The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.
- Jimmy Johnson
Last year, I was part of a huge affiliate product launch.
The cart opened on a Sunday at midnight.
I woke up Monday morning and went straight to my phone to check the sales.
Decent, but underwhelming given the size of my audience.
Then I checked my email and saw the leaderboard from the affiliate program manager.
I was in 4th place...
Two of the names above me, I wasn't shocked were there. They had audiences about the same size as mine and I knew they'd do well.
But, someone else was above me. Someone I knew had maybe 1/4 of my reach.
This person was outselling me big time.
Now, I am friends with this person and respect their writing tremendously, but I was shocked.
It was a wake up call.
I had officially realized that I had let my foot off the gas on my copywriting.
It was time for a hard reset.
Copywriting Is about Effort More Than Skill
When I first started selling things online, I was basically Gary Halpert and David Ogilvy's love child.
For nightmare fuel, here is what I'd look like if that was possible.
I was good and I worked hard to make up for any lack of experience I had.
I knew less than I know now but my conversion rates were better.
When my lists were small and I was relatively unknown in my space, every word mattered. If they weren't good, I didn't make money.
But, as my lists grew, I got spoiled. I started to lay off the gas and became mentally lazy.
Emphasis on mentally. I've always been a hard worker in terms of raw output, but mentally, I lose focus often.
Mental laziness is rampant in entrepreneurs (I write all about it here if you want) and I had fallen into it again.
The revenue would go up or stay the same just because the list did, but I had stopped focusing the same amount of effort on being compelling and putting real effort into my copy.
I kept thinking, "I don't need to get long winded here. That's corny...people don't need me to sell them on everything, the offer speaks for itself. They'll think I'm just some cheesy marketer if I pull out all the persuasion tactics. The offer speaks for itself!"
Well, the offer doesn't always speak for itself. At least not to enough people for you to rely on it.
Just relying on the value of the offer and assuming the readers will see it and act logically will lead to stagnate sales.
The worst part is you'll still make sales so you might not even notice you're slacking ?
It wasn't just my sales emails that I was slacking on either. It was everything.
My posts on social media stopped being catchy and interesting.
On my YouTube videos, I'd just whip them out and figured people would watch because I knew they were good. I didn't have a hook or any incentive to watch, subscribe or comment.
When I'd share one of my new blog posts, I would say little more than "hey go check this out."
Hell, I knew the content was good, so they would too! Right?
I was scatter brained. I focused on chasing the next biggest thing that was easy to promote versus putting in the work to sell the things I really wanted to.
To make matters worse, I'd then have the audacity to be annoyed when my results plateaued ?
Talk about a recipe for building resentment against my industry!
Takeaway #1 Copywriting is just as much (if not more so) about effort than skill.
The odds are great that you're a much better copywriter than you think. Yes, you can and should immerse yourself in the craft but everyone can be a better copywriter immediately with more effort and awareness.
Takeaway #2 Stop bouncing from shiny objects.
It's very likely that you haven't really given the things you're doing now the chance they deserve. So many products and creations I've promoted over the years surely could have done better if I gave them more than one email, one post, one week of attention, etc..
Takeaway #3 More of less is better than less of more.
This is my own Yogi Berra-esque quote, but it makes sense. Go hard on fewer things. Whether that's affiliate products, niches or business ideas.
Tip #1 Get a copy buddy and review each other's work
Get a partner and team up. Review each others work and go beyond just basic spelling and grammar. Look critically at the copy aspect.
Tip #2 Spend more time on everything you promote
Simple but effective. Stop rushing things. Remind yourself that every first draft could be a better 2nd draft. Step away from your work before you share it and come back with a clear head.
Tip #3 Find creative inspiration from the greats
Make the habit of noting what grabs your attention and why. When you see great sales copy, ask yourself, "Would this work with my audience? If so, how can I add this?"
Tip #4 Use the tools available
Now, I'm not a huge fan of cookie cutter sales copy BUT there are a lot of tools out there that can help you head in the right direction.
I share a bunch of them here but be sure to check out.
- Hemmingway App for analyzing readability
- Funnelscripts for customizable copy scripts
- Coschedule Headline Analyzer for grading different subject and headlines.
Thoughts? Feed them to me in the comments!
Unapplied knowledge benefited no one.