Category Archives for "Copywriting"

Sep 12

The “R Word”‚Äč Secret to Growing a Profitable Consulting Business

By Lynn Swayze | Copywriting

Today I’m sharing a secret I wish I actually took to heart when I first began consulting and writing copy years ago.

If “old Lynn” had her mindset marbles straight, she might have taken this to heart and be light years ahead today.

You see, there’s ONE component to your business that you can’t fake, buy, or manipulate.

And it’s this one component that’s so critical to feeling confident, charging more, and attracting and selling new clients.

It’s even useful for getting clients to follow your advice and actually implement what you suggest.

That component is RESULTS.

Without results, you’re probably just another consultant making big claims you can’t back up.

Without results, you’re probably going to feel less than confident about your ability to deliver, and will price and position accordingly.

Without results, you’re not going to be able to get the testimonials, case studies, referrals, and repeat work that make the consulting world go round and round.

You see, it all hinges on results.

Without the results, you’re stuck.

So how do you GET RESULTS if you have no results?

Here’s what I suggest, and I’ll expound on each in a moment:

  1. Do it for yourself, and collect the data
  2. Do it for free, or for a lower fee in exchange for testimonial/case study
  3. Only work with those who will be able to get results, and only do work that is measurable

Got that? Let’s dig into those three suggestions really quick.

Do it for yourself, and collect the data

The first thing I suggest you do, if you’re new to consulting, is to do whatever it is you’re trying to sell for yourself. Doing this will give you confidence and mental images that say you can do the thing. It’ll also give you the data you need to sell it to someone else.

Let’s take Ryan Levesque of ASK METHOD as an example.

Did he start out by selling this method without trying it first? Nope. He tried it on his wife’s businesses first, got the results, then tried it elsewhere, got more results, and then kept building from there.

So it was easy to keep selling bigger and bigger clients because he had the data to say, “Look, I’ve gotten results here, here, and there, and even over yonder. I am confident we can make this work for you, too.”

You should do the same for yourself.

If you’re a copywriter or marketing strategist, then come up with a business and make it go using the marketing strategies you sell.

If you’re a clutter coach, get your own house in order first.

If you’re a fitness coach, get in the best shape before you pitch your services.

Now, obviously there are consultants who don’t fit this mold. Lawyers, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and so forth. Your business is a little different and can’t rely on this; instead, you have to rely on other proof methods and probably mentoring with an experienced partner for a while.

Do it for free, or for a lower fee in exchange for testimonial/case study

Once you have some data for yourself, you’ll have the RESULTS on hand to pitch to someone else.

Here’s where doing a few jobs for free (like for those in your immediate network) as a “test” would work.

But whoever you help, make sure they:

  1. Have the problem you solve
  2. Have the desire to solve that problem
  3. Have the ABILITY and DESIRE to track the metrics needed
  4. Have the willingness to provide you with the DATA and a TESTIMONIAL as a result of your work together

This is so necessary at the early stages, and you can easily build in the testimonial and data-gathering into whatever contracts you write.

Only work with those who will be able to get results, and only do work that is measurable

Finally, don’t let your sales people sign anyone who isn’t able to get results, or who wants to do work that isn’t measurable, or who refuses to let you track the results.

This is especially true for you marketing consultants and copywriters.

RESULTS = MORE WORK.

As you grow, you’ll come across salespeople with mindset issues who just want to close everyone who breathes. Do NOT let them do this. Instead, help your salespeople understand that results will make the job of marketing easier, and marketing makes sales easier.

This is where specialization can help.

If you specialize in solving painful problems in a very specific way, you can build data-gathering into your solution; you can make sure that whatever you solve, that it’s impactful AND measurable.

To reiterate:

If you want to grow your consulting business, you’re going to have to start injecting more RESULTS into your marketing, sales, and consulting process. And the only way to get to that point is to a) only do work that is measurable, b) only work with those who will actually measure their results and pass those results to you, and c) actually measure those results and use it in your marketing.

Need help identifying metrics that will move the PROOF needle? Let’s talk. Send me an email at lynn@idrm.us to get the conversation started.

Sep 11

COPYWRITERS: How to Virtually Guarantee Your Copy ACTUALLY GETS RESULTS and Avoid Years of Heartache, Lack of Referrals, and Lost Income

By Lynn Swayze | Copywriting

If you’re a new copywriter struggling to get the kind of data and results you need to feel confident in your work and have data to land bigger projects, then I suggest you read this post closely, because it may very well save your bacon.

These lessons took me THREE YEARS and a lot of pain to learn.

I ate eggs for Thanksgiving learning these lessons.

I went homeless learning these lessons.

I lost my car learning these lessons.

And after all that, I finally did what I needed to do to learn these lessons and finally make the changes necessary to stop repeating dumb mistakes.

And now, I want to avoid that scenario for YOU.

So if you’re a new or struggling copywriter, I want you to write down the following:

  1. I will find a copywriting mentor and always have one at my side.
  2. I will not release copy until it has been vetted by others more experienced than I.
  3. I will only write copy for clients who are READY for my services and able to make the most of my copy.

I will expound on each in a moment.

But first, let me explain what will happen if you don’t follow this advice.

If you don’t follow at least one of the 3 action items above, you likely won’t ever be a working copywriter. Or you’ll struggle forever.

You’ll struggle for money, putting you in a desperate situation.

Being desperate, you’ll lower your fees.

Your lowered fees will attract newbie entrepreneurs who:

1. Don’t have a proven offer and already winning control.

2. Hire copywriters as their “lucky magic foot”, as if a copy/funnel by itself will solve all the financial problems someone has.

3. Don’t have a robust traffic source yet they can tap into

4. Don’t have split testing and data tracking in place.

5. Don’t have the patience to look at the long-term strategy, rather than short-term “hacks” and “systems”

6. Don’t have a big enough budget to see results (money for ads, money for funnels, money for copy, etc), and thus are looking for shoestring, half-assed “fixes” to their marketing problems

Sometimes, these newbie entrepreneurs don’t even have testimonials or case studies … making your job even harder.

Note, these aren’t BAD PEOPLE. They’re just not ready to benefit from YOUR HELP without you giving them a lot of training and mindset shifts.

They don’t know what they don’t know, and that hurts everyone. And if you don’t know either, it’s like the blind leading the blind down a cobblestone road. At some point, you WILL trip. Hard.

And when you do work for these newbie entrepreneurs, you’re not likely to get results for them.

Which will mean, NO REFERRALS.

Which might mean REFUNDS.

Which will definitely mean FEELING LIKE A SHIT COPYWRITER.

And at the rates you charged, you may very well have written shit, rushed copy.

But maybe not…  

Maybe it would have worked marvelously, if only they had traffic.

Or maybe it would have worked better, if only they had testimonials, a proven offer, and a compelling story.

Or maybe it would have still bombed, because you don’t know what you’re doing.

But how the heck would you know?

And you, being still in a scarcity-fueled and desperate state, probably pick door #3, that you’re a shit-show.

And so what do you do?

In all likelihood, you’re going to lower your fees again (or feel like crap for “taking advantage” of people), and continue the cycle until you give up.

OR…

You can follow the “Three Commitments” I’m going to explain below.

Your choice.

So, let’s look at those three commitments:

  1. I will find a copywriting mentor and always have one at my side.
  2. I will not release copy until it has been vetted by others more experienced than I.
  3. I will only write copy for clients who are READY for my services and able to make the most of my copy.

#1. I will find a copywriting mentor and always have one at  my side.

A copywriting mentor is an INVALUABLE resource and career-booster. A mentor will help you avoid common newbie mistakes, point you in the direction of good training, review your copy, and even connect you with good-fit projects that fit your skillset.

A copywriting mentor will also give you solid advice on clients, pricing, and positioning, so you avoid career-ending mistakes like the ones I just described.

Every successful working copywriter I know recommends hiring a mentor. It’s what I wish I’d done years ago. And it’s what I now recommend to everyone.

If you can, hire one. If you can’t, see if you can’t find one for free. (I’m beta testing a mentoring program now, if you’re interested.) If you can’t do that, crowdsource it with something like Copy Chief or Cult of Copy or something similar. Or build a group of working copywriters, or join one.

But for the love of everything good and holy in this world, FIND SOMEONE.

Which brings me to #2.

#2. I will not release copy until it’s been vetted by others more experienced than I.

It doesn’t matter how much copy I write. Every time I release copy, I get nervous jitters. That is, unless it’s been vetted and worked on with the help of more experienced copywriters who can say, “The argument is weak here, boost it by adding… ” or, “Maybe a promise headline would be stronger here,” or, “You forgot to add some takeaway selling near the end.”

If you commit to only running copy that’s been vetted, you’ll do better in the long run.

#3. I will only write copy for clients who are READY for my services and able to make the most of my copy.

Of course, if you have #1 and #2 in place, it’s less likely you’re going to end up in this scenario. But in case you don’t, then AT LEAST stick to this one.

If you can help it, only write for clients who can actually USE your copy.

That is, clients who…

  • Are already testing every aspect of their marketing and know that all copy is just another test
  • Aren’t looking for you to perform 10 marketing jobs (tech, design, copy, traffic, etc)… most of which aren’t in your specialty and which they should already be doing
  • Aren’t looking for you to be their “lucky rabbit’s foot” that’ll save them from bankruptcy
  • Have a robust traffic source already
  • Have a proven offer (product/service/package) that’s ALREADY SELLING and has testimonials and data

You will avoid painful, career-ending situations by either a) only working with people who are in a position to profit from your copy, or b) do a HELL of a lot of expectation-setting and education on the front-end before you hire someone, and set up very very clear expectations when you on-board and while you work together.

Or c) hiring a mentor or crowd-sourcing mentorship with your copy review group.

A mentor of some kind will help you by saying, “Oh, that’s not a good client. Move on to the next prospect” and thereby save you this heartache and self-doubt.

A client who has no traffic, doesn’t have a proven offer, and is using up the last of their marketing budget by hiring you likely won’t see results with JUST COPY. They need so much tweaking in every area of their business.

They just don’t have enough success components.

So yeah, they may hire you. They may even pay a LOT of money to  hire you. That doesn’t guarantee results.

And when they don’t get results, do you know what you won’t have that’s even MORE valuable?

1. You won’t have built a relationship that’ll lead to further work, because you’re embarrassed and ashamed at the lack of results, they’re pissed off at the lack of results, and they now have no budget for future work.

2. You won’t have the data you need to feel confidence in your skills and sell yourself to others. This by itself can be a career-killer.

3. You won’t get the referrals you need to break into bigger markets with bigger budgets. This too can be a career-killer, because one big key to copywriting success is in who you know.

4. You won’t get the testimonial/case study you need to “stack the deck” in your favor.

5. You won’t learn lessons you need to learn about conversions, traffic, big ideas, etc…. lessons that are necessary to “LEVEL UP” both your skills and the results you get clients.

So when you keep these things in mind, you can see how working with the wrong client is more detrimental to YOU than to them in many ways.

THEY are out money. It sucks, but it’s replaceable and their business doesn’t depend on the same data.

YOU are out so much more – work with this client, work with other clients, future income, referrals, testimonials, lessons, and relationships. You’ve also damaged your reputation and your self-worth.

So if you remember ANYTHING of what I’ve suggested here, please at least remember this last piece of advice.

To recap, the commitments are:

  1. I will find a copywriting mentor and always have one at my side.
  2. I will not release copy until it has been vetted by others more experienced than I.
  3. I will only write copy for clients who are READY for my services and able to make the most of my copy.

Now go thee forth and prosper! ūüôā

And if you’d like to be one of the 3 I’m beta testing with my copywriting mentoring program, send me a PM or email adam@idrm.us. One spot is already filled.  

Here’s to your health, wealth, and abundance,

Lynn

Sep 14

Direct Response Marketing: Advantages and Disadvantages

By Lynn Swayze | Articles By Lynn Swayze , B2B Marketing , Copywriting , Marketing Funnels

Could direct response marketing be the answer to your business growth problems? In part 2 of the “Ultimate Guide to Direct Response” series, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of direct response marketing for small businesses. Click here for Part 1.

Direct response marketing is the success secret fueling almost every successful speaker, coach, “guru”, and businessman today who makes his living selling directly to consumers. Tony Robbins? He’s a direct response marketer. Brian Tracy? Also direct response marketer. Timothy Ferris? You guessed it – he’s a direct response man. For centuries, brands have relied on direct response marketing and direct response copywriting to fuel the business.

While I could go on and on about the advantages of direct response marketing, that wouldn’t help you — the business owner — gauge its true worth to you to test. That’s why in this post I’ll break down the honest advantages and disadvantages of using direct response marketing strategies.

Let’s start with the disadvantages first.

The Disadvantages of Direct Response Marketing

There are a few disadvantages to direct response marketing. These disadvantages fall under four categories: effort, efficiency, expense, and ego.

Effort

One reason many entrepreneurs do not undertake direct response marketing is that there is a great deal of¬†effort¬†required to do it right. A good direct response copywriter will ask to research for weeks, if not¬†months, before beginning marketing creation. That’s because in order to do the job right and get stellar results, the marketer has to crack open the buyer’s mind and pull out the juicy desires, objections, and emotions. Only then can effective marketing be written.

Another source of effort? The tracking. Direct response marketing insists on being accountable, and accountability requires diligent tracking. Direct response marketers track the cost per lead, the open rates, the click through rates, the response rates, and many other metrics in between. Planning the data collection, managing the data, and then reviewing the data takes time away from other operations tasks.

Efficiency

The next “problem” with direct response marketing is the speed of execution. A full direct response marketing plan may have over 150 separate marketing assets. If you want to just “wing it” and run with whatever comes into your head, then direct response marketing methods are going to feel a bit disappointing. (Mostly because tracking marketing which fails kind of sucks.)

Expense

Another complaint of direct response marketing? It’s expensive! Compared to the cost of simply slapping up a website and posting on Facebook a few times a week, direct response can feel expensive at first. For example, Facebook ads will run you¬†at least $10 per day, if not¬†hundreds. Same for Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. And direct mail will cost at least $1 per name once you count printing and postage costs. And¬†none¬†of that includes the cost of the copywriter tasked with writing your converting direct response campaign.

Ego

Another problem with direct response? It doesn’t care about your ego. Many businesses want to run pretty yet¬†narcissistic¬†marketing messages like “We’ve been in business for 34 years” or other trite messaging. This type of messaging doesn’t actually work, yet it feels good to run it. Businesses with a lot of ego tend to pick more “branding” oriented marketing methods, which cater to feeling good and not rocking the buyer emotion boat.

The Advantages of Direct Response Marketing

Now, it’s time to look at the¬†advantages¬†of direct response marketing. There are quite a few, otherwise we wouldn’t be in the business of direct response here at Indiana Direct Response Marketing (IDRM). They are accountable, effective, and long-lasting.

Accountable

First and foremost, direct response marketing is, if nothing else, accountable. Direct response marketers insist on marketing  campaigns and copy being held to the standard of DATA. Not gut feelings, not whims, not trends, but quantifiable and irrefutable data. How do we know if a big idea or an approach will work? We test! How do we know if a new approach will beat the existing control? We test! We test and measure until your marketing is optimized for response and effectiveness. And at the end of the day, we tie results to the long-term revenue you gain. Period.

Effective

This extreme focus on accountability and results generally means that what is done is actually¬†effective¬†and moving the needle and keeping you in the black. A direct response marketer is a bit like a salesman: a salesperson who can’t close eventually finds himself out of work. The same is true of us: if we can consistently generate leads and revenues for our clients, then we work. If we can’t, we have to hang up our hat. It’s just that simple.

Long-Lasting

Finally, because direct response marketing is based on data and must actually generate more leads and more revenue for the business, then it often happens that a business will finally create a marketing asset (such as a webinar, direct mail series, or sales page) which lasts for a bit of time. Unlike social media, which must always be new and fresh, direct response marketing funnels could last years. In the early part of the century, there were newspaper ads which lasted decades. Which means that paying for direct response copywriting once could mean years of profit at no extra cost.

Need help with this? Contact me today to get the ball rolling. 

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