Jacob Harmon: Today I had the opportunity to talk to Abby Wilson. Abby is a copywriter and website, designer and developer. But what's unique about Abby is that she doesn't just create websites. She creates websites that sell that actually convert. And she does that by doing a lot of research to understand target markets before she's actually writing any copy.
We talk about marketing. We talk about copywriting, but most importantly, we talk about how to create trust. Through the words that we say and write. words are incredibly powerful. And that's how our customers are going to get to know us by either listening to the things that we say on a podcast or put in a video.
Or reading what we write on our website or our social media posts. So I hope you enjoy this episode. I know that it was very enlightening for me.
thank you so much for joining me today, Abby, I'm really excited to have you on the show. I've been following you on Linked In and I'm really impressed with your copywriting skills and the content that you create in that space. So welcome to the show.
Abby Wilson: Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.
About Abby [00:02:12]
Jacob Harmon: Yeah. I'm happy to have you here. I guess the first question I have for you, if I'm not mistaken, your background is actually my biochemistry. Right. Well, how did you get into marketing?
Abby Wilson: See, I started out in college as a biochem major and then one of my electives was just by accident. It wasn't web development class and. I really enjoyed it. I took it just because, you know, you need to get those credits. So I took the class, I really liked it. And then I just forgot about it after the class I wanted to be in like healthcare administration and that kind of thing.
but then after I graduated, I was working in that field, but I ended up leaving my job. Um, my husband and I had a daughter and I decided that I wanted to work from home. And, as I was searching for jobs that I could do on my own, like working from home, I've discovered freelancing love development.
I was like, wait a minute. I took a class in web development. Like back in college, I can certainly brush up on my skills and figure this out. So I took about a year, of just like brushing up on my skills and learning about more. Not so much like how to build the site, but how to make it, how to bring value to the business, to your clients, through that website and through their own development.
So I took some time to brush up on my skills and learn that. And I started my business earlier this year and it's been going pretty well so far.
Jacob Harmon: Yeah, that's awesome. I've been in the web development space too, and I feel like a lot of times the focus is on design, right? Oh, let's just make this pretty website, but I like how you really focus on, well, how do I make this website perform? How do I actually make it generate leads, get money, get clients.
What are the biggest marketing mistakes you see? [00:03:53]
And what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see people make in marketing or when they're making their websites today?
Abby Wilson: Oh, my chicken sandwich. Where do I start? Um, so I think a few things that I see a lot, one is they really don't invest in the copywriting. Like it'll be the most generic, like you could use that same website if it could apply to any other website, any other company in that industry, you know what I mean?
Like it's unique to the industry, but it's not even unique to that company. There's just no branding. And a lot of our developers, that's another thing that they forget is to infuse that website with brand and to really make it unique and to make it pop, like what is, okay, so you're a plumber, but what's so great about.
Your business, or like if you're a SAS company, there's thousands of you, what makes you unique? Right. So I see, a lack of good copywriting, a lack of brand strategy, and then just a lack of like a clear path to purchase. Do you know what I mean? Like they will throw a button, a call to action on there and just kind of , but not think about the whole website as a whole.
And the last thing I would say is having those micro conversions. So what a lot of websites will do is they'll have that main one call to action, like schedule a call, schedule a demo by those kinds of like macro conversions, I guess you could say, but they don't invest in like subscribe to my newsletter or check out my blog or, you know, those kinds of smaller, low commitment. Conversions that will slowly build over time into that primary conversion that you want. So there's like the four main things that I see.
Jacob Harmon: Yeah. agree with you. And I think that that's definitely an issue there's going on industry-wide and I think a lot of companies just don't have the time or the personnel to really invest in this.
Where should I start? What's the biggest bang for my buck? [00:05:45]
So, where do you suggest that a company start? Like, let's say I own ABC business and I want to get started.
I know my website sucks. I know my content marketing strategy sucks. I want to do something. Where do I start? what's the biggest bang for my buck.
Abby Wilson: That's a great question. Honestly, I would start with the brand because . With marketing agencies that have overhead, they're going to spend the time on what makes them the most money that might not necessarily be helping you to figure out your brand. That might be a website or like bigger deliverables, even though that brand is what is going to help that website work.
So I'll say just. Get back to the basics. Like who are you as a company? Who are your customers? Definitely create customer profiles. Think about the buyer journey as a whole. And then from there, with that in handout, reach out to Oh, of developer and a copywriter as well, like make sure that. Their copy is also going to be well-invested in because your website can look amazing.
You can have even a good UX, but if the copy is weak, like if they're using generic terms, like the most innovative thought leaders in our industry, like bye, no, that's not really going to work So really look at the portfolios of the copywriters that will be working on your website and make sure that that copies unique and that it pops off the page.
It doesn't, you don't want your website to. Sound like everyone else is in your industry.
What does your copywriting process look like? [00:07:12]
Jacob Harmon: And let's say that we're writing this copy. What does that process look like? How should we think about the copy of the website and guide the customer through the site?
Abby Wilson: Here's how I do the copy for my clients. The first thing I do, if they don't have a brand like an overall messaging framework for the brand, then I work with them on that. Like, we have a couple of strategy sessions, we figure, okay, who we create customer profiles, we discussed the voice we discussed, like that primary message.
What a lot of businesses, lack in their message. Is two things. Number one, it's not clear. Number two, you're not telling people how you're going to help them survive and thrive. You have to really lock into those core desires that humans have. It can be things like, building up your resources, saving time, building a network, building status, like just those really elementary needs that we all have as humans and really lock onto that. And so I helped them get that strategy together first, because another thing that you want is you want your message to be familiar across all platforms. So what I do with my brand messaging strategy is I create a framework that they can then use on other marketing deliverables that way helps with the brand recognition and the awareness.
So once we get the foundation out of the way, then we build on that and I do this mainly by. Talking with their customers, either in either they will already have customer interviews saved. That's always great. Or we'll send out surveys three to four, maybe five question surveys to their customers. The more results that we get back, the better and.
Let me tell you something copy is not written. Copy is assembled. When I create my websites, I'm telling you 70 to 80% of it is words that were spoken to me or written out in those surveys, honestly you want your writing to sound like your customers. You want to use their language. So for example, if you're a web developer and your primary target audience are SAS companies, you can drop terms like MRR or conversion rate or churn those kinds of things.
And it it's fine. Right? So you want to use, I know sometimes people will say you don't want to use Dargon, but honestly you want to. Do it in a way that makes sense for your target audience, right? So you want to talk to them, see how they talk, see how they think. And then also I know at some companies what will happen is they keep getting the same questions over and over again.
And so keeping track of that, that also helps out look at any frequently asked questions and weave that into the copy as well. But the majority of the copy that I quote unquote write is actually spoken to me or written to me. And that's what makes it like come alive.
Jacob Harmon: Yeah, so it sounds like instead of sitting down with a word document and just starting to write things out, the goal is talk to the customer, talk to the client, talk to the target audience and figure out what they need. And then really it's just assembling those pain points and those problems and saying, this is how we can solve that.
Am I understanding that correctly?
Abby Wilson: Yup, exactly. Yeah. Talk to your client, their clients. And sometimes what will happen is if you can't. Talk with their clients, for whatever reason, like maybe it's a sensitive product. You can actually look at reviews as an interesting thing. Like you can look at book reviews on Amazon for that kind of thing.
Like I was watching a case study, um, Joanna Wiebe from copy hackers was doing the copy for a rehabilitation center. So she couldn't have, as you can imagine, couldn't talk to the customer. So she actually went on Amazon and looked at like book reviews. She went on Twitter on Reddit. Like you can search through the internet and try and find unfiltered.
comments and things that people are saying and weave that into your copy. Cause you just want it to sound natural. You definitely want to write like you talk, but not just how me I talk. Cause I'm not the customer. So that's why you always have to like do your research.
That's really what sets. average carburetors and great coverage. As far as how much research are they doing?
The role of podcasts in marketing [00:11:27]
Jacob Harmon: Hmm. Interesting. so I admit that I'm a horrible writer. I just like have never been able to write a coherent sentence. sounds really great. Or, or sounds catchy. and that's kind of why I. Veer towards the podcast. I'd much rather talk to someone. how do you feel about podcasts as a tool for marketing or as a tool for content creation?
do you think that there's a place for that in marketing.
Abby Wilson: Absolutely. I find that podcast fans are super loyal. Like if I hear. An add on one of my favorite podcasts. I am more inclined to check it out. Then if I see an ad on like a YouTube video or while I'm scrolling through LinkedIn, like there's just that fan loyalty. That's really strong with a lot of podcasts, particularly the ones, the longer you go, the more your fan base builds.
So, yeah, I definitely think that there, and you can always reuse that content and you can turn it into a blog post. You can turn into the copy on your website. Like you can do so many things with it. So I think it's a great place to start and you can definitely build your business around it. Like, sweet fish media, I think is what they're called. Um, you'll see them a lot on LinkedIn. James Carberry, I think is his name and they run podcasts for B2B companies. And what they'll do is they'll have their own podcast and they will invite. They're ideal customers to the podcasts as guests, and they'll just chat with them.
And that way they'll get to know the company gets to know other people and through that is how they will attract their ideal client and build their business that way. And it's really revolves around their podcasts that they create.
Creating trust through copy [00:13:10]
Jacob Harmon: well, and I think the benefit of that too, is you're creating genuine relationships, right? one of the problems that I have with LinkedIn and Instagram and all these social networks is I feel like it's kind of taken the personal. aspect out of networking and I get pitches on LinkedIn almost every single day of someone just saying, Hey, here's my service.
This is what I do. Please buy it from me. And I'm like, I don't even know you. I have never heard of you. I've never talked to you. I have no relationship with you. and I, I feel like when it comes to creating content or copy. The whole goal is to get to know the person, right. So that they can learn to trust you and like you, and they're never going to buy unless they feel like they know you.
And so how do we bring that element that trust into, into copywriting or content creation?
Abby Wilson: I think that is the helpful things of talking to your customers and to your clients, because. You will get to understand their pain points. If you're asked the right questions to understand their pain points, their expectations, what they really love about the products. And you can weave that into the copy.
Another way that you can like build, I like to build credibility or build ethos is by having testimonials, like just their actual words up there. Like so-and-so said this, if you're a B2B company, having the logos up there, any kind of numbers, statistics like. Actual quantifiable results that you've brought for your clients.
Definitely put that on your website or any kind of case studies.
Creating relationships online [00:14:42]
I agree with you. Yeah. definitely it's. It can be tricky to build trust on social networks. You have to go out of your way. For me. I have really been fortunate that I've been able to build almost like a, a network within my LinkedIn network.
So generally, like if someone connects with me. I'll send him a message like, Hey, how did she get into current role that you're in now, most of them are marketers and we started conversation like that. So there are some people that, I know who to go to if I need help with something, like if I need help with a WordPress website, I know a guy through LinkedIn.
Like if I need like those kinds of things, if I need help with some copy or. Whatever it is. There's someone in my network who, through conversations with them, I've gotten to know them and I can like reach out through LinkedIn to them. So it's just, you have to go out of your way. It's not the default setting on LinkedIn or any of the social media to help you really build a relationship, but you can use it to do that.
Jacob Harmon: Yeah, and I feel like it's worth the investment, because relationships at the end of the day, in, in whether you're B2B or B to C and whether you're a small startup or a multi-billion dollar company, Humans are psychological, right? Like we, we want to have some sort of affinity with a brand or a product before we're willing to buy.
And if you're trying to sell a service as a business or a product as a business, the number one thing you need to do is. Think how can I create relationships? How can I create relationships with my target audience, with my clients? even the big companies where obviously you don't have a personal relationship with them, but you feel like you do.
I think of like Even insurance companies. if you think of progressive with flow, they try to create like, Oh, you know, us, or, or Jake from state farm. Right? you, you want to create a, little bit of a personal piece there to make them feel like, I feel like they know you
Abby Wilson: Yup. And that's basically brand that's where brand comes in. So I'll give you another example, Glossier, they're a makeup brand and their skin first makeup. Second, just like the opposite of most makeup brands. And. You can really tell how good their brand strategy is by seeing the products that they make.
Like, because they have their priorities straight. There are certain products that are not going to make and their customers don't expect that of them as well. You know what I mean? Like I'm not going to expect some super heavy coverage makeup from glossy. Cause that's not their thing.
I'm not gonna get mad at that because I know that's not part of their brand. So when you have that strategy and you have that really strong brand affiliation people. Well joy in your brand. That's something that Marty Neumeier will talk about. Like people will join your brand and they'll be like, I'm team Apple, or I'm team Nike, or I'm a Glossier girl.
You know, those kinds of things like that's the ideal goal of a brand is for people to really feel an affinity towards it and to feel, you know, it's the way to you give your business a personality and not just another shoe company, right? It's the difference between your product becoming a commodity and therefore.
People buying it just based off of price versus having that brand. And you can Mark up the price two times, three times, 10 times if you wanted to, and people will still buy it because they're buying into an idea.
Jacob Harmon: Yeah. And I think that that all starts with your first impression, you know, like the very first. Time that they learn about you or see you. And for some people that's going to be the website. And that's why copywriting is so important. I, I assume you're nodding your head. So was like, um, or, or whether that's LinkedIn or wherever.
So really it's just about creating that coherent brand, that target audience, and then creating copy and content that matches that. Right.
Abby Wilson: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. You want to start with the brain and that will help inform your copy, your content strategy, even down to the products and the people that you hire. Like once you have that foundation, a lot of those questions that come up inevitably with any business will be answered.
What is the current state of the copywriting industry? [00:18:54]
Jacob Harmon: okay. Cool. I have a little bit more of like a industry-wide question for ya. Um, what do you see the current state of the market for copywriters or people that are in that copywriting
Abby Wilson: I think there's a lot of demand honesty now with like content marketing, continually becoming more and more important. People need. People that can write really good copy. Like there are freelance copywriters are doing really well for themselves. SEO, copywriting. There's so many different sub-specialties of it.
There are copywriters that work with web developers because most web developers are not copywriters. So they reach out to those copywriters to help them to create the words on the page that will help the website do well. So there's definitely a lot of demand. It's just a matter of like how you. Present yourself.
You know what I mean? It's kind of like the same thing that you can run into with products that businesses want to stay away from, which is becoming a commodity. You don't want it. You don't want to find yourself in a position where. You are charging per the word and it's like bottom dollar price, because the only thing that you can compete on is price.
You definitely want to position yourself as someone that understands brand and strategy and can achieve concrete results for business through your copy of super important, no matter what industry that you're in to prevent yourself from becoming a commodity is to infuse your service with that brand.
And talk about the results that you bring.
Jacob Harmon: I think that that's valuable advice for almost anybody in any industry find a way to not be a commodity. Right. Interesting.
What should you look for in a copywriter? [00:20:33]
so on the same line, if I was a business or maybe I'm a content marketing manager or marketing manager to business, and I'm looking to hire a copywriter, obviously.
I'd love to go to you. but where do you start? Like what do you look for? , what questions should you ask when you're looking for a copywriter?
Abby Wilson: definitely look at the work that they have their portfolio what they've done in the past, but also just get to know their process. It's different for everyone. ask them about what kind of research they do before they write anything that we're kind of strategy. How do they take into consideration the current brand strategy and what is the goal of the copy?
Right. You know what I mean? Like copy. Generally has some kind of call to action within it. Like every page on your website should have something at the end, like showing a newsletter or just, even if it's just to build your brand, just understanding their place in the overall marketing strategy of that business.
Jacob Harmon: Yeah, I think that's really good. And once again, that's applicable advice to just about anything. If you're looking for a web developer blog writer or whatever it is, get to know the process and get to know the data behind it. cause too much. I think you just. By the product, and finished website can be good or bad
or a finished copy or, or a blog post or whatever it is.
And so if you're just looking to buy a website or, or buy a blog post, the real question is what is that blog post or that website going to do for me and for my business? What results is it going to drive and, and really finding someone who has that strategy behind it, that makes a lot of sense.
Abby Wilson: Exactly. Yeah. And having that yourself. So that way, when you go to these people, you can give them like a clear direction on like, this is where. We see ourselves going, and this is your place and the place of your work, how that would fall into that overall goal.
Jacob Harmon: and so do you see the relationship of a copywriter as kind of a continuous partnership? Or is it kind of like a, you do the project
Abby Wilson: I think it depends there's room for both. So I know a copywriters that just do websites, which is kind of like a one and done thing until someone needs more pages. Like I, myself, that's how I do it. I. I developed the websites and I write the copy for it. So usually when that's done the client business relationship is over.
Whereas I know a copywriters that will do ongoing content creation for their clients, or they're hired and they work in an agency or in a SAS company or BB company, for example, like they're in-house. So you see all kinds of things. It really depends on what your style is and what you want, where you see yourself.
Would you change anything about your journey? [00:23:22]
Jacob Harmon: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. so if you could go back Abby, to when you were starting getting into marketing, getting into copywriting, is there anything that you would change.
Or any advice you'd give yourself.
Abby Wilson: no, I don't. That's a good question. I kind of think about that. I honestly feel like. And this might sound cheesy, but like every part of my journey was meant to be, do you know what I mean? Like everyth, like I accidentally stumbled into copywriting and then like, cause I had, I had the one development experience.
And when I started to learn copywriting, I thought of it as like, I wanted to be able to write my own blog and write that well, and then I remember I saw a post on LinkedIn, like if someone was looking for a web developer and copywriter, like in one and everyone was like, yeah, good luck finding that. And I'm just like, really?
Isn't that rare? So. I just exited, I didn't think about putting it to use with my lab development. It was just something for me personally, to help build my brand. So I just kind of accidentally fell into that, but it worked out super well for me because now I can do both and I have full control over it.
So, no, I think everything happened for a reason. It was meant to be all of the good and the bad all happened for a reason. So I don't think I would change it. No.
Jacob Harmon: Yeah, I like that answer. oftentimes I think of success and failure and at the end of the day, even the failures or successes, if you can learn from them, right.
Yeah, for sure. Well, thank you. I really appreciate having you on the show. Um, it's a new show, so you're one of the very first guests super grateful that you are willing to jump on. Oftentimes with newer shows, it's harder to get some guests, but thank you for giving us a chance and
Abby Wilson: no problem. Listen, one day I might find myself in your shoes as a new podcast, trying to get guests. So I'm sowing. Good karma.
Jacob Harmon: if you ever need any help, let me know. I'm. This is my second podcast, so I can give you an advice.
Abby Wilson: Awesome. Thanks, Brian. You too. Bye.
Jacob Harmon: I hope you enjoyed that episode with Abby Wilson. The big takeaway that I got from that was just how powerful words are. Whether we're speaking on a podcast or in a social media video or the words that are on our website, really? That is how our customers get to know us. And. That's going to be the first impression that they have of our brand or our business. So definitely something to be thinking about.
A big, thanks to Abby for being the very first guest on trust casts and a big thanks to you for listening to the very end of this episode. Thank you so much for being here. I really, really appreciate it.