#082: How to Kill it at Copywriting with Cole Shafer

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By Jillian Tohber Leslie. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

If you want to know how to kill it at copywriting, read on...

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just build an online business and hope people will show up. It doesn’t work that way.

You have to make personal connections with your audience by showing them why they need what you’re offering. You have to pique the interest of people who come to your site, grab their attention.

Today’s episode will offer plenty of help and tips for you to grow your business and increase your sales.

My guest is Cole Schafer, marketer and copywriter. I knew I had to have him on the podcast when I read his tagline on his blog, which says, “Live fast. Write often. Pet dogs.”

Copywriting vs. Writing

Copywriting is selling things with words. Regular writing is communicating ideas or stories.

When someone writes a story, there is no set goal other than entertainment.

With copywriting, there is a clear goal.

You can be a good copywriter if you understand that everyone purchases something either to move closer to pleasure or to move further away from pain.

The best products can do both things, but most products do one or the other.

The most successful products tend to move people closer to pleasure rather than focusing on their pain and relieving it.

People get more excited about moving towards pleasure, not about moving away from pain.

How To Get Someone To Take Action

As marketers, we can’t rush our audience to make a purchase.

Some of Cole’s clients have been on his email list for over a year, and they’re finally reaching out to him, but only after building that relationship and personal connection.

Your audience will know if you’re trying to shove your products down their throat and that is not the way to connect with your people.

You want to build a relationship by showing up for your audience, sending out those weekly emails, doing your podcast, whatever it is that you do.

Once a quarter, Cole adds a small discount to his writing course and leaves it up for 48 hours. The sense of urgency does help sales.

Another thing that helps people decide to make a purchase is when they see that many other people are enjoying a product.

We are wired to follow the crowd. If you show the numbers of people you are helping and how many satisfied customers you have, your audience is more likely to follow along.

Here’s a great example: when I shop on Amazon, I read the reviews to see if others like the product. I trust the herd and save myself time.

Marketing As a Human

The digital world of marketing has created a scenario where we no longer have the person-to-person connection we once did.

Over time we have lost how to market to the individual. With signs, television, and the internet, we are now mass marketing.

You need to market human to human.

One way you can do this is to pick your best customer and get in touch with him/her. Fly them out to you, have a phone conversation, go out for lunch, and have a conversation.

When you market with one person in mind, more people are going to relate because you are able to become more specific.

Using Hook Sentences

In literature, the hook sentence is the first sentence you read in a book.

Cole collects his favorite hook sentences from books he’s read, and well-known hook sentences, to help him learn how to write better hook sentences himself.

You have a very small window in which to grab the reader’s attention.

A hook sentence needs to be ten words max, short and punchy, and it should draw the reader in.

Some of Cole’s favorite hook sentences are:

“I lost my arm on my last trip home.”

“It was love at first sight.”

“It was a pleasure to burn.”

Every single one of those is under ten words but at the same time, they are very powerful.

Your subject line in emails, your headline, your sales pages, your blog post titles, they are all hook sentences.

How To Create Hook Sentences

When we write, we might spend hours on the content itself, but then spend mere minutes writing up the headline for it, and then hit publish.

Just because you put time and effort into writing an article doesn’t mean someone else is going to read it.

The one piece of advice that Cole gives to all writers is the 80/20 rule.

If you spend 5 hours writing an article, 1 hour should be spent writing your hook sentence.

Write down 25 of the best headlines you can think of.

Share them with friends, colleagues, family, etc., and ask them to tell you which 3 stand out to them the most.

You can raise your click-through rate by 50%, 100%, or even 500% by using this method.

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Sell

If you are offering a service-based business, you want to create a hybrid product: half-service, half-product.

One of the issues that freelancers face is that when you are trying to scale a service business, you only have 2 choices: you can either hire more workers or raise your rates.

Raising your rates is a good option but eventually, you’re going to be as high as you can go.

What you can do is sell a product that goes hand-in-hand with your service that you offer. This eliminates the constant “trading dollars for minutes.”

Start by selling your services, then couple a product with that service.

If your audience is using your service, they will likely also want your product.

What Type of Online Entrepreneur is MiloTree Right For?

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Read the podcast transcript for “How to Kill it At Copywriting” Timestamp
  • Intro
  • 6:03 Copywriting vs Writing
  • 11:36 How To Get Someone To Take Action
  • 21:26 Marketing As A Human
  • 25:38 Why To Use Hook Sentences
  • 30:15 How To Create Hook Sentences
  • 36:00 What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Sell
TOP 4 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE EPISODE
  1. Successful copywriters understand that people make purchases either to move toward pleasure or to move away from pain.
  2. Market with one person in mind; when you speak to one specific person, others will be able to relate.
  3. If you can learn to write one really strong sentence, you can become a very capable copywriter.
  4. If you’re a freelancer in a service-based business but you’re stuck on what to sell, try creating a product that goes hand-in-hand with your service.

91 episodes