What’s working, what’s not working, and how to avoid common mistakes
As a launch copywriter and strategist, I read A LOT of copy.
I have the privilege of writing, working on, reading, and auditing copy for online marketers, course creators, coaches, and educators around the world.
And when I’m not deep in my copy cave rewriting my clients’ launch or funnel copy…
I’m doing copy coaching inside a high-end mastermind with online course creators, reading and auditing the copy they’ve already written.
So needless to say, I’ve looked at allll different types of online copy. I’ve seen firsthand that a lot of those tried and tested best marketing practices don’t always work. And while every piece of copy is unique, after a while you start to see patterns rise to the surface.
That’s what I’m going to share with you today.
I’m going to give you the six surprising things I’ve learned after writing 19+ launches in the last 12 months…and give you some tools to revamp your copy.
Heads up: I cover this exact topic in my latest YouTube video, so click on that link if you want to see me dive into greater detail…
#1. Shiny Object Syndrome
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, then I’ve probably mentioned my toddler at least a couple hundred times.
She’s an amazing little human ball of mystery…
And while I can’t begin to anticipate her next move, there are times when she is completely predictable.
Like all toddlers, Norah suffers from shiny object syndrome.
Meaning she’s drawn to new things like a moth to a flame.
So even if she fell in love with that totally awesome doll from Moana that I spent hours searching for last Christmas…
She ditches it in a heartbeat the minute a new package arrives from Amazon (even when it’s a pair of mommy’s socks.)
And you know what…
A lot of online marketers get distracted by shiny object syndrome too.
Many online marketing companies want to use the latest and greatest strategies…without understanding whether they’ll work or not.
Soooo many people will look at what other people are doing in their niche and say “Hey, I want to do this thing!”
But the question should always be — is it working? Do we know that it’s converting and making them money?
If there’s no data to back it up, that shiny new strategy can end up costing you big time.
I really encourage you to use your past, present, and future data to inform your decisions. And to avoid being lured in by new strategies (no matter how shiny they may be.)
#2. Messaging Over Mechanics
So many marketers focus on the mechanics of their launch.
They’ll drive themselves crazy deciding whether to do a webinar, a live launch, a challenge, an evergreen funnel…
But here’s a little secret:
The mechanics don’t matter near as much as the MESSAGING.
You don’t have to blindly trust the experts who tell you the only way to bring in an audience is to do a webinar.
Hate doing webinars? Don’t do it! It won’t be fun for you and your audience can sense that…which makes for a really awkward hour for everyone.
Do what makes sense for you.
The mechanics of your launch or marketing sales funnel depend on your preference, your resources, and your audience.
It’s much more effective to focus on the messages and test out the mechanics that you want.
You don’t have to stress about using the type of marketing funnel content, type of offer, or signature launch that worked for somebody else
Because in reality, your messaging is going to be what makes the biggest difference.
#3. Audience is Everything
Bear with me.
This is less of a “surprise” and more of a “let me tell you this for the millionth time”…
I really want to drill this point home. It’s one of the things that I see people overlook time and time again.
Your audience always comes first.
Lots of online entrepreneurs and course creators come up with product ideas they’re really excited about. And their product may be really great.
But their problem is that they focus on that product and that product alone.
So they pull out all the stops and try to get it this amazing new thing out to the world…
As long as it’s out there, it’s gotta sell, right?
Because what’s more important than a quality product…
Is your people and what they need and want.
Seth Godin says we should create products for our customers, not customers for our products. I couldn’t agree more.
When you start with the thing you want to sell, it’s less likely to convert.
You should always be thinking about your audience: what they want, what they need, what they’re struggling with, how they think, what they consume, what they’re attracted to, and everything else.
So don’t start with your marketing or your product.
Start with the thing that matters most.
#4. Awareness is Key
Have you ever tried on something that was “one size fits all?”
It’s either way too loose and flimsy…
Or so tight & snug that you may as well be wearing Spanx.
So aside from the enigma that is the one size fits all poncho…
One size fits all never works. Especially when it comes to your messaging.
If you use the same messaging all the way through your funnel…
From your free content to your webinars, show-up sequence, sales emails, sales page, and checkout cart…
Then like 11-year-old me during gymnastics tryouts, you’re going to fall flat on your face.
You have to understand that people are at different stages of the buyer journey at different stages of your funnel. So be aware of who is reading and what stage of the journey they’re in.
I dive deep into this subject in my stages of awareness blog post, and I’d highly encourage you to read it to understand how it relates to your funnel.
But if you only have one takeaway, make it this:
You have to walk your readers through their journey on the way to your offer.
That means helping them shift their beliefs, overcome challenges and hesitations, understand their problem, figure out solutions, and get clear on the outcome they want…
You may have to do all those things before they’re ready to buy your product.
The person who is looking at your free content is fundamentally different than the person that is ready to check out and buy.
So when you start listing out features of your product and someone doesn’t even understand that they need a solution…it’s not going to go well.
You have to understand the journey.
5. Understand What’s in Your Readers Head
I like to call this “The Cranberries” rule.
Because to have effective messaging, you need to understand the conversation your readers are having in their head.
You have to ask yourself “what’s in your head?”
A mistake I see a lot of online entrepreneurs make is using their work with clients to determine their messaging.
They’ll look at their testimonials, think about their coaching calls, and use their conversations with paying customers to determine their messaging.
You have to remember there is a journey.
Those paying clients and people in your program have already clicked purchase or signed a contract.
So they’ve already gone through some belief shifts, overcome some hesitations, or had their problems answered.
They’re bought in on the outcome you promise.
When you only use those conversations to inform your messaging, you’re going to be missing where the other readers are actually in their heads.
While those interactions with students and clients can be insanely valuable…
You’ve got to back it up. Way up.
You need to understand what the other people in your audience are actively expressing and enduring.
The person who is just becoming aware of their problem might not even have the same vocabulary as the student who is already an active part of your program. So when you casually throw out words they don’t understand, it’s not going to move their journey forward.
If you hopped in your DeLorean and traveled to six months ago to ask your student what they need, they’re going to give you a completely different answer than what they will today.
Don’t ignore those people at the top of your funnel. You’ve got to understand that your conversation with the people inside the program is very different from the conversation you’re having with the people outside.
6. Embrace the Struggle
If you’ve been around the copywriting block for a while…
You’ve probably been taught to tackle your readers’ objections and challenges.
And while it’s crucial that you help your readers overcome these mental hurdles…
You have to be careful not to dismiss their objections and challenges.
That can have the opposite of the desired effect on your readers…
It can make them feel invalidated and overlooked.
By not acknowledging your readers’ problems, you’re not allowing them to make those shifts they need to make to buy your offer.
You’re not inviting them to trust you because you haven’t validated their experience.
But if you shine a light on these challenges, their confusions, their hesitations, you can help them feel seen, heard, and acknowledged.
Your job is to hold space for their problems and to help them discern what is outside their control and what can be fixed or adjusted. Help them decide whether your offer is the right decision for them.
Answer their questions, acknowledge what their going through, and let them know that their self-proclaimed failures are not their fault.
When we ignore a problem, it only gets worse (just look at the mold problem in my laundry room.)
So if you blow by our readers’ biggest challenges, they may feel stuck and have no idea which direction to turn.
Instead of ignoring things that are going on, bring them to the surface. You’ll build so much more trust and connection.
And I will bet that you’re going to see your conversion rates shoot through the roof.
So here are the six surprising things I’ve seen as a launch copywriter and reading lot and lots of launch copy:
- Online marketers making decisions without understanding any data
- Prioritizing mechanics over messaging
- Not prioritizing the audience
- Not walking a reader through their journey
- Using student/client conversations to determine messaging
- Ignoring or dismissing reader challenges
Read through your copy to see which one of those six you might be doing and make some changes.
You might be surprised at how much of a difference it makes in the way people connect to your copy, the conversations people want to have with you, and how people are willing to spend their money with you on your offer.
That’s it for this round.