A key element in good copywriting is picking the right words that resonate with your ideal audience—your customer avatar—and elicit an emotional reaction. My guest on today’s show, Chelsea Baldwin managed to do that with her name, her brand BusinessBitch. It’s a polarizing name which can be a very effective tool—right away it either speaks to you or it’s not your thing and that can be a great way to get down to business! Chelsea Baldwin’s core belief is “impatience is a virtue.” With BusinessBitch.com, she helps people cut the crap and reach their next level of success ASAP.
In today’s episode, we focus on getting Chelsea’s awesome copywriting nuggets. Because, while design is great, we all know that the prettiest website in the world is nothing without engaging content to back it up. And in order to engage, you need to bring value and be bold, but do it authentically. So, whether you want to learn great copywriting or hire a great copywriter, this is a value-packed episode where we get down to the business of unlocking what’s behind powerful, successful writing. So without any further ado, on with the show!
In this Episode
- [00:30] – Stephan introduces Chelsea Baldwin, the founder of BusinessBitch.com, where she helps people cut the crap and reach their next level of success ASAP.
- [05:45] – Chelsea differentiates online copywriting from print copywriting.
- [10:27] – Chelsea explains how she created Copy Power’s email automation sequence for marketing and building relationships.
- [16:09] – Stephan and Chelsea talk about their weekly newsletters, the Thursday Three and the Business Bitch Weekly Dispatch.
- [22:37] – What are some of the processes Chelsea recommends for onboarding a newly hired writer.
- [28:58] – What are the preferred ways of compensating writers depending on the project?
- [33:00] – Is there a difference between sales copywriting and regular copywriting?
- [38:43] – Chelsea shared the most effective way of addressing objections.
- [47:48] – Chelsea provides tips and recommendations on how to draw people to work with you.
- [50:35] – Follow Chelsea Baldwin on her social media accounts and check out her website businessbitch.com and getcopypower.com to grow your business and make a positive impact on the world.
Chelsea, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Thank you for having me.
First of all, we gotta get this out of the way. How did you come up with the name Business Bitch?
Honestly, the idea just kind of came to me one night when I was taking a shower, and I had all of these ideas; there’s a bigger backstory to it. But I knew I needed to separate my copywriting agency from the business coaching, I was getting the requests to do. So I took some time off to think about how to do it. And the idea hit me for the name all the kind of cool things I could do with the name. I got out of the shower, researched like crazy on Google to find out if anybody was doing this, didn’t look like it. The URL was available too. And so I got in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible and just started making it happen because it was exciting. And I liked it.
Awesome. And have you gotten a lot of positive feedback or kind of surprising benefits of such an unusual name?
Yeah. I think it resonates with the people that it’s meant to resonate with. Some people are just like, “Oh, well, that’s brave,” but they’re probably not in the audience or not the kind of people that would benefit most from working with me. So that’s fine. But yeah, I think it’s a catchy name for sure, so people remember it. If I tell you my URL, you’re not going to forget it. So that’s a nice benefit.
It’s remarkable, that’s what Seth Godin refers to, and the Purple Cow is worthy of remark, right?
Awesome. And it also polarizes people, I would imagine. So some people would be turned off by that, and they’re not your ideal client anyway.
It does. But at the same time, it’s like, well, am I going to cater to people who get upset over the word bitch? Or am I just going to go all in and go for it and do what I believe in and do it in a really strong way which is what I want to do so? I’ve just decided not to hold myself back.
That’s great. And this relates to copywriting, which is something that you do a lot, trying to pick the right words that resonate with your ideal audience, your customer avatar, and elicit an emotional reaction. That’s what copywriting, I think is, and you’ve done it with your name, with your brand.
Yeah, I wouldn’t say that choosing a Business Bitch was this long thought out process, where I was like, “Oh, well, what can I use to resonate with people? Oh, this would be cool.” It was just an idea that I latched on to. But yes, that is a big part of copywriting. It is resonating emotionally with people. So I’m glad that it does resonate emotionally with people, to say the least.
Awesome. And so let’s talk a bit about copywriting because you have a specialization in that area. How did you get started in it?
To rewind a bit, ten years ago, I had gotten a degree in journalism, and I wanted to be a journalist, or I thought I did. I was graduating trying to get a job in journalism. But in 2010, the market was still down, and the economy was still down from the 2008 crash. And at the same time, with journalism, these were when e-readers were becoming more of a thing. Newspapers were going online, and we take that stuff for granted now, just how pervasive it is in society. But at the time, it was a big deal. People in print media, printed newspapers, printed magazines were like, “Oh, my gosh, our industry is crashing.” So they were not in the mood to be hiring new writers, new journalists, so I really couldn’t land a job.
Online, it’s about getting attention, and in news, you have to lead with the core piece.
So I just took to freelance writing on the internet because that’s where I could make money. So I learned a lot about how writing on the internet works differently than writing for a printed publication. How writing web copy is a lot different and also similar to writing news. I learned how it all fits in with the business because the more the editors liked you, the more you got hired. So if you could write the kind of stuff that they wanted, and that helped them out, the more they would help you out and funnel work your way. So I learned just how writing works on the internet with blog posts, web pages, emails, and so I took off from there. Eventually, I started my own business in it, which is separate from Business Bitch, it was my first company.
Great. And so what’s different about writing copy, let’s say for an email newsletter than for a direct mail piece, or for a magazine article, something that’s offline?
If people sit down to read a magazine, they just have the intention of sitting down and reading, whereas if you’re writing something online, people go on the internet to read, that’s how you consume information on the internet or watching a video. But they’re usually not there to be like, “Oh, I’m just gonna sit down and enjoy myself and read the articles that are put in front of me.” So online, it’s about getting attention, and in news, you have to lead with the core piece. If it bleeds, it leads; you have to lead with the most exciting part of the story, which is also true online. But I feel it’s even more true online because a magazine–honestly, a lot of magazines, I feel, have this fluff content now in comparison to how good online content has been forced to become because of the attention span online. And because of how grabbing and eye-catching it has to be. Does that answer your question?When you go all in and do what you believe in, you come out stronger and more powerful. That’s why I've just decided not to hold myself back. Click To Tweet
What you’re trying to get people to do online is to take any action that can be immediate instead of they’re in a different mode of action or inaction when they’re offline. You can still get them to respond directly from, say, a direct mail piece, picking up a phone or sending a text or something that, but they’re already in front of the computer or on their phone consuming your content. You can get a pretty immediate response from them if you formulate the offer and the call to action appropriately.
Right. So online, you have to get attention, and you have to prompt action, whereas if you’re writing for a magazine, you don’t necessarily have to do either of those things. If it’s already published an interesting magazine or newspaper that people are going to read anyway. You don’t have to worry about those things, right?
Yeah. What would be an example of an email newsletter or some other content piece that you’ve written that generated a surprisingly powerful response from the audience?
I would say the things that get the best responses. I’m specifically thinking of emails, like email campaigns where you write something, people open it, and then they eventually buy. Because that’s what you think about when you think about business, copywriting is eventually getting customers. I think it boils down to helping people honestly and helping people in a way that gets their attention. Like, I’ll help you do this, sign up for my email course, or like usually calling it a newsletter, unless it’s a really good solid newsletter, it’s not enough to get people excited.
Copywriting boils down to helping people honestly and helping people in a way that gets their attention.
At Copy Power, I have a free email course that teaches people how to sell better with the words on their website. The right people that come and see that are the ones who sign up for it. It’s a three lesson sequence. They’re excited to open those three emails. Those three emails will help them. And then after that, I give them the option to buy into, like, my more in-depth digital course. So when I launched that, for example, that was a really good response because I was sending out this free content to help the people on my email list who wanted that help for me but who couldn’t afford to hire my hire and services of me doing it for them, so they wanted to learn. And so I filled a need that they had, a lot of people don’t know how to write well. And it’s not because they’re not smart. They just don’t know the mechanisms of it.
So teaching them that and then giving that value and continuing to help them and then showing away that you can continue to help them even more if they buy in if they choose. So those are the things that I think get the best results, and that’s usually what I have my clients do when they’re trying to like, sell something online or sell something to an online audience is just to set up a system that.
Right. So that three email sequence, that’s an indoctrination sequence, correct?
I guess the word indoctrination feels a little weird.
Yeah. It’s a little marquee, isn’t it? It’s kind of marketing speak.
I don’t know if I’m indoctrinating them. I’m teaching them practical things that they can use. But yeah, it’s helping them, it’s showing them that I’m here to help, it’s building loyalty, and it’s providing value so that then the loyalty and the trust builds as well.
So you have a three email sequence that gets triggered. So it’s a trigger-based email when they subscribe or when they opt-in for it. But then you also have a regular email newsletter that goes out every week or every month, or what are you doing in that regard?
So for Copy Power, actually, I occasionally send out emails, so I don’t do as much in that business as I used to. What I have just built up is a long email automation sequence. So it goes through those first three emails. I mean, people can unsubscribe anytime they want, but it goes through those emails, and it teaches some things. And then at the same time, they’re getting stuff to know me better, two sorts of things going on at the same time. Maybe the sale sequence as far as signing up for the help, getting the help, and then getting sold on the one product is different from this. Maybe that would be more of an indoctrination thing because they could sign up for that or sign up for something else.
Also, get added to that sequence where I introduce myself, whereas here, I’m just providing really practical help. I introduce myself, and I tell some stories about good copywriting, that kind of stuff. So I build that relationship with them on automation. And so that’s most of the email marketing there, and that’s like, a totally good way to do it. It works, and I’ve just built that out over time. But in Business Bitch, I do have a weekly newsletter that people can sign up for that I send out every week along with whatever automation people want to sign up for, like email courses or whatever.
Got it. What would be an example of an email that you would have sent recently to your Business Bitch subscribers?
I send out the weekly newsletter, which is the Business Bitch Dispatch. And when people sign up for that, they know what they’re getting. Like I share behind the scenes stuff of me running to online businesses because that’s what people in my world want to know. It’s like the how-to, how do I do this, how do I get rid of the mystery around running an online business, around making money online, around doing marketing. So that’s what I give. I also give like a behind the scenes, a business tip for them to try, or a business hack that’s easy to implement in a week, but helps improve business. So they can do that if they want. And I share other really good content like if I put out a podcast episode, or if I was a guest on a podcast or a blog or something, I share other useful stuff with them. So that’s the kind of stuff that they get. And I also share funny stories sometimes. So my personality comes through which is more entertaining to read than just drab, boring business stuff.
I share behind-the-scenes stuff of me running online businesses because that’s what people in my world want to know.
Gotcha. Now, one thing I had played with was to do a weekly Marketing Speak newsletter. And I found that I didn’t get any engagement, it was just kind of a heads up that this was the most recent episode, and here are some takeaways from it. It didn’t hit the mark. So I stopped doing that, but now I’ve hit on something that I think is a winning formula. And that’s my Thursday Three, which goes up to my larger email list. It’s kind of roughly loosely based on Tim Ferriss’ Five Bullet Friday. And the idea is one thing that inspired me, one thing that intrigued me, and one thing that challenged me. And I’m pretty good at curating, so I’ll just find interesting things for the week, and I’ll add it to Pocket. Are you familiar with Pocket?
Okay, that’s a good app.
Is it sort of like an Evernote?
Yeah, but more for just bookmarking. So my team has access to my personal Pocket account. So it’s getpocket.com, and they have my password so they can see all the things I’m bookmarking. And then they use that as fodder to write the newsletter for me because I don’t have time to write my newsletters.
So that goes out every week. And I get great responses from that. I’ve done newsletters for years and years, but this seems to hit a nerve with people. They just respond very positively about it. And it just has in the background, the episode of the week, just as kind of a, almost a passing comment, just as an afterthought even. So my two shows, this one and then Get Yourself Optimized, I just have a quote from that week’s episode from each one and a link to each of those two shows, but the main focus is those three things. It just really resonates. And yes, feel free to rip that off, you or any of our listeners.
I think person to person feel is the key. Because if you’re just sending out like, links or you’re like, “Oh, here this is, you can get that here.” It’s like, well, I could subscribe to a podcast on my phone and get that. I don’t need an email telling me that, right? But when you add something that people can’t get anywhere else, and when you add a personal touch to it, it goes a long way. Because the businesses who do well in email are the ones who can create that personal feel, instead of being like, “Oh, we’re the big business, and we’re marketing to you the people,” rather than like, “Oh, hey, we’re the team. This is me. I’m Chelsea. This is my co-worker, Dan, and we’re having fun doing this.” I don’t know, I don’t work in a big company, but you’ve seen companies that do well with that, that are still bigger, but they have that real, good, relational feel and everything they put across. And it does come down to copywriting, but it also comes down to being willing to share you as a human or yourselves as humans to people.
Very cool. So, by the way, listeners, if you wanted to subscribe to my Thursday Three newsletter, it’s at marketingspeak.com. So do subscribe. I’d love to have your feedback on what you think of my newsletter. By the way, how would people subscribe to your newsletter, Business Bitch Dispatch?The right people will always respond, so might as well do what you love from the beginning because the rest will always follow. Click To Tweet
Yeah, businessbitch.com/dispatch, or businessbitch.com, and there’s a freebie drop down, and the Dispatch is on that drop down too.
Perfect. Do you use pop-ups to try and get people to subscribe or take action?
Not really. I mean, I used to use it on podcasts like the Copy Power website. And I think I still have one there, it converts some. But when you look at the data, I noticed I had high opt-in rates when people just clicked on the button themselves, because that triggers a pop up for them to like, put their information and then sign up versus when I force it in front of them. I found that on Copy Power, I still get some signups when I just pop it in front of them. So I do still use it there, but on Business Bitch, I have multiple different things for people to sign up for.
I haven’t done the experiment, or should I put the Dispatch in front of people. I have three other, well four other freebies, but three freebies, that focus on my three different coaching pathways. How do I choose that one? And I know I can tab content and have it come up with certain content rules and that kind of thing, but I just haven’t done that yet. Or I have a summit that I have all the recordings too that people can still access as my other freebie. I just haven’t done that experiment yet.
Gotcha. And these sequences are built out in what Infusionsoft or Ontraport?
I use the Ontraport just because I host courses on my site too. Before I had MailChimp, Leadpages, some membership plugin, and all the things, and it just made sense to put them all together, and I was only paying a little bit more, so it just made it so much easier. But yeah, I use Ontraport.
I use Infusionsoft or now called Keap, but I also use Kartra now, and we’re finding that so much easier to implement. So we’re just rebuilding funnels slowly in Kartra, which is a lot of extra work because we’re rebuilding something that’s already built, but it’s a lot easier. So it’s not quite as expensive. Infusionsoft is a beast.
I see. And I’ve heard it’s called “confusionsoft” before.
If you’re trying to figure out the how of getting all this stuff implemented, you’re focusing on the wrong question.
Yeah, my team goes in there and does the work in there. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I logged into Infusionsoft. It’s been many months.
Well, even Ontraport had a learning curve, but once I got that done, it was like, Oh, I can just go in and boom, it’s up.
Well, Dan Sullivan has this expression, “Who, not how.” So if you’re trying to figure out the how of getting all this stuff implemented, you’re focusing on the wrong question. Like, who would do this for me? Who would be better at this than me? You’ll get a better outcome.
That’s funny. I just did an interview before this about delegating. The theme of the day, apparently,
Oh, my goodness, it’s so critical. One of my favorite lessons I learned from one of the folks I’ve interviewed on delegating and on productivity, it’s Trivinia Barber, on my other show and Get Yourself Optimized. She explained that you have to delegate the outcome, not the task.
Very important. I was delegating so many tasks; they tick it off in Asana. Then the thing wouldn’t end up going live or wouldn’t get submitted to the right place or whatever because they did their job. They took the box and finished their piece of it, but they weren’t thinking about the final outcome for me. So stuff wasn’t getting published; it’s just a nightmare.
I found that you have to focus on the end quality too of what you want. And then also, like, if you start delegating or outsourcing to one person, how could they grow? How could they start to take on more of your tests? If you’re delegating writing, and eventually you want this person to grow into social media, it’s better not to delegate to a writer that hates social media. I don’t know; it’s just something that I’ve noticed or that I’ve learned the hard way, I guess.
Right. One thing that I’m sure that many of our listeners have faced or are going to be facing is finding a good writer. And an affordable price for the budget that you have. So I wondered if you have any great resources or suggestions there. For example, we recently found a great writer using ProBlogger job boards. So it’s Darren Rowse’s site. That worked out much better than some of the other places that we’ve submitted job adverts to. And I’m curious what your favorite places resources are for our listeners?
ProBlogger is a good site, I used to use that one a lot when I was trying to source more jobs, and like the client-provider relationships, they are just so much better. There are people more focused on quality, which is great. But not always, because anyone who’s a freelancer can get on that job board and just submit applications. But when you’re looking for a good writer, there are some things, and affordable, high-quality writers are like a diamond in the rough, but it’s possible to find. But one of the things I would say to look for is to look for how they talk about writing. If someone’s like, “Yes, you need to hire a writer because you don’t have time and because you would rather not do it yourself.” But if that’s all that they have going for them, I mean, they might be, you can check out their portfolio, but they’re probably not going to be the best person for you to get the best results.
Instead, one of the things you can look for is how they talk about writing, do they talk about leading with emotion, and then logic, because emotion is ultimately how you hook people into what you have to say. And then you talk logically to them. And that’s not being manipulative. That’s just human nature, and getting your attention on things that they care about. Do they talk about optimizing conversions? Do they talk about selling more? Do they understand the business of how these mechanisms work together? Do they understand how a landing page works or an email funnel works with a sales page, for example? So look for those kinds of things. And if you find someone who’s competent in talking and writing about those things, you probably have a good person to take on to your team.
Gotcha. Is there a process that you recommend for onboarding or kind of trial assignments, trial periods, anything that?
Emotion is ultimately how you hook people into what you have to say.
Trial assignments can be okay, but usually, it’s you’re trying to do something cheap, and you don’t get the good stuff of the writer. I would say if you want them to do a bigger project asked to see some stuff from bigger projects that they’ve done. As far as onboarding, make sure you outline how you work and how you want the writing to flow through your company, like how do you want to provide them the information they need to do the writing? How do you want them to deliver, and by when do you want them to deliver drafts to you? How do you want to go through the revision process? Or do you want to ask them about their revision process and how that’s gonna work? Have some sort of system that’s easy to follow, especially like when you’re first working with someone, they’re going to be trying to do their best, but they may not be able to do their best or not to your expectation of their best if they don’t know what you’re expecting. So just clearly communicate those things.
All you have to do is have a page on your website, where you outline the process that you like to follow, or in a Google Doc or something. But if anyone who is listening is a writer, it also really helps to be the writer to come to the clients. With your feedback and revisions process, it’s a lot less frustrating for you. And if you do it well, the client loves you for it. Because if there’s someone who’s offloading the writing, something they don’t like to do, something they’d rather not do, and if you can take care of that for them, and you have a video to show them how to give feedback, which is what I have on Copy Power. Show people how to give feedback, what to get feedback on, what will raise a red flag in your mind, as far as like writing, but it’s not a big deal, and it’s easy to change, so don’t freak out about it. That kind of stuff is really helpful. So to go back to hiring a writer. Usually, the people who will be developed enough to do that kind of stuff will cost more, but that might be worth it if that’s something you want to look for.
Gotcha. So what kind of price ranges are typical with copywriting? And I know, it can get extreme when you’re talking about a sales copywriter, who has learned from legends like Gary Halbert, John Carlton, John Caples, Dan Kennedy, etc., they might charge a percentage of the revenue that was generated, or the profit that was generated from the campaigns, plus maybe a five, or even six-figure fee on top of that. So that’s on the extreme end, and then you’ve got people that you could find on Fiverr or Upwork for 15 bucks an hour. What’s the right kind of range? What should our listeners expect?Help, teach and provide value. That is how you build people’s trust and loyalty. Click To Tweet
As you said, it’s all over the place. I would say, if you want really good copywriting, you need to be ready to invest at least four figures, maybe five figures, depending on how big your project is. Like, if you just want a few key pages on your website to be good – four figures. If you want all your pages, all your emails, all the stuff done for you, it’s going to be five figures or so. With Copy Power, we do projects anywhere from $3000 to $15,000 or more. So that’s our range. I feel that’s a good mid-range, but we’re also higher quality, so you can get cheaper.
But yeah, it’s hard. It depends on what you’re looking for, how much you want to outsource, and how much you’re willing to do for the writer as far as communicating expectations and stuff. So if you just find a copywriter that you like online because they’re prolific and they’re out there, and lots of people recommend them, they’re going to be more expensive than if you are like searching a job board. You could probably spend about half on the job board of what you would as a copywriter who’s out there and prolific and comes in as a referral or something. Does that answer your question?
Yes, it does. I do have some follow up questions in relation to that. For example, is it more typical to charge based on an hourly rate or project rate, or a per word rate? How do you come up with $3,000 as a minimum amount of budget for a copywriting project?
I do project-based fees just because I think the worry is off as far as like, quibbling over word count, or worrying about if something takes 30 or 40, extra minutes, or fewer minutes to do something. I like doing project-based fees and knowing that this includes this amount of revisions and feedback and stuff, and that’s what it is.
So let’s say you find somebody on ProBlogger…
Oh, word count versus hourly?
I would try to go for a project fee or try to get a project fee quote, rather than an hourly quote, just because people will show up for the quality and the goodness of the work, rather than just trying to bill you for more hours or bill you for more words. I really would not recommend going by word count because the more word count, it’s just tempting to like, fill it with a bunch of fluff, that’s not good. And the more fluff that’s in there, it is less effective.
That’s a great point.
Yeah, so it costs you more, and it’s less effective. I would try to go for a project base rate, but if you have someone on retainer, you could do like hourly then. But you would probably not hire someone on retainer unless you already knew them and trust them. And they’d already done a good project for you, they have done a good job. So then you could say, “Oh, we’ll keep you for 10 hours a month or something.”
I have several writers on my team. They’re contractors, but they do work for my clients. And we are getting billed by them hourly, and then we bill out hourly as well for their time. And it works out well. I don’t like per word because of that issue that you just described, and they’re just gonna add filler words for no real reason other than to get paid more.
I mean, charging hourly, it’s not my preference. Some people swear by it, though, a guy I used to share a co-working space with had a development agency, or they developed, I don’t know, they’re people typing code all over the place in this co-working space, and they worked with him. But he likes to swear up and down by charging by the hour. So I know it works well for some people, but it’s not my preference, because I like to know what the expense is going to be and what the profit is going to be. And also, in the contracts we do is you get two rounds of feedback and revisions. If they need more, it’s an additional cost. So it’s not like running around. So if more work is required, obviously we get compensated for it. So I think the motivation is there to finish it on time too.
Right. How do you handle rewriting things that are just small amounts of text? Let’s say the intro to a podcast episode or the bumper for a podcast, or it’s the button verbiage on the call to action buttons or just a couple of words, but it has to be the right words, because “learn more” just doesn’t seem to cut it these days, I don’t think.
Like if someone wants to just hire you just to rewrite something for them?
Right, So how do you handle that if somebody says, “Well, I know that my buttons on my website aren’t converting like they should be. I need some conversion optimization. Can you do that for me?” How would you bill for that?
Yeah, so what I usually do, I know this probably isn’t typical. But what I usually do is I have them book a copy teardown session. So I get on Skype or Zoom for an hour with them to share the screen and rewrite stuff for them. And then I can talk back and forth with them to figure out what’s working and what’s not. And I find that’s way more effective for their results because then I can get immediate feedback. Like, “Oh, well, this is actually what the audience wants.” or “This is what we tried, but this didn’t work.” Whereas maybe that’s something they’ve already tried, but I wouldn’t know if they just sent the copy over and I send the copy back. And now we’d have to do revisions back and forth. So there’s a flat fee for that hour. So I charge $250 an hour to do that, and then usually by the end of it, they’ve got that podcast bumper text, the button text, whatever, and probably some more stuff that they weren’t expecting because we just fill the hour and I helped them out in that hour.
So that’s effective for people. If you find a copywriter that you like, maybe you can ask them if you can just hire them for an hour to do that. Because it’s hard to be like, “Oh yeah, well this bit of text here, and this bit of text there, and the headline on this page.” That’s kind of for a high-quality copywriter who knows what they’re doing. They need background info. So you can go do the back and forth of like, client intake. Answering this questionnaire for me, doing all this. But it’s much quicker, easier, and more effective, I think for everyone to do something like that, to just book someone for an hour or two hours or whatever you need, and get it done, get it up, and then you’re ready to go. And then you can test it, and then if you want to do it again and test them more, you can do it again.
That’s cool. I like that idea. What about if you wanted to get them coming to the call, all prepped, and you prepped as well? Do you have them fill out a questionnaire ahead of time? Is there any particular prep work that you ask folks to do in preparation for the copy tear down?
Well, I usually ask them to send over a few pieces of copy that they want to work on and what their problems are with it. So I can like to read over what they have and read over their frustrations or what’s not working. And then so like, the back of your mind is always working. So some ideas can kind of start to come together. And then so show up there with that. And then it’s also a more productive conversation. In the intake form, I have them give me that information. So before I get on the call, I can look over it and then go forward with what they need.
Yep, got it. Do you find that there’s something different about sales copywriting than just regular copywriting? Is there some sort of secret sauce that most copywriters are missing because they didn’t read a particular book by Gary Halbert, or Eugene Schwartz or somebody?
People try to make sales copywriting into a secret sauce, but there’s not a secret sauce.
I feel like people try to make sales copywriting into a secret sauce, but there’s not a secret sauce. I mean, it’s going to be a better sales page if you structure what you write along with the thought process that someone’s going to be going through it while they read it, which is like emotions and logic. Like, why do I need it? And then like sort of answering the question that they have about it, and like helping to sort of abate their worries about whatever those concerns might be, which you would know for your audience, or you would find out after they didn’t buy and told you why they didn’t buy.
But ultimately, at the end of the day, if you think about the people you buy from, you don’t want to buy from companies who are overly salesy or overly slick with their sales copy. You want to buy from the real people from the real companies who are showing you that they’re there for you, human to human. I think that’s the most effective sales copy. And I think people who are trying too hard, or writers who are trying too hard, kind of overstep it and sort of, and I don’t know, don’t get as good of conversions as they could if they just relaxed a little bit and just kind of let the writing flow out as if they ‘re—it’s cheesy to say but as if they’re having a conversation with the person on the other side of the screen. That’s my opinion.
Yeah. So you want to sound genuine and authentic and not salesy, high-pressure, too slick. But yet, you still need to preempt objections, and you need to reassure them, you need to have a story arc.
Right. Like, you can have those things, you can have the story arc, you can answer the questions without being like, “Oh, you have to have this now.” “This is the ultimate thing for this.” You can take the pressure off a little bit, and people will appreciate that.
How do you work in a story arc into a page of copy that’s about, let’s say, an online course or a physical product? What’s an example of a story arc that you either did for yourself, for your services or a client?
I have a basic outline that I follow. So I came up with what this outline was. One of the courses that I sell from Copy Power is called Write a Better Website. And it helps people write the four or five main pages of a website that they need to get sales; the sales page outline. So I have three different types of sales pages, which are something for an online course or a product description. Like if you’re selling on Amazon or freelance services or agency services, that kind of sales page where you’re trying to get people to book a call. So just follow the outline, and you tell the story of a client, like, let’s say you’re trying to get someone to hire you for your services, or your agency for the services, you sort of start with something that’s like, bold. I have this thing that I say, and I hope that I can say it on your show. Which is “Kiss your own a**.” That’s the thing that I teach people to do to sort of brainstorm out, kissing your own a**. And you can play with the words a little bit, so it doesn’t sound so crass, whatever those a** kissing statements are that you come up with, and you put that at the top.The businesses that do well in email are the ones who create that personal feeling. Click To Tweet
Then you sort of go through, you pick one that would resonate the most with the person who needs this service and what they’re doing, and you can flip the phrase around to relate to them. And then you can tell a detailed story. I teach people how to write out instances in detail, the moment to moment or the day to day detail, so that even if it’s not the exact situation that someone finds themselves in, it’s like watching a movie. You project yourself onto the screen of the main character; you project yourself into that story. So they’re feeling the pain points, and they’re going through it. And it doesn’t have to be this long like you’re writing book storytelling, but just like the short storytelling to get them at the moment to understand why it’s important. Rather than just being, “Oh, we offer this service and these conversions, and this and that and the other.” And “Look at us, we’re so great. Hire us.” Which is what most service-based websites and service agencies do on their sales pages.
But when you can have that sort of story and relate and then, with that story, you turn it around and show how something helped this person do this thing, or this imaginary person do this imaginary thing if you’re not naming someone specifically, then you show that and you put the call to action, and then you do it again. And each time you do it, you get closer and closer to the specific call to action, but you’re always presenting the call to action sort of along the way too. So that the arc is there, the story is there, the drama is there, and you’re answering the questions and doing all the things that you need to do to properly sell through text without having to have a conversation one to one so that they can book a call with you or they can buy your course. So that’s sort of the outline. Obviously, I put more details, and it’s easier to grasp on the video in the PDFs of the course, but hopefully, that gives a good overview.
Okay, great. And do you have an example of a piece of copy that you want to point our listener to see that in action?
Probably. Can I get back to you on that?
Because it’s hard for me to think without looking and reading.
Yeah. What about pre-empting or at least addressing objections? How do you best do that? Are you doing that within the story, with the hypothetical person that’s the main character in the story or with an actual client and their testimonial, perhaps, or storytelling with a bit about a specific client? How do you address those objects?
Yeah, I mean, you can do it directly in the copy, and just by nature, when you’re writing it, that will happen a little bit in the copy. But the best way I found to do it is just be direct and do an FAQ if there’s an FAQ, or just ask the question and give an answer right there in the website copy. So the question that they’re gonna ask is asked right there in front of them, and then you answer it. And then following those up with testimonials is a great way to reinforce that too. So that’s the most effective way to get across because people can see it right there in front of them.
And do you have an FAQ on your site, I’m guessing?
I do. Yes.
Do you also incorporate the questions and answers from the FAQ into sales pages and maybe the order form as well as on the FAQ page itself?
Oh, I don’t know if you would do it in the order form, but yeah, you could do it on the sales page itself.
Do you recommend that, or is that something that you’re just like, “Yeah, you could do that?”
It depends on the product, and it depends on what you’re selling. If you’re doing a service and someone has to have a discovery call with you before you book it, you probably don’t need to have an FAQ. But if you’re selling a digital product that’s more expensive digital products, so people have a little bit of apprehension about spending money on it, even if you have a refund policy, it can help to have a few FAQ questions there to just kind of ease their mind and let them know, whatever the questions are that it’s gonna be.
Gotcha. And do you have any particular recommendation around a refund policy?
Oh, that’s up to every business person. I’ve gone from doing two weeks to doing 48 hours on digital products. I don’t know what it is. On Copy Power, might still be two weeks or seven days or something. But just me personally, I do have a refund policy, and I will refund something for someone if it’s not the right fit for them, but I don’t refund creative services. Just because if you hire me, I’m putting time in my calendar, and I don’t refund that kind of stuff. Unless for whatever reason I absolutely cannot show up to do the work, then yeah, I’ll refund you your money. But that’s probably not going to happen because I don’t overbook. I try not to overbook myself, and I haven’t in a long time. And even when I did, I still found a way to deliver. But, yeah, I think having a refund policy, especially if you’re selling something digital or something online, helps to sort of minimize worry about people so they can get into the course and see that it is really good and they don’t need to refund. But they can’t get into the course unless they buy it, right? So I think having some kind of refund policy does help, but it’s also not necessary. It’s just up to whoever’s doing the selling.
All right. Okay. I think we have a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked, the dog ate my homework, whatever, doesn’t matter. Something along those lines for courses. But if somebody hires us to do services, as you say, we can’t refund that.If you want something so bad in life, it’s up to you to show up and do all the work. No excuses. Show up and do all the work. Click To Tweet
And another reason why I have a shorter refund policy on courses is because I’m an a** kicking business coach. And I see it with a lot of newbie entrepreneurs who are just starting, they’re like, “Oh, yeah, I’m gonna do this,” and they get excited, and they want to do it. But then they get in the course, a couple of weeks go by, and they start making excuses for not doing it. So it’s like, “Okay, well, if you genuinely see it’s not for you. Sure, we’ll give you a refund. But if it is for you, you need to show up and do the f**king work. You need to show up and do the work.” So that’s part of my short refund policy is kicking people into gear. And that’s the whole thing of what I believe in. Different things come into play with that.
That makes sense. It makes them get into gear faster, as you say. I’m curious what your recommendations are for briefing copywriters in terms of making sure that they get the hook right, or at least they have a hook in the article or the piece of content if there’s a particular keyword phrase that you’re going after. If there’s any kind of meme that you wanted to incorporate into the article or the blog post or whatever it is. Like there’s a set of questions, perhaps that you make sure that the person gives to the copywriter. Like what does that look like?
Yeah, so if you have a keyword you want to go for if you have memes or certain kinds of hooks, you want to make sure you include, just send it to them, straight off before they start writing so they can make sure it’s in there. And they can optimize for the keyword, or they can make sure the meme just really hits home where they put it in the blog post. But as far as like if it’s something more developed, if they’re writing your website copy for you, and you don’t know what the hook is, but you want them to get it right, again, it goes back to hiring the right person and hopefully the right copywriter will have some sort of intake questionnaire.
I started honing down on my questionnaire when I realized like when I hired someone to do branding for Copy Power, and when I hired someone to help me with some ads for a campaign that I was doing, they all have these really good intake questionnaires. So I wanted to make sure I had a really good one as well. So hopefully, they have some sort of intake questionnaire where they take your words. It can be done where you type out the answers to the questions, or I’ve just started booking a call with someone and typing like a crazy woman as they talk to me as I asked the questions, and it just kind of flows off of them. So I’m able to get to the heart of the things, but someone who takes information from you and communicates with you well, before they start writing, then they’re more likely to like, knock it out of the park, as far as your messaging and your hooks and stuff.
All right, makes sense. Are there any particular copywriters who inspire you that you’ve learned from or any particular books, courses, and resources that were instrumental for you and you recommend?
Yeah. So this sounds silly, but when I was getting started and first started Copy Power, one of the things that I heard was to imitate the people that you like to write. So I wanted to be a really good sales copywriter, and I wanted to make a lot of money in sales copywriting or writing websites that converted well. Because that’s what I wanted, that’s what I cared about, that’s what I wanted to help people who were running good businesses do. So I found like old books that had the collection of the copywriting letters and stuff. And I would just take time each day to retype it. So it would sort of seep into my brain, how they did it, how they structured it. And I started seeing patterns and started learning how to cut through the clutter and get the point across easier. So yeah, those old books, there’s something to be said for those old collections of old mail letters that used to be sent out to sell encyclopedias, or whatever it was. But they did a great job of selling them.
Yeah, well, some of the really old books from the 1930s and 1940s are some of the best books out there about how to write copy.
Yeah, that’s the stuff I’m talking about.
Yeah. Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, for example. I think that came out in the 1920s.
Yeah. I was traveling at the time, so I only had them on my Kindle. But I had a whole collection of them on my Kindle that I would go through and read and retype if I wanted to retype it or whatever.
That’s cool. Eugene Schwartz’s Breakthrough Advertising is another great one. I think that’s much more recent. That’s from the 1960s or 50s. That’s a great one. It’s hard to find that book for any kind of reasonable price. If you go on Amazon, it’s maybe 1000 bucks or something, but there’s a website you can buy it from. Brian Kurtz is the guy who has the rights to publishing this book now, now that Eugene Schwartz has passed, and he’s selling it. I think for $125, but then there’s a workbook that comes with it. And that’s at breakthroughadvertisingbook.com.
Okay. Well, $125, if you’re disciplined to make yourself go through the workbook, that’s essentially a course. So it’s gonna be good.
It’s totally worth it. It’s an amazing book. He’s one of the legends of copywriting, Eugene Schwartz. Anyway, so what would be some pearls of wisdom that you want to impart that we haven’t already spoken about on this episode that you want to leave our listeners with?
Yeah, I would say just be yourself in business. To show up and be yourself, be your true unapologetic self because that’s what gets across. Watering yourself down just makes you another face in the sea of boring. And people come across your website, and it’s not gonna sound any different than anyone else’s. So don’t be afraid to step out. If you’re not as brash as me, you don’t have to be as brash as me. You don’t have to call yourself a bitch professionally to do that. Like I did it with Copy Power, and Copy Power was great. And I’ve met people who have come up to me and be like, “Oh, Copy Power,” and that does not happen often. But it’s like wow, this thing did well. Like if I’m at a business conference or something, they have heard of Copy Power, and they know about it, and they liked what I did with it because I just showed up and was unapologetically me. So don’t hold yourself back for the sake of professionalism.
I know that’s very contrary advice to a lot of what you will hear. But we’re in a world now where people are getting sick of the same old stuff, or they’re getting sick of sticks in the mud, they want something real, they want something fresh. And you showing up as yourself is the best thing you can do, it’s the best thing you can do for your copy and your marketing, and for drawing the people into you who you want to work with, and you would enjoy working with. So that is my advice.
In other words, be bold but do it authentically.
Yeah. And if you’re not a bold person, don’t feel you have to be pressured to be bold, and say it to customers and do this stuff. Be yourself because there are people who are softer and who resonate more with the softness and stuff to show up and be yourself. And probably, if you show up being soft, you will feel you are being bold because you’re doing something that’s not typical. But just be yourself, just come from who you are, and that is what resonates most with people and what gets the attention that you want to get. The whole thing about Copy Power was to get the attention that you feel you deserve online. And you can do that by just showing up. And really, a lot of our work in that agency is pulling out what people want to say but just don’t have the balls to write out on their websites for themselves, so we do it for them.
Be bold but do it authentically.
Awesome. And what is the website and social to get a hold of you, to work with you and all that?
Yeah, so if you’re interested in the copywriting side of things, Copy Power is getcopypower.com. The website is probably the best place for that. I’m on LinkedIn, Chelsea Baldwin. It’s obvious who I am because I have the Business Bitch branding and stuff there, and businessbitch.com. If you’re on Instagram @businessbitchchelsea, those are the best places.
So somebody already grabbed businessbitch username on Instagram?
Yeah, but they weren’t doing anything with it. So that was one of the things that I found, like before I talked to a lawyer, someone had it on Twitter, someone had it on YouTube, but they hadn’t done anything with it for years, and clearly, no one grabbed the trademark. And so I have the trademark working now or like in the works because it takes, you know, government agencies take forever. But it counts from the day you file it, so we’re good. Yeah, they had taken that, but they haven’t taken the URL. You have to invest something to get the URL, I guess.
Yeah right. The ten bucks.
Well, it was more than $10. It’s one of those that you had to pay for, but I decided it was worth it.
Alright, so you bought it aftermarket?
Yeah, that’s another great old tidbit is don’t be afraid to buy a pre-owned domain and make it your own even if you have to spend two, three, four thousand dollars for it. You might even go on to a domain marketplace.
Well, this one was owned by someone who was owned by a domain marketplace. And you can negotiate with those people too. I negotiated a little bit, got the price down a little bit. So that was nice.
Okay, very good. Awesome. Well, thank you, Chelsea, this is fabulous. And listeners, please take some action and either hire a great copywriter or learn great copywriting. Either way, you’re going to be better off, and we’ll catch you in the next episode of Marketing Speak.
- LinkedIn – Chelsea Baldwin
- Twitter – Chelsea Baldwin
- Instagram – Chelsea Baldwin
- Facebook – Chelsea Baldwin
- Business Bitch
- Business Bitch Dispatch
- Copy Power
- Purple Cow
- Scientific Advertising
- Breakthrough Advertising
- Seth Godin – previous episode
- Dan Kennedy – previous episode
- Brian Kurtz – previous episode
- Trivinia Barber – GYO previous episode
- Get Yourself Optimized
- Tim Ferriss’ Five Bullet Friday
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Make sure my message and writing style resonate with my customer avatar. If necessary, find a good writer who understands my vision and can create content that best represents my business.
Recognize the difference in style and format among the several types of writing. Observe how people consume information online. Online writing is deemed to be quicker and more simplistic than a column feature.
Strategize where I place the calls to action all over my website. The right placement, wording, and timing can improve my conversion rates.
Find ways to get my audience excited about my offers. It’s a great strategy to get them on a journey to look forward to something fun and exciting.
Always aim to help, teach, and provide value to my target audience. When I show them care, I get the same treatment back.
Implement a weekly newsletter to nurture my mailing list and connect with them regularly. Do something unique so I stand out in their inbox.
Put humor into my copy. Something light and engaging tends to be more remarkable to readers.
Add a personal touch. Never let my clients or subscribers feel that I don’t take the time to connect with them. It’d be an excellent bonus to show a few significant snippets of my life once in a while.
Utilize CRM and automation apps and software such as Keap, Ontraport, or Kartra. This will help streamline my email marketing efforts and make my workflow more efficient.
Check out Chelsea Baldwin’s website, BusinessBitch.com, to learn more about their services, one-on-one coaching, and online classes.
About Chelsea Baldwin
Chelsea Baldwin’s core belief is “impatience is a virtue.” She’s the founder of BusinessBitch.com, where she helps people cut the crap and reach their next level of success ASAP. She’s a marketer by trade, and is great at helping people get the attention they need to grow their companies.
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