Reading Time: 9 Minutes I often get asked, “How does SEO tie into your website copywriting?” Welp, since both my clients and students tend to work in businesses in highly competitive spaces, I’ve had to learn a system for drawing in your clients with both copy that converts and ranks on Google (totally used to not know this, more […]
I need help writing my
You don’t need more wordsmithery to make your dreams sprout wings, stand out,
you need word-sciencing.
When you can turn the most casual website, visitor or reader, into a customer—you know your website copy is doing something right. So how do we make sure that those casual website visitors, customers, are actually swept off their feet with your sales copy?
Well, today I’m spilling a secret because if your website copy, if your brand messaging, doesn’t include this one key ingredient, it’s DOA, baby. You can almost guarantee the potential sales will be out the door before you even knew it.
Now, I’m not going to keep you on the edge of your seat for too long here. I’m just going to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag. I want you to understand how to incorporate this little piece of data and information all the way throughout your sales copy. And, I’m going to pull a landing page screenshot from one of the new landing pages on our new website, because I want to show you the overlap of exactly how much of the messaging includes this thing.
“Okay, get to it, Ashlyn. What is it?”
The BIG secret is >>> your sales copy has to be chock-full of things that your customers, or your clients, are actually saying—not what you think they’re saying. <<<
What they actually said to you. That’s it.
If your website doesn’t have multiple, what I call them, “get out of my head” moments, then we’re missing out.
I know this sounds super simple, and you may have even heard this said before, but it merits being said again, or at least studying and looking at it a little in depth and how you can do a better job going out there and getting it.
Let’s break down how to get this key piece of messaging and positioning right. Make sure to read until the end, I’m breaking down our new website—exactly how much is stuff that was said by clients and customers versus how much came out of my own head.
Okay, let’s go ahead and get into it!
My step number one tip for you is to always be filing. It’s like that sales saying, “always be closing”. I want you to always be filing information.
In a recent video, I mentioned my copy banking strategy. It’s a template inside The Copy Bar. I am obsessed with categorizing and pulling different messages that I hear with the same level of obsession, probably, that I was consumed by when I made collages in, like, the 90’s and the 2000’s.
But what I want to show you here is a data spreadsheet that we’ve started using inside my business. We’re actually putting this inside the new Copywriting for Creatives curriculum because it was so very helpful and we’ve dubbed it, “the research rainbow”.
This is what I’m using to file pain-points, sticky messages, desires, everything. So I’m filing this information. Great. Now, I always got my ear to the ground, figuring out how I can get it. And when it comes to collecting this stuff, yes, absolutely surveys—you probably knew that.
One tip that was major helpful for me as we revamped the website, I re-read every single client, and even customer application, from 2019, it was? Through 2020, into 2020 when I pulled my data. I started writing the copy at the beginning of 2021. I pulled that timeframe and I read all of these. When I have little snippets in these messages that I knew would fit into the research rainbow, I would copy and paste them into that.
You have to get obsessed with doing this.
It does take some time but this is not only going to help you with sales copywriting and marketing in your business, but with product development and research too. Or, when I say product, your client services, the things that you provide to them, it’s going to help you better those as well.
Like I said at the beginning, I want you to stop using the words and the phrases that you think that they’re saying, and I want you to use the words and the phrases, they actually are.
My Copywriting for Creative students know I call this your client-and-customer voice hacking– the process of gathering all of this. There is enough nuance of a difference in what you think they’re saying and what they’re actually saying, that it will make a difference in your copy. By and large. And I know I’ve said this in some videos, the best copy is never in your head— it is in their heads— it’s your job to go out there and get it from them.
Tip number two for you. I want you to fold client and customer voice into your above-the-fold copy. This may get some tomatoes thrown at me, but this is why I’m not really that big of a fan of the whole headline on a website that says, “Hi, I’m ‘blank.’ And I do ‘blank’ for ‘blank.'” Come on. We can do better than that—and I know you’re up for the challenge.
I’ve also talked about heat maps, talked about that in last week’s video. But a point I made in that video is worth saying again—100% of your website, visitors are landing on this above-the-fold piece of your website. And like Ogilvy said, if we’re not spending the time on that, then that’s 80, 90% of the dollar that we spent, wasted. Because the percentage of people that read this and decide to keep reading or not is sky high.
So my tip here: spend the MOST time writing the headlines for your website.
In the copy bar shop, I do have a headline template that you can use. It’s going to help you craft 35, at least, first-draft headlines you can use for your offers and the services that you provide. At the end of the day, the concepts I’m bringing up, the fact that you even go out there and get what people are saying and the fact that you need to fold them into these frameworks that are tried and true and work. It’s easy to say, it is hard as anything, to execute.
I want to show you an example of the website copy on one landing page of my website. And I want to highlight for you exactly how much of it is voice-of-customer data, or is attributed to client and customer voice hackings. Copy that didn’t come out of my head, but stuff that I gleaned, and insights that I garnered from listening and putting my ear to the ground.
I want you to work down the page with a framework that works and continue to fold in this client-and-customer voice hacking into the copy. We talked about the importance of always be filing and we talked about how to insert your client and customer voice hacking into your above-the-fold copy.
Love this classic marketing quote. “People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, ally their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.” A copywriting formula, or framework: That’s going to help you have some sort of paint-by-number approach to the hierarchy of the messaging that you’re including.
That will help you and support your message in 4 ways:
I have done videos before where I’ve talked, not just through storytelling, but about frameworks and why you should be using them on your website. I have the A-R-T-I-S-T framework for your “about” page. I’ve got my P-A-R-I-S sales copy framework. Love a good framework.
All right, now you know your sales copy has to be chock-full of things that your customers, or your clients, are actually saying—not what you think they’re saying. If you are truly ready to double down on a client and customer voice hacking and writing sales copy that converts—do not miss your spot on the Copywriting for Creatives waitlist. This is my baby. I love this program so very much. Get yourself a spot on the early bird waitlist and you will know when seats open!
All right, now, you know all about how to pull your client and customer voice hacking data. I’ve hinted at it a couple of times, but I did a deep dive in why you need heat maps, what they are, and exactly how you can install them on your website—you can watch that here.
Reading Time: 6 Minutes When you can turn the most casual website, visitor or reader, into a customer—you know your website copy is doing something right. So how do we make sure that those casual website visitors, customers, are actually swept off their feet with your sales copy? Well, today I’m spilling a secret because if your website copy, […]
Are you missing out on a huge opportunity to use heatmaps? Heatmaps can help you wrap your head around, and understand how to create a better website experience, and create content and copy that really generates the clicks you actually want to happen.
Essentially, what it’s doing is using color variation to interpret data over a given landing page or a section of your website.
Okay, great. But how does that actually help you write better copy?
Well, I am willing to die on the hill that copy dictates design and the messaging hierarchy and not the other way around.
The design doesn’t come first, copy leads and design enhances that, makes it a more beautiful user helpful experience. Being able to metabolize that information, that copy and design bring together through the lens of a heat map is so very helpful.
If you’ve been around here, you know that copywriting is absolutely essential to your small business. It’s going to hook your audience, turn heads, and ultimately help them understand that you are the missing puzzle piece to help get their problems solved. Imagery and design alone on your website can’t do that.
Okay. If you’re ready to go ahead and start using heatmaps on your website, promise it’s easier than you think. Let’s jump in!
What do heatmaps even have to do with copy? Heatmaps are just another tool for you to put in your backpack as you start to try to figure out what works and what doesn’t work on your website. You already have things like customer surveys, even on-page surveys or chat boxes. You’ve got those Google analytics that you’re hopefully taking a look at from time to time. A/B split testing, and you’re also I hope trying some session recordings kind of like what user testing is.
<< All this helps you do two big things >>
#1 See where your copy and content is working or failing.
#2 It’s gonna help you brainstorm some ways that you can problem solve at those sticky points on your landing page.
The coolest thing that any of these tools do is they give you a little window into the mind of your reader. You actually get to get outside of yourself and see how somebody else experiences your website and moves around it.
Sumo explains heatmaps as a visual guide to help you understand your readers’ habits. There are three types of heatmaps I’m gonna unpack right here. Two, in particular, are the favorite children—at least for me.
Scroll maps—These will gonna show you how far down people scroll. Traditionally, I think this is the picture that comes to mind, people think of when they think of a heat map. We’re seeing here, what percent did you even hit the call to action?
Are they dropping off? Sure. It may be because the design was distracting and cluttered, but the copy and the content also come into play there. Maybe it got super boring and dull. It was unclear. It’s confusing. And they dropped off.
How long did they scroll down?
Did the copy and the design help them read from one line to the next to the next to the next?
Click maps. A click map is gonna share this information in more concentrated, dark spots, where people are clicking a lot, that’s a popular spot. And the more faded spread out places, not a lot of people are clicking there. What’s so cool here is to see what CTAs are actually of most interest to people.
What up in your navigation bar are they not interested in at all? Yes. Your Google analytics and things like that will tell you, but you can just see it so visually and crystal clear with the click map.
Another cool thing is that you start to see what may look like a button but isn’t actually functioning as a button. We’ll talk about that more towards the en.
Mouse tracking— The third and final type of heat map I’m gonna talk about, but not as much as the other two is mouse tracking. This is where you can see how someone moves their cursor around your website. What areas of the page they’re flocking to the most.
Here’s a pro tip : Absolutely install these on your website before you do a major website gut or refresh. Otherwise, you’re just picking things to update because you think you should update them, but we have got to actually listen to what people need and how they’re moving around and make the data-driven decisions off of that for your new website refresh. I’m gonna show you later in this post how to set it up. It’s super simple but just wanted to throw that out there.
Okay. You understand how heatmaps pull together how people read and interact with your website in a visual manner, but how does this wizardry happen, you ask? Basically, it’s collecting aggregate data like any tool would do, it’s just pulling information together, and then it’s reporting it back to you in a visual layout.
So if you can read a weather radar then you can read a heat map because it’s very similar in how it visually translates that information to you.
The darker areas are more concentrated, those are getting a lot of action. And the lighter, more sparse areas are less popular. All of this works in tandem to give you a more complete, robust picture of how your website’s working for your users.
That brings us to the juicy part, how to actually start using heatmaps. Okay. TBH, this is probably gonna be the easiest marketing task on your to-do list all week. You’re welcome…I love you too. 😉 It takes about two to five minutes to do.
I am gonna recommend a tool called Hotjar. That’s been my favorite in the agency side of my business, that’s the tool that we use when we’re working with clients and we’re pulling these, like I said, we’re gonna do this pull of information and data before we start judging and even reworking their website copy, and brand message. So this is my preferred tool, but there’s other great tools like Sumo, Crazy Egg. You could pretty much just do a search for heat map tools and find one, but I’m gonna show you how to do it with Hotjar
So we just launched my FIRST custom website, been in business five and a half years, it feels good. Have not installed heatmaps on that so I’m gonna flip the camera around and in real-time show you this install so you can follow along.
I recommend that you install heatmaps on five major pages of your website —>
Okay. That’s it. If you follow these instructions, you’re gonna have a live functioning heat map on your website, ready to go ahead and start collecting it though.
All right. That brings me to this last part. I’m gonna give you quickly six changes that you could make from reading a heat map. So you let this little baby bird fly.
<< Related: The PERFECT Copy To Have On Your Website Homepage >>
You have the heatmaps running on your website. Now once you get back the data and the reports, those click maps and those scroll maps, you’re gonna start looking at them and making decisions. This part is important. I don’t know if you’re like me, but sometimes I put things out there to measure. You actually have to look at the data, interpret it and make changes. Otherwise, I’m just running tests for the heck of it. So this part is important. Okay.
#1 HubSpot tells us about 55% of visitors on your website, they’re spending less than 15 seconds on your website. And Sumo tells us that about 80% of visitors and readers that are soaking up all that beautiful long-form content you’re putting out there.
( PSA, I did a video the other week on my content creation template. So grab that, watch it next)
But 80% of people aren’t making it to the bottom of that long form long page that you have. So the first thing I want you to look at is what did people do on your website before they bounced? Before they left. If they left without converting, I wanna know what it was they were doing.
Also, here is a plug for my Google docs website template freebie. You have got to have drill down even for your homepage, every page of your website, you need to note the one goal you want the reader to do, the user to do, because that is how you’re going to start measuring the conversions or what it is that you want to happen. I work with so many creatives and sometimes the website’s up and it’s beautiful, but how do you actually know it’s working?
<< Related: How to Plan & Write Your Website Content >>
So for instance, if you’re looking and you see that one section of the page is getting a majority of the attention, you can go ahead and shift your most important and impactful copy to that section. Maybe that’s where you’re gonna go ahead and focus and drop off some of your most incredible get-out-of-my-head moments in your copy.
So maybe you learned that page, that spot on the website is where you wanna focus some of that. Another thing you may wanna do is move the call to action up or duplicate it and have the call to action again above the fold. Once you look at this heat map, you at least know a hundred percent of the traffic is hitting that top part of the page, right? That’s where everybody’s landing—go ahead and use that to your benefit.
Then go ahead and take a look at your click maps.
Here are five things you may wanna do to change up your website as you’re reading that aggregate data 👇👇
✏️ What was a wasted click? I don’t know why this is one of my favorite things to learn, but it’s so cool to see like where people are clicking and you think that that’s not even a button. Why are you clicking there? But maybe it’s an image or something that looks juicy and clickable, make that a URL link or if the purpose of the imagery or design element is not to cause them to click, but to push them to keep reading or whatever it is. That design element, imagery element is serving, maybe you wanna change it a little bit more so it isn’t so clicky looking.
✏️ Look up in your navigation. You’ll look at this in tandem with your Google Analytics, but what happened to navigation bar is absolutely no one in their mother clicking on. That is just wasted space up there, cleared it out, clear the clutter. It’ll be a lot cleaner up at the nav bar.
✏️Call to Action (“CTA”) You can always look to enhance your CTA. So how can you make those buttons even more clickable? Do you need to use a really bright, standout color, complimentary color in your business? This is one thing again, I’m calling out my creatives because I work with so many, but is everything so on-brand and dreamy that the CTA buttons don’t stand out? People like to click things that look like a button so go ahead and make it pop. Make it a little bit bigger maybe than you’re even comfortable with. Make the copy on there big and stand out—it has to look like something I want to press.
✏️ Headline or Hook Copy. Next up, you may decide you wanna strengthen your headline or your hook copy. Even once you enhance that call to action button itself, maybe you learned that you wanna make the button even juicier with the body copy around it. The sub headline, the headline, whatever is surrounding that, maybe that would help enhance it.
✏️ Are they clicking nothing? Oh no—this is the worst thing that could happen. Butttt sometimes it happens again because I said everything is just so beautiful and dreamy and ethereal that I don’t know what to click on because nothing really is calling me to click, or conversely, it’s so cluttered and overwhelming that ad analysis paralysis. I don’t know what to click on. I’m stressed out a little bit. So I don’t know what you’re trying to get me to do on the website. I feel like it’s like the Oriental Trading magazine effect. If you ever got that to your house in what was that, the 90s. It’s just so much that I give up.
I hope you’ve seen how heatmaps can be an absolute game changer for your website and your copy for your business. Heatmaps can be a game-changer for your copywriting and website in general—you don’t want to stand up to start talking and everyone peace out or click over to another tab—this will help you find that!. Not only will you be able to see where your website viewers are spending the most time, but you’ll also be able to see where’s the best location for your messages, and CTAs in particular.
All right, if you liked this video and you want more tips like this, then tap that thumbs up button or the heart, that’s gonna let the algorithm know you wanna see more of this, you know how it works. And go ahead and leave in the comments too. I’m curious.
Do you want to try heatmaps? Have you started? Did you do this tutorial as I walked through it? Are you using Hotjar? Do you recommend another tool? I love to know.
Like I said, be sure to subscribe to the Ashlyn Writes YouTube channel over the next few weeks, I’m gonna be getting even more of my hot takes on sales pages and how you can really enhance those in your business to start converting more on your website. And that does it, check out this video next — I’m gonna be jumping into some of my very best tips to write faster. The copy and the content of your business is a bear, I know, so be sure to check out that video and speed up your habits.
Reading Time: 10 Minutes Are you missing out on a huge opportunity to use heatmaps? Heatmaps can help you wrap your head around, and understand how to create a better website experience, and create content and copy that really generates the clicks you actually want to happen. Essentially, what it’s doing is using color variation to interpret data over […]
Writing copy for your business or for your businesses’ website can be a tedious task—I get it, we just launched a mini website. I feel like I birthed two babies this year—one, the website, I carried a lot longer than the *actual* human baby.
Okay, but the thing is your website, my website, it’s got to work when we can’t. I believe that so firmly it is worth putting the time into figuring out how to get great words that actually convert and pull their weight.
Today, you’re gonna learn how to make your website copywriting process work for you, because whether it is your home page, your services page, about page, blog posts, whatever it is, most of us just want to get that done, checked off our list and moved on so we can go do other things—I’ve got two kids andddd I get it.
Productivity hacks are my side hobby—I may have missed my calling as a supply chain manager, but found it here as a copywriter … where I DEFINITELY need productivity tips.
I counted up last week’s words, and realized I wrote 3,296 words JUST for my business’s marketing last week (1 blog, YouTube video script, copy for Instagram captions, and email newsletter copy).
That’s a lot, but I’m guessing you’re not too far behind.
“Every 2 days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003.”
WOW, right? That’s a lot of content for our noisy globe to handle.
It’s a big responsibility, too: it’s our job as creative small business owners to put out GOOD, worthy, and relevant content … content that is thought-provoking and worth the time it takes to read.
And if you’re like me, you kind of hate the blinking cursor. Today, I’m gonna take you through six tips that you can do to start writing faster, whether it’s your website copy that you need to tackle or blog posts or just some other business writing task.
Here are 6 tips that I use to write content and copy faster, so you can create BETTER content and produce less noise.
Write during the best time of day for YOU.
Want to write faster? Opt for—typically—the first 4 hours of the day.
If possible, Gary Keller writes in my favorite business book, The One Thing, “select 4 hours first thing in the morning, when you have the most willpower.”
That is usually when I work best when I’m a maker in the morning, a manager in the afternoon. But if I want to write more creatively, it’s usually best to write whenever you’re groggiest actually, whether that again is possibly early in the morning, or even later at night.
WIRED Magazine referenced an Albion College study that tapped into college students to see when their most creative answers came.
“The larger lesson is that sleepy students … benefit from the inability to focus. Their minds are drowsy and disorganized, humming with associations that they’d normally ignore.”
So interesting, right?
Typically when I’m doing client work, which is writing since I’m a copywriter, I can kind of turn it on and just be in the zone and actually write and crank out the work. When it comes to my own business, sometimes I’m the hardest client to write for.
What I found is that I could shake off some of those nerves. If I started writing really early in the morning, like four o’clock, five o’clock when I was just kind of still dreaming, I think, or maybe it was very late at night, my kids were down, I can pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea and just sit down and just have the freedom to write. If that’s you and you tend to put a little pressure on yourself when you’re writing, then try the time hacking tip. And that segues me right into tip number two here, is embrace the sloppy copy.
(You’ll need to edit anything, sleepy or not—click here for a blog I wrote about how to DIY edit your work, and go ahead and install Grammar.ly for free to catch 99% of typos/edits you’ll make.)
Next up, use the Pomodoro Technique or give yourself a hard stop.
You’ve probably heard of Parkinson’s Law before, the concept that work either expands or contracts to fit the time available for it.
Essentially, if you have four hours to finish a task, it’s gonna take you four hours. If you tell yourself it’s only gonna be able to take you 30 minutes, you’ll probably fit it in closer to 30 minutes, and as a very crude explanation, but essentially download and use the Pomodoro App. It is fabulous, it’s free, I use it all the time.
Basically, just ask me how I can stretch out a Netflix date with random British documentaries about castles if I don’t cap it.
A Pomodoro sprint helps you stay on track during the task at hand: 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off.
Rinse and repeat.
Basically, just sprint out 25 minutes of grinding (no snack time, no IG!) before a 5-minute break. It works, I promise!
Want to scoop up a few more productivity tips? Here are 3 mindset-shifts I made in year one that grew my business quickly.
For some this almost sounds elementary, but I had to remember this since I was writing my website. Sometimes you just need to get that first draft, second draft, third draft, even over and done, and you can come back to it and reiterate it, and by the time I finished the 11th draft, it feels like it sometimes looks absolutely nothing like the first, second, third, fourth, so on and so forth. I had to get through those to even get to the point of having an 11th draft.
Writer Anne Lamont says in her book Bird by Bird, start each day anywhere and let yourself do it badly.
This probably doesn’t seem like a task at ALL, but it’s a mindset shift you have to make to write faster.
Before you write, own that this will NOT be published today. It will take editing.
Back in agency days, my boss never let us send anything to our clients at Delta Air Lines without looking at it with “fresh eyes” the next day, so think about doing that.
Write messy, don’t pause to edit, and just get it out.
You will always need to come back and edit. That’s part of the process.
I’ve done videos that have an entire blog post on how to self edit you can read here, but you’re never gonna get those incredible final drafts if you don’t go through the process of pulling out all the different things like a magician that could be in the hat and then you’ll get the bunny. I don’t know where that analogy came from.
Bonus tip? Create your own little code for things you’ll need to fill in later: I pop in placeholders constantly while I write a draft so I can move faster without having to stop to look something up.
For example, I use “NAME” when I can’t remember someone/something’s name, “TK” if there’s info that I don’t have yet (journalist-speak for “to come”), and “RSFF” for research/fact-finding I need to do.
Here’s what that would look like in action in a draft of caption copy:
Camellia bushes and azaleas from NAME cozied up on my porch this weekend—we’ll find a home for them [RSFF about when I need to plant them for seasons], but for now, I don’t mind their plastic containers one bit. 😉 Want more tips about first time gardening? Grab my free guide at TK!
So, that’s it. Accept that when you sit down to write this, it’s gonna be a sh**ty first draft.
Keep writing, and use placeholders, TK, etc. as needed.
Always, always start with structure. I write for a living very rarely. Am I just going to open up a document or a Word tab and just start writing, even when I’m writing in my journal for free time, for fun, I like a prompt, I like something to just get me going.
There’s a John Caples quote that copywriting should be approached the same way an engineer approaches the building of a bridge. Heck yes!
You can use templates for:
Start with a structure, a framework of formula and let yourself fill that in based off of the order in the hierarchy that the messaging should come in.
This is why I created The Copy Bar. It’s the template shop side of my business. I love it so much and there are a lot of templates that I use all of the time as prompts to just get my wheels turning and get my juices flowing. You can and should use some sort of a framework or an outline or a template if you’re sitting down to write a pillar blog piece in your business, mine is in the shop, I used it to even create this post. Things like captions or canned email responses, sales pages, homepages about pages, subject lines.
There’s some sort of tried and true framework or hypothesis that someone has put out there and tested and you might as well see if you can take that and riff off of it, or at least just don’t start with nothing. I haven’t said it in one of my videos for a while, so it’s time.
Best practices are essentially pooled ignorance, unless you know how they’re going to work on your audience, or if you’re at least willing to test it.
So while having a framework or a formula to play off of is good, at the end of the day, you’re accountable and responsible for seeing how that performs with your audience or with your brand and with your messaging, and then basing your findings and tweaking things based off of what comes in, right? What data comes back, but it’s at least somewhere to start, right?
Give me a template and I’ll love you forever.
Always pull your research and start to create some sort of a copy bank. Can’t even tell you how much I relied on my copy bank as I ripped my website, pulling little snippets that, oh yeah, I pulled that like three years ago and I love that phrase. I just have never had a place to put it before until now, I can slide it in.
I was definitely a collage kid in the nineties, two thousands when I grew up, and no, we don’t have the Seventeen and the Y magazines to pull from now, but it’s kind of that same process is I want to be able to look at a whole sampling of phrases and words that I can pull from and assemble the best message possible. So I keep those messages and corral them in what I call, a copy bank, quotes, quipes, one liners that made you laugh, absolutely voice of customer data and research.
I’ve done a video where I talked about three ways that you can kind of kick off your swipe file and get going, that could help you with concept if it is a little bit new.
As far as housing this, Trello, Evernote, Asana whatever tool you’re already using, don’t complicate it, just use that and then be like a sticky wad of tape or something rolling around and as you start to hear and pick up on little bits of sticky messaging, no matter where you hear it, it could be from somebody talking on a podcast, it could be from a book you’re reading or a magazine you’re flipping through, or some Instagram account you’re scrolling.
When you see a little phrase or a snippet, just grab that and put it in your collage bank and you’ll start to build this repertoire of words over time that you can then turn around and use, and insert in your copy.
Writing an in-depth blog on something? Pull facts, stats, studies, and notes together.
Writing in your brand voice and still not super comfortable DIY’ing your copy? Have your brand voice style guide on hand to check yourself as you write.
Writing anything? SAVE IT! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a blog or Instagram caption, decided not to publish it, and just filed it … later, I’ll be able to salvage a bit of it for another post!
The other thing I like to have on hand is what my Copywriting for Creatives students know I call a “Copy Bank”—it’s basically a swipe file, but it’s more than just example email copy or headlines I like. Quotes, quips from magazines that made me laugh, one-liners I read on a BuzzFeed article at 2 a.m. when I couldn’t sleep … The Copy Bank system keeps me creatively charged.
To note, I don’t reference my Copy Bank until AFTER I write most of the content … I just peek at it afterward, and if there’s a phrase that fits perfectly, I pop it in. I said it in the video last week, it’s a classic copywriting quote that copywriting is not written, it is assembled, and that’s what I’m talking about here.
This goes to the concept of grand gestures. Maybe you’ve heard how JK Rowling would rent out an entire hotel room as she worked to finish the Harry Potter books. That’s what I mean here.
How can you create a space that is lovely, and enjoyable, and you actually want to sit down and write in?
I’m gonna tell you a couple of things that I did to finish the gargantuan of a website that we just launched. I bought two candles, I put them on the business and I know when I light that candle, it means go time. I’m priming myself, I’m teaching myself that the only way that I can light that candle is I’m gonna be head down, working on something furiously, putting every single bit of my energy into it and then when I blow it out, I’m done and I’m walking away.
Headphones, white noise, the Calm app, you can get so many great sounds on the free version of it. The premium version is pretty good too.
Another thing I did a lot was go to my favorite coffee shop in town and I knew when I got there, I was gonna focus and I was gonna work and I’d only let myself go as a treat. And it also back to the comment that I made about the Pomodoro time and going on sprints, I knew that I had a hard stop where I was gonna have to leave and go home. I couldn’t stretch it past that. Knowing that I had a hard stop, pushed me to get a lot of writing done and copy done for the website, so I could turn it over to my team to look at and edit before we pulled it in and started installing.
Having a good workspace you actually enjoy writing in, hacking your time and writing when you’re best on, whether it be creatively or geared up to write quickly, giving yourself a hard stop, whether it’s through an app or through some kind of hard timestamp, you actually need to quit working at and always having some sort of copy bank system ready that you can pull together the collage of phrases that you wanna say. Can you have that voice of customer data ready and at hand? All of that is gonna equip you to write your copy that much faster for your business.
Okay, I want to hear from YOU! Comment below—what takes you forever to write? Could any of these tips speed up your flow?
If you found this video helpful, be sure to tap it, give it that thumbs up, and don’t miss this video—I’m breaking down and showing you a template that you can use to structure your pillar pieces of content and go to blog posts for your business. I promise you’ll win in on these copy tips.
Reading Time: 11 Minutes Writing copy for your business or for your businesses’ website can be a tedious task—I get it, we just launched a mini website. I feel like I birthed two babies this year—one, the website, I carried a lot longer than the *actual* human baby. Okay, but the thing is your website, my website, it’s got […]
The *biggest* challenge I see facing small business owners is not having enough time. We are an idea-rich and time-poor bunch of people, especially when it comes to content creation—which is kind of the name of the game with marketing. Content marketing IS the only marketing left, said Seth Godin. So how do you create regular, consistent content—in the midst of the 50 million other things you’re doing for your creative business—that’s actually worth the click?
You’ve got to extract an idea from your head, research it to the nth degree, write a really good synopsis of it, come up with the imagery direction, and then disseminate it on different platforms. Andddd that can be overwhelming.
I started blogging in 2009, and over the years have created a content creation template I’m so excited to share with you today. This content creation template has allowed me to crank out regular consistent content that’s worth the click.
Today, I want to show you how to support your content writing efforts with research and examples and stats, and tutorials. By the end of this post, you’ll know my entire content creation system for creating pillar pieces of content every week in my business.
If you want to get your hands on the actual template that I use in my business, again, I’m talking through it today. We recently added that to my template shop, The Copy Bar, so you can go over there and check it out, grab one for yourself.
Let’s hop to it!
Build a content research idea bank and plot your content calendar. I hate having to think of what to blog about or what to create content about— I want a list ready to go at. all. times. So yes, I absolutely keep a list of batch ideas on file, but I have a couple of other tools in my arsenal that I lean on for bulking up my content with research and more fodder for me to reference when I’m creating these videos.
One is we have an email folder that is easily searchable inside Google Drive. If there are any questions that we get asked about, they go in there.
I’ve said before, my goal is that we have at least one piece of pillar content to answer every type of recurring question that we get. If we get a question all the time about XYZ, I want at least one good free piece of content out there that can help that person answer the question.
Now, I go into my content planning system ad nauseam inside my Prime to Launch Masterclass Series. But your content has to tie to your sales goals. So once I know the topic, I can go into my overall content mapping calendar and see that topic fits to where it will actually help push sales goals.
Before you start writing, outline the content. Use a template and a pre-writing question list. So a rule for writing copy or anything in your business is truly to start with the end in mind.
(I show you how I do this and then show you that document that I use when I’m creating content in this week’s episode on my YouTube channel, you can watch that here. )
If you’ve been around here, you know how obsessed with time I am. I track my time. I set a timer to make myself do things because I get distracted so easily. I also am not gonna just stare at the blinking cursor, trying to figure out what to say. I want all that fodder in front of me. I wanna know, are you like that, too? Click the like button if you function the same way. Squirrel much? 😉
I do this with 6 questions that I write at the top of EVERY single pillar piece of content I write. So this template, which is in The Copy Bar shop if you want to grab it, saved in Google Drive, I click it open, and it’s set and ready to go with how I need to fill it in.
Okay, I’m sure you could ask yourself 50 questions before you start writing your content. I don’t have time for that. These six at least help me get my head on straight, my head in the game and I am ready to write after I filled out this part of the template.
So number three, the first thing I’m gonna do in the content creation writing process is sketch out the outline. I have a very simple outline that you can use in your content creation process as well. Whether you create video content or written content, I think this will help you.
Here’s the brief five-point outline that I used for years:
This is the outline I’m gonna use if I’m trying to build authority on some kind of a subject. So if you are, for example, blogging your case studies or your portfolio work or recent weddings that you’ve done or press that you’ve been involved in, that format is going to be a little bit different, but this type of a content outline will help you when you’re trying to build that authority on a subject that you know a lot about.
Next up, decide your non-negotiable content gold and research BEFORE you write. Have you ever been on Pinterest or Google before and you’ve clicked something and you get through the click and what you land on is just not meaty enough? It’s not helpful. You’ve gotta go back, start over and keep researching. I hate that feeling. I want your content to be absolutely worth the time that it takes for people to click through. You can do that by collecting in advance as much solid content gold as you can.
Essentially, this is research to bolster up the content that you’re putting out there I have a specific list of things that I add to my content to make it meatier and jucier and more worth it. That content creaton process, again, is starting out answering those six questions, doing an ish outline of how I think this is gonna go. Then I start researching and I’m copying and pasting and pulling in all these different anecdotes and examples, tutorial ideas, images, quotes maybe that I can include.
Basic Blog Post Gold Outline Structure:
That list can be a game-changer for your content because if you’re bulking up your content by adding those things, it’s that much more applicable for people when they can see it applied in different ways and it also helps different learning styles.
Okay, number five, you finally get to write and edit. Just like a chef gets their mise en place together before they start cooking, I’m making sure that I have all of these things first. Then writing is honestly, a breeze and it’s so much faster.
Great copy isn’t written, it’s assembled.
That is a copywriting axiom, and while content writing and copywriting are two different things, done a video on that, this helps, too. Having a system and workflow can help so much. Whatever your content creation workflow, make sure that you hammer it out in a good tool like Asana or Trello.
Like I said, if you wanna get your hands on the actual Google template that we use in my business, the one that I copy every single week into the appropriate folder and I build my content off of, then be sure to grab yours here.
Also, I would love to hear from you in the comments, what are some of your best content creation hacks, or what tips stood out from you in this video that you wanna try to apply to your business?? As always, thank you so much for watching. I’ll see you in the next one!
Reading Time: 7 Minutes The *biggest* challenge I see facing small business owners is not having enough time. We are an idea-rich and time-poor bunch of people, especially when it comes to content creation—which is kind of the name of the game with marketing. Content marketing IS the only marketing left, said Seth Godin. So how do you create […]
Have you recently ghosted your email list? This is a safe space, you can tell me. 😉 Listen, it happens—no need to panic! I’ve created a 3 part email sequence series to win back that click. I’m sharing email copywriting tips along with email newsletter content because we all know it can feel strange trying to slide back into our audience’s email… especially after we’ve ghosted them!
By the end of this post, you’ll have an email marketing & email copywriting strategy to build back trust with your audience and let them know why they signed up to be on your email list in the first place. It’s time to REVIVE your email list!
Let’s jump in!
I want you to use a clean and organized three-part email sequence funnel, which I’m gonna call these *really* silly descriptors—you’ll see why.
#1 The Not-Cousin-Eddie
#2 The Oprah
#3The Gatsby Email
Okay, here is my overall philosophy on emailing your list if it is been awhile—don’t make it weird. Picture “Christmas Vacation”. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know Cousin Eddie. He’s the weird comedic relief, uncle character in the movie. He barges in, a little bit tipsy, causes all sorts of ruckus, eyebrows raise. He leaves the family wondering, “Who is this guy? How are we related again?” I don’t want you to be that, zooming back into inboxes, making it weird, giving them the feeling of “when did I sign up for this person’s emails?”. So this is how we are going to make sure that doesn’t happen!
“The Not-Cousin-Eddie”—that’s a very quick “who I am again” email. We’re gonna give them some killer value and give them an out if they’re really not interested.
“The Oprah email”— We’re gonna give them your absolute best, things that you’re consuming lately, tools that you’re loving. It’s like inviting them to come and sit on the couch with you for a minute.
“The Gatsby”— We’re gonna toast to them. Give them a free invitation, a coupon code, free shipping, something to express your gratitude for them. They stuck with you.
Okay, now you know the three emails that I want you to have in this sequence. My next tip is number two, I want you to keep your explanation short and sweet.
So basically, we don’t wanna over-explain why you’ve been MIA, and I’m gonna give you an email copywriting swipe for this. The other week I was at my friend Amber’s event, the Blooming Grove Live, and I was leading a round table discussion. People are coming up to my table and asking all sorts of email copywriting questions, and this one came up a lot which is why I was excited to share about it. What I told them is in this campaign, in this email sequence, you don’t want to over-explain and apologize for why you’ve been MIA. We’ve got to flip things and help them understand what’s the value for them. That’s rule number one in copywriting is everybody’s reading things, thinking “Okay, but what’s in this for me?”
So like I said, I wanna give you a little copy swipe template that you can use.⬇️
This is about how long this should be. You’ll see it’s pretty short and sweet.
This is The Copy Party Starter. If you’re a service provider, a great way that you can frame this is, these are some of the tools and resources that you’ve created for your clients. You wanted to bring them to your subscribers as well. And so, *zhuszch*, change them a little bit because they’re not deliverables. But you can give them those kind of tools.
Maybe give them a VIP seat, let them understand what it would be like to be a client of yours. This can also subtly seed. People do pay you for what you do. In this email, our overall goal is not being weird and we just want to come in with lots of value and remind them why you’re there.
I also recommend letting them know you’re gonna offering up some kind of sweet deal or offer like extending a friendship bracelet to them in the coming days. And that would absolutely remind them what they signed up to hear from you about. So, you’re the “what” girl or guy for them.
You may also need to include a PS in this email that points them back to their original freebie or download or opt in that they use to get on this list if it’s been a while.
Overall here, keep that copy minimal because the goal is for them to actually use the resources and the tools that you’re sending along.
Tip number three, make unsubscribing super-duper obvious. If unsubscribing is hard to find, that will just tick people off—you will not be making any friends that way. It definitely needs to be in the footer copy of any email that you send out to adhere to CAN-SPAM law.
I’ve found in an email sequence like this, when it’s been a minute, it can even be that much more of an olive branch extension if you put it right there in the body copy of the email saying “if you don’t want to hear it from me anymore, click here to unsubscribe”. Same link as the one in the footer.
Okay, quick recap so far:
☑️ You know your three-part email sequence
☑️ You have that first email short and sweet with a roundup of useful tools or content that you’ve created.
☑️ You’ve made that unsubscribe link very clear for them.
Next up: Reinforce your value.
We’re talking about emails two and three in this series. More gifts, more presents. Like Oprah invites people to come sit on her couch or like she did when the TV show is on, that’s what we’re doing in email, too—it’s more intimate.
Make sure in this email, they’ve definitely connected the dots and understand that this point who you are and why they first started subscribing to you. The rest of the email, just share really valuable tools, resources you’ve enjoyed lately, or tools or things that are on your desk right now. You can mix your stuff in there, but let’s think about it. >>>
That first email, you are shilling your links and content that you’ve created. And then the last email of this series, we’re gonna be doing that, too. So here is your break to talk up other businesses or tools on your desk. Yes, you can throw in some links to things that you have done, but we want to help reinforce the idea that you just share killer content—you don’t care where it comes from. You’re gonna be valuable in their inbox no. matter. what.
<< Related:9 Strategic Ways to Send Better Emails to Your List >>
There is a section in Anne Handley’s weekly fortnight email that I love. She just shares stuff she’s enjoying, and it is always helpful for me. She’s a writer, I’m a writer. That’s why I’m on her list. But that’s what I mean. I’m gonna put up a little example of a recent email from her, but this is the kind of content I’m talking about. So valuable.
Then for the final email, like I said, you’re gonna get back in the saddle of selling your own stuff or reminding them that you do what you do for a price. I’m calling it The Gatsby though ’cause we’re essentially channeling this GIF >>
I want you to just serve it up complimentary.
Maybe you wanna do that with a coupon code or free shipping. You wanna invite them to a masterclass or something completely on the house or give them a massive discount to one of your products. Really trying to soften the blow of completely ghosting them for a while. Now we’re trying to slide back in with regular content, and there you go.
Those three emails have reminded them of what you do and what your value is. And now you can add them back onto your regular weekly or bi-weekly or monthly newsletter campaign.
**But, here is the kicker. You can’t forget again. You’ve already forgotten once. Sooooo, don’t do it twice. They will lose trust with you.**
Tip number five, don’t worry about unsubscribes. You are gonna get unsubscribes on a campaign like this. If you get weird about that number, then reframe it in your head. No, it doesn’t always mean people hate you. It may just mean they’re in a different stage in their customer or client life cycle than they were when they first signed up for emails from you.
Maybe they needed your content at that time in their life, and they are just not there anymore. They’re in a different phase and they don’t need this type of value and content in their lives. That’s okay.
<< Related:6 Steps to Clean Up Your Email List Subscribers >>
I talk about cleaning up your list a lot. Otherwise, it’s just dead weight. So, it’s okay. I meant it when I said you actually need to keep showing up though if you do this once because we want them to now trust you that you said you’re gonna show up, and you’re gonna show up. So be sure to watch this video that I have right here, I’m taking you through an entire year’s worth of email marketing ideas you can use.
Okay, there you go. Put on your best pump-up jam, crank out this series, or just swipe from The Copy Bar shop our template for this. You can for your own business and *zhuszch* for your own brand voice. Bottom line, don’t worry if it’s been a hot minute since you’ve sent out an email newsletter to your email list. Follow this tips and strategies I talked through in today’s video to win back that click from your audience. Comment below with any questions that you may have as well. If you need help analyzing your email metrics after you get this campaign out, be sure to watch this video I’ve got teed up for you next!
Reading Time: 7 Minutes Have you recently ghosted your email list? This is a safe space, you can tell me. 😉 Listen, it happens—no need to panic! I’ve created a 3 part email sequence series to win back that click. I’m sharing email copywriting tips along with email newsletter content because we all know it can feel strange trying […]
True life: I’m an email marketing copywriter, which means I love digital marketing, but I also am obsessed with my privacy and my data online—it’s a weird life. 😉 Apple and iOS have some privacy updates that are coming down the pipeline, which, yay, when we have our consumer hat on, but *cringe* for our email metrics. These changes will directly affect the email metrics that you’re measuring in your creative small business, as you use email marketing. Soooo let’s talk about it.
Now when you first hop in and look at your email marketing analytics, you may get a *little* bit overwhelmed with all of the geeky vocab flying around in there, but I wanna break it down and make it as simple as possible for you to track and figure out what to look at. I want to set you up so that your email marketing is on track for success.
By the end of this post, you’ll learn what email marketing metrics actually matter and the ones that I don’t really care about. Plus, since we are on the cusp of that new iOS update, I’m gonna give you my opinion on what things to actually change up and how you can prep best for it.
So today we are talking through these 5 email metrics:
If you’re working through this and you want to grab some email subject line swipe files, don’t forget to click here or down below for a link to my 42 Plug-And-Play Email Subject Line Templates!⬇️⬇️
Come out of the gate here and give me the big secret. I’ve talked about this in some other videos, you want to make your subject line, which is what your open rate is kind of dependent on— you want to make that obsolete. Instead, I am far more concerned about how I and how my copywriting clients can build that know, like, trust factor so much that when a reader sees your name in the inbox, it’s no question, they absolutely click open—they want to hear from YOU.
Now, here’s why that matters more than ever. Apple has recently unveiled some of the features that the iOS 15 update will have. For many of us working here in the digital marketing and email marketing space, some of these features are a little bit, *shall we say* not so fabulous. Like I said, I love privacy as a consumer, but it’s gonna hurt the way we track email metrics and that’s okay, we just have to prep for it.
As it is, open rate is a super inaccurate email metric. Think about things like unroll.me. If you use a tool like that, that screws things up because essentially to track an open rate, here’s what happens. An email service provider embeds an invisible pixel in each email. And that email goes out if the email is opened and the image is displayed, tracking information to sit back and recorded as an open, sounds great in theory, but it’s simply not reliable.
From far away, it’s okay. But up close, it’s a big, old mess.
I’m telling you all this because I don’t want you to freak out so much about your open rate. We’re gonna get into what you actually should worry so much about later on. If email open rates were that imperative for us to look at in the future.
Now with this update, according to tactical.co, with this feature, you are not gonna be able to tell what recipients are using iOS 15 devices when they open the emails and open rates are important for tracking the success in most email marketing campaigns, at least a lot of us look at it that way. Furthermore, this is my favorite part of the article, it’s the metric that most marketers use when cleaning your lists. I mean, if you’ve cleaned your list before, this is probably something you’ve looked at, who’s actually opening your emails?
How can you prep best for this update? Well, today, go ahead and put it on your calendar for this week or next. I want you to go ahead and clean your list. We’ve talked about how to do that in some of my other videos—this is paramount for you to go ahead and do— you should be cleaning your list regularly anyway.
This is surprise, surprise, the number of people that after that email is open, click the hyperlink that you have inside your email, where you want people to go.
For example, when I send out my weekly dog-ear newsletter, I include the main link that I want them to go to three different times—that’s the same hyperlink, three times.
I’m gonna put it once above the fold. So for people on mobile devices, it’s there at the ready. I’m usually going to link some sort of either an image or a button. And then I’ll also probably hyperlink an entire sentence.
That percentage of people who click the link, that forms the click through rate, that is always the metric that I’m way more concerned about than the open rate. While industry standard varies from industry to industry, a whopping 2% is kind of the overall average—that’s something to think about as you’re looking at your metrics.
I harp on it with my team when we’re going through and crafting different campaigns for our copywriting clients. One thing you could always do is remember that each email has one goal, essentially one CTA. Now there’s variance there. I’m gonna change it up sometimes, but overall, I have one goal and one big call to action or a link that I’m driving to in every single email. Sometimes you’ll send out roundups, but by and large, go with that rule.
Another tip, and I talked about this when I did a video all about your subject line, you would think that your subject line has more of an effect on your open rate, but weirdly enough, it actually has more of an effect on your click through rate.
Another way to say that is your click-through rate can change depending on how powerful and strong your subject line is.
Think about it as when they see your subject line, that is priming them for what they’re gonna see as whatever they should click on in the body of your email—that priming is very important.
A little mathlete note to mention here for you to remember—your open rate and your click through rate are going to naturally decrease as your email list grows. That’s just how math works. That can be helpful to keep in mind as you’re hearing maybe how peers are doing in the industry or those metrics can be different depending on somebody who has 100,000 person list and somebody who has 100 people or 1000 people on their email list.
Go ahead and let me know in the comments below, does that 2% industry standard click-through rate number surprise you or does it make you feel good? Is that a little bit more on track to what you are seeing in your email marketing platform? I’d love to know. 🙂
<< Related A How-To Guide For Tracking Metrics That Matter >>
Hot take here, but I don’t care about this from that much. I’ll tell you in just a sec what I’m more concerned about, but I would always rather, whether it’s social media metrics or email marketing metrics, I would rather have a smaller list of more loyal people who are tuned into what I wanna say and wanna be there and don’t mind me pitching and selling from time to time, than a broad list of people.
I have a friend who logs into her email marketing platform and puts her hand over the unsubscribe number until she gets to where she wants to. I personally look at it, but I don’t worry about it that much, because I’m more concerned about what I’ll tell you in #5.
Okay we’ve talked through these email metrics so far: open rate, click through rate, and unsubscribe rate. The next email metric we’re concerned about is the conversion rate—you knew I was gonna say this one. 😉
This is what happens when they get on the other side of that link that they clicked in your email. Do they actually convert? Do they do what you wanted them to do? Did they go to the shop page and buy the template? Did they click through to the sales page and actually purchase your offer? Did they click through to the reg page and sign up for whatever challenge or webinar hype piece you have going for your launch?
If you follow my Quarterly Champagne Campaign system that I teach inside Prime to Launch, which essentially, is setting up your business to do FOUR big launches a year. Then when you’re in one of those launch seasons, this is when you start to measure for that metric. Your typical weekly newsletter probably isn’t gonna be as concerned about converting because we’re starting to, in those weekly newsletters tackle those objections and start to prime for your offer. We’re not concerned yet about converting to the sale, but when I’m in pre-launch for that hype piece phase, then I’m worried about this.
Now in a recent video I walked through and basically gave you a screenshot-able example of what your email funnel could look like for a say, evergreen webinar launch, that may help you. I’ve also talked about conversion rates, borderline ad nauseum in this video, I will link that in the description box.
Here’s my final little soap box moment—watching is a numbers game. I know I’ve said that before here. I’m gonna say it again. I tend to see students in clients be a little surprised that conversion rates are just by and large, lower than maybe what they were expecting. And that’s like most math, most numbers. That’s not for us to judge. It’s just something for us to keep in mind as we build our lists. As we grow for our traffic, leading into a pre-launch for a launch phase, you got to do that backwards math and figure out if this is the goal that you wanna sell, how much traffic do we need to go into that funnel?
All right, and the last email metric is number five, list growth rate. Okay, I told you I’m not as concerned about the unsubscribes. What I am concerned about is this though, this is essentially the over-under of how much our email list grew in a single week, new subscribers minus the unsubscribers or the balances. What you wanna track here is your email list growth and attrition, either a week over week or a month over month, quarter over quarter, basically, are you adding more email addresses every single month than you lose through your unsubscribes and your hard bounces.
You want to make sure you’re tracking all of these email metrics when it comes to your email list.
I want you to get ready for that iOS update. And I want you to just map these things at least quarterly in your business. Again, that’s open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribes conversion rate and the overall list growth rate. These provides such valuable information, and they’re gonna help guide you in the direction that you need to go for your email marketing fabulousness in your business.
If you’ve got any questions about the emal metrics I covered today, as always, make sure that you leave them in the comments below and be sure to check out the video —I’m showing you all about how to craft a sales and a launch sequence for the upcoming, big marketing campaign you’ve got in your creative business. Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle, and I’ll see you in the next one.
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Reading Time: 9 Minutes True life: I’m an email marketing copywriter, which means I love digital marketing, but I also am obsessed with my privacy and my data online—it’s a weird life. 😉 Apple and iOS have some privacy updates that are coming down the pipeline, which, yay, when we have our consumer hat on, but *cringe* for our […]
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