I'm not a freelancer, dammit.

In 2005, my sister got married in a Korean nightclub she rented out for the night. It had private karaoke rooms upstairs, in case you were wondering.

 

I was the maid of honor.

 

But I wouldn’t even consider making a speech at the wedding, let alone a toast. 

 

I felt like I had nothing original to say. Nothing meaningful. And more than that, I was and completely lacking in confidence.  

 

I’ve been writing award-winning things since 1990. 

 

Okay, by that I mean that I won my middle school’s “Just Say No To Drugs” poetry contest. 

 

$50. 

 

First time I learned that words are worth money.

 

But I forgot that lesson pretty quickly. 

 

Fast forward to a year or two after my sister’s wedding. A local alternative newspaper asks me to write an article for their first issue. 

 

A $40 check arrived in the mail 3 weeks later. 

 

You know I photocopied that shit. I couldn’t believe what I had to say was of any value, let alone the same amount as what I’d make in tips after an entire 6-hour shift at the coffee shop where I worked. 

 

Little by little, the confidence grew. I loved my job as a journalist. All in all, it didn’t pay much. 10 cents a word. But I got to experience giving a damn for the first time. If not for my own life, then for other people's. 

 

It was my job to pitch story ideas to my editor twice a month. I would research local businesses who were doing their part to bolster the local economy. Cooperatively-owned breakfast cafes. National celebrity paper cut artists. Punk bands. Folk schools that offered classes in forgotten crafts. A pole dancing studio that taught women how to love being sexy in their bodies after a lifetime of shame. 

 

Maybe a hundred articles. All people doing what they did as acts of love. For the sake of art. For passion and joie de vivre. 

 

Without my knowledge, I had started a writing business. What a joke, I thought. Who would take me seriously, let alone pay me?I was 28. No clue how to get clients. When I did finally get one, I bid $200 to write her whole website. No surprise, my words never made it to the final page.  

 

Still, I loved writing so I stepped out a bit creatively. Took a poetry class in the big city an hour away, which led to me performing a poem about my internalized homophobia in front of 400 people. 

 

Which led to me going to grad school for writing. 

 

Which led to writing a memoir. Which led to me forgiving my mother.

 

People in my classes and my professors loved what I wrote. Okay, sometimes they didn’t. My grammar was shit and much of the time I didn’t have a practical understanding of what actually makes for a good story. But I could feel it in my body when I nailed it an emotional truth. 

 

Then I got a client.

 

I’d force myself to work at the library, terrified that I didn’t know what I was doing. I just wrote from my heart. And very closely followed (or, ahem, slightly copied) what other writers wrote.

 

Then I got another client.

 

I quit my day job working for a nonprofit that taught low-income business owners how to take off, despite the fact that I loved it.

 

Not recommended when you don’t understand the ramifications of ongoing cash flow… or lack thereof. I just wanted to be a writer so badly.

 

Pretty soon after, I moved to my dream city. The place I’d wanted to live since I was a 15-year-old punk ass kid who moved out of my parents’ house because of all the fighting. 

 

Clients? Ha! 

 

Getting them completely eluded me. I got a business coach and she told me that she didn’t know any copywriter who was lacking work. “I guess I suck,” I thought. 

 

Slowly, but quicker than I realized, I began supporting myself with my writing. People recommended me to their friends. I studied marketing, teaching myself by looking at what others were doing that I liked, and more importantly, what I didn’t like. 

 

I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to write things that I would actually read. My bullshit detector was strong and I had a deep-rooted aversion to sales.

 

Plus, I grew up without money and basically lived in abject poverty my entire 20s, so I hardly ever bought things besides food and rent. Buying something luxurious like even the $100 online classes I was selling for my clients was out of the question for me personally.

 

Not a good thing when you’re a copywriter and your job is to sell shit.

 

Eventually, I worked it out. 

 

Fast forward to today. I rarely take the time to bask in my accomplishments. I keep a file on my computer desktop titled “Praise” where I put my testimonials or anything kind my clients tell me about what I write or do for them, including the numbers. 

 

$5,000 in sales from one promotional email. 

 

$120,000 from a few of them in a row, and then another $98,000 two months later selling the same thing.

 

“I don’t want to recommend you to anyone else because I don’t want you to get too busy to write for me.” (I always tell them to go ahead and refer me and we can work it out.)

 

When I open up the doc to enter a new one, I see pages full of proof that what I write is valuable. Still, there is a part of it all that doesn’t seem real. 

 

Despite the fact that on any given day, my words go out to half a million people. 

 

Despite the fact that I’m often booked out a month in advance and many nights I work until 11 pm trying to get it all done. 

 

There are also days where I skip out. Go to acupuncture in the afternoon or say fuck it when my friend from Portland comes to town. 

 

Almost every day I take my dog to Golden Gate Park for an hour before the sun sets. I watch her run through the grass, hair flowing like Falkor from The Neverending Story, headed to greet every person basking in the sunshine. She is a Yorkshire Terrier, so she doesn’t shed fur. She sheds joys. 

 

When people ask what I do, I say different things depending on my mood and who I’m talking to. 

 

My friend’s 12-year-old daughter asks what I do. 

 

I tell her I’m a ghostwriter for New York Times bestselling authors.

 

I can’t believe the words are true but they are. 

 

Someone else asks, and I tell them I get paid to write about poop. 

 

Many of my clients are digestive health experts. 

 

I’ve had a few passions in life. 

 

Photography. (My first career choice — I worked in New York City when I was 18, but couldn’t hack it with the sexism of the industry.)

 

My dog. 

 

That one guy I met in Barcelona…

 

But for much of my life, I was pretty detached. I didn’t bother much dreaming or wanting anything because of how impossible it seemed to attain anything good for myself. 

 

But slowly, through my side gig writing articles that only a few dozen people would read, through working with my clients — people who cared so deeply about helping people — I learned how to care about outcomes because what they — what we — did mattered.

 

And I fell in love with the fierceness of business owners even more deeply. Although I don’t know what took me so long, I finally realized I was one. A legit one. 

 

My friend Jeanie corrected me one day when I said I was a freelancer. 

 

No, she said. You’re a business owner. 

 

Yeah, I said. I’m a business owner. I run a business. Suddenly, I was in it to win.

 

Winning meant having confidence for once in my life. 

 

Winning meant making more money in one month than I did in the entire year just 3 years before. 

 

Winning meant being able to afford vitamins and max out my Roth IRA and pay back my student loans. 

 

Not living paycheck to paycheck? I literally didn’t even know that was possible once upon a time in the not-too-distant past.

 

For the first time in my life, I’m proud of something. I have a skill and am an expert. Others have taken note. I’m in demand. People ask me for business coaching, and although it’s not something I advertise, I do it and I love it. I get paid to be creative and have fun every single day. It can happen fast.  

 

If I could go back in time, I would write a toast for my sister and her husband on their wedding day, but I can’t, so I’ll just say a few things now. 

 

Danielle, I want you to be wildly happy. 

Luke, I want you to be wildly happy. 

I wish for you a lifetime of making each other laugh like no one else knows how. 

Never-ending romance.

Occasional fights that eventually bring you closer. 

I hope you push each other to grow, always inching toward your best potential.

And a deep knowing that you’ll never lose the capacity to surprise the other one — and yet always be there to remind each other, “See, I knew you could do it.” 

Show, don't tell. Wait! Or is it tell, but show?

In copywriting land, I won’t ever use the word “empowerment” by itself.

 

Because it’s meaningless. 

 

What has meaning? Something I can FEEL. 

 

My new friend told me a story.

 

He knew something was wrong so he went to the doctor. They said they couldn’t find anything. But he insisted they do a CAT scan. 

 

That’s when they found a brain tumor. He was in his 20s.

 

THAT is empowerment. Way to show up for yourself! I want to be like him. Minus the whole cancer ordeal, of course. 

 

Update: He had it removed and is doing really well.

 

What’s more powerful?

 

Reading, “This widget will empower you to take your health into your own hands!” or hearing an example of someone truly advocating for themselves?

 

Effective copy doesn’t make assumptions that a heady concept such as empowerment speaks for itself.

 

Because, otherwise, how would I know that I want empowerment? How would I even know what it looks like in real life as it applies to me??

 

No one’s going around thinking, “I want to be empowered” but they sure as shit want to know that it’s possible for them to second guess their doctor and insist on getting the tests they need that will save their life.

 

Suddenly, a lifesaving (but all-too-often vague) concept like empowerment becomes very real… and very desirable. Necessary even. 

 

Empowerment was always important. We just have to do it justice by framing it right.  

I Love You, I Want What You're Selling, But Do NOT Make Me Work For It.

Copywriting has two parts: 

 

What you say and how you say it.

 

“What you say” includes things like making sure you’ve got benefits and features, including some kind of time limit or disappearing discount, and establishing hella emotional appeal. (Lookie how California is rubbing off on me...)

 

“How you say it” includes things like tone, using humor and the elements ofsurprise/delight, and not sounding condescending, manipulative, pushy, or sales-y. 

 

But it’s super important to include readability or the “user experience” (it’s called UX in marketing lingo) in everything you write.

 

Some of this falls into the category of design and making things look pur-ty on the page.

 

But it’s the writer’s job to make easy for the reader to get the important info — and get it Q.U.I.C.K.L.Y.

 

A Few UX Copywriting Tips:

 

#1 Break up textSmall font in big blocks of text are hard to read, especially on a mobile device. Don’t make reading your brilliant words that you worked so hard on be difficult to digest. 

 

#2 Think in headlines, subheadlines, regular text, text boxes, bullets, and fine print. Oh, you skimmers of the world, how I love you. I AM you. That’s why I pay attention to how something looks visually. 

 

Also, things look different once they get designed or put in an email delivery system like Mailchimp. This is why I make sure to send test emails and ask my clients to let me look things over once the website is live but before it goes it. 

 

How it looks on the page can actually change the meaning of what’s written.

 

#3 Make your offer SUPER CLEAR VISUALLY. Streamline the copy. Boldface it. Center it. Make it pop with a color. Use bigger fonts and easy-to-read fonts. Don’t bury your offer by leaving it to the very end. Bonus points for great product photography. 

 

Subscribe to Apple’s mailing list for killer examples of this. 

 

 

Why is this important?

 

Ever get an email that’s super important but really hard to read? You miss things and don’t get the full effect. This is bad communication and bad copy, no matter how compelling what’s being said is. 

 

And that’s your copywriting P.S.A. for today...

Why would someone pay $19,999 for a vinyl record?

A vinyl record can be pressed for about $4 a pop. 

 

But check any collector’s site and you’ll find any number of rare vinyls, including a copy of Revolver (my fave Beatle’s album) signed by Paul McCartney, George Harrison & Ringo Starr going for $20 Gs.

 

Rhianna’s CD box set goes for $350. That’s for a stack of CDs, which, for all intents and purposes, could double as coasters in the wrong hands of someone who doesn’t appreciate dancehall pop music.

 

Why would someone pay that much for a piece of plastic? 

 

Perceived value.

 

Perceived value is not imaginary, although it IS subject to a few things.

 

The shopper must understand:

 

#1 How does this purchase benefit my life — Will it be a good investment that brings me more money? Less stress? Eternal and lasting happiness? Is so, you got yourself a deal, buddy.

 

The shopper must have desire for this what this thing does for them, especially if it is something beyond basic necessity like food.

 

There are two camps: 

 

#1 No one else has this, so I have to have it. (You belong to an exclusive “club.”)

 

#2 Everyone has this, so I have to have it. (You belong to the "herd", AKA you fit in.)

 

Both camps appeal to the desire to belong. People will go to extremes to belong. It just depends where they want to belong. Understanding this about your target market will help with your branding — the way you present what you’re selling.

 

The biggest lesson here is that it’s not just what you sell. It’s how you sell it.

 

Value is subjective. How you communicate what’s special about what you do or sell matters. 

 

Otherwise, you might as well be selling plastic coaster CDs — but hey, I’ve seen plastic coasters sell for $20 a pop in fancy gift shops, so again, value is highly subjective. 

 

Who would pay $20 for a piece of plastic? Lots of people, if you sell it well by communicating what that plastic does for a person.

 

I want to know — what are you selling? 

 

Are you getting as much for it as you’d like? 

 

Send an email to me at gio@rubyscribewriting.com and let me know. I’ll give you specifics on how to improve.

Why I might talk you out of having me write your website

Got a minute? I have some updates. 

 

You haven’t heard from me for a while. I know. Baddddd copywriter-blogger-marketing teacher not practicing what I preach, the cobbler’s children have no shoes, etc, etc. 

 

I’ve been focusing on getting my private client roster to that sweet spot where I have just a few ongoing clients. It’s happened. I’m working with some downright dreamy businesses right now. 

 

Multiple New York Times best-selling celebrity health gurus… People on network television… Healers working in the 4th dimension… It’s kept me busy.

 

All the while, I’ve been incubating some new ideas and honing my craft. My copy game is stronger than ever and I’m having absurd amounts of fun writing super creative copy. 

 

My personal copy goals:  

 

Spend less time writing longer emails and sales copy — more time writing carefully calculated and INTERESTING copy. Stop. trying. to. cram. every. damn. thing. in! 

 

All copy must have a hook. I call this a “swish.” It’s the way to keep readers hooked. More on that later. 

 

Bullet points that don’t just list features, but that draw on what the Heath Brothers call the “Knowledge Gap.” When you get this right, it’s like candy to the brain’s desire center. See what I did just there? You want to know what I’m talking about, don’t you? That’s the Knowledge Gap. More on it and going for the desire jugular later, too. 

 

Strong AF voice. Ain’t nobody gonna read your shit if it’s boring you. In the last few weeks alone, I’ve had two clients say, “I wouldn’t read my own emails.” Yeah, that’s a problem. We can fix it.

 

 

Lots of potential clients have asked me to write their websites. Homepage, bio, service page. 

 

I try to talk half of them out of that — unless it truly makes sense for them at this moment. 

 

Why?

 

It might not be the best use of my time/their money.

 

Yes, you absolutely need a professional website that you aren’t embarrassed to send people to, that has built-in copywriting techniques, and reads like the most natural thing in the world, but do you need it right now?

 

Or would it be better to do a flash sale that brings in revenue right away? 

 

I want my clients to see an immediate return on the things I write for them. That way, they keep coming back. 

 

One caveat — a new website might just be your revenue generating thing. The “Hey, I have a new slammin’ website!” announcement alone could pay for it and then some. 

 

And then I recommend having a launch of a product, service, or offering right afterward while you’re fresh in your reader’s mind. That flash sale I was just talking about. See, smart. Strategic. Yes. More, please.

it’s no longer enough to say the customer is always right

Ever since the transition from seashells to currency, we’ve been in this system of trading dollars for things. 

 

The next evolution of that has everyone looking for a way to make that exchange a more meaningful transaction. 

 

It’s not just what you sell, it’s why you sell it. 

 

It’s not just what you buy, it’s what the act of buying means about your business. What do you value? And more importantly, what does it mean about the person that buys?

 

One copywriting tenet is that the sale happens in the space where your values and your customer’s values line up.

 

Company values used to be about things like, "The customer is always right." 

 

But with the current political climate and consumerist trends, things run deeper. Businesses are finding new creative ways to infuse their values with their product.

 

There’s a new question on everyone’s mind—what am I going to do about it? 

 

Now it's about how you can take one small step with every dollar...saving the rainforest, reducing carbon emissions, bringing humans together.

 

Capitalism can’t save the world. It’s what created this mess in the first place.

 

But there is a lot of work to be done and every little bit counts. 

 

Your “why” might not be the reason that someone decides to work with you or buy from you. They work/buy from you because they need something. But your “why” very well might be the thing that cinches the deal.

 

It might be what gets ‘em in the door and keeps ‘em lingering. It’s not enough to just showcase your wares, as sparkly, useful, and butt-slimming as they might be. You need to grab ‘em by the why.  

Thankfully, copy lasts longer than organic milk

Does copy have an expiration date?

 

Like coffee, Montepulciano, crusty French bread, and everything else worth walking out of your way for—yes.

 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to extend your copy’s shelf life, and they don’t involve a vacuum-sealed bag. 

 

First, do a little planning. (All the Virgos are starting to twitch with excitement.)

 

I always walk my clients through a groundwork questionnaire that gets us the information we need to create content that will wow your audience from now until the next election. It’s a little heavy lifting on the front end, but it will save you from having to re-do your website in a year from now.

 

This is like opening up the hood to check out your client’s needs and wants so you can communicate to them in the way that really revs their engine.

 

Or blows their skirt up, to quote my delightfully inappropriate cab driver.

 

The other super duper uber important thing is to find a copywriter who gets you. Nothing is worse than trekking through a copy project only to realize three months after you’ve signed off on the work that it’s too sales-y and doesn’t sound like you.

 

A great copywriter should write copy that sounds like you, but better. Your copywriter’s obsession should be copy that asks for the sale by sharing your excitement for your offer, not just for their sixteen-digit credit card number. 

 

So what’s a good yardstick when it comes to re-doing your website copy? 

 

That depends on a few factors…

 

Do you love sending people to your website or does it make you cringe?

 

Is it making you money?

 

Does your copy fall into the category of “descriptive” rather than compelling with a strong call to action?

 

If it’s salvageable, I’m all for it. Sometimes copy just needs a little fluffing. Other times, your message and target market have changed so dramatically that you can’t get away with just an outfit change. You need a whole new wardrobe because YOU’VE changed.

 

Yay, shopping! 

 

Unless you hate shopping, which I sometimes do. 

 

Which brings up another valid point:

 

Are you waiting until you lose 20 pounds to write your copy?

 

This comes from a conversation I had yesterday with a photographer client. I asked her what breaks her heart and she said it’s when people wait until they’ve lost weight to get their professional photos done. 

 

You don’t need to be perfect before you go public with your face or your copy. 

 

An awesome photographer or copywriter is going to make you look fabulous no matter what. That’s the whole point. We’re just a little bit magic. Or maybe we just know how to light a room. 

 

Either way, I’m convinced that jumping in before you’re ready is the secret to entrepreneurship. 

 

It won’t even hurt if you have someone to spot you.

 

For those of you who will hate me for not putting out a concrete answer for how long copy should last, I’ll humor you with a general rule of thumb. 

 

IF nothing major changes in your business or with you (no new direction, no new ideal client) AND your website copy was well-written in the first place, then three years is a good bench mark. 

 

That said, there are always things that can be done to optimize your copy, so periodic reviews are a good idea. The ‘ol sniff test, if you will. 

 

Do you need help crafting a new message that gets your ideal client all giddy or do you need help figuring out if you need help? 

 

This month only I’m offering my Say It! copy coaching package for the lowest price in years. 

 

That’s you and me going through your copy and giving it a tune up or scraping it for parts and transforming your website into a thing of smart marketing beauty.  

 

I have a just a scant number of spots available for $250 per month. 

 

Record screech! Normally, coaching with me is $1,000+ per month, but I’m offering a paired down version with slightly shorter sessions. You still get plenty of time with me as we make quick progress on your copy. 

 

This includes two 45-minute sessions a month so you can get my expert eyes on your copy, stop stalling, and in the end feel damn good about your website. 

 

Just like that gourmet bag of coffee, this offer will expire and I won’t offer it again for lord knows how long.

 

Email me at Gio@rubyscribewriting.com if you want to get in on this.

 

This is not only a chance to upgrade your website so it stands out, but to have a boatload of fun in the process.

 

Until next time,

 

Gio

 

P.S. Here’s some love from one of my clients who worked with me in my 5 Star Copy class:

 

 

“Hey Gio, Superstar of Words and Messaging,


I just wrote a draft of my freebie in 20 minutes. I got so clear on my messaging, and built up so much writing momentum, that writing this was a breeze. 

 

I know you said we should expect emails about course feedback, but I just couldn’t hold this in. 

 

Thanks for a kick-ass course!!”

 

—FS

 

Anatomy of a Sales Page, Part II

Welcome to part two of The Anatomy of a Sales Page. For part numero uno, click here.

 

 

Blessed be! Your reader has gotten this far. You’ve laid out the problem and shown them what alternate reality awaits them upon acceptance of your offer.

 

Now that you’ve got some of the loftier things out of the way, you’ll want to share some of the practical.

 

That’s because people tend to buy based on emotion, then back up their decisions with almighty logic. 

 

Here’s where positioning comes in. You want to position your widget as something that has much more value than what it’s selling for, so let’s outline what it’s worth.

 

Make an itemized list of everything they’re getting and what it would cost if they purchased it anywhere else at any other time.

 

Example:

 

The Fake It Till You Make It or Get Sued handbook (value $300)

Six private coaching sessions with my house elf (value $10,000)

Unlimited email support and pants-on-fire SOS texts (value $1,000)

 

Add it all up for them (because this is a white glove experience we’re creating, after all).

 

Total value: $11,300

 

Next, lay out what it will actually cost them—

 

Investment: $2,999

 

That’s a pretty good deal, but still pretty pricey.

 

So, notice how I used the word “investment.” That’s because what they’re buying isn’t a one-off, one-trick pony. It’s something they’ll use again and again, and ideally, something that will save them money, time, or heartbreak in the long run.

 

How can we show them that this is an investment, and not just a year’s worth of money spent at Starbucks that they’ll never see again?

 

Behold…the glorious testimonial!

 

The best testimonials work because they function as social proof. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Jack Handy had to say about it…

 

Getting fantastic testimonials is a topic unto itself, but let’s just take one example that would knock it out of the part for ya. 

 

“Within three days of starting the Fake It Till You Make It or Get Sued program, I got my first interview with a corporate client. But I was so nervous and didn’t know what to say so I immediately devoured the chapter, ‘Pitch like a Pro’ in the FITYMIOGS handbook. 

 

The done-for-you scripts gave me the confidence and the know-how to say all the right things and the interview went better than I expected. The best part? One week later I got the deal and made three times what I paid for the program. Now the lights can stay on and little Timmy can get his kneecap operation!”

 

—Sheila E

 

We’re all so happy for Sheila E and little Timmy. Sheila made $9,000 from what she learned in the class.

 

Suddenly, $2,999 seems like a helluva deal. If only your 401k could get returns like that.  

 

And if Sheila E can do it, why can’t you?

 

Which brings us to a little topic called features and benefits.

 

The features of the program are the nitty gritty things itemized in the list. The handbook, house elf, etc. 

 

But the benefits are what that house elf can do for you, emotionally speaking. The benefits are the feeling of relief that Sheila has now that she has the tools to get what she wants—namely electricity and the operation so lil’ Timmy can stop using that one-legged kneeling scooter. 

 

Hallelujah! The stress is gone in the short run AND presumably in the long run because of what she’s learned.

 

Some would say that stress relief is worth all the money in the world. At least that’s what the house elf would say. 

 

Ok, that’s all fine and well, but next they’ll want to know who the hell are you? What are your qualifications? Why are you the most enlightened person to lead them on their hero’s quest? You’ll want to give a quick bio of who you are and why you’re an authority on the subject. You don’t need to go on at length here, but do give us something so we at least know that you’re not some fly-by-night set up. 

 

Moving on….Obstacles. 

 

Your reader is loving what they’re reading but they’re still not quite sure that the time is now. 

 

Enter: urgency and scarcity.  

 

Will this great offer you’re offering go away?

Are there only a limited number of spots in the class?

How much dinero will they miss out on making if they put this off another year?

 

Answer: 

 

Yes.

Yes.

A lot. 

 

But what if they try it and they don’t like it?

 

Ha! You’ve taken all the risk away with a money-back guarantee. There’s no money to lose, plus if your testimonials and other copy does its job, they might not even question it because they’ve seen what’s possible and can picture themselves cozying up to their desired outcome. 

 

Finally, we’ve reached the beloved “call to action.”

 

You’ve done a fantastic job and your reader has held on through the whole sales journey that doesn’t feel like a sales journey with you. Hoorah!

 

Now let them pull the trigger. Give them a super clear direction of what to do next. But Just. Give. Them. ONE. Thing. To. Do. 

 

Not sign up for more information.

Not watch this other video.

No. (squirts water gun here.)

 

They’ve been through so much with you. Don’t give them decision fatigue now.  

 

Just give them a little link or button that shows them how they can do the whole currency swaper-roo and get the super cool thing we’ve all been talking about. 

 

And that, my friends, is (mostly) it. 

 

Sure, there are advanced strategies, and of course, it’s not just what you say but how you say it, but many successful sales pages follow this basic pattern.

 

Maybe now sales pages aren’t as scary as they once seemed? If the thought of it stills puts you in fight or flight mode, know that writing them is a skill that gets easier with time and that they can actually be a hoot to write. 

 

Okay, maybe that’s just the same part of me that used to get excited by studying SAT vocabulary…

 

One final tip—if you get stuck, take a look at some other sales pages for inspiration. Heck, I still do that after nine years writing copy.

 

Now go forth and ethically hawk your wares!

 

Until next time,

 

Gio

Anatomy of a sales page, part I

Ah, the mighty sales page. It has the power to convert browsers to customers, persuade on-the-fencers, and lead people who didn’t even know that what you sell existed to wonder how they ever lived without you.

You can write it once and let it live on the web, reigning in customers for years.

It also saves you a boatload of time having sales conversations because it’s already done the heavy lifting for you—explaining all the nooks and crannies of what’s for sale. 

To put it bluntly, it can make you lots of cash.

Hands down, it’s one of the most important types of copy. And also one of the most fun to write if you know what you’re doing. 

Some of the best sales pages are written like a letter to a friend and involve no high pressure or underhanded gimmicks to convert you into a paying customer.

I’ve written sales pages for clients that bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, how does one master this mythical, magical beast?

There are the basic bones of a sales page and there are tried and true techniques, but within that, there is a lot of room for creativity. Many different styles of sales pages exist, but the order of what information gets presented when typically stays the same.

Below are some highlights of what constitutes a knock-out sales page. Many large, heavy, and dusty books have been written on sales pages, so know that this is not meant to be an all-inclusive tutorial, but rather a quick, high-level overview. You’re welcome!

I think of a sales page as taking someone on a psychological journey. The first thing you’ll need is a stop-em-in-their-tracks headline.

In my mind, there are two types of headlines—either the uber-clear and pithy such as Marie Forleo’s “Get your dream business started.”

Or, the catchy as all get out, such as Ash Ambirge’s “Be Unf*ckwithable.” 

The next step is presenting the problem. At worst, this is the equivalent of letting your reader suffer under the scalpel with too little anesthesia. At best, this is a way to make them aware of the problem in an empathetic auntie kind of way. 

You don’t have to drag ‘em through the mud for too long, just a sentence or two can be enough wafting if done right.

Then take it higher. This part is called presenting the dream. Here’s where you get to show ‘em the polar opposite alternative to the mire that you just reminded them that they’re in. 

“Imagine never having to walk your pet rock again.”

Yes! Yes!

Or, to use an example from Gabrielle Bernstein: “Your marketing efforts will pay off big-time. Your ideal clients will start showing up easily. You’ll earn the kind of money that provides the freedom you crave. And you’ll make an impact doing what you love.”

That does sound wonderous. Did you see what she did? In four short lines, she nailed the dream. Each of those four things is the flip side of the problems her prospect is experiencing—namely, too few dollars in his or her pocket.

Moving onto…the offer! Now’s your time to shine. Present what you’ve got that’s going to be the bridge from Dumpsville, USA to Shangri-la. Let us see the name of that class, program, product or package (in all its benefit-driven glory). Tell us less about the nuts and bolts of this thing, and more about how it’s going to make life extra awesome. There’s a time to lay down the logistics like the time, date, how many, and how much. But for now, keep it focused on what your thing-y will do for them.

Will you:

Become unapologetic when raising your rates?

Get the confidence to sing the mighty praises of your talents so you never lack for clients?

Learn how to write a book that will make you internet famous, at least famous in your mom’s eyes?

What you sell can do all that? Bless you. I’ll take three.

The headline, problem, dream, and offer are the first parts of a super solid and sparkly sales page. Next, we’ll cover topics like creating urgency and showing off the bright and shiny features that will keep them from clicking off the page without buying. 

Until next time,

Gio

What Leads To Staying Power?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the epicenter of this being San Francisco. Last night there was a concert in Golden Gate park in front of the Conservatory of Flowers. 

 

I’m not sure how many thousands of people were there, but I counted 47 porta-potties, with lines of people ten deep. 

 

Yes, that’s my frame of reference. I always say when the large concrete is unattainable, go for the tangible. (Wait, do I always say that? Have I ever said that before??)

 

For months I’ve been musing on whether those hippie kids in 1967 knew what they were doing at the time, if they knew that what they were creating would have staying power.

 

Did Grace Slick know that White Rabbit would become an anthem when she stumbled out of her psychedelic hangover to write it?

 

Did the flower children have a sense that their fashion and free love were part of a legend in the making?

 

What makes something have staying power? 

 

In part, it’s repetition. During the summer of love, there were a billion hippies all singing the same tune…or at least a similar one.

 

To shift to things over to marketing (hey—you need money to pay for those bellbottoms, so don’t judge), that’s why brand-awareness exists. Brand awareness is visibility and repetition, often via various platforms.  

 

Any app maker in Silicon Valley would give up his or her catered lunch and tap kombucha for a great logo that is instantly recognizable.

 

Even if someone doesn’t buy from you right away, brand awareness plants that seed. 

 

The same goes for email marketing and social media. Someone once said that it takes seven points of contact before someone buys. 

 

Those seven points could be an ad in a conference brochure, a social media post about your dog, a blogpost on LinkedIn, seeing you speak at a networking event, seeing you at yoga class, having your logo on your car, your weekly newsletter, or a Facebook live stream.

 

It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, especially as an introvert, and especially since there are so many other things you need to do for your business.

 

But if you don’t let people know about you, and then remind them, and remind them again…business will come to a trickle. This is science. You can’t argue with that.

 

Again, I look to the wild, beaded, and barefoot folks of the ’60s for advice.

 

Abundance. You must build a business that is abundant so you can do the work you’re meant to do in the world. 

 

Your work helps people. You get whopping compliments from your clients, don’t you?

Sometimes it literally saves their lives.

 

Great work needs to be supported. 

 

Otherwise, there would be no Mama Cass. No Jimi Hendrix. Not even any paisley.

 

And I don’t want to live in a world without paisley.

 

If you don’t want that either, know that I work with my clients to bring their work to a larger audience. If your marketing isn’t bringing you the business you need and the clients you love, or if you’re not marketing at all, let’s talk. 

 

I have some creative ways to help you take things beyond what you’ve ever experienced, man. 

 

Right now I am booking copywriting and copy coaching for July. Coaching is perfect for those who need a little push to get their writing done. If you’re wondering… 

 

What do I write that feels personal and not like a sales robot wrote it? 

What content is going to get the most engagement, click-throughs, momentum, and attention? 

What’s going to get me the customers and the revenue I need to enjoy my summer and not have a money freak-out?

 

…coaching helps. I take all my experience writing launches that crossed the six-figure line and my nine years in the industry to bring you where you’re meant to go. 

 

I’m even running a special on coaching right now because I love doing this transformative work so much and nothing would make me happier than to help you book out thanks to the awesome social media, web copy, blogging, or email marketing we write together.

 

Happy Solstice, friends.

 

May this be an abundant summer of love for you.

 

 

Gio