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The 80/20 of Copywriting: How Copy Can Elevate Your Freelance Game In Just 7 Days


(This is a guest post by Liston Witherill, a speaker at the upcoming Double Your Freelancing Conference. Don’t have your ticket yet? Buy your ticket while they’re still available and join Liston and 13 other speakers in Norfolk, Virginia, this September 16th – 18th)

Their conversion rate was way too low.

The business provides a very valuable service – the kind that actually makes dreams come true.

You see, they help their clients immigrate to a new country by knowing immigration laws and strategically completing visa applications.

But they had 2 really big problems:

1) they weren’t doing anything to nurture lost leads or turn web visitors into leads, and

2) they were really bad mind readers. More on that in a second.

To solve the first problem, we quickly put together an educational email sequence. This recovered lost leads and created more engaged prospects who emailed or called in to start a sales conversation. Simple and straightforward. Check.

The second problem – the mind reading problem – was one of messaging. That is, the messages they used were decidedly not matching up with the internal monologues their prospects were having when they hit the landing page. The original headline:

Are you ready to immigrate to Australia?

The new headline:

Are you eligible to immigrate to Australia?

That’s right: just a one-word change in the headline, but a huge shift conceptually.

After we were done with the landing page, the design and supporting messages were changed along with the headline. But the basic premise was simple: people who saw a Google Ad and clicked it were already thinking about immigrating to Australia, but what they didn’t know was if they were eligible to immigrate.

The result?

A 189% increase in leads. Before they had 74 leads for every 1,000 clicks. Now they get 214 leads for the exact same advertising spend.

Your copy – and in particular, the main messages you use – has the power to dramatically shift your online sales and lead gen. A few more of my favorite examples:

  • AwayFind tested a simple headline and got a 15% bump in trials
  • John Caples, an author and Mad-Men-type ad exec, once saw a 19x bump in sales from a headline test
  • Aweber got a 12% boost in paid signups by adding a single word to their CTA button copy

And here’s the big idea: CRO matters, but it yields marginal gains compared to great messaging and clean design. Let’s focus on copy.

Why Your Copy Isn’t Working Hard Enough For You

Your copy has a job to do: namely, work its little butt off like the most underpaid employee in the world. And it can work holidays, graveyard shifts, and requires absolutely no PTO or sick days.

At a minimum, your finely-tuned and most resonant copy will:

  • Educate your prospects and customers, so please ditch the lengthy descriptions of your specialties or why there’s a business case for your services
  • Position yourself and/or your company against your competitors so people know exactly why they should choose you (check out Philip Morgan for more on this)
  • Persuade to get prospects and customers to take action quickly, and do the things you want them to do (here’s a hint: you want them to make a decision, not necessarily buy from you)
  • Sell because, after all, you’re in this to pursue your passion and make money

Wave a Magic Wand

Let’s pretend you’ve implemented the copy you’ve always wanted. Your copy will do at least 5 important things for you every day:

  1. Deliver more educated prospects
  2. Shorten your sales cycle
  3. Increase your low conversion rates
  4. Lower your cost per acquisition of leads and customers
  5. Drive sales revenue and reduce time costs

Improve Your Copy In Just 7 Days

Freelancing can be tough a gig, and we all like quick fixes. I want to make freelancing easier for you. So here’s your 7-day plan to improve your copy and see results as soon as you launch:

  • Days 1, 2, and 3: ask your prospects and customers about their key problems. Here are some sample questions you can use:
    • What triggered you to buy my product/service?
    • What was your biggest business challenge before coming to me?
    • What were the questions you had before coming me for help?
  • Day 4: of the problems you’ve identified, figure out the biggest problem you’re solving
  • Days 5, 6, and 7: repeat the big, hairy problem in your copy, and make sure your supporting messages reinforce the problem and naturally lead to your solution

And here’s a pro tip: use the same language your customers use. As in, copy it verbatim and feed it into your copy. It’s okay, I give you permission.

Your final tip is to speak directly to your ideal customer through your copy, as if you’re having a 1-on-1 conversation. If you don’t, you’ll sound boring and robotic. Your clients aren’t looking for robots, they’re looking for people to solve people problems. Down with the robots.

I Have More to Say About This, But…

I have dozens more tips for you. I’m a digital marketer and copywriter, so I can talk about this stuff for days. But not here.

There is good news, though.

I’m going to talk all about how I use top-notch, mind-reading messaging and copy for myself and my clients at the Double Your Freelance Conference. Will I see you there?

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