It’s Monday! That means it’s time to dig into the ol’ mailbox and see what the question of the day is today…
Reminder: You can have YOUR most pressing marketing, business, copywriting, selling, or even meaning-of-life question answered here, in a weekly Mailbox Monday issue.
How? Simple. Just email it to me at [email protected].
I’ll add you to the queue and answer it in an upcoming issue.
Here’s today’s question…
Roy! I have just finished your book, (I ate it up in the total of 2 hours, or perhaps I should say I drank it?) Regardless of how it happened, the important part is that I am taking it all in, making notes and reflecting on the key elements. [Note from Roy: She’s talking about The Copywriter’s Guide to Getting Paid, which you can get free by paying my shipping costs — just click here.]
I am already a small business owner. I have built three fairly successful businesses, learning and stumbling along the way. I now realize that, while my copy isn’t horrible, it also isn’t great and because I am a D.I.Y kind of gal, I thought I might like to learn how to do that better. That, however, has opened a door that I am not quite sure how to close. I am now contemplating the sale of my businesses in order help other people launch, develop and expand their own. (slightly less responsibility likely similar profits) Though, in your book you suggested quite the opposite.
My questions are:
- I understand the importance of measuring impact. Until now, the only way I have measured this is by comparing those who have contacted me for services with those I actually sell our product to. So, if 100 people contact me, how many actually enroll? My question for you is, what tools, apps or processes do you use to do this? Because when you are measuring a high volume product, I don’t think it is likely you can do it effectively and efficiently they way I do for my 200 or so students a year.
- What other technological applications or skills should the “best” copywriters be well versed in? WordPress, graphic design? Do you do your own specs or do you work with a graphic designer?
In short, thanks again for the inspiration and I appreciate the hand holding on this.
Wowzer! That’s a whole lotta questions packed into one…
And yet, rather than splitting them up, I decided to hit on all of them. Because I think their answers can be addressed in fairly straightforward ways that won’t take a lot of time to provide a ton of actionable value.
But before I get to the two demarcated questions in there, there’s another, hidden in the setup.
Stephanie has now run three separate businesses, and is considering pivoting toward becoming a copywriter and helping others with their marketing.
And she states that I actually suggest moving in the opposite direction — that copywriters should instead build a business.
Let’s set the record straight…
My suggestion for becoming a copywriter versus building a business…
I absolutely believe that the biggest income opportunity, the most scalable, leveraged opportunity for anyone with copywriting and marketing chops is to actually build your own business, or partner in one.
That’s totally true.
And, in fact, I’ve taught and shared this idea in a few different contexts recently.
The richest copywriters I know got that way either by building their own business, or becoming a partner in someone else’s, where their marketing contribution earned them a stake in the business and its profits.
All of that is still totally true.
I don’t necessarily believe that’s the BEST choice. Because BEST is a subjective judgment, based on you, your values, your interests, and your ambitions.
I have every interest in building my own business. I’ve turned down more than one potentially lucrative partnership. I believe the best course of action is me in the driver’s seat, as the visionary and marketer, building a business around my specific contributions, but with the help of others who can make the operations hum.
That’s best for me.
But maybe that’s not what you want. Maybe you don’t want the responsibility. The complexity. Maybe you don’t want to climb that specific mountain.
Maybe you want complete control over your schedule. To work from where you want, when you want. To not have to check in on a daily basis to a boss that doesn’t value you.
Freelance copywriting and independent marketing consulting could be the perfect lifestyle business for you. Find a handful of really great clients that you can be a big help to, and you’re in great shape.
Or, maybe you want security, and don’t mind going to work 9-to-5, and in fact feel best in that environment.
Who am I to judge you for that?
What’s best for you is what’s best for you. Based on observation, the biggest income earners are the marketers who become business owners. The greatest freedom comes from freelancing. And the most secure and structured opportunity is going to work for someone else.
I don’t care what you want most. The worst thing you could do is try to do something because me or anybody else tells you it’s the best. Don’t listen to them. Listen to yourself. What’s the best for you? Do that!
How to measure customer behavior and impact at scale?
This is a tricky question, because there are a thousand different ways to do it. What I find, in general, is that anything out of the box will tend to have major holes and shortcomings.
That is, Google Analytics is free, but it’s not great for measuring behavior across a funnel.
Other programs are great at measuring across a funnel, but don’t link into email.
What I find is that when you get to a certain level of sophistication, you tend to develop an internal tracking system that is catered to your specific processes and systems, and tells you the data you really want to know.
So I can’t tell you that you should specifically choose one analytics package over another.
Because it just doesn’t work like that.
Here’s what I will tell you though: almost everything is now measurable, and so it’s important to focus on important metrics.
I find, for example, when I look at Google Analytics (which is usually one of the first things I install on any website), it really doesn’t tell me much as far as important data.
It has a lot to tell me. But much of it isn’t super-actionable, without some serious digging and contemplation.
However, if you are able to define clear customer paths through the most important pages on your website, you can start to identify trends that are predictive of results further down the purchasing journey.
For example, a certain number of clicks on a pay-per-click ad, at a certain cost, can tell you your cost per visitor.
From that, you can loop in lead conversion data to get a cost per lead.
From there, you may have another measurable engagement step before the sale, and you can put a cost figure on that.
Then, you have the first offer that people convert on, and you can get the cost per conversion for that.
And based on the average dollar value of that first conversion, you can figure out your ROI on that paid advertising.
It’s important to focus on the important data though, and the data that’s predictive of financial success.
For example, the bounce rate of pages on a website might tell you that your messaging is off compared to the visitor expectations, and can be optimized. But ultimately more engagement must push your visitors and prospects further down the purchase path.
And that’s the most important metrics to measure.
Since many sophisticated marketers use either multiple platforms or a custom-built system to manage this, the best measurement tool is the one that works. And often, that’s a custom-built dashboard.
Wrapping this, instead of thinking, “What tool will help me measure?” ask instead, “What do I need to measure to make smart decisions?” Once you’ve answered THAT, then you can find or build the tool that will give you those measurements.
What other skills besides copywriting to be a real success?
I can do graphic design, but I’ve never been paid by a client for doing design.
I can do WordPress and even raw HTML, but I’ve never had that be part of a contract with a client.
I can manage email marketing, set up autoresponders, install analytics software, manage split tests, and a whole lot more…
And yet, ultimately, what I get paid most for, by clients, is putting words in a Microsoft Word document.
When it comes down to it, creating persuasive messages is the Unique Ability that I’ve put out in the market since 2005 (and especially since going freelance in 2010).
That’s what I’m paid for. That’s what I do.
They can find others who are a much better value for all that other work.
But they want me for my copy.
Have I used my design sense to inform my copy work? Yes, and it’s led to better final campaigns.
Have I used my web skills to help with identifying what is and isn’t possible in my marketing? Absolutely, and I’ve created more effective marketing because of it.
Bring everything you’ve got. But focus on that one skill you can use to deliver the most value, and that’s what you sell, that’s what you deliver.
Having a rounded skill and knowledge base won’t hurt you when it comes time to deliver your core value. But selling yourself as a generalist will certainly lead to more headache and less value delivery than if you really focus on that one thing you do really well.
(In this regard, I strongly suggest my training included with your BTMSinsiders All-Access Pass, The Copywriter’s Roadmap To Building A Core Offer. It teaches you how to NOT spread yourself too thin. And how, instead, to get really good at one thing that delivers a lot of value. And how that’s the secret to rapid success as a freelancer. $37 gets you one month of access to the entire catalog, and you can start with that.)
Whatever your Unique Ability is — whatever leaves you with more energy after doing it for three hours than you had when you started — that’s what you need to focus on. That’s what you need to sell most. Everything else is a commodity. Your Unique Ability is where you create unique value.
The common thread that runs between all three questions and their answers?
How you think about things, how you think, that’s what’s most important.
Techniques, tactics, and even tools? Those are useful once you have the thinking right. But if you don’t get the thinking right — the principles and strategies — it doesn’t matter what else you do, you won’t get the result you want.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,