We all want to write copy that actually connects with our readers, right? Whenever we sit down to write something for our business, we are hoping our writing is intriguing enough that it captures our ideal clients attention, keeps them reading until the end, and then ultimately leads them to buy. But when it comes to connection copywriting, how do we DO that?
In this episode, I'm chatting with conversion copywriter Elise Hodge, and she’s sharing 4 secrets to writing copy that connects with our dream clients: specifically for sales pages and other sales copy (although honestly - these secrets could work ANY time you sit down to write). These four secrets will help you craft an INSTANT connection with your dream client.
We also talk about:
- What marketing strategies are outdated in 2023 (and what will stand the test of time)
- What you should have in mind when you sit down to write a piece of copy
- Why you DON’T have to be creative to write copy
- And so much more!
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
About Elise Hodge of Connection Copy Co
Her official bio is this: Elise is the founder and lead copywriter at Connection Copy Co., where she helps entrepreneurs create a magnetic connection with their dream clients, so they can become their first and only choice. Her boutique agency services include Brand Messaging & Website Copy, Launch Copy, and Retainer Content Management. Elise also supports entrepreneurs who want to take a done-with-you approach to their messaging through her membership, the Connection Copy Club, and copy templates. Elise is the host of the Expert Status Show, a podcast where she pulls back the curtain on business life and shares tangible copy tips, insightful interviews, and the reality of navigating life and business as a mum. Beyond business, you’ll find her soaking up time with her husband and two babies, diving into her latest Kindle read or keeping up with the latest Formula 1 drama.
In this episode, we talk about the fact that she actually started her copywriting business by posting in Facebook groups offering to write bios for $50. She had been running a blog for some time and had recently left a toxic work environment (her background is in PR) and had a thought: what if I started a copywriting business? What if people could pay me to write? If you have been looking for an inspiring story about what a non-linear entrepreneurship journey can look like (because I think we all know it’s not typically a straight line), make sure to tune in!
Connection Copywriting Secret #1: Connect with your clients through in-depth research and discovery
You can't write copy that connects without first knowing what's going on inside your ideal client's head. I think people think copywriting is so complicated because they think they have to sit down in front of a blank Google doc and just make up words. They might struggle thinking “I have to think really creatively”. To make it worse, they might look at someone else in their industry who has really nice words that sound really beautiful and they think they need that too.
The truth is: you don't have to write very creatively because that's not necessarily going to connect with your ideal client. In order to write connection copy, what you actually need to do is start by doing in-depth research and discovery to get inside your dream client’s head. THAT then gives you words to use in your copy, instead of writing something nice and assuming that's what your ideal client is thinking.
If you are just guessing what is going through their head, there may actually be a disconnect when someone's reading your sales page. When there is that disconnect, they end up clicking off your website.
Connection Copywriting through Data
A couple of ways to do in-depth research and discovery are:
- Surveys: the easiest way to get inside your ideal client’s head is to survey them.
- Get on a call and try to get them to dive deeper.
For either, you are likely going to want to offer some sort of incentive, but the data will be worth it. It can feel kind of intimidating when you're getting started, but sometimes I think you've gotta get really creative. It's not always simple, but it is possible. You may need to sort of start “pitching them” in order to have anyone get on a call, and the less online presence you are, the more likely you will need to offer something like a small service exchange or offer them a gift card or something to thank them for their time.
If you don’t feel like you have access to your ideal clients right now, you can also look on forums, look at your competitors, or even Youtube channels (and comments). For example, if you are a brand photographer, you may look on Youtube for “how to have a successful brand photo shoot). On the top videos, you can see what questions people are asking and what comments keep coming up.
From there, make sure to start creating a bank of customer data. Note the struggles, the big questions, and even the myths people have believed (or are believing).
EM Tip: These are ALL such great ways to data mine. I would add that I always recommend people check out both niche AND larger Facebook groups to see what questions about being asked and to look at your own testimonials too! See what problems your customers mentioned that you solved.
Connection Copywriting Secret #2: Create personality-packed brand messaging
I hear this all the time: how do I write in a way that sounds like me? How can I write in a way that doesn’t sound generic?
To put it bluntly: you are going to have to do the work to figure out what you sound like.
It’s okay if it doesn’t come naturally to you because it doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people. A brand messaging guide encompasses a lot, but here are a few things to get you started brainstorming:
- Your mission statement
- Core values
- Brand storylines (stories you always tell, for example, how you got started)
- Your tone
- A word bank (words you always use and words you never use)
- Even personality visuals (for example - on my site, you’ll find sparkling rose, which makes its way into a lot of my brand imagery).
While not ALL of these things will help you convert, they all add extra connection points with your readers and build stronger relationships.
Building a word bank for connection copywriting
While this does take time, here are a few ways to start putting together your word bank to make sure your copy sounds like you:
- Look at your text messages
- Record yourself talking to a friend
- Ask friends and family for what words/phrases you typically use
Your word bank and brand messaging guide will become an invaluable tool for connection copywriting and will ultimately make it so much easier every time you sit down to write. But they are also living documents that are constantly evolving. You can sit down and tweak things whenever you want!
EM Tip: Whenever I’m trying to write copy, if I feel stuck, I will think: if I was talking about this on my podcast, what would I say? And then I find my writing ends up being a lot more natural!
Connection Copywriting Secret #3: Position your offer as utterly irresistible
This is one of the biggest connection copywriting mistakes I see. A lot of people don't think about how they position their offer. You may just sit down to write and think, “I do Pinterest management, and this is how much it costs”. But you don't think about the actual transformation of your service or your educational offer.
Even when people DO consider the transformation, it’s often one overarching transformation. If you're joining a program to help you do this, you’re thinking about the transformation for the entire program. However, when connection copywriting, what we don't think about often enough is that EACH piece or phase of your offer has a new transformation.
When people break down their phases or modules they often think about the facts and features and while that is great and you do need to do that you should also think about what phase creates for them. You want to write EACH piece of your offer as though it was the ENTIRE offer. Write about each piece as though it is the hero. Give it that much attention.
EM Tip: you’ll notice I do that on my sales page for Booked Out Designer! I want people to know that each module alone is worth the cost of the entire course. I have a testimonial that goes with EACH module.
Connection Copywriting Secret #4: Start Writing
Once you have the above 3 things (your research, your brand messaging guide, and your offer’s positioning), you can pick up the pen (or open the Google doc) and get started. These pieces should be helpful no matter WHAT you are writing, but will be specifically helpful when connection copywriting. And remember, by now, you aren’t writing from scratch. It’s okay to use a framework and avoid staring at a blank cursor.
Use a copywriting framework like PAS: Problem - Agitation - Solution
I’m not saying you should use the PAS framework for every single page on your website, but the reason you may have heard of this is framework before is because it’s simple AND effective. You don’t need to follow it exactly, for example if you are in the wedding industry, you aren’t going to have a headline talking about all of the problems your coupes face, and may choose to paint a desire-based picture first, but you SHOULD follow some sort of proven copywriting framework.
Tips for writing your sales page copy
1. Start with one goal in mind
For your home page, you may have multiple different CTA’s (calls to action or “invitations”). But for most of the other pages on your website, you’ll want one clear goal in mind. In Elizabeth’s episode on my show, we talk about how the About page is such a missed opportunity because people tell their story, and then that’s it. You need to guide your reader to what’s next.
I like to think about website copy like inviting guests into your home. You wouldn’t welcome them in and leave them standing at the doorway. You would show them around, ask them to sit down and hang out in the living room, etc. It’s the same for any piece of connection copywriting, do you want them to respond to the email you sent? Ask them too. Do you want them to visit a blog post? With each page, have a goal in mind.
2. Start with one reader in mind
Your home page may be an exception here but typically when you sit down and start writing a sales page you need to write with just ONE person in mind and keep them in mind throughout the whole sales page.
3. Write in sections
Instead of looking at a sales page like 2000 words, write piece-by-piece. Don’t think about it as one running thing otherwise it’s easy to feel really overwhelmed when writing. I love how your sales page templates, for example, allow people to move the sections around in ways that make sense. Give yourself permission to write a messy first draft. It’s not a bad thing to have to edit each section later!
EM Tip: We often write our sales pages from top to bottom but that’s not how people are reading them! They may start with your FAQ’s, and then head back to the top to read about the problem, and then take another look at the modules. It’s okay to write your sales page in sections too!
Looking for Showit Sales Page Templates?
A note from Elizabeth:
As you can tell from my conversation with Elise, so much goes into creating a great sales page. The design and design also play a huge part of it. In my website template shop, I have some incredible and strategic sales page templates that can be added to any Showit website. There are a few different styles to choose from and you can easily integrate it into your existing website (or you can even use it as a standalone website for your course, membership, or other type of offer).
These are one page templates and in order to create them, I used the skills I have as both a designer and as a course creator and digital product creator myself. With over 30 sections, it’s easy to drag and drop and create your perfect sales. page. There are also copy prompts throughout in case you aren’t working with a copywriter so you can put the copy strategies we are chatting about today to good use.
What are some outdated marketing strategies that we should avoid when using connection copywriting?
This one isn’t specific to copywriting but I think webinars need to shift. Good training is always valuable, but 60 mins is too long. Attention spans are getting shorter and we need to adapt. I’m looking at my own data since webinars are something I’ve used in the past to sell my own membership and asking: where are people dropping off? Can I condense this into 15-20 mins? It’s okay to experiment too!
EM: I would add that I almost think private podcasting will replace webinars. We don’t want to sit in one spot for a long time anymore. I would also add that webinars that feel live, but aren’t really live, are just annoying to people now.
Using Sales Pages in 2023
Sales pages will stand the test of time as far as marketing strategies go, but I do think we still need to look at trends and adjust the way we do them. Should we include more video? More snippets or things that can help people quickly and easily digest the information? We need to ask what we do to make sales pages more engaging now.
Other Marketing Trends with Online Courses + Services
For a while, people were moving away from services and towards education, and now people are maybe shifting a little back. Or feeling different about it at least? There is no longer this idea that ONE course is going to make you 7 figures.
Another thing I am seeing as a trend in the industry is a greater emphasis on client care and client relationships, and that’ s a really good thing! I think there was such a push towards scaling and automating and it is getting old now. Course creators need to look past that and say: how can we make sure that we are connecting with people and building relationships? People want a personal touch with the education they buy now.
What was the transition like from entrepreneur to mompreneur?
I think my expectations versus reality just really didn't line up. With that said, I think being a business owner actually helped me transition into being a mom, because I knew how to pivot and think outside the box. I originally had thoughts like, “you can work during nap time” and “how cool that I get to work from home”. But the reality of what I found is that I couldn't really get into deep work and then you're tired and you're constantly task switching and you can almost start to feel like you are on edge. So that didn’t work like I thought!
I didn't personally have a lot of support and my husband works an hour away, so he would leave home when Archer would wake up or just before and come home maybe 30 minutes before Archer's bedtime every day. And he still does that now. So that was intense for a while trying to make working during nap times actually work. I think also realizing this idea of what I thought would be so awesome, doesn't exactly feel so awesome and that's okay as well. Like, this is actually really hard and this doesn't feel super fun sometimes. And people will go, “oh wow, you can work from home and raise your kids”, and the truth is, while it is possible, it can also be exhausting and hard.
We have just started child care last week for two days a week and it’s already felt lifechanging. During bigger projects you need more than naptime.
I also think I’ve had to adjust my expectations around grandparent support. While I am fortunate they can watch him for a couple of hours here and there, it’s not as scheduled or as planned as I would like for a work day. Not that I’m complaining! So this first year has been a lot about finding the pockets of time and reorganizing my priorities based on what I can actually do (and what can I ask my assistant or someone else to do!).
Rapid Fire Questions with Elise from Connection Copy Co
What’s an unpopular opinion you have about copywriting?
Anyone can do it. I’m not saying it’s easy, but you have the skills and ability to research your ideal clients and write the words yourself. You don’t have to be a creative person.
What’s a random business software or tool we should use as business owners?
I’ve been diving into Notion and loving it. It’s pretty and it seems to just make sense for my brain.
What baby product has been super helpful in the last 11 months?
Connect with Elise at Connection Copy Co
If you want to keep in touch (or work with Elise), you can find her over on Instagram here or head straight to her website to learn more about working with her (she has a TON of DIY resources for writing your own copy too!). You can also listen to my episode on her podcast here!
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May 23, 2023