Are You Making These 9 Copywriting Mistakes? With Special Guest Sue Rice
In the Podcast:
02:38 – Principles To Copywriting
06:59 – Copywriting Mistake #1
10:18 – Copywriting Mistake #2
13:28 – Understanding Who Your Audience Is
20:22 – Copywriting Mistake #3
23:49 – Copywriting Mistake #4
29:11 – Copywriting Mistake #5
32:08 – Copywriting Mistake #6
34:01 – Copywriting Mistake #7
37:49 – Copywriting Mistake #8
40:58 – Copywriting Mistake #9
48:06 – Mistakes Recap
Sue Rice and I talk about the 9 copywriting mistakes people make in all forms of their marketing – landing pages, sales pages and email marketing. Be sure to listen to this episode to avoid making these 9 classic (and avoidable!) mistakes.
Ilana: Welcome back to another episode of talking with marketing. I’m your host Ilana Wechsler. And today we are talking about a very interesting and important topic. And that topic is copywriting. And regardless of what you’re doing, from an online marketing perspective, be it sort of trying to promote some organic results in Google to running paid Google traffic to Facebook ads to anything that you are promoting and running online. copywriting is an important factor. And it’s going to come into play in any kind of marketing that you do. So I have brought on a copywriting expert called Sue rice. She is our first repeat guests. On the show, she was one of the first guests that I interviewed. And I’ve asked you to come on, and talk about the nine copywriting mistakes that she sees people make. So obviously, when you listen to these nine mistakes, and if you avoid making these mistakes, then you are well on your way to writing some good, effective and compelling copy, which is designed to convert, which is what it’s all about. If you like what you hear on this episode, you can download our summary of these show notes at talkingwebmarketing.com, that does redirect you to the podcast section on our website. And you can download the PDF summary. So you don’t have to worry about furiously making notes or if you’re listening to this while you’re walking or in the car, don’t worry, you could just download the show notes. And we’ve done all that heavy lifting for you. So let’s get stuck in today’s show.
Sue: Thank you so much. I’m delighted to be here.
Principles To Copywriting
Ilana: It’s wonderful to have you back. And you’re talking about a topic which comes into place so much in I guess the type of work that I do, which is writing ads. And there’s a whole part of me, you know, setting up all the ads, which is the targeting and the bidding and all that kind of fun stuff that I play around with. But a serious piece of the puzzle is in copywriting and writing good ads. And I would always say that copywriting is probably the most important part of I guess, creating good ads. So I thought I have to bring on an expert to talk about copywriting in relation to writing good ads. So that’s why I’ve asked you back so and it’s so lovely that you’ve said yes. So thank you, before we kind of go into the nine biggest copywriting mistakes, because they’re so important for people to be aware of. Do you maybe want to just touch on why you think copywriting is so important? Like why is it something that people should be paying attention to? What’s the difference? You know, that it can have on someone’s business if they’ve got a really good copy? This is it’s a mediocre or average copy?
Sue: Yeah, you know, our obviously I’m a biased source, I have probably should preface everything I say by that. But the way I see it is your message is everything. People are busy, you know, creating complicated funnels with all the boxes. And, you know, and but the boxes need to be filled with the message, the best design funnel in the world that has a mediocre, lackluster message is not going to get you the results that you want. So mastering your message is really, to me is everything I often think of when I started off my career in traditional advertising. And I worked for an advertising agency called BBDO and the creative director there was a guy named Phil Dusenberry. And I can remember him always used to he used to always say execution is the strategy, right. And to me, you know, basically, in online market execution is built around copywriting. It’s a built around your message, whether that message is in an ad, or if it’s on a landing page, or if it’s a sales page, your you know, how you’re getting out there to the world is through words, not through platforms. And I think a lot of people forget that, or they don’t forget it, and they just feel really uncomfortable about the writing piece, if that makes sense. And I think and I think that one of the reasons people do feel uncomfortable, is that writing, like how we learned how to write in school and copywriting, which is a persuasive exercise is, is they’re two different beasts, right? It’s like, it would be like comparing a Great Dane and a Chihuahua, right? They’re just totally different. They’re both dogs, and they’re both writing, right, but they’re completely different types of writing, and in, you know, look, trying to lead a sort of a cold prospect from, you know, that cold state to a warm, excited buyer who’s taking out the credit card, you know, takes a little bit of it takes, you know, you need to have an understanding how to do that. And I think that’s one of the reasons why people feel uncomfortable with I think people feel uncomfortable with writing in general. But I think persuasive writing makes it puts the bar that much higher, if that makes sense.
Ilana: Yeah, I guess you would see a lot of the classic mistakes that people make, which is kind of what we’re going to talk about on today’s episode, that hinder their ability to convey that message to people. So what would you say is the the first mistake that you see people make when they sort of it? Would you say this is more like trying to write their own copy or even in hiring someone?
Copywriting Mistake #1
Sue: Well, you know, one thing I would like to say is, I don’t want to do doom and gloom here. Because I actually think that if just writing, just being mindful of a few main points, anyone can start writing persuasively. So it’s not like oh, my gosh, no one can do it. But I feel like it’s like, we almost have to untrain ourselves from what we learned about writing in school, to, to writing art for online copy, to get people you know, to buy either to take the next step or to buy our products or services. So it’s like, almost and learning things versus learning things. So I mean, one of the things that people I think make a big mistake of, is they write to stiffly, and too formally and almost in a distant way, and the way it is a really good trick. And I say this to everyone that comes that you know, comes to me for help or consultation is literally what you want to do is right, like you talk. And that means something as simple as recording your message saying it like you would be taught like you and I are talking right now. Get someone to transcribe it or transcribe it yourself. And then you have 90% of your copies already written, but it will sound much more natural. It will sound much more like you’re talking to a real individual rather than that sort of corporate speak
Sue: Yes, that’s right. So that’s one and that’s such a, that’s a classic mistake. And it’s a super easy thing to fix.
Ilana: Would you make it? So just on that, would you recommend to write conversationally even on like, a sales page? I mean, I could kind of see that applying to emails, because I know I write very conversationally in emails. But would you do that, like a sales page when you, you know, or an about page?
Sue: I think so. I mean, this is, this is slightly subjective, what I’m saying here, and I think maybe there will be people who might disagree with me, but I feel when I look at how, and there are a lot of very old school direct response copywriters, that right in the way that has direct response has always been written in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, etc. But I feel like, while human beings don’t change, and the triggers that cause people to act haven’t changed, I do think the context has changed, right? And we do live in a social media world. And I see a lot of sales letters that have a very sort of chatty style, even like, kind of wink at the reader, if you will, you know, he had you know, we can you get me on that don’t you kind of thing. And I think that works really well, because that’s what we’re used to seeing on, you know, our Instagram and Facebook feeds. Right? So I feel like, again, of course, it’s going to depend on the audience. But a lot of times, I think, a little bit more relaxed. Sales of copy style can can work really, really well, even in a sales letter.
Copywriting Mistake #2
Ilana: Okay, cool. All right, what’s Mistake number two?
Sue: So number two, I think, is more of a strategic mistake, which is not being focused enough, right? Not really understanding, every piece of copy that you write, whether it’s an email, or a landing page needs to really have one thought through it. So when, when if it’s not focused enough, if you don’t understand who you’re talking to, you know, it’s like the people call it the rule of one, right, you have one person you’re talking to, and you’re asking them to do one thing, right. And I find that that’s a tough thing for people to do. Sometimes they kind of put everything but the truth, and they and they edit it, what happens is it dilutes the message. So it’s really less is more is really the rule when it comes to, you know, when you sit down to write an email, or you sit down to write a landing pages, think, who am I talking to, and that should be one person. And if you have multiple audiences, that means you should be probably writing three different versions of your landing page, right? Because rather than clumping all your audiences together, because every time you have more than sort of one reader or prospect in mind, it will mean by definition that your message is diluted, right? It would be like if you were talking one on one with someone or if you were talking to a giant audience of 5000. It just you’re going to dilute your the power of your message.
Ilana: I would imagine people struggle with that, though, because it’s it’s how hard to resist that temptation to leave people out. And how do you decide who to leave out?
Sue: Well, yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, because the the more sort of, I mean, I’ve been doing this for many, many years now. But the more I see copy, the more I write copy myself, I realized that the real power of copy comes when you really know who your reader is at that, and the problem is a lot of us just shrug off Oh, yeah, I know who I’m talking to. I know who my avatar is. But do they? But do we really like I think that we have to dig really deep. And it’s work to do that. But it will really pay off in the copy. Because if we have a vague notion who we’re talking to, or if we can like imagine that person literally sitting next to us, we the conversation will be completely different. One will be sort of vague sort of generalities. And the other one would be like you and me speaking, I would talk to you and much more specifically about what’s happening in your life, right, rather than like just sort of someone I’ve never met before. And that I think that’s where the magic of copy comes. And it’s the area that a lot of people shortcut on. Because there’s sort of shotgun office, Oh, I know who it is. But they don’t really interesting.
Understanding Who Your Audience Is
Ilana: I’m mindful of the time and to keep going you now non mistake, but I wanted to sort of ask you one more question on this point of like, what would you say? And maybe it’s sort of almost like another episode in itself. But what would you say is sort of the best way that people can really, truly understand who they’re talking to? Like, who all their customers are? I mean, you know, you This is Mark, and he get it out there. And then it’s like, well, how do you know who’s listening? You know,
Sue: I’m actually still learning new ways of doing this. Right. So I’ll give you a couple really good tip. First of all, one of the sort of copywriting kind of old time rules is to understand where your customer is on the journey, right? So if you’re selling something, so there’s people who are completely unaware that they even have a problem. Right? Then there are people who understand they have a problem. They’re called problem aware, but they don’t really know what the solution is. They don’t know what the solution choices are. Then you have people who are who are sort of solution aware, they know that, you know, to get more leads, they need Facebook ads, but they don’t really know how to choose between the different solutions. And then there are people who are product aware, right? Who are who know that, you know, you have a service to help them with their Facebook.
So depending on then there’s one people who are super, super aware, just basically ready to take their credit card out, right? So you how you talk to that person, if someone’s completely unaware that even Facebook ads exist, you’re going to talk to them differently than you would someone who knows about your specific service. Right? And so that’s the first question used to ask is where is my ideal prospect on that sort of continuum of from completely unaware of that they even have a problem to Super aware of me and my products, right? Most people fall in the area of either either problem aware, they understand the gutter problem, but they don’t know the solutions or their solution, where’s that they don’t know how to pack, then most people fall into that post category. So that’s one thing to ask yourself. But the one of the things tricks that I’ve learned recently, which is really helping me and my team a lot is, well, I have different ways of researching what people are thinking. So, you know, most people just research and they just do, you know, sort of some Google research and then they stop there. But a great way to get into it sort of in the mind of your ideal prospect is to go to competitor, similar competitor products. That, you know, it could even be like not the same exact type of service, but it could be a book about the topic that you are an expert in and look at the reviews, right? Go to Amazon, look at the reviews, and not the five star reviews. But look at the four three and two star reviews, because you’ll start hearing some themes about what the problems people are having. Right? And what where the product fell short, what they’re looking for, right.
And, and you can do the same thing on forums, you can do the same thing on you know, but the idea is to do the best way to get into the minds of other people is to actually listen to what they’re saying, not us creating, like on paper, what they might be saying, right? Yeah. And so it’s like comes alive, and it feels much more genuine. And if you start doing that you insert sort of bring exporting some of those insights into your copy is going to feel much Richard too, if that makes sense. I mean, and, and not summarize what they’re saying. But like, actually bring in what they’re saying, right? Because I mean, I’ve been doing a lot of research on that in the last year or so, using that technique. And it’s really, really, very enlightening. What how people talk about different topics and you know, in the problems that come up in any given area are pretty consistent. Right? So yeah,that’s a good way of getting a handle on, because you don’t want to just like sort of be able to demographically describe them, you want to get in their hands, you want to really understand what meant, you know, everyone says, You know what, you want to understand their pain points, but it’s much better if they’re articulating the pain points, you can feel a much more deeply, rather than if we’re kind of like imagining what their pain points are. That makes sense.
Ilana: Yeah, totally. It’s funny, I always think when I am writing ad copy for, you know, some of my clients or helping me with people write better ads, always say to people, you want the reader of your ad to think, Oh, my God, they read my mind, you know, which is exactly that kind of.
Sue: Yeah. And if you if you do mining of reviews, whether it could be you know, could be on there be lots of different places to get reviews, you know, your competitor products, there’s a lot of different ways to find it. But by doing that you are you are literally you’re not reading their minds. They’re like handing over their thoughts to you. And so, that’s the whole thing. I that’s actually the mistake people make is they guess, yeah, that’s, that’s the big mistake. You don’t have to guess because we live in this wonderful environment where all this we have access to what people are thinking. And, and they will when they say, you know, when you repeat it back to them, they’ll say, Oh, my gosh, she totally, you know, or he totally gets me. And that’s because you’ve taken that little bit of extra time, it literally we’re talking about maybe three or four extra hours, to do a little bit deeper research into what people are actually saying, and use those words don’t summarize those words, literally copy and paste those words, obviously, you have to put it into a sort of an argument. But you know, I feel like that’s like a untapped potential in terms of copy. So don’t have to be a copywriter to use that anyone could use that technique? Yeah, you know, so yeah, that’s a that’s a big giant tip.
Copywriting Mistake #3
Ilana: Yeah, Nice! I like it. All right. Mistake number three.
Sue: So I’ve kind of like, I kind of it’s kind of reiterating what I just said, I think one of them.
Ilana: I’m sorry, that was my fault.
Sue: Though, the next point is that people often aren’t specific enough. And it’s kind of a little bit about what I just said. So what a lot of people will do imagine that you see a comment where people say something like, oh, the customer service was just show bad or something. Right. So that was clearly a bad pain point. So someone might do is take that and say, Oh, we don’t have, we have excellent customer service, right? So they kind of summarize the thoughts of the person. But what you want to do is you want to specifically use that language, being specific, rather than you’re not writing an essay, you’re writing raw thoughts and emotions to get people to, you know, so that people can relate to it. So I think not being specific enough in summarizing things. And like, you could say, Oh, he, you could say something like, oh, his business boomed. Right? Or you could say, his sale went from $30,000 a month to $42,320 a month overnight, right? And the latter is money. I mean, that’s probably a bad example. But that the ladder is still stronger, right? Rather than your business boomed or you actually, you know, hear the numbers, or you get the specifics that, you know, the more specific you can be in your language. That’s not a difficult thing to do. Because, you know, the funny thing is, we all do that when we tell stories every day around the table, right? We’re always we’re using those specifics, but when we come to write, we tend to forget that it just brings everything alive much more rather than just sort of generalizing.
Ilana: I think it also makes it believable because it is so specific. I mean, you can’t just pluck a number like that out of the air. It has to be calculated and measured. So therefore, it feels more believable, I think.
Sue: Yes, I think so too. And even if the number jump isn’t big, and some sometimes even modest, increases are more believable. Right, right. When you say someone goes from zero to a million in three minutes, like, Oh, yeah, right. Next. I wasn’t born yesterday. You know, so, you know, I, you know, I feel like, you know, if people are interested, because a lot of people are starting out. And you know, they would be really interested in how someone increase their income every month by $5,000, or $7,000 versus 70,000. Right? Because it’s more, it’s also something that people can grasp and understand, probably more relatable as well. It’s more relatable. Exactly. Okay, that’s a good tip. So use specifics in your copy that hopefully will be more persuasive. What about Mistake number four? Number four, is pretty much everyone makes this sake, which is, and I understand why they do it. But I mean, all these things are related, right? But the number is Mistake number four is talking too much about yourself.
Copywriting Mistake #4
Sue: Okay, and I understand why we all do it, because we’re all out there writing persuasive copy for people to buy our products and services. So we feel like it’s natural for us to be talking about ourselves. But I mean, I, I think that whenever you can, you, every single word that you write needs to be thought about from the perspective of your prospect, right, including things as, obviously about you as an about page, you should think about how you can craft your about page. So it’s not about you, but about how you can help them solve their problem. Right? Do you see what I’m saying? And I feel like that, there’s I mean, you just have to open up your inbox to see what a travesty that is. It’s all about me, me, me, bye, bye bye. And, and people don’t, you know, people don’t really they want to hear, they don’t really care about what you have, they do care about how you might be able to help them and how you might help them solve their problems. But this is, um, it’s an almost everyone does it by reflex as they talk about themselves.
Ilana: But I guess, I think the struggle if I could, you know, I guess relate on some level? I’m sure others could relate to this as well, is that how do you write about how you can help someone without talking about yourself?
Ilana: Do you know what I mean?
Sue: Right. I mean, obviously, you have to tell what your product is your services, but it needs to be first discussed in terms of what their problem is, and how you get their problem. Too much. Too many people lead with their product and service and what they can do and how they’re great and everything. When people what they really want is to know, people want to know that you can help them. And so they want to know, they want to know about that first, and then they need to be convinced that your product is the right fit. Right. But I feel like you know, 90% of the copy is is over promotional.
Ilana: Look, sure. I could I would definitely agree with you on that being on the receiving end of so many of these email people that just like, it’s crazy what they send people into the inbox. I mean, I find it interesting to see not from the view of a potential customer, but from the lens of a fellow marketer, you know, and I just think it’s crazy. What some people right, but I mean, it must work for some people, I guess.
Sue: I mean, yeah, I think it depends on, it turns on a lot of things. It depends on how well they’re known. But I feel like
I feel like whenever possible, you wouldn’t do that with a friend. Right? whenever possible. Think about your copy as a conversation between you and another real life human being and you would never walk in, have a lunch with someone and like, start the conversation off with how great you are and what you can do for them. You wouldn’t? I mean, most people wouldn’t do that, right? I say the same thing about emails, you know, what a lot of people will set up their auto-responder sequence, you know, 510, maybe even 20 emails, and then they never send another email, it would be like meeting someone at a party, saying, Hey, you know, I think I’ve got something that might be interesting, we can talk together, let’s start a conversation. And then you just stop calling, you would never do that, you would never do that in real. I mean, you could do that. But if you when you call, when you send that email, eight months later, the person is probably not going to be that receptive to you if they even remember who you are.
So again, yeah, so I, that’s the way I like to look at, I like to look at it as a conversation between two people. And I think the more you can think about it that way, then think about how you would talk to your friends or your family or your kids. I feel like that relaxes the conversation. And it makes it less promotional, overtly promotional. And, oddly enough, the more elegant you are about that, the more you will actually sell. That’s the great paradox. This, in my opinion, is like the less promotional, overtly promoted, you have to be clever about it, because you are trying to sell. But the less overtly promotional you are. I mean, I think about it, that goes all the way extends all the way to sales calls, which is not copied, but it’s sort of the same, it’s also a form of communication. I think the last overtly salesy you are, the more likely you are to close, the more you actually reach out and say, hey, let’s look at this problem. Let’s figure out, you know, how we can, how maybe you can solve this problem, rather than trying to go for the sale. First off, the more likely you will be to actually get the sale on the end. So that I think that and I think that’s, there’s a level of discomfort around that. But I actually think that’s really true.
Copywriting Mistake #5
Ilana: Yeah, I’m definitely agree with you. Okay, what about Mistake number five?
Sue: So another mistake people make is sort of more of a strategic mistake, which is understanding how their copy fits into the whole sales process. I there’s sort of been like this sort of funnel, whatever obsession in the last couple years, I would say. And I feel like copy often isn’t an afterthought. And I feel that copy. I’m not sure if I would say that copy leads, because setting up a funnel is an important task to do. But the copy is what is the glue is that brings it together. And I would say that in the funnel, what I think are sort of the three most important sort of conversion assets are going to be your
landing page for your lead magnet, your email sequences and your sales page. Right? And those are the three pieces that you really need to pay attention to. And so I would I like simple funnels, not super complicated that concentrate on those three stages, right, the attraction, the nurturing, and then the conversion. Yeah, which is a sales page. And, and, and I feel like, people don’t often go through funnels in a linear fashion, as we all know, but at least you know, you’ve covered your bases with those three, and they should work well together. But I often times feel that the copy is almost an afterthought. It’s just sort of thrown in there. And it’s not really thought through is it’s a system right, rather than disjointed pieces thrown together. And I think if you think about it that way, again, it’s like a conversation. That should make sense.
Ilana: Yeah. What I mean, because it’s the journey of one person, you know, rather than different pieces stuck together. But people often are trying, you know, have different pieces of the puzzle and swap different pieces. And so therefore, it’s hard to create uniformity for that process, because so many pieces keep getting moved around. Just in my experience of dealing with clients, you know, they’ll come to me having a part of a funnel, and we have to swap a part of it, because it’s not really working. And then therefore, the copy is not completely in line with what was originally created. I’m not articulating myself very well. Yeah, you know what I mean? Like it’s, yeah, different pieces have swapped from what was originally planned. And then the messaging is sort of a little bit disjointed.
Copywriting Mistake #6
Sue: That’s right. And I think also, there’s a confusion. One thing I see a lot, is there’s a little bit of this is actually a separate point, I can’t remember what number we’re on now.
Ilana: We’re on five. Right?
Sue: So this is like this number six.
Ilana: Okay (laughs)
Sue: I think there’s a little bit, I brought up the fact that there’s three pieces of you know, those three pieces, the your landing page for your to get people into the funnel, the email, and the sales page are sort of like the, the, the triumvirate of copy power, right. But there are other pieces that you need in place, right, you need your website, pages, there’s a lot of other pieces that you need that help are like sort of, they’re like the support group. Right. But how you right homepage, I think there’s a lot of confusion about how to write these different things. To me, website pages are written in a in a different way than a heavy duty, conversion writing asset, like a sales page, right? So So I find that sometimes people get kind of confused, and they tried to sell on their homepage, when in fact, their homepage is like, the way I look at the homepage. It’s like a first impression page, right? So that, you know, you’re kind of it’s like, you’re like the policeman at the intersection saying, if you want to know more about my services, you go here, if you want to know more about more about me go here, if you want know, etc. But it’s not necessarily a sales page, right? It’s more, I’ve landed in the right place page.
Ilana: Looks like you’ve arrived at a hotel, and you go to check-in at the reception, and the receptionist tells you: Okay, your room is down the car door, and the facilities and to ride and, like kind of thing.
Copywriting Mistake #7
Sue: That’s exactly right. So it’s, um, and I think there’s a little bit of confusion about the I would say, website pages are super, super important. No, there’s no doubt about that. Because they do give people that first impression about you. But that’s not the place where you’re going to be doing the heavy duty heavy lifting sales pitch. Right?
Ilana: Yeah, It’s like someone walking into a shop. And soon as they walk in the sales, it says, Do you want to buy this was like, No, I want to look around a little bit. I want to try a dress on I want to try these earrings on whatever.
Sue: Exactly. I mean, that that whole thing. I love that analogy, because I actually think that needs to be underlying everything you do. Coming back to the point about being over promotional because you want to give people a relaxed sense, because people are not on your timetable. You know, there might be a fantastic client that’s just not ready for you until nine months from now. That’s totally fine. And then people, I see sometimes auto-responder sequences that don’t convert the way people like, but you don’t really know what seeds you planted and what tree will grow from that. That’s why you have to continue to nurture it, just because in the five days, you have an auto-responder sequence they did convert doesn’t mean they’re not great prospects. So that’s actually, number seven, know that seven, that people aren’t on your timetable. So and, and that the I mean, and people, I do think the framework of a funnel is super, it’s very useful as a marketing tool for all of us who are online marketers. But I also think that we need to be gentle with ourselves and with our prospects, because I mean, I know people who see one thing and they go immediately, they don’t go to the lower end product, they go, buy the highest level product, the next day, another person waits 10 months to buy the low end, but ultimately ends up buying the higher end, right? every journey is going to be different. And so you need to sort of build up the funnel, but also with the mind, the mindset that, you know, people can take time, what you want to be as you want to be in their mind, top of mind, when they actually are ready. That and that the only way to do that is to continue is specifically with your email marketing, right? Because you need to be you need to be nurturing that relationship with them.,
Ilana: I really like that one, because I can’t stand all those pushy sales emails and you know, 36 hours left 35 hours left. And I mean, there’s a time and a place for that, of course, when you’re doing something with the launch that ends, but the continual bombardment of these timeframes, and pushing you to kind of make a decision now is just, it’s, it’s quite exhausting as a consumer. So, you know…
Sue: Yeah, I mean, that’s why I think that, you know, people, there’s this sort of, I feel like a lot of direct response needs to be somewhat modified, there are people who will, like slay me, per se, but because of the context in which people are in, because we’re all getting those, you know, you have to act in the next 30 seconds, every three minutes of the day. So at a certain point, they become less effective.
Ilana: That’s right, exactly. They lose, they lose their power, because it’s happening all the time.
Copywriting Mistake #8
Sue: Having said that, that is the mistake number eight. Well, I’m not sure I would say deadline, but you, you do need to prod people into action. And there are many different ways of doing that deadlines are one of them. scarcity of quantity is another one. But it needs to, there are different ways that you can do it. Most people just like slop on you know, it’s, you know, it ends at midnight kind of thing. But I feel like it needs to be elaborated a little bit more than that. But people do need to feel like the trains going out of the station, right? And if they don’t get on, because people it’s just the nature of the human psyche is that we don’t like to, we don’t we have, you know, fear of missing out.
I’ve seen it, I’ve been behind the scenes of so many email campaigns. And I can see it, if you have just sort of, Oh, you know, call me when you watch. Right? That kind of calls action or, you know, if you if you feel if you, you know, click here, and then you know, in the next two hours, you’re going to get a 20% discount every single time there’s a spike.
Ilana: Yeah. Because people will inherently delay make a decision if they can.
Sue: That’s right. It just, I mean, it’s totally fine. It just is but the question is how you actually use that because I think it everything that you want to do it just like you would want to do in your daily interactions you want to have, it needs to be it needs to have a certain elegance to it is the best way to describe it. Right? It has, you know, because if you’re also hitting them over the head with a hammer every 30 seconds about time delays and scarcities, it starts to sound hollow. It’s like someone’s crying fire, right. And so you know, you do need to handle it with a certain dexterity, so that it feels genuine. And you also need, there needs to be moments when you’re having a dialogue with them where nothings being sold, right? Where you’re sharing things just like you would with a person you’re not like, imagine if every single time you talk to your best friend, she was like trying to sell you something. It’s like, that would not be your best friend for very long. Definitely. Right. And people are like, Oh, no, people are on subscribing. They want off my list. Yeah, there’s a reason.
But I’ll tell you even the most, I’ve seen, you know, really almost host of list transform in the matter of a few months. You know, they can be you know, oh my gosh, you know, the services bad. He’s Joey’s promoting, and then. But if you start you know, sort of massaging that relationship, you can really change quite dramatically quite quickly.
Copywriting Mistake #9
Ilana: Okay, mistake number 9. The lucky last.
Sue: Last but not least, this is course my favorite one, as you can only guess what this is. So So the main problem people, the main mistake people make is they don’t wrap their message up in a story.
Sue: It’s what I call it my Tiffany box. It’s like, you know, they people, it’s amazing. You know, a lot of these mistakes that we talked about can be solved just by doing that, right? All that over promotion and everything, if you it’s sort of the story can be a little bit the Trojan horse, right, you wrap it up, you engage people, they’re interested in what you’re saying, and then ever so gently nudge them into and you know, this is, I have something that can that can help you with us now. Now, most people, I will would like to sort of clarify something because everyone talks about stories right now. But what 90% of the people I see talking about stories, they’re talking about the stories of their companies, the story of the business owner, the stories of their clients, and all those stories are great, there’s nothing wrong with them. But what I’d like to suggest is that there are there are millions of other stories that are that could engage your reader and be interesting to them. It’s sort of like using story as a metaphor, that makes sense. So you create you write a story that maybe even doesn’t, you know doesn’t have anything to do with the category you’re in. But it engages your reader, and then you link that story up to your product, you kind of create a bridge between it. So that so that it and that’s it’s like entertainment, it’s enter sailing, selling its story selling, you know, and that’s really, really powerful. And pretty much no one does that.
Ilana: Yeah. So I can imagine some listeners listening to this would think, but where do you get find stories from I don’t know that many stories? What How would you get, you know, your source of inspiration for stories?
Sue: I mean, it’s a great question. I mean, there’s a million different ways that you can get them. But there’s you can’t Google throw Dory, Dory, I want a story that illustrates leadership. I mean, that you could find stories on that. But you know, that, that it’s, um, it’s not always obvious, because I think of stories almost as a metaphor for when you think about, you know, it’s like, I think, actually, I think I might have even said this on our first interview, I can’t remember. But so you know, there’s this great story about the guy who went to Tokyo in the night in 1923, or something, I probably getting that date wrong, to run the marathon, marathon there. And he got like three fourths of the way through and then he just sort of got sidelined. And I think have a Japanese beer and just didn’t even finish the marathon, right. And he left he was embarrassed, and he left Japan, and he was American, went back to America. And then he like 55 years later, he came back 50 years. Yes, it was like 55 years, 12 hours, 30 seconds later, he came back to finish the marathon. So that’s a story that has nothing to do with probably anyone that’s listening to this, their products. But what you could do that just giving it as an example is you could say, you know, that you know, but I promise when you use my service, it’s not going to take that long to get the result. Right, something like that. Right? And then you then you invite them and to talk to you, then you then you normally would take them to a sales page or have them you know, invite them to call you whatever it is. But the you know, you could you could have stories about speed, you could have stories about making mistakes, you can they can come from, you know, children’s books and Aesop’s Fables. And you could look at the BBC every day, you know that their stories are everywhere.
Ilana: If you know where to look.
Sue: Yeah, they really are everywhere. When you think about it. I saw a statistic the other day, which I absolutely love, which is that 65% of our conversation is gossip.
Sue: And but gossip, our stories. We’re telling stories about people we know, right? That’s what they are. Yeah, that’s what we’re that’s what, that’s what we remember. And and that’s the thing I remember the most is when I when my daughter was it was in the Fontainebleau with them, they have a bilingual my daughter went to high school and Fontainebleau in France, and it’s like a, there is a little Anglophone section. And I taught a class there about communications. And I don’t know, I can’t remember it was like maybe two semesters, I did that. And I taught them, you know about presentation and writing. We did all the stuff. And that but in one juncture, I told a story. And the story was about a man who and a woman who did not want to get pregnant again. And they went to the doctor, they said she can’t get pregnant, and we already have nine kids. And so the doctor gave the couple birth control pills. And so they came back, you know, nine months, six months later, and she’s pregnant. And the doctor saying, How is this possible? And the husband, so I don’t know, I was I took the pills, like you said, so. And so.
So I told the story about you know how communications could go wrong sometimes. And literally, like, you know, seven years later, one of the kids saw me on the street in Fontainebleau and said, I don’t remember anything about what you taught us. But I do remember that story. It was fun, right? that’s because stories, there’s actually scientific proof. It lights up like all these different areas in our brain that just like, rational bullet points, don’t. And that’s what’s there’s why they’re so powerful. But like I said, I would I would encourage people to think about is it’s not just stories about you and your company and your business. It goes well beyond that. It’s a way of putting your message in a Tiffany box, you know, beautiful path, an adage that people are going to? Not even it won’t feel like you’re they’re being sold to?
Ilana: Yep. Wow. Well, I think your last point really, is the supporting point for all the other mistakes, which I’m just going to recap very, very quickly. So the first one first mistake you mentioned was not direct to stiffly. The second one was not to be not being focused enough. So not being strategic. There was not being specific enough. So not like using specific numbers, etc. The fourth was talking too much about yourself and not about the ideal customer. The fifth was understanding how copy fits into the sales process. Number six was your supporting web pages not doing the heavy lifting of the selling, but sort of welcoming people. The seventh was, I guess, right here, people aren’t on your timetable. So but you want to ensure your top of you are top of mind for them when they are ready, but not sort of pushing them too much. Number eight was trying to get to prod people into action. And our last favorite one was incorporating story into a message.
We have we left anything off? Or does that pretty much cover the classic mistakes that people make?
Sue: I think that’s pretty much. I mean, it’s interesting listening to them, because that there’s always a strategic element to copy. Right? Because copy. Really good thinking makes good copy. Right, definitely. So it’s all about making sure that you’re clear about your ideas. That makes great copy.
Ilana: Yeah, exactly. And often it helps talking about it with someone I find just to articulate what it is you’re trying to do that can sort of help clarify a thought and then you clear of what exactly you’re offering people. Just bye bye talking about it with someone, preferably who doesn’t even really understand what you do. So you’re forced to explain it to them. Why fight?
Sue: Yeah, what is that? The I mean, even the, you know, even people that I feel like I’m really focused and clear about other people’s businesses, but when it comes to our own, it’s always a bigger challenge, right?
Sue: I don’t know what that what that’s all about. But it’s sort of Yes, it is hard sometimes to see. Maybe there are little babies. Right,
Ilana: Exactly. Well, you are definitely one of my sounding boards. So look, thank you so much for coming. On today’s episode. I’m sure lots of people are going to want to find out more information about you and your business and what you offer people. So where can our listeners find out more information about you?
Sue: Yeah, so you can go to my site, which is suerice.com. I’m so happy because I just got that URL.
Ilana: Alrighty, suerice.com. Thank you so much. for coming on today’s episode. It’s been a delight having you back as you’re my first repeat guests, which is pretty exciting. And you’ve provided a ton of value for all our listeners. So thank you so much!