It’s freshman year of high school. You walk into your first-ever gym glass, lace up your sneakers, and head to the track. Your stomach grumbles nervously as you take your place on the bleachers, waiting your turn.
The athletes volunteer to go first. You are definitely not an athlete.
(In fact, you’re significantly heavier than almost everyone in the class.)
C.J. runs a 5-minute mile. His family is full of triathlon addicts and Boston Marathoners. Amy runs a 6-minute mile, without even breaking a sweat. You gulp.
When it’s your turn, you start off strong… for the first couple meters. Until before you know it, your knees are hurting, your chest is becoming tight, and you’re feeling a sharp pain in your side. You slow to a half-jog, because running simply isn’t in the cards for you anymore.
You clock in at almost 14 minutes, embarrassed and out of breath.
That exhaustion you feel? That’s what happens inside your audience’s brain when you drone on about things they don’t have the energy to pay attention to.
According to seemingly every copywriter’s hero, Donald Miller, one of the biggest mistakes brands make is causing their customers to burn too many calories in an effort to understand their offer.
Our brains are constantly sorting information, and we discard millions of unnecessary facts every single day. They quite literally tune out useless info to conserve calories.
Don’t make your customers run the mile. And yes, the above story is a true recount of my experience in gym class. No, unfortunately it is not dramatized. Keep reading to learn the 4 reasons your audience probably doesn’t care about your offer.
I can’t buy anything from you if I don’t know what it is, how to purchase it, or what I’ll get out of it. There are two main reasons that your offer is unclear:
A. YOU THINK PEOPLE CAN READ YOUR MIND.
Because your offer feels so abundantly clear to YOU, you think it comes off that way to everyone else. The reality, though, is that you think about this offer day in and day out, so you’re hyper-focused on the ins & outs of what it entails. You now have this offer memorized. It seems like the most simple thing in the world to you. But to your audience? Nope. They likely don’t know a single thing about it.
I’ll use myself as an example. Let’s say my offer is my newsletter. I send out a semi-lengthy email every week with a digital marketing tip, my top 3 “fave saves” (info-packed posts I saved from Instagram or Pinterest that week), and a book recommendation.
Sometimes, I include discounted services and VIP access to new freebies, and I even send a Starbucks gift card to a subscriber from time to time.
Now, I write this email every single week, so I’m really dialed in to exactly what the Tuesday Table of Contents is all about. And in my mind, everyone ELSE knows what it’s all about, too.
But every time I post about it on Instagram (which, admittedly, is not often—which is why this offer is my example), I get a message that says something to the effect of “wait I didn’t know you had a newsletter, signing up rn!”
I don’t consistently post about it, because I feel like I’m being too repetitive, and I don’t want to be annoying.
That mentality isn’t going to get my newsletter anywhere, because the reality of the situation is this: new people follow me every week.
New people that have no idea about my newsletter. And if I want them to sign up, I need to clearly tell them — often — why they should subscribe, how they can sign up, and what’s in it for them.
B. YOU FEEL AWKWARD.
Oftentimes, a lack of clarity comes from being uncomfortable. It’s very common for creative entrepreneurs and digital business owners to feel uncomfortable being too “salesy” — but if you’re not clearly explaining your offer to your audience… who is?
You don’t see a car salesman shyly walking around the dealership and being vague about which car he recommends.
Next time you feel awkward about “selling,” remind yourself that your audience wants your offer! They need your offer! You would be doing them a disservice if you didn’t tell them about it.
Because your offer is a solution to their biggest problems or greatest needs (it is, isn’t it?!) refraining from talking about it is only hurting them. And if someone unfollows or unsubscribes because you mentioned your offer, don’t spend a single second overthinking it — all that means is they weren’t part of your target audience, which (apologies for being harsh) is truly the only audience that matters.
This is arguably the most common reason for your offer falling flat: there are too many steps to reach the offer.
If Suzy has to click on your profile, go to the link in your bio, navigate through your website, scroll down to the bottom of your footer, get lost finding the Shop page, scroll to the category she’s looking for, take a snack break for some fuel on her long journey, get back on her computer, revisit the page, forget what she was even looking for, close the tab… well, there goes that sale.
Don’t make your ask too difficult. Place that big, fat BUY NOW button prominently at the top of your site.
Include links to your offer in the emails you send — and not as some dinky little “p.s.” note that no one will ever read. Make it as easy as humanly possible for someone to accept your offer, purchase your item, sign up for your list, inquire about working with you… you get the picture!
Clarity, clarity, CLARITY! If your audience isn’t responding to your plain and simple offer, well… you’re probably speaking to the wrong audience. No matter how good you (think) your marketing strategies are, you can’t sell a purse to a fish. Doing your research about what your followers, subscribers, clients, or customers actually want is imperative.
Here, I’ll even give you some great starting points for your research:
Ubersuggest. This is Neil Patel’s free SEO tool that lets you easily search for tons of things — but the elements of Ubersuggest you need to care about for this purpose are keywords and search volume. Using his tool will help you determine how many people are actually searching for your offer each month, and the keyword research tool will help you decide how to best market it online.
Predicted search. By typing in your offer or industry in search bars on websites like Google or Pinterest, the predicted text that comes up in the box below the search bar are the most common searches related to that term. Use that to inform your decisions about how to position your offer!
Your Instagram Insights. Check out what your followers respond well to by looking into your Instagram insights and analyzing the data right in front of you. Which posts got the most saves and shares? How can you take the themes present in those posts and use it to your advantage when selling to those people?
Google Analytics. Same deal: dive into your website’s analytical data to see the pages that people visit the most, the content they respond the best to, and the main website traffic drivers. You’ll need to know all this information to determine whether your marketing is effective.
All of the above tools are related to what your future customers are searching, because your goal should be to solve their problems.
No one searches — or buys! — things they already know a lot about or have enough of (unless, of course, it’s matching sweat sets, then all bets are off because #WFH). So, if you want to get yourself (or your business) in front of them. you need to market yourself as their solution to something (a need, a pain point, a motivational driver).
Plus *insider info* Google prioritizes content that answers questions.
Even if your content checks all the boxes on the SEO laundry list, search engines’ algorithms are smart enough to push the content that helps their users the most. So, get your ass over to Google, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and start searching for what they may be searching.
Moral of the story: figure out WHO your offer is for, WHY they need it, and freaking tell them about it! Often! (And if you need help figuring out your strategy and/or appropriately conveying your message, inquire to work with me to write your services or sales page!)
If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
Subscribe to my newsletter! I send one marketing tip, once a week – and, according to my subscribers, it’s “the best marketing newsletter on the Internet” and “the only reason to wake up on Tuesday mornings.” So… yeah. You’ll love ‘er. 😏 Click here to subscribe!
Check out my services. I write website copy, sales pages, email sequences, blog posts, and brand messaging guides for entrepreneurs of all kinds! Maybe you’re my next favorite client.
Read the rest of my blog. It’s home to everything from copywriting tips, to marketing education, to freelance advice, to portfolio-worthy projects… if you like this post, you’ll love the blog. Here’s a quick roundup of my most popular posts.
Sign up for my web copy course. Actually, it’s not *only* about website copywriting—I also teach modules on copywriting basics, developing your target audience, search engine optimization, blogging, and email marketing.
Enlist me as your mentor. I have an entire in-depth blog post about my one-on-one consulting process for new and aspiring copywriters, if you’re interested in having a big-sis-style mentor to help you grow your freelance copywriting business & get results.
To get in touch with me directly, send me a DM or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day!
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