For episode 77 of The Copywriter Club Podcast, Kira and Rob talk with copywriter and marketing specialist Christine Laureano about her business, what it’s like to work with different niches that are completely different (makers and engineers), and a whole lot more. Here’s what we covered in our time together:
• how she went from the corporate world to maker to marketer to copywriter
• what she did to deal with a devastating personal tragedy
• the importance of carving focused creative time out of your day
• how she created systems to support her work and produce results
• the difference between working with big clients and small clients
• how she conducts her discovery process to uncover additional work (she gives a specific example)
• the process she went through to land a recent engineering client
• how she deals with working in more than one niche
• what she does to find clients who can pay within her niche
• why she is involved in more than one master mind group
• how she stays upbeat all the time (this is great advice)
She also explains why e-commerce is such a rich opportunity for writers today—the growth in this sector makes it hard to ignore. To listen, click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
Angels by Silver Ravenwolf
The Copywriter Accelerator
Teach and Grow Rich
The Copywriter Think Tank
The J Peterman Company
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at Airstory.co/club.
Rob: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the club for episode 77 as we chat with copywriter Christine Laureano about her path from business owner to copywriter, writing for engineers and other technical clients, how she uses her coaching experience as a copywriter, and how she stays so positive through the ups and downs of business.
Kira: Welcome, Christine.
Rob: Hey, Christine.
Christine: Hey, guys! Excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Kira: Yeah, welcome!
Rob: It’s great to have you here.
Kira: All right, Christine, I know you have a really interesting path and story and we’d love to share it with our listeners.
Christine: Oh, yeah, the winding path. Okay. Well, I am probably one of the oldest copywriters in The Copywriter Club. My path started back in the 80’s, way before the internet, when marketing was still done with maybe a computer, but pen and paper; rock and chisel. But I graduated college with a marketing degree and a minor in computer science. So not only was I into the marketing end of it, but I love the tech stuff.
So I ended up getting a job at Xerox, and I did the corporate thing for several years. From there, I go down to a very, very technical job as a marketing exec, managing executive for accounts for an electronics distributor. I worked really closely with engineers, I worked with purchasing, I worked with production and manufacturing, and I did that for a really long time and that satisfied my technical need. And of course, the writing that I did for that was really that boring, dry copy. It was proposals, it was the stuff that I hate to think about when I look back on it. And then from there, I ended up having a family.
And this is where everything kind of turned and the reason I talk about it like this is, I know everybody has life lessons and things and tragedies and things that happened in their life that forced them to pivot, and I had one of those. Our first daughter ended up passing in daycare. So my life completely, completely changed. I spent a month on the couch, literally, trying to figure out, “What am I going to do with myself? What am I going to do my life?” I actually finally ended up getting off the couch, took a shower, and went to a bookstore and books were, you know, a great solace for me, but not non-fiction. I went to all the how to books. “How to feel better”, “How to get your life back”—all that. And that really made me think about what were the next steps.
So when I had my next children, there was no way daycare was in the picture, so what could I do that would use some of my talents, but yet, allow me to be home with my kids? And the big part of it was, how to feel good while doing it. So I ended up creating a natural skincare line. I became a certified aromatherapist, I worked a lot with essential oils, and I just wanted to play around with products that made people feel really good, so I did that for a little bit, and then as it started to grow, and I had products on every flat surface of my house, I actually got scared. Because I thought about, “Wow, my next step is to become a manufacturer, get a facility, move out; what do I do with my kids?”
So the worst thing I could possible do: I bailed. I gave it all up and I bailed. Actually, it was a really good decision at the time because that’s when I discovered how to do other maker things. I became a chocolatier, I did other fun things that I could burn my time without having to become another big business. And that’s when I discovered coaching. Because one of the things that I loved to do was coach other women in their creative business on how to start a business. So I did that for a while. I worked in the coaching space for a bit. But I really, really missed the product-end of it. That was a service-based business and I missed doing the products. So I decided to go back, re-launched my product, I rebranded, I renamed, and I built that business literally from the ground up with new formulas, new GMB compliancy, FDA regulations, and all that. But what I discovered in this winding path was that, all the pieces that came together were, I love marketing!
And it was my creative director at Basics Botanicals and I found that that was my passion. I didn’t love making as much as I loved marketing. So that’s what brought me to copywriting. I did copywriting in my interim with children. I did do a couple year’s stint as a freelancer. And I did work for ADT and a couple agencies here on Long Island, but as I had my second child, I ended up working away from that because I lived so far away from everybody. So I pulled away from that, and that’s when all these other things happened and I came back to it back in 2015. I got a certification from Copyblogger for their content marketing because I loved the way that fit into e-commerce businesses and trying to help other makers get seen and heard without a big budget for marketing. So I started with that, and then it just kind of grew back into loving copy, and optimizing—not that I’m great at it, but I love the idea of it—and I ended up in Joanna Wiebe’s mastermind. I love how Joanna put together the idea of conversion copy with research-based information, not just a direct marketing aspect of it. So that’s really how I came back into copywriting, in this windy path.
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Rob: Okay. There is SO much that we can cover here and so many different questions that we want to ask, but, really don’t want to gloss over—you mentioned the tragedy of losing your daughter, you know at a real pivotal point in your life, and hopefully I’m not asking too much, but, you know I think a lot of people go through tragedies like that, and aren’t able to talk about them, and so I’m just wondering how you got through that? You mentioned a month on the couch. I just can’t even imagine how to deal with that kind of a thing. How did you possibly get through that?
Christine: Yeah, and thanks for asking because you know what? Everybody has some kind of tragedy in their life, and the one thing for me was, a month was kind of a short time, but it was a really long time not to take a shower, so….laughs.
Christine: I really had to get up.
Rob: Sure, sure.
Christine: It actually took many, many, years to work through it, but what I discovered at the end of that month was, I could do one of two things: I could spiral up, or I could spiral down. And I was headed in the downward spiral really fast. And that’s when I got up and I went to the bookstore, and I literally—for a lot of the spiritual people out there, they’ll get this: I actually found a book on angels. And it was the strangest thing, because wherever I turned in the bookstore, there that book was.
Christine: So I’m like, “Okay….I’ll pick that book up, I guess!” The universe has an interesting way of showing us just what we need. I have never seen that book again; it wasn’t in any other bookstore after that. So, you know, I really kind of took that time to regroup and really get to know myself. I allowed myself to grieve again; it was a long, long, long process, because the way this tragedy happened. So, I let myself be there. But in the meantime, I let myself also kind of dabble back into my creative side, because anybody that works for corporate knows how mind-numbing corporate work can be. I had, you know, mind-numbing from that and then, the tragedy of my daughter, just… You know, my head was not in the good place. So, I just got really creative.
Rob: My guess is, having gone through that too, you probably have sort of a better sense of the importance of family, and the time that you spend there, and I think that’s probably impacted the rest of your career, because you’ve really been there for you other kids. You want to make sure that time is important.
Christine: Absolutely. And, that was right Rob—top of mind for anything else I did was, you know, my main priority was my family and my kids, being there for them. But I also knew the importance of what I needed to do for me. I loved being a stay-at-home mom, but I also really needed to honor that creative side of me. And there was a point, you know, when I was in corporate years ago, I had a friend of mine that used to say, “Oh my God, you know, you’re so creative, you think of these great ideas. You should do something with it.” So I finally started doing something with it; again, it all kind of came back to marketing. Every time I did something new, between making bridal veils or chalk glitter products or whatever, it really came back to marketing. And so, I was able to do that around my kids’ schedule, which was great. Again, because a lot of people I think feel that it’s an all-of-nothing when they have a family: I can either get a sitter, and go all in with my business, or I need to stay home with my kids. And a lot of times, people don’t give themselves that chance to do both, because you really can. And one of the things that I do as far as when I consult makers is that realize where do you want your business to go, but also realize if you have young kids, there’s only a certain amount of time you have, and a certain amount of growth you’ll have when your kids are that young. So allow for all those different stages too.
Kira: Wow. Okay, so I want to know what the angels book is called, so I can look it up?
Christine: Oh my gosh, I cannot remember the name of it! It was a woman by the name of Silver Ravenwolf, and it was just… A-Angels….? And, oh, I can’t remember. I’ll have to find it. And I never saw it again after that! But it followed me….laughs.
Kira: One more question about this prioritizing family versus work, and this is in my head, right, because I have young kids right now. One of them is in daycare; it’s constantly a struggle. So, do you have like an actionable tip for anyone listening who’s dealing with a similar situation, trying to honor their career, their craft, their creativity, while also honoring their family and the people they care about most? What is something that we can do or a mindset that we need to really work on, or develop?
Christine: You know, one of the first things is, knowing that your children are safe, right? So, if you have them in daycare, you know, knowing your provider and knowing that they’re safe, because a lot of what we kid distracted with in our businesses is, we worry about our kids! We worry about what they’re doing, what’s going on, are they being taken care of? So once that’s taken care of, that really helps to ease your mind, and then, allows you to spend…even if it’s…. Kira, you know, if you have two hours to yourself, you can get a lot done in two hours, you know? So, giving yourself that time to really get work in focus, because, if you’re working from home, there’s a lot of distractions. There’s laundry; there’s dogs; there’s toys; you know, all this other stuff that’s around. So definitely be very focused. Allow, again, whether it’s an hour or two of really constructive, creative work time.
Rob: So, I want to shift gears just a little bit and talk about some of the work experience that you had and how that impacts what you do as a copywriter. You’ve started business, not just service businesses, but product businesses, and so you’re doing all sorts of product creation; you’ve worked in the technical field, so you’ve sold sort of at the enterprise level, and to different-sized businesses. How has all of that experience informed what you do today as a copywriter? How does that make you better?
Christine: Yeah; you know, seeing the different sides of business has really helped me understand. Because, as a copywriter, I don’t actually even just call myself a ‘copywriter’; I love strategy, and I love looking at the big picture, and then working down to the parts and the pieces that work together. That’s so funny, because it kind of just came back around: one of the classes I took in college was called ‘systems analysis and design’. How I ever chose that elective my senior year, I think I was crazy. But, looking back on it, systems are big part of creating a business. Whether you’re a copywriter, whether you’re a product producer. And the one thing I learned with all this experience and all these different jobs is that there has to be a system in place to make it work. And, looking at the overview of everything, and then being able to put those pieces together, really was part of the foundation of being able to do all these other businesses, because one thing had to work in order for another thing to happen, and it goes with marketing and it goes with copywriters writing copy, writing effective copy for their clients, is the same thing. Like, what kind of systems do you have in place that will help you work and produce the best results?
Kira: So let’s talk about your systems, Christine. What systems do you have in place, and which ones are most critical to your business today?
Christine: Being a tech person, I do love my automation, laughs. But I try to pair it down to just a couple of things, because you know, we can get really taken away with a bright shiny object syndrome, when it comes to systems, so you know, I have a calendar system. I have my writing system; and I also have the systems that I work through with clients, and for what I see with copywriters and working with clients, those systems are really important. That system being, discovery, conversation, discovery, what’s next, what are the goals, what do we see the project ending up as and what are the results that we want. So, that’s the kind of writing system that I use, as well as, you know—people ask about this, but—my theme days, are another big thing that I learned from Joanna. As far as creating those kind of workable systems within my business because, again, I can get carried away with doing hours and hours of client work, but then I’m not marketing my own business, or I’m not getting onto social media, or writing articles or building authority, so, those kind of systems are really important to have in place.
Rob: So, in the past we’ve asked a few of our guests about their discovery process and the kinds of questions that they ask. You’ve worked with a lot of different kinds of businesses, and I’m really curious—is there a difference in the kind of a discovery call that you would do with, say, a technical client, or an engineering client, versus someone that’s maybe more of a maker in doing something that’s maybe more consumer focused?
Christine: That’s a great question Rob, because what I found in all the conversations is, you know what? When it comes down to it, people are people. And even though they’re talking about business, what I found is that if i can just get people to open up about what they want and what they need, that certainly the enterprise engineering level is very different as far as that, because they think high-level, and they think about “What does my company need?” But when we really drill down and look at what does the end customer actually look for, you know—what do our clients need, and that discovery process—that really helps, and across the board, what I found is, that’s pretty much the same. Or, very similar, with people.
You know, looking at what people need; again, you know, what is the end result that we’re looking for, you know? Is it growth? Is it acquisition, you know? So having those conversations with people and just being a coach, one of the things that that taught me—I was certified in that too—is that asking questions is the biggest part of any kind of discovery. And just letting the conversation happen, and being really good at active listening, so what’s really going on in the answers that the customers are putting forth to you, and then asking deepening questions that helps you understand the process that they’re going through, the end results that they’re looking for, and—you know, again, we all know this, is—they may want a certain thing, but they may need something else.
And so, really paying attention to those wants and needs and distinguishing between them helps them in that discovery process so when you’re creating a strategy with somebody, you’re really hitting on those subjects that maybe they were thinking or alluded to that make it really stand out for them, almost to the point where they say: “Wow, you know what? I was thinking that; I can’t believe you discovered that!” You know, of that you caught that or picked up on that. And that’s what I found in connecting with clients, is, those are the biggest pieces that people really like, because they look at such a higher view of things that they don’t look at, again what those deepening concerns can be, that they can answer and have the answers to for their clients.
Rob: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Yesterday, Kira and I were talking to some of the writers that are in the Copywriter Accelerator, and we’re talking about the difference between B-to-B and B-to-C, and, the difference often tend to be around process and how you get paid, and less around the needs that you need to focus on in order to sell things, because when it comes right down to it, you’re still talking to a human being, as a business or as a consumer. Either way.
Christine: Definitely. And that’s one thing that I found that, when working with engineers or enterprise, it’s really funny because I like to drill down and they don’t like to go there…
Rob: I’ll bet, yeah! Laughs.
Christine: Yeah! And we would do discovery, you know, and we’re doing our research for voice of customer data. You know, a lot of them don’t have reviews or don’t want you to talk to clients! And, one of the things that was hard with them is, just really realizing that, it’s not just B-to-B; it’s B-to-B-to-C. So, you know, for them to have a handle on their own clients, what those customers need will help them out in the long run, because, other people aren’t connecting that way. And, consumer B-to-C work, you don’t have the extra step involved. So, you know what I found in the maker industry is that they know they’re customers. They’re having those conversations directly. So it does become a little easier to find those wants and needs.
Kira: Christine, I would love an example—this is putting you on the spot, but—of your discovery, because it sounds like it’s really powerful and you’ve been able to uncover what your clients need when they don’t even realize they need it. So, can you just provide an example of when that happened and what that looked like?
Christine: Yeah, yeah! I had this great engineering client that started out with, “Okay, we need the copy on our website redone.” So, I took a look at it, and just started having conversation with them, like okay, what do you think you need with this copy? What’s missing? What kind of conversations do you want to have with your clients? And, it got into this discovery of really help making them think more about it because again, a lot of times those people think it’s just copy on a page, and it’s really the process, so it made them think about what the process is. What’s that conversation they want to start? And what’s going on in the heads of their clients? So we just talked about that, and again, I just let the conversation go, and flow where it needs to be. I can’t say like I have an A-B-C process to it because, again, it’s all about listening. And, as you start to get really better at listening to your customers, you start thinking about those questions and that discovery process, because, in that with this client, what we discovered was they didn’t have a plan for growth; their presence online was so not where they wanted it to be, so we ended up recreating their website, but creating landing pages, and email sequences that helps for when they’re at trade shows. So, from that discovery, we found a whole slew of things that they needed to do that will help their business grow in the way that they wanted it to grow, not in the traditional corporate way, so I guess I kind of got out of their head and, you know, looked at what they really needed next.
Rob: So I think this is a really important conversation to have, because I see a lot of copywriters—in fact probably the majority—who are approached by a client, who then says, “We need website copy”, and they stop there; they just provide the website copy and they don’t go deeper to find out what are the needs, or what’s really going on. But I think part of the reason that happens isn’t because we don’t realize that they actually might need something besides website copy like, you know, they’re really after leads or sales, or telling a better story—whatever that is—but, because we don’t know how to have this conversation where we’re saying, “Okay. Let’s talk about your needs”, because that suddenly becomes a bigger project, and a more expensive project, and we’re, I think, often times afraid of scaring clients away by telling them they need more than what they think they need.
Christine: Absolutely; that’s such a good point Rob because they do and, you know what? The way I look at it, that’s okay too, because you’re starting, you know, in those conversations, and yeah they may get scared and say, “Oh, no, no. I want to go back to just having web copy done.” And, you know, starting out as a copywriter—starting out in any business—is scary, and sometimes we just don’t know what to say, but the more you get into listening, really the easier it gets. And yes, some customers will go, “Oh I don’t have that kind of budget,” or, “I don’t have that kind of money.” So, then we start to look at, okay—where do we need to start this process? We don’t have to do it all today, but, how can we help you look at the goals that they really want to have? So, you want your web copy done on your site, right? That’s a good start. So let’s start with a story. Let’s start with the conversation that you want to start having with your customers, because I think that’s the thing that most people don’t think about, is the start of a sales conversation, and so, what does that look like?
One of the things I’ve found with clients—and the clients that are receptive to it… The clients that aren’t really receptive yet, I end up giving them some information, and you know, they may want to go find a copywriter that’s just going to change their copy, and that’s okay too. We can’t please everybody, we know, as we grow our businesses and strategies, they’re going to be a lot of those clients out there that just go, “No, don’t want that; just want my copy done.” And there’s a lot of copywriters out there that are really good at doing that. But what I found for businesses when they really are at that point where they’re growing, and they’re really realize that that’s what they want to do, they allow for a budget that can do that for them. Does that make sense?
Rob: Yeah, it does. And I think it really takes though knowing how to have that conversation, or being comfortable not knowing exactly where it’s going to go eventually, but being able to ask the questions and really strategize with the client; you’re obviously very comfortable having that conversation, probably because of your coaching experience and some other things, but it’s something that the rest of us need to develop.
Christine: And you know, that’s true. One of the things that I can tell people, I learned Xerox sales training—I said a hundred years ago—which was the best training that I learned for having conversations, even before coaching, and it was: spin, situation, problem, implication, need; and we all know as copywriters the P.A.S.—the problem-agitation-solution…it’s really having conversation around that. You know? We write that way, but when we start thinking about the conversations we need to have early on with clients, it’s the same thing, you know. What are those problems that you’re having? How is that going to impact your business if you don’t fix it? And, what are our next steps going forward? It almost comes down to those conversations like that.
Kira: No, that’s a really good reminder that this is something that we do as copywriters, but we don’t necessarily incorporate it into the sales conversation. Christine, I’d love to know more about how you landed this engineering client, because we’ve had some side conversations about it, and how you pitched them, but it worked; you landed them. It was a big project. Can you talk about how you actually did it?
Christine: Yeah, it was a referral from one of my mastermind buddies. It was just not a project that she could take on, and, so I got on the conversation, I got on the phone call with them, and I said, “Okay. What’s going on for you?” You know, you’re looking at copy… The one thing that I found also with clients, and especially this conversation, is people want direct information. They don’t want to be sugarcoated. So I told him—I said, “You know, looking at your site, I felt like I was being yelled at, because there’s a lot of clutter…” You know, we know as copywriters when we see the visual, and we read it, do we feel like we’re being yelled at? Does it trigger something in us that makes us want to leave the page? So there was a lot of that going on.
We actually started just talking strategy, and it ended up being a lot more again than just copy, but he was very open and receptive to that, because it was something that their company was growing and shifting and changing, so yes. We started that conversation; he’s like, “Okay! I get it, so let’s do something about it!” I’m like, “Okay!” Laughs. And, just having come back into copywriting full-time a year ago, I was like, “Oh my God, how am I going to do this?” But, putting all my business experience together, the writing—when I wasn’t writing I did a lot of sales pages for myself—so, I just kind of went, “Oh, okay! Where are we going to start?” And we really did just start with that process, and it turned into several landing pages; it turned into email sequences; I got into talking with some other employees for different segments. So it was just having the confidence to talk to them in a very clear and concise way, and say, “Okay. I can do this.” And also, one of the things that I’ve done over my many, many years is, I say to clients, “If I can’t, I’ll find the answer.” And that’s a big thing for people, because sometimes you know, we don’t have all the answers, but if we can find out how to do that? Plus, also part of that was not just writing the copy, but I ended up finding a graphic designer, because I’m not an agency and they were kind of looking for that. I said, “I have a graphic designer, and I have a web designer, that if that helps get this contract, I can talk to them.” And he’s like, “You got it.” So it was just kind of the way everything fell into place, but I was afraid to ask him those questions.
Kira: Yeah, I think that takes a lot of confidence, right, to have those conversations, and to be able to just say, “Yeah, I can handle this; I can find these people,” and really show up as the consultant like you said, rather than just the copywriter who’s going to wordsmith; you can bring in a team and solve problems. So it’s a different type of attitude.
Christine: Definitely. And we are problem-solvers, you know? As we write copy, we certainly are. We’re those problem-solvers, and because we’re not so close to the business, we can look outside it and see some of the other things that are going on, and to be just really open and honest about what you see, because again, they don’t always see those things, and because we’re doing research and talking to other people within the company, sometimes their communication within their company is not as good as it could be, and so when you come in as an outsider and show them those things, in a kind of clear way, it helps them see past what the current situation is.
Kira: Yeah. So, I want to talk about niching, because Rob and I love to talk about that.
Rob: Yes we do.
Kira: And, I know that you’ve worked with makers; you have engineering clients… How are you kind of dealing with the transition and really discovering which niche you want to focus on over the next year? How do you really determine that when you seem to be drawn towards different niches at once?
Christine: Yeah. Oh that’s such a good question, and niches is really important, because we can’t be all things to all people, even though we want to be. Even though I love doing the technical stuff, the last one I did for the engineer was a landing page for data centers, so it was really great and it was really fun. But when I come back to the makers, you know, these are people that pour their heart and soul and passion into creating something that they want to get out into the world. And they need help with it; they don’t necessarily have maybe the business of the marketing skills, or they just want to make product and they really don’t know what their next steps are. So I really just keep gravitating to the maker niche. It was really interesting; I was trying to look up some stats, so I looked up Shopify. And, what astounds me is how fast the online ecommerce businesses are growing. It’s anticipated to be 246.15% increase worldwide by 2021, you know? So, there’s a lot of people out there that are moving maybe from corporate, or maybe they’re being downsized, or maybe they’re—I hate to put it this way but—aging out. You know? Being one of the oldest—laughs—Copywriter Club, I know what that feels like, and it’s cool because I see other people not quitting, but shifting and moving into a passion. So, that’s where this maker niche is really coming into play, because again, they want help; they want to get see; they want to get heard; they want to know how to market without feeling icky. And that’s where that niche really started coming together for me.
Rob: So when you talk about makers, one of the things that immediately comes to my mind is that a lot of these people, they’re just starting out. They may not have a lot of money. How do you help them in a way that doesn’t hurt your own business so that you’re basically not creating a non-profit for yourself?
Christine: Yeah, and you know, that’s a really good point, and I’ve been struggling with that a little bit over this past year, because makers don’t have a lot of money and they don’t have big budgets. So, what I’m doing is putting together classes; there’s a network I belong to that to that I’ve been with since 2002 and I’m their coach for that. And from that, I’ve gotten information and done research on what these people need, so I’m going to be putting together classes, and creating—kind of like what you’ve guys have done for The Copywriter Club—I’m going to do that for makers, at least for the ones just starting out or just within the first couple years of their businesses. For the ones that are—have been in it for a decade or so, and are looking for growth and a shift, these are people that do have a budget so, it’s easier to pitch and work, and do work for them, so that’s kind of where I’m headed, and I’m still unfolding and still trying to get used to what that looks like, so, I’m just learning everyday as I go along.
Kira: So, Christine, you already have this platform for makers, right? You’ve already been in that space, you’re coaching in that space, but now you really want to monetize it, it sounds like, and I imagine someone listening may be thinking the same thing for a different niche that they want to create a platform, and offer different products and services and programs. So where would you recommend they start? Have you done anything or taken a step that’s worked so far?
Christine: Yeah; recently we had Danny Iny on for the think-tank, and that was really great, that Teach & Grow Rich? That was a really good source and kind of validated for me the importance of being able to teach for people, again, that don’t have that budget. So, that was really big resource; of course I’ve looked at some of the other people out there teaching. The way Joanna teaches her classes have really impacted me as well, because they’re so detailed, and they’re so full of information that can really help people move along. So that was my idea of starting to create classes for people, and start monetizing that end of it. I’m also playing with product-type services, so you know, for people that need maybe an about page, or product descriptions? They can’t do custom work or not ready for a big custom project? That also helps monetize, or doing web copy audits. Those are things that we can monetize that people need but also don’t break their bank, but gives them a lot of information especially, you know—makers like to do their own stuff, I’ve found. So it gives them enough information that they can actually go and change and work on their sites themselves, but yet have out professional expert advice and helping them do that. And I’m still playing with those, because it’s going to shift and change and I’m sure over the next year, but, that’s where I’m headed.
Rob: So, Christine, you mentioned that you belong to a mastermind. You mentioned the think-tank that you’ve also belonged in. I’m sitting here listening to you talk about your business; I know that you’re busy with your kids as well. Why is learning so important to you, and how do you find the time and the money to do it, you know? Why are you involved in a mastermind and the think-tank and trying to grow like that?
Christine: Oh, that’s such a good question. You know, we can’t do this in a bubble. And, you know, we’ve all talked about being introverts. One of the things that I’ve found—and it’s really, really easy for me to do—is hermit, so I can get in my bubble and I can work and do things and try to think and work my way through whatever situation. And find that it gets really lonely, or, I’m in my head too much, and then I start questioning: “What the heck am I doing? What’s going on; is this right?” So, for me, it was really getting out and I only know as much as I know. There’s so much more out there, and that was one of the really important things about joining the mastermind last year, because again, getting back into copywriting? It was changed so much from when I did it twenty years ago. It’s faster, it’s different. We speak differently, it’s not dry. There is same but different processes, so I really needed to learn that.
I didn’t feel comfortable really going out—you know, I know we talk about imposter syndrome—and I was feeling like that, but really I looked at the level of competence, so I was kind of at the conscious incompetence phase, and, I didn’t like the way it felt. So, for me, I also loved to learn. And there’s always something to learn to get better at. So that’s why mastermind and think-tanks are so important, as far as, you know…it’s money worth spending when it’s a really good program. I have, in the past, spent money on programs that I look at myself and go—I hate to say it this way but, I’m a better coach than that. What did I learn and what did I take away? So I also make it a point to research what’s out there that will help me—not just another bright, shiny object—but what’s really my goal, and what’s going to help me learn so I can get to the next level of my business?
Kira: Beyond learning, which is clearly important here, and getting out of your bubble, where do you think most copywriters today, where do they kind of fall down and plateau? What are they not doing that they should be doing?
Christine: Learning. Always being open to whatever’s out there, because again marketing is changing. Business is changing. The internet is changing. Part of, you know, having conversations like in The Copywriter Club, or masterminds, or just getting together with other people and marketing and copywriting, having conversations, you start to see that what you may know is good and other people don’t know it, so you need to share it, right? So you’re still teaching other people. They have other things going on for them that they’ve learned that you can learn, and it’s just a way of growing and becoming better at what you do and not stagnated because, we can certainly get to a point where we feel like, “Alright, I got this,” and then something else will show up and you’re like, “Okay, no, I don’t have this.” So, really being open to what’s out there I think is super-important for people.
Rob: So Christine, this might come across as a little bit of a different question—at least different from what I usually ask—but anybody who knows you who’s seen the videos that you’ve done online or seen you in The Copywriter Club, how we’ve interfaced with you in the think-tank—you are incredibly positive and upbeat. It seems like all the time. So, what’s the secret? How do you stay up so much?
Christine: I go to my room and I cry and scream when I don’t feel—no, laughs.
Christine: No, I have my down times, but you know, what I’ve learned over these many, many years, really since my first child’s passing as well, is that it’s really easy to get down. As a matter of fact, we’re kind of doing that with my son right now and his transition to a new college. It’s easy to feel that way, so, for me, being upbeat is, there’s two ways to go—you can either spiral down, or spiral up. And, it’s a lot of work to feel crappy! You know, what I do is I recognize if I’m having a down day, I recognize, okay this doesn’t feel good. I’ll either go for a run, or I’ll get my mind off of something and do something else, or do something creative. But it just feels better to be upbeat. And I know sometimes people look and go, scoff… My daughter makes a joke of it. She’s like, “We’re all winners here, because…” That’s the way I come across, and I’m like, but, I really feel like that you know, because there’s always something good to find in all the garbage and things that go on in our head. So it’s just a matter of really finding that, because, I can get really low, and I don’t like the way that feels.
Kira: Christine, so, we’ve talked a little bit about this, but, because you have such an eclectic background, you’ve been in multiple spaces…for a new copywriter who’s trying to figure out where to focus their attention, and where they can really make a name for themselves, where would you say the best opportunity is online today in copywriting?
Christine: For me—and again when I think about the space I’m going into with makers and ecommerce, again—the ecommerce statistics are staggering. When you go from one-point-three-trillion in sales in 2014, to four-point-three-trillion dollars in 2021, there is more and more people going into the ecommerce space. And, if you look at different ecommerce sites out there, and this might be a great place for those copywriters who are interested in that space, go look at different sites that are out there, different brands, different companies.
Start taking a look at what they’re saying. Because the one thing that I’ve found, and why I still am so interested in that space, is so many of the same brand that sell the same types of products say the exact same thing. So they’re not standing out, so as a copywriter and as a strategist, you can really help those ecommerce brands stand out by helping them create a story or copy, or content that helps them engage not only in their story, understand their customers a little bit better because our customers are key to everything in our business, and really help them grow.
I know ecommerce isn’t like, in some other businesses where people may love to write long-form sales pages, and do that, ecommerce helps you hone in your skills on writing short content, and short copy, because it has to be those value props that really catch the attention the second somebody lands on a page. So, it definitely makes you work your copywriter chops more, but it’s fun. Writing descriptions—I always come back to Jay Peterman. If you guys ever watch Seinfeld, Elaine used to work for Jay Peterman, with the urban sombrero.
Christine: And, you know, it’s really fun to write descriptions and copy that put your customer, you know—your customer’s the hero of the story—put your customer in the story? That just engages them and, you know, helps them get to that buying point faster.
Rob: This has been an incredible discussion. We really appreciate you coming to share so much about your personal experience as well as your business experience, this has been great. Christine if people want to connect with you or find you online, where should they go?
Christine: Yeah they can connect with my on my website—ba6marketing.com, and it’s B-A-6 marketing dot com. I’m also on Facebook, I’m on Instagram, on I’m Twitter, I’m on LinkedIn. So, you can find me there and I do hang out in The Copywriter Club.
Rob: Yep, you’re there quite a bit. We appreciate it, your contributions, and this discussion. It’s been awesome.
Christine: Great guys, thanks so much for having me.
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