husband had seen the trailers and thought it looked interesting. This was back in our pre-kid days, so we grabbed my brother and my cousin and decided to go last-minute.
Three hours and 20 minutes later, my husband hadn’t blinked. As Frodo and Sam crested the hill and saw Mordor for the first time and the credits began to roll, my husband had a mild freak out.
“Wait - no! It can’t be done! What happens? I have to know what happens! What do you MEAN it’s a trilogy? I can’t wait a whole year for the next one! They cannot leave us like this!”
Grabs Audience Attention With Open Loop
My husband was on Amazon first thing the next morning ordering the whole Lord of the Rings boxed set of books. Then he read them all back to back to back.
To understand the significance of this, you need to know my husband is NOT a reader. He reads the Bible and a hunting magazine. He’d much rather be doing something active.
If you want to catch your audience’s attention, use pain points to create an open loop and watch them zoom that focus right in.
What IS Open Loop?
Open loop is a strategy where you use a hook without a resolution.
People love resolution. They love coming full circle, and they like a beginning, a middle, and an end. When you use open loop, they will keep coming back to close the loop because they want resolution.
You know where you see open loop a lot? Soap operas and infomercials. I’m not a huge watcher of either type of show, but they’re both masters of the open loop.
Every. Single. Frame. Of. Every. Single. Episode in a soap opera features open loop. That’s what keeps watchers coming back episode after episode and season after season for more. They HAVE to know who Sally Smith’s baby’s father is, why Derek Doright came back from the dead again, and who killed Veronica Victim.
The ONE Rule of Open Loop
One of the (many) reasons I don’t watch soap operas is that they break my ONE rule of open loop. What’s the one rule?
Close every open loop.
That’s it. That’s the one rule. If you’re going to use open loop as a strategy, always, always, always close it.
Your audience deserves it. Open loop really only works if the audience trusts you, and if you’re continually opening loops without resolving them, they’ll stop paying attention.
Actually, what happens is even worse than that. They won’t stop paying attention - they’ll just turn their attention to SOMEONE ELSE. Someone who is not you who may not have an offer as helpful or life changing as yours.
So close the loop.
Want to find out what will immediately grab your audience's attention and not let go? Grab my FREE guide on the 8 Must-Ask Questions for No-Fail Copy that Connects & Converts now. There are the same 8 questions I ask all my clients before I ever write a word of copy for them.
It only took one sentence from my coworker's mouth to change everything.
Lanae was my contact person in a company that provided 80 percent of my family’s income. We talked to each other every day, multiple times a day, about various ads that were due and catalogs that were being worked on. We had become good friends, and I didn’t expect this call to be any different than usual.
I was wrong.
"I'm not supposed to tell you this," she said, "but this is my last day. The company owners are retiring. This is their last sale season."
When they - whoever “they” is - say everything can change in an instant, they’re right.
I was rocked. I had worked for this company for 16 years, and not only was I losing the majority of our income in one fell swoop, they didn’t even feel I was important enough to tell.
“It’s not fair of them not to tell you,” she went on. “You deserve to know too …”
She kept talking, but I was already tuned out as my mind struggled to take in the news.
What was I going to do? I had always taken for granted that this position was secure. It had honestly never crossed my mind they’d retired.
In that moment, I realized that I’d been telling myself for years that I had a great business, but I didn’t. I didn’t really have a business at all. I was a glorified employee at the beck and call of a company that didn’t value or respect me.
And now I was an unemployed glorified employee at nobody’s beck and call. I wasn’t sure what was worse. It shook me to my core, and for the next few months I vacillated between panic and depression as I tried to figure out what to do.
How could I have let this happen to myself? I was a 36-year-old wife with two preteens and a mortgage. My husband had just had major reconstructive shoulder surgery and was never going to physically be able to go back to his previous career.
My business was our sole source of income. I’d put all my eggs in one basket, and it felt like I’d just discovered the basket was gone and the eggs were missing.
I thought it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me professionally.
Turns out it was the best.
I went on to discover hidden talents and build a successful business I love. I get to work with amazing clients, travel the country, and spend time with my kids whenever I want to. I could have never dreamed up where I’d be today, and it certainly would never have happened had that phone call never happened.
Now I could have told you all that by saying my business fell apart, so I built a new one.
Or I could have listed all kinds of statistics and given you a play-by-play of exactly what I did to start over.
But nothing get to the heart of emotion like a story.
Did you buy in? Did you find yourself compelled to keep reading to find out what happened?
Storytelling is something that’s been used since the beginning of time to pass down information from generation to generation, and it’s a frequently-used strategy by marketers and advertisers all over the world.
But why are stories such an effective copy strategy? Three main reasons:
Stories are Memorable
Stories aren’t just words. When our minds hear or read stories, we unconsciously begin imagining the circumstances. This links images with text, creating more of an impression on us. Want people to remember you? Tell a story.
Stories are Relatable
Everybody loves a good story, right? Using story in your copy gives you the ability to communicate with the reader in a way that creates genuine connections. Sharing a story is a great way to become more human and relatable to your audience.
Stories are Vehicles
Stories have the unique ability to take a reader from point A to point B all the while enjoying the ride. Plain text can be kind of like pedaling a bicycle uphill. You’ll eventually get there, but you have to work awfully hard at it. A story makes the journey fun, exciting, and emotional. It’s like the skyrail at a safari theme park - you get a 360 degree view without the danger of being eaten by lions.
But I Don’t Know Any Stories …
Yes you do. ANYTHING can become a story!
If writing stories is a challenge for you, here’s a simple framework that can help streamline story creation from The 16 Word Sales Letter by Evaldo Albuquerque. It’s called ABT structure, and it stands for “And, But, Therefore”.
Here’s an example of how I used ABT structure to create a quick story from something that happened this morning.
“I knew I should just bite the bullet and get up. It was 6 a.m., and the coffee wasn’t going to start itself. The problem was (BUT), my bed was so warm and comfortable. I decided to check my messages before getting up. I grabbed my iPhone and opened up the Slack app, when all of the sudden I was attacked by a flying furball. He’d found me. Doug, my cat, was awake. There would be no more sleep for me this morning. (THEREFORE) I threw back the covers and dragged myself out of bed. Thank you Douglas.”
See how easy? That was so much more fun and engaging to read than, “My cat jumped on me so I decided to get out of bed.”
Want some help giving story writing a try? You can grab today’s worksheet on my website at https://www.christanicholsmessaging.com/painpoints. It’s FREE, and there’s no opt-in required. I just want you to have it.
I also did a live training on my Facebook page @christanicholsmessaging. Come on over and visit me - I can’t wait to see you there!
Why use pain points, and why are they so effective?
It’s really easy to be status quo when everything seems to be going fine.
It’s scientific, really - “Objects in motion will stay in motion and objects at rest will stay at rest.”
I’m a great sleeper. I don’t have trouble falling asleep, and normally I don’t wake up unless one of the dogs has to go out.
But one night about a month ago, I was restless. I was still asleep, but kind of in the half-conscious state where you’re not really all the way asleep or all the way awake.
I stayed in bed, half-awake and half-asleep until I was brought fully awake by a horrendous case of heartburn. It was so uncomfortable it made it impossible to stay lying down. I HAD to sit up because it was too painful not to.
Pain provides the impetus for change. Long story short, pain wakes people up.
Being awake isn’t enough to really move someone though.
After all, a person can know they HAVE a problem without knowing WHAT the problem is.
I woke up in the middle of the night only knowing I was very uncomfortable. I didn’t have a clue what was going on, so I did what everyone does when they wake up feeling sick in the middle of the night.
I asked Dr. Google.
I typed in my symptoms, and after reading a long list of symptoms and some online forums, I had a pretty good idea what I was dealing with - heartburn.
Only then could I start thinking about how to treat it.
Using pain points in copy works much the same way. First, it wakes them up. Then it show them what the source of their pain is.
A raging case of heartburn had woke me up in the middle of the night and sent me straight to Google to figure out what was going on.
Now I was ready for the next step - action.
Heartburn is horrible. If you’ve never had it, it feels kind of like an acidy elephant sitting on your chest. Trust me when I say it was a top priority for me to figure out how to make it go away.
I was ready to take action.
That’s how it works with pain points in sales copy too, and writing with the 3A’s of pain in mind is so powerful.
Awake. Aware. Action.
Create sales copy with those three objectives in mind in that order, and you’ll have a direct progression that logically takes the person from dead asleep to ready to do whatever it takes to ease the pain.
Want to watch the live training on Awake, Aware, and Action? Visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/christanicholsmessaging. You can also grab the worksheet that goes with the training here.
I’ve been in pain 😫 this past week.
(Disclaimer: Not serious physical pain. I know there are many out there for whom that’s a daily reality, and I’m not trying to diminish that in the least.)
But I felt it. I truly did. Deep down in my … taste buds. 😜 I know, I know. It’s silly, really, but we were out of the good coffee for four whole days.
You know the Folgers old jingle, “The best part of waking up …”? That’s how we feel about that first morning ☕ cup of coffee in my house.
We have a coffee subscription that sends us several bags per month. It’s so good. Yes, we’re spoiled. It’s dark and rich and delicious. This month, we must have upped our coffee consumption because we ran out early.
Did I notice we were getting low beforehand? Yes.
Could I have gone out and gotten some more coffee to tide us over until the next delivery? Yes.
Did I? No.
I didn’t really feel the pain until I was forced to drink flavored coffee from some leftover bags I found in the freezer.
I’m being dramatic of course. Our coffee shipment arrived today, and balanced has been restored in our household.
It’s true though, isn’t it?
Sometimes we don’t act until we really feel the pain. And guess what? Our clients and customers are the same way.
That’s why one of the most effective strategies I use as a copywriter is reminding readers of their pain. Pain moves people to action.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about using pain points in your marketing though. Stick with me this week because I’m going to let you in on how I use pain points for my clients and how you can too. I’ll show you:
❓ What IS a pain point? ❓
It’s awfully hard to effectively use a strategy if you’re not 100% clear on what it actually is. So at the risk of stating the obvious, let’s just define it right off the bat so everyone is on the same page.
Before I can do that though, two things. First, I’m going to tell you a little bit about me and who I am as a copywriter and digital marketer because it affects how I deal with pain points for my clients, and second, I have a surprise for you, so keep reading.
But first, about me:
➡️ I market ethically. This means that I won’t use sneaky, dishonest, or under-the-table methods to promote my clients’ offers.
➡️ I don’t do high pressure. The best customer or client for the people I work with is one who has invested by choice and is committed to the offer because they want to be and recognize the value in it - not because they were guilted or pressured into it.
➡️ I do a ton of research. Because I solve problems and meet needs for my clients as well as their target markets, it’s really important that I understand them, their offer, and their audience. All the messaging and copy I write is unique and specific to each client and offer, and that means I have to really KNOW them.
Got it? Cool. So, pain point - what is it?
Plain and simple, a pain point is a problem that needs to be solved.
That’s it. It’s a pretty straightforward concept, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Problems can be physical, mental, or emotional …
Real or perceived …
Obvious or subtle …
Our job to make the audience aware, show them they’re understood and valued, then provide the solution.
If you don’t know what your audience is dealing with (even if they aren’t yet aware), you’ll struggle to write copy that really resonates.
I'm sharing more tips live every morning this week on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/christanicholsmessaging. These tips will work for anyone, no matter what you do or sell. I’ll be dropping the content in Live day by day on my Facebook page or Instagram @christanicholsmessaging. Stop in and say hello!
🎉 Now for the surprise! 🎉 Because I know how valuable this information is (and what a difference really getting pain points right has made in the quality of the copy I write) I want to make sure you get the most you can out of this series.
So I made you something. It’s a downloadable PDF that walks you through several key questions that will make identifying pain points and solutions super easy. Click here to get it instantly.
I like to chart growth. Who doesn’t, right?
When we’re kids, we love standing with our heels to the wall as someone place the flat edge of a ruler on the top of our heads and marks off our height with a marker.
As a parent, it’s even more rewarding to be the one holding the ruler and the marker.
I live in the same house I grew up in. If you open up the door to the tall pantry cabinet in our kitchen, you’ll see it’s covered with dates and names next to horizontal lines at varying heights.
I love that the back of that door is a road map for two generations of growth. If you trace the dates and lines, you can see how both my brother and I and our daughter and son grew over the years and what height we were at different ages.
To be honest, it’s kind of a free-for-all. There’s one mark very close to the floor where as a kid my brother wrote his name and date of birth to signify how small he was as a baby and one very close to the top of the door to indicate how tall he thought he’d be as an adult. You can also see the year my son grew eight inches in 12 months and note when both of our kids became taller than me.
Height isn’t the only kind of growth I monitor. I also chart the growth of our businesses.
I never used to. Up until a few years ago, I didn’t give much thought to business growth. At least, not until I had to.
The business I had at the time took a hit in mid-2016, and in 2017, it seemed like everything was falling apart. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to be secure, status quo. It took me awhile to accept that there was more out there for me professionally and that for me to actually HAVE it, I had to go out and GET it.
I was not yet the person I needed to be in order to step into that role. Before I could see the potential of what could be, I had to breakdown everything I thought I knew about having a business and what I could do. I call 2017 the year of the breakdown, and it was brutal.
In 2018, a new determination and vision rose up. As hard as 2017 had been, after much prayer and questioning and seeking, I felt God say in my spirit that 2018 was going to be the year of the breakthrough, and it was.
I discovered gifts I didn’t know I had, and talents that had been long dormant started rising to the surface again. And suddenly this girl who swore up and down she didn’t want to be an entrepreneur and didn’t want to be in charge of a business was singing a different tune.
It took a lot of hard work and long hours, but I started building a network and honing my skills, and by the time 2019 rolled around, I knew I was in a new place. My goal for 2019 was balance, and it’s been very, very good.
I traveled more than I ever have and spent time with my family taking our kids new places and doing new things. I’ve spent holidays unplugged and given myself the flexibility to have time off when my grandma passed away. We also exceeded the financial growth goal we set for our business.
And now, with 2020 on the horizon, it’s time for the next phase of growth.
Breakdown. Breakthrough. Balance.
And now … Belief.
God is not done with our businesses. There is more He wants us to accomplish. There are more people He wants us to serve. The biggest thing that stands in my way when it comes to increasing the impact and influence my skills and services provide is, well …
I’m thinking a lot this December about how to get out of my own way — and in more areas than one. In my business, yes, but also in my faith, relationships, health, personal development … pretty much any area is currently on the table.
My belief needs help. Isn’t that true for us all? I’m asking God to align my belief with what He knows to be true and what He has planned for my faith, my life, my relationships, my faith, and my business.
Whatever He knows to be true is true whether I believe it or not. So I want to believe it. I want to be on THAT side of the fence in 2020 and beyond.
Look for big things from Christa Nichols Messaging in 2020. The Mission2Message Masterclass Series will be released soon. Each of the five super-focused masterclasses in this series will help you uplevel your messaging in a different area.
These masterclasses are an in-depth look at the 8 pillars of messaging that sells. They’re actionable and direct, giving you the exact step-by-step process I use to create sales funnel copy, email retargeting sequences, and Facebook ad copy that sells out beta launches, breaks sales records, and fills the wallets of my clients.
Want to be the first to know when they’re live? Click here to join the waitlist.
In the final weeks of 2019, and many business owners and entrepreneurs are thinking about making one last big sales push. Many of you have already launched Black Friday specials or Cyber Monday deals, and now you're looking at the calendar and wondering what to do about the last few weeks in December.
As you consider how your business can end 2019 with a bang, let's just talk about one big question I hear a lot.
Should I be running Facebook ads?
If you're considering doing one last campaign to finish out 2019, there are three things you need to know about Facebook Ads post-Thanksgiving. I'll break each one down below and give you my best tips on how to navigate the "Should I or shouldn't I?" question this time of year.
Competition is FIERCE
The amount of ad space on Facebook is limited, and this time of year everyone wants some. Ad costs are always higher from the end of November through December simply because more people want ad space.
Run ads if ... you're prepared to spend more per result than you normally do.
And you could try ... changing the ad objective. Conversion ads will be the most expensive. You can test using a Traffic or Reach objective to push people to your offers instead. It will be less expensive, but you may not get the same results as a conversion ad would.
There may be GLITCHES
If you were on Facebook Thanksgiving Day, you know what I mean. When there's an overload of traffic and ads being placed, sometimes Facebook can't deal. The platform (including Instagram) was down most of Thanksgiving Day. Because competition for ad space is still high, we may see more glitches in the next few weeks.
Run ads if ... you allow yourself plenty of time to get the ads set up and approved. If you have campaigns that have a tight deadline for when they must go live, you'll want extra time so things can stay on track even if Facebook has a glitch. You're welcome for that sick rhyme.
And you could try ... creating the ads several days in advance. Turn the campaign on and publish the ads, but don't turn the ads on. The ads will go through the approval process ahead of time so everything can go off without a hitch.
Play it SAFE with copy
One thing that can slow up or even sideline your progress with your ads is ads denial due to your copy. We can't always control what Facebook decides to appeal or deny, but we can control what we use for copy, making sure it's well within policy. Trust me, it's better to tame it down a bit if you're in a touchy industry than have to go back and forth for days before your ads finally get approved.
Run ads if ... you know your ad copy is compliant.
And you could try ... asking a second (or third) set of eyes to look it over for any red flags.
If you're placing ads this December, these three tips will help you make sure you can get them up and running quickly.
If you do decide to run ads, make sure they're ready with attention-grabbing headlines by downloading my FREE Headline Generator quick guide. This downloadable PDF guide gives you three ways to write amazing, stop-them-in-their-tracks headlines that WORK. Click here to request the guide.
So I was thinking about David the other day.
You know, the little shepherd boy 🐑 with the sling and the stones.
I was hanging out in the kid’s choir room 🎶 on Sunday with a dozen or so hooligans ages 3 to 10. All the songs had been sung, and the natives were getting restless.
So I did what I always do when we have a bit of extra time before their next thing starts.
I told them a story. 📘
Now, we’d already done Jonah 🐋 (in 3-part mini-series style) and Noah 🦒🦓🦏 (nothing like a floating zoo to spark the imagination). It was time for a story on land … and my mind immediately went to a broad open valley in the middle of nowhere.
With the ☀️ sun beating down and the vultures circling overhead (drama, I know), two armies faced off.
And day after day after day, both armies suited up in their heavy, hot armor, gathered at the battle line, and had a stand off. ⚔
There was a good guy (the Israelites) and a bad guy (the Philistines) of course. And I don’t know why they didn’t just go at it and have it out, but they didn’t.
Instead, every morning for 📅 40 days in a row 📅 the same thing happened.
A giant named Goliath strutted out of the Philistine camp in full armor (that itself probably weighed more than you or me), stood in the middle of the valley, and roared a challenge.
“Hey you dogs, let’s settle this! Here’s your one chance. Send out your best warrior. We’ll do this one-to-one. If you win, we’ll be your slaves. If I win, you’ll be ours.”
Dude was over nine feet tall and probably ugly as sin. Bad breath too. 🤢Guess how many Israelite soldiers jumped at THAT attractive offer?
Right. 😱 They all ran and hid. 😱 Every day for 40 days in a row. And now not only were they starting to run out of hope, they were starting to run out of supplies.
And there they sat on their side of the mountain looking across the valley at the other army that wasn’t going away and whose champion seemed to get taller every day.
Enter David. He wasn’t in the army. In fact, he was just a shepherd who took care of his father’s sheep. But he had some older brothers in the army, and his dad was worried. They’d been gone awhile, and Dad knew they were probably starting to get kinda hungry.
So he packed up some grub 🍗🍕 and sent David off to deliver it, Door Dash-style. 🐪🐪
I like to imagine that David was excited about his little road trip. He probably didn’t get out much … besides always being out in the elements protecting the flock. So this was something fun and different. He probably had a great time right up until he popped out onto the hillside where Israel was camped and witness Goliath’s daily shake down.
First impression 💪😲 “Whoa, that dude is jacked! What’s he yelling about?”
Second impression 😡😠 “Hey — who does he think he is to defy God’s people?!”
Third impression 🤷♂️ “Wait. Where are you guys going? You’re not going to just go HIDE, are you?” (Yep, they were.)
Now granted, David had just arrived on the scene. He hadn’t endured 40 days of endless taunting and insults, 40 days of being faced with his biggest (literally) fear.
The soldiers had.
And it had gotten to them.
David was experiencing Goliath for the first time, but after spending lots of time out in the wilderness with nothing but sheep and God for company, he had a different perspective.
How. Dare. He. How dare this big ugly ogre think he can just waltz in here and think he can intimidate God’s people?
So David started going from soldier to soldier, starting with his big brothers.
“Did you hear that? Did you hear what he said? Come out from under your tent! He can’t talk to us like that! What are you going to do about it??”
“David, look at him. He’s huge. There’s not a man in our army that could defeat him. If we send someone out there, he’ll get eaten for lunch, and we’ll be the Philistines slaves forever.”
“So you’re just going to let him talk about us like that? You’re going to let him insult GOD?”
And David realized something. The Israelites feared becoming the Philistines’ slaves … but by doing nothing, ⛓ they ALREADY WERE. ⛓
David was different. He looked around, realized no one else was going to volunteer, and stepped up. “I’ll do it.” 🙋♂️
“Wait — what? David, I’m sorry. I think I have 😵 sun stroke. I thought I just heard you say, ‘I’ll do it.’ “
“Yeah man. I’ll do it. I’ll fight him.” 🙋♂️
Obviously, everybody thought he was nuts. Certifiable. Crazy as a loon. And his brothers were super annoyed.
“Dave, you’ve spent too much time with the sheep. Go back home to Dad. You’re embarrassing us. Seriously.”
He didn’t. Instead, he hiked down to the stream, picked out five smooth stones, loaded up his slingshot (Yes, slingshot.) and ran out to meet Goliath.
And Goliath laughed. 😂😂😂😂😂 “What is this. Kiddie play land time? What, you’re going to throw rocks at me now? Ahahahahahahahaha — -OW!” ❌💀❌
Nothing like a well-placed rock to the noggin to bring a giant down to size. And face down in the dirt, Goliath had met his match in a scraggly teenager with nothing but a little slingshot and a whole lot of faith.
👉So which one are you in this story?👈
Are you Goliath? All talk but no action. Willing to say you’ll take on any challenge, and even dressing the part, but never actually doing anything. Willing to ridicule and harass anyone standing in your way to get what you want.
Are you the Philistines? Really brave when standing behind the big guy. But when the big guy falls, they’re left with nothing to stand on, eating their words as they’re chased all the way back to Philistia.
Are you the Israelites? Terrified of the giant. Only able to see what’s standing right in front of them. Frozen in fear and unwilling to act, even though they had a big God defending them. Slaves already if only in their own minds.
Or are you David? Full of faith. Willing to step out because he knows Whose he is. Acts in spite of what the circumstances are, using what he has to do what he can.
Most of us don’t have a physical giant staring us down for 40 days in a row. Okay, probably NONE of us have a physical giant staring us down for 40 days in a row.
But how many other things have we let immobilize us for much, much longer? Fear. Uncertainty. Unworthiness. Doubt. I know I’m guilty.
Be David today. Act with what you have. Use the skills you’ve been given. Throw some stones at the enemy.
You’ve got this. ❤️️
It was late, and I was still finishing up an email sequence for a client. I should have been nodding off, in danger of falling asleep at the keyboard. Instead, I was giggling quietly to myself as I wrote email subject lines. #easilyamused
I love writing email subject lines. It’s my version of saving the best for last.
Not only is it my favorite part of the whole email-writing process, but I like to think of it as a personal challenge. I spend a lot of time mulling over what will be so irresistible the recipient can’t NOT click.
Average email open rates hang out in the 20–30% range. But the more people who open your emails and take action, the better, right?
So how do I do it? How do I create email subject lines that stop the inbox scroll and get people to click?
I have two favorite strategies I use when writing email subject lines. Hang on, because I’m going to tell you what they are and how you can use them for yourself.
But first, let’s talk about what most people do and why it doesn’t work.
The first thing a recipient sees is the email subject line. If that doesn’t catch their attention right away, the reader will just keep scrolling by.
But if no one opens my emails and reads them, how will they know what I want to tell them.
I get it. It’s a scary thought.
The temptation is to spill exactly what the email contains in the subject line. Give them the facts, just the facts, and nothing but the facts.
Yeah … when it comes to email marketing, I hardly ever use summary statements as email subject lines. In fact, there are only two conditions under which I use the “just the facts” approach in email subject lines.
The Unexpected Truth Bomb
The client I was writing for last night markets to med spas that offer Botox as a treatment. The objective of the emails I was working on is to encourage people to call and book an appointment for a free consultation.
Botox tends to get a bad rap, and a common misconception about Botox is that if you get Botox, you won’t be able to move your forehead and your face will look frozen.
The reality is, that’s not true, and the email I was working on broke down all the reasons why.
But before the audience will ever read those reasons, we needed to get them to click and open the email. Enter the power of the Unexpected Truth Bomb subject line:
Some things should be immovable. Your face isn’t one of them.
Unexpected Truth Bomb for the WIN!
Let’s go there, right? Let’s just let the elephant in the room speak up. This is a common misconception about Botox, and the subject line calls it out. When the reader sees it, it will resonate. It’s going to strike them as funny — and brave.
The Open Loop
My other favorite strategy for getting recipients to open emails subject line is The Open Loop.
What’s an open loop? Well, first let’s talk about what a closed loop is. A closed loop is where you give the whole farm away in the subject line of the email — question raised and answered all in one fell swoop. In the case of my med spa client’s email, a closed loop subject line might look something like this:
Botox done right looks completely natural.
No mystery there, right? Why even click — I just told the recipient the entire point of the email. Why would they read it if they already know what I’m going to tell them?
If you leave the loop open, however, it creates the desire to know more. What if instead, my subject line was this:
Your face should never look like this.
Immediately the reader gets curious. Look like what? What shouldn’t my face look like? Does my face look like that right now? They’re compelled to click to find out the answer to their questions, which you can give them in the body of the email.
Just remember, if there’s one thing people DON’T like, it’s not being able to close the loop. If you DON’T close the loop in the body of the email, they will lose trust in you. Once trust is lost, you’ll have to work twice as hard to restore it.
But Does It Work?
You tell me. Go to your inbox and read subjects lines. Notice which emails you opened and which you didn’t. I’m willing to guess you opened:
And these two strategies don’t just apply to email subject lines. You can try these strategies to hook readers in the first couple lines of Facebook ad copy, blog articles, social media posts, and more.
So remember if you’re struggling to know what subject lines to use for your emails, don’t fall back on the old standard “tell them what the email says” strategy.
Try using an Unexpected Truth Bomb or Open Loop subject line, then drop value like crazy in the body of the email.
Want to learn how to optimize all your copy? Grab my free worksheet on the 8 Must-Ask Questions For Copy That Converts. https://go.christanicholsmessaging.com/lead
“I don’t know how to promote myself. I feel like I’d just be saying the same old stuff everybody else out there says. Pick me! Hire me! Choose me! How can I stand out in the crowd when there are tons of other people who do the same things I do?”
Have you ever heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as “new” information”? Sometimes it seems like everyone is selling the same old stuff in different packaging. It’s easy to start feeling like it’s impossible to stand out.
It might seem like you’re waging a losing battle when it comes to creating original, engaging content that communicates with your audience, but there’s one thing you have that NO ONE else does.
Learning to communicate with your ideal clients and customers in your own unique voice can be the differentiating factor that sets you apart from the masses. The question is, how?
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the 7 steps you can take to identify your unique voice and put it to use in your content.
I’ve created a printable fill-in resource that’s hands-on in helping you dial in on your unique voice fast. Want it? Click here to download the Personality Booster Pack now.
Step 1: Become a Detective of Yourself
This is going to sound super basic, but here goes. You can’t discover your voice if you never listen to it #truthbomb. So the first step to finding your voice is to dig in and start studying yourself, Sherlock.
Don’t just limit yourself to studying only your social content though. You’d be missing some pretty big opportunities to really dial in on what makes your content more “you”. People follow people, so no content is off limits, so make sure you consider personal content as well.
I know it can be cringe-y to have to watch and listen to yourself. I used to HATE the sound of my own voice, but the more I made it part of my process, the less it bothered me. So it’s now your job to go back and review:
Another way to research yourself is to interview the people closest to you. Your family, friends, and team listen to and watch you every day. They have a third-party, objective view of how you really communicate. Ask them things like:
Step 2: Take Notes On Yourself Like It’s Your Job
As you go through your existing content, look for things that make it uniquely “you”. Pay attention to the small details so you can be purposeful and consistent in your communication.
Write down phrases and words you use often in speech. These words and phrases will be obvious in unscripted video and audio content because it just comes automatically.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always automatically translate in your written content. Personally, my brain gets in my own way. I tend to write more formally than I speak, which takes away from the fun, personal feel my unscripted audio and video content has.
One thing that helps me stay consistent with my written content is reading it out loud to myself. I notice right away when my written is creeping more towards English teacher than my own voice. Your written work will be a bit tighter and cleaner than how you speak, and that’s okay. The important part is that it still sounds like you.
Finally, make sure you take note of your tone and the level of energy you bring when you speak. Are you super animated? Do you wave your hands around? Or are you more soft-spoken and reserved? There’s no wrong answer here. The goal is simply to be aware.
Step 3: Lock Down Your Voice Non-Negotiables
Your audience doesn’t want a carbon copy of someone else. Don’t be afraid to be YOU. There are certain things about the way you communicate that might be different from the popular influencers in your industry. Never apologize for what makes you YOU.
You’ve done the research and taken notes on how you communicate. Step 3 is to declare your non-negotiables. What do you want to be known for when it comes to your content? What do you want to make sure you always include when you communicate? Don’t be afraid to be different. If you use a lot of pop culture references, great! Tend to turn everything into a song when you’re talking? Do it! Remember, this is what attracts the RIGHT people to you.
Step 4: Decide On Your Voice No-Gos
You won’t appeal to everyone, and that’s a GOOD thing. Are there certain things you don’t ever want to include in your communication? Great! Don’t force yourself to be someone you’re not. It’s okay to draw a line and refuse to cross it.
Your audience NEEDS you to stand for some things and not for others. If they get consistent messaging from you, they feel safe and solid. If you’re up and down and try to appeal to everyone, they get confused. For example, imagine Russell Brunson dropping the F-bomb on a Facebook Live.
My no-gos include profanity and opening calling out specific people. My momma taught me if I can’t say anything nice, then I shouldn’t say anything at all. It’s just ingrained in who I am, and I’m totally okay with that.
Step 5: Utilize Free Tools
Still stuck? No worries! There are lots of free ways to get insight on your voice. Here are some of my favorites:
Step 6: Know Your Audience Well
I’ll say it until the cows come home - your audience is SO important. They’re the whole reason you’re here, right? You want your unique voice to attract the ideal clients and customers you want to serve. In order to serve them well, you have to know them well.
Your audience is the barometer of your content. Their response helps you gauge how well your offers will do. If your audience doesn’t respond to something, even if you’re SURE it was just what they needed, pay attention. Your audience won’t always want what you think they want, and that’s okay.
Let your audience guide the content you provide. Follow their lead. They may be more or less problem/solution aware than you think. Meeting them with what they need right where they’re at is very effective.
Step 7: Gauge Your Audience’s Response
When you’re getting good engagement, that means your audience is warm. Keep it up! But if all you’re hearing is crickets, it’s time to try something else. This process of testing content can take some time. You won’t automatically get super great engagement at first. If you show up consistently, it will build.
One great way to accelerate this process is just asking your audience what they want. Find out what they WANT to hear about, then give it to them.
Think of your audience like a thermometer that shows the effectiveness of your content. Content that gets a lot of engagement means the audience likes it. You’ll know you’ve hit your voice on the head when your audience comments, response, clicks, and buys.
The ultimate indicator that you’ve discovered and are thriving in your voice, of course, are purchases. Don’t expect your audience to read your mind though - make an offer! Keep listening to your audience and making offers until something works. You’ve got this!
And hey, I have a FREE workbook that walks you through how to use your voice to boost your copy's effectiveness. It's called the Personality Booster Pack. Click HERE to download it for FREE!
Step One: Put your offer out there.
Step Two: Start running traffic.
Step Three: Wait ... and wait ... and wait ... for people to buy.
Yeah, that's fun.
There are three things entrepreneurs tell themselves when things don't go the way they hoped when their offers hit the market. Understanding these three things can help keep things in perspective so you know exactly what to do to get things back on track.
The Offer Is The Problem
"My offer isn't any good. There's something wrong with what I'm putting out there. There's a missing some feature or bonus or the content isn't good enough. I need to change my ads or have a professional video."
What what if people have bought and tested your offer already, and they give it rave reviews. They're getting the result they want from it. If that's the case, we can safely assume it's not your offer.
The Audience Is The Problem
"I don't have the right audience. I'm targeting the wrong people. I need to go back and test some different audiences because the people I thought would want this, don't."
It's always good to test audiences, but if everyone who has tested and loved your offer were from that audience, then audience isn't your problem either.
I Am The Problem
"It's my fault. I'm not the right person to be the face of this offer. I don't have what it takes. I'm not smart enough. I am not a good enough speaker. I'm not pretty enough or handsome enough. I don't have enough money."
You and only you can reach the people who need what you have. When you start believing that you're just believing a lie. They need you - your audience needs you. Trust me, it's something else. Something else is going on behind the scenes that's keeping your offer from converting.
And that something is most likely an issue with your messaging.
You need a solid messaging framework for everything you're going to say about your offer. Not only will it help you dial in on the exact people who need it, but it will save you time and energy trying to figure out what to say.
Get started building yours today with my tried-and-true quick guide on the 8 Must-Ask Questions Entrepreneurs Need To Answer For Copy That Connects & Converts.
Hi, I'm Christa, an Iowa-based messaging expert specializing in targeted messaging, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. I have one handsome hubby who's my partner in crime (not literally) and two great kids who keep us busy (Track and field! Volleyball! Basketball! All the sports!) Using words to help people promote what they love is my favorite!