James: I don’t know if it’s just me, but lately, I’ve been picking up this huge theme of copywriting. It’s just everywhere; it’s become important for some reason. I think maybe people had some quick wins on social media, and now, as the market’s all sort of commoditized, the edge is having good copy and having good stories. And I’d love to see what you think, as a veteran copywriter. What’s your perception of what’s happening in the marketplace? Has there been any changes that you’ve observed over the last 10 years?
Kevin: Yeah, actually, in 10 years for sure. And I think even more so in the last year or two. I think the reason people are more excited about copy is it’s kind of redefined itself in our world of direct response. It used to be, there were very set ways to do things. And a lot of people were uncomfortable with the things that you supposedly had to do to sell with copy. And now because of social media, and the different types of conversation that we experience every day – think about it, James, every year it more and more becomes part of our lives, right? And we’re just used to communicating a certain way. Shorter. We communicate different ways in different platforms – you wouldn’t talk to me the same way in email necessarily as you would in a Facebook comment. And so, it’s more challenging in some ways, it’s more instinctive.
And so I think we’re more comfortable communicating in general, with words in text. And things that work better today are things we’re more naturally inclined to be good at, like sharing our stories, sharing parts of our lives, and getting to see it almost in real-time, the kind of reactions those kinds of copy are getting as opposed to the old, more formal ways of writing copy.
James: I’m thinking of resources like the Gary Halbert letter. And he used to share stories about his personal life. He might have been well suited to social media, if he were marketing today.
Kevin: Oh, yeah. For sure!
James: He would be really glued to what’s happening.
But I can think of a couple of things that might have changed in the last few years. One is segmentation. It’s definitely been more mainstream now, where you can have a much more targeted conversation from whether it starts with a quiz or a survey chooser. That’s like the basic type of segmentation where you’re sending people down the right path from the early stages. Or then there’s the other kind of segmentation, which you’ve seen on documentaries like The Great Hack, the way that politics is being run now, where they can run micro-campaigns in different regions, where people in those regions are only seeing their experience of messaging, and it’s super hyper-relevant for them, but it might be completely different to what someone on the other part of the exact same country is receiving.
So the segmentation is number one. It’s most definitely become more mainstream. I’m using segmentation because I want to have a relevant conversation with people at the right stage. Of course, we’ve got technology backing that up now. We can use behavioral email sequences, which again, it’s a lot more complicated in how it works, compared to five years ago or 10 years ago, not as many people using segmentation plus behavioral-based triggers.
And then the other thing that I think’s different is, you know, when I started online, it was really just sales pages, where as a copywriter, you had to guess all the possible objections and you had to have the whole conversation in that one piece of dialogue. Whereas now with social media, and also Dean Jackson‘s method of the nine-word email, we’re now finding a lot of email’s conversational-based and a lot of social media, especially chatbots, and chatting, has become a two-way street. So now, you don’t have to cover the whole enchilada in one document. You can start the conversation, and then it can be responsive and dynamic based on what happens next. So I think that that’s the main change that I’ve observed in the last few years.
Kevin: Love that. That’s very accurate. And you know, things like, within those conversations, tools you can have. For instance, we, James, just sold out a coaching program, 50 seats at $1,000. And did it all through conversations. We did have the traditional things, a sales page and all that stuff, but primarily, those new members were welcomed aboard through an email conversation sequence. And what that allows you to do is two things. Number one, you’re constantly in dialogue, so you’re constantly getting updated research and better understanding of what people need, what their hesitations are, what their objections are. And so you can update the copy in real-time.
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