Not that long ago, Marina Barayeva-host of Marketing for Creatives-interviewed me on her podcast.
With more than 80 episodes, Marina has interviewed some of the best marketers in business including Dr. Michael Hudson, Liz Pineda, Mike Kim, Pia Silva, and Dorie Clark... just to name a few.
So you can imagine the honor I felt to have my episode air on her podcast's first birthday!
Listen to my interview as I share tips and insights for writing product launch copy.
You are certain to discover the copywriting secrets that can help you sell more when you launch your products.
Get my free checklist for your next product launch to guide you through what you need to do when.
(Hint: It's Not About You)
Just like a scuba diver who struggles to enjoy the results of a well-planned dive, my clients sometimes struggle to hit the mark with their copywriting and marketing strategies.
When challenges happen with diving, I go to someone who knows more than me to get them to evaluate what is going on so I can fix the problem.
Likewise, my clients ask me to do things like reviewing their email copy and webinar content to determine what may need to change.
Just last week someone asked me to help them understand why people weren’t taking action on the things they had carefully written and invested time in creating.
They were confident that what they produced was what their prospect clients needed.
But the proof was in the pudding.
Only a handful of people seemed to engage with the email campaign and even less were watching the webinar to the end.
Out of the small group of active participants, only three purchased the product.
My client wanted to know what was wrong and how to make it more effective.
When I reviewed all the materials, I saw some key things that were wrong immediately.
But in my gut, I wasn’t sure my client wanted me to tell them the truth.
(Sometimes the truth is hard for people to swallow.)
As I prepped for the feedback meeting, I reflected on the sage advice my mentor Ray Edwards offered regarding having difficult conversations.
When the time was right, I was ready to share Ray’s thoughtful approach, “I’m embarrassed to ask this, but may I have permission to share something awkward with you?”
Tapping Into Human Psychology
The trick to writing copy that your audience wants to read is knowing what is important to them.
Many business owners think they know what their prospective clients want and need. But do they really?
Define Your Ideal Customer. It is critical to know who your prospective client is, what they want, like, and need.
If you get a handle on what keeps them up at night and use their own language — I guarantee they will listen.
Don’t just rely on your gut instinct or what you think you know.
Start by writing out everything you think you know. Then put that aside and do some market research. Conduct interviews. Do surveys. Dig around until you really understand what makes them tick. Then use and apply what you’ve learned to what you create, write, and offer.
It’s Not About You. This is hard for me to say, but your copy is guaranteed to be more effective when you take the focus off you and put it on your customer. While it is wonderful to tell everyone how awesome you and your products or services are. The only thing people care about is themselves.
Make sure that what you write, create, and offer shines the light on your customer. We live in a me-focused society. You know that. I know that. So make everything you do about them.
When you make them the focus, they are sure to stop what they are doing and listen.
As Burger King likes to say, “Have it your way.” Notice they didn’t say, “Have it our way.” Or “eat our awesome burgers our way.” No, they focus on the customer getting what they want.
You should do likewise.
Focus On Their Problems. Everyone has problems that they need and want to be solved. Don’t believe me? Just ask them.
In fact, if you listen to your ideal customers long enough, they give you a laundry list of all the things that bother and keep them up at night.
If you really want to draw your prospects into your world and let them know how you can help them—you need to put your finger on the exact spot that bugs them.
Don’t just touch on it. Poke them right where it hurts. Make sure you push on that pain until they cry, “uncle.”
Then talk to them about what they aspire to achieve on the other side of the problem. And crank up the volume. Amplify their desire and dream so loudly they can imagine a life where the problem is solved.
Once you get them to this point, they are certain to listen to how you can help them. THIS is when you can share your solution that helps their pain dissolve and their aspiration become a reality.
How You Can Apply This
When was the last time you evaluated what you create, write, and offer?
Do you know if your target audience is actively engaged?
Are your words hitting the mark?
Let me encourage you to take the key points shared here and apply them to your business.
Take time to define your ideal customer.
Find every place you’ve focused on yourself and flip it, so you’re focusing on your customer. Write as much as you can about your customers’ problems, pains, and aspirations.
When you do these things, I promise your ideal customer will start to notice what you’re offering.
Want a free analysis of your email campaign or sales page? Book a free 45-minute conversation with me today. Just fill out this form, book a time, and we’ll talk. It’s that simple.
When you run a copywriting and marketing service-based business, you are dependent on the Internet like a scuba diver depends on the consistent flow of oxygen from their tank and regulator.
When there is a kink in the hose, your tank runs low, or your regulator doesn’t work right in scuba diving - it is noticeable.
In fact, you can experience a bit of panic as you try to figure out how to regain the constant flow of oxygen into your lungs.
Similarly, when you’re accustomed to connecting with your clients, friends, and family electronically, having access to the Internet becomes synonymous with breathing.
Using Work to Avoid Facing The Last Pilgrimage
When my husband and I drove to the mountains to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, I didn’t want to go.
I must confess that I mentally fought this journey every step of the way.
You see we were not just going to spend a family holiday together; we were going to pack up a lifetime of memories so the house could be sold.
The only real blessing I could see was that mom and dad were able to visit our family mountain home one more time. (Since we nearly lost dad many times over this past year, I did not take this moment-in-time for granted.)
The only way I resolved that I’d make it through this last pilgrimage was to pour myself into client project work and avoid facing reality.
But God had other plans...
The Reality of Living Without Connectivity
Upon arrival, I discovered that downed power lines and remote mountain access made connecting to the Internet and my cell phone nearly impossible.
If I leaned out over the porch deck while holding my cell phone high in the air and contorting my body in usual positions, I could possibly get a trickle of “Internet Juice” to maybe download the headings of emails and texts.
But that was all I could get. I couldn’t read what the emails or text messages said.
And this acrobatic twist of my body didn’t always work.
After spending 2.5 hours on the phone with Frontier - mom and dad’s WiFi provider - I learned that the only solution was for me to make the 15+ minute drive into “town” in the hopes of getting a stronger signal.
But even standing in the Walmart parking lot didn’t bear the fruit of connectivity my mind craved.
Finally, I "gave up the ghost" and realized that I had to live life for several days without connectivity.
Quality Time, Reclaiming Memories, and Voices from the Past
Without work that I could use to shield myself from facing the fact that this 20+ year chapter was coming to a close, I dove into spending quality time with my parents while sorting through and packing up the belongings of a lifetime.
This experience unleashed emotions deep inside me that I typically keep repressed.
I found myself randomly leaking (my term for crying) over the simplest of things.
As I went through pages of scrapbooks found in my great grandmother’s hope chest, I read her words that she wrote about going out on a date with my grandfather for the first time.
I uncovered hidden treasures where she recounted falling in love with him and wondering if he felt the same.
I found genealogy notes tracing my family back to 1792 in South Carolina.
I read letters my great-grandmother and grandmother wrote to me when I was a baby - telling me how much they loved me.
I uncovered - yet again - documentation about the long line of deep Christ followers in my family.
In my grandmother’s Bible, I found devotions she’d written as she expounded upon Bible verses that spoke to her.
The list of hidden treasures I found was immense and more than I can recount in one sitting.
As I found meaningful photos from long ago, I’d take them to where daddy sat and we went through them together one by one.
Laughter, tears, and questions about where a picture was taken or who the people were in historic photos generated many stories and much conversation between mom, dad, Robert, and me.
The time we had together was more than precious, and I do not take it for granted.
Thank goodness I did not have an Internet to connect to or WiFi to help me escape unpacking the past and moving forward to a new chapter in our family history.
Lessons from Unplugging Unexpectedly
Here are some takeaways you may want to consider doing:
I now see how important it is to focus on the special things in life that you cannot find online.
If you ever get the chance to experience life unplugged - I highly recommend it.
In fact, I think this is something I need to schedule time to do on a regular basis.
It was the late 90s-early 2000s, right before the dot-com bubble burst.
This period of time was when every company, brand, and entrepreneur was finding a way to leverage online branding to expand and grow their audience.
There was such an aggressive movement to start up new dot-coms that is was like a shark feeding frenzy, and blood was in the water.
The global PR agency I worked for (Hill and Knowlton) landed an internationally renowned client who wanted to leverage the dot-com fever by taking his brand online.
Throughout the next couple of years, we worked many high profile events together to garner press and position his already well-known brand in front of millions.
The brand and client I’m talking about is Stan Lee.
(Yes, THAT Stan Lee.)
We worked together with his team to deliver his new IPO—Stan Lee Media—to the world. (If you Google this part of his journey, you’ll quickly discover that the entity no longer exists. There is a reason why, which you can read about online, but that is another story.)
Here’s what I know to be true.
Stan was a most gracious, creative, and kind man.
Of all the stories I have to tell about working with him, this one comes to mind first...
Stan Lee, The Backstreet Boys, & a High Speed Car Chase in Downtown Atlanta
We were in Atlanta getting ready for our press conference at the Georgia Dome with the Backstreet Boys.
We had all the media lined up to come as we were going to announce Stan’s limited time comic book series with the Backstreet Boys called "The Backstreet Project."
As things would turn out, the press conference was delayed due to the media’s attention being diverted to cover a high-speed chase through downtown Atlanta.
Many executives I’ve worked with over time would have had a meltdown over the delay, but not Stan.
He took it in stride. In fact, I can still remember Stan sitting on top of a trash can swinging his legs just chatting about anything like there wasn’t a care in the world.
A Red Carpet Event with Stan & Dick Clark
Flash forward to the time that I found myself leading the initiative for Stan’s Hollywood Gala at Raleigh Studios.
The goal was to have a point-to-point broadcast with other venues around the globe to elevate the convergence of comic book heroes and technology luminaries.
Complete with red carpet and klieg lights, the “who’s who” on both sides of the aisle came out to see and be seen.
Several hours before the event, my GM called me to share that my managing director had been terminated and I was now point on everything. (Yeah, no pressure.)
Stan was so kind and gentle. He said, "I know you can do this, kid." And... I did.
It was an incredible experience to garner press coverage for this event, as Dick Clark played emcee for the night.
Trumped by Another Icon Who Passed
Then there was the time that Stan’s feature interview was to appear on CBS Morning News.
I’ll never forget that Sunday morning when I received the call from CBS to let me know that they would have to air the story another time because Charles Schultz had just passed away and they would be covering that story instead.
Stan took the delay in stride and was glad they could pivot to feature Charles Schultz instead.
A lot was always riding on each high profile event and interview, but Stan took it all with ease.
Lessons from Stan
Each time—no matter how things played out—Stan was relaxed, calm, and cool under pressure.
I learned a lot by working with Stan. He taught me how to:
I will always cherish them.
May your creativity and presence live on with us all for generations to come.
(PS. I have many pictures to post with this somewhere. I'm on the hunt for them now. Stay tuned.)
Earlier this week, my mentor Ray Edwards produced a podcast called “What Is Your Personal Code of Conduct?”
In this episode, he challenged listeners that the way we think today controls how we live in the future.
This train of thought aligns with the saying "as a man thinks, so he is."
Back in 1903, James Allen wrote a book on this concept.
There’s even a verse in Proverbs that speaks to this. (Proverbs 23:7)
No matter what philosophy you follow in your personal life and business — you can count on the fact that whatever you put into your mind and body will shows itself outwardly.
Making a Life Change
I’m reminded of this lady who was approaching her 50th birthday and was the heaviest she’d ever been in her life.
She was fat and miserable.
With that milestone birthday quickly approaching, she knew she had to make a choice.
She could live life "fat and 50," or "fit and 50."
Determined to make a change, she:
She did more than think about the plan. She took action on that plan.
The goal-seeking place she found herself in was uncomfortable.
The new plan she embarked upon was hard.
Every day was a challenge.
She found herself doing the Texas two-step - taking one step forward and two steps back.
Some people tried to discourage her, while others encouraged her to cheat.
No matter what happened — she was determined to stay the course.
The journey took her almost two years, but she finally reached her goal.
She went from a ladies size 18 to a ladies size 4-6.
She reached her goal by changing her food intake to a health-focused lifestyle, and working out at the gym five days a week. (Translation for guys: She lost almost 100 pounds.)
The feeling of success was empowering and life-changing.
I know this to be true because that woman was me.
Here I am almost five years later, and I can genuinely say I’m not that fat and miserable woman anymore.
Achieve Success By Setting Goals
I’ve learned that by changing my focus, making a plan, and sticking to it — I can and do achieve results.
The beautiful thing is that this concept applies to all aspects of my business and my personal life.
As Ray said in the podcast, “Change your thought patterns to shape the life you want.”
A Challenge for You
Do you have something you need to accomplish in your personal life or business?
Are there goals you know you need to create a plan to achieve?
One way to change your mindset is to create your code of conduct.
There is no set rule for the length of your list. Try to write out 7, 10, or 20 goals.
Make it as long as you need it, but no longer than that.
If you haven’t created your code of conduct before, let me challenge you to stop right now and write out your list of goals.
How to Stay the Course
To make the most of this exercise, take this a step further and:
Try these steps for 21 days. I guarantee you can and will see transformation occur in your personal and business life.
My Personal Code of Conduct
Feel free to use my own list as encouragement, a starting point for your own list, and to hold me accountable.
Here is my code of conduct.
Need help writing your code of conduct? Want someone to help keep you accountable?
Let's connect and help each other achieve success.