If you’ve been struggling with sales copy, this episode is going to change how you write and make your copy more effective – we’re even going to talk about AI and how to use it.
Kris Jones is a StoryBrand guide and founder of Red Door Designs. She helps women-owned small businesses create website copy that sells so they can multiply their revenue and focus on what they do best. And we mean multiply – she’s helped some of her clients to scale from $30,000 months to $300,000 months.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, copy is one of our most important business assets. It replicates you out there in the world. It’s having people experience who you are while you’re living your life. When your copy is done well, you can go off and relax and know that the copy is working hard on your behalf.
Marrying visual storytelling with copy
Kris started out as a visual storyteller; she was never someone who loved copy. She says she always found it very challenging. But she says she was wired as an entrepreneur and despite working for big brands like Nike, she knew corporate life wasn’t for her.
Her journey started in website design. She had a client who was ready to launch a new business idea and was very excited. The client had a background in publishing and was going to write the copy. Cue the copy deadline, and Kris’ client called her frustrated. She couldn’t do it. She didn’t have the copy ready. When she tried to outsource the task, it didn’t feel like her voice.
Kris decided to dive deep into storytelling.
“You can’t outsource your voice. … What I realized was the visual storytelling I was doing was really powerful, but it was 20 times more powerful when it was paired with the written word,” says Kris.
Kris went all in. She started applying the principles of sales copywriting to her own website. She started getting booked out and got onto sales calls where people were already sold. She was able to charge more for her services because she was better at communicating the value of her services.
“I just realized the visual story paired with the written story is the superpower. Even today in 2023, most people don’t have both … when you have a visual story that’s bringing to life your written story, it’s the one-two punch that will catapult you way above everybody else in your industry,” says Kris.
Mistakes business owners make in sales copy
The biggest mistake we make is making ourselves the hero of our own story. We think this is my website, I need to talk about myself. They layer in the fun facts and experiences. But we want to be inviting our clients into the story with you, says Kris. The client should be the hero, and you are the guide.
The guide is the strongest character in the story; the hero is the weakest. The hero has the problem and we don’t know if they’re going to overcome it or not. But you are the guide who can solve their problem. You can show up with empathy and confidence.
Structure of a compelling story
The formula for every story ever told is the hero has a problem they don’t know how to solve. That's your client. They go searching around, whether they're asking their friends or they're online asking Google. They're looking for a solution to their problem. The hero then meets a guide that has a solution that allows them to experience success.
That is, in a nutshell, every movie you ever watched, and every book you ever read. That's how it goes. Now, there's all kinds of creativity that can happen within there, but that is the structure of a compelling story.
When business owners can articulate the problems that their clients are struggling with, the clients will automatically think they’re the best ones to solve it. Doing that establishes resonance. It develops trust. It helps them feel seen and heard when you're just literally naming the problems that they have.
It's hard to shoehorn a templated solution into what you're offering on your website because there are so many nuances to the work that you do. While Kris says she isn’t anti-template, she says they often don't save us time. However, learning to use the components of a story can be very effective.
Why it’s hard to write your own sales copy
There's a thing called the bottle effect. And when you are too close to your own business, it is like being inside the bottle and trying to read the label of that bottle that can only be read from the outside. We need outside perspective in order to be able to kind of clearly articulate what we do in a compelling way.
The other thing that goes on during this phase of trying to write your own copy is the curse of knowledge. That means you've been in your industry long enough or invested time into learning about what you do. You're an expert, whether you consider yourself an expert or not. When we have the curse of knowledge, we've forgotten what it's like to not know what we know.
Free gift for listeners: Write Compelling Copy in Five Minutes Flat
Writing copy using AI
Kris notes that you can’t outsource your own voice. There are nuances about what you do that makes you unique. That's why people hire you instead of your competitor. She believes AI is a powerful tool that can help you explore ideas.
“I think of AI as kind of like a really great professional racehorse. It's been groomed, but you don't want it to run wild. To win the race it needs a jockey,” says Kris.
She notes AI is great for generating content, but it's not a strategic thinker. You want to generate a lot of content, but you still need to go in and edit it. It doesn't necessarily create copy that is touching, moving, and representative of your voice.