(Miss the first post in this series? Find it here.)
When I first became a copywriter, I did what many do: generated massive amounts of cheap keyword-riddled chaff. I got paid for it, but not well, mostly because my clients weren’t seeing much results from my work.
I’m not stupid, though, and I could see there was a problem. My one to one marketing approach – the business of me writing to someone else, either for my own biz or a client’s – wasn’t working.
So I started researching, agonizing over one to one statistics and formulas. I read up on SEO, headlines, ads and more. I puzzled over advice like this:
Your website visitors behave like wild animals.
They’re hunting for information or a product to buy – just like a hungry panther hunts for his next meal.
When a panther sniffs a scent trail he quickly decides: will the scent trail lead to a good meal? And will it be an easy catch?
So that’s offensive.
Oh, and also wrong. Because here’s a stat that does matter: It takes six to eight touches to generate a viable sales lead. Not one brief contact between you and the bloody-fanged jaguar that is your prospect. Yet such ideas, coupled with some brain-melting one to one statistics, comprise the bulk of what you can find online when it comes to one to one marketing.
I was confused.
It was a sucky time in my life. A sucky time.
Slowly, though, it began to dawn on me that I wasn’t going to be able to find the answer by wading through one to one marketing statistics online. Writing great copy, I realized, isn’t about following a template or inserting the right number of keywords or hitting an ideal length. Applied correctly such tactics can help, but none of them solve the problem of engagement.
Praying at the altar of data does nothing but suck up your time and shrivel your soul, all while you and your underserved clients languish in No Audience Land.
And hey presto, it immediately clicked. My style hit its stride, clients started paying me loads more and my own audience started responding.
How did I do it? And more importantly (to you, not me), how can you do it?
Glad you asked. Here’s how I kicked suck to the curb and started writing non-shitty copy that people actually want to read. It all started by ignoring one to one statistics.
Statistics are, for many, the essence of terrifying. Even the simplest ones, those that “every business can learn from,” are pretty not-soothing
But if you’re writing your first landing page, or a client’s third, what do you care how much going from 10 to 15 percent can help? How is it meaningful that businesses with 40 freaking landing pages do better than those with 5 or less? Obviously they do, and you can bet it’s not all because of their landing pages: They’ve clearly got much more capital and a much bigger marketing engine than their apparently pitiful counterparts.
In fact, they’re worse: 8 percent more! 7 percent less! 17 percent something-or-other!
Heavens to Murgatroyd, how IS a humble copywriter to cope?? These stats make absolutely no difference to small businesses with lists in the 3- or 4-digit range. At that level, you’re not selling the way you need to be no matter what, and teeny upticks or downturns won’t change that.
Want a really good excuse to end it all? Take a hard look at some online advertising statistics. If you didn’t feel hopeless before, you do now.
Okay, so how about this?
Instead of wrangling with stats, make sure people actually want what you have.
Before you start pumping out emails and papering the interwebz with your words, figure out whether anyone will actually pay you for it.
If the answer is no, then it doesn’t matter how good your headlines are or how hilarious your ad copy is, right?
I recommend the Pay Certainty Technique, courtesy of total genius and possibly future husband Ramit Sethi. In a nutshell, this lil’ thought experiment holds that in order for someone to buy your products, they need both the ability and willingness to pay you.
I, for instance, have the ability to pay an editor, but I rarely do, because I can edit my own work. If you’re an editor, I am not your client.
On the other hand, college students might benefit greatly from an editor, and would love to have one for all their school work … but can’t afford it. Bummer. (They better learn to edit their own work, I guess!)
In different ways, these audiences fail the Pay Certainty Technique. You need someone who can and will pay for what you’ve got.
So before you dive down the rabbit hole of Mostly Useless Numbers, I strongly advise determining if your audience actually needs what you do. And then?
In the rest of this series, we will examine:
(Prefer to go a bit more basic? Check out all the free resources in the library by clicking on that link below. You’ll learn how to write better emails, hone your voice, set up your business and more … all in quick, easy, downloadable tutorials and worksheets. Get more than a dozen resources today, and become the writer you know you can be.)
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