Can You Create a Signature Service in Any Industry?

How to get more consistent clients by creating a signature service for your business.

If you’ve been reading my blog posts or watching my videos for any period of time, you likely know that I’m a BIG advocate of getting ultra niched and launching a signature service.

I’ve written a few articles on the matter including:

7 Reasons Having a Signature Method will Attract More Clients

The Exhaustive Guide to Packaging a New Service

12 Actions You Can Take to Book Clients Now

And yet, I can hear your thoughts spinning in your head as you read this. You’re wondering, “But can I create a signature service in MY industry?!”

There are 3 reasons people don’t create signature services:

  • You work in an established industry (think lawyers, virtual assistants, photographers, web designers) and can’t see how you can create a signature service that’s different from what all the other people are doing.
  • You’re multi-passionate and you’re terrified that you can’t stick with one thing forever. You resist niching like the plague.
  • You resist creating a signature service because all of your clients are unique and you can’t imagine forcing all of them to fit into one box. How can you possibly have a one-size-fits-all solution?!

Click play to hear how I would coach you through each and every one of these blocks to creating a signature service:

Did you know that I experienced all three of these excuses before finally admitting that creating a signature service is the way to go?

As a copywriter, I struggled with the fact that all of the copywriters offer more or less the same services. I thought that I also had to offer website copywriting services (so I did). As a result, I wound up competing on price with other copywriters. I refused to play that game.

As a person, I am multi-passionate. I have French degree, inhale psychology books like air, love to travel, and would even like to write fiction books one day. For a long time I tried to find a way to mix all of these things together into the perfect potion of “Courtney” The thing is, my clients don’t care about my passions, they care about the results that my services provide. Your business isn’t supposed to be a perfect potion of everything that is you. Please, for the love of god, do not force your business to fulfill your entire life’s purpose. It’s not possible.

As an entrepreneur, I was young and inexperienced. I started my business when I was 23-years-old. I had zero professional experience writing website copy before becoming a copywriter. It took me a while to figure out what I liked to do, what I was good at, and where I thought I could be the most helpful. In that way, the experimentation was important. Once I figure it out, however, it became vital for me to establish a signature service.

Over the years I’ve learned that having a signature service is THE ONLY WAY to claim your territory in a crowded marketplace.

After two years fighting for copywriting clients and never knowing if I’d have enough money to pay rent, I decided to specialize in writing sales pages.

Within weeks of declaring this niche, I started booking out clients. Soon, I was able to raise the prices on my signature service, Sales Page CPR, before creating a productized version of the service (The Sales Page Kit).

I truly believe that you can do this in any industry.

For example, in my online program, Yay for Clients, my students have created and booked out signature services doing things like:

It all comes down to this: There are hundreds of things that I (and others) wish existed but don’t. You can either continue doing the same thing that everyone else in your industry is doing, or you can discover one of the many problems that are not being sufficiently solved and solve it for a profit.

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How to Price Your Services When You’re Just Starting Your Business

The pricing strategy for new business that will help you get more clients as soon as possible.

I know from experience that starting a new business often feels like an endless trap of Catch-22s.

You know that if you had a few clients it would be easier to get more clients.

But how do you get the first slew of paying clients in the first place?

And what should you be charging for your services?

Should you “charge what you’re worth”? What does that even mean anyway?

In this video I’m giving you the full scoop on what I REALLY think about the advice to “charge what you’re worth” and what I recommend doing instead:

 

Here are those resources I mentioned:

The exhaustive guide to packaging a new service.

7 Reasons Having a Signature Method will Help You Attract More Clients.

The Seth Godin quote I mentioned came from Tim Ferriss’ new book Tools of Titans (affiliate link), which I am currently devouring.

 

I’D LOVE TO KNOW IN A COMMENT BELOW:

What do you think of my take on “charging what you’re worth? Do you agree or disagree?

Which step of my 3-step pricing strategy do you need to do next?

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12 Actions You Can Take to Book Clients Now

Ready to book out your client based business in the next few months but not sure what specific actions you need to take to make it happen?

 

Ready to book out your client based business in the next few months but not sure what specific actions you need to take to make it happen?

Today, you’re in for a treat!

This post contains 12 big things you can do to attract more clients. But you should download this master checklist for 64 specific actions to take to get more clients ASAP.

 

Alright, so let’s dive in!

Here are the 12 main things you must do if you’d like to start attracting more, high paying clients ASAP:

 

#1 – Upgrade Your Marketing

In order to charge premium rates, you have to have a premium brand. This means no ugly stock photos, half-assed design, or using photos from your wedding as your brand photos.

Your marketing encompasses everything that your target audience sees from your business.

Here’s what you can do now: Ask yourself – what’s the one piece of marketing that, if you invested in upgrading it to the next level, would have the biggest ROI for your business?

 

#2 – Be Incredibly Valuable

I love when people find my website or Youtube channel and send me a message saying, “Wow! You give away so much amazing content for free!”

Yep, that’s my strategy 🙂

If you have a zero-sum view of the world, this might be a rough philosophy for you to wrap your head around. I honestly don’t believe that by sharing my best stuff for free that I’m hurting my business (far from it).

Here’s what you can do now: Name one place where you can consistently offer incredible value for free (blogs are a great place for this, but so is social media!). Then, create a plan for doing so!

 

#3 – Become the Best in the World at What You Do

Are you consistently improving your skills so that you can get better and better and better at what you do over time?

Do read books in your specific industry as well as business books to improve your business skills?

Think about the last training you took: Was it a business training or a training in your industry?

I’m not saying that you need more education in order to be credible. I believe that you’re already credible enough to run a business. What I’m saying is that you should always be getting better and honing your craft.

Here’s what you can do now: Go over to Amazon and grab a new book that will help you get better at what you do!

 

#4 – Get to Know Your Audience (Better than You Know Yourself)

I just did a whole blog post on my best Mind Reading hacks to get to know the exact thoughts that your target clients are thinking. I highly, highly recommend checking out that post!

The success of your business depends one hundred kajillion percent on your ability to empathize with your audience.

Here’s what you can do now: Check out the Mind Reading Hacks blog post!

 

#5 – Gather Testimonials from Past Clients

Did you know that in order to get high quality testimonials, you have to set up a system for asking for them?

Testimonials go a loooong way towards selling your services. People love to see that other people have tried and loved working with you.

Here’s what you can do now: Find out how to gather awesome testimonials

 

#6 – Create a Signature Service (or Tweak the One You Have!)

Hi, my name is Courtney and I’m obsessed with signature services!

I believe that ALL services should be “productized” services. This means that your service is so well defined that it’s the exact same experience for every single client.

Don’t think that you can do that for your industry? You’re wrong, my friend!

Here’s what you can do: Learn the 7 reasons having a signature service will attract more clients

 

#7 – Craft Better Packages

Let’s talk about business models for a sec, eh? (<– I live in Canada)

Do you know if your current service offerings are actually at the right price points?

Do you know if your current service offerings are strategic enough?

Did you look at some other people’s websites in your industry and craft your packages based on what other people were doing?

If you’re starting to second guess your service packages, that’s a good thing. Most people whip up services without knowing whether or not the price points will work or if it’s what your target market actually wants to buy.

Here’s what you can do now: Offer two services. One lower priced (accessible) and one higher priced. The lower priced service can “lead into” the higher priced service.

 

#8 – Run Irresistible Promotions

Do you know how to book clients on demand?

Like, let’s say that you’re trying to buy a plane ticket to escape winter and you need cashflow fast. Or maybe you just need to pay rent (I hear ya, sister!)

I believe that every service based business owner needs a few “back pocket” strategies for attracting a slew of clients when needed.

Here’s what you can do now: Run a promotion for a service so that you can create cash flow ASAP!

 

#9 – Write an Incredible Work with Me Page

Do you really need a work with me page?

Can’t you just hop on the phone with people and give them the details of your offer?

Yes, you can do that. But it’s ridiculously inefficient.

The whole point of your work with me page is to do 90% of the selling for you. This way, when you get on the phone with a potential client, the conversation is less about giving the details of your service and more about seeing if the client is a good fit.

In order to do this, though, you’ll have to stop writing proposals and start offering a productized, signature service. Are you ready for that?

If so, download this list of 64 actions you can take to attract more clients ASAP!

 

#10 – Host High-Converting Sales Calls

Ooh baby, this is super easy if you followed step #9!

Sales calls don’t have to be scary — they’re not scary when 90% of people say yes and you feel no attachment to “convincing” people to buy from you.

That’s the magic of having a high converting work-with-me page. It’s a 24/7 salesperson for you and gives you all kinds of time to work on your business instead of spending your life hosting free calls with people who are NOT interested in working with you. #freeloaders

Here’s what you can do: Work on your work with me page!

 

#11 Systematize Your Service

Talk about time freedom! It’s so hard to systematize services when you’re customizing your packages each time you have a new client.

I lied.

It’s not hard. It’s impossible!

Here’s what you can do now: Write some email templates to send to your clients throughout the experience of working with you.

 

#12 Spoil Your Clients Silly

Do you want to get repeat clients?

Do you want your clients to rave about you to their friends?

If so, you have to make sure that the entire experience of working with you is INCREDIBLE.

No, you don’t need to pull any rabbits out of your hat. Honestly, the smallest, most simple actions go a long way.

Here’s what you can do now: Pick 3 gifts that you could send to any one of your clients. It’s nice to have a few options, but by limiting it to 3, you won’t waste hours trying to find the perfect thing!

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4 Key Mindset Shifts that will Help You Attract More Clients

Is your mindset holding you back from booking our your services? Here’s how to mentally prepare your business to book more clients.

 

You’ll be excited to hear that the strategies you need to put in place to book out a client based business aren’t that complicated.

Honestly, the same strategies apply to every service-based business out there.

The thing that IS getting in your way is your mindset!

I believe that I can teach you the exact strategies you need to book out your client based business….

BUT!

The problem is that if you don’t update your mindset, you will self sabotage faster than you can say, “Entrepreneur”.

Watch the video to find out the 4 main mindset shifts you must make to start booking as many clients as you want:

Mindset Shift #1 –

Stop hiding and start being seen.

No one can ever work with you if they don’t know that you exist!

Yet so many entrepreneurs are terrified of putting themselves out there. Honestly, I think more than 50% of people are sitting around paralyzed forever and never wind up taking action.

Riddle me this: What’s the worst case scenario? What are you so afraid of? (Tell me in a comment below!)

Let’s be real – thousands of people will not flock to your first blog post. The fears that you have of criticism are not based on facts, they’re based on ancient biology.

Don’t be selfish! The longer you procrastinate, the longer your target market will have to wait for the solutions you have to offer them.

You have value to contribute to the table and people who need what you have to offer are stagnating because you are procrastinating publishing a blog post, interacting in a Facebook group, attending a networking event.

 

Mindset Shift #2 –

Stop being a freelancer and start being a BOSS

The big difference between a freelancer and a business owner is that business owners decide how things work. They create products and services, set boundaries, and make the rules (that’s right, yo!)

An employee or a freelancer is at the mercy of the boss. Wouldn’t you rather be the boss?

Here’s the great part: your clients WANT you to be in charge. That’s why they’re paying you!

 

Mindset Shift #3 –

Stop being a hobbyist and start getting paid.

This shift might bring up some of your “imposter syndrome”. We all struggle with this. Don’t worry.

If you’re wondering, “Who am I to make money doing what I love?”, you’re not alone!

What I want to remind you of is that you are starting a business for two reasons: (1) to make money and (2) to be of service. Those are the two goals of EVERY business.

Freeloaders don’t take your work seriously. It’s in your clients’ best interest that you charge a fair price for the work that you do.

 

Mindset Shift #4 –

Stop “Making Shit Happen” and start being prepared yet unattached

When it comes down to it, you have no control over how many clients you book.

What you can do is prepare the hell out of your business for an influx of clients. What would you need to do differently to accept 10 new clients? 20? 100?

Prepare your business! And then let go of the outcome.

P.S. If you are desperate to make money, get a day job. I worked as a barista for more than 6 months while building my business. You have to be willing to do what it takes.

Which one of these mindset shifts do you most need to make right now?

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9 Hacks for Reading Your Target Client’s Mind

Are you totally stuck when it comes to finding the right words to use when you speak to prospective clients?

 

Are you totally stuck when it comes to finding the right language to use when you speak to prospective clients?

Are you trapped in a cycle of using “industry” lingo that doesn’t resonate with the people who you want to serve?

Would you like to find words that truly hit your reader in the gut and make them think, “How did you get inside of my head?!”

That last one is what I like to call The Copywriting Badge of Honor 😉

We could all do a better job of communicating the value of our offers to our target markets.

In fact, becoming a Jedi mind reader is something you probably should do before you even create a service in the first place! (It can help you to find hidden problems that no other service providers are solving).

I’ve put together a list of my 9 favorite “mind reading” hacks for getting inside of your target client’s head.

I’d love for you to pick just one of these strategies to try out today! Leave a comment at the bottom of the post to let me know which strategy you’re going to try 🙂

Mind Reading Hack #1: Call upon your muses

Jot down the names of 3-5 real life human beings who are a perfect fit for your service.

What do they all have in common? What are their problems and desires?

What language are they using to talk about these problems and desires?

 

Mind Reading Hack #2: Journal entry

People skip this exercise because they think it’s fluffy and superfluous. Think again!

What we’re doing here is a hardcore empathy exercise.

Rather than journaling as you, I want you to pretend that you are one of your muses (you can do a separate “journal entry” for each of your muses).

Now, as your muse, spend 10 minutes brain dumping your answers to these questions:

  • What’s keeping you up at night?
  • What do you want to change about your current situation?
  • What do you love about your current situation?
  • What do you wish was true about your life situation?
  • Who are you jealous of? What do they have that you want?

 

Mind Reading Hack #3: Schedule “coffee” chats

No, you don’t have to drink coffee (though I’m all for it!) The purpose of a coffee chat is to have an informal interview / conversation with people who are in your target market.

You should record these calls OR make sure to jot down anything that people say that will be useful language to use in your marketing.

I’m all about the “lazy woman’s” guide to business – I prefer to have my target clients GIVE me language rather than coming up with it myself!

 

Mind Reading Hack #4: Send a survey

I learned vital information about my audience when I sent out a survey in the summer of 2015. This information was so useful that it helped me to decide that I needed to create a new course – and that’s how Yay for Clients was born!

Create a quick survey with 5-7 questions that really get at the heart of what you want to know (hint: questions should be focused on understanding your audience’s current frustrations and desires).

 

Mind Reading Hack #5: Read blog comments

Of your blog AND of other blogs that also serve your target market!

In fact, if you’re feeling frisky (and you’re not easily triggered by the so-called “competition)  you could even read the comments on your “competitor’s” blog to see what people are asking them on posts related to your topic!

Mind Reading Hack #6: Google search / Youtube search

Before deciding on a blog post headline or a Youtube video title, I always test various options in Google and Youtube’s search bars.

For example, this is how I learned that there are way more hits for the term “online course” than “e-course”. This intel helped me to decide which wording I should use more often in my copy.

 

Mind Reading Hack #7: Look at books

Much like scouring blog comments to see what questions people have, another great idea is to check out current books in your personal library.

Take a look at books written by authors who are clearly doing a great job relating to their reader. (This is NOT about reading books written for experts, but books written for non-experts).

For example, Denise Duffield Thomas of Lucky Bitch has a real knack for writing in a way that is ridiculously relatable and accessible. When I read her books I feel like I’m talking to a good friend.

 

Mind Reading Hack #8: Read their emails

Chances are your readers are already giving you so much great language and you are totally ignoring it!

I’m talking about email, baby.

When readers send you email, questions about your services, etc do you collect this language to use in your marketing?

Do you pay attention to trends so that you can create new or better services?

 

Mind Reading Hack #9: Use your past self as a test dummy

Did you used to be where your target audience is right now?

For instance, if you went from being super unhealthy to getting into ridiculous shape and you now coach people how to do that, you can use your “past self” as inspiration.

What thoughts did you have back when you were frustrated with the problem that your target clients currently have?

What kinds of things were you writing down in your journal that you wanted?

What types of blog posts were you reading? What were you googling?

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26 Questions that You Must Answer on Your Work With Me Page (No Matter What You Offer)

How to write a services page that makes people want to hire you! Here’s what to put on your work with me page to book out more clients.

Hey gorgeous service provider!

I’ve got some news for you: most service-based business owners are not putting enough details about their services on their work with me pages!

I see a lot of sales pages that are more like a “shell” of a work with me page and are missing a whole lot of detail needed to sell the hell out of your offer.

I also talk to a lot of service-based business owners who feel like selling services is different from selling products (it’s not!)

In case it’s not clear: YES, you need a “sales page” for your services!

It’s the same thing as launching an e-course. It’s still a paid offer that you have to package and sell.

Because of that, you absolutely, 100%, without a doubt need a kick butt work with me page that sells your services.

So what info about your service do you need to put on your work with me page? Watch the video to find out:

 

Resources mentioned:

 

In this post I’ve compiled a list of the 26 questions that your work with me page absolutely MUST answer.

Psst! These questions will also help you to package your services if you’re thinking about rejiggering your current offerings 🙂
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The Who

When I land on your services page / work with me page, it should be instantly clear to me whether or not I’m a good fit for your offer. In other words, your copy needs to address the following questions:

  • Who is a good fit for your service?
  • Whose problems do you solve?
  • Who is not a good fit for your service?

The What

You’d be shocked at how often people forget to give essential information about their services on their work with me pages. In other words, people need to know EXACTLY what they’re getting when they work with you. This includes:

  • What is the overall structure of your service?
  • What is included in your service?
  • What is included in each phase, step, part of the service?
  • What are the results of the service?

The Where

Online business is funny in that there isn’t a tangible thing being delivered. We work on our computers, deliver our services virtually, etc. This means that you have to work extra hard to paint a picture for people as to what the experience will look like. On your work with me page, please make sure to tell me:

  • Where does the service “take place”?
  • Where do I find any materials needed to take part in your service?
  • Where do I sign up?!

 

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The When

As human beings, we are always mentally putting things on our calendars. People will always be wondering in the back of their minds when each element of your service will happen. In other words:

  • When does each part of the service take place?
  • When can I expect to work with you?
  • When do I get my materials?

The Why

The biggin’! Ultimately it all comes down to WHY. The more levels of “why” you can express, the better. And yes, you do have to work this hard to get clients. People don’t “automatically” get that your service is awesome unless you woo the hell out of them. You’ve gotta tell me:

  • Why should I care about any of this (address this question for EVERY SINGLE feature of your service)
  • Why does this service exist in the first place?
  • Why are you the right person for the job?
  • Why do I need this service right now?
  • Why is this service organized in this particular way?

The How

The “how” is a sneaky one that 99.99% of businesses aren’t doing. Add the “how” and you will set yourself apart from the crowd. This is where you get to show that you have developed your own signature process (don’t have one yet? That’s exactly what I’ll teach you in my signature program, Yay for Clients). The how addresses things like:

  • How are you going to get me the desired results?
  • How do I sign up to work with you?
  • How do you get me from where I am right now to where I will be when we’re done working together?

The How Much/ Many

Numbers are powerful. You can make abstract concepts like “success” more tangible by adding a number to it — how about $100,000? It’s much better to have a “7-step process” than to tell people that you’ll show them “generally” how to do it. Here are some ways to tackle the numbers game:

  • How much does it cost?
  • How much is it worth?
  • How much one-on-one contact can I expect?
  • How many sessions / calls do we have?
  • How many steps are involved?

 

Tell me in a comment: Which one of the above questions do you most want to add to your work with me page?

I look forward to reading your answers in the comments below!

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The 3 Biggest Sales Page Dos and Don’ts

Every entrepreneur worries that they have special copywriting problems writing sales pages that no one else has. Everyone thinks that they’re alone on an island struggling to write a sales page and no one can help them.

This fall I found out that I have scoliosis.

You’re probably thinking “Hey Courtney – what on earth does this have to do with sales pages?” and I get that. But I promise that I have a point.

I’m not looking for pity, what I want to do is illustrate a point 😉

For the past few years I’ve had chronic upper back pain. Honestly, I thought I was just being a baby. As a figure skater, I grew up with the “no pain no gain” mentality. Seriously, you cannot be a figure skater without pain. You literally fall on cold, hard ice dozens of times per day.

The thing is, my back pain felt very unique to me. I turned myself into a special snowflake about my back pain thinking that I was the only person in the world with this specific type of back pain and no one would be able to help me.

And then the back pain got frustrating enough that I schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. She took X-Rays and made her diagnosis: Scoliosis.

Here’s my point:

My back pain is unique to me. I wanted to feel like the chiropractor really heard my specific symptoms.

But ultimately, everything has a diagnosis.

The chiropractor? She’s seen it all. She knew instinctively what the problem was. It was easy for her to categorize because she’s an expert.

For me, my back pain was unique. For her, it’s a problem she already knows how to solve.

Here’s my next point:

Your clients and my clients both experience the same “special snowflake” kind of thought process when they experience the problem that you know how to solve.

This is so true when I work with clients on sales pages.

Everyone worries that they have the one and only sales page that won’t fit my system. Everyone worries that they have special problems writing sales pages that no one else has. Everyone thinks that they’re alone on an island struggling and no one can help them.

I can say, as an expert who has worked on HUNDREDS of sales pages that you are wrong.

But this is good news!

You’re not alone. I promise you that I have seen EVERY sales page frustration, problem, mistake possible. The big ones fall into a few categories which I want to address in today’s “Sales Page Dos and Don’ts!”

Let’s play a little game of “Sales Page Dos and Don’ts”:

Last week, I gave you 3 strategies for performing your own Sales Page CPR.

This week, I want to take things to the next level and give you some common “don’ts” that I see on sales pages and the “do’s” that you, well, want to do instead 😉

I’ve dug back into the Sales Page CPR archives of dozens and dozens of client sales pages that I’ve rewritten over the past couple of years and found the most common “dos and don’ts” of sales pages.

I’ve dug back into the Sales Page CPR archives of dozens and dozens of client sales pages that I’ve rewritten over the past couple of years and found the most common “dos and don’ts” of sales pages.

In other words, here are the most common things that I change and edit on my clients’ sales pages:

#1 – VAGUE HEADLINES

DON’T WRITE VAGUE HEADLINES

It’s tempting to use headlines on your sales page that say things like, “Here’s what’s included” or “Our Refund Policy” and then expand on the details afterwards.

Here’s why you don’t want to do this:

  • People are scanning your sales page
  • If I ONLY scan the headlines on your sales page, I should have enough info to say “yes” or “no” to your offer.
DO WRITE HEADLINES THAT CONTAIN CONTENT

For example, instead of “Here’s what’s included” you could say, “The {NAME OF OFFER} includes 6 weekly modules to help you {INSERT RESULT}”

#2 – TESTIMONIALS

DON’T SKIP THE TESTIMONIALS!

I often speak with entrepreneurs worried about getting testimonials for their offer.

There’s a huge misconception out there that you have to use testimonials for the EXACT offer that you’re selling.

Because of this, many people skip adding testimonials to their sales pages.

Here’s why you don’t want to do this:

  • Testimonials carry huge weight in the sales page department — this is something you’ll have to make up for.
DO GET TESTIMONIALS FOR YOUR NEW OFFER

Here are a few ways you can grab testimonials even if you’re creating a brand new offer:

  • Have you done similar work in the past? Use testimonials from that work!
  • Do you have testimonials that attest to specific qualities that are relevant to your offer? Your skills? Your teaching style? The results you help people to create?
  • If you are brand spankin’ new to business, consider working with 2-3 people for free at first so that you can get some testimonials from them.

Little caveat: I am not, under any circumstances, tell you to try to pretend that a testimonial is about your offer that isn’t actually about your offer.

#3 – THE GIST

DON’T MAKE ME DIG TO GET THE GIST

You’d be amazed by how many times I read a sales page and I have to dig and dig and dig to “get the gist” of what the offer is.

I chalk it up to the “curse of knowledge” — you know, that annoying psychological phenomenon that makes it reeeaally tricky for you to remember what it’s like to not know things that you already know?

Basically, YOU forget to put a “hey, this is my offer” headline on your page because, well…you already know it. It’s so obvious to you that you forget that it’s not obvious to everyone else.

DO WRITE A BIG HEADLINE THAT INTRODUCES YOUR OFFER

All you have to do is have a big headline within the first 20% of your sales page that says something like this:

“Introducing [Name of Offer]: A [What it Is] that will help you to [What it Will Help You Do]”

Tell me in the comments: Which one of the “don’ts” do you want to work on first?!

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4 Ways to Give Your Sales Page “CPR” Before You Click “Publish”

Find out how to revise and edit your sales page copy for your online course launch without hiring a copywriter.

 

I talk a lot about writing sales pages and avoiding common sales page mistakes.

Today, I thought it would be fun to give you a little behind the scenes look at some of the the revising + editing strategies I use to look at my sales page copy to make sure that it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do: sell.

When clients send me their sales pages for Sales Page CPR, these are the four things I look at to assess the “health” of their sales copy. (You can totally use these strategies on your own sales page!)

 

Step 1 – Put yourself in an “outsider” mindset.

The trick here is to step outside of your personal connection to your sales copy and to look at it through the eyes of your target reader.

This is hands down my best strategy: good old empathy.

I always ask myself, “If I were so-and-so and I had this problem, what would my first impression of this page be?”

Go look at a piece of copy you’ve recently read and try it out!

 

Step #2 – Scan your headlines.

Headlines need to follow these 2 rules:

Rule #1 – If I only scan the headlines on your sales page I should a) know if your offer is for me and b) be able to say yes or no.

Rule #2 – When I read a headline on your sales page, it should only apply to your audience and no one else.

The way to check and see if your sales page headlines are up to snuff is to only read your sales page headlines and ask yourself: “Do I understand the offer from reading the headlines alone?”

If not, it’s time to beef up those headlines with some content!

Hint: Each headline should communicate the main idea of the section.

 

Step #3 – Check your How vs. Why ratio.

Which is more clear: the how or the why?

In other words, does your copy focus on the features or the benefits? The things I’m getting or the results of those things?

Ideally, you should have a 40/60 ratio. Forty percent of your copy should be about the how. This includes the calls, modules, worksheets, Facebook group and stuff like that.

The other sixty percent of your copy should focus on why the how matters. So what if I get 3 months of coaching…why should I care? So what if I get 6 calls with you… why should I care?

Check your copy: Is the how or the why more apparent on your copy? How can you get closer to the ideal balance?

 

Step 4 – Give the copy “room to breathe”

I read a lot of sales pages where some of the best copy is hidden.

Remember that people are not going to read your page word for word. (Go back to being in an outsider mindset… would you read your sales page word for word?)

Here’s how to fix this:

  • Break your sales page into sections using my 14-part outline
  • Break up any paragraphs that have more than 2 or 3 sentences
  • Strategically use bold text, bullet points, subheadlines (and eventually graphics and images) to make important points pop.

Want to learn how to make sure that the first headline of your sales page sucks people in?

I’m hosting a free LIVE writing workshop on December 1st where I’m going to take you behind-the-scenes into the in-depth process I use to work on the critical first 20% of my (and my clients’) sales page(s).

Start your sales page with a bang with Courtney Johnston of The Rule Breaker's Club

> Grab your spot now! 

 

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3 Things You Must Audit After You Launch An Online Course (Including a Post-Launch Worksheet)

How to analyze your launch to see what worked and what didn’t work.

 

Every single entrepreneur has poured their heart and soul into launching a product or service that didn’t go as they planned.

Disappointing launches are so common that I once filmed a comical video about how to bounce back when you’re feeling sorry for yourself that no one bought your product.

It’s just one of the many aspects of running your own business that sucks majorly that you’ll have to face at one point or another…yet it’s taboo to talk about it.

And if you’re looking for what to do after a not-so-good (or hell, even a great) launch…oh snap. You are in the right place.

I looove talking about taboo topics. I’m also a big fan of the “breakdown to breakthrough” AKA “it’s all uphill from rock bottom” philosophy!

Let’s take a cold, hard (fun) look at why your launch didn’t work, shall we?

Why is it crucial to audit your launch or promotion strategy post-mortem?

If you’re anything like me, you’re tired of thinking about that promotion you just ran and want to move on to the next project.

Hold your horses, rule breaker!

There are a few reasons you need to review your launch strategy:

  • Recognize EXACTLY what went right and what went wrong so that you can do more of the former and update the latter for the next round.
  • Make smart business decisions about what strategies actually work for YOUR business.
  • Stop taking results personally. During a launch, everything feels like the end of the world. When you review what happened post-mortem, you’ll likely realize that your launch was pretty good!

#1 Your product or service needs better packaging + positioning.

Packaging and positioning… say whaaa?

Here are some signs that you need to re-tool your packaging + positioning:

  • You gave your clients everything and the kitchen sink because you were afraid of not giving them “enough” for the price.
  • Your product or service doesn’t have a powerful name (that makes it clear what people will get when they buy).
  • You’re afraid of alienating some of your audience by getting specific with your offer, so you’re actually alienating everyone by being too all encompassing.  

So how do you “fix” this packaging problem? Here are some action steps:

  • Think of someone who is your IDEAL customer for this offer. Put yourself in this person’s shoes. If you were them, what would you want to see in an offer like yours? What would be confusing to you about the offer?
  • Is your product or service helping people to achieve ONE specific result? If not, how can you make it more niched?

#2 You need to improve your “toot your own horn strategy”.

Did you proactively, consistently, and thoughtfully spread the word about your offer everywhere humanly possible?

Some fancy people call this “marketing”, but that word feels overwhelming to me. So I’m going to call it your “toot your own horn strategy”.

In short, you can’t just plop an e-course on a sales page and send FB ads to it hoping people will sign up. You need to orchestrate an entire hoopla around your launch.

Your “toot your own horn strategy” might include:

  • Creating excitement about your offer with a strategic pre-launch. This includes creating blog content, free trainings, and tools related to the topic of your course for 3-6 weeks before your launch.
  • An email sequence that people will love to open and read. And honestly, if they don’t? They can unsubscribe. You’re running a business. You can’t be scared to send email to your list.
  • Facebook ads that re-target people who have shown interest in the topic your course is about. These ads would link to the sales page.
  • Social media posts that get people excited, motivated, and taking action in a way related to your offer’s topic.
  • Live broadcasts on Facebook Live or Periscope where you connect with your audience and share some of your expertise (then remind people about your launch).

Need help writing copy for your “toot your own horn” strategy? Get dozens of templates for every single piece of copy you need in The Launch Copy Kit.

#3 You need to make it easier for people to say “yes” on the sales page.

Okie dokie, artichok-ie. THIS is where I’m going to deliver one of my (in)famous Courtney Smackdowns 😉

Have you ever bought an online course or program?

Have you ever hired an online business owner for their services?

If so, I’m guessing you went through a sales page in order to do so (by the way: sales page and work with me page and services page are all the same thing).

My dearest rule breaker, I really, really, really want you to put yourself in your target client’s shoes (remember the person you thought of in #1 above?) and take a look at the sales page for your offer.

Step out of “business owner mode”. Put your personal desire to attract more clients aside. Look at your sales page and honestly ask yourself: What would hold me back from saying “yes” to this? Would I be attracted to this offer if I landed on this page?

As a copywriter, my secret weapon is EMPATHY. If you’re not used to putting yourself in other people’s shoes, you need to get used to it fast. You can’t possibly grow a successful business if you’re always thinking about what you want.

(Smackdown over)

Here are some common “mistakes” you’re likely making on your sales page:

Get the full Post-Launch Audit Worksheet below so that you can diagnose exactly what you can improve about your launch in order to get more sales next time!

 

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8 Steps to Launch Your First Online Course (the Fun Way)

There are SO many benefits to launching a digital program. However, launching your first online course can be overwhelming. How do you know where to start? The way I see it, there are 8 basic steps. And you can download my Definitive Launch Checklist

This year, my business has reached a milestone where I’m bringing in more revenue with products than services. Note to self: the whole transition period from one to the other is DEFINITELY a topic I’d love to discuss in a future blog post.

I’m not done offering services, but I will be changing things up in the immediate future, which is very exciting!

Today’s blog is all about the 8 steps I recommend taking to have your first successful online course launch.

Warning: If you are a brand new business owner and have never worked with a client, this is not for you. Focus on getting clients first and then come back to this once you’re making at least $2-5K per month.

 

 

There are SO many benefits to launching a digital program. I’m sure you’re familiar with most of them, but here are my favorites:

  • Adding products to your business model gives you more diverse streams of revenue.
  • You can serve people who can’t afford to work with you one-on-one.
  • You can add more value to your services by adding a product element to the mix (for example, as a photographer you could create a “Guide to Taking Gorgeous Headshots” to give to your clients that you also offer for sale on your website).

However, launching your first online course can be overwhelming. How do you know where to start?

How do you know when you’re ready to hit “publish” on the sales page? How do you get people to visit your sales page? What are all of the steps involved in launching an online course?

The way I see it, there are 8 basic steps. And you can download my Definitive Launch Checklist here:

 

 

 

Step 1 – Define your online course topic… with a twist.

The online course market has exploded over the past five years. It’s now a $107 billion dollar industry.

In order to make your mark and stand out from the crowd, you have to do something DIFFERENT than what everyone else is doing. There are always new ways of solving problems!

So you’re a great photographer? Business manager? Social media strategist? Spiritual healer? Jewelry maker? Accountant? Coffee bean roaster?

What is it that makes you different from every other bean roaster out there?

What do you have to teach people that isn’t already being taught in every other program?

HOW will you teach your topic differently to get your target students better results? Are you more focused on smaller steps? Do you have a unique approach?

For example: You could be a bookkeeper who likes helping her clients tackle money blocks to take control of their money or a photographer who teaches moms how to take kick-ass iPhone photos of their kids. When I see your online course topic, I should immediately know that it’s for me (or recommend it to a friend!).

Step 2 – Get the right numbers (or else)

Don’t go off making unicorn goals just yet! Your numbers are the BIGGEST thing that I want you to pay attention to off the bat.

Don’t want to think about numbers? Totally not your thing?

Too. Damn. Bad.

This is part of running a business. I promise that you will get better at it (and even learn to enjoy it!) over time.

So what numbers do I want you to pay attention to?

Here’s the magical equation that tells you (roughly) how many people will buy your program:

# of Subscribers on Email List x 0.01 = Number of buyers!

For example…

1,000 people on my list x 0.01 = 10 buyers

Want to know how much money you can expect to make with your course?

Here’s the magical equation that tells you (roughly) how much money you will make:

# of Subscribers on Email List x .01 x Price of Course = Amount of Money You Will Make!

For example…

1,000 people on my list x .01 x $97 price of course = $970 Total Revenue!

I want you to know these formulas because they are the TRUTH.

So many people launch online courses, sell 2-3 spots and feel shitty about it. But they only had 100 people on their list! In that case, 2 or 3 sales is MORE than average. This is true across industries.

Need to build your list to make money with your online course? You need to grab one (or more) of Melyssa Griffin’s programs (affiliate link). I’ve taken and LOVE List Surge and Pinfinite Growth (affiliate links). She’s got the best strategies for list building that work today (that don’t include Facebook Ads or guest posting). By using Melyssa’s strategies, I’ve turned Pinterest into my number one source of traffic and am adding about 75 contacts to my list each week (and counting!).

 

Step 3 – Create a project plan (sounds boring but will keep you sane!)

Every time you put something you’ve created out into the world, you will feel incredibly vulnerable. The first time I launched the Sales Page Kit, I crawled into my bed for 24 hours out of fear that the people who did buy it would start emailing me telling me how terrible it was.

Your number one defense against launch fear is a solid project plan. @CourtBourtInc Twitter Bird Image

Some tips for planning your launch:

  • Plan a couple of months ahead.
  • Everything will take 2x as long as you think.
  • Hire out 1-2 couple of key roles. This will hold you accountable! (For my first online course launch, I hired a sales page graphic designer so that I KNEW the sales page would get done!)

Want to steal my entire Launch Project Plan? This is the checklist that I use as a base for every single one of my promotions:

Step 4 – Decide on the exact launch offer

In other words – what exactly are your customers paying for? What will be included?

If you haven’t created your course yet…

  • Create a mindmap of EVERYTHING you want to talk about in your online course
  • Organize the topics into modules or categories
  • Make an outline of each module and the specific lessons you’ll teach in each one
  • What actual content will need to be included? Videos, worksheets, audio lessons, live calls? Decide on the features.

Once you’ve created your course…

  • What else will be included in the offer? Are there any bonuses (limited time or otherwise)?
  • Are there open and close cart dates? What are the dates and times?

 

Step 5 – Show your best stuff in your pre-launch hoopla

Most people plop a course on their website and send out an email (or set up some Facebook ads) to send people DIRECTLY to the sales page.

This is not going to lead to any sales (it wouldn’t work for me either, don’t worry).

Instead, what you need to do is create some excitement about your course before you open the cart or start the promotion.

Here are some ideas for what you can do for a pre-launch “hoopla”:

Step 6 – Add a limited-time bonus (but keep it simple!)

If your course enrollment period is 7 days, you’ll notice that 80% (or more) of your sales will come in during days 6 and 7.

By adding a limited-time bonus, you give people an incentive to enroll in your course earlier.

I like adding fast-action bonuses for two reasons:

  1. It gets people excited about the offer before the last day
  2. It protects my sanity by getting sales rolling in before the last day (which gives many entrepreneurs a panic attack!)

In order to come up with a great limited-time bonus, ask yourself “What done-for-you tool would help people get more out of this program?”

 

Step 7 – Create a sales page that makes people drool

This is where I recommend investing some money (and it’s not because I specialize in sales pages! It’s actually the REASON I decided to specialize in sales pages — they’re really important for enrollments).

I already have TONS of free (and paid) tools to help you work on your sales pages. Here are the ones that I recommend using first:

 

Step 8 – Face your fears about putting yourself out there

Oooh! I caught you with some mindset ninja work!

Here’s the deal: The number one thing holding you back from having a successful launch is your lizard brain.

The bad news? You can’t turn it off.

The good news? You can manage it.

Take out a piece of scrap paper and answer this question: What are your biggest fears about launching your first online course?

First things first: those thoughts are complete B.S. coated with a pinch of the truth. However, these are the lizard brain thoughts that you’re going to need to face as you launch your program.

The bottom line? Be kind to yourself. Be prepared for chaos. When shit hits the fan and your tech breaks down, I want you to say, “That’s a part of launching!” not “I’m a complete failure!”

 

 

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