Browsed by
Tag: business owners

Hiring the Right Copywriter for You: Best Practices

Hiring the Right Copywriter for You: Best Practices

One of the many team members entrepreneurs and business owners can’t wait to hire is a copywriter.

And it makes sense. The amount of writing needed can feel overwhelming, especially if you do a lot of online marketing. There always seems to be another email or blog post or video script to write. Even if you like to write, it likely can feel daunting at times.

And, if you hate writing? It’s hell.

But, hiring a copywriter can be easier said than done. How can you tell the good from the bad? How do you know if you’ve hired the right copywriter for you?

Well, today’s your lucky day, as I’m going to walk you through best practices for hiring a copywriter. This way, not only will the process become effortless for you, but you’ll get a return on your investment. (Good copywriters should pay for themselves—part of their job is to craft marketing materials that sell.)

In addition, I’m also going to walk you through what you can do to prepare for your copywriter, so it ends up being a great experience for both of you.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Copywriter

  1. Do I resonate with the type of copy he or she writes?

There are a variety of copywriting styles out there—everything from traditional/hardcore, to very soft and warm. (Not to mention everything from fear-based to love-based.)

As you can imagine, if you choose a copywriter who doesn’t typically write in the style you prefer, everyone will probably end up unhappy. You likely won’t get precisely what you want, and the copywriter is going to struggle trying to write in a way that’s not comfortable for him or her.

So, it’s definitely worth it to do some research before you hand over a check. Ask to see samples. Ask for testimonials from previous clients. You can even ask what type of copy style he or she prefers to write.

  1. How professional is he/she?

Is there a contract, or does it feel sort of loosie goosy? I’ve heard stories about copywriters taking the money and never delivering any work. Or, the work being completed, but then the bill is received and it’s higher than expected/agreed on.

Typically, the more professional a copywriter is, the less likely you’ll run into problems like these.

  1. Do I want a copywriter who can also help me with marketing? Or am I just looking for an “order taker?”

Most copywriters simply want to be told what to write. They’re not interested in (or comfortable with) answering marketing questions or coming up with marketing strategies.

If you have the marketing component handled, that will probably work out great for you. But, if you’d like some help with marketing strategy, make sure that’s something the prospective copywriter is willing to help you with.

(Side note, I own a copywriting and marketing company that specializes in—what else?—love-based copy. We offer either option—providing you with copy, and/or assisting with strategy.)

  1. Do I feel like I’ll be supported throughout the copywriting process?

Many copywriters are freelancers or solopreneurs, which means they’re working alone. Because they don’t have a team, you may not hear from them as often as you’d like. In addition, if they get busy or sick or take a vacation, you may be stuck without a copywriter.

Only you can decide if you’re okay with that. (My copywriting company includes a team of copywriters and project managers who can support both your copy and marketing strategy needs.)

Also, you may want to find out how the copywriter prefers to get information from you. Does she have a questionnaire? Does he interview you? Can you send her an audio or a transcript or written notes?

Some copywriters are very particular when it comes to their preferred method for receiving information from you (for instance, they may always want to interview you, or they may always want transcripts or typed notes). It’s a good idea to make sure you’re good with how they want to work with you before you find yourself in the middle of a project.

Bonus Tip: Trust your gut.

Above all, you should feel great about your decision. After all, you’re hiring someone who is going to be the “voice” of your marketing. You should be delighted with the person you’ve chosen. Check in with yourself to make sure you are.

Now, once you’ve chosen your copywriter, what can you do to make sure you’ve set the relationship up for success.

Here are a few of the main questions your copywriter will likely ask you.

  1. Do you know who your ideal client is?

This is crucial. Good copy speaks directly to your ideal client (when I teach this concept, I say you’re writing a love letter to your ideal client). Obviously, if you don’t know who your ideal client is, it’s going to be next to impossible to write copy that will attract, inspire, and invite them to become your client, customer, and buyer.

Bonus Tip: Be absolutely clear on your ideal client, whether you’re hiring a copywriter or not. It’s one of the fundamental foundational principles your business is built on, so getting that clarity will definitely pay off.

I have a couple of articles to help you pin down your ideal client here and here.

  1. Do you know what’s keeping your ideal client up at night?

Your ideal clients are looking for you right now because they’re in pain, and they want a solution to that pain.

If you don’t actually know what’s keeping them up at night, they likely will never realize you’re talking to them in your marketing materials, so they won’t pay attention.

As part of my Love-Based Copy Philosophy, I teach the truth about pain, which is this:

Pain is a part of life.

There are people who are born who can’t feel physical pain, and because they can’t feel their body trying to tell them something is wrong, they tend not to live long.

Pain is our body’s way of letting us know there’s a problem. The same can be said about the mental/emotional pain your ideal client is experiencing.

Pain also helps us grow spiritually and emotionally.

To that end, respectfully addressing your ideal clients’ pain (or what’s keeping them at night) is loving. Trying to pretend they aren’t in pain because you don’t want to talk about it is actually disrespectful.

However, agitating the pain and turning it into suffering is NOT love based.

I explain more about the difference between love-based and fear-based copy here, but in a nutshell, the more you can articulate what’s keeping your ideal clients up at night in a respectful manner, the more successful you will be inspiring and inviting them to move forward with your paid offers.

  1. Do you know what your offer is?

Your offer is the unique way you help your ideal clients sleep at night. The more you understand your ideal client, and how your offer is the solution to their pain, the easier it will be to communicate your value to your ideal prospects. This post can help you nail down your message.

  1. Do you understand the basics of powerful copywriting?

I am a big believer that every entrepreneur should know at least the basics of copywriting. Otherwise, how will you be able to judge the quality of the work a copywriter provides?

If you want to delve into this more deeply, my copywriting books are a great place to start. There are also lots of other copy-related posts on this site (including articles on writing headlines, bullet points, and emails) that will give you the basics.

  1. Do you have samples of your own to share with your copywriter to make it easier for him or her to match your style?

My copywriting and marketing company has specialized in matching your unique style, and one of the ways we do that is by getting samples from our clients. To ensure your copywriter nails your style, provide him or her with samples.

There may be more things your specific copywriter would like, but this list should get you started.

And, if you want to delve deeper into the skill of copywriter, check out my “Love-Based Copywriting” books right here.

 

 

Product Launch Secrets: Are Product Launches Dead?

Product Launch Secrets: Are Product Launches Dead?

Yes, the product launch is dead.

No, it isn’t.

It depends.

(Way to be decisive Michele!)

Before I dig in, I want to start by defining “product launch.”

Product launches aren’t new. Businesses have been crafting campaigns to launch a new product or program or service for as long as they’ve been creating new offerings. Turning the unveiling of a new product into an event is a pretty standard business and marketing strategy.

However, with the arrival of the Internet, and thanks to a man by the name of Jeff Walker, the product launch now has a completely different meaning.

Walker has crafted a specific formula called PLF, or Product Launch Formula, that has made thousands of entrepreneurs thousands (if not millions) of dollars.

The formula typically consists of dripping content out (three 20-30 minute videos is pretty common) which leads to opening the cart (or offering the product for sale) for a short period of time. Typically, during the time the cart is open, more content is dripped via webinars or livestreams or coach-a-thons.

Now, just because you decide to launch a product doesn’t mean you have to have all those bells and whistles. There are plenty of simplified launches that consist of a webinar or a livestream that leads to an offer.

Or maybe there’s an “in between” that would work for you. Really, the variations of how you structure a product launch are endless.

However, when we’re talking about launches that generate multiple six or seven figures, you typically need to create more launch content than a single webinar, which is why the Product Launch Formula has been so successful.

Until recently, that is.

Over the past couple of years, the big, elaborate project launch has lost a bit of its luster. Many entrepreneurs who had relied on them for years as a major part of their business income began experiencing dwindling returns.

So IS this the end of the product launch? Or is something else afoot?

Let’s dig in and find out.

Scenario 1: Yes, product launches are dead.

Once upon a time, it wasn’t uncommon for entrepreneurs to build their entire businesses around the product launch.

They would have one (maybe two) launches a year, and earn enough income during that frenzied period of time to sustain them the rest of the year.

For those entrepreneurs, life was fabulous. Sure, they had to work hard during the launch, but launch windows are deliberately short (a few weeks at most) and the rest of the year they could spend posting selfies of themselves hanging out at the beach on Facebook.

Alas, that golden time of product launches appears to have come to a crashing halt.

Now, before you start posting comments or writing me emails letting me know about all the entrepreneurs who are still doing this successfully, let me just say that yes, I’m sure that’s true.

BUT, I will contend they are more the EXCEPTION, not the rule.

The overall trend is that one or two product launches can’t sustain a business for a year anymore.

This is partly because product launches became a victim of their own success. They were so successful, everyone started doing them, and the more people did them, the less effective they became (see this post for more about this cycle).

However, the reality is that this was never a good business model anyway. Relying on ONE thing for your yearly income is actually a really crappy way to run a business. It doesn’t matter what the one thing is, it’s never a great idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

So, in this case, I would say yes, product launches are dead, IF you’re relying on them as the entire financial model for your business.

Scenario 2: No, product launches aren’t dead.

It’s been my position for years that the product launch is an excellent tool to have in your marketing toolbox (note: it’s a tool, not the entire box) IF viewed in its proper context.

For many entrepreneurs, the product launch is about:

  1. Making money (sometimes a lot of it … sometimes not so much).
  2. Building your email list (which you’ll need for all the promoting you’re going to have to reciprocate for all the folks who are jumping into your launch).

There’s no question product launches are great in both of these respects. But, there are more benefits of product launches:

  1. They can grow your exposure and visibility. Product launches give you an excuse to email your prospect list more than normal, to advertise on social media sites (or just do more organic posting), and to have other people promote you. All of the above will help you get more exposure and visibility. Even if your ideal prospects don’t opt in to your list (which is, of course, the most desirable action), the sheer fact they’re getting an introduction to who you are and what your business is about is huge, and can reap big rewards down the road.
  2. They can grow your credibility. When other people recommend or promote your work, they’re sharing their credibility with you. This is an excellent way to build your reputation and your influence.
  3. They can jumpstart your marketing momentum. It happens to all of us; we get stuck in a rut, especially when it comes to marketing and sales. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is launch something. The sheer act of launching generates energy and momentum that can carry over into other areas of our business, even if the launch itself isn’t as financially successful as we would like it to be.
  4. They can push you out of your comfort zone and cause you to face your fears. I’m a big believer that everything you want is on the other side of your greatest fear. But, for that to happen, you need to actually, you know, FACE your fears. So, you’re likely going to have to take some action to make your fears surface. And launches are an excellent way to trigger those fears, so you can move through them. (Plus, it doesn’t matter if your launch is a big failure OR a big success–both of those outcomes will likely trigger more blocks and fears.)

My belief is that, if you view a launch as a more holistic tool that will (hopefully) also generate some additional revenue for you, you’re far more likely to be happy with the results. If you’re just focused on how much money you’re making, you’re far more likely to not only spend the entire launch completely stressed out, but to also be disappointed by the results (and who wants to put herself through that?).

Scenario #3: It depends.

At the end of the day, it’s really up to how you view the product launch if you consider it dead or alive and kicking.

In my view, product launches can be an excellent tool in your toolbox, so if that’s how you’re using it, a product launch can be exactly what the doctor ordered.

If you don’t want to create three videos and a webinar and a livestream and line up a bunch of affiliate partners, you don’t have to. You can choose the precise love-based marketing tactics and approach that makes your heart sing.

And it still can be successful.

But, if you’re relying on a product launch to financially fund your business for six months or a year, it may not be the wisest choice.

I’m a strong believer in creating a business you love AND that loves you back, and making peace with the product launch is key to that. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs freak out, melt down, abandon their normal self care practices, even abandon their integrity and compass, all because they’ve turned the product launch into something bigger than it was ever intended to be.

For instance, I’ve seen entrepreneurs who are typically rock solid around carving out time for meditation or exercises stop all of that during a launch. And, if their businesses are all about mindset practices, along with being out of balance when they need it most, they’re also out of integrity with what their business stands for. Or, normally love-based entrepreneurs switch to fear-based marketing tactics in the middle of the launch because they’re panicking over the numbers.

When the smoke clears and the launch is over, along with dealing with whatever the results of the launch were, they now also have to deal with the remorse of losing their way during the process.

Needless to say, that’s definitely not the way to build a love-based business.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s completely possible to enjoy all the benefits of the product launch without it descending into a launch hell, and it starts with you being clear on how it fits into your business.

If this resonates with you, you may like to take the teachings deeper with my book, “Love-Based Online Marketing: Campaigns to Grow a Business You Love AND That Loves You Back.” It’s available here.

7 Hot Predictions for Business Success in 2018

7 Hot Predictions for Business Success in 2018

Along with creating new goals and resolutions, it’s also that time of year to dust off the crystal ball (aka an angel snow globe in my case) and make some predictions for the New Year, especially around the hot topic of business success.

And, I’m not going to sugar coat it; 2017 was a little rough, and it could get rougher.

BUT, as always, there is opportunity as well, just as long as you’re open to what it looks like (in other words, it may not be dressed the way it was before OR the way you’d prefer it to be—but more on that in a bit).

Without further ado, let’s see what 2018 has in store for us.

1. It’s no longer “business as usual.”

One thing that became VERY clear in 2017 is how fast marketing strategies can simply cease to work, especially in the coaching/transformation industry. What used to work, isn’t (or, at least, it’s not working the way it used to).

Needless to say, this took some folks by surprise (while creating a lot of panic).

So, what happened?

I think it’s the part of the end of a cycle of two basic human drives (or two things we’re hardwired to be attracted to):

* The attraction of “new”

* And the attraction of “easy”

I’ll explain.

You may not know this, but there was a time (really!) where all you had to do was post a little opt-in box on your website with the words “Free Newsletter!” and people would sign up. (I actually once had someone email me wanting to get my free newsletter because my opt-in form wasn’t working properly.)

Now this was way back … when hearing the words “You got mail!” was exciting. (I got mail! Yay!)

Today, it’s a serious challenge to persuade people to even give you their email address much less buy something from you. And “You got mail!”? People are now excited when they manage to whittle down their inbox to below 100 emails.

Back then, email was new. Free newsletters were new. Therefore, it was a lot easier to see results.

And, in some cases, we’re talking pretty dramatic results.

In the early days of the Internet, it wasn’t uncommon for early adopters to get some insane results without doing a lot of work. And it wasn’t necessarily because what they offered was so incredible, or even that their marketing was so great.

It was because what they did was new.

And the power of new broke through the clutter.

So then, the attraction of “easy” kicked in. Early adopters made more money teaching their “easy” system to the next wave of entrepreneurs, who eagerly lapped it up. (After all, there are very few things we humans love better than something being “easy.”)

Of course, the fresh, shiny sheen of “new” eventually wears off, turning it “old” and “familiar.” “Old” and “familiar” is not nearly as sexy as “new.” They don’t attract nearly the attention, which means it doesn’t work nearly as well. Even worse, “new” becomes “old” even faster when more people use it.

Which means the early adopters need to find a different “new.” And the cycle starts all over again.

Until, eventually, we reach the predictable end.

Internet Marketing itself is no longer all that “new” or “easy.”

(And, all those tricks that came with it? Yeah, those are “old, familiar, and busted,” too.)

You see, the problem with “new” and “easy,” at least as it relates to Internet Marketing, is that it circumvents two key components of growing a successful business—work and patience.

And a lot of people get addicted to “new” and “easy” and forgot about the “time” and “work” part.

So, when “new” and “easy” stop getting results, there is panic.

Then what do we do?

Is the world as we know it over? Do we all need to get j-o-b-s?

Well, before you start trying to remember what a resume even looks like, let’s see what the next prediction is.

2. BUT it IS sort of “business as usual.”

Wait. I’m confused too. Wasn’t the first prediction that it’s no longer business as usual?

Yes, IF you’re building your business on a foundation of “new” and “easy.” While “new” and “easy” will always provide a shot in the arm, it’s not sustainable.

If you want a solid, dependable, profitable, successful business, then maybe it’s time to go back to solid, dependable, profitable, successful business practices.

What are those?

It’s simple—solve a problem that’s keeping your ideal clients up at night, and offer it to them at a fair price (fair to both of you—you need to make a living, and your ideal clients need to feel like they didn’t overpay for what was delivered).

How do you do that? Focus on three main principles:

* Attracting new prospects

* Turning those prospects into clients

* Taking great care of those clients

That’s really it.

Business really isn’t complicated. I know it can seem like it is (especially when you’re stuck in the cycle of “new” because you’re constantly having the chase the next “new” thing), but it truly doesn’t have to be. (And that includes enjoying sustained business success.)

So, how do you do all of that?

Well, let’s jump into prediction three.

3. Relationships are the new currency.

(Relationships were actually the old currency, too, but let’s not split hairs.)

People want to do business with people. People have ALWAYS wanted to do business with people. People WILL always want to do business with people.

So, how did we end up with so many empty, “personality” brand businesses that have little connection to their clients?

Simple. We forgot (blame the frenzy of “new” and “easy” coupled with how easy the internet makes it for us to hide behind our computer).

So how do you do that?

First, let your ideal prospects and clients and customers FEEL you. Hear your voice. Get to know your personality quirks. Maybe even show your vulnerability.

And, don’t ever forget about prediction four.

4. Quality never goes out of style.

There were many things we forgot when we were trapped in the “new” and “easy” cycle, including making sure we actually created a great product or service.

One of the principles of “new” was “speed.” Think about it—the people who benefit the most from “new” are the early adopters. The faster you can get something “new” out there, the better your results.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with speed. In fact, there are times when moving swiftly makes good business sense.

But, “speed” can quickly turn into “sloppy.” And, in the quest to make things happen faster, “sloppy” somehow became more acceptable. “Just launch it and fix it later” became the new motto (or, even worse, “launch it first and create it later”).

Again, there’s wisdom in “launching first and creating later.” For one thing, you won’t spend weeks or months creating something no one wants to buy. You’ll know you have a market.

But, the problem is when people buy, they’re expecting the product. So, you have no choice but to create it fast. And, that leads to “sloppy.”

What’s the alternative?

Ask your prospects and clients what they want (and if you have a good relationship with them, they’ll tell you). Test something small—maybe a small product or a free piece of content—and see what the results are. Keep an eye on what seems to be working (and not working) in your marketplace, so you can stay ahead of the trends.

And that leads us to prediction five.

5. Be nimble.

I can hear you now: “Wait. Didn’t you just say “speed” was the first step on a slippery road to ‘sloppy’?”

“Speed,” yes. But, just because you’re nimble doesn’t necessarily mean you’re moving fast with EVERY part of your business.

For me, being nimble means you’re in a position to see what’s out there and respond quickly to it.

For instance, remember MySpace? No? I’m not surprised. I barely remember it either.

Years ago, before Facebook became the ten-foot-tall gorilla, there was MySpace.

For awhile, MySpace was the hot social networking platform to be on. One of my friends even successfully sold a little product on how to make money on MySpace.

And then Facebook took off.

Enough said.

So, the point of this is you DO need to keep an eye open to what’s working and what’s not working. Just because Facebook is where your clients are today doesn’t mean that’s where they’ll be tomorrow.

(BUT, if you’ve created a connection with your ideal prospects, they’ll likely also follow you to the new platform.)

And, if you want to stay nimble, check out number six.

6. Keep an eye on your statistics.

I know, I know. Numbers aren’t sexy.

BUT, they’re one of the best ways to keep a finger on the pulse with not only what’s going on in your industry, but in your business. And they’re the best way to keep you on the path to sustained business success.

Here’s the thing: There’s no question that right now a lot of entrepreneurs are floundering because the strategies they used to used to both grow their business and enjoy business success aren’t working the way they used to.

BUT, let’s not forget there are also entrepreneurs out there who had their best year ever in 2017.

Just because something isn’t working in the rest of your industry doesn’t mean it will affect you. (Keep in mind, the reverse is true too—just because something is working for EVERYONE doesn’t mean you’ll have success with it.)

That’s why keeping an eye on your specific numbers and looking for trends is important.

What numbers should you watch? Anything you want to grow. Some ideas include:

* Email subscribers

* Opens/clicks on your email list

* How many of your prospects buy

* How many visitors to your website

* Specific numbers for any marketing strategy you’re doing (i.e. blog visitors, podcast downloads, YouTube watches, etc.)

And, to brig it all home, prediction seven.

7. It’s never too soon to panic (aka someone, somewhere will panic this year).

Just as people are attracted to “new” and “easy,” they’re also attracted to “panic.”

It’s important to remember, panicking is a choice. Yes, I know, when the bottom falls out, it’s easy to slip into panic.

And, it’s important to feel those feelings—so if that’s what you’re feeling, then feel it and let it move through you.

Just don’t let it control your actions or decisions.

Nothing good happens when you run your business from a state of panic. And, you especially need to make decisions from your inner wisdom and/or God (or your higher power) if the bottom HAS dropped out. (In other words, when it’s most important that you don’t panic, you’re most likely to feel panic.) (Yes, I agree, it sucks.)

So, feel it, and THEN take action.

ESPECIALLY since there’s actually a lot of opportunity and a lot hope to be found out there.

In fact, let me end on a high note:

I made the claim that Internet Marketing itself is no longer “new” and “easy,” but has moved to “old” and “familiar.”

However, that doesn’t mean Internet Marketing doesn’t work. Quite the opposite. Internet Marketing ABSOLUTELY works—BUT only if you use it correctly.

Relying on novelty of “new” to break through the clutter is a stressful, losing proposition. But, using an old and familiar tool to give people what they really want (i.e. a solid relationship, a high-quality product, etc.) is absolutely a winning strategy.

Even better, it’s also key to building your business on a solid foundation of business success.

If you want more help, you may want to dig into my Love-Based Business series is a great place to get started. Check out all the books here (especially my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book—you can get it here.)

[Video] Flip It! Are You Charging Too Much?

[Video] Flip It! Are You Charging Too Much?

For many entrepreneurs and business owners, especially when you’re first starting out, the tendency is to charge too little.

Which is why one of the first pieces of advice new entrepreneurs hear is “You’re not charging enough–raise your prices!”

But, my friend Morgana Rae has a different take. What she says is to NEVER charge too much. She believes it will always be easier to ask for — and receive — less than the value you give.

So. she turns it around and asks instead: What would it take for you to charge large amounts of money (even tens of thousands of dollars) and still provide more than enough benefit and value to never feel an inner conflict or guilt?

That’s a great question if you’re ready to start charging large amounts of money.

But what if you’re not?

What if you’re barely making ends meet despite working all the time? What if it’s so bad you find yourself resenting your clients or resenting your business because all you do is work and have nothing to show for it … and you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of raising your rates?

Maybe you’re afraid you’ll lose work. Maybe you think you’re already priced too high compared to your competition? Maybe you’ve even tried to raise your prices and it didn’t work out so you think you’re stuck.

Well I’d like to invite you to consider this question — maybe the problem is you ARE charging too much?

You might be thinking — how can that be? I’m barely making it as it is.

Well, if you truly believed in yourself and the value you provide to your clients, then you’d likely be charging more.

And the reason why you’re not is because somewhere, deep inside, you don’t believe you’re worth it.

So, what would it take for you to believe you have what it takes to charge more?

I invite you to take a moment to think about it. And, if you want a few more tips, take a moment to watch the video, too:

(And if you’re wondering exactly how you can get everything you want simply by flipping your perspective? Check out the first episode here.)

If you liked this episode, you may also like my “Love-Based Money and Mindset” book — you can check it out here.