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last updated:
September 26, 2018


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Reading time: 7 min.

This first appeared in ConvertKit’s Tradecraft digital magazine. Click here to start your 30 day FREE trial of ConvertKit!

Breathe in, breathe out.

Did you smell that?

Nope, not the essential oils vapor that’s all up around my computer (which I’m sure is super great for the hardware).

That’s the smell of 19,387 online entrepreneurs in the SAME industry niche as you, lunging after the same clients/customers as you, asking for … wait for it … less than your prices.

How to Portray Your Value with 3 Copy Hacks - copywriting tips from Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes creative entrepreneur business tips

Okay, fine, I made that number up. But still … you’ve felt the “competition’s stiff,” crunch a time or two before, no?

So how do you portray your value, even if — maybe especially if — you’re just starting out?

I got you: Curl up with some Earl Grey and a pen, and let me give you 3 ways to portray your value when it comes to convincing dreamboat clients and customers you’re worth your weight in gold.

Read on for 3 conversion copy hacks to show your worth from your email sequence copy to your website words (and even if you’re just starting out!), and be sure to take the “What’s Your Online Voice Vibe Quiz” as you get started!

Copy Hack #1: Never stop surveying (like … ever).

Let’s have a fireside chat: most of us in the online or creative business space classify as “luxury” expenditures for most people—whether you’re a coach, high-end wedding photographer, virtual assistant, social media content coordinator, artist, wedding planner, floral designer, copywriter (hand raised!) or stylist …

… if you’re reading this, your customers and clients likely consider you a luxury.

The people don’t actually need us, per se.

What does this mean as we work to portray our value?

That needs to be considered first as you explain your value, because you’re going to need to come at explaining it from an emotional angle.

Before I was writing conversion copy for clients like Jenna Kutcher, Julie Solomon, and Desiree Hartsock Bridal, I was writing marketing copy for Delta Air Lines: Flying with Delta is typically more expensive than many other airlines. So how do they explain the value that they’re worth?

  • They typically top other airlines in on-time performance, so you get there when they told you that you would.
  • They cancel fewer flights than any other airline … something my husband who works in flight operations for Delta reminds me of often. #proudwife
  • If you’d like, you can get amenities like flat-bed seats (Zzz … ) and chef-curated meals … so you’re rested and ready for business when you land.


These are just three ways Delta commands their value, and you can bet your bottom dollar that value like these are woven whispers into the business’s marketing copy.

But how do they KNOW that portrays value that converts

Because they know their clientele.

And they whisper these value points to them.

Copy Hack #1 Action Step

Find out what your customers and clients ACTUALLY want using the 12 survey swipe file questions below—pin it for later!—and continue to whisper it in your copy. To an extent, I know you’ve heard this before. But don’t stop.

I’ve written copy for half-million dollar launches, and guess what doesn’t change: my CONSTANT research to find a deeper whisper than we found the last time.

RELATED: 5 Things Successful Creative Entrepreneurs know about their message

Here are a few ideas to survey your audience to portray your value, and 12 questions you can ask in forums, Facebook groups, and your own survey:

Copy Hack #2: Leverage price anchoring.

Before I invested in my first mastermind, I slept on the decision for—wait for—30 whole days.

I know, I know. A little dramatic. But to pull it down to binary choice, here’s what I was weighing:

  1. DIY business alone like I have before, put that $20K investment towards something else in my business.
  2. Pay an expert $20K for coaching and community, knowing that betting $20K on myself to show up and do the work was risky, but the ONLY way to guarantee myself I’d work to make the investment back … meaning I’d likely multiply the $20K.


I chose option 2.

Because one way looked like it’d multiply, and the other didn’t.

Why do we do this? “The culprit is a common cognitive bias called anchoring. Anchoring refers to the tendency to heavily rely on the first piece of information offered when making decisions.” source

Price anchoring.

Psychologists and sales copywriters know this tactic well, and while it can DEFINITELY be abused as a ripoff (Hello! We’ve all seen that, right!?) …

… used honestly, it’s truly a service to your customer.

“If you listen to the pundits, we’re going to price [the iPad] at under $1000—which is code for $999,” Steve Jobs began as he introduced the first iPad. “I am thrilled to announce to you that the iPad pricing starts not at $999 … but at just $499.”

If, like Steve Jobs, we really believe that what we have to offer—the ebook, the course, the conference, the service, WHATEVER it is—is truly life-changing (and I sure hope you do!), then reminding the customer or client that they’ll shell out LESS than the value they’ll get in return is honorable.


It’s a good reminder of truth!

Wield the power wisely, but done well and with integrity, leveraging price anchoring can help crush decision fatigue.

I mean, I never would have invested $20K in a mastermind if the leader didn’t look me in the eye and truly tell me I had to bet on myself, and trust that this was a priceless investment.

She was right.

Ashlyn Writes quote Seth Godin Stories

[bctt tweet=”“People don’t buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” -Seth Godin” username=”via AshlynSCarter”]


Copy Hack #2 Action Step

Socratic reasoning (Remember when you took Classics? That was fun.) works through the questions Socrates asked about truth and justice until his students arrived at the answer themselves.

Key … they arrived at the answer themselves.

Anchoring is a way that we can help our readers arrive at the answer themselves.

Here are steps inside the Socratic methodology you can use in your business:

  1. Listen (Oh wait … just like you learned to do back in copy hack #1. GO YOU!)
  2. Identify their trigger, what I eloquently call finding their “FTS” moment in my Copywriting for Creatives™ program. That stands for “eff this shiz.” 😉 What’s the moment they’re so over it? The moment they decide it’s worth paying for help?
  3. Twist the knife by showcasing how painful that problem is in your copy.
  4. Ask them to identify—and anchor—the cost of the problem NOT going away.
  5. Ask them to identify how tomorrow would look if the problem DID go away.
  6. Present your offer as a way to help them be successful.


You’ve got a lot of places you can put this in your messaging, from the copy in your welcome sequence to the words you write on your services page and more.

RELATED: 3 Costly Mistakes You May Be Making on your Sales Page

Copy Hack #3: Be the only one.

You’re working your booty off to overcome online obscurity.

But—like I tell my students—if you can’t explain to me why you’re the only one who does what you do the way you do it for whom you do it for—in a way that’s different or BETTER than those who do nearly the same thing (especially those who charge less!) …

… then we have a problem.

I call it your “Onlyness Factor.”

Ever seen Shark Tank? If the entrepreneur can’t explain this, their pitch is D.O.A.

Since you invest so much time into marketing your business, building your email list, designing your website, writing captions, trolling Instagram, and more, become a student of copywriting. Become a student of explaining the Onlyness Factor of each of your offers.

The problem with clearing copywriting off your plate is that you *may* be inadvertently outsourcing the sales psychology that you NEED to understand as the CEO and CMO of your creative small business.

You know how at first you have to kinda learn how to run your numbers, even if you hate math? Emoji hand raised here—bookkeeping was my nemesis! But, as someone who outsources that now, I get it. I have a framework to understand what my bookkeeper’s doing and how to understand my PnLs.

It’s the same with explaining your value. Learn how to do it well yourself, and THEN hand it off to someone else to finesse.

RELATED: How to Explain What you Do for a Living


Copy Hack #3 Action Step

Learn how to communicate—with words, not just pictures—why you’re the only one that does what you do the way you do it.

Figuring out your onlyness conveys mystique, curiosity, and scarcity … three bait pieces that make you unique and highly desirable.

Get started here and take the “What’s Your Online Voice Vibe Quiz”—marry your brand voice and story with the things your audience wants whispered (again, Copy Hack #1, check!), and you’ll be on your way to figuring out your Onlyness Factor.

Portraying your value as you work to convert browsers to buyers is totally something you can do without shelling out the big bucks to a conversion copywriter. I promise, and I’m here to help you get there!

Start with (and never stop with) surveying, leverage price anchoring well, and find the “Onlyness Factor” of all of the things you offer.

Marketing can be fun. It can be voicey. Conversion copy is a matter of applying what you know about yourself as the face of your business to what that gap is in the market that you’re speaking to. Don’t forget to inch closer to your brand voice with this quiz & swipe file examples awaiting you on the results page—hopefully, it’s a reminder that all of this conversion focus shouldn’t be so serious that we don’t have a little fun!

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Reading time: 7 min. This first appeared in ConvertKit’s Tradecraft digital magazine. Click here to start your 30 day FREE trial of ConvertKit! Breathe in, breathe out. Did you smell that? Nope, not the essential oils vapor that’s all up around my computer (which I’m sure is super great for the hardware). That’s the smell […]


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