What does the plotline of your favorite Hollywood movie have to do with your website copy? Turns out more than you think. On today’s podcast, I speak with Jaimee Maree – a digital marketing expert and the owner of the direct-response copywriting agency Savvy Copy. In this episode, she shares how she helps industry experts and passionate entrepreneurs build authority, attract their ideal clients, and generate more leads and sales – all through the power of words. I’m talking about names like Sylvester Stallone, Roger Love, and Bill Zanker with investors Pitbull and Tony Robbins, plus hundreds of others – from A-list celebrities to local dentists, including a number of my clients and my wife, Orion.
In this episode, we dive into how Jaimee uses the same storytelling principles behind the best movie scripts to create compelling, high-converting copy for clients. She lifts the veil on what elevates sales copy from simple words on a web page to a high-performing, high-ROI investment for your business. In a space that can so often be deemed sleazy, Jaimee is redefining the way sales copy is written and proving that marketing can be authentic, ethical, and highly persuasive all at the same time. We also cover the rise of AI, the importance of finding your prospect’s villain and the very real risks of not getting your messaging right – and it turns out, the stakes could be much higher than you realize.
Without any further ado, on with the show!
In This Episode
- [01:33] – Stephan introduces Jaimee Maree to the show as Jaimee shares her origin story and business journey.
- [08:33] – Jaimee describes the importance of collaborating with design agencies to create a high-converting copy.
- [12:16] – Jaimee and Stephan explore StoryBrand Framework for Copywriting.
- [19:32] – What are the benefits of StoryBrand and SPIN Selling for businesses?
- [29:16] – Jaimee discusses the implications of poor copywriting.
- [32:53] – Stephan and Jaimee discuss impact and the principles of influence in copywriting.
- [45:53] – What are the different types of copywriting? How do AI copywriting tools impact copywriters?
- [49:56] – Stephan and Jaimee mention some known copywriters. Then, Jaimee talks about her copywriting inspiration.
- [51:28] – Jaimee discusses different strategies for crafting a copy that converts and the benefits of having outstanding sales copywriting.
Jaimee, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Thank you so much for having me, Stephan. I’ve been a huge fan of your work for many years. It’s a real honor to be here. Thanks so much.
It’s been an honor and pleasure to be working with you on multiple joint clients and projects. You’ve done a great job and helped my clients get to new heights with their websites. Thank you for that.
I’m super grateful to work on so manclayy projects with you and get the clients that we’ve worked with incredible results. That’s been great.
First, let’s start with your origin story. How did you end up doing what you do? What crazy curve balls were thrown your way while you were in the process of building your business?
It has been a crazy journey. This story just comes together in two parts. First, it started like any typical entrepreneur’s story in my bedroom with a laptop I couldn’t afford and had to borrow money to buy. It began in 2010. I attended a welfare marketing event. It was one of those run to the back-of-the-room type events to sign up for things.
I was in my early 20s when they talked about blogging, SEO, affiliate marketing, and pay-per-click. I knew I wanted freedom, working from home and working from beaches. So I signed up for this course and started creating a website.
I went into different niches and ranked them. It’s about 2012. The Google Penguin update hit me. My business was destroyed overnight. I don’t know what went wrong.Weaving your client's story into your copy creates a connection and builds affinity for effective conversions. Put yourself in their shoes for maximum impact. Click To Tweet
Luckily, in about 2011, a couple of months before that happened, I came across James Schramko, who talked about owning the race course and building your assets, so I did that. I started helping other businesses to do what I was doing, making their websites and SEO. Luckily, none of their businesses were affected. I did that for about seven years.
I ran that agency till I hit burnout in about 2018. I just got to a point where I knew that I loved digital marketing, but I couldn’t scale. I just couldn’t step back. I knew we got great client results, but I was an intricate part of it. No matter how big I built my team, I never could step back.
About a year later, I just came back from an event in Queensland. I was sitting on my couch. This is part two of the story where Savvy Copy came to be. I just got back on a Sunday night and got an email from a very good friend, Greg Merrilees, the founder of Studio 1 Design, who I also know is your great friend.
He wrote me this email and said, “Hi, Miss J, how are you? I need your copywriting chops, and I need them by tomorrow. I’ve just landed a big fish, but only if we can deliver a kickass landing page with a copy by tomorrow.”
If you can’t create a campaign that engages with your audience and converts, your marketing campaigns will fail. – Bill Zanker
It was a Sunday night. I poured everything I knew from my experience in digital marketing into the copy we created. I turned it around in 24 hours, which you should never do a copy of that quickly, but I didn’t have a choice. I knew this was one of the biggest opportunities I’d ever get to work on a project like this.
It was launched shortly after. Greg and I jumped on a call with the owner of the business, Bill Zanker, and he said, “I’ve never seen conversions like this in my life. It was a pivotal moment for me, where I was able to step back and realize that it doesn’t matter how successful of an entrepreneur you are or how many hundreds of millions of dollars you’ve made if you can’t create a campaign that engages with your audience and converts and your marketing campaigns will fail.”
They ended up when relaunching the work that Greg and I had done. They sold a thousand memberships in a week. They’d made half a million dollars. It made me realize then that I had to go all in on copy. I realized just how important it was. It enabled me to focus and pour all of my knowledge from marketing into that for my clients moving forward.
I wanted to create an agency that no matter how big or small your business is, there was an agency that you could rely on that could create a high-quality copy. It was not a straight line getting to where I am today. There have been many twists and turns, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else now doing copywriting.
That’s awesome. Congratulations. How big is your agency now? What does a copy agency look like compared to a regular digital marketing agency?
We’ve got a team of 50 now, so we’re a good size team. I don’t think we’ll grow any bigger than this. I love being intimately close to a team and working with them directly. What does it look like? As a copywriting agency, we focus specifically on direct response style copywriting.
While part of our process is to dive deep into what clients need strategically, we bring that expertise to our clients to work out not just what words they need on the page but what pages they need to convert clients. What journey do we need to take people on a website to get the result that we ultimately want? How do we replicate their sales process?
Having a copy is sales in written form. Our process is diving deep, understanding our clients’ clients, knowing them intimately, and strategically what they want to achieve. We’re not order takers to say, “Hey, I just need this copy for these pages,” because it’s not necessarily what clients need, so we bring that strategic element.
That’s what our copywriting agency looks like. We team up with experts in their field. We work obviously with you on multiple projects. For example, we’ve worked with Greg Merrilees from Studio 1 Design. We follow the entire process from start to finish as much as possible. That’s how we work as a copywriting agency.
Let’s discuss how this works with Studio 1 or any design agency. They’re doing the design layout, and they may be doing wireframes. I know Studio 1 goes straight to mock-up. They don’t do wireframes first, but how do you collaborate with a design shop to ensure the best outcome?
Regarding Studio 1 Design specifically, we can do this with any design agency, but we work closely with them because they’re incredible at what they do. So typically, Greg will sometimes do this depending if he’s led work our way, but we do look at things from a very high level and strategically.
As I said before, we go through that process to understand what the client needs and talk obviously about their marketing, in general, come up with a plan, and come up with the pages they need to make that happen. When we work with design teams, they’ll often come up with a look and feel of the page. They can create a general structure of the page’s appearance.
When it comes to copywriting, we’re really big on not following a templated design, or we need to understand the client and figure out what does this client need? What structure do they need on their page? What does their top hero section need to look like? What authority do we need to get across?
We tailor everything on every site page depending on who the client is, who their clients or customers are.
We always say that copy leads to design. It doesn’t mean that design can’t be worked on first and come up with that look and feel. We don’t typically follow a structure from a design company and say, “Hey, just fill in the gaps with a copy,” because often, design companies don’t know how to craft a copy that will convert.
This is where many businesses fall short because they know they need web designers often, but web designers don’t know. Greg from Studio 1 Design certainly does, but other design agencies don’t know about flow, structure, and how to create a website. So we will develop a copy and the flow of everything that needs to go on the page and then present that to the design team.
Again, it’s different with Studio 1 Design just because they’ve got so much marketing knowledge. Still, we work together to ensure that the story is told how it’s supposed to be with the design from what we set out to create from there with the copy.
You’re determining how many calls to action to have on the page, where to place them, what journey to take the reader or the visitor through, what story you’re telling, and how that will play out regarding design elements. The design agency takes it from there, and then you review the mock-ups and give any feedback after they’ve applied what you’ve come up with.
Absolutely, yeah. Everything’s always unique to each client. We have frameworks and principles that we always follow. We tailor everything on every site page depending on who the client is, who their clients or customers are, whether they’re going to short copy, long copy, or what we feel the client needs. We tailor all of the calls to action, how many are needed, what is needed, and what journey we need to take people on the site to reach the ultimate goal that the client wants.
It’s not really about short copy or long copy. It’s about the journey and building rapport, helping the client feel comfortable working with you. The StoryBrand framework, the SB7, is something you like, as do I, and having that inside scoop on the internal problem for that visitor and working that into the copy. All the different design elements are crucial to build that rapport and relatedness to convey empathy and authority.
Let’s talk about StoryBrands. What is it about StoryBrand that you like? How do you utilize it? All that stuff.
Yeah, sure. We use three books that influence all of the copywriting that we do. We draw inspiration from many different places, one being SPIN selling, one being influence, and one building a StoryBrand. Building a StoryBrand—I love it because it talks so much about the story and how to create a story that represents your brand and considers many different elements of what people need to be engaged with and influenced by.
It talks about how even we’re captured by movies and the storylines that exist in movies and that there’s always a hero, a guide, and a villain, and they experience problems and challenges. They almost hit failure, but then all of a sudden, they have success. So when you take that, and you understand that we are always enthralled by movies and stories, no matter how they’re told, and then figure out how to apply this to business and creating your brand and your own story, it just links together beautifully I guess from a marketing perspective. It creates a real overarching story that you can use in your website and videos.
You know when you understand that. Your customer or your client is the hero, and you are their guide. You keep that in mind all the time with everything that you create. So I think when you can distill it down to the SB7 framework, and you understand who it is that you’re talking to, what is going on for them, and the internal and the external challenges that they’re having, then you can apply this to absolutely any type of business.Reciprocity builds loyalty. Offer valuable content without expecting anything in return to build trust and rapport, increasing long-term audience engagement. Click To Tweet
StoryBrand brings up a story about a house painter and an example of how you can use StoryBrand for them. Do I need to make a story about painting a house, or the fact that you do? If you do, your marketing will be far more compelling.
I know that when we’ve worked together. Clients have gone through your process of creating a brand script and that SP seven framework; it is an absolute honor and pleasure to work with you on clients like this because when you do that work, you understand the depth of this story and that villain. So it greatly impacts the copy we can create and the story we can create.
It ends up in more conversions. You had Brandon Yosha a few weeks ago and talked about the success that he’s had since he launched his new website. From my understanding, it is almost 10x his business on the leads and the clients he’s generating. When we went through that process, you created that brand script, and then we turned it into the conversion-focused copy. It was beautiful. I love the framework it gives and its impact at the end of the day when you take the time to do it.
We’ll move on to SPIN selling and Influence in a few minutes, but I want to unpack more about StoryBrand. This is a book Building a StoryBrand, by Donald Miller. He’s also the creator of the framework. One of the key premises here is that to have a good story, you need a hero, you need a guide, you need a villain, and there needs to be some struggle and story arc to it.
Many websites, most I would say, don’t have a villain. That’s crazy to me. What kind of story is compelling if it doesn’t have a villain? It doesn’t have to be a human, and it doesn’t have to be a corporate entity. It could be a concept like planned obsolescence. If you’re selling used or refurbished computers, planned obsolescence is a great shared enemy to get everyone riled up about.
It stinks that you must keep buying a new iPhone and laptop every few years. It just seems like nobody is addressing this. It’s like, okay, more garbage for the landfill, more pillaging of the ground, rare earth minerals, and everything to build more and more laptops and less and less compatibility, sustainability, and long-term viability of these machines. Anyway, that’s something that helps people to rally around something they care about.
That also relates to something else that we still need to talk about with the StoryBrand framework, and that is the philosophical problem. If you have an internal problem, which is how I would frame it, it’s an unspoken problem.
Let’s say that you have a stomach issue, but you’re not so fine talking about the gas. That’s unspoken. You won’t bring that up in polite conversation or even with my best friend. Therefore, you’re getting closer to building relatability and relatedness if you can talk with the visitor about how embarrassing this is. “Oh, okay, yeah, this person gets my world.” “Wow, okay, cool.” “I appreciate that.”
What if you talk about, at another deeper level, a philosophical problem? Everybody is so focused on the symptoms, the pills, the potions, or whatever to address the symptoms. What about the root cause? It drives me bonkers that nobody’s addressing the root cause. They’re just ameliorating the symptoms. It seems unjust. It feels like disease maintenance or sick care instead of health care. People will rally around that as well.
It’s slightly different from a villain, but it’s something to rally around. That process of just fleshing out all these different aspects of the StoryBrand framework as a brand script is very powerful, one that most clients I work with have never done anything like this before.
If you hand that over to your agency, to Studio 1, any design agency, any paid media company or agency, or anybody who’s a contractor or marketing professional working with the client, it’s a breath of fresh air. They’re now able to get into the world of the visitor or the prospect and speak to them in a way that builds that rapport and empathy. It’s beautiful. Anything that you want to add to that? Anything in particular that has been profound or helpful as you work with brand scripts to turn that into the copy for a website?
Outside of just giving the framework and covering the most important things that we feel to understand the customer and the client, what is going on from them, whether it is a philosophical, internal, or external problem, it’s just such a beautiful framework that we can build upon. There’s not too much really to add there but a grade.
When you understand the story and have that empathy, you can build authority and have a plan. There’s not too much to add there. The structure creates something incredibly powerful no matter what marketing you’re doing. We love to follow it as much as we can.
What’s the difference in terms of copy, just like headlines or just little snippets of a company that’s focused on themselves, and thus it’s them being the hero, most company websites on the internet versus a guide, where the hero is the visitor, and they’re just the resource like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Luke Skywalker. They’re not Luke Skywalker, they’re smart enough to recognize that there’s only room for one hero, and that’s the customer, the prospect. What are some copy snippets that convey both approaches?Craft a message that resonates with your client's audience and positions them as an expert in their field, ultimately building their authority and increasing their credibility. Click To Tweet
A lot of what is out there with companies is creating a lot of feature-driven headlines and headlines about them and what they do versus taking a more StoryBrand approach, where we’re looking at what the visitor needs to read. What benefit-driven copy do we want to include here? When they arrive on this website, their headline must be, what’s in it for me? What impact can you have on me? What is the benefit to me of being here?
Again, many of it is people have, we do this, or our business helps our clients do this, versus copy that uses you and your language. It’s one of the lowest hanging fruits that businesses must change this language to not make it about the company themselves but the visitor. What is it that they need? What benefit can you provide to them? What pain problem can you help them solve?
When it looks at StoryBrand, it’s imagining everything about them, making them the hero, making your entire site about how you can serve and guide them. It’s not about you. It’s just about creating that connection, being authentic, and showing how to serve.
Let’s devise an example so it’s tangible for our listeners. Let’s do a client example here. Let me think of one. This is the framework that I’m going to use. It’s not StoryBrand, but it’s just for headlines, and it’s from Clay Hebert. It’s verb your noun.
Let’s say, for example, it’s a mortgage broker. Finance your dream would be dropping in the verb, and then the noun, and then the word “your.” Finance your dream, very focused on the visitor. I would call that more of the second approach: they’re the hero, and you’re the guide.
What would be the opposite approach? Hello, visitor. Let me tell you about myself. We’re amazing, and we’ve been in business for X number of years. We’re the leading authority in mortgages in the tri-state area. So that’s very much all about me.
I’m sure you’ve encountered many cases where the site is written and designed that way. This is an interesting question. Have you had any situations where the client or the prospect has been out of shape because they want to be the hero, and you’re telling them that nobody cares, that you need to care about the visitor more than yourself, and then they get ticked off and leave?
Absolutely. I don’t know that they’ve ever been ticked off to leave. Still, a lot of heavy lifting needed to be done because they felt that if they just put themselves forward as the authority, the best in the industry, and that’s all they communicated, then the right people would be attracted to them. They’d see them as the authority.
They felt that speaking the other way was sales if they put themselves forward. It took quite a lot of twisting their arm to get them to understand our perspective and why it was so important. But yes, I have faced it before, but not very often. I do find that people usually take our advice and our guidance. Yes, some just feel that if they show they’re the best in the industry, people will want to sign up with them, but it doesn’t work that way. It’s far more powerful.
It does. It backfires. It does, for sure.
Okay, so let’s move on to SPIN selling. I know there’s a book by that title. SPIN is an acronym. It stands for something. Why don’t you learn about that approach, why it appeals to you, and how it augments StoryBrand?
Sure. SPIN Selling was a book that James Schramko introduced to me many years ago. It’s basically by Neil Rackham. It was based on 35,000 sales conversations. It was distilled down to how to move someone to realize that your service is what they need.
SPIN stands for situation, problem, implication, and needs payoff. The need to pay off is about the solution. Combining this with building a StoryBrand book is similar to how SPIN tries to understand. What is the situation that your ideal client is in right now?
When they’re at home at the dinner table and conversing with their partner about what’s happening, what is their current situation? What is going on for them? Where are the goals and aspirations of what they want? So it’s identifying what that situation they’re in is, and then we move on to the problem.
That’s pretty clear. What problems are they experiencing? Again, these are internal, external, and philosophical problems that they’ve got. Understanding your clients’ issues is the most important thing regarding copywriting, marketing, and business in general.
Everyone buys painkillers, but nowhere near enough people buy vitamins because they want their problems solved as soon as they’ve got a problem because they want it solved. That’s when deeply understanding the problem is important, and then we move on to the implication. This is something that is overlooked from a sales perspective but also a copywriting perspective.
SPIN stands for situation, problem, implication, and needs payoff.
It is about the implications someone will experience if they don’t take a particular action. Understanding what the implications are if someone doesn’t do their SEO right, if they don’t get their website designed, or if they don’t get copywriting done. If you truly understand the implications of that and communicate that to the audience, that’s the thing that’s the stab in the gut that will move someone to take action.
It comes up in building a storied brand as well. He referenced a study in 1979, where they determined that someone will be far more worried about losing $1000 than they will be about making $1000. Everyone always wants to avoid pain. When you can communicate to your audience the implications of not taking action, and then they realize, “Oh, if I don’t take action…” from a copywriting perspective, if you don’t get it done right, you won’t necessarily have the impact that you set out to create because you won’t convert as many bleeds and clients. You won’t necessarily create the freedom you want in your business because you haven’t been able to make your marketing successful.
When you start to tie, what is that impact? What is that stab in the gut that, if you don’t take action, you’ll experience? Is it incredibly powerful? I think a lot, from a sales and copywriting perspective, leaves it out. It doesn’t need to be full on in your face, but that’s the I there. Then it is positioning, the solution to the problem at the end, which are you and what you have to offer.
We take people on a journey very much like StoryBrand. We design the frameworks for everything we do on a website to go. What’s the situation that the clients are in? What are the problems they’re experiencing? That’s the flow that happens on a website. What are the implications, and then what’s your solution? That’s the summary of SPIN selling.
What would be the implications that you bring forward? Take your website, savvycopy.com and the homepage is a very long copy page. How many words? Thousands of words.
It would be thousands. It should be about 2500-3000 words. Yes.
That’s a pretty long homepage and a lot of scrolling there.
It’s a compelling page, though.
It was a method to my madness, I promise.
You won’t necessarily create the freedom you want in your business because you haven’t been able to make your marketing successful.
I’m sure it works. It was very well done. What would be the implications to a visitor interested in copy services if they don’t hire Savvy Copy?
Absolutely. Our website is a perfect example. You’ll be able to see us using this process. In part of the website, further down the page, we have a section where just above, we’ve indicated all the problems that exist and the problems that people have with hiring a copywriter or staring at a blank screen and not being able to write themselves. It moves into a section.
If you don’t mind, Stephan, I’ll quickly read it because it might give you some context here. After all of those problems, we say, but here’s the real kicker. What will happen if you keep living in scenario one, which was all of the problems we outlined, leaving the fate of your business in the hands of a subpar copy? Then it says that the life-changing coaching program you have to offer won’t go changing lives in the way you planned, including yours.
You put everything into your online course to leverage your genius and will get buried among the thousands of other courses that must have the service you deliver. It will only get found by a fraction of the ready-to-buy clients and customers who desperately need it. That killer ecommerce product you spent years brainstorming, and manufacturing will sit unsold on digital shelves. That business you started to create more freedom, impact more lives, and build your legacy, won’t deliver the success and lifestyle you crave and deserve. These are just some business limiting outcomes we help prevent so our clients can reach their goals no matter how big they are.
That’s really for us, just a short section of really communicating. If you do not get your copyright, there will be implications for it and its impact on your marketing. We do weave them through the page as well. We have elements of that page.
Early on, it is more inspired by StoryBrand, where we will talk about wasting precious marketing dollars if you don’t get your copyright. We do weave it throughout the page, but that’s more of our much higher-level stab in the gut part of our website.
I wholeheartedly believe, and this is why I started the copywriting agency, that if you don’t get your copyright, it has a huge impact on everything else, how many people you can reach and impact and how big you can grow your business. That’s the I in SPIN selling in action.
I love it. It reminds me of some sage advice from my wife, Orion, who got it from Anil Gupta, a guest on my other podcast, Get Yourself Optimized. This is many, many, many years ago, maybe even a decade ago. She did a transition of what she was doing and the kinds of clients she was going to serve or something. I forgot, but she hadn’t gone fully into it yet.Don't make the mistake of creating self-centered, feature-driven headlines. Adopt the StoryBrand approach to create a more engaging message that drives results. Click To Tweet
He said something that was a punch in the gut. He said, the longer you take to launch this thing, the more people are dying because you could have saved their lives. I’m like, whoa.
Yes, that is the punch in the gut if I’ve ever heard one. He was right. I know the work that Orion does. I know how impactful it is. Sometimes people need her. If she doesn’t put herself out there and do that, it definitely has an impact.
The implications are severe, and I think the karma is. This is just generally the case, I think. If you’re not willing to take up space in the world, if you’re trying so hard to be liked and not to be disliked, not to create polarity in people, if you’re not willing to be polarizing, then, okay, you’re not going to create many enemies, probably, but you are also not going to have the impact, and thus people are dying. You get to accumulate that negative karma from not stepping up and making a difference for people like you were supposed to.
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a big implication, for sure.
Let’s move on to influence. I’ve had Dr. Robert Cialdini on the podcast. He’s phenomenal. He’s brilliant and inspiring. I find that some people take their life’s work and apply it to manipulate and get unfair advantages to sell stuff that people don’t want, to trick them into buying something they don’t need. I would love to hear your take on Influence as a book applied in the right way and applied in a more devious and nefarious way.
Yes. We always say that we can use our superpowers for good or evil. Our site clearly shows that we do not work with people who want to do that. I agree. We take on these elements that—I’ll have to call him Robert Cialdini, I know you can call him Bob because you’re friends—we take that on, and we take that responsibility very seriously about who we work with because we don’t want it to be used for evil.
When using it for good, Robert breaks down in his book Influence that there are seven principles that he’s got. It started with six, but recently he included a seventh. It looks at what is required to influence someone else and has that influence to take action. That’s certainly how we utilize it now in copywriting.
People will be more likely to be influenced when we include as much social proof as possible.
The seven principles that we always follow. Hopefully, I remember all these, but the first is social proof. That’s really about how we often follow what our peers do. When we can have social proof on our website through testimonials or case studies, people will be more likely to be influenced when we include as much social proof as possible. This is an important part of influence and the copywriting we create.
There’s reciprocity. We feel almost indebted when someone has done something for us then. We almost feel it’s just a human trait for us to feel indebted to them in return. We always want to do this correctly, but this is where we talk about the value of creating valuable content for our audience and giving value before you expect something in return. That’s the reciprocity principle when we talk about creating lead magnets, or we create content marketing, blogs, and always putting things forward from a value perspective.
We always encourage our clients to do that when we talk through that. What value are you going to provide? Even with our copywriting on the site, we’re still trying to educate. We’re still trying to make sure that they leave with that value.
There’s obvious authority. We trust authority figures, typically. The more authority you can communicate to your audience, never in an in-your-face way. As we spoke about before, you don’t want the website to be all about you and everything and all of your accolades, but it still can make a huge difference to put your authority forward to talk about the impact metrics that you have achieved, potential logos of media that you’ve been featured in.
These can be financial impact metrics. They can be the number of clients you’ve had, the money you’ve made, your clients and the money you’ve saved your clients. We find it’s very, very important to communicate. Whenever we write copy within the page’s hero section, we always try and get across these impact metrics to show people that you’re in a safe place here. This person is an expert, they’re an authority, and we’re trying to position you as an industry leader. That is that element of influence.
What else is on the list? Scarcity is also on the list. We often typically value what is scarce. Wherever possible, sometimes this can be used very differently, depending on if it’s a sales page, it’s a little bit more in your face often then. This can be a scarcity of the number of people in a program. It can be a scarcity as to when an offer will end.
There are lots of different ways that you can create scarcity in your copywriting in many different ways. Doing that is very powerful because people never want to miss out on anything. People get FOMO and don’t want to miss out, so we use that.
Don’t lose your integrity by just having fake scarcity.
It always, always, always needs to be real scarcity. That’s something that I always communicate to people. Don’t lose your integrity by just having fake scarcity. People always have fake scarcity, and it annoys me because I think that’ll do a lot of damage.
What’s an example of fake scarcity?
I think people are saying that there’s only a certain number of people, but it’s an online program. They’re not limited to the number of people that can sign up or anyone indicating that there are only ten spots left when there are 500. It’s just not putting something in that’s unrealistic and not honest.
I see the value of using countdown clocks and things in your marketing. There’s always value in that. But sometimes, that can err from being a little fake scarcity. It has its value, but I think you have to be very careful as to how you use it, any wording that you’ve got around it, not to say that as soon as this counter times down to zero, you’ll never have this opportunity ever to do this again unless you copy the URL into a private browser. Then you’ve got another ten minutes until it expires. That, to me, you can just err on that this doesn’t feel so great. That’s an example of scarcity there.
The other principles we’ve got their liking. This is more about the more that someone likes you, the more likely you will buy from them. This is why it’s so important with all the things that we’ve talked about to understand your client, understand the problems that they’re facing, show empathy, be authentic, because the more that you can build that know, like, trust factor, it’s one of the elements that will influence someone to take action. That’s the liking principle.
By the way, I recently learned about liking from Robert. He presented at Genius Network, which I’m a part of. He discussed how putting a smile curve on product packaging would increase sales. He didn’t mean it had to look like a real smile. It just had the curve, the angle of a smile. Then they tested, of course, flattening it so that they could have legitimate scientific testing here, and then a frown, the upside-down curve. Sure enough, the smile won, and the frown did the worst.
That is so interesting that it can come down to that. If I’m on a website, that would be represented by the images you use, being on there, being welcoming, and having a smile. That’s why using your photos on your website wherever appropriate is so important.
That’s so interesting. I love hearing that. Maybe we just all need to put smiley faces on our website and see what happens, do a split test and see what happens. That’s good to know. Okay, awesome.
Humans need to be consistent, and they need to see consistency in everything to feel safe.
There’s commitment and consistency, which I think is pretty self-explanatory. Humans need to be consistent, and they need to see consistency in everything to feel safe. That’s why this is a little bit more, and I would say, sometimes, when it comes to branding and design, really, really important.
It’s important in copy as well. That’s why they often say, “You need to make sure that your website matches your socials, and people need to feel that consistency between everything you do.” Again, you need to be consistent in the words that you write as well.
Finally, the new one is unity. That is really about having a shared identity that then influences people. This is why in copywriting, whenever we try to tell a story or whenever our client is our ideal client, we always try and weave their story that we were once in your position so that people have that affinity with that person and share that unity.
It has that shared unity, but this can be done with many different things of nationality, family, race, and many things, that will influence someone if they should have a shared identity with the person they want to buy from or want to engage.
For example, having gone to the same university, being time-strapped, or having a shared deadline. The most tenuous connection can build that unity and make somebody more willing to help you.
Yeah, absolutely. We always use our superpowers for good, but they’re the seven principles we will try to implement on someone’s website. You can see how impactful all of those things will be. You almost take them for granted. But when you know that these are the seven that will influence human behavior, you can see when you’re using your marketing that it will have a good impact.
How do you convey liking in your copy on your homepage?
I think that liking comes down to several different things about how to get that across. I feel that we do it in many different ways, obviously, through the imagery we use. We use words that we try to be as conversational as possible. We try and use humor as much as possible on the site.
I feel that the liking principle also, when you’re able to use the SPIN selling formula or build a StoryBrand, that you build that liking feeling and trust feeling when you identify straightaway on your site the situation that they’re in, you have empathy for that, you talk to that. You’re like, “You know what, I know you’re incredible at what you do, you’re an authority of what you do, you’ve created a service or a downright amazing product, but when the rest of the world doesn’t know that, then that’s hard.”
That’s how we communicated it to our audience because we see so many incredible businesses doing incredible things, but their marketing and messaging are terrible. That’s how I feel we use it because we empathize with them. We talk about their situation. We go, “We are on your side and have your back. When we combine your superpowers with ours, we will create magic.”
We make it feel like a team because that’s what we are. I feel the liking principle is how we do it on our website. We use video as well on there. There are several videos on my site of me. Hopefully, all those things together help people like me a little more.
Yeah, and the imagery is playful. An example is you do the mic drop thing with an actual microphone. That’s fun.
Yeah, that was incredible. The photographer, Louise, was amazing; they came up with that when we wrote the copy. I always get comments between that and throwing paper in the bin, which is what most people do when they write and just want to throw their copy in the bin. They’re the two images that I always get comments on from people. That’s what helps boost that liking principle.
We make our clients feel like we are a team because that’s what we are.
Awesome. You know your stuff. That’s impressive. I wanted to ask a little about the differences between regular and sales copywriters. What you pay for a regular copywriter is much less than what you would pay for a gifted sales copywriter.
Yes. There are multiple types of copywriting. The first thing is figuring out what you need to determine whether you need content writing. That’s more like informational blogs, articles, and things like that. Then you’ve got SEO copywriting, which is, as the name suggests, around search engine optimization and trying to rank higher in Google. You’ve got branded copywriting, typically one-liner, catchy slogans like Nike’s Just Do it. And then you’ve got a direct response style of copywriting.
What I find, which blows my mind to this day, is that many copywriters aren’t marketers or don’t understand marketing. You think you’d have to know this. Regarding regular copywriters or skilled direct-response copywriters, direct-response copywriters are designed to move people to action. They’re designed to help people feel, think, and respond, and it’s as close to the action you want them to take as possible.
Regular copywriters often will potentially write content, but they don’t have a lot of psychology, the sales skills. They don’t do the research. The words you see at the end of the day are only a fraction of what goes into creating a copy.
I feel like a regular copywriter will often write words without this deep knowledge and understanding of sales, psychology, and everything we’ve discussed. A lot goes into direct response copywriting and, certainly, the copywriting we do. I think the difference is the content that they create. Is it information, or is it going to move someone to action?
It is a real art form to move someone to action, to press a button to sign up for something, to open their wallets to do something. I guess that’s the difference between regular copywriters to what we do.
Are you worried that ChatGPT is going to get good at sales copywriting?
It’s always something that we’re trying to have on our radar. We look into it a lot. Where is it right now? Not. I think that there’s got a place.
AI copywriting tools don’t create the client’s brand voice
From what we see now, it draws much information from the internet, but it’s not human. It can’t feel. It can’t empathize. It doesn’t do deep research on an individual client about what makes them different, about what is unique to them. It doesn’t put in the humor or the fun of the client. It doesn’t create that brand voice.
I’m interested to see if it does. I think what’s interesting is that everything I see on ChatGPT churns out. That’s great information. Sure, that’s interesting, but it doesn’t take someone on a journey. It doesn’t follow the formulas we certainly take people on when starting a website. They go down the page. We want to + move them to the next page. It just isn’t able to do that.
I feel like people are thinking, “Oh, I’m going to save some money by doing this,” but they are losing a lot of money by doing it, in my opinion, because it’s not where it needs to be. Could it get there? I don’t know. Maybe if we’re brain-dumping our sales knowledge and skills into what creates it.
At this point, not. It can be helpful from a research perspective. It can be helpful to churn out ideas and speed things up. But when it comes to conversions and getting people to open their wallets, you’re fighting with so many other marketing messages coming at people daily.
You’ll lose people instantly if you try a shortcut and use AI messaging. We’re always looking into it, and what’s coming out is very interesting. But at this point, there are ways to use it, but not to take over for sales conversion-focused copywriters.
This is such an interesting question because my journey into copywriting was quite different from a lot. I never really started to be a copywriter. It came from years of marketing knowledge. I drew inspiration from lots of different copywriters, for sure. Andre Chaperon is one of my favorite copywriters. I learned a lot from Jay Abraham as well.
I feel that with what I’ve created with Savvy Copy, we are inspired and learn from copywriters. Still, we learn and are inspired by marketers, first and foremost, psychologists and business people, and combine everything we’ve learned from many different sources. I’m now training my team, who are incredible writers, but we’ve combined marketing with writers. They inspire us, and we’ve learned a lot from them. Again, Andre Chaperon is incredible at what he does. I love his work.
He’s a great human too. He’s become a friend. I’ve had him on the podcast here. I was in a mastermind with him for a while, just a virtual one. This was ages ago, but he’s a great guy.
When it comes to conversions and getting people to open their wallets, you’re fighting with so many other marketing messages coming at people daily.
Wow. Yeah, that’s an amazing network, Stephan. I would love to be BFFs with him. Whenever I’m asked this question, it’s so interesting because I feel like we fell into copywriting. After all, we saw such a huge need in the market for it. But then, what we learned and infused into everything we do now is not from one source. It comes from multiple books by psychologists, from all of that. It’s proven to work well for our clients. We get incredible results. It’s always a question that I’m asked, and it’s not quite as straightforward as having that one person.
Understood. Okay, cool. If our listener is inspired to work with you? Where did they learn from you if they’re interested in upping their copywriting skills?
Absolutely. You can find us at savvycopy.com. Our site has a couple of ways to learn more from us. We have a downloadable lead magnet that you will find. We also, at this point, do offer free reviews of copy for people and your podcast listeners, Stephan.
If they feel like, I don’t know, is my copy any good, what could be improved, that’s something that you can certainly find on our website as well. We do have a blog there as well. We are working on a lot more content marketing at the moment. That’s how you can find us.
They can also click on the big blue button on your homepage that says, I need copy that converts.
Exactly, right? Yeah, exactly. You can always schedule a call. We can jump on and strategize about your copy. It’s super easy.
I love how it’s in first person, which is best practice for button verbiage. Instead of you, it’s I. That’s what they’re saying in their head as they’re clicking on that button or thinking about clicking it. It’s these little details that make all the difference add up.
Right. Yup, I do. It makes a huge difference.
Jaimee, it was so fun, informative, and inspiring. Thanks again for coming to the show.
Thank you so much, Stephan, for having me again. It’s an absolute pleasure. One thing I didn’t mention is how I came across Stephan. I have this book. I saw you at an event.
The little one, the thousand-page one.
Exactly. I got this book for free at the event, but it cost me $80 in excess baggage to get at home. I’ve been following your work for a long time. This was an event in 2019. I’m super honored to be here and work on many projects with you. Thanks so much for having me. It’s been a value to your audience.
Yes, it has. Thank you, the listener. You too are a value. Please do something that spreads your light in the world. We’ll catch you in the next episode. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
Anil Gupta – GYO previous episode
Brandon Yosha – previous episode
Dr. Robert Cialdini – previous episode
Greg Merrilees – previous episode
James Schramko – previous episode
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Understand my target audience and their needs in order to write effective copy. Conduct research to determine important areas, such as demographics, interests, and pain points.
Create an authentic and attention-grabbing headline that speaks to my audience’s pain points and is relevant to my content. A great headline can capture the attention of readers.
Use clear and concise language and avoid jargon and technical terms in my copy. Effective copywriting allows the audience to easily understand my message.
Focus on the benefits of my products and services rather than the features. Explain how my product or service can solve my client’s problems and make their lives easier.
Use storytelling to connect with my audience and to make my content memorable. Storytelling can be a powerful tool to illustrate my points and to create engaging content.
Demonstrate the effectiveness of my product and service through social proof. Social proof, including customer testimonials and reviews, can help build trust with my audience.
Craft a clear and compelling call to action. This encourages the audience to take action. For example, it compels them to make a purchase or sign up for a newsletter.
Proofread my copy for clarity and consistency before publishing to ensure it is error-free. Remember, my copy represents the voice of my brand.
Optimize my copy for SEO before I publish the content on my website. Use relevant keywords and other SEO techniques to help my content rank higher in search engine results pages.
Visit Savvy Copy for more tips on copywriting, including free, downloadable lead magnets and other content marketing resources. Also, take advantage of Jaimee’s free copy review on their website.
About Jaimee Maree
Jaimee is the founder and director of SavvyCopy.com, a direct-response copywriting agency helping business owners & industry leaders to attract more leads, make more money and have more impact.