How to Do Your Own D-I-Y Website Audit to Increase Conversions

website audit to increase conversions

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Question: Do you dream of having a website that does the job it’s meant to do – namely, to serve as your 24-7 salesperson – so you can go about doing your important creative work without having to constantly worry about marketing yourself? 

Having a “web presence” just to make your business seem legit is not the sole, or even the most important, reason your website exists.

Your website needs to make a powerful connection with the buyers and customers you want. It should position you as the obvious choice for your ideal clients. And it needs to get those people excited to take the next step on the path to working with you or buying from you (and that next step needs to be clearly and compellingly laid out).

Your website is ultimately meant to get you clients and customers and sell your products and services. Full stop.

That process might involve three steps or twelve, and it’ll usually start with subscribing to your email list, but at the end of the business day, if you’re in business, the reason your website exists is to generate revenue.

Maybe your website is actually doing a little bit of that right now. If so, great.

Or . . . maybe it’s behaving more like a lazy employee with a bad attitude, who sometimes does a half-assed job of getting you the results you want, and other times does nothing at all.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Here’s a simple checklist of questions you can ask yourself to gauge your website’s performance:

:: Is your website connecting with your ideal clients and customers?

:: Is it moving them to take the action you want them to take?

:: Is it conveying your signature marketing message, one that speaks directly to those you wish to work with and serve?

:: Is it crystal clear and uber-easy for potential clients to get all the information they need in just one or two clicks, whether that’s signing up for your email list, requesting a consultation, buying your stuff, or something else?

:: Are you employing tried and true, proven copywriting principles in your web copy? (For example, speaking to one person; using conversational language; addressing your clients’ needs, wants, desires, goals, and interests; using client & customer-focused language rather “I do this” and “I do that” language, and so on. The list, it do go on.)

:: Does your web copy instantly convey what’s unique and different about you and why your ideal clients should do business with you?

:: Does your web copy adequately coach the most important conversion you want on each web page? (Each of your web pages needs to have its own goal, and everything on that page should work towards achieving that goal. An obvious example is your newsletter sign-up or email subscriber landing page; it’s one and only goal is to get subscribers.)

:: Is the “path to buy” on your site clear and straightforward?

What I Look for When I Do Website Reviews

For each web page, I consider the questions above. That starts with an in-depth questionnaire in which my client answers a couple dozen questions about their ideal clients, their marketing message, what’s working with their web marketing and communications, what’s not, their website goals, and so on.

I start by looking at the three most important web pages: the Home page, the About page, and the Services or Work with Me, or whichever page the client sells from.

Here’s a brief checklist of the elements I review:

#1) Tagline: does it clearly convey something unique/special/different that makes the web visitor want to stay on the site and explore, or instantly identify what they’ll find on the website?

For example:

Abstract Art for the Unconventional Collector

Wedding Photography for Punk Rock Brides

Life Coach for Gutsy Entrepreneurs

Minimalist Silver Jewelry for the Style Savvy

#2) A clear call to action on each web page: a clear, specific instruction for what web visitors should do next.

For example:

Visit my gallery here.

Schedule your free consultation today.

Contact me here if you have any questions.

Buy now.

Your call to action will obviously depend on the page it’s on and the #1 thing you’d like your web visitors to do after reading that page. First determine the goal for each web page, then make sure CTA on each page reflects that goal.

#3) Understand your ideal buyer/customer and write web copy that speaks to them – you’re not trying to attract and sell to everybody, only those who fit your ideal buyer or client profile.

#4) Strong headlines on each page that convey a clear and compelling benefit so that the right people (those who love what you have to offer and who can afford it) will want to read the rest of your copy or check out the rest of your website. You want your headlines to be clear, compelling and benefit-driven.

#5) Customer/client-focused web copy/language, i.e. reader-oriented content and conversational one-to-one language throughout website. Talk to one person.

#6) Address objections somewhere – an FAQ page is a great place to do this. Create a page that answers questions your potential buyers or clients typically have about working with you; include anything that could be lingering in their mind as a reason not to buy.

#7) Guarantees/remove risk

#8) Proof elements – like testimonials and reviews, etc.

#9) A clear path to buy. It should be crystal clear what someone who is ready to purchase or move forward to working with you should do next, and it should be very easy for them to select that option and take the next step.

#10) Focus on the three most important pages first – Home page; About page; Products/Services/Work with Me page, or whatever you call the page you sell from.

Hat tip to AWAI (American Writers & Artists Inc.) for the “5 C’s” of effective content:

:: Customer-focused – the content makes it clear you understand your audience

:: Competitive – your content conveys your USP or what I call your “meaningful difference”

:: Clear and easily understood, no confusing industry jargon

:: Conversion optimized – each page indicates what web visitors should do next and helps convert browsers into buyers

:: Consistent – products and web copy & language, etc.,  are consistent across the website

What You Can Expect When You Make These Website Changes

The great thing is, you don’t have to do everything on the list above to start getting better results from your website. Just start somewhere. Take baby steps if you have to, or heck, do a D-I-Y website improvement binge over the weekend. But just get going on this. If you’re getting consistent, quality traffic, your conversions will improve (and even if you’re not getting much traffic right now, more of what you are getting will begin to convert).

I’ve worked hard to get here (and I know I have some advantages as a professional copywriter and web marketing strategist) but I get consistent email inquiries from potential clients on a weekly basis, simply because they landed on my website, liked what they read, and knew what to do next to get in touch with me.

Very often, these are people I’ve never met or had a conversation with. I’ve never had any contact with them at all until they found my website, then reached out to me. Sometimes they got on my email list first, then a few weeks later reached out.

OR (and this always shocks me), landed on my website, read two blog posts and my Work with Me page, then reached out to hire me right then.

These inquiries consistently turn into clients I adore, and many come back to me for additional copywriting projects, marketing strategy, or consulting. Some of those projects are quite large and ongoing for many months, at the kind of investment level that makes it possible for me to do work I love, without doing the client-getting hustle, hustle, hustle all the time.

If that isn’t a simple & low-key way to find great clients and work on projects you love, I don’t know what is. 

And that is the power of using the right language, in the right places, on your website. [By the way, as you can see from my website, it’s FAR from perfect. In fact, it needs a massive upgrade, but I still do just fine.]

So, don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t get clients from your website.

Why do I bring up that last bit?

I’ll tell you.

About a year ago, someone who read something I’d written about the power of effective website copy reached out to me to say that some marketing “guru” they follow said no one gets business from their website.

LOL.

I had to laugh (and laugh and laugh), because that’s typically the ONLY way I get new (and repeat) business. I don’t do cold calling, or send email pitches, or go to networking events. (Call me lazy, call me introverted to a fault, but that’s just how I roll.)

Now, to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with any of those methods. I’ve used them all at some point, and they work. And I’ll be happy to use them again if/when I feel inspired to.

But these days, I focus on doing an awesome for my current clients, and replying to email inquiries from potential new clients who find me through my website.

Yes, you absolutely need to get quality traffic to your site as well, but my traffic stats are shamefully low, and I still get great clients. I don’t need hordes of people to find me online, I need the right clients to resonate with my marketing message, then inquire about working together, and they do.

Let me repeat: That is the power of persuasive, compelling copy and a clear, easy-to-follow path to finding the right information, in the right place, on your website.

Want the same results for yourself?

If you KNOW your website could be getting you more clients, customers and sales, and you want it to happen NOW, so you can start getting those PayPal and Stripe notifications sooner rather than later, I invite you to reach out to me about working together.

I’ve got a full, comprehensive website copywriting package that may be just right for you. Or if you’re working with a more limited budget, I also offer a VIP Website Audit & Review, which includes a comprehensive website action plan with customized-for-you copy & conversion recommendations you can implement on your own to start improving your website results ASAP.

Simply reach out to me at Kimberly [at] kimberlydhouston [dot] com, and put “website copywriting package” or “VIP website review” in the subject line, depending on which service you’re interested in. I’ll get back to you within 48 hours during normal business hours. We’ll begin by discussing your project over email, then if moving forward makes sense, we’ll schedule a call to talk about your next best steps.

Four Powerful Ideas That Could Radically Change Your Business

Recently I was unpacking some boxes in my new place, and came across a 3-ring binder with materials from a course I took a few years ago called “Creating Fame.” Created by Meet Edgar founder Laura Roeder back when she had an education/training company, Creating Fame was a program that taught how to position yourself as the go-to person in your field using social media, blogging, and other forms of content creation and outreach.

The idea being that you can “step up, claim your own fame, build your audience, and build your own community that’s going to feed into your business,” as one of the course transcripts puts it. It’s about claiming opportunities for your business, rather than depending on others to bestow them upon you arbitrarily.

What she’s talking about here is not paparazzi-showing-up-at-your-house/strangers-asking-for-your-autograph fame; it’s about being “business famous,” or well-known in your niche in a way that attracts your dream clients.

Looking through the binder reminded me how much I loved this course – implementing the suggestions within helped me get real traction in my business in the early days.

My description here kind of minimizes what was in the course, though. It was full of what I think of as “big ideas,” larger concepts and beliefs that can supercharge your business if you take action on them.

Four Concepts from Laura Roeder’s “Creating Fame” That Could Radically Change Your Business

Your Big Idea

Each of us have a “big idea” (usually more than one), a story or stories, and a set of factors that make us distinct from our competitors. You can use your big idea(s) to set yourself apart and become the go-to person in your niche.

Roeder says, “To be famous, you need a big idea or ideas that your customers can buy into and become a part of. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary, and in fact, it’s often very simple, but it does have to be something that people can get behind.”

For example, one of Roeder’s big ideas is that technology doesn’t have to be intimidating. In her previous business incarnation, she taught small business owners how to use Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other tech-related outreach channels without fear.

Other examples Roeder shares include a life coach whose big idea is that you don’t have to meditate, become a monk, or read “super woo-woo” stuff to get rid of your stress, and a lawyer who believes that you shouldn’t have to be afraid to call your attorney because you don’t know how much it’s going to cost to ask a simple, straightforward question.

One of my big ideas is, “they want you to be the one (so stop being afraid to market yourself).”

Another one of my big ideas is that creating a signature marketing message is one of the best ways to attract the kind of clients you really want to work with in today’s saturated, overcrowded online space.

What about you? What are one or two “big ideas” you can share through your content and outreach that your audience can really get behind and resonate with?

You Can’t Predict the Future

Gosh, I love this idea. It’ll keep you from “what iffing?” all over the place, which is just another way to stay stuck where you are and not take action on your goals.

As in, “What if I put all this time, effort and energy into creating this new course/lead magnet/service offering/product/program, and hear nothing but crickets in return?”

But, as Laura reminds us, you can’t predict the future – “psychic abilities do not emerge from long periods of deliberate thought. You’ll never know how anything will work out.”

So, “Give it a shot and see what happens,” she advises.

This is advice I particularly need to heed more often. It’s similar to the whole “just ship it” idea. If you’re anything like me, you likely have multiple half-finished e-books, courses, lead magnets, digital products, service offering ideas and more littering your hard drive. Things you could have put out into the world, but didn’t.

Why not complete and launch at least some of these things? Why not “give it a shot” and see what happens? What if it goes over like gangbusters, and you sell 5 of your new thing? Or 10? Or more? Because it could happen. It really could.

Overthinking can absolutely kill our chances of moving our businesses forward. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. We use this kind of thinking as a crutch to hold us back from taking action outside our comfort zone. We want to be certain of outcomes, but we can never be certain of any outcome.

This passage from the transcript is one of the best in the course. I need to print this out in 36 point font and put it above my desk:

So drop this idea of trying to out think yourself, of trying to think your way into the future. That’s what’s holding you back from taking the kind of action that you want to take. Just give things a shot and see what happens. That’s all any of us can do. The more things you try, the more opportunities you have for something that works. The more things you try that are absolutely outside of your comfort zone, the higher the chances that you’re going to get a result that’s absolutely outside of your current reality.”

Discipline Isn’t Sexy, But It’s How Things Get Done

We all know this, right?

In “Creating Fame,” Roeder says, “ . . . I don’t mean discipline as in forcing yourself to do things you hate, but I do mean discipline like forcing yourself to do things that you’re scared of. . . . another thing is having discipline to do things that are boring. To do things that you don’t feel like doing, to do things you’re scared of doing. That’s discipline.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but one of the things I often struggle with is knowing the difference between things I hate doing and therefore shouldn’t be doing at all, and things I don’t enjoy – or that scare me – but need to do anyway because they’re necessary to move my business forward.

For example, just like pretty much everybody else on planet Earth (or at least the people I hang with), I get that frightened, queasy feeling when it comes time to promote something. Yes, I’m a marketer, and I consult with clients on how to market, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get butterflies in my stomach when I have to do it for myself.

But I do DO it, because otherwise I’d have no business. I’d have to go back to work for “the man,” and I want to love my life, so that ain’t gonna happen.

There’s a whole long list of other “out of my comfort zone” tasks, in addition to marketing myself,  that I don’t love doing but do anyway, so I can have a business I love, working with clients I love. That includes pitching myself for guest posts or podcast interviews, reaching out to clients I’d love to work with, and launching new services, among (many) other things.

Inevitability Thinking

Roeder defines “inevitability thinking” as doing things to make the outcome you want inevitable, a concept she learned from Eben Pagan.

We often hear about this in relation to our health and workout goals, i.e., set your alarm for early in the morning, put out your workout gear the night before, and make a gym date with a friend so you’re certain to get your morning workout in.

Inevitability thinking has been a real game changer for me. After I took Marie Forleo’s B-School in early 2013, I was ready to start building my online audience in earnest, so I pitched myself for a few guest post opportunities on sites I knew my ideal clients read.

Lo and behold, a few of the people I approached accepted, which meant I had to follow through and write the guest post. That’s what’s great about sending a really well-thought out pitch – you don’t have to write the whole post, just a stellar pitch; when/if it gets accepted, then you’re on the hook to write a kick-butt guest post.

Which means you’ll do, right?

Just one of my guest posts added a few hundred people to my email list, and some of those people bought my services over the years. I can directly attribute at least $20K in revenue to one guest post (again, over the years, not all at once. Though I did generate about $12K in one year from one client as a result of one of that particular guest post.)

This stuff WORKS – inevitability thinking, give it a shot.

The Takeaway

Can you see how implementing these four simple, elegant ideas, could help you make serious headway in your business? Even one or two of them, consistently practiced, could make an enormous positive difference in your results. 

Wherever you are right now, whether it’s struggling to make things happen, or taking a bath in the benjamins, by this time next year, or heck, even next month, your business could look totally different.

I believe it with all my heart.

Now I’m off to practice some discipline for the rest of this fine Friday. 🙂

Guard Your Time, Prioritize Your Creative Work

This morning I re-read a semi-famous essay written by Paul Graham, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, computer scientist, author, and founder, with his wife, Jessica Livingston, of Y Combinator.

In the essay, Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule,” Graham talks about the difference between the two kinds of schedules, and how disruptive it can be if you’re a “maker” being forced to conform to a “manager’s” schedule.

Here’s how Graham describes the two schedules:

“The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one-hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour.

When you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.

Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.

When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.”

The first time I read Graham’s essay, it struck me that this was why I wasn’t as successful as I would have liked in my first advertising agency job many years ago.

“You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.”

As a writer/copywriter in an ad agency, you’re expected to switch tasks constantly. Maybe, not usually, but maybe, you get 3 or more solid hours to work on a single project, uninterrupted.

Even so, you’re not really uninterrupted. Your phone is ringing, and you’re expected to answer it. Your emails are coming in, and if it’s a client, you’re expected to reply. In a typical agency setting, most everyone leaves their email on in the background, most of the time. If you work in an open concept office, which describes most offices these days, other people’s phones are ringing, people are chit-chatting within your earshot, people are coming and going in and out of the office, and there’s not much you can do to avoid being privy to it all. There is no truly quiet space in which to do “deep work” for an extended period of time.

Deep work is a concept defined by author and computer science professor Cal Newport. Newport describes deep work as “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.”

Better results, in less time. That’s valuable.

In an agency setting, the in-demand skill is not the ability to do deep work. Actually, that’s not entirely true. The ability to do deep work may be prized, but only if you can do it with multiple interruptions and distractions constantly swirling about you at all times.

Instead, the skill that gets privileged is the ability to switch tasks and juggle loads of projects at once, while giving equal time, effort, energy and attention to all of them. AND create amazing work – FAST.

Wanting 4-5 uninterrupted hours to create something excellent, in a quiet space, with no distractions, will most likely be seen as an unnecessary indulgence, if not a straight-up weakness in your ability to “produce.”

If you can’t do great work, calmly and unflappably, in this kind of distraction-rich setting, then you may not be cut out for the agency work environment.

When I binge watch Mad Men, the thing that strikes me most, beyond the massive day-drinking and the gross womanizing, is offices with doors that close. Managers have them, copywriters have them, even some of the art guys have them. It’s the one thing about that show that makes me salivate with envy.

But most workplaces aren’t like this, so there’s an inherent conflict – the writer, designer or other creative likely needs large chunks of time, without distraction, to do truly outstanding work. But this isn’t always possible. Which leads to a stress, anxiety, and the constant worry that you many not be doing your best work.

(To be clear, I’m not raking ad agencies over the coals. Many other kinds of workplace environments are also just like this, and I’ve worked in a few of them. And I’m not talking about all ad agencies, either. Some are much more humane and nurturing when it comes to providing a space for the creative person to do their best work.)

I’m an introvert, and a maker. Kind of a double whammy. Because of this, I still haven’t figured out how to handle interruptions to my work flow as well as I’d like.

Take client calls, for example.

Client calls are entirely necessary for the kind of work I do. I have onboarding calls with new clients, copy review calls, monthly check-in calls with retainer clients, and so on. Because I’m an introvert, even one, one-hour call means at least an hour afterwards to decompress and get my head back in the game for the next task. This would be impossible in a typical office setting.

One of the reasons I prize working for myself is that I can mostly dictate my schedule and the atmosphere in which I create. This ensures I can do quality work. My working environment is quiet. No ringing phones, no people coming in and out. No coworkers chatting all around me, no UPS/restaurant/FedEx delivery people asking where is this or that person, or can I sign for a package. No emails in the background, ever, when I’m working, and no freaking meetings.

Alas, I still haven’t figured out client calls.

I used to do this thing where if I had three calls in one week, I’d schedule them over 3-5 days, so I’d never have more than one call per day. This makes sense, because I’m trying to guard my time and prioritize the deep work necessary to produce excellent creative work.

And yet.

Just one call in a day often threw me off my game.

Take a recent Friday, when I had three client calls scheduled. For an introvert, this is a lot. But grouping them together in the same day made sense, I thought. Get them all out of the way in one day, rather than spread over several, which I find exhausting.

After each call, I need to decompress for a bit. So I can’t get much done, other than call, decompress, call, decompress, call, decompress, all day. Even though I scheduled my calls hours apart – at 11:00 am, at 2:30 pm, and at 6:00 pm – I’m still woefully unable to commit to anything requiring deep work for the day. The day is shot for that.

Now once a week is not that big a deal, in the scheme of things. But I think back to jobs I’ve had where pockets of time to do deep work was always in short supply, and that there, my friends – a day of constant calls, meetings, and other interruptions – is simply standard operating procedure in most workplaces.

And it is precisely why you may not be able to do the quality of work you’re capable of, if you’re a creative, a maker, and an introvert.

So, what to do?

For me, I no longer kid myself that I can do my best creative work in a typical office setting. I usually work best in solitude. I produce good work when I have time for deep work. I can’t schedule calls on days when I need space and quiet to complete an important project.

I also (mostly) no longer feel guilty when I turn off my email for hours at a time and put my phone in the next room while working on something that requires intense focus.  

It’s taken me many years to get here, but I’ve begun to value the way I do my best work enough to guard my time and prioritize my creative work, whether it’s a client project or my own writing.

Some days are better than others, of course. On the “bad” days, I’m pulled into the undertow of distraction, even when I’m working at home alone. One dip into mail, “just for 10 minutes,” often becomes two hours of wasted time.

So, you know, it’s a process.

But the important thing I’ve found, and the thing that’s really helped me, is letting go of the guilt I often felt for not being able to work well in a distraction-rich environment.  

It’s so important to know the circumstances under which you do your best creative work, and to prioritize that kind of work environment, without feeling a shred of guilt or remorse about it.

Starting Over: New Home, New Life, New-ish Business, All New Outlook

I recently moved into a new place – finally – after close to two years of living with various roommates and friends.

After two years of upheaval and drama and trauma and stress.

Two years of sands forever shifting beneath my feet.

Two years of just barely hanging on at times.

Two years of weepy conversations with my best girlfriends about how to get myself out of a bad situation. One I never, ever, dreamed I’d find myself in.

Two years of enormous changes, some good, some bad, some very bad.

But I’ve found stability again.

At last, hal-le-lu-yer, at long last!!

As of June 15, 2018, I’m in my own place again.

Last week, my best friend came over with a beautiful bunch of roses and a bottle of Vueve Clicquot champagne to celebrate my new digs.

Two nights ago, she came over again and set up my desk, while I was pouring us some wine.

The desk at which I can laser focus on my copywriting business again, and my vision for what I want it to become.

And where I can also focus on my vision for my writing projects outside copywriting, of which there are many.

While I can’t share all the details publicly about what went down in the last two years, I can share a few, in the form of a timeline, to give you an idea of why this peaceful, calm environment I now find myself in is so darn meaningful, and what it means for the next phase of my business.

:: Early June 2016 – Living on the coast of North Carolina in my favorite beach town. Running my copywriting business from my home office in my tiny, 600 sq. ft. apartment.

:: Mid-June 2016 – Begin feeling lonely, sad, disconnected.

:: Early-ish July 2016 – Hmm, this is beginning to feel like full-blown depression. Nah, maybe it’ll pass. I’m probably just stressed about work stuff.

:: Later July 2016: OMG, what is wrong with me? This isn’t just feeling sad and stressed. This feels bigger, scarier, and more distressing than that. I need to make some massive changes, or this will not end well. Not to be melodramatic or anything. Plus, this incessant weeping is making my face look puffy.

:: July & August 2016: Not feeling better yet, I start journaling obsessively as way to metabolize what’s happening and make a decision about what to do next. First up, I decide to do a few small things daily to make myself feel better, such as: taking a walk to the mailbox (a 15-minute round-trip), watching something funny on YouTube, calling or texting a friend, listening to Joel Osteen podcasts on repeat, writing in my journal, reading interviews with my favorite authors, brainstorming ideas for essays, books and blog posts I’ll write, and so on. These things seem to help.

:: Late August 2016: I give my 60 day move out notice to my landlord. My daily journaling has unearthed a desire to move back to the Triad area of North Carolina, where I’m from, where my brother and sister live, and where I have friends I’ve known for 30+ years. I decide to do this in late October / early November 2016. This area is four hours and 200+ miles from where I currently live on the coast, so it’s going to be more than your standard move. But I know in my bones this is exactly what I need to do.

:: September 2016: I start looking on craigs list for a roommate situation in Greensboro, NC. I want to do the roommate thing for the first 6-12 months in my new / old hometown while I get my ducks in a row. Yeehaw, I find somebody great! I visit her for a weekend and stay in what will be my bedroom. It’s a gorgeous house in a gorgeous neighborhood. We get along well. This feels right.

:: October 30, 2016: I move into my place. It turns out to be a terrible, awful, extremely ill-advised idea, which I couldn’t have known at the time. The roommate is a wonderful person, really lovely, but there are some addiction issues. Which to be fair, she told me about before I moved in. But she also said she was in recovery, and fully committed to her sobriety. Unfortunately, I was the fool who believed it.

:: November 1, 2016 – January 18, 2018: I don’t even know where to begin. Multiple hospitalizations, rehab stays, and visits to our home from EMS and the local police department, (including the time there were close to a dozen officers on our doorstep and in the front hallway, some of them armed to the fucking nines, with rifles), interspersed with periods of calm, peaceful sobriety.

From day to day, I never know what to expect. I wake up each morning, knowing that today is a total crapshoot, a spin of the roulette wheel. Maybe it will be “normal,” reliably calm, with no crazy-ass drama. And some days it is that way. Other days, just the opposite.

I can never fully relax and focus on my work, building my business, or anything else. My business suffers. Terribly. My mental health suffers. Dreadfully. I’m turning into a jumpy wreck of a person, nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers, as my dad used to say, always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

I know I should probably just move out, but I really want to believe her when she says she desperately wants to get and stay sober. I believe she believes that. And I don’t want to leave her in a bind with the rent. So each time there’s a relapse, I’m willing to give it another go when she says, “Please give me another chance, I promise it’s going to be different this time.”

:: January 18, 2018: No more. I’m at my wit’s end. I’m going to lose what’s left of my remaining marbles, the gossamer strands of sanity that are miraculously still intact, if I don’t make a change, ASAP. Just back from another stint in rehab in mid-January, she relapses again just a few days later. On Thursday January 18, I decide my safety, happiness, and mental health are much more important than trying to help someone by staying in a situation that frankly, feels like a lost cause. How many times does the promise have to be broken before I wise up and move out? Geez, Kimberly.

I call a friend who agrees to come over that Saturday, January 20, to help me get moved out. I’ve already lined up a wonderful place to live with someone who is sober and drama-free. Her home is peaceful, and sane. Huge sigh of relief.

:: January 20 – March 4, 2018: I live in this pleasant situation for a little over six weeks. Then I decide that I need to bring even more stability to my life, so I set about looking for a J-O-B. I figure I’ll do something 9-5, Monday- Friday, in my field of copywriting and marketing, while I continue running my copywriting business as a “side hustle,” at least for now. Or maybe I’ll give up the copywriting business altogether, because I’m just so tired, so very, very tired and depleted from the chaos and drama of the last 18 months.

Lo and behold, I do get a job, as a Copywriter / PR Specialist at a wonderful advertising and marketing agency in the next town over, 40-ish minutes west of where I’m currently living. I move again.

:: March 5, 2018: I begin my new job, woohoo! I move in with my best friend of 30+ years, who happens to live in the town where I get the job. This living situation is temporary, until I get settled in my new job and new town, at which point, I’ll get my own place.

:: March 5 – May 18, 2018: Gosh, how I love my co-workers, the workspace itself, and even the work too, but I know 2-3 weeks in this isn’t the best fit. Have I been working for myself too long? Am I not 9-5 employee material anymore? Is there something terribly wrong with me? I wanted a full-time job, in my field, working with great people on great projects, and I got exactly that.

What in the world is my problem? But I can’t ignore the fact that I haven’t slept in the 2.5 months since starting this job, my stomach has been in knots the entire time, and I’ve been deeply unhappy and stressed.

This does not go unnoticed. Perceptive and kind people that they are, the president and VP of the agency, and my immediate boss, chat with me one Friday afternoon about the situation. They notice I don’t seem happy. They notice I seem stressed much of the time. They want me to enjoy being there; quality of life is one of their highest values. They ask what we can all do to make things better, to make it possible that we can continue working together. We all decide I’ll go to contract status, something I desperately wanted, but was afraid to ask for. Another enormous sigh of relief.

:: May 21, 2018: I’m now contract status at the ad / marketing agency, and I feel almost delirious with joy, almost instantly.

:: June 15, 2018: I move into my new apartment. More joy. New beginnings. My address, in fact, is on “New Drive.” I don’t think this is a coincidence.

Now that I FINALLY, at long last, two years on, have some peace in my life, what does it means for the next phase of my business?

  • Well, for one thing, now that I’m not a full-time employee anymore, I’m taking on copywriting, marketing, and website review clients again.
  • I’m revising a couple of my current offerings, and adding 2-3 all-new offerings (to be announced this summer).
  • I’m developing an all-new opt-in incentive, a free e-course on how to create a magnetic marketing message, so you can get more business, bookings, and sales (to be released this summer). I am soooo excited about this!
  • I’m phasing out one-off client projects, and transitioning to longer-term engagements with clients.
  • I’m creating a digital product to help creatives improve their websites and web marketing, so they can more easily call in and convert their ideal clients, to be released by the end of the year.
  • And I have a few other business things in development up my sleeve as well.
  • I’ll also be spending more time on my non-copywriting-related writing projects. Lots of stuff happening there.

That’s the short list. I won’t bore you with the long one.

Over the last two years I’ve prayed for guidance many, many times for the answer to what course of action I should take – should I get a full-time job, continue building my copywriting business, or do some combination of the two? Should I stick with copywriting and marketing, or go into a different line of work entirely? Should I stay where I am, or move to a different city? Or should I drop out of life altogether, and figure out a way to travel the world? You know, just run away from it all, far, FAR away.  

Somewhere in there, among the prayers and the doubts and the questions, I told myself, instead of trying to figure everything out to the nth degree all on my own, I’ll leave myself open to guidance – from where ever. I decided to trust, and have faith. Not an easy thing for someone who always likes to know the next step, and the next, and the next one after that.

As airy-fairy and woo woo as it sounds, I feel like I’m being lead in the direction I’m meant to go in. As if the last two years, as challenging and exceedingly difficult as they’ve been, have a profound purpose that’s meant to serve me, that I can use to serve others. I don’t yet know what that purpose is or how I will use what I’ve been through to benefit others, but all will be revealed, I believe.

Right now, I’m just taking it day by day (while of course doing some planning for the future. I mean, c’mon, I can’t change who I am entirely, right?)

I don’t know if this is the right approach for everybody, but it’s the right one for me, right now.

I’m trying my best to live by the Martin Luther King, Jr. advice: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

So, no real copywriting or marketing advice here.  But I hope that my convoluted, messed up, chaotic, drama-filled and wacky journey over the last two years, and the fact that I’m still hopeful, ready and eager to go after my goals with gusto, proves that you can withstand a crap ton of challenging BS, and still come out ready to rock your life plans.

Dumb Decisions, Smart Moves, Flaky People & Amazing New Clients: 2017 Year in Review + 2018 Business Changes

My last blog post for the year was going to be a meaty, lengthy post full of actionable advice about how to do your own website audit. Fairly simple changes you can implement on your own to increase conversions, client inquiries, customers, and closed business, all from your online presence.

I planned to share the exact step-by-step process I use when I do a site audit for my private clients – elements I review, changes I suggest, and key things to revise so the website begins to perform and convert better instantly.

Then I thought, Nooooo, why don’t I write one of those year in review posts errrrrybody seems to do this time of year? I mean sure, I despise clichés, and that kind of post falls squarely into the clichéd category, but what the H-E-double-hockeysticks? It’s what I feel like doing.

[By the way, I will be writing a post about how to do your own website in 1Q 2018.  Never fear.]

So, about 2017.

It’s no exaggeration to say this year was the most stressful, distressing, challenging and confounding year of my life, full stop. I can’t share the details publicly (I know, I know, I hate it when someone says, oh, this awful thing happened, oh, this terrible thing happened, but I can’t tell you what it was, la de dah. But it’s important to protect the privacy of the other actors, so I simply can’t).

Anyhoo . . .

Here are my 2017 highlights and lowlights.

 

A few lowlights:

:: The afore-mentioned chaos that I can’t really mention. It lasted for most of the year, and seriously compromised my ability to grow my business in any meaningful way. As an added bonus, my mental and physical health suffered too.

:: Doing far too many one-off projects for clients, and not enough larger, long-term client engagements. I loved the smaller projects I worked on in 2017, but juggling between 6-10+ projects & clients at once is simply too much. This changes in 2018. More on that below.

:: Flaky, non-serious potential clients who waste everyone’s time. These are people, for example, who reach out to inquire about working together, set up an initial call to discuss their project, then don’t show up for the call. I even had one guy flake out TWICE on this free call, then ask if he could reschedule for a third time. UM, HELL TO THE NO. No wonder the dude’s business is in the tanker. 

Side note: I love offering this free 20-30 minute “get acquainted call” to potential clients, because it helps me learn about their business, their goals, and the copywriting project they have in mind. And I have no problem if, after talking, the client decides not to work with me. That’s totally cool. But going forward in 2018, I may begin charging for this call.

:: Clients who don’t understand the fundamental difference between website copy (copy meant to inspire a particular action or set of actions and get very specific results), and airy-fairy brochure copy or other kinds of copy. Said client hires you to write their website because you’re an expert in website copy, but wants you to write hippy-dippy ineffective brochure copy for their website, that would be a total disaster on a website. And no amount of trying to explain why this won’t work, never has worked, and never will work, will change their mind. So frustrating.

:: I barely worked on my own writing in 2017 (writing that has nothing to do with my copywriting business). That changes in 2018. I have a novel, several essays, and other big-ish writing projects in progress, and in 2018 they’ll get much more attention.

A few highlights:

:: I got much clearer on my ideal clients and narrowed my niche. My focus now is less on beginners who are just starting to create a compelling online presence, and more on those who have been in business awhile. They are beyond the bootstrapping stage and ready to make a serious investment into copywriting and web marketing for their business.

:: I worked with some amazing people and businesses this year. I can’t list them all here because I haven’t asked their permission to do so, but (almost) each and every one was a total joy and a pleasure to work with.  

:: One of the most exciting projects I landed was with a group of commercial photographers in Canada. These guys are wildly talented, do incredible, cutting-edge work, and are probably the nicest guys on the planet. I’m currently writing their website, and looking forward to more projects with them once the website copy is finalized.  

:: I joined a terrific online business support group called Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends.  Created by Ash Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project, this group is the best place online for kickass, real-world, results-getting business AND life advice. It’s unlike any other online group I’ve ever experienced.

:: I joined another excellent FB group at the tail-end of the year called The Copywriter Club, a group for copywriters and content creators only. After a couple hours spent reading through previous posts in the group, I can see the content is top-notch, and the group is full of superior quality copywriters and content creators. I’m going to love this group.

Before I get to the business changes I have planned for 2018, here are a few other highlights from my year, of the non-business-related variety.

:: Because I moved back to my hometown in late 2016, I got to spend lots more time with my family this year, and with dear friends I’ve known so long they feel like family. This was one of the true highlights of 2017.

:: I discovered the comedian Maria Bamford, and the show Lady Dynamite, on Netflix. I am obsessed with this show. I’m pretty sure it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched both seasons of the show, along with both of her comedy specials currently on Netflix, TWICE. Damn, she’s funny, and different, and quirky, and owns it.

Watch this one hilarious clip, then do yourself a solid and watch her material on Netflix if you have an opportunity. So, so good.

:: I found a great church that feels like home, and have been attending since December 2016. This is a HUGE deal for me, as I haven’t gone to church regularly since I was a little, little kid.

:: I did a 5K in December 2017 called Running of the Balls. Ok, I walked the 5K, together with a group of friends with who also walked it, but still. It was the most fun I’ve ever had outdoors on a Saturday night in 30-degree weather!

[I’m in the second row, sporting the candy-cane headwear. 🙂 ]

:: I went to some wonderful author events this year: David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, and Wiley Cash. Each one was a gem.

Here’s how David Sedaris signed my book [LOVE it]:

:: I read some great books this year, among them:

Nonfiction  

The Accidental Life: An Editor’s Notes on Writing and Writers, by Terry McDonnell

Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing, by Larry Brooks

Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work That Lasts, by Ryan Holiday

Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002, by David Sedaris

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls: Essays, etc., by David Sedaris

A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life, by Pat Conroy

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love and Writing, by Jennifer Weiner

The New Old Me, by Meredith Maran

Lust and Wonder, by Augusten Burroughs

Fiction

Siracusa, by Delia Ephron

Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler

The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane

Now, onto the Business Changes

I’ll still be writing client-attracting and results-generating website copy and other persuasive marketing communications for creative business builders, and offering web marketing consulting for select clients.

But other things are going the way of the Dodo bird.

The biggest shift is that I’ll be doing far less one-off project work, and working on larger copywriting projects & longer-term client engagements.

:: This means, in effect, that I’ll no longer be available to write single pages of website copy for clients. For example, writing a single About page, or Home page, or Services page, or other single stand-alone page of website copy, etc., except under special circumstances,* has gone away forever.

(*Special circumstances being either: we’ve previously worked together, in which case you get special privileges, OR, I just happen to have an unexpected opening in my project schedule for a one-page copy project, which is rare.)

:: The other immediate change is that the investment for my Creating Better Copy Personalized Help Session increased from $97 to $197 as of January 1, 2018. This service is for you if you need a customized-for-you answer to your top copywriting challenges, and clear ideas for improving your website copy ASAP to more effectively call in and convert your ideal clients. The Creating Better Copy Personalized Help Session is You + Me + a One Hour Private Workshop to address your most pressing web copy challenges right now.

:: In 1Q 2018, I’ll be launching a beta version of my course for wedding, portrait and lifestyle photographers, 30 Days to a Magnetic Marketing Message That Sells. Based on the feedback from the beta, I’ll release an “official” version of the course later in the year.

That’s about it for now.

I’ll be launching new services in 2018, but I haven’t worked out all the details yet. I also plan to create some copywriting resources for the DIY-ers out there who want to write their own copy, and just need detailed copy templates to get going. New free downloads, including an e-course on how to determine your ideal clients and unique selling proposition, or “meaningful difference,” as I like to call it, are also in the works.

I hope you also have plans and projects you’re excited about! 🙂

Here’s to a most excellent and magical 2018, in which all your business (and other!) dreams come true!

You DO NOT Have to Do It “Their” Way to Succeed in Business (AKA, Online Business Practices That Kinda Make My Skin Crawl)

I have this annoying habit of reading certain emails, certain websites, and certain articles that I know are going to make me angry, and yet, I read them anyway. It’s almost like I actively want to feel aggrieved.

And I’m not just talking about articles on the terrible death spiral our country has been in since the 2016 election, either. Though I must admit, I read my fair share of those too.

No, I’m talking about the emails, newsletters, websites, and blogs that tell us all the things we “must” do online to succeed in business.

But Do You, Really?

I subscribe to many newsletters and read many blogs about marketing, copywriting, list-building, traffic generation, and multiple other topics about doing business online.

As someone who writes marketing copy for solopreneurs and small businesses, and advises on web marketing, I have to keep up with these things. Heck, I want to keep up with these things. I genuinely find these topics interesting. I’m a nerd like that.

But many of the things on the online business success “must do” list make my skin crawl a little. Which is to say, they would be out of integrity for me to do, but that doesn’t mean they’re inherently bad, or that the folks who employ these tactics are “bad.” They simply don’t jibe with the way I like to do business.

(There are a couple things on that list, however, that I find straight up unethical. I’ve placed an asterisk next to any of those practices on the list below.)

What I want to stress about the following list is that you DO NOT have do any of these things to succeed online. If you want to try some of these tactics, that’s cool too. The point is, you do you. Do what feels right and comfortable for you.  

Don’t feel pressured to do what some so-called “expert” says to do, just because it worked for them. Heck, don’t feel pressured to do anything I talk about on this blog either, for that matter. Unless it makes sense and feels right for you.

(The exception to this is ethical, legit marketing, sales, or business practices that you know would move your business forward, but make you feel uncomfortable or scared, or feel like too much work. We all gotta do that stuff that makes us feel uncomfortable to make progress on our dreams.)

BUT – just because some online “guru” says you must use push notifications, or do a retargeting campaign, or buy Facebook ads, or “invest in yourself” by joining their program, or do this or that “hack,” doesn’t mean you’ll fail if you don’t.

It absolutely, positively, does not mean you’ll fail if you don’t.

Online Business Practices That Make My Skin Crawl

#1: Calling people who teach online “gurus.” In my mind, a guru is a spiritual teacher or guide (yes, I know a word can have more than one meaning, and yes, I know I used the word “guru” above.) The word has been overused to the point of becoming a giant cliché to describe those hawking their wares online, and has therefore become meaningless.

#2: Light bullying and/or shaming, disguised as a “sales technique,” i.e., when people selling their courses or programs tell you if you don’t invest in their program that you’re not committed to investing in yourself, or that when you say you can’t afford it, you really can, it’s just that you’re not prioritizing your success. Or you’re afraid of success. Or failure. Or digging in and doing the work. Or a handful of other lame BS.*

This kind of sales “tactic” always strikes me as light bullying, or at the very least, light shaming. Which it is. It’s also the height of privilege and arrogance. If you tell a single parent with $27 in their bank account and no other financial resources to draw upon that they just don’t want success bad enough, I mean, C’MON. WTF?

Sure, there are times we tell ourselves we can’t afford something when in fact it’s just not a priority us for right now. I get that fear, not affordability, sometimes keeps us from doing things that would be good for our businesses. That dynamic exists.  It’s happened to me.

On the other hand, there were times early on in my business when I wanted to invest in a course or program, yet only had enough in my bank account to pay that month’s bills. And shelling out $600 or $2200 or $3600 (all amounts I’ve paid for training and courses) would have meant I couldn’t pay for the really important things that month, like rent, or health insurance. And yet, if the copy on the course creator’s sales page is to be believed, I just didn’t care enough about my success, or believe in myself, or want it badly enough.

When I send a sales email for my own services, I say something along the lines of, “If this is right for you, great! I’d love to work with you. And if it’s not the right time, no worries.” I often say things like, “there will be no arm-twisting to get you to buy.” What I don’t do is try to make someone feel in any way “less than” if they don’t want to buy, have other priorities, or simply don’t want my thing, whatever it is.

#3: The language often used to describe potential clients and customers. For example, referring to real, live, human beings, with thoughts and feelings and wishes and hopes and dreams and fears as “leads,” “prospects,” “conversions,” or similar. Now I’ll admit, I’ve used the words “leads” and “prospects” in my blog posts and in my weekly newsletter from time to time. I wish I could say I hadn’t. But I haven’t done it with any real frequency, and not in a long time, once it started to get under my skin how dehumanizing it felt to refer to flesh and blood people that way. I typically use the term “potential clients” or similar.

What I find truly heinous though, is blog posts with titles like, “Best ways to push prospects down the marketing funnel.” Really? I don’t want to push anyone anywhere, and especially not “down the marketing funnel.”

In another example of language I find troubling, a recent email from a successful copywriter I respect and admire kind of floored me by talking about how people with “unrelenting standards” are often “easy prey for good salesmanship” due to their competitive nature. That’s more than a little distasteful.*

I don’t think of the people who might be interested in my services as “prey.” They’re either right for what I offer or not, and if not, that’s totally cool. I’m not on the “hunt” for folks who might be an easy mark, and I would hate to feel like someone became a “casualty” of my sales campaign. Goodness gracious.

I’m sure there are plenty of A-list marketers and copywriters who would laugh at my naiveté or unwillingness to go aggressive, or to use tried-and-true copywriting and sales techniques like the ones described above, but that’s ok. I do what feels right for me, and you can do the same.

#4: Push notifications on websites. Ok, ok, call me too sensitive. I know some people love to receive push notifications, but when I’m on a website and that little notice appears at the top of the site asking me if I’d like to receive “push notifications,” I instantly click no. [While thinking, “No, no, hell no, not in a million years, NOOOO!”] I think it has something to do with the word “push.” Language is powerful, my friends. If were called something less aggressive, like “updates” or similar, it wouldn’t bother me.

#5: Retargeting Campaigns, otherwise known as being stalked relentlessly, unceasingly, and annoyingly all over the internet by a marketer/website owner whose site you may have visited once, in a brief moment of curiosity, which has forever doomed you to seeing their ads all over the internets.

Here’s a more “official” definition of retargeting from Moz.com: Retargeting is “a form of marketing in which you target users who have previously visited your website with banner ads on display networks across the web.”

Let me just say there are many people online I respect and admire who use retargeting. Which is fine for them, but it’s just not my cup of tea. It feels predatory, aggressive, and a little desperate. Like a party guest you made pleasant conversation with for two minutes, who then follows you around the rest of the night at said party, butting into your conversations, invading your personal space, and otherwise attaching themselves to you like a barnacle. Maybe, even, asking for your number, though you are clearly not interested, and following you out to the parking lot when you leave. You just can’t get away from this leech.  All because you expressed the tiniest bit of attentiveness during your initial conversation. But you were just being polite. Yep, that’s what retargeting feels like when it’s being “done” to me.

#6: Overly aggressive/demanding or trying-too-hard-to-be-provocative email subject lines.  I’ll admit it, I don’t like being told what to do. So when I see a subject line that reads “Urgent, open up!,” I will not. Unless it’s from my doctor, an email with a subject line like that always gets an instant delete from me. Because your course or program or sale is going away at midnight tonight doesn’t rise to the level of an emergency; I wouldn’t even consider it “urgent.”

Ditto, subject lines like, “You’re not going to like this email.” My first thought is, “Good, I can delete it then!” And then I do.

#7: Countdown timers. Again, there are people online I adore, whose products and programs I’ve happily purchased, who use countdown timers on their sales pages and in their marketing emails. They work. Yes, I know you need to use urgency to get people who could really benefit from your program off the fence, blah, blah, blah, I know people tend to procrastinate until the last possible moment, blah, blah, blah. But they’re just not my jam. And there are other ways to communicate that an offer is going away, by, for example, saying the offer is going away.

#8: List posts. Yes, yes, yes, I know they still work to a degree. Heck, some people have even made a big name for themselves online and gotten a 6-figure book deal out of writing what boils down to list posts. All good. I’ve written what might be considered a “list post” on this blog a few times. But I’d never want to make a habit of it, as it can feel derivative and cliché.

#9: “Hacks.” Am I the only one tired to near death of “hacks?” Hack this, hack that. Marketing hacks, growth hacks, content hacks, copy hacks, conversion hacks. I’m weary just writing this sentence. Make it stop. [By the way, Paul Jarvis wrote an excellent article about the practice of growth hacking called, “I don’t wanna grow up to be a growth hacker.”]

#10: The white maleness and tropes of online marketing. Hoo boy. This is a BIG topic, and deserves a fully dedicated blog post all its own. In fact, I’ve already started writing it. So I’ll leave elaborating on this one for another day.

Filters

When it comes to online marketing and business practices, I often think of those people and businesses online I adore, respect, and admire, and how they do things. And I might use those people and businesses as a filter when considering a tactic or technique I want to try.

The top three that come to mind for me are Ash Ambirge [The Middle Finger Project], Alexandra Franzen, and Danielle LaPorte. They all have wildly successful businesses, yet none of them employ any of the practices above.  Which is one of the reasons I love ‘em so.

The bottom line is, you can do things your way, ignore all the tactics, techniques, “hacks,” and whatnot online marketing “experts” tell you you must do, and still be successful. Wildly so. And at the end of the day, still walk away with your integrity and dignity intact.

 

Some Notes on Determination

Determination.

Sometimes it kicks in at the exact moment you need it.

I surely would have given up on my business this year without it.

In fact, I almost did.

The last eighteen months around here have been wildly challenging, confronting, and just dang difficult. Most of it I can’t share publicly, but suffice it to say that I find it miraculous, given all that’s transpired, that I’m still running my solo business and haven’t voluntarily checked myself into Butner.

That series of events, combined with a recent slow business month, had me convinced I should seriously consider chucking the business altogether and go get myself a . . . gasp . . . j-o-b.

You know, consistent bi-weekly paycheck, employer paid health insurance, paid vacay, a team of colleagues to interact with, opportunities to advance, the whole nine.

Is Getting a 9-5 Really the Answer?

I thought about it and I thought about it, and finding a 9-5 job in the copywriting and digital marketing field felt like the best decision I could make under the circumstances.

I was exhausted; I felt like I simply didn’t have the energy to hustle in my business the way I wanted/needed to, and work out the stuff going in my personal life at the same time.

So I started spending 4-6 hours of my precious business time each week job searching online, researching companies, writing kick-ass cover letters, tweaking and polishing my resume, and sending said resume for jobs I thought I was a great fit for.

Lo and behold, I got an interview pretty quickly after I set this in motion. With a big, global company, for a copywriter/editor position I would have loved to have. With a nice salary, regular paycheck, and good benefits. Etc.

Can I tell you how excited I was?!?!

Wow, I thought, this could be a dream come true! The answer to my prayers! Working with a team again, instead by myself at the dining room table most days! Knowing exactly how much I’m going to earn! Direct deposits into my bank account twice a month! Relying on someone else to make all the work-related decisions!

I really, really want this, I thought. This would be absolute bliss, I thought.

You know what happened?

My car broke down on way to interview, no kidding. Still, I was only four minutes late. I called my HR contact and the person I was interviewing with, and they were both kind and understanding about it.

Alas, I must not have sold my candidacy convincingly enough, because they didn’t offer me the position.  It’s been long enough now that I know I am never hearing from them.

Initially, I was disappointed. Not devastated, but genuinely disappointed.

(And after I spent all that dough on a new haircut, highlighting my hair, new shoes for my interview outfit, and so on. Ah, well, these things happen, no?)

But This Was Good. This Was Exactly What I Needed.

After my 9-5 flirtation, and the initial sting of rejection of the big, successful, global company deciding not to hire me, I did a whole, whole lot of thinking.

And soul-searching.

And journaling.

And inspiration-seeking.

I binge-listened to podcasts. I read dozens of blog posts. I sought out my favorite business people online, and read and listened to every story they wrote or told of overcoming great odds to get where they are. If I’d ever bought a course from them, I went back through their course material.

I asked myself if giving up on my business was really the answer.

I wrote a question in my journal, “What do you really, truly want? If your business could look a different way, would you stick it out?”

After a week or two of what often felt like self-indulgent navel-gazing, I started to feel better. Motivation and inspiration began to creep back in. Just a little at first, then more as the days passed.

My determination kicked in.

I made a promise to myself to go all out this last quarter of the year, to really, truly give KDH Ink all the love, devotion, strategery, focus and commitment I can possibly muster. To work harder than I’ve ever worked, or at least smarter, if harder isn’t the answer.

To get out of my comfort zone and do things I’ve been putting off for far too long because I don’t feel “ready.” To finally release a small course or other product/program. To go after a couple of dream clients I’ve been wanting to work with. The list is long and I won’t bore you with it here, but there is a list. Because I love me some lists.

Then There Was This Wealth Mindset Book . . .

It just so happened that while I was in the navel-gazing phase around my business, I was reading Jen Sincero’s book, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth, at the same time.

(Highly recommended, by the way, especially if you like a sense of humor and fun stories of mild debauchery served up with your wealth-attaining advice. The book is both practical and funny, and you can’t beat that combination when it comes to finance/personal development advice, which is often chock full of platitudes and greasy earnestness.)

What she has to say around determination when it comes to improving your finances also applies to business. Bigly.

I read the passage below over and over again, and decided to adopt it as my business rallying cry for 4Q 2017.

I’m going to share some Sincero’s thoughts on determination here. Just replace “desire to get rich” and other money talk with “desire to create the business you love,” and you’ll get the idea.

(If you’re sensitive around the whole idea of “getting rich” and think it’s shallow, selfish, or corrupt, you might want to skip this part.)

On page 141-143 of the book, Sincero says: “Deciding to get rich means you put that decision above all else (except doing illegal, amoral, revolting things for money, of course). You need to be ruthless with yourself because you’re not only growing a new moneymaking mindset, you’re battling a whole lot of subconscious beliefs about money that you’ve never faced before. Any chink in your armor will offer your old conditioning an opportunity to take over and steer you off course, which it will do so quickly you won’t know what hit you.”

You can’t, according to Sincero:

  • Be weird about the fact that you not only desire to get rich, but that you’re going to focus everything you’ve got on making it happen.
  • Make sure everything is perfect before starting.
  • Be precious about getting rid of all the distractions in your life.
  • Whine about how little time you have or how nobody around you is supportive or that you’re already working forty hours a week, how the hell am I supposed to do more?
  • Need to know exactly where you’re going before moving forward.
  • Get advice from people who aren’t farther along than you are.

To all that, I say, yes, yes, and YES. OMG, yes.

All very good advice to implement in your business.

I would love to wrap this up neatly with a bow and tell you my exact plan for 4Q 2017, but I’m still working that out.

What I do know is that somewhere in the last few weeks, a mighty determination came roaring back.

I’m ready to get hyper-focused on my business again and kick 4Q’s arse. 

 

Would You Rather Push a Boulder Uphill with a Feather, or Nail Down Your Compelling Marketing Message?: A Question for Creative Business Builders, Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners

Let’s go way, way back in Internet years to late 2011/early 2012.

I was just bringing my writing business online, and was excited as all get out to finally launch my website and start selling my services on the World! Wide! Web! Yee-to-the-haw!!

I’d been helping clients with marketing copy, content, and other marketing initiatives for years; going live with my website would finally make it legit and “official.”

Ah, the rainbows and unicorns of those halcyon early days! The harp-playing angels on fluffy white clouds when I thought of the possibilities! The opportunities! The freedom! The revenue!

And yet.

By the end of 2012, I was experiencing one of the most frustrating, maddening, and exasperating periods of my business. I was exhausted and on the verge of giving up.

I’m talking tear-inducing, anxiety-producing, hair-pulling frustration, and the occasional to-the-hell-with-this-here-business-thing-if-it-has-to-be-so-hard crying jag alone in my apartment, while my friends were out doing “normal” things like going to dinner, or the movies, or out for beers and live music on a Saturday night.

Pushing a Boulder Uphill with a Feather

It wasn’t that I didn’t have any clients. I just didn’t have enough clients, and certainly not enough of the right kind of clients.

I wanted to serve creatives who were doing interesting things in their business who valued my expertise, and had an actual budget for marketing and copywriting. Yet I was attracting clients in all kinds of random, non-creative industries, many of whom were looking for bargain-priced services, and who didn’t always appreciate the value (and necessity) of persuasive writing/copywriting to their business success.

If you provide one-on-one services in your business, you know how frustrating it can be to work with the wrong kind of clients. Good people, just the wrong clients. Ahem.

On top of that, I was spending hours upon hours producing weekly content for blog posts, newsletters, and social media, yet it didn’t seem to be moving the needle. My email list growth was nearly stagnant, and I wasn’t faring much better in the attracting-the-right-kind-of-buyers department either.

And when I doubled down and worked even harder and longer producing still more content, thinking maybe “more” was the answer?  Nope, still no real change.

It was like pushing a boulder uphill with a feather.

[I covered this fun time in much greater detail in a 3-part blog series from 2013 called Creatives: Are You Making These 3 Web Marketing Mistakes?]

Then It Dawned on Me . . .

In case clicking over to read that 3-part series is not in the cards for you time-wise, I’ll give you the short version of my epiphany here.

My big mistake, and why I wasn’t getting the results I wanted was three-fold:

#1: I didn’t know who my ideal client/target audience was and what they struggled with, #2: I wasn’t expressing how I was different from others who offered a similar product or service, and #3: I wasn’t making an emotional connection with my ideal clients. (You have to do the first two to be able to pull off the third).

The problem was my marketing message. Or lack of one, to be more precise.

That’s when nailing down and conveying the right marketing message to the right audience became my mission. I was NOT going to give up on making my fledgling business work. No way, no how.

If you read the blog series linked above, you’ll know I eventually worked my way through this exasperating conundrum by figuring out who my target audience and ideal customers were and what they wanted; determining my unique selling proposition (otherwise known as a USP, or what I prefer to call your “meaningful difference”); and using that information in all my content, copy, marketing, and social media, etc., to attract and make an emotional connection with my right people.

Once I did that, things started to improve. Bigly. I got more client inquiries. My email list started to grow. I started getting booked out with projects I loved working on, with clients I loved working with. I started earning more.

[By the way, I’m teaching a course for wedding, portrait, and lifestyle photographers later this year about how to do exactly this, based on my own experience + the work I’ve done with my photographer copywriting clients, helping them nail down their own marketing message.]

To be clear, the process of determining and implementing a marketing message that attracted the right audience took time. Things improved when I got clear on who I wanted to serve and what they wanted, but there were still adjustments to make and ideas to tweak.

Still, I started to see better results almost immediately, which gave me the motivation to keep going. And that was huge for me. It’s what kept me from giving up.  

That’s how it is in business – as you learn more about your ideal audience, you fine tune. Then learn more, fine tune more. Even now, several years in, I’m still fine tuning my understanding of my audience and how to best serve them, and adjusting my messaging, my marketing, and my offers accordingly.

What You Can Do Next

Whatever stage of business you’re in right now – just getting started, three years in, exhausted and ready to give up, or digging in your heels and declaring, “I’m going to make this work!” –  it’s always a good time to take a long, hard look at your audience and your messaging, and ask, “Am I attracting the kind of clients I want to attract? Am I attracting enough of them? Is my message resonating with the right people in this saturated, overcrowded online space?”

And if not, do what I did. Determine who you want to serve, what they want/need/desire, and what makes you uniquely qualified to serve them, and use those insights in your content, copy, marketing, and everywhere else you interact with your audience, so you can begin to attract and make an emotional connection with your right people.

Imagine the possibilities when you do that.  It might just be what your business needs to turn the corner and start feeling joyful to work in again.

Just don’t give up too soon.

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If you want immediate feedback from a professional copywriter and marketer on your website copy, customized-for-you answers to your top copywriting challenges, and clear ideas for improving your website copy ASAP to more effectively call in and convert your ideal clients, then check out my Creating Better Copy Personalized Help Session right over here.

How to Stop Whining and Enjoy the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks Out of Your Unexpected Downtime

(Image: Opening of new Forsyth County Central Library, Winston-Salem, NC. One of the many experiences I got to enjoy during my recent downtime.)

This week I basked in the giggly glow of spending three glorious days slap in the middle of an ordinary work week with my best friend of 30+ years.

Yep, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week was ours to do with just as we pleased.

Mind you, this mid-week downtime was not planned, not part of a staycation, and not, if I’m honest, exactly what I wanted, at least not initially.

In fact, it was creating all kinds of stress for me.

See, I did the thing you’re never, not-in-a-million-years-E-V-E-R, supposed to do as a copywriter/marketer/web strategist for hire – I didn’t market myself near enough during all those months I was up-to-my-eyeballs busy with client work.

In fact, for the last few years I’ve been blessed to have enough client inquiries from folks who found me through my website, that my project schedule has been full to the gills for a very long time.

During that time, I haven’t had to actively market or promote myself, other than sending an email to my subscribers 2-3 times a year to announce a special or a new service.

(Ah, the magical appeal of nailing your marketing message, and having a website, blog, and newsletter that conveys it. These things have served me so, so well.)

But then it happened – a client who provided 25% of my monthly income mysteriously went AWOL with no explanation (never, ever, and I mean EVER, work with a client without the benefit of a contract, no matter how honest, above-board, and ethical they seem. Because when they decide, inexplicably, that you are entirely disposable, you will be left scratching your head while nervously regarding the moths flying around in your bank account).

Then my longest”-term client, who I’ve been working with for seven years, had very little work for me in August. And to compound the problem, I was coming to the end of two big one-off copywriting projects right around the same time.

Wherefore, oh wherefore, my usual monthly income?

‘Twas my fault though, so I cannot complain. Can I?

The Silver Lining

Alas, this late August downtime, as stressful and unwanted as it initially was, allowed me to spend three glorious days and nights with my best gal pal who lives 40 minutes away in the next town over, going out to dinner, enjoying flutes of bubbly, savoring a couple of glasses of a most delicious Pinot Blanc from the Willamette Valley, and imbibing a refreshing beer or two (not all on the same night, ha ha).

Also, eating cheeseburgers two nights in a row, watching many episodes of Arrested Development while laughing our fool heads off, scarfing down Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream, and eating these luscious things called “cake bars,” from a beloved local bakery.

There were many long conversations about subjects both serious and silly, lunches out in the middle of the day (this was a revelation to me, since I usually wolf down avocado toast while working on client projects during lunch), a visit to the gorgeous, newly renovated public library in town, and dinner and a movie (“The Big Sick” – highly recommended) with popcorn, M & M’s, and real Coke, not the diet kind, on the final night of my visit.

It’s not that I never see my BFF, it’s just that normally when I’m there for a multi-day visit, I sit at her dining room table chained to my computer for 8+ hours or more. And while we spend a couple of hours together in the evening doing fun stuff, I’m always thinking ahead to the next day’s workload, deliverables, and deadlines.

But this visit wasn’t like that. It was like being on vacation. It was liberating and refreshing and full of the kind of quality time I don’t usually get to have with my dearest friend in the middle of the week. And once I let myself lean into it, instead of worrying myself silly laser-focusing on my slow-business-month woes, I relaxed and enjoyed the best three days I’ve had in a long, long time.

It was exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.

Now, I don’t have some grand transformation to share (of the “I’ll-never-let-my-business-get-in-the way-of-living-my-life again” variety, because I know that ain’t the case), or an inspirational meme-worthy lesson to impart, but I do know this:

This is what life is for. Experiences. Fun. Downtime. Enjoying your life when you’re busy, and when you’re not. Embracing the middle-of-the-week blessings that come your way, despite said moths flying around in your bank account.

And not whining like a baby about the slower times in business. (Ahem . . . especially when you could have done something to prevent it. Hello, consistent marketing.)

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[Want to write web copy & content that connects with your ideal clients online? Sign up for weekly updates and get instant access to the CREATIVE REBEL GUIDE TO WRITING A CLIENT-ATTRACTING ABOUT PAGEplus copywriting & web marketing tips for creative freelancers & biz owners that I only share with my subscribers, delivered straight to your inbox each Tuesday.]

How to Write a Simple 3-Part Email Marketing Campaign That Sells Your Creative Products and Services in 48 Hours or Less

 

(Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash)

What if there was a way to bring some $$$ into your business ASAP, with a minimal amount of hassle and without spending hours slaving away to come up with a brilliant sales campaign?

There is.

If it makes sense for you (i.e., you have the bandwidth to write a few emails, and a receptive email list you’ve been “romancing” with valuable non-sales content between your sales offers), you can do it with a simple, 3-part email marketing campaign.

This email campaign is not difficult to write, and you can automate the entire process through your email service provider (ESP). I use Aweber, but other email service providers offer the same capability.

Caveat: While this is fairly simple to do, it’s not a magic, “easy button” solution. You have to be willing to spend some time figuring out what your clients and customers would love to have, then writing a handful of persuasive emails to tell them about it.

I’ve done this style of email campaign a handful of times, and found it to be one of the best ways to create a decent bump of revenue in a relatively short amount of time.

How It Works (for e-commerce or service-based offerings)

We all know holidays are a great time to launch a sale or special offer, especially if you’re in the e-commerce space.

You likely get dozens of emails around Black Friday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and maybe even obscure “holidays” like Groundhog Day or Summer Solstice.

And since Labor Day is coming up (depending on when you’re reading this), it’s the perfect time to plan your email campaign:

Determine your offer and nail down the details in early August; draft, then perfect your three emails by late August and get them pre-scheduled into your email service provider; test to make sure it’s all working properly, then launch the email campaign a week to a few days before Labor Day (which is Monday 09.04.17 this year).

BUT – but, but, but –  even if you’re not in the e-commerce space – for example, you sell services, like I do – your business could still benefit from running a 3-part email sales campaign.

Let’s Learn How!

Ok, so here’s what I’m going to do . . .

I’m going to point you to a series of guest articles I wrote about how to do a 3-part email marketing campaign over at the Artstorefronts blog, which will give you an overview of how to implement this if you’re in the e-commerce space.

Then, for those of you who sell services, I’m going to share how I implemented a very similar campaign to sell copywriting packages. You can easily adapt one or the other of these approaches – e-commerce or service-based – to sell your own creative products or services.

Now – whether you sell art, products, or services, I highly recommend you read (or skim – a couple of them are pretty dang long) the blog posts at the Artstorefronts blog first, so you can get a good sense of the 3 emails you’ll need to write.

In those posts you’ll find info on:

:: How to run a holiday email marketing campaign [works for non-holiday promotions as well] – how many emails to send, when to send them, and importantly, examples of subject lines and body copy, so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

And no, you don’t have to follow every single thing suggested in those posts for this to work.

I used a version of the 3-part email campaign loosely based on the e-commerce model explained on the Artstorefronts blog to sell my copywriting packages, and I sold out of all the spots I had.

Check Out the Email Marketing Guides at Artstorefronts Here:

(Each of these posts will open in a separate window so you can stay on my blog and read the rest of this post.) 😊

Valentine’s Day Email Marketing Guide for Artists 

Mother’s Day Email Marketing Guide for Artists 

Father’s Day Email Marketing Guide for Artists 

If You Sell Services

Ok, if you headed over to the Artstorefronts blog and read one or more of those posts, you’re now familiar with the overarching idea behind the 3-part email campaign, so I won’t go into more detail here about the whys and wherefores.

What I will do is explain how to adapt the e-commerce campaign you just read about to selling services, by sharing details of my recent email campaign.

I used the 3-part email sales campaign to sell a special copywriting package: website Home page copy + a compelling tagline. I made 5 packages available (because that was all I could fit into my summer project schedule), and ran the special for 48 hours.

My goal was to sell 5 packages within the 48-hour window. I sold all 5 within 24 hours, then, before I could send an email to my list to alert them there were no more spots available, I sold one more package, for a total of 6, which generated $2988 in revenue.

This was all from just one email, when I had planned to send three. Which is proof that a compelling offer + an engaged email list + a real, true, limited supply of something (i.e., none of that “fake scarcity” b.s.) can work really well when it comes to selling via email.

Let’s break down why I got these results:

#1: It was a special price. My standard fee for a Home page is $549, and for a stand-alone tagline, $297, for a total investment of $846. I made this package available for just $498 during the 48-hour sale period.

#2: I let folks get started for a down payment of just $150 (instead of the standard deposit, which is usually 50% of the total project fee).

#3: I let folks pay the rest of the investment in two installments of $174 each, spaced 30 days apart, which made things even easier on the wallet.

#4: The deal was available for a limited time, for just 48 hours, or when 5 spots sold, whichever came first.*

(*I kind of messed that up. Keep reading for details.)

#5: And, this is important – I’ve established a good relationship with my email subscribers over the years. I don’t make that many sales offers, generally 4-5 per year at most, and I send out really valuable copywriting and marketing advice each week without asking for anything in return. I don’t pummel my subscribers with sales offers, in other words.

The Emails I Sent

The thing I messed up?  Not mentioning in the first email that when the five spots were sold, OR when the 48 hours was up, whichever came first, the deal was over.

And I know better, because I’ve done this kind of campaign before. D’oh!!

The emails pasted in below are the actual emails I wrote to sell this offer.

NOTE: I only sent the first email below, because I sold all 5 spots within 24 hours, then an additional spot before I had a chance to let folks know all the spots were taken.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I’m sharing these emails so you can model them to do your own email sales campaign, but don’t copy them verbatim. That would not be cool. Put your own unique spin on them based on your personality, writing style, and service offerings.

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Email #1

Subject: 48 Hour Flash Sale on client-attracting Home page copy + tagline

Planned Send Date: Weds 05.31.17; 10:45 a.m. EST [This is the first email; it generated 6 sales.]

Hey there,

Hope you’re having a fantastic Wednesday!

Depending on how long you’ve been one of my email subscribers, you may or may not know that 2-3 times a year, I make a special offer on my website copywriting services exclusively for my email list.

This special offer is for email subscribers only, and not something I share on social media or mention anywhere else.

And guess what? It’s that time of year!

I ran the Get Your Client-Attracting Home Page Copy + Compelling Tagline special last fall and it was a BIG hit.

I’ve gotten lots of new email subscribers since then, so it’s time to roll it out again!

I’ve created a super-secret, hidden-from-the-general-public page on my website to tell you all about it at the link below.

So if you want to get the hands-down most important page of your website written by a copywriter with over 16 years of experience, and you want to get it at a very special price, go on over and check out my Summer Special Offer at the link below.

Because not only is there a special price, but there’s also an awesome payment plan for a limited time. Woohoo!

*This offer will only be available until Friday 06.02.17 at 5:00 pm EST, and I have just 5 spots available.*  [See my mistake here? I failed to mention that the offer would available until I sold all 5 spots OR when the 48 hours was up, whichever came first. Sheesh, Kimberly.]

To get the most important page of your website written so you can finally start getting the results you want, go check it out right here:

Get Your Client-Attracting Home Page Copy + Compelling Tagline at a Seriously Reduced Rate for a Limited Time [This linked directly to my sales page with a simple PayPal “Buy Now” button for the $150 down payment. To collect the next two installments, I sent a Freshbooks invoice.]

Warmly,

Kimberly

P.S. If you have any questions, simply reply to this email and let me know. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

P.S.S. You’ll be getting two more emails about this special over the next two days, so if this doesn’t interest you, just ignore an email from me on Thursday 06.01.17 and Friday 06.02.17, then we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled weekly Tuesday emails, full of copywriting & marketing advice geared specifically to creatives.

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Email #2

Subject: Ending soon: Big savings + awesome payment plan on client-attracting website copy

Planned Send Date: Thursday 06.01.17, 12:45 p.m. [This is the second email I planned to send, but didn’t for the reasons mentioned above. However, I’m including it here for those of you who want a template for creating your own 3-part email sales campaign.]

Hey there,

I know you’re busy running your own empire, so I’ll get right to the point. J

Yesterday I sent an email out to let you know about my Summer Special Offer – a special mini-copywriting package that includes getting your Home Page (THE most important page on your website) + your compelling tagline written, at a deeply discounted price, for a limited time.

In case you missed that email, here’s the important bit:

I’ve created a super-secret, hidden-from-the-general-public page on my website to tell you all about this special offer. So if you want to get the hands-down most important page of your website written, and you want to get it at a very special price, go on over and check out my Summer Special Offer.

Because not only is there a special price, but there’s also an awesome payment plan for a limited time. Woohoo!

*This offer will only be available until Friday 06.02.17 at 5:00 pm EST, and I have just 5 spots available.* 

To get the most important page of your website written so you can finally start getting the results you want, go check it out right here:

Get Your Client-Attracting Home Page Copy + Compelling Tagline at a Seriously Reduced Rate for a Limited Time [This linked directly to my sales page with a simple PayPal “Buy Now” button for the $150 down payment. To collect the next two installments, I sent a Freshbooks invoice.]

If you have any questions, simply hit “reply” on this email.

Warmly,

Kimberly

P.S. If you’d like to see a few examples of web copy I’ve written for other happy clients, check out the writing samples page on my website right here. [This linked to the Writing Samples page on my website.]

P.S.S. You’ll be getting one more email about this special tomorrow, so if this doesn’t interest you, just ignore an email from me on Friday 06.02.17, then we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled Tuesday weekly emails, full of copywriting & marketing advice geared specifically to creatives!

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Email #3

Subject: Ends Today: $348 savings + payment plan on copywriting package

Planned Send Date: Friday 06.02.17, 2:00 or 3:00 pm [This is the third email I planned to send, but didn’t for the reasons mentioned above. However, I’m including it here for those of you who want a template for creating your own 3-part email sales campaign.]

Hello & Happy Friday!

Here it is, your final reminder about the Client-Attracting Home Page Copy + Compelling Tagline special offer.

If you want to get the hands-down most important page of your website written, and you want to get it at a very special price, go on over and check out my Summer Special Offer.

Not only is there a special price, there’s also an awesome payment plan, through 5:00 pm EST today ONLY. That’s in just a couple of hours, and this is the last email about this offer, so if you’re interested, now is the time to take action, my creative friend! : )

To get the most important page of your website written so you can finally start getting the results you want, go check it out right here:

Get Your Client-Attracting Home Page Copy + Compelling Tagline at a Seriously Reduced Rate for a Limited Time [This linked directly to my sales page with a simple PayPal “Buy Now” button for the $150 down payment. To collect the next two installments, I sent a Freshbooks invoice.]

If you have any questions, simply hit “reply” on this email.

Warmly,

Kimberly

P.S. If you’d like to see a few examples of web copy I’ve written for other happy clients, check out the writing samples page on my website right here. [This linked to the Writing Samples page on my website.]

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In a nutshell, the 3-part email campaign looks like this:

#1: Email your list to announce a special offer. Share what’s special about this offer – it’s for a limited time, it’s a percentage off the regular price, it’s a special holiday promotion, it’s your birthday, you’re offering a solid gold baby with every purchase, etc.

#2: Send a second email letting folks know the offer will end soon. Here’s the thing – we’ve all been trained by the multitude of marketing emails we receive each day that the first email about a sale or special offer won’t be the last one, so we often ignore it. Plus, people are so busy, they may not have seen your first email at all.

#3. Send a final reminder email. A few hours to a couple of days before your offer expires, depending on the length of campaign you’re running, remind folks that the special offer is going away; most buyers will buy in the last 24-48 hours. You’ve done it, I’ve done it, we’ve all done it.

And there you have it: a simple 3-part email marketing campaign that sells your creative products and services in 48 hours or less. Yeehaw!

P.S. If you’d like to write your own email sales campaign and want the help of an experienced copywriter and marketer to help you polish and perfect it before you hit “send,” I’m now offering this service. This offering is not on my Work with Me page, and I don’t plan to add it there just yet, so if you’re interested, simply email me at kimberly (at) kimberlydhouston (dot) com with “Email Marketing” in the subject line, and tell me a little bit about your planned email campaign. I’ll reply within 48 business hours with information on next steps.