Amy Harrison on How to Get More Doors with Effective Copywriting
Today, on The Profitable Property Management Podcast, I’m talking with Amy Harrison, a sales copywriter, consultant, and speaker who teaches businesses how to avoid drab business content and instead write copy customers love to read
In our chat, we’re going to dive into how copywriting can help property management entrepreneurs win more clients and boost sales. Amy shares the key issues property managers need to communicate with their copy and lays out exactly how you can do that, even if you aren’t a great writer.
Amy is one of my favorite marketers because of the creativity she infuses into what she does, so you’re in for a treat today.
- (00:16) – Amy defines copywriting and explains its overall importance.
- (00:26) – Persuasive writing versus instructive.
- (00:48) – Writing to compel action.
- (01:33) – Where copywriting fits within the marketing hierarchy.
- (02:15) – Underpins all marketing efforts.
- (02:41) – Copywriting is the starting point for your marketing strategies.
- (03:51) – Key issues that a property management company needs to clearly communicate.
- (04:12) – Start by paying attention to the questions you are commonly asked.
- Key selling steps.
- Answer these questions in your marketing.
- (05:23) – Should fear, uncertainty and doubt have a role as positioning angles?
- (06:02) – Using sales psychology to be effective without scare mongering.
- (07:04) – Take a position as an expert exposing risks rather than using fear.
- Don’t risk your credibility and authenticity.
- (08:34) – Breaking down the most common offer made by property management companies.
- (09:20) – “Free rental market analysis”.
- (09:40) – Ubiquitous is not necessarily a bad thing.
- It’s a chance to test something new.
- (10:42) – Put yourself in your customer’s shoes to determine their needs.
- (11:07) – Look at the impact from a point of loss and from a point of gain.
- (13:24) – Where property management companies should be looking to incorporate copywriting into their sales funnel.
- (13:45) – Beginning at the first point of contact with your customers and leads.
- (14:57) – Build up from this starting point and adjust as you go.
- (04:12) – Start by paying attention to the questions you are commonly asked.
- (15:30) – Amy’s personal journey into copywriting.
- (15:53) – Formal training as a screenwriter for film.
- (16:11) – Working for private investors as a project manager.
- (17:38) – First experience writing sales copy.
- (18:36) – The story behind her website.
- (20:23) – Her use of humor and video and the reasons behind this.
- (20:58) – Discussing ‘personality marketing’.
- (23:43) – Advice for property management companies.
- (23:43) – Commit to authenticity.
- (24:31) – Have the confidence to reveal your personality on your website.
- (25:18) – How to encourage successful testimonials from clients.
- (25:51) – Provide them with structure.
- (26:30) – Ask, “Was there anything that surprised you about working with us?”
- (28:34) – Where to find a good copywriter.
- (28:54) – Referrals.
- (29:27) – How to filter good copywriters from ones to be avoided.
- (30:27) – Shows a high level of curiosity about your business.
- (31:39) – Understanding the difference between content writers and copywriters.
- (32:46) – Ballpark costs for copywriting services.
- (35:28) – What is the number one discipline you would recommend to improve communication within a business?
- (36:46) – Who do you learn from?
- (38:05) – If you could do the copy for any website in the world, which would it be and why?
- WriteWithInfluence.com: Copywriting course offered by Amy. (19:31)
- Fiverr: Online resource you can use to hire a copywriter. (30:56)
- PeoplePerHour: Online resource you can use to hire a copywriter. (31:02)
- AWAI: Online community of copywriters that specialize in persuasive sales copywriting. (32:11)
- FreelanceWriter’sDen: Additional resource for finding a copywriter. Features a mix of content writers and copywriters. (32:34)
- The Copywriter’s Handbook, by Bob Bly: Recommended copywriting resource. (36:53)
- Dan Kennedy: Recommended source of marketing and copywriting wisdom.
Where to learn more:
Jordan: Welcome closers. Today we’re going to be talking to Amy Harrison, one of my favourite marketers because of the creativity she infuses into what she does. Amy thanks for coming on the show today.
Amy: 0:00:14.4 Thank you very much for having me.
Jordan: 0:00:16.2 So, Amy, right out of the gate, let’s just start here: What is copywriting? Can you just define what exactly that is?
Amy: 0:00:26.4 I can. I hope. Yes, copywriting is different to regular writing. And the definition that I have is that the majority of writing is there to instruct. You know, it gives information. It’s informational writing, so if you have a website, that kind of information is who you are, what you do, how you do it.
0:00:48.8 Now copywriting is very specific in that it might have those elements, it might have that information, but what you really want to do with copywriting is you are persuading someone to think a certain way, to take a certain action. You’re writing in order to compel them to do something.
0:01:05.6 So for example, if you’ve got a website your copy is usually there to persuade them to get in touch with you, to call your phone, to sign up for your newsletter, to do business with you, to click that buy button. And so, it is informational, it’s instructional, but it has a very specific end purpose. You want someone at the end of reading your piece of copy, to want to take some kind of next action.
Jordan: 0:01:33.8 Ok. So we all speak English, we all are familiar with using words. Part of the differentiation you’re saying is the end goal in mind. Where in your mind does copywriting fit in kind of the hierarchy of marketing?
If I’m a small, running a mid-sized property management business, I have somebody else that maybe helps me on an ad-hoc basis with marketing, maybe I’m 0:01:57.1 [Inaudible – Quiet recording] agency work with, but most of the marketing I’m worried about myself, is copywriting really something I should be worrying about?
At what point does it become relevant as opposed to thinking about running a PPC campaign, or doing SEO, etc.? Where does it fit in the hierarchy?
Amy: 0:02:15.5 Well basically, your copy underpins all of those things. Wherever you are using content to try and sell, promote, encourage people to get in touch, you are inadvertently using copywriting. Because it is, whether it is a PPC campaign, whether it’s sending out an email blast, if you think about it, all those pieces, they’re not there to just tell people about you, they’re there to tell people about you and then make them want to get in touch with you.
0:02:41.8 So, your copy is actually your first starting point. Before you do any kind of marketing, you want to be thinking about what are the key things that we can include that makes us attractive to someone. If we’re emailing this group of people, of prospects, what’s the offer? And how can we present it in a way that seems credible, that seems attractive, that seems easy to take part in? How can we reduce friction? How can we make things really, really clear.
0:03:12.9 It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, any time you’re using writing in terms of that marketing, you’re using copywriting. And what I’ve found speaking to people, is that they start to understand the importance of copywriting when they start to scale.
0:03:27.3 So, I’ve spoken to a few property management companies and they really notice it when they can no longer justify the time of selling face-to-face the whole time. They don’t have time to answer every phone call and go through that sales pitch. When they realize they could be doing that online and in different versions. So, basically taking that – taking what they would do in a sales conversation and putting that into content.
Jordan: 0:03:51.3 So let’s put some action behind this. Put some meat on the bone. For a property manager, what are the categories of messaging that are relevant? Like, when you’re starting at square one, what do you think are the key critical issues or themes that a property management needs to communicate clearly on?
Amy: 0:04:12.0 So, it’s – there’s going to be similarities, there’s going to be differences to every business, so a good place to start if you’re not sure maybe what’s unique to you, is to look at what are the questions that you constantly get from prospects. What are the questions that you are constantly answering over the phone or in person.
Because these are key selling steps. So, if you have – for example, I would – I know that a lot of the questions are around how quickly am I going to get tenants. And how do I know those tenants are going to be, aren’t going to wreck my property? How do I know they’re going to pay on time and if they don’t pay on time, what happens then? Is that something I need to worry about?
And quite often, these get missed out of the marketing. These are omitted in a lot of content because we’re used to having these person to person conversations. And to us those seem – we have an answer to them. They seem obvious to us, but to your prospect, these are real concerns and they’re very important, and they don’t necessarily know how you’re going to handle those concerns.
Jordan: 0:05:23.8 One of the key positioning issues that I see coming up over and over again for property management companies, is focusing on FUD. Fear of uncertainty and doubt. And addressing the issues that you just brought up by painting a picture of, “Well, you own a property but if you’re managing it yourself, did you know that your tenant could get in the unit and destroy your house, or electrocute themselves while replacing a fan and sue you.” Etc, etc. What’s your overall take on using fear, uncertainty and doubt as a positioning angle? How do you relate to that or think about that?
Amy: 0:06:02.8 So it can be very effective because we are more motivated by the risk of losing something than gaining something. So the idea of having a property wrecked could be a lot more evocative and emotionally provocative than saying, “We will get you tenants.”
What I would say is that the danger there is you can fall into scare mongering. And if you start making claims which sound or which don’t have as much credibility, if people feel that you’re doing that just to frighten them – and we’ve all seen advertising that does this. It’s like, “If you don’t choose our product, choose our service, you will lose your job, you will be living under a bridge and your wife and kids will leave you.”
We see it, we don’t like it, because we don’t feel like that person is on our side. We feel like – you can almost fall into a position of being combative. It’s like, “Do this or else.” 0:07:04.9 And so what you need to do, is you need to take a stance of being an expert. Being an educational expert who is on their side.
So, for example, by saying, “Look if you’re managing your own property, there are some risks that you may not know about. Now these risks are this, this and this.” That’s a great place to start to get their attention. But you don’t want to leave it there, and also, if you then – if the next step, “So use us”, that can feel a little bit in-authentic.
0:07:36.9 And we suddenly turn off because it’s like, “Well, I can see that you have set this up in order to set up the sale.” 0:07:43.3 However, it you take a step and say, “If you put in a tenant and you don’t screen them properly, there is risk. They may not pay, they may not do this, etc., etc.
So that’s why it’s really important, and what we found in our experience is that the best tenants come from doing this type of screening, making sure you have a really good rent collection thing in process” and explaining that, “and this is something that you could do, or you could hand it over to us because we have processes in place that does all of these things.”
0:08:18.0 That way you’re positioning yourself as a partner, and someone who is saying, “You may not have realized about these risks, they do exist, there are ways to mitigate those risks and you can do them yourselves, but we can probably do it a lot better, a lot easier, faster and cheaper for you.”
Jordan: 0:08:34.1 I love how you reframed that. What we’re talking about is communication. What we’re talking about is recognizing that printed words have the equivalency of the transmission of ideas and thoughts. Same things with spoken words.
And so towards that end, Amy, I want to work through an offer. 0:08:54.4 This is a very, very common offer. This is the most ubiquitous offer that our clients put on their website, and that is the offer for the free rental market analysis.
0:09:06.9 And I want to pitch you this offer in the context of how 99% of property management companies do so on their website. So are you ready? I’m going to go ahead and pitch it.
Amy: 0:09:17.6 Do it.
Jordan: 0:09:20.0 Free rental market analysis.
Amy: 0:09:26.1 Yup. You know, I woke up and I wanted three of those this morning. I can’t believe you just offered me…
Jordan: 0:09:33.3 Complete the form below to find out what your home will rent for. Name, email, address.
Amy: 0:09:40.1 Yes, and I’ve seen this a lot. And what I would say is that just because it’s everywhere, doesn’t always make it a bad thing. If it is working for you, if it is getting leads, then that’s fine. But, if it is everywhere, there is a chance to test something new. There is a chance to try something different to stand out. 0:10:04.2 So, what I … go on.
Jordan: 0:10:08.0 I’m with you. It’s ubiquitous because it is a highly relevant felt need for consumers. So I think people have rightly identified the fact that if you’re thinking about renting out your home, you would like to know what that outcome could look like. 0:10:21.1 The question is, just like you said, how can we further flesh – how can we actually flesh that out? How can we turn that from four words, “Get your free rental analysis”, into what would that need to look like to actually effectively communicate this idea of telling people what’s behind the black box of renting their home.
Amy: 0:10:42.0 So there’s a couple things that I always encourage people to do. Is to – when you’re making any kind of offer, extend that and put yourself in the – in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself what is the impact of that offer? How does that affect their life? And then, pairing that into two different paths.
0:11:07.9 I like to say look at the impact of that from a point of loss and from a point of gain. So, “Free rental analysis”. So, if you have a free rental analysis, what is the impact of that in terms of loss? 0:11:22.8 It could be that if you don’t analyze your rent, you could be losing out.
Now, obviously you could get even more specific and you could say, “How do you know that landlords in your area aren’t earning a lot more than you are?” “How do you know that your property is not on the market empty because you’re renting it – you’re asking for too much and it’s something that the market won’t bear?”
You start pinning these things down and you start asking yourself these questions, and suddenly you come up with information that you don’t start to see everywhere. 0:11:57.0 And putting in this extra effort comes across.
Because people think, “Hang on, this is a little bit more information than I was expecting. Everyone is offering this free rental analysis, but maybe as part of that free rental analysis, it includes potential tax breaks, or potential profit analysis, or – ’cause I know that different ones offer different things.
0:12:19.5 So, it’s – I would have it if it’s working, but I would then test it against something that looks more along those lines of impact. What could be gained, and would could be lost. By what can be lost by not knowing this information and what could be gained by knowing this information.
Jordan: 0:12:38.6 So I think it’s important to delineate between the fact that we’re not talking about the ‘good’, right? The ‘good’ itself is operational issue and neither you nor I are going to lecture a property management company about how to necessarily facilitate the offer.
But we are talking about how the ‘good’ is sold. And how the ‘good’ is sold is the offer. And the positioning of the offer. What Amy is saying is beefing up what people are going to get when they opt in and accept that offer. The offer for a rental price analysis, that’s the opportunity. And for some reason, it tends to be massively, massively neglected.
There’s an implicit assumption that by reading the words, “Get your free rental analysis” people somehow have a mental picture of what that is. They don’t. Unless you sell it, there’s no motivation to fill out the form.
0:13:24.1 Amy, my next question for you is, if somebody buys into the idea of words, communication, copywriting mattering, would you be more inclined to tell them to start up-funnel? Meaning let’s say within an ebook, marketing visibility, lead gens sorts of things, or down funnel? Maybe focusing on sales collateral, etc. Where would you start if you had to pick one?
Amy: 0:13:45.7 I would start at the earliest point of contact. Because – so things like your landing pages, your website, lead generation, because you want to – it’s no point in working down funnel if all the copy prior to that stinks.
And that sounds obvious, but sometimes the – sometimes some of the down funnel things can seem a little bit more exciting and interesting. Especially when you talk about conversions and being able to test things, but if you’re not getting that uptake, if you’re not getting those conversions from the minute that they have that first point of contact with you, then you’re going to constantly have to retrofit your copy and you’re not going to get the best information from your analytics that you’re getting.
0:14:42.7 So think about where is someone first going to land with you? Where is that first point of contact? Is it a PPC campaign. Is it your advert? Is it your particular landing page? And work on those.
0:14:57.2 Now, when you start to get people going through that, and you can see, this is working, we’re getting them to the next stage, then you build and you build, and you build. And you can constantly adjust. If you try and do too much, or plan out a really complicated, lengthy campaign, then it can be hard to spot the leaks.
And it can be hard to say, “Well, is is because they don’t like the offer, or is it because the headline is not working.” So you want to do it incrementally and do it brick by brick from that first point of contact.
Jordan: 0:15:30.2 So the first point of contact sets the tone, set’s the expectations and like you said, what’s the point of filling up a leaky bucket. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense to me. So Amy, tell me about your progression of learning about this. Did you start with a writing background? Did you start with a marketing background? How did you get to be so passionate about effective copywriting?
Amy: 0:15:53.4 I did start with a writing background. Originally, I trained to be a screenwriter for film and TV. That was going to be – I spent three years – I convinced my parents, this is what I want to do, this is what I want to be.
Until the end of that three years and decided that was absolutely the last thing I wanted to do with my life. 0:16:11.9 And so I had this, I had a degree and studied storytelling for three years and then I wanted to do something completely different, and I actually ended up working for a small group of private investors that were buying and selling online businesses.
And I worked as, kind of a project manager, so I was working with the design development team. So the investors would go out, they’d buy a business and then we would look at it and we’d completely transform it to make it attractive to investment.
And we would study the business model and then we would look at how we would present this so it is attractive to investment. And that was when I first started seeing the blend between content and what content can do between the sales brochures we had, online web content, landing pages that we were creating. 0:16:55.0 And how that translated into making money and making sales.
So after doing that for a few years, I really wanted to start working on my own project and I’d just started out back in 2008 – I wanted to go back to writing. So I started out just content writing. So this was back in the day when people just wanted articles for their site. As long as it had a ton of keywords in.
So I started doing that, and then I realized that I would be much more valuable to clients if my writing wasn’t just informational but could persuade people to buy. And I just got fascinated by the sales psychology of it.
0:17:38.8 I remember one of my first early clients years and years ago. It was my first big, long form sales letter. It was for a weekend course, pretty high-ticket, and it was the highest I had ever personally charged to write, and it made something like 40,000 dollars, or 40,000 pounds in just a couple of days. Like, it completely sold out.
And it was a real buzz to see that happen because people were buying on the strength of the information that they saw on the page. 0:18:05.1 And when you know that the words that you’re writing aren’t just – you’re not there to manipulate people into spending money, you’re there to match the perfect people to the perfect product. And to make a profit in the meantime. And that gets quite addictive.
Jordan: 0:18:20.0 Love it. Awesome. As you’ve gone on this journey, you’ve obviously developed your personal brand voice. I’ve been to your website, and guys, if you haven’t you should check it out at HarrisonAmy.com. 0:18:36.7 And right out of the gate, I’ve got to ask why is that backwards? Why is it Harrison Amy?
Amy: 0:18:41.0 Because back in the day, Amy Harrison was gone, and until I track this lady down and kill her and steal her website, it’s just kind of stuck.
Jordan: 0:18:51.9 It is what it is.
Amy: It’s there, it’s kind of done. And it’s funny because I – my – what I do and the work I do has evolved so much and my website never fully catches up, because I do a lot more that’s not on the site. I do a lot of teaching and speaking and so – also Harrison Amy, yes it’s back to front and I wasn’t – when I first started, like I say, my whole thing was just, “Will someone pay me to write?”
So I didn’t have a particular domain that I knew that I was going to focus on. 0:19:29.2 I also have an online course and that’s under WriteWithInfluence.com 0:19:31.5 Which makes a little bit more sense than HarrisonAmy.com
Jordan: 0:19:37.3 Ok. In either case, I say check out both. WriteWithInfluence, but also HarrisonAmy.com is great. And one of the things that somebody would figure out really quickly about where you’re coming from, what you’re doing, your beliefs with brand positioning, etc., is that you have embraced humour.
And one of the reasons that’s so interesting to me, is that if you go on YouTube, you see people making silly videos and it’s all the rage and it is what it is, but you’re clearly doing this in a commercial context. I would dare to say that when somebody goes to your website and watches some of these videos, there’s probably some folks that think, “Boy, you know some of this stuff is a little bit silly.” I didn’t know that you could actually be this silly and make people laugh in the context of doing business.
0:20:23.9 Can you walk me through this psychology of humour, brand personality and the importance that plays in marketing.
Amy: 0:20:35.5 Yeah, absolutely. So, I think I started doing the videos back in 2013 and it was my personal backlash too – I spent a lot of time in the online marketing world, and I was getting really tired of all these super polished videos that usually had – it was someone in an exotic location and it was basically, “Everything is brilliant in my business and you can learn from me.”
0:20:58.8 And it was more, sort of, it was kind of what I would call ‘personality marketing’. It was like, “Do business with me because you want to be my friend because I look really, really cool.” And I knew that I knew my stuff. I knew that I knew my work was good, but I didn’t take myself seriously. I take what I do very seriously, and what I do for clients, and so I wanted to put these two things together. Because I do – humour is really important to me, but I didn’t want to undermine what I did.
And so there was a bit of a risk there. Would the industry respond to this? Would they think that it was silly? But one of the things that I always do is that I’m not undermining my ability to write copy, which is why all of the lessons are very – I have people that say, “I’ve learned so much.” And not only have they learned so much, but because it was funny I remember it. “I now, whenever I use an exclamation mark I think of that video, or whenever I am trying to put fear or whatever, I think of this video.”
And it’s just worked really well for me because it is – it’s very much my personality, so when people approach me, if they’ve seen the videos, they do feel like they know me and they feel a little bit more invested in working with me, but also in terms of getting exposure, people are more likely to share the videos because it’s not a straight sell, and it’s not straight instructionals.
So I will have people watch them that will be on the periphery of my audience, but they will have it sent to them by a friend who said, “Look just watch this. It’s two minutes long and it’s a little bit different and it’s quite funny.”
0:22:36.9 And so, that has worked really well. Now humour is a personal thing. I don’t think it is something that you can necessarily manufacture. You have to be comfortable with it. But you can absolutely put it into your brand and into your marketing.
0:22:51.3 But what I would say is, one of the tips is always don’t make fun of your ability to do your job or to do the work that you do. And I have seen people do this, and it’s like, “Yeah that’s funny, but I don’t want to hire a clown. I want to hire somebody who is really good at what they do and they just have a great sense of humour.”
Jordan: So the advice here is not to be funny or use humour, the advice here is to actually be authentic and true to you. And that’s something that a lot of people don’t do because they feel restrained. They feel like there’s this need to present things in a very literal, rigid terms. To be professional. And I’m using air quotes here. 0:23:33.5 That’s what I’m hearing you say is. For you it’s funny, for somebody else it’s something different. It’s got to be human to human as opposed to human to corporate website.
Amy: 0:23:43.1 Absolutely. And this is one of the things I’ve said to clients in the past. I’ll be looking at their website, and particularly, if you’re in something like property management, you’re not selling your services. You are selling you. And you are selling the team behind the scenes.
0:23:57.5 So, I’ve worked with businesses in a similar setup where they’re selling the team and I look at their website, and they’ve got a ton of stock photos of people with headsets, and I’ll say to them, “Does that person work in your office?” No, it’s a stock photo. Right. Well, take it off and put photos of the people that work there, because I – if I’m visiting your site and you can achieve – obviously you can do this through design and through copy, but I really want to feel like I get to know you.
Because anyone can put up a landing page. Anyone can put up a website. 0:24:31.8 But not everyone has that confidence to reveal the personality behind that. And this is why I would say, particularly if you are selling yourself, if you’re selling your team, talk about the culture.
Talk about what’s important to you. Talk about why you got into the business. Not from the point of view of, “I really wanted to make money and business is great and we’re really successful” but what is it about your customers that you enjoy helping.
0:24:57.4 Because it takes a little bit of extra effort but that makes the difference of someone visiting your site and feeling like, “Oh this is another property management firm” and, “Ah this is the property management firm that takes your company out for away days every couple of months.” 0:25:13.3 And we don’t trust businesses anymore, we trust people and we want to do business with people.
Jordan: Absolutely. 0:25:18.8 And to that end, talk me through what a successful testimonial looks like. As a property manager, I have tenants that are clients and I have landlords that are clients. What does it look like to construct an effective testimonial that is more than just two sentences of someone saying, “Muela Property Management is the best in the business.”
Amy: 0:25:41.1 Yep. So there’s – it’s exactly the opposite of that in that you want something to be specific. And so when you’re asking for testimonials, one don’t just get in touch with someone and say, “Can you give us a testimonial.”
Because one, it will take them forever because they may have to think about what they have to write, so give them a bit of a structure. And some good questions to ask are, “What situation were you in when you started looking for a property management firm? What hesitations did you have about hiring someone to look after your property? What made you choose us specifically?”
And then a couple of things I like to ask is, obviously what do you enjoy about working with us, but another one which is good is, “Was there anything that surprised you about working with us?”
0:26:30.5 Now obviously you’re hoping that it’s going to be a pleasant surprise, but sometimes this can kick up things that you just weren’t expecting, or that you took for granted but that your customers really, really value.
I remember seeing one testimonial that stuck out for me, because it dealt with that emotional side of things. And someone was saying in a video, “I hate confrontation. And so the idea that I don’t have to deal with rent collection is really important to me.” And I can guarantee that there’s a lot of landlords that can relate to that. That stomach churning, “Oh they’ve said that the cheques in the mail, they said that they paid it but I’m looking at my account, nothing’s gone in, what do I do now.” That heart sink feeling.
0:27:16.7 So those are really good questions, because they also help you deal with some of those objections. “Oh I was worried that it would be an impersonal service, or I was worried that I would never be able to get in touch with them.” And those hesitations are also things that you can deal with your copy. Because if you’re seeing a lot of the same kind of hesitations then you want to be up front about how you don’t do those things. How you respond to all inquiries. You respond to every email. All the things that could put someone off signing with you. 0:27:46.6
Jordan: 0:27:50.2 Makes a ton of sense. Let’s talk a little bit about the perspective that a small business owner should take on copywriting. Someone that’s hearing what you’re saying, they get it to some degree, but it still feels inaccessible and their gut reaction is, “Ahh I need to hire a professional to do that for me.”
0:28:07.3 Part of what I hear you saying is that at a gut level, we’re talking about communication, you cannot outsource a vision for your business. You cannot – you probably should not attempt to outsource your brand.
So there is some sense in which, at a gut base level, you have to take ownership over the messaging for your company. But for some folks, they don’t feel like they have the writing ability as a specialist. 0:28:34.7 If somebody was thinking about working with a specialist to help them with this, help me navigate through it. I’m a small business owner, I think copywriting is important, I want to find somebody. Do I look on Fiverr? How does this work? How would I find somebody to help me with crafting the messaging on my marketing and sales materials?
Amy: 0:28:54.7 So, good – yeah. And – that’s a really good question. There’s a few different avenues you can take. One is referrals. So, if you see someone with good copy, or if you – not that you’re going to copy their copy, but if they have worked with someone well, that first hand referral is going to be the best insight as to how someone in your industry worked with that person.
0:29:27.4 And what I would say is, a couple things in terms of filtering copywriters, is you want them initially, out of the gate, you want them asking a lot of questions. They should be super curious. You don’t want someone who is just going to say, “Yeah, I can do that.” 0:29:43.2 You want them to ask, “Well what is your business like? What’s your 0:29:45.3 [Inaudible]? How does the model work? Where do people come from? What marketing are you doing? What’s worked and what hasn’t worked?”
These are the kind of questions that show you this is someone who’s going to dig deep. Because a lot of misconceptions about copywriting is it is this mysterious art and we lock ourselves away in a turret and we wait for inspiration and boom, we’ve got these magic headlines that come out.
0:30:06.3 And in fact, it’s really, really dull work for some. Because it’s a huge amount of research. And I’m constantly battling, in a good way, with clients. Because I will say, “Send me more, send me more. Give me all that material.” And they’ll say, “Well no, you don’t have to read all this.” I want to read it.
0:30:27.3 You want a copywriter that from the outset is showing that level of curiosity in your business. And they should have, even at the inquiry stage, if you’re getting on that first call with them, they should know about you and they should be asking questions specific to your industry. Even at that early stage.
Because it’s not difficult to do and it’s pretty standard practice, but if they’re not asking those questions, if they don’t show that they understand what property management is, if they haven’t seen your website, then those are kind of red flags to me. 0:30:56.2 In terms of places to look, yes you can go on Fiverr, PeoplePerHour 0:31:02.0, Odesk. I don’t know if Odesk still exists. Someone was asking me about that the other day. And they – you will find, generally, you’re more likely to find content writers. So, people that will do articles, blog posts, content for you. Because copywriters that are – copywriters that have experience in sales, sales psychology, persuasion tactics, they’re not on those generic freelancers sites.
Jordan: 0:31:34.7 So just to be clear here, a copywriter is not a blogger.
Jordan: We’re not talking about the same thing.
Amy: 0:31:39.5 No. Your copywriter is – but, to confuse things, there are some copywriters that call themselves copywriters but do what I would call content writing. So blogs and articles. As I mentioned, like we said at the very start, copywriting is about getting people to take action.
So that copy should be measurable. Anything that they write should have some kind of persuasive effect with results that you can measure. 0:32:11.4 There are a couple of sites, there’s AWAI online, which I can’t remember what it stands for. They have a huge community of copywriters and these people are steeped in sales copy.
There’s also a – there’s a site called FreelanceWriter’sDen and you will get a mixture there of – between content and copywriters, but it – these are job boards that are writing focused, and online writing focused. So those are pretty good places to start scoping out people.
Jordan: 0:32:46.1 That’s really helpful. Can you just give me one last reality check. Let’s say I want to redo all of the copy on my website and my sales collateral, could you just give me – I know this is tough to do, but super rough kind of ballpark range, or at least give me a dollar figure that is like an absolute floor.
I know, for example, when I talk to people about SEO, I tell folks that unless you’re willing to spend around $3000 a month – anything below $3000 a month, you have to apply a lot more scrutiny, because the likelihood that’s doing shoddy work goes up dramatically. And that’s kind of shocking to people to hear that it costs that much. What’s the budget range for copywriting.
Amy: 0:33:24.7 So, and again, yeah – as you say, this really varies. But for example, a sales – we’ll start with a sales page and because – and the reason I say sales page, because you could equate this to a brochure or a simple – what I’m talking about, like a long page sales page – long form sales page, so you’re looking at a few thousand words.
Anywhere between sort of maybe 2 or even 5 thousand words, broken down into different sections, but is basically just focused on selling everything that you do. That I think in dollar amounts, that can start around about $2000. And you should and you should get a kind of good amount. You don’t want someone doing that cheaply.
Now the reason why some people think, “But that sounds like a heck of a lot for just a few thousand words” but the reason being is that a sales page – as I said, copywriting underpins all of the marketing that you’re doing, if you have a really good sales page you can take a lot of the content from that and put aspects of it into your homepage, or into a landing page.
Because the sales page is there to drive you from – if you were writing start to finish, if you were having a sales conversation, what elements would we include and how would we communicate those elements. 0:34:50.4 Web copy, I would say for a handful of pages, you really don’t want to be spending less than $1000 – $2000.
Because again, it comes down to that quality. If you’re getting into the $10 an hour or hundreds of dollars, that person does not have the time to do all that heavy research upfront that you need to do in order to really understand your business, but also your audience.
Jordan: 0:35:28.7 Totally makes sense to me. Amy, I want to transition and go into some rapid-fire questions, and I want to start with this: Writing copy is communication. What is the number one discipline that you have practiced and that you would recommend for somebody to improve that critical muscle of communicating within their business via solid copywriting?
Amy: 0:35:50.9 So one habit that I encourage people to develop is impact. Everything that you write, don’t just leave it there. Ask yourself what is the impact of that. So ask yourself, “We do this” and it comes down to three words, “Which means that.” And what is the impact in your customer’s life.
If you develop that habit, you will start talking in your customer’s world. You know, you will start talking in a way that gets them to visualize what your service looks like in their life. 0:36:25.3 For example, “We answer – we return every phone call within 48 hours, which means that you can have one call to us and it’s done. No more chasing, no more hitting the answer phone, no more talking to receptionists, no more being fobbed off.” That I can understand, that makes sense to me. That has impact.
Jordan: 0:36:46.9 I love that framework. That’s awesome. Second question is who do you learn from?
Amy: 0:36:53.3 So, when I first started off, one of the first books I bought was a guy called Bob Bly who is a fantastic copywriter. He’s been around for years. He wrote a book called, The Copywriter’s Handbook, which is a really good starting point, and an excellent, excellent starting resource. Very easy to read, very easy to reference. I still have post-it notes sticking out from different pages of it.
0:37:16.6 Bob Bly is excellent, he also has a lot of B2B experience as well and does a lot of B2B copywriting advice. Dan Kennedy is someone that I love. He is – and he’s hardcore. He’s hardcore sales. But if you get past that, if you can – he’s abrasive, he’s brusk, he’s in your face, but he knows exactly what he’s doing to the audience that he’s trying to reach. And I have a ton of his stuff. So I love Dan Kennedy. I love Bob Bly. Trying to think who else. I think those are the two I really started off and just absorbed.
Jordan: 0:37:55.8 That’s awesome, I love it. Huge fan of Dan Kennedy and his work. 0:37:58.9 Final question of the day. Amy, if you could redo 0:38:05.2 [Edit – sneeze] Final question of the day, Amy, if you could do the copy for any website in the world, which would it be and why?
Amy: 0:38:16.0 Oh my gosh. That’s a toughie. I have no idea. That’s hard. That’s a tricky one. I would be tempted to do something high traffic. Something for a high traffic disruptive model. Ok, so I would be torn between like a high-traffic disruptive model, something like Air BnB or Uber, simply because you could have so much fun playing around with messaging, or alternatively, I would really – not necessarily a specific website, but I would love to do something that is sort of entrenched in that boring, sort of standardized way of copywriting.
0:39:14.2 For example, insurance companies. Something where they’re always saying the same thing or investment companies where they’re always saying the same thing and they just never, they never, they never move from that because they’re too afraid of what might happen.
But, testing something new and testing something disruptive in messaging could be exactly what people are waiting to respond to. Not a specific website as such, but either a disruptive model or so entrenched in tradition that you could test something disruptive and just see what happened.
Jordan: 0:39:50.1 I like it. Yeah, I like it. I’d love to see you do the 404 page for a giant bank or some kind of corporate institution. Give you like executive control right. Someone hits the 404 page and it’s a wild GIF of somebody doing salsa bachata or …
Amy: 0:40:06.2 Yeah, and it would have to be something that never went to legal. It wouldn’t get past.
Jordan: 0:40:15.6 Well Amy, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today. Where can listeners go to find out more about what you’re doing and where to learn about what you have to say about copywriting and marketing?
Amy: 0:40:23.9 Yeah, so my two main sites, the online course is WriteWithInfluence.com. HarrisonAmy.com is where the blog is, so I’ve got, I’m relaunching some new videos in a few months and I will be relaunching a podcast. But in the meantime, on HarrisonAmy.com will be the first place where you would find out about those.
Jordan: 0:40:46.9 Thanks again for coming on the show Amy. We’ll be following what you’re doing, wish you the best.
Amy: Brilliant. Thank you.