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What's Your Unique Brand Voice?

Words That Work: How to Get Your Customers to Click

words that work

 

CIRCA 2009 …

I was a cocky little somebody in graduate school. Being a writer before I arrived at the best place to learn writing blinded me with an unjustified, overly-confident disposition. In all my naivety, I believed there wasn’t much these professors could teach me in Advanced Writing 101 about how to form a show-stopping sentence.

I had just landed in Chicago from NYC after completing an externship at Armani. Before leaving, my words for the brand’s new “About” page were published online. It was my written pitch that got our new Spring collection in Elle, and it was my writing about why the Armani Exchange story aligned with their next issue that garnered a response from fashion editors all over the City.

I could write better than most, without any formal training on the craft. In my 24-year-old mind, I had it mastered before seeking a master’s degree. So, Northwestern University … what can you teach me?

Are you sensing my young millennial arrogance yet?

Back to class …

OUR VERY FIRST ASSIGNMENT – AND ONE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET – WAS TO COMPOSE A COVER LETTER TO OUR DREAM COMPANY. 

How we would add value to their organization and change their lives needed to be put into words that filled just one page. The objective, as is the objective of any cover letter, was to grab attention, engage, and pique someone’s interest enough to want to learn more through an interview. I wrote my letter at lightning speed, said all kinds of amazing things about myself, proofread every sentence, and submitted it with 100% confidence in my professor using my submission as a “best work” example next class.

Except he didn’t.

The next week, a paragraph of my cover letter was recited to 117 students from around the world (thankfully, without attribution) as an example of what NOT to say when writing to persuade a person or audience to take action.

My heart sank.

I was so embarrassed.

So scared he would say my name.

So confused.

WHAT DID I DO WRONG?

After handing me the remnants of a letter with more red pen edits than white space left on the page, my professor turned to us all and said:

LOOK DOWN AT YOUR PAPER AND CIRCLE ALL MENTIONS OF “I, ME, AND MY.”

For most of us, nearly every paragraph started with one of those. For me, it was nearly every sentence. His point started to click. The lecture that followed my humble awakening flowed in S-L-O-W  M-O-T-I-O-N.  I soaked in every point on how to write in a way that captivated an audience (and not just the fashion elite in NYC)  enough to want to learn more about you.

THE KEY WAS IN ONE WORD: “YOU.”

Failure to address your audience and pull them into the conversation using words that work would always result in a failure to compel, a failure to connect, and in business, a failure to convert. Leaving out the simple usage of “YOU” in my cover letter meant that I hadn’t taken the time to get to know the company enough to clearly articulate how I would add any value to who they already were. How could I possibly convince them to get to know me if I skipped this critical step?

THE SAME IS TRUE FOR YOU.  

How can you convince your customers that you understand who they are and what they need if your copy is chockfull of “I, me, and my?” 

MARIE FORLEO CALLS THE PRACTICE OF ADDING “YOU” TO YOUR BRAND NARRATIVE “THE SPOTLIGHT METHOD.” 

I CALL IT “MANNERS”.

Because that’s exactly what it is when two perspectives are present in a conversation.

If you want to learn how to inject words that work into your brand messaging so your customers are prompted to press the “learn more” or “buy now” button faster,  join me in Copymastery™ to catch my “Making Your Message Count” training.

Now, if your copy is flawless and converts quicker than you can reapply your red lipstick, feel free to ignore this entire message.

 

TALK SOON,

-xoxo, amber

The Profound Power of Words & How to Use Yours Wisely in Business

the power of words:

 

A few weeks ago, I did a virtual keynote for the Women Entrepreneurs Inc. Conference on how to “Get Your Message Out of Your Head and Into the World.” My hook and introduction to why better messaging should be a priority, especially now, was simple:

WORDS ARE THE CURRENCY OF CHANGE.

All of the greats knew this.

From Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to JFK to Steve Jobs and even Oprah, anyone looking to successfully persuade an audience to do or think differently has always placed an inordinate amount of attention on their words.

And it makes sense – for society and for business.

The right words have the power to move massive audiences to action, to push someone from a state of indifference to a stance of certainty, to spark irrational spending, to restore self-worth, to motivate new habits, and to try and buy new things.

Think about it …

TWO EXAMPLES ON THE POWER OF WORDS:

1.  In the ’60s, massive clusters of society (and ultimately the nation) didn’t follow MLK and agree to risk their lives to march for a cause of justice because he was charismatic or because of his civil service record in Alabama. They followed him because of his intensely-emotional and irreverent one-word classification of their movement: “NONVIOLENT.” They followed him because of the deeply-rooted significance and power behind it, too.

Ultimately, this one word would help to grant civil rights to an entire race of people.

2.  Steve Jobs chose two simple words to move an almost-as-massive tech audience to believe in his mission. In the brand’s 1997 viral ad campaign, “The Crazy Ones,” Jobs calls out “the misfits, rebels, troublemakers, and round pegs in square holes” as modern-day heroes. Using words that glorified their disrespect for the status quo, the ad narrative cited the rare abilities of some – picturing Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, MLK, and Amelia Earhart – to “see things differently.” At the end of the campaign, an industry-changing, generation-defining, behavior-shifting, and brilliantly-written line of copy is spoken:

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

These words gave birth to one of the most powerful brand statements of our time: “Think Different.”

It single-handedly motivated an entire subset of the population to celebrate their uniqueness, thinking and now feeling like the only way to do that – from a tech perspective – was to buy a Mac.

Genius.

What’s my point?

WORDS ARE LIKE CURRENCY.

WE SHOULD ALL SPEND THEM WISELY IF WE WANT TO MAKE ANY KIND OF CHANGE TODAY. 

As a CEO in the present digital economy, the copy you write to move your audience to action should be equally as powerful as the greats. Perhaps more importantly, it should convey your call to action with equal clarity and concision.

Today, consumers around the world are looking more than ever to the leaders and brands that they trust to motivate their own change. Some looking for new ways to manage their money, some in need of practical tips for taking the leap from their 9-to-5, and some looking for ways that they can better prioritize their self care.

Whatever the change is that your audience seeks, ask yourself if the words in your message are set up to move them to action – in a real and powerful way.

 

 

I’M TEACHING ON THE POWER OF WORDS INSIDE COPYMASTERY™ AND YOU’RE WELCOME TO JOIN! 

If you believe that your message could use some refinement or even if you’re starting from scratch, I’m inviting you to join me on the next coaching call to learn how to craft meaningful brand messages for your website, social media channels, email newsletters, sales pages, and more.

It’s all happening on Monday, May 18 at 6 pm EST.  I honestly can’t think of any kind of business looking to thrive right now who wouldn’t want to learn more.

CLICK HERE to see how coaching works and get in on the next Copymastery™ training for just $49.

Let May be the month you invest in something that’s actually going to move the needle in your business: an effective message.

 

TALK SOON,

-xoxo, amber

Just say “when” & other words that sell

need more words that sell right now?

 

Want to know the biggest question your target customers are asking themselves before deciding whether or not they should spend their “uncertain” dollars on your product or service right now?

When am I going to need/use/want/apply this?

The one WORD to help you sell, even through this wave of new hesitation (which is actually not sooo new)? Brace yourself , because this is stupid simple:

 

“WHEN”

 

Easy, right? Just. Say. “When.” Let me explain …

Over the past few months, the dynamics of product and service consumption have drastically shifted. Millions of people around the world are on stay-at-home orders, schools are shut down, plush toilet paper has vanished, and the internet fairies can barely keep up with the number of Zoom meetings and Netflix series we tune into each day.

Because of this shift, the spaces, places, and occasions for which someone would find a need for your product or service have also changed. Depending on what you sell, it could be for the better. For most, it presents a new marketing challenge – one that requires a shift to how you describe the necessity of what you’re selling. 

Put simply, today’s game is about relevancy. To win, you need the right words that sell.

 

THE SUCCESS OF ANY SALE LARGELY DEPENDS ON THE LANGUAGE YOU USE TO INTRODUCE WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER. 

 

I know you know this. So, why are so many CEOs lately crippling themselves into a state of rushed innovation?

A pandemic arose and all of a sudden, nothing their entire brand sold was valuable or needed anymore. Whaaaaaat?

Are you one of them?

 

COULD IT BE THAT YOU ACTUALLY DON’T NEED TO LAUNCH SOMETHING NEW, YOU JUST NEED TO SHIFT THE WORDS YOU USE?

 

Maybe a new message for an existing product that better reflects your customers’ current situation is all that’s needed.  Maybe you just need to explicitly say when this thing that you’re selling fits into their newly-altered lives and why. Think about it.

I just went deep into this subject of converting through crisis with my Copymastery™ Coaching community a few weeks ago.

I referred to the practice of timely language modification as “Choosing the right red for today’s occasion.” We spoke about the brands that are cutting through the clutter by implementing this strategy and replacing their old copy with words that sell … right now.  You’d be surprised at how much consumer perception shifts when you spell out exactly when someone can or should use your product, even when the environment or circumstances surrounding why and how have changed.

 

SOME IDEAS TO GET YOU THINKING:

 

The accessories you need when working from home. (LoveSac)

Calming sounds when you need to unwind.

Indulge-worthy skincare when all you have is time.

Homeschool resources when you’re new to the task.

Bold lipstick when you still need to make a statement.

Freshly-prepared meals when you’re dining in.

 

JUST SAY “WHEN.” TRUST ME, IT WORKS.

 

Want to give it a shot? Drop a comment below with your new product one-liner and I’ll respond with some quick feedback!

By the way, with the exception of the first one, I made all of these lines up to give you some inspo. If something resonates for your brand, take it!

 

TALK SOON,

-xoxo, amber

The right words got her in Vogue Magazine {A copywriting success story}

copywriting success story:

 

Here’s a copywriting success story to brighten your day and help you see that with the right words, your business can achieve ANYTHING.

I remember her being skeptical. Sweet, but skeptical.

“Well, what thoughts do you have about the messaging on my website?”

I couldn’t blame her for putting me on the spot, because after all, I was pitching her on IG.

I had been a fan of her nontoxic matte lipsticks for over a year and genuinely wanted to see her brand succeed. The products were too good not to be in the hands of every discerning sophisticate under the sun. We finally spoke about what I believed she needed to get noticed by the right people and convert them into customers … faster than her competition.

KENISHA RUFF, CEO & FOUNDER OF MARIE HUNTER BEAUTY AGREED TO LET ME MENTOR HER IF IT MEANT ME MAKING GOOD ON THOSE SUGGESTIONS.

 

Marie Hunter Beauty

 

In the beginning, her challenges and goals weren’t radically different from the majority of CEOs I meet. She struggled with communicating what made her different from the rest. Finding the right words to tell her story was an issue. And word-smithing magnetic messages for her website that would attract her ideal audience and weed out the “unqualified” was a persistent and annoying problem.

I WAS UP FOR THE CHALLENGE, SO WE GOT TO WORK ON THE TRUE CALL OF DUTY: ALL NEW COPY.

After several weeks of branding, storytelling, and copywriting trainings, KeNisha learned that the customer she wanted to reach wasn’t just a lipstick snob; she was a discerning sophisticate with class, unteachable taste, a disdain for all things mainstream, and one who strived to be the girl who did things differently.

With this, we solidified an “eclectic luxe” positioning strategy that had a Chanel-esque vibe, giving us the freedom to talk like we were in Vogue magazine. It also gave KeNisha the ability to charge what her products were truly worth, without making any apologies to those who simply didn’t get it.

We dubbed the Marie Hunter Beauty customer a “Modern Muse” and began crafting copy that spoke directly to who she was, ultimately converting her faster than the competition.

HERE’S A SNIPPET OF THE NEW COPY KENISHA NOW USES TO INTRODUCE HER BELOVED MARIE HUNTER BEAUTY BRAND:

 


 

BE BOLDER™
Cosmetics and fragrances for the modern muse.

Copywriting success

REAL BEAUTY

If there’s one thing that wakes us up every morning, it’s the belief that beauty should be simple and uncomplicated. Our mission is to boldly empower wo(men) like you with the beauty, confidence and class to feel like the best version of yourself on the inside and outside. For us at Marie Hunter Beauty, that’s where real beauty begins. Our iconic packaging and statement-making modern collections are designed to help you discover and walk in that reflection. We’re just here to help you Be Bolder™ as you do it.

 


 

SINCE LAUNCHING ITS NEW MESSAGING, MARIE HUNTER BEAUTY HAS BEEN FEATURED IN VOGUE MAGAZINE, TATLER, AND HOUSE & GARDEN, TO NAME A FEW. 

“I was essentially trying to target ‘everyone’ to grow my brand. [Amber] helped me really hone in on who my ideal customer was, how to talk to them, and how to develop content to keep them interested. After sharing my new story, I gained new customers and continue to do so!” – KeNisha Ruff

To say that I’m proud and grateful for the opportunity to help grow a brand that I believe in so much with something as simple as new copy would be an understatement.

Truth be told, transformations like this are the real reason I launched COPYMASTERY™, my new copywriting coaching membership program for CEOs and thought leaders just like KeNisha.

If you have an amazing product with value that’s already been proven, but you sometimes struggle with communicating that to the right people when selling, I want to help you create your own copywriting success story.

Join COPYMASTERY™ today for just $49 at our new member pricing and you’ll get access to the same kind of branding, storytelling, and copywriting success coaching that will help YOU take your business to the next level.

As we say with our girlfriends when bragging about new cosmetics we just discovered …

Give it a try.

You can cancel anytime.

 

Talk soon,

xoxo, amber

Why Relationship Building Is Not Efficient (& a Better Way to Convert)

hey savvy!

Relationship building is not efficient.

That was the focus of the EntreLeadership podcast episode I listened to yesterday morning while sipping my La Colombe Vanilla Draft Latte. Alex Judd (the host) could have been in my head when he said,

“Relationships are not efficient.”

You’d think a common sense statement like this would go without saying since we’re talking about the human practice of getting to know one another and the state of being connected. I mean, there is no excel spreadsheet or value one can assign to measure how little or great our acquaintance or relation is to those we serve, right?

BUT, then I thought about it, and yes, it does need to be stated – exaggerated, even – for business owners who too often forget that the “connections” they’re after for the eventual purpose of conversion should begin with some level of genuineness.

It should be shouted from the rooftops that connection comes before conversion in the business dictionary, and the cultivation of the former is a not-so-efficient process that we should ALL be putting more energy into – especially now.

And I get it.

Focusing on relationship-building doesn’t seem like the natural first order of business in the midst of a crisis …

FOCUSING ON RELATIONSHIP-BUILDING DOESN’T SEEM LIKE THE NATURAL FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS IN THE MIDST OF A CRISIS …

… but it is. In fact, it’s Priority #1.

The reality is that the businesses that spend their time now growing closer to their customers and finding new and innovative ways to connect with them are the ones that will undoubtedly thrive when this is all over.

Which brings me to Rule #5, the final law in my new brand credo, The Copy Code!

 

relationship building

 

CONNECT FIRST, THEN CONVERT.

It’s the #1 rule in all successful relationship building strategies. This week, I want to challenge you to find at least one new and innovative way that you can connect with your community and strengthen the relationships that exist there. After all, how else will you know how to serve them in the future or what to even promote that’s relevant right now?

ASK YOURSELF:

-Where is my community spending more time online and how can I tap into the conversations they’re having?

-What commonalities do I share with the most loyal customers in my community and how can I start a two-way conversation around those?

-How can I give my customers a message of hope during this crisis and reassure them of my brand’s dedication to serving them?

-What nonconventional methods can I use to cut through the clutter and talk to my audience like a real human being?

HERE’S SOME IDEAS:

On Friday of last week, I hosted ‘COFFEE SHOP’, a virtual coffee chat with several mompreneurs in my community. No strings attached or sales pitches, just good conversation connecting on the common thing that’s rocked our entire world – becoming homeschool moms.

Dave Ramsey and his crew have been streaming a live series entitled, “A Message of Hope”, featuring weekly addresses of encouragement for small business owners from his personalities and other guest experts.

Harambee Crafts donated face masks to several healthcare providers in their community working on the frontlines with COVID-19 patients. As a modern, handcrafted goods company inspired by the African Diaspora, this was their way of connecting with the individuals working to keep their families safe.

The EntreLeadership Podcast, in addition to switching up their entire content schedule to connect with their listeners in a relevant way, began doing IG live interviews with special guests fielding questions on survival and strategy from small business owners.

Women Entrepreneurs Inc. transformed what would have been their marquee Charleston, SC conference into a month-long virtual Zoom series with keynote presentations, panels, and a community connection check-in.

Comment below and let me know what can YOU do to connect better with your community during this time!