Joanna Wiebe: Old School Copywriting For New School Businesses

Copy is your online salesperson – that’s what Joanna Wiebe believes. The text you commit to on your website and in your emails is the front door to your business, and you better make sure it’s doing its job. In this talk at Business of Software Conference USA 2017, Joanna looks back to some old school copywriters for tips to use to help your SaaS stand out, including the Seven Sweeps you should give your copy before you ship it.


Want more of these insightful talks?

At BoS we run events and publish highly-valued content for anyone building, running, or scaling a SaaS or software business.

Sign up for a weekly dose of latest actionable and useful content.

Unsubscribe any time. We will never sell your email address. It is yours.


Joanna Wiebe: No, that’s good! Mad men music, that’s awesome! So thanks for those who are staying for the last session of Tuesday to talk about copywriting. Of course you want to talk about words and things. You might not write copy as part of your job, but chances are really high you review copy as part of your job you’re involved in it. I was watching everyone on their laptops and most of you have like a document open. You know you work with words all the time. So what can we do to make those words better? Especially in a world where we keep hearing nobody reads online, that’s like the prevailing wisdom right now, if you will write something, make sure you edit it down because nobody reads online which is crazy. We do read online, web makes us busier, same as mobile but people are still the same. We still make decisions in largely the same ways. So I will share with you some old school copy writing techniques that still work today so when all you hear is nobody reads online you can combat it with this.

We will start with – has anyone seen this before? Yes, a few people have. This is possibly in the world of copywriting and advertising, this is the most famous one. So this is an ad that was written in 1924 by a gentleman named John. He was a brand new copywriter, he used to be an engineer, but didn’t really like that, he was in the navy and didn’t like that but liked writing and thought there might be something to this copywriting thing. So he took a night class at Colombia and decided to be a copywriter with direct mail. And direct mail is making a bit of a comeback with it so pay attention. He went and worked with this direct mail agency and he wrote this ad and published in magazines and got huge. It sold well for one and became part of the popular culture, like comedians would make fun of it and became about what people talked about when they talked about advertising. They laughed when I sat down at the piano but when I started to play – so John former engineer, puts this out there, gets awesome reactions and his boss is happy and he gets a lot of jobs. He comes from a well NY family so he goes home at Thanksgiving and brings all these books with him – he’s getting promoted and everything is awesome. His father is a doctor and his mom is a society lady and he goes back to his mom and he shows this book and the flipping through and she’s reading these ads word for word. And by the end of it, she closes the book and she looks at him and says you’d better not let your father see this. Which I think is so perfect for how we have to think about writing copy that will make a difference. Anyone who cares about you reducing your risk should not reveal your copy. Everyone who wants you to stay safe and impress their high society friends, shouldn’t be reviewing your copy. Anything that feels safe and your mom would be proud, that shouldn’t make its way in front of customers.

If it feels safe, scrap it! Period. That’s the start point for better copy. Which is hard but I will show you some examples that might make it a little easier hopefully. Ok. Basic idea here is of course we’re talking about old school copy writing, but what you might have heard of it came from David – I’m sure everyone saw this quote before. For me, it’s super overwhelming to hear it, but we won’t talk about this. Your headline is important. We won’t talk about the myth of the creative copywriter where you get drunk and sober, that won’t happen today. We all know that’s just a great way to not do any work for today. I won’t talk about that either, we will talk about copy not as some sort of expression of creativity or something where you get like I’m sorry to say this, but it won’t go to the creative brand expression place. If you want that, go to someone else. Being super creative sold way better – I believe copy is your online sales person. It exists to move people to say yes and if it’s not doing that, it has to work harder. Just start again. If you want to be creative, go ahead and write a poem, get a dirty limerick and get it out of your system and let’s get down to work. Making our words get people to say yes.

So the job and I will quote many people. Claude Hopkins – the only purpose, is whether it’s getting those sales, which is hard to do and I don’t like doing it all the time except when it works, but that is the purpose of it. To kind of give you a brief break before we get in the 1920, 30, 50, to bring this up how we might talk today. Some BoS appropriate rewrite of some lyrics, but it’s all about actually making money with really smart decisions, not talking about artistry, I won’t talk about the art of copy – let’s treat it like reverse engineering a bridge, like we’re supposed to do it. We will talk about Gene Schwartz, John Caples, Claude Hopkins and very smart sadly deceased white gentlemen who did cool things for copywriting. Caveat – not everything that worked in the 20s, 30s and 40s will fly today. It’s not all gonna work out for the best, we will have really strong reactions to some of the things you see so only work with what I share with you today. We don’t need that, so –

Because it’s end of day, 4 really quick hits for you. Really quick things you can go and instantly apply them. People gave you strategies and lots of things to think about but copywriting is execution and we’re getting the page and publishing them for customers. So the first one, ask good questions, what is a good question? In journalism, a good question is not a leading question. In copywriting, a leading question is a wonderful thing. We want people to agree with us as we go. Good questions are questions we know the answer and the prospect to give and we set them up for it. If we put a question in front of them that we want – let’s say yes or no question and we want them to answer yes, but they answer no in their heads, it’s a bad question and it’s important because many people default to using questions when they’re doing it and they think a question is a good thing but you have to make sure the answer that follows is the one you want. An example, I will give a couple I love this case study so I will talk about it at least today, the last time. Maybe not. So we worked with Wistia on this email sequence, 8 emails that comes at a certain part and is triggered by stuff. This is the control, I don’t expect you to be able to read it, I will read it to you. So the control and variation B. We’re asking good questions so I will read this to you, you can tell me if you think the question is good. Your video is live, let’s see how you’re doing. Your video is live! Ready to dive into some data? I am a marketer or something like that. In my phone walking from one meeting to another and I randomly clicked into my inbox because I’m distracted and don’t manage my time well, I read this, ready to dive into some data. I heard good question or how might I answer that? Who would answer that yes right now? Who wants to delve into some data? Very good from Wistia! So that’s the question, not the perfect phrasing of what otherwise might be a good question. So we rewrote so this is the rewrite we did, it’s not exact, but here’s what a good question or a couple look like and they can be really good. Like just the email we wrote was a bunch of questions so we go good news person! People are watching your video! Fantastic, right? Now here’s the question. How can you put your new video data to work for you? One is a yes-no the other is an answer kind of thing. Fantastic, right? Is a yes-no. you could answer no to that and say it’s not fantastic that people are watching my video, but if you answered that, would you be a good prospect for Wistia? Do you not like to watch the videos? If you say no to that, too bad. We will move on from there and ask a bigger question that doesn’t have an obvious answer so they do what old school copywriters do which is keep reading down the page. That is better question, the new variation was part of a sequence that sold better. I put the numbers here but it gets distracting. So that’s number one. Number two is the hardest one for most people to really get through but it’s writing for readers. Write like people read because they actually still do. I will show you – this is the last time – here’s the control. Very short copy, very quick and most people would be thrilled. It’s still good, but it’s so short. It’s trying very hard not to be noticed, it’s acting like people don’t read, so let’s get them to read a bit and then we will do something else cause they don’t like reading. So we rewrote all of them and all 8 emails we wrote were 2-3-5 times longer than the control. People do read copy, they will read it and think about your actual prospect. The people that you can convert and who should move on something today, they are likely to read if you give them something and that’s what this talk will be about. It’s part of the sequence that went better. Don’t go through and edit out all the words that are convincing – this made Andrew at Wistia uncomfortable and wrote to me that’s more copy than we’re used to. And of course we tested it, and we got really good results. Number three, take the cap off the coke. Anybody seen or watch Madmen when it was on in the glory days? A few of us, good! So there’s this episode where Betty gets a job on a coke commercial and the director comes along and she’s holding the coke and he pops the cap off the Coke. It’s an important moment for us who try to convince people that life will be better when they use our product. Don’t be too forthcoming and you can be far too forthcoming in it unless you’re just aware of it.

So here’s an example of how we almost messed up, it was with MetaGeek that we were doing these tests, we can be text links, you can do anything and do better than text links. What are the two products we want to get people on there? We choose those two and we put juicy things on the page and clear stuff around them – we have the home version and then the 4 office version which has a 5-day free trial and below it, it says one payment of 1.99. why did we tell them that? I don’t know, we got 6% fewer clicks with big, juicy buttons. They know it’s a 5-day trial? Why do they need to know that? Take the cap off the coke and make it easy for them to get from where they are to the next step they want to be. Finally put your headline and the button in the first person. This is super tactical, open up WordPress, go into your page and change all your buttons and headline copy to be in the first person. What does that mean? Here is an example of doing exactly that. I will talk more about this one through this talk, but this is an example of the headline. Variation A, control sweat – stop embarrassment this is the headline. It’s for people who sweat a lot, so it’s a nice homepage headline. You’re telling them to do something that has benefits attached to it. That’s what we’re told we’re supposed to do. We put it in the first person, doesn’t have to be hot out, my armpits are well. There’s more going on here, but the big change here is that indeed is in the first person with quotation marks. That is old school copywriting done really well. We got more sales with this one as well so this one did better. For buttons, they’re tiny so on the left is try schedule free and on the right is end my scheduling hassles. It’s in the first person and a call to value so as a side bonus tip when you’re writing a button, you want to get people to move forward, the rest of the time complete the phrase I want to – everything that follows and everything becomes the copy. So you have the two buttons. 24% more clicks on the second one. We tested this with crazy egg, the control was the winner here. 13% more clicks on that. So those are your four quick hits.

Now let’s get into some bigger ideas to shape your copy. You’ve been rewarded for staying so long and being here and now we will get into some of the bigger stuff. Ok, the first one when we’re talking about writing copy, that converts or trying to get people to say yes with our words, the first thing to do to write better copy is not to write copy at all. It’s just throw that and stop trying to do that – and this is kind of counterintuitive, but stay with me because what happens when you wrecked? We’ve all been writing since we were in kindergarten or earlier, you have at least 12 years of school where you’re being judged on your writing. You have these feelings attached – when you sit down to write copy, you’re thinking of writing in ways that won’t be productive and then we romanticize writing, we think it’s something that you do – the muse visits you and  you have this incredible idea come over you and you put it down on the page and it’s genius. We do this thing where you go off and find this quiet place to write, cause that’s what you do when you write. And you need to be alone with your thoughts obviously it’s the only way to write, but somehow genius doesn’t strike then. You’re trying to get something out there, turns out the copy in your head sucks, it’s not meant to be so you go find something to distract yourself with. This is the typical writing process, not that productive or helpful for us. Don’t write copy at all, instead I want you to think about holding up a mirror not to yourself but outwards. That’s it. Now things change a little bit, we will use words, the mirror will be built out of words and visuals but we won’t think about writing copy. To do this, you have to stop writing, to then understand that the thing on the page, is the customer – the thing on the page is not the product. It’s the customer. You’re writing the customer on the page and you have to know them to make that possible and show him or herself on the page you have to know them very well and be comfortable standing behind the mirror where you’re not the centre and that means every single person who ever used copy in your organization. Everyone has to get on board with the idea of standing behind the mirror and letting them see the person on the page. It’s a big thing, but how do we do that? The challenge is remembering the product is not the product, the product is never the product, not the thing that’s being created. Customer is the product, this is very old school copywriting. You’re creating a customer with your words, you aren’t selling a product. That changes things a lot and we get to think of them differently in the idea of creating this customer on the page. Ok, but how do you know what’s going on in the mirror? What to reflect back at your prospect? This person coming to your page that you just honestly can’t possibly know that well. You might have a ton of traffic coming to your page, how do you know what to put on your page? And answer that, who better obviously than Mr. Rogers to answer life’s hardest questions? He’s a very good man, wore sweaters that his mom knitted for him, that’s amazing or creepy but also amazing. Going with amazing, I have to. He wrote songs and here is one of the songs, some of the lyrics – anybody recognize this? Yeah, right? We need him now, what do you do with the mad that you feel when you feel so mad you could bite? Mr. Roger’s job was to create songs and ideas and worlds for kids. If we were gonna sit around and write a song for kids, what would we do? It’s start thinking what do kids like? My kids like candy and sugar, cats. We could write a song about cats that gets into some candy. We would go into it – not all of us, but many people would make these random decisions and even when we’re been listening – I observed and kids love candies. Mister Rogers just listened. That opening line came from a child directly – he swiped. He was doing it like the best of out, finding the message and putting it on the page. The mad – it’s an adjective turned into a noun in a way only a child would do. You have to listen to get to that language and that’s how people who heard it before still know it today. It spoke to them as kids. How do we listen? We talked about this before last time, we’ve all heard we’re serving and interviewing customers. But what if you have to write an email that’s due tomorrow? You have to get this thing out for some promotion that is ending. Someone wrote it and clearly wasn’t listening to the prospect, what do we do? Here’s the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to go find your message, to go listen to prospects it’s really straightforward. Go to or any review site out there, any site that has reviews on it and you look for products that your prospect would or has hired to do the job your product is supposed to do. Oftentimes that’s a book, if you are selling software of some sort for bicycle repair shop management, if there is a DYI guide to bicycle management, search it on Amazon and open it in different tabs. Just go and listen to what people say about what they felt, thought or hoped when they went in buying the product and realized the challenges that come along the way. You will listen for that sticky copy and that is anything that makes you stop. So new school marketers are often looking for the most polished phrases. When it comes to save time and money, that’s exactly what we needed! The rest of us are like noise, so you want to look for things that make you stop, what do you do with the mad that you feel? You capture them and take them and organize them on the page in an assembly process. We’re not writing here, so far we haven’t written a word. We listened and we will take what we found and we will put it down on the page. Copy is not written copy is fully assembled. That is old school about copywriting, as soon as you wrote it, you went too far.

This requires that you listen hard and know a good amount about that specific audio that you have, there is this idea that we’re writing for an average visitor a lot of the time, you get stats the average visitor spends 5 seconds on your site, that’s very distracting. There’s no such thing as an average person. That is a big leap, we will write for that specific person, that is fully our job. Our copy needs to single the reader out like a man being paged in a crowded hotel lobby. That’s what has to get to us, the point we’re aiming for. Most of us haven’t got there yet. I put money on most of us not being there yet, but we can get there.

Now with that, it’s time for our poem break, of course. So roses are red, have you guys heard this before? Violets are blue. Donate to a teacher with the same name as you. Anybody have an idea who might have done this? This is body copy for an email sent out by donors choose on valentine’s day. This is what you saw, except for the picture of Peggy making out with her boss. My name is Joanna Wiebe, this is mister Wiebe, he is a French teacher, he has French novels, for the junior high students, he needs 68 more to close this project out. Joanna, you have the same name, you should donate to him, doesn’t matter if I care about junior high school students or French – all that mattered was that there was a name match. The results is you’re 3 times more likely to give 3 times as much when you receive this email. I heard this on NPR and I went and studied it. What’s going on there? How can just a match with my name, seeing my name on that page, how can that be so important? I’m not talking about personalized personalization as some silver bullet in any way. Does your reader feel like you’re being singled out? This message is for them and look at what can happen when they see something superficial and not that meaningful as just seeing their name on the page. Can your prospect see herself on your page? We want her to, hold up that mirror. Secondly, second big idea to shape your copy is to use formulas. They are very, very good safe things. They’re wonderful things and you can use them for ads you can use them for layouts or elements on the page. I already gave you a formula for button copy. You should use them for all the things! We will talk about formulas for layouts in particular. So when you are organizing your messages on the page, how do you organize them? What would happen? Let’s say you did a bunch of listening and surveys and voice of customers and data analysis and got all the stuff to work with, how do you organize it on the page? You just put it down? That’s problematic, us thinking it’s on us to write copy. It’s not! Find a formula – and you only need one formula your whole life and it works for everything. This is my favourite, most time saving always performing formula. Problem, agitation, solution. Requires that you open with the problem, then you agitate it until they really feel it and then you solve it and your product is inside that solution. Why I love this so much, even though this idea of leading with a problem can be hard for some people cause it sounds like you’re leading with something negative – but the best ads, messages everything is really buried inside the problem itself. We’ve only talked about problems here, find the problem and solve it. Why would we start a page with the solution when it’s really the problem that’s bringing people to our site? It was always the problem – start with the problem and in your copy with the problem. Here is an example, you saw the section but this is the homepage we tested against the control – I will zoom in so you can see it. The top is the problem and I will read this for you. The problem to open it up, it doesn’t have to be hot out, my armpits are always wet. To be clear, this is building on what I said about finding your message to listen. So this everything here in problem and agitation comes from amazon review mining we did because weblock had 4500 reviews so we could easily go in and look at those reviews and see what people were saying. Good problems, sticky language. So it doesn’t have to be hot and my armpits are always wet and then we agitate it and you’re editing out when you’re reviewing copy and that’s the problem. We need to agitate it, really make people feel it. Agitation, this is a bullet list, it’s not an elegant way to do agitation but it’s listing out those things that people say they felt and experienced real specific things. If you suffer from excessive sweating, deodorant isn’t enough. You likely tried to hide your secret, but never wearing a light grey or blue shirt, black is best. We swipe that. Wearing a sweat soaker undershirt, tucking tissues inside your shirt and trying not to move too much, avoid situations that can trigger nervous sweating, wearing sleeveless things in the summer. It goes on and on and if you are someone who suffers from excessive sweating and you read this, do you think this might not be for me? Or are you like yeah, I do that! I have a sweat soaker under shirt right now. We have to have the courage to go forward with testing this stuff, but only then we get in the solution. The product appears way down here, on the homepage that has the logo up on the top. You have to go way down to get to the product. Of course, we tested that against a variation that had beat the previous control. A had no formula, B had the PAS formula, and as you saw of course it performed well, but just to be clear, I’ve shared this before and afterward, people come and say you have to help us do this, we want to use PAS on our page. I’m like cool, let’s do it! And then we do it and put it all together and it’s time to launch the test and nobody wants to do it. They’re like do we have to delay the product? Can we just open with the product and then get into PAS? Nobody likes doing this – if it’s interesting with you, go with it. Know when you get to the point when it’s time to launch that page or email, you will feel weird about it and you have to try and push through that because we’ve got really great results with this, told you it sold better and that was selling 50% paid lift on that one. So we want to use formulas, we don’t want to start from scratch and what’s going on in our heads, even if we think that, I don’t think many of us do think, but even if you think that, get out of your head, listen, use and organize formulas. And John Caples said it very well. Just like the physician uses the prescription many times and a civil engineer uses the same formulas again and again for building bridges, so to should we rely on formulas. Why would we guess at this? What made us think we were good at guessing at this stuff? We’re not good and even those who tried for years know better – don’t write copy, start with a formula and finally edit in the awesome! Editing is the point at which the page gets great. So we take our initial first draft we got, we assembled the data in the page and PAS framework and we merge stuff in there, then comes editing. And I’ve skipped right over writing, forget about it! We’re talking about stitching pieces of customer data together and then we will edit them to make it sound awesome! You might think cool! Some of the people like me thought I get to look for split infinitives and remove – all those things are great and that is not the case in copywriting at all. There’s no place for grammar at this point, doesn’t come down to proofreading or any of that, that doesn’t sadly matter. This is again why writing copy is not like writing anything else, don’t think of it like it. Grammar doesn’t matter. But when you are going through, there’s so much I can say about editing that I’ve narrowed it down to just this one thing I want to talk about which is going and doing the seven sweeps. This is like old school copywriting stuff, so how it goes is when you’re going through, you sweep over your coffee. You do it one at a time. You start with the clarity sweep, you look at your copy and see if it’s clear. That’s always the most important thing is clarity and I know Chris said voice and tone came to him before clarity. Ok there is tone is important for him and clarity is also good. So you go through to make sure that the tone is right, that you have your voices sound like you in a good way to think of voice versus tone and you know your mom’s voice and you know when your mom has tone. That’s a good way to separate voice and tone – we go and look for that. So what sweep works with the prove it sweep. Many times we’re like what’s the social proof? So what? Improve it and every passage you put on the page should be followed with a so what, why does this matter to me as the prospect and prove it. You don’t get to just say it, so it might be a testimonial, a video that shows what you’re saying happens, it could be screenshot but don’t just take it at face value. Specificity is next, are you saying something that comes to life on the page or are you being vague? The heightened emotion sweep and finally the zero risk sweeps. That’s a lot of sweeps, but it works well, you go through them one by one and you don’t end up muddling everything up where you’re worried about clarity and also specific – one by one and work your way up. This is an exercise if you want to control the review process – assign each person one of the sweeps. You get clarity, you get voice and tone, you get so what – and they pay attention only to that. That’s a good idea to get the copy where it needs to be. I want to talk about this one in particular, heightened emotion. It’s low on the list, there’s a lot of stuff not on the list, but it is low, it’s very important when we talk about old school copywriting, all knew this. Emotion is huge. They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play… that’s emotional. Everyone thought you would make a fool of yourself and you turned up mister cool because you knew how to play the piano. That’s all about the emotion, you cannot bore people into buying your product, you have to make people feel things. That doesn’t mean that emotion is always edited in, not at all. Sometimes emotion is the thing that drives the piece you’re writing. Anybody read this to our friends in Texas from New Orleans? Amazing! That starts with emotion, strongly doubt they edited the emotion in afterwards, it’s an emotional piece but when we’re not working in a world where everything is emotional, we have to push it into our copy, make sure that when people feel it when they’re supposed to feel. What are some emotions? Gary is the only living copywriter I mentioned here, so here’s a bunch he happily hints to us. Are we being emotional here? Go through and list – doesn’t mean all of these will apply to the page, it’s not always like the fear of the page but there are these real things like the terror of the unknown but are you trying to make people feel anything? Say let’s just make them feel pride of achievement, only that today and that’s something you can work with. The more you listen to your customers, the more you know what it is they want to feel so you won’t need a full list to go through but it can be helpful.

The thing with emotion and what I want to end on a bit here, is the whole emotion thing, starting with PAS, all that stuff can be hard. I worked at Intuit for years and I would write things where I would try to make people feel something and the sea levels would review it. At one point I wrote a sales page that was rejected because it was fear mongering. I was like come on! Just because you felt fear, doesn’t mean it’s fear mongering. We have to be careful not to look too hard at editing out emotion – many times we will start with emotion, we need emotion in there but we also can’t just rely on being the best product wins, that’s not the way it will go. Slack vs Snapchat, we know which won so far at least, it won’t be where we’re writing copy and thinking about it and editing it and saying yes or no if we should move forward with someone that she’s written this is an important quote to keep in mind. Nobody feels super happy telling their team this, it feels like that’s the sketchy marketing we don’t do, but it’s the truth and what we’re here to do. What can you do to help your customers feel that terrifying fear and sometimes it will be shame, humiliation and you will do it with empathy for your prospect and by listening to them but can you push your copy out of that safe space, that doctor Caples would be very proud to see his son published and makes people actually react and do something and probably say yes or at least keep reading until you can get them to the place where they say yes. Very important to us is as many as 60% of sales aren’t lost to the competition but to no decision at all or just not saying anything to move people to do anything at all and that’s a big deal, that’s all it does, it’s there to move people and say yes. Our job is to be ballsy enough to go forward with it – even if they don’t say yes to us or we hear we get emails that say you’re too hard – it’s all part of writing copy in the old school copy kind of way. Not the safer way that came in the 80s, the old school way.

Don’t write copy, use formulas, and then edit in the awesome. This is not a lazy man’s field, or lazy work but there is nobody here who is lazy. I am positive of it, you wouldn’t be in this business otherwise so good luck with that and thank you!

Want more of these insightful talks?

At BoS we run events and publish highly-valued content for anyone building, running, or scaling a SaaS or software business.

Sign up for a weekly dose of latest actionable and useful content.

Unsubscribe any time. We will never sell your email address. It is yours.


Mark Littlewood: Right so we’ve got some time for a – let’s do a couple of questions but you’re around tomorrow.

Joanna Wiebe: I have to fly out cause of the storm.

Mark Littlewood: Where is it? Am I gonna get home to England?

Joanna Wiebe: Delta is scaring us, they’re fear mongering.

Mark Littlewood: Who has the best question in the house? You’ve got it? Go for it!

Audience Member: So we are always told about these great new off the wall advertising campaigns and things that take up the whole screen and when Don wrote an angry letter to Phillip Morris and all that stuff and if we’re not supposed to be creative, but we’re supposed to make a splash, how can we do that and get that first in front of you so that you can look in our mirror?

Joanna Wiebe: I’m not saying don’t be creative, just don’t do it for the sake of creativity. It’s usually where we start, we start with if it makes us feel like we’re indulging in something creative. I was on the creative department and I wore the black turtle necks, we talked to each other and played foosball. I’ve been there and done that and I’ve seen the better results are still – you’re actually still working the world of words so it’s that thing that lends itself to creativity and being inspired is good but just don’t start there and use those part formulas and you will make that splash if you’re using stuff that the prospects care about, not the stuff that girl in black turtle neck thinks up while sitting around the foosball table.

Audience Member: I have a couple questions. So you said right for readers and then you talked about how you transformed a small piece of text of copy to a larger and I was thinking about how counter-intuitive that sounds, just thinking about me as the leader, I find myself skipping over that type of copy. So is there an actual, specific reason why that has worked and were there cases where it might work and won’t work?

Joanna Wiebe: I think you skip it for 1 of 2 reasons. One, it was boring and didn’t grab your attention so of course you won’t read it. You don’t read it just because it’s long – it was boring. [background chatter].

Mark Littlewood: Take one more and this has to be final.

Audience Member: I’ll do it pretty quick. What do you do in case where you have multiple user personas? For example you have two types of customers or users and the user gets to a page.

Joanna Wiebe: And this is where I was hoping that Brennan would be able to talk about the message. There’s a lot you can do today with personalization technology, so you can actually feed different messages based on what you know and where they came from. Brennan talked about it and I’m stoked to try it out but if you have multiple people that you try to connect with, you do the customer research to find what to say in those spaces. Ideally, you can use personalization tech today to make that happen. We haven’t done that – I showed you AB testing results which is aiming to please the average visitor, which is a problem with AB testing, but that’s the best we can say. Shoot for the one that’s more likely to be one reader, the one who’s most likely to say yes, write the page for them and if you have to do 3 variations of the page and move the people to those based on the segment, then do that work until you setup personalization tech.

Mark Littlewood: Thank you! You are awesome! Thank you very much!

Joanna Wiebe: Thank you!

Joanna Wiebe
Joanna Wiebe

Joanna Wiebe

Old School Copywriting for New School Bizzes: the Copy Hacker founder delivers marketing ideas that “normal people” can use.

The original conversion copywriter, Joanna is the founder of Copy Hackers and cofounder of Airstory, the work-writing platform.She’s written conversion copy for businesses like Wistia, InVision, Buffer and Shopify – and this is her second time talking copy on the Business of Software stage.

More from Joanna.

Next Events

BoS USA 2023

BoS USA 2024 🇺🇸

23-25 Sept 2024 at Raleigh, NC

Learn how great software companies are built to help you build long-term, profitable, sustainable businesses.

The Road to Exit 🌐

Starts on June 2024
A BoS Mastermind Group
facilitated by Mr Joe Leech

Uncovering your Growth Levers 🌐

05 June 2024 2PM BST
A FREE BoS Hangout
with Matt Lerner via Zoom

Want more of these insightful talks?

At BoS we run events and publish highly-valued content for anyone building, running, or scaling a SaaS or software business.

Sign up for a weekly dose of latest actionable and useful content.

Unsubscribe any time. We will never sell your email address. It is yours.