If there’s one thing I’ve noticed a lot of marketers struggle with, it’s writing compelling copy.
Whether it’s writing an email campaign, LinkedIn ad, or product page, it feels like you need to be a wizard to find the right words to get people to take action.
That’s why I was stoked to get Joel Klettke on for an episode of Demand Gen Chat to learn his copywriting secrets.
Joel breaks down the frameworks and processes he’s used to help companies like HubSpot double their conversion rates.
Check out our chat here (full transcript below):
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How to connect with Joel:
Mentions from the episode:
- How Customer-Driven Copy Helped HubSpot Increase Conversions by Nearly 100%
- Joanna Wiebe
- ConversionXL Blog
- Breakthrough Advertising
- The Copywriter Club
- Ogilvy on Advertising
- Tested Advertising Methods
- Scientific Advertising
Joel Klettke: So to know that this is something, especially in recent years that software and B2B and the corporate world is going messaging matters and the way we do it matters and there’s a whole science to this. It’s really exciting to be part of it because I think conversion optimization is now where SEO was 8, 10 years ago.
Emil Shour: What’s up everyone. Welcome to another episode of Demand Gen Chat. I am your host Emil Shour and in today’s episode I got to sit down with one of my favorite copywriters, especially in the world of SaaS. His name is Joel Klettke.
He’s worked with companies like HubSpot, WP Engine, Safelite and Ion Interactive among a bunch of others. He’s also the founder of a company called Case Study Buddy, which is done for you case studies and testimonials. Really, really cool service. Definitely check that out.
Joel and I sat down and we talked about how he was able to work with the HubSpot team to redesign their whole website and they were able to double their conversion rates, which for a site like HubSpot is crazy. One of my biggest pet peeves, which is companies using jargon on their website, Joel actually talks about when it actually makes sense and when it’s effective for websites to use jargon.
We also do a live critique so you get an over the shoulder look of how Joel goes about looking at a website and determining how we can make copy improvements and he also gives you a bunch of tips for becoming a better copywriter, whether you consider yourself a beginner or the next David Ogilvy. So let’s hop into this one. Hope you guys enjoy Joel.
Emil: What’s up man? Thanks for joining me.
Joel: Yeah, thanks for having me on.
Emil: You know I read your twitter bio and I love it. That was to me, like I’d read your case studies and stuff, but your twitter bio… For me it was like, I know this guy is really good at copy. I’m going to read it off. It’s “pray for your competitors after you hire me, they’ll need it.”
Joel: Yeah, thanks. That just kinda hit me one day. I was reading through a bunch of different posts and everybody talks about, I think it was on LinkedIn actually somebody had posted this whole thing, but like I prayed for my competitors, they meant it like a really heartfelt thing and I thought that’s hilarious. Like I want to use that because for me it’s like, no.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a nice guy, but if you’re hiring me, my goal is to crush your competition. I’m here to win, I’m in business to win it. So I thought, you know, like I’ll borrow from that, but I’ll put my own spin on it.
Emil: Yeah, I liked that. That was awesome. So most people, if they’re familiar with your stuff, they’ve seen the post on HubSpot about how you came in, you help them redo their website, doubled their conversion rates, which for a site like HubSpot is insanely impressive.
I’ve always found copywriting to be super hard. Like it feels like a super power. I’ve constantly tried to get better at it, but it’s really hard. I would love to hear your story. Start with your story on like how did you get so good at copywriting?
Joel: Yeah. I’ll come back to the HubSpot project in a second because I do want to expand on that a bit, but my story starts when I was really little. So I always loved to write but never saw like a business case in it.
And so growing up, you know, I just thought, well I don’t want to be a journalist and I don’t want to write books. And so this whole world of marketing writing was invisible to me. And so I grew up, I went to university, I did a business degree and I majored in entrepreneurship because they knew more about kind of the type of place I wanted to be than what I wanted to do.
Long story short, graduated, got a job in a digital agency doing SEO and so I was doing a lot of this analytical stuff and the whole industry, you know, as my career went on, the whole industry started paying more and more attention to content.
And so I had told my boss when I got hired there, well, if there’s ever an opportunity to write anything, you know, not just reports but like websites or whatever, I’d love to take a stab at it. And so they knew that I was interested in that and he was an awesome guy to work for.
So I started picking up little projects here and there through the agency and then it all kind of came to a head for me when we had this project and we’d hired this outside freelancer and she was charging us 40 bucks an hour, which to me at the time was like, holy crap, that’s like oil money. Like whoa. I thought that was just like insane, but she was awful.
And so I was like, man, if someone like that can command that type of rate and they’re works not that good, like I was having to crumple it up and redo it because it was just totally off brand and it didn’t align to any goal.
How could I I do this? So this got me interested in the copy side of things. I started picking up projects a little bit more on my own, more deliberately.
It all kind of summed up in 2013 – I decide to leave the agency, go out on my own, start my own copywriting business, did mostly content came across Joanna Wiebe. She was infinitely kind to me, got turned onto this whole conversion copy thing and from there just started learning, learning, absorbing, and that’s a very 30,000 foot view as to how I got to where I’m at now.
Emil: Yeah. So you said Joanna, Joanna is the founder of Copyblogger or…
Joel: Copy Hackers.
Emil: I always get a bunch of those mixed up. How did you guys connect, like how did you reach out to her and get connected?
Joel: You know, it’s been a while now so it’s a little fuzzy. But I had started reading her stuff, like somebody had kind of, I forget who kinda shared her site with me and she had these ebooks at the time. They’re all about like the dark art of conversion copy and and so this was a whole new world.
I had been really scared to get into like, I only knew conversion as direct response and to me at the time direct response was like those sketchy pages, like a million highlighted lines and a picture of a software box and I wanted nothing to do with them. That is sketchy, that is sleazy and felt like writing for the national enquirer. If that’s what conversion copy is, I don’t want any part of it. And I was intimidated too because it was tied to deliverables.
At the time I was doing mostly ebooks and blogging and I was like, these are no fail assets, but if I can’t convert, seems risky. But Joanna was the first person who really showed me that all that stuff going on in direct response could be brought into the corporate world and it can be done clean and nice and persuasively and it didn’t have to be this sketchy guy in a facebook group. Like “I can get you 10 times the conversion”.
So once I started reading her stuff eventually, she’s Canadian, I’m Canadian. We got on each other’s radar for whatever reason she saw something in me and was willing to give me a chance as potentially referring projects to me. I took part in her mastermind, the very first one she ever launched. Thank goodness too because the price has gone through the ceiling and it’s still worth it. So if you ever see her, if you ever had the chance to join and apply to join, totally worth it.
But yeah, she was the first person who really opened my eyes to what this whole field could be. And once I saw that I just took off running.
Emil: Yeah, that’s an important… I think that’s an important distinction you made is that just, you know, a lot of people look at direct response copywriting and they’re like, they see all the arrows and the shiny buttons and they’re like, no, that is not what I want to do.
But you’re right, there’s so many applications on the style of writing without the gross visual elements and the sleazy tactics that can be applied to a lot of the stuff you’re doing today, right?
Joel: Yeah. You don’t have to be the guy hawking supplements. And to me that, that was all it was. It’s like the guy sending out mail outs for like Viagra or the guy trying to get people sign up for the newest fitness craze and I just wanted no part of it.
So to know that this is something, especially in recent years that software and B2B and the corporate world is going messaging matters and the way we do it matters and there’s a whole science to this. It’s really exciting to be part of it because I think conversion optimization is now where SEO was 8, 10 years ago.
So it’s cool to be kind of at the beginning of what I think is the hockey stick of it just going through the ceiling.
Emil: Yeah. So you said you wanted to talk a little bit more about HubSpot. I think that’d be something cool to talk about as well. Tell me your process. I read the post, but for anyone who hasn’t read it, tell me your process and how you worked with them to do that.
Joel: Okay. Before I do that, I always want to make this clarification because I never want people to think that it was just me, the white knight swooping in to like cure all HubSpot’s problems. Wasn’t the case at all. There’s a brilliant team there. I do want to name names, Matthew Barby, Pamela Yvonne, Kieran. Tons of people worked on that together. So it’s not like I was just this grand hero. So that’s important to know.
HubSpot was going through some important changes. The process we took – we were on a tight timeline – so the process I’m about to share, if you’ve got more than two months, two and a half months to do, even better. It all starts with customer research and I think that’s the piece that people miss is everybody wants a quick fix. Like can we change our button color? Can we change our headline?
Can we test long versus short? All of those though, they’re just tools in the toolkit and if you’re not aware of how those things need to be used, you’re like a monkey banging wrenches off of stuff. You’re not doing anything worthwhile. You’re just making noise.
So we started with customer research and we had a tight timeline. So what we did is we sent out customer surveys and these surveys were structured to capture kind of BDA format. So before, during, after customer stories surrounding what were they using before, what was life like before, what is their experience with the tool.
So for something like HubSpot, that’s things like getting people to force rank the features that are most important to them and I’ll explain why in a second and then what kind of results were they looking for, what have they been able to achieve after.
And that gives us the whole trajectory of an average customer and how they talk about it. And that’s the important bit is what words do they use, how do they describe their need, how do they describe their pains and what brought them? So we sat down with a survey, we also looked through chat logs.
So what I love about chat logs is it’s a goldmine for understanding where your site either isn’t giving the information needed or people aren’t finding it or the questions people have that you can answer earlier. So we looked at chat logs and we looked at, you know, what people are stumbling on and that’s where it really came to light that clarity was an issue for HubSpot.
So we had surveys, we had chat logs, we looked a little bit at reviews and testimonials both for HubSpot and their competitors. So if you’re looking at competitor reviews, especially negative competitor reviews, you can see all the flaws that your competitors have that you can then proactively attack in your own copy.
And once again, the beauty is, it’s in the words of a customer, not the marketing team. So we pulled all that together, structured it in some spreadsheets so that we could go through it and make it meaningful. And then we took that information and here’s what we do with it.
So I mentioned we force ranked priorities. Why that was important, we restructured pages so that we talked about things customers cared about first. Chatlogs – questions that went unanswered, we answered them. Verbiage that marketing teams use that customers didn’t – we replaced. We put customer verbiage all through the headlines and that sort of thing.
So that’s kind of a high level look at that process. In other projects, had we had more time, we’d look at things like heat maps, recorded user sessions, see how people actually navigate. But it’s all about the research process. Conversion copywriting done well is just really, really good research coupled with really strong execution.
Emil: Right. That makes sense. I think that’s actually how you and I connected. One of my first posts on the Chili Piper blog was about doing customer interviews and I flew out to San Francisco, talked with our customers and I think I referenced one of your articles.
It’s something that’s, it’s really so simple, like just go and talk to your customers, but it seems like nobody really wants to do it. Or they talked to one person and they call it quits. Like, why don’t people just go talk to more customers and use their language in their copy? It’s such an easy formula, but I don’t know why people don’t do it more often.
Joel: I think it’s intimidating. I think especially, you know, like one to one interviews are really, really valuable. People don’t know what to ask and so they get on these calls and they recite questions like a robot and it doesn’t really work for them.
And to be honest, even as a business owner, it’s intimidating to talk to your customers because you might hear things you don’t like. Like even marketing, they want to get better. They want to grow. That means confronting some hard truths about the fact that what you’re doing now might not be the best way to do it. And that’s why I admired the HubSpot team so much is they came in with that mentality.
In other situations, you wind up having to try to convince people to be like, this is how it should be done. At HubSpot they recognized, “we know we’re doing a lot right, we’re doing some things that aren’t necessarily the best”.
So that’s what really made a huge difference with them and that team, and that project. But I think like you say, it sounds so simple to do. People just don’t want to take the time or they’re intimidated or they’re looking for the next shiny object.
It’s like Facebook ads. That’s what we need – Facebook ads. Take it back to basics, just talk to people, talk to people to figure this out.
Emil: Well, and it’s also like when you go talk to customers, you get all the copy you need for all your ads, right? Like you can write better headlines, you can write pages that convert better. So it’s really like copy is the foundation for everything.
That’s why, again, I think it’s a superpower and it’s something you gotta have to constantly be working on. What are some questions that you say like, you know, people are asking the wrong questions, very robotic.
Do you have some questions that have been really valuable for you? Or is it really just like you ask a seed question and it’s just keep digging in on those responses that you get the gold?
Joel: A little bit of both. The way you ask a question is really important. So a lot of people will say, and we continue to test this, right? Like, I never believe that we found the perfect wording, but we do find some wordings that are better than the others.
So the big mistake is a lot of people ask yes/no questions and then the conversation dies because, you know, “have you seen good results with HubSpot” for example?
And they’re like, “yes.” Okay. So yes/no is definitely off the table. People, it’s not so much even what they asked you, but they’re not used to silence. So they’ll ask a question and if the customer even stops to think they’re like “Eh, eh” And they just jump in and start snowballing over the top of customers, so getting used to silence is really important.
That BDA format is really important. What was going on before, what was going on during, what happened after. The reason that’s so important is what you’re doing when you ask that is you’re turning your customer into a storyteller.
They’re not being asked for their opinion. They’re now talking about their experience, their own story. People get nervous when you ask their opinion, when you ask for the hard numbers, when you make it more about telling their story and where were you at and what did that mean and why was that important?
That’s when people kind of loosen up and it becomes natural. So it’s partially asking things like “what was going on in your business that led you to look for a solution like ours?” That’s one question I learned from Joanna.
Other questions that I really like are what could we do or stop doing to serve you better? So not just, a lot of people say, “where can we improve?” And that’s so open ended that people are saying “nothing, everything’s good,” but when you ask “what could we do or stop doing,” it makes it action oriented.
Another question that I really like is “what solution were you using before and what didn’t you love about it?” So rather than saying “what were you using before”and then just leaving it at that, ask them why it didn’t fulfill that need.
So you can sometimes get away with asking these kinds of combo questions and then it gets people to say a little bit more and then just like you said, digging. So always not being afraid to ask the same question twice in slightly different ways if you’re not getting the response you need.
People are scared that people will go “you just asked me that.” But you know, Lindsey Ducharme, she’s the interviewer for Case Study Buddy right now, one of her deepest strengths is asking people the same thing in different ways and she gets totally different responses sometimes. And that’s how we get a lot of that detail we need.
Emil: Yeah, that’s an important point. There’s like this thing in psychology – mirroring, right? So when someone says something, you literally just like say it back to them and it causes them to elaborate on it further. So that’s one way I’ve always found valuable to dig with customers or just learn more.
Joel: Yeah. Also really effective for closing projects. So when you’re on a client call or you know, you’re talking with a prospect, just repeating back to them exactly what they just told you and they’re like, “this person totally gets me.”
Emil: It’s a common sales technique for sure. So something you and I were chatting about before we hit record is how so many companies love to, and this is a huge pet peeve of mine, how many companies love to use jargon and buzzwords in their copy. Why do you think so many companies do that?
Joel: Yeah, I think it’s a reflex. When you are in an organization and let’s say you’re being measured on these things every day or this is the language you use among your sales team or this is the way you talk about it. These are little cultures.
You spend a lot of time, you’re a product of where you spend time and who you interact with. That’s part of why it’s so important to interact with your customers so you don’t lose touch with the people who you’re trying to market to. I have an unpopular opinion that jargon can actually be awesome.
It can be great as long as it’s your customer’s jargon, so as long as it’s words your customer uses and it’s the way that they talk about it. If they use those acronyms, use those acronyms. If they talk about it, you talk about it.
On the other side of things with buzzwords there’s some words that are just never going to carry the weight you want them to. So I write for a lot of software. Everybody wants to say “we streamline x process.” Like what does streamline even mean at this point, right? And there are better ways to say that.
When you talk to customers, sometimes they say, “yeah, we’ve streamlined our process” because that’s what they’re so used to reading and hearing, but other times they start getting specific about what they’ve done. So they’ll tell you “we’ve cut this step out of our process” or “we’ve shaved hours off the time it took to do this.” That’s a way more specific, way more compelling way to say “streamline x process.”
So that’s another big thing I think a lot of companies miss and if you’re trying to get better at copywriting, one of the best things you can do is go through the draft you just wrote or go through the sites you have now, look for places you haven’t been specific, and just go be specific.
You’ll find that once you start doing that, the copy becomes more relatable, more human, more targeted. You’re not just saying the same 10 things every other person in your space is saying.
Emil: Right. You know, there’s this theme that keeps coming back on like take what your customers are saying and use that as your copy. I think that’s like if you take nothing else away, use more customer language in your copy.
What are, what are some other tips that you give people or when you come in and it’s like, these are my foundation, this is my building block for copywriting?
Joel: Yeah, so specificity like we just talked about is another huge one. Making sure you’re making specific claims. Another one that often comes up is social proof. So right now people kind of chuck testimonials and reviews and case studies on their site, sort of wherever they feel like they should go.
It’s like some people think, “oh, well people will be convinced by proof so we should have at the top.” Some people say, “oh, people, you know, don’t need to see our proof until later” and they may both be right. But the big thing is when you’ve got these reviews, these testimonials, you want to use them carefully. Not like a bazooka that you blast all over the site, but like a scalpel.
So if you make a claim about a certain type of outcome and you’ve got to review that supports that type of outcome or testimonial that supports that, put that testimonial near it. If you’ve got a pricing page and that’s an area of friction, people are going to go, “is this actually worth it? Is it worth paying? Will I see ROI?” If you’ve got a testimonial that says “worth every penny,” good place to put it because you’re now taking stress out of the equation. So that’s another one I bring in.
Long versus short. So one of the big things that I’m talking more and more about now is knowing awareness level. It’s not just what your customers say and how. It’s knowing, I use the analogy of a suitcase. So you want to take your customer on a journey with you. You want to take them from where they’re at to a decision to take action. To do that, you need to help them pack their bag.
So your customer is going to come with some things already packed. They’ll have biases, they’ll have information they already know, they’ll have kind of the expectations they have. They bring that with them to your page, to the conversation.
You need to know what’s in their suitcase so that you know what you need to both help them pack and take out. So if they’ve got a misconception, you need to help them take that out. If they already know and understand everything about your offer, then their suitcase is mostly packed.
Don’t waste tons of time talking about all this stuff. Just tell them what they need to know to get them to take action. So more and more I’m encouraging companies to get a handle on “what’s the awareness level of my customer, what do they already know? What do they have to see to make a decision?” Because it completely changes the conversation.
If you’ve got someone most aware and they just need to see the price, just show them the price. If you’ve got someone problem aware who all they understand is their pain, they don’t understand any of the how of your solution, that’s where you focus. So awareness level is probably the most important thing that I’m encouraging companies to figure out right now.
Emil: I love it. That’s really, really good. Would you be open to actually hopping on a website right now and just doing like a live critique? I know us talking about it, it’s good, but I think having an over the shoulder look of how you approach copy would be super valuable for people.
Joel: Yeah, totally. So what I’ll do, I’ll load up a site and I’ll just share my screen here. So let me know if you can see this page here.
Emil: Yes, we got you.
Joel: Okay. So what I’m going to do right now, to be clear, I’ve, I’ve taken a quick look at this page before but I hadn’t actually dived in. So I’m going to walk you through what’s going through my brain as a copywriter as I come in to this page.
So I’m going to try to just minimize this here. So what we’re looking at is Creative Lodging Solutions. And here are the things that I know I don’t know. So take what I’m talking about here with a grain of salt. We don’t know awareness level of the customer. We haven’t looked at reviews, obviously, we haven’t looked at heat maps and recorded user sessions.
I’m evaluating this purely off of my own experience, off of best practice, and off of kind of some fundamental copy things we want to get right. So let’s start by looking at the hero section here. We’ve got project and longterm lodging management.
Now as a copyrighter, I look at this and I go, okay, this was probably written by an SEO. Why? Because it does a fantastic job of explaining the what but a miserable job of giving us any sort of why?
So why would I choose Creative Lodging Solutions? Why are they better? What’s the unique value proposition? I know exactly what they do. You know, I leave this hero section with a clear picture of what they do, but I have absolutely no clue what makes them different or why I would want to choose them.
The next thing we’re going to look at is their calls to action. So here we’ve got “get started” and “log in” and “get started” as a really common call to action. But what’s the problem here? I have absolutely no idea what’s on the other side of this door, so I have no clue what “getting started” sort of means here.
Am I going to be contacting them? Is there some kind of demo? Is there some sort of chat? I have absolutely no idea what getting started means. Am I kicking off a project? When your leads don’t know what to expect, they’re less likely to choose the mystery door or if they find something they don’t like on the other side of the mystery door, they’re more likely to leave.
So this hero section right now really suffers from a lack of being specific, really suffers from giving any kind of incentive or why, or a unique value proposition. We leave this only knowing what they do. If we move down the page, the first thing we see again, “what we do.”
So we know kind of what they do, but now they’re gonna expand on it. Now here’s the first time we see any kind of unique value prop – “over 20 million traveler nights, expertly reserved using Creative Lodging Solutions.” That’s the kind of proof, that’s the kind of compelling interesting thing that belongs in a hero section potentially because you’re relying on me to have gone down here and been interested in the “what” to get even this kind of small semblance of the why. I like the way that they’ve broken this out.
So we’ve got three across – hotel rate savings, comprehensive reporting, no unauthorized charges. The way that I might think about changing it though, when you’re thinking about communicating benefits, verbs are your friend. So instead of saying “hotel rate savings,” I might say “save x amount on your bookings.”
Instead of “comprehensive reporting.” Listen, I write for software all the time. I’ve said that a few times now. Absolutely nobody cares about comprehensive reporting. They care about what they can do with it. They care about what that reporting means for them. So especially when you’re talking about reporting, talk about what they can do with it, right?
So “through our proprietary software you can make lodging requests, track route reservations, view invoices and payment status, and monitor spending.” Those are some awesome things. Those are things that I want to be able to do, but this headline kind of lets them down.
So instead of saying “comprehensive reporting,” let’s frame that up through a benefit. Maybe it’s, you know, “manage every part of your lodging needs” or whatever, but some sort of sub headline like that at least gets me engaged. It’s personal, it’s directed at me.
So make your headlines for, as at least as a test for your benefits, make them verbs about your customer. So “save x amount, do x thing, accomplished y thing.” Then “no unauthorized charges.” This is about trust. So sometimes, I’m not saying these are hard and fast rules, like you always have to have verbs, but it’s worth trying.
So, okay, we’ve seen this is like the core benefits, and now we get into how it works. So we’ve got this video, I’m not gonna watch this video live. I’m sure your viewers have other things to do. But look at, if I quickly do this, we’ll see if I’m right.
So for “we”, we’ve got, aside from inside of power, we’ve got 14 instances. For “you”, we do have 16. So they are talking more about the customer than themselves, which is good. Generally though I want to see about an 80/20 split. 80 percent of the time talking about the customer 20 percent of the time talking about yourself. If you’re finding that you’re talking more about yourself, yourself, yourself, it’s time to reevaluate your page and reframe things through the lens of the customer.
So as we move down, here’s “how it works”. We’ve got a video. “Easy reservations so we book workers anytime, anywhere, aligning the perks you want preventing those you don’t.” Again, a wonderful bit of copy that probably could have been up in the hero section. “Expertly managed. No surprises, no delays, coding and invoicing done right the first time.”
“Billing guarantee. Just the same, easy-to-read bill regardless of hotel brand.” So this is not bad. I like this little summary and what I like about what they’ve done here – anytime you’ve got a video, don’t assume people will watch it. So don’t assume that every single user is going to sit down and watch your video, they should be able to get the gist and importance of the video with copy that’s in tight proximity. So here You CLS actually does something really, really well.
“Clients say.” Here’s what I don’t love about this. So there’s no quotation marks so my brain has to do one extra lap to figure out that this is a quote, this is a testimonial. So dead simple, when you’ve got a testimonial, have quotation marks. This is not very compelling though. “Tree care services”
Emil: Right, should be a name.
Joel: Right, a name, potentially a headshot. The other thing you know that’s really helpful when you’ve got some of these longer testimonials is to call out and highlight something from inside that testimonial as a bit of a summary.
So instead of forcing me to read… where is that really big one? This feels like a lot of work. It’s centered. I have to go line to line across the whole screen. Rather than sitting there and doing that, you can pull out one piece of it and highlight it as kind of a sub headline and that may get people to read.
Then we’ve got “Our Recent Posts.” So what I don’t love about that headline, it’s good in that explains the what but it gives me again, no reasonable “why”. So why would I read your most recent posts? Why are they valuable to me? Who are they for? And then “isn’t it time for better lodging management? Request a demo.”
Okay. So I’m requesting a demo when I’m getting started. You can see there’s a disparity here. Had I known that I’m requesting a demo up here, maybe I would have done that right away.
Maybe not. So when you ask a question too, every time you ask a question in your copy, it has to be a question that no sane person could say “no” to without being a total idiot. So questions like, “who else wants to save 50 percent of their car insurance?” Right? You can’t answer “no, I don’t want to do that” because then you’re dumb. It’s a question that there’s no wrong answer to.
But one of the biggest pitfalls I see a lot of companies make is asking questions like, “ready to get started.” Nobody’s ever ready to get started. If you’ve got a question on your site asking “are you ready to do x”, kill it because people are rarely ready. So only ask questions that no sane could say no to.
And then the last thing I want to say, one more thing that I think Your CLS is doing right, because I’ve been a little bit, you know, it’s been a critique, but I want to point out something I think they’re doing pretty well. If you offer a demo, you have to sell the value of the demo as hard as the value of your service itself.
So on a demo page for the booking a demo, just make sure you’re giving them reasons to believe, which they’ve done, and you’re telling them what to expect on the demo. So I like that they have some copy surrounding this to give it context, but if I was rewriting this page I would be explaining how long long the demo is, what they’ll get out of it, making it a more personal kind of invitation to get some value out of taking this step.
So I’m going to call it there, but that’s kind of an over the shoulder look at how someone like me with no data, right? And just imagine if I had data at my disposal how much more targeted I could be in my assessment here. That’s how someone like me looks at your website and breaks it down and then we use data to discover more and validate the things that we do.
Emil: That’s awesome. Thanks for doing that, man. Loved it.
Joel: No sweat.
Emil: I got a ton of tips that I actually need… We’re redoing our website right now and I think I have copy somewhere in the mock that does the “ready” or “ready to blank” and I’m like, shoot, I need to go back to the drawing board on that one.
Joel: It’s really common. It’s really common.
Emil: That’s what I’m saying. It’s like it doesn’t even matter how much… I’ve read good copy… Superpower man. It’s, it’s a hard one.
Question for you. I’ve seen it on a couple websites and I’m curious your thoughts. I’ve never been a huge fan of people putting blog resources on the homepage. I think the homepage should just be more so for your main call to action, which is get on demo or get started for free. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Joel: Honestly? I’d say there’s no hard rule. Your homepage is really… Some companies use their homepage as the primary sales page, which can be great and it can be awful. The reason that can be awful is because let’s say you’ve got a homepage, it’s your primary sales page, and then in your nav you’ve got “about” and all these other things.
The heuristic we have as browsers of the web still even now is that we dig for details. So we go to sub pages to get the details we want. We don’t normally expect to get everything we need from a home page. So that’s why it’s also a huge mistake in a lot of cases to measure your homepage as your primary conversion point.
Because who’s going to convert on a homepage? Probably only people that are at that most aware level, they already know what they want. They need no convincing. So to answer your question, yeah, I think you want to put the most emphasis on your primary call to action on the homepage. The homepage’s job is to get people the information they need. So I don’t think it hurts to point people to your blog or your resources section if you’re framing through the lens of educating and helping them get to the point that they can become a customer.
I don’t think it’s necessarily a detriment. I don’t think I’d lead with it. So unless you know, for example, let’s say you’ve done a lot of testing, you know, okay, people who read one blog post or read x amount of content from us convert at like 10 times the rate, then you’ve got a compelling reason to make that your primary call to action. But I would say that’s probably an edge case.
So I don’t think it hurts, but I don’t think I’d lead with it.
Emil: Got It. Cool. Thanks for sharing that. What about, resources for people to get better at copywriting? What are some things you point people to? What’s your favorite stuff?
Joel: Yeah, so there’s tons of stuff out there to the point that it can be overwhelming. There’s all kinds of courses and books and groups. So I’m going to tailor my response. Let’s say that you are a relatively new copywriter or you’re someone who needs to just be better at copy as part of your job. Few things that you can look at.
So anything ever published by Joanna Wiebe obviously, I’ve mentioned her a few times. If you’re really serious about making copy your career, paying whatever she’s charging for her mastermind is going to help you do that.
The Copywriter Club group on facebook is a fantastic resource. Lots of people there ranging from brand new beginners to elite talent. There is some crazy people responding in that group, like a Gary Halbert, I think or whatever. I can’t remember if that’s his son’s name or his name.
I’m lost at the moment. Anyway, there’s a Halbert in there. There are people doing six, seven figures a year off copy in there. So The Copywriter Club is a great place to go and ask questions.
If you want a book, it’s old school, it kind of gets over hyped, but I love it. So I’m going to recommend it anyway. Breakthrough Advertising. You don’t need to buy it off Amazon for $400. If you go to breakthroughadvertisingbook.com, it is old, so it’s from like the fifties or sixties or earlier.
Emil: Yup, hard to get a copy.
Joel: Examples are a little dated, but understanding awareness level and the process that goes into copy you will leave with a deep appreciation and some tangible skills. So I recommend that. ConversionXL has a brilliant blog just on conversion on the whole, and you can learn a lot there.
They also have an academy. Transparently, I haven’t taken part of it. I’ve had friends who’ve led courses with it and their material is really, really good. So I would say start for free, read their blog and if there’s a particular skill you want to get better at, whether it’s writing or analytics or whatever odds are they’ve got a course to help you do that. So that’s some resources to get you started.
And The Copywriter Club podcast as well. So it’s not just a facebook group. They’ve got over 100 episodes and like crazy talent on that thing. Crazy talent on that thing. So hopefully that will help get some people started.
Emil: Nice. I’m going to check out… I’m familiar with like half of the things you mentioned. I’m going to check out some of the other ones you did, those were good.
I’m a big fan of David Ogilvy is a classic one that gets thrown out all the time, but Ogilvy on Advertising is so freaking good. Such a good 101 on copywriting. John Caples – Tested Advertising Methods. Love that one as well. What is Claude Hopkins? Scientific Advertising.
I know those are more like advertising, but they do have a lot of copywriting nuggets in there as well.
Joel: Yeah, I mean, the thing people need to know, you know, oftentimes the best copywriting insight isn’t from just copywriting books. Like to be good at copy, you can’t just be narrow, you can’t just like, “how do I get better at words?”
You’ve got to understand research process, you’ve got to understand some psychology, you’ve got to have some general business knowledge. You got to get a good sense for how channels operate. That sounds intimidating and know it’s just a lifelong learning process. I continue to investigate and learn and try to sharpen myself all the time.
Those guys, the classics, you know, Ogilvy and Caples… I resisted that stuff too. For a time, for years it was like, “I don’t want to read anybody who like the old schoolies. I don’t need that. I’m in the modern age.” But as I mature in the field you start to realize no. It’s kind of funny. Things come full circle.
All that direct response stuff that I resisted and scoffed at now I’m coming back to. Because before there was the internet, all that stuff was stuff that was working and still works, right? So my path has been kind of started heading to the future. Now I’m circling back to the past and learning from that.
But you can’t, you know, don’t expect to just read a bunch of copywriting books and become like a prodigy. You got to go broader and learn more.
Emil: Yeah. And I mean, a lot of it is testing too, right? Like you throw stuff out, you see what works, you’ll learn your audience as you keep testing. Well thanks, thanks for pointing us at those resources. I’m going to let you go. What are some ways that people can connect with you? Learn more about you?
Yeah, so probably the easiest two ways to get in touch with me. I’m on twitter @joelklettke. k-l-e-t-t-k-e. I’m on there all the time and if you tweet at me I will respond. If you ask a question or whatever.
LinkedIn I publish pretty often. I’m trying to share a lot of small little tidbits there.
You can, if you’re going to add me on facebook, go for the profile with the purple shirt. Not the other one. I had to create a second account because I was getting so many requests. I’m like, I don’t want all these strangers like seeing my child’s baby photos, so I have a work account on there. I’m not as active just yet. I’m trying to make the priority, but twitter and LinkedIn.
You can go to businesscasualcopywriting.com in the odd chance that I published something lately and casestudybuddy.com. There’s a lot of really great resources for myself and my team in there too.
Emil: Nice. True story about twitter and LinkedIn. I was chatting with you over those before we even hopped on this, so true story. Thanks man, appreciate it. That was good stuff. Thanks for coming on.
Joel: Cheers, yeah. Thanks for having me. It was great.