Uh-Oh – Client About to Make a Fatal Mistake

Note: I was planning to do a copy review today, but I thought this would be fun and useful instead.

It’s an actual email that I just sent to a client, because he’s about to launch a company – making one mistake that can completely nullify his initial traffic investment.

He only hired me for copywriting and not consulting, but when I saw the mistake I just had to tell him, obviously. Glad I caught it, too.

Here goes:

Hi Clive,

Here is new copy, it’s down by about 100 words, I think. Let me know what you think.

Note: there’s a problem with the optin form from a UX point of view: if they are new, they don’t have an account yet so ‘sign in’ is the wrong cue to give.

It’s a good optin form and looks good, but it should read and look like the one in the attached doc.

Also – and this really is getting to turn into consulting, but you need to know this or it’s not going to work – you’re asking for an awful lot of info on the ‘create profile’ page.

Address, company, date of birth, language… That’s way too much.

Know that the highest conversion rates are when you ask only an email address and nothing else.

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Are You Testing? If Not, You're Bleeding Money

In the world of UX (user experience), they say ‘test early, test often’.

Now, UX is a big industry. People who hire a UX expert usually have a bunch of money to spend.

For most people though, the cost is dramatically prohibitive.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t test.

And it doesn’t mean you should forego testing either.

Something as simple as the colour of a button or the placement of an image can mean a big difference to your conversion rates.

It’s not unheard of that split testing brings 5%, 10% or even more improvement in sales.

So how does that work?

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Ready for Take-Off? Launch That Sucker – And Start Paying Attention

Yesterday I told you that you shouldn’t fix the plane once it’s in the air.

Stellar advice, I would say. (Of course I’d say that)

On the other hand, there’s something to be said for launching your business, and improving as you go along.

You’ll have heard the motivational advice:

“Good is good enough”

“Launch it already”


Taking that approach though can be very risky. Like I said yesterday: Being in the air is very precarious.

One hitch and your plane drops, your site fails, your traffic bombs.

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Why You Don't Fix the Plane Once It's In the Air

Here’s a mistake many businesses make, especially startups.

They build a site, a product, prepare to generate traffic.

Build content strategies and set up list management software.

Sometimes I get called in to write copy at that point.

Very often, I have a hard time deciding whether or not to take the gig.

Because very often, there are big mistakes in their site, their funnel and their strategy.

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Guess the Quote: Everyone is Always Selling Something


Who do you think might have said that?

You’d expect someone from the business world, right?

A marketer or maybe a coach. An author.

But you’d be wrong.

This little nugget came to us through Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island.

And, there’s a lot of truth in it.

Actually, it’s a fact of life.

It’s a notion that can make or break your business.

That is, IF you’re prepared to accept it as true.

Everyone is always selling something.

When you tell a co-worker: “Would you mind grabbing me a cup of coffee on your way back?” – you’re selling her on the idea of doing you a small favour.

If you’re telling your kid: ‘Eat your veggies”, you’re selling them vegetables (hard sale, too)

Asking your spouse to take out the trash? Same thing.

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Weekly Free Copy Review, Starting Today. Check it Out, Submit Your Copy

The other day I asked my readers to submit their copy for a free review.

Got some interesting reactions, and I think it’s something I should do weekly.

So if you want me to review your copy, just hit reply and tell me the link where I can see it.

I’ll only do one each week, and I’ll choose based only on what I think is the most interesting example for my readers.

So here goes, the first of my weekly free copy critique.

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Sales and Psychology: We're All Automatons. Plus, Don't Bark at Your Customers

Saw a fantastic piece of automatic psychology happen the other day.

It reminded me of how easy it is to persuade people.

You push a button, you get a reaction.

You tell someone a certain thing; they react in a predictable way.

It’s part of our ancient lizard brain, the part that reacts instinctively, before you even have time to think.


I’d been shopping for groceries and was walking up into the old town.

Some 50 metres ahead of me there was a young black guy. Probably no more than 18 years old.

He’s from Senegal, from some dusty village where there’s only one phone, and he came here across from Africa, looking for a better life.

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Traffic, Visitor Retention and Your Site's First Purpose

Lately I’m reading a lot about usability and user experience.

After all ‘To the user, the user experience IS the product’.
(Never forget that!)

Now, we all know that the primary purpose of a website is lead generation and that building your email list is task #1.

But apparently, tons of people either aren’t aware of it, or they don’t care about building a list.

Staggering, really: Probably some 25% of the new blogs I visit just don’t have the option.

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You Too Can Get Lots of Sales, Despite the Recession. Here's How

I have a pretty odd collection of friends.

One of them is Dick (his real name – it’s short for Richard).

Dick is a real estate agent in England.

Now, we all know the terrible reputation that most real estate agents have.

Dick is different though, as you’ll see in a minute. He doesn’t have a bad reputation at all – in fact he’s got a 5-star reputation.

He and his wife are over on holidays at the moment, and while chatting he told me that in the seven days he had been away, 3 properties had been sold.

Big ones too. And, two more sales are lined up to close.

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Of Course You Wouldn't Say "I Wrote a Newspaper"

So then why do so many people say ‘I wrote a blog’?

It makes no sense – and what’s worse, incorrect usage of words is devastating for your sales.

I’m a wordguy.

I just love languages, especially English.

And as you would expect, I’m a bit of a puritan.

Still, language is a living thing, which means it evolves.Continue Reading

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