Do you wrestle with writing copy? What are some professional copywriting tips on writing blog posts and emails? How can you use AB testing to evaluate the strength of your emails?
In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks with Adrienne Visser about how to write copy that converts.
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Adrienne Visser is new to the Practice of the Practice team, but not new to copywriting. She has spent her career up until now as a conceptual copywriter at one of the top advertising agencies in Africa, working on brands like Netflix, Becks and leading insurance and financial groups.
While Practice of the Practice certainly is different, the copywriting basics remain the same. She is able to turn your practice’s expertise and jargon into effective messaging, create strong call to actions, and find ways to convert your ideal clients into consultations booked.
Check out a list of Adrienne’s services here or get in touch with Adrienne at firstname.lastname@example.org
In This Podcast
- Tips on writing blog posts
- How to write web copy
- Tips on email writing
Tips on writing blogposts
- As a therapist, it is natural to want to show off your expertise to your potential clients in your writing, however, the person who is reading them is just your average Joe mostly, therefore it is important to write simply, clearly, and without too much jargon.
- Use direct language instead of passive. This will help your message come across clearly and without the frills.
- Keep your blog posts within a maximum count of 500 words.
- Each blogpost should be centered around one idea to minimize confusion and to keep the information contained, concise, and easier to follow.
- Consider what your audience is Googling because you would want your blog post to answer questions.
You don’t want to speak to everyone because no one’s going to listen so you need to speak to that one client of yours or that one target audience and speak in a way that they will relate to you. (Adrienne Visser)
- Type everything out and then go back to edit. You do not have to be super creative and flashy.
- For both SEO strength and the preference of people reading online, try workaround lists in your blog posts.
How to write web copy
You do want to talk about your credentials and your expertise and what you specialized in but here again, just like in the blog posts, it gets bogged down in jargon, and yes talk about yourself but in actual fact talk more about the target audience and your ideal client. (Adrienne Visser)
- On your home page, you can post questions in your opening paragraph to attract attention and potentially mimic a question that a potential client who visits your page might have.
- Keep the sentences short, direct, and punchy.
- Use your human insight and direct it more towards your ideal client than keeping the copy about yourself.
- Consider the platform through which your client is viewing your website. Nowadays it is generally through a smartphone where a simple paragraph can seem like an essay.
- Keep it familiar and easy to navigate. When you are creating different dropdown tabs, keep it under the general wording of ‘about me’, ‘services’, ‘contact us’, and so forth instead of getting carried away creatively and leaving your client in the dust trying to find out where you are based.
- Have a clear, easy-to-spot call to action and hyperlink things to make it easy for clients to contact you.
- Have distinct pages for each service you offer clients. This will boost SEO proficiency as well as keeping everything simple and distinguishable for your clients.
- Consider revamping the copy on your website once a year.
Tips on email writing
If you are creating email lists, they need to have a purpose. Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content … unless you are growing your practice, you want to get people to sign up for a course or if you are offering something then yes, have an email series, but don’t have it because you feel you need to. (Adrienne Visser)
- Keep each email short. The emails that have the best response rate have a word limit between 75 and 120 words, although this is not a necessity still try to get to and keep to the point in your emails.
- Make use of headings and subheadings to highlight the important bits in the email or the email’s call to action.
- On a creative note, you can get playful with your subject line to draw attention to your email.
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Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
Thanks For Listening!
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New Speaker: Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho, where you’ll discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand new business visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.
New Speaker: Hi there and welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast. Thanks so much for joining us today. Today, we have Adrienne Visser with us who is new to the Practice of the Practice team, but not new to copywriting. She has spent her career up until now as a conceptual copywriter at one of the top advertising agencies in Africa, working on brands like Netflix, Becks and leading insurance and financial groups. While Practice of the Practice certainly is different, the copywriting basics remain the same. She is able to turn your practice’s expertise and jargon into effective messaging, create strong call to actions, and find ways to convert your ideal clients into consultations booked. Hi Adrienne. Thanks so much for joining us today.
[ADRIENNE VISSE…: Thanks Sam. Thanks for having me.
[SAM]: It’s nice to have a fellow South African on the podcast.
[SAM]: So can you tell us a bit about your story and how you came into becoming a freelance copywriter?
New Speaker: Sure. So, my sort of journey with words is, I began at studying journalism at the University of Cape town and sort of after I graduated, I think I was like most graduates and I wasn’t ready to adult yet. So I enrolled in a post graduate degree and I did copywriting at the AAA School of Advertising. And I think up until that point, I didn’t really know what a copywriter did, and then when I went to the open day, I realized that it’s more branding talk, and I just fell in love with my whole course. And during the holidays I interned at different agencies and I ended up getting an internship at a place called King James, which is like one of the biggest and sort of last independent agencies in South Africa. And yeah, and I sort of stayed there for two years and I worked on all these big brands and as much as it was fun to work on brands that had like these multi-million dollar budgets to do really cool things, it just sort of demands a lot of your time and you sort of can’t want anything else in life.
New Speaker: I feel that I was making all these conglomerates richer and all of it wasn’t fulfilling for me anymore. And I started freelancing now and I really enjoy helping small business owners and entrepreneurs make success of their business. And I think also working with smaller budgets, you sort of forced to get more creative as well. So definitely I still feel fulfilled from a creative sense, but also just, I have a far better work-life balance and I’m not feeling so drained at the young age of like 25.
[SAM]: That’s awesome. You probably definitely feel like, well, I guess you’re able to see the results of your work. Like you kind of see the impact that it has.
[ADRIENNE]: Yeah, definitely.
[SAM]: That’s awesome. So kind of getting straight into it and because we’d never had a copywriting expert on the podcast before, so I’m excited for you to share some tips around copy because obviously I’ve been focusing mainly on design, but we know that copy is, if not more important than design, the actual content that people are weighing is what makes or breaks the case. So can you tell us, can you share with us a bit about what, some tips around what makes a good blog post?
[ADRIENNE]: Sure. Well, firstly, I just want to say, I disagree with you. I think copy and visuals always work together and they should speak to each other. So yeah, just on that point and then in terms of blog posts I think as therapists you sort of, you want to fill your blogs with lots of jargon and to really show off your expertise and sort of specialist knowledge when in actual fact the person who’s reading your blog is just an average, Joe. So I hate to say it, but you need to always make your blog posts, idiot-proof, and dumb it down. So try and use more direct language. I see a lot of us use passive sentences and I think in university, that’s what we’re all told, but you sort of have to unlearn everything that you’ve learned at university.
New Speaker: So keep it short and conversational. I would say max 500 words and also each blog post should have one idea. I think we always tend to throw in lots of different ideas, but try to keep it succinct to one idea and always consider what your audience is Googling, because you might want to answer their questions. And obviously that is really difficult to do because I think just about every single topic and every single angle on a given topic has been written about, and it’s all online, but you still can take sort of a broad subject and sort of angle it in a really interesting way. And obviously because you’re a therapist you’re working with a lot of people, you have a lot of human insights and I think really draw on these and speak about that in the opening paragraph. That sort of is your hook. So you don’t want to speak to everyone because then no one’s going to listen. So you sort of need to speak to that one client of yours or that one [inaudible 00:06:49].
New Speaker: And thinking of a way that they will relate to you and really enjoy. I think you’ve got something like 10 seconds and that’s even a lot of time to grab their attention. So always keep it short. Nobody wants to read a big chunk of text. I think, you do not have to be this creative person to blog. I think a lot of people find blogging overwhelming, but when you start writing, it just flows. And I think I see a lot of times people as well, they’ll write something, then they’ll stop and sort of second guess themselves then delete and then rewrite rather than just get it all out, type your ideas and then go back and edit and tweak things. And you’ll start to see lines will just come to you and things will pop out from the text. So the same goes for writing headlines. I hate writing headlines. People think as a copywriter that brings me joy, but it is probably the most difficult parts of anything in copyrighting.
[SAM]: To try and summarize everything that you’ve written in one big [crosstalk].
[ADRIENNE]: Exactly. And I mean, if it helps maybe write one headline just to help your writings when you’re focusing on that given subject, but then write everything and then go back and then start crafting your headline. I mean, it can take me up to three hours to write a really good headline. But also what helps, and obviously for SEO, Google loves it. If you say like top seven tips to deal with depression or stuff like that, listing things work really well in blogs because people are lazy and they want quick and instant answers. So that helps with that. But I think all in all, if I can give you one bit of advice is less is best. So just keep things short and sweet. And I think also just the SEO, try and blog very regularly, so at least once a month, or I don’t know, obviously what time frames are or what your schedule is like, but try and blog regularly. I think it reflects really well with you as a therapist. And I mean, if you can’t then outsource it.
[SAM]: I think that’s awesome tips. Thanks so much for those. And I think I’m kind of your main one about keeping it short and sweet in itself makes it less overwhelming for people when they talk about blogging, right? Because I think there’s also this misconception that, “Oh my goodness, now I need to sit and create like a thousand blogs or something and that can seem intense to somebody that doesn’t enjoy writing. So I think yeah, keeping it short and sweet. And I’ve actually always thought that therapists are so well positioned when it comes to creating marketing material because they have this unique relationship with the client that not a lot of companies have. Like they literally sit and chat to their clients and build a relationship with their clients and hear their vulnerabilities and all of that. So that really puts you in an awesome position to be able to reach more people who are obviously similar to your clients.
[ADRIENNE]: Yeah, definitely. I mean, they have the most unique human insights that not a lot of us get access to. So really draw from that.
[SAM]: Yes. So that’s obviously having covered a good blog post, can you also provide some tips about good web copy? So obviously we’re trying to, for those listening, we’re trying to kind of form an all around advice around where your copy is going to exist. So obviously blogs come first and foremost, but then can you also provide some tips around good web copy for the pages on your website?
[ADRIENNE]: Sure. I think, well, I’ve noticed it a lot with, I mean, my clients who are therapists in that you do want to talk about your credentials and your expertise and what you specialize in, but here again, just like with the blog posts, it gets bogged down in jogging. Yes, talk about yourself, but in actual fact, talk more about your target audience and your ideal clients. So on your homepage here, this is where you have to really grab their attention and where first impressions last. So perhaps pose questions in your opening paragraph and keep, again, keep the sentences really short and quick and punchy. Don’t have a lot of copy and ask question of perhaps, you specialize in depression. Create a scenario. Say, “Are you feeling like this? Or you’ve worked in up late. You don’t feel like going to work,” or sorry, my examples are terrible right now.
New Speaker: Use those insights again that you have and worry about your client than yourself. On your About Me page, that’s where you can bring in all your background, but you still got to hook your ideal client first. And I think also consider the platform where most of your clients are engaging with your website. They’re generally using mobile, which means on mobile a lot like this just simple paragraph can seem like an essay. So consider where your clients are reaching or reading your information and also paint the familiarity of everything. So your tabs don’t try and get creative, just say About M, Services, Contact. Keep things familiar and easy to use and then also have strong Call to Actions. And I think these are like call me now for a free consultation or call to make a booking and all of those. Make things just really easy for the user because as I keep saying, we’re all lazy, we’re all guilty of it.
New Speaker: We are also familiar with being able to, when it says, Call Me, click it, and then we can automatically dial it from our phones. So make sure that your website is optimized for mobile and desktop and just really user friendly in that sense. Also another thing that I’ve noticed is that you need to keep your website up to date. So this is obviously where blogging can come in handy, but also you want to update your pages like now with, COVID. Say that you’re perhaps only offering online consultations, but afterwards you do, will go back into in-person. And sort of also have under your services page, you should, sorry, I’m jumping around a bit here, but you should have each like say you do marriage counseling, you’re dealing with depression, anxiety. Each one of those needs that are in separate pages for SEO. Don’t just have your service page and then have this long bit of text where you mention all the services you offer. Each service should have its own page. And also there, again, they are succinctly written
[SAM]: So, on that, just to kind of jump in with, I really like what you said about keeping the navigation simple and when you have kind of a lot of service pages like that, don’t list them all in the navigation though. So keep them in a dropdown under one services tab. And because again, you don’t want to have like 10 different headings in your navigation, you want to kind of keep that short and simple. So yeah, I was actually going to ask you about updating copy. And so, as you mentioned, obviously, including you know, what’s written in terms of COVID and that, but kind of in general, what would you say would be a good time period? Or is it necessary for people to kind of update the copy on their website at a time or can they kind of just leave it for a few years or kind of what’s the thought around that?
[ADRIENNE]: I would recommend at least a year we look at your website and perhaps also get some input from friends and family too. So I think on that note here again, but with COVID, we don’t really know, we can’t really plan, but perhaps with time with everyone getting vaccinations, things will change, but perhaps at the beginning of each year, just look at your website, see what needs some fixing, what you can perhaps shorten. Always look for ways to shorten your website copy. And obviously if you’ve done any courses during the year to add those onto your About Me page because a lot of therapists have been in the industry for 19 years, but they’ve been saying that for the last six years. So it’s the small things like that that just needs changing. And also you can relook at things, recraft your copy, just, I think once a year is a good rule of thumb when it comes to updating your copy on your website.
[SAM]: Awesome. So we know that another thing you specialize in is creating emails and email series. So can you give some tips into what goes into writing a good email if, for people who have email lists and who are reaching out to their audiences.
[ADRIENNE]: Sure. So I think we can all relate to this. We hate spam. If you are creating email lists, they need to have a purpose. Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content. I think a lot of people think, “Oh, I need an email because it’s part of marketing,” but you don’t really. I think, unless you are say growing your practice or you want to get people to sign up for a course, or if you’re offering something, then yes, have an email series, but don’t have it because you feel you need to. And on that note, I mean, if you are going to have an email series, just keep each mail short. Here again, people are using mobile. So I think there was a study that said that you should try to keep the best mails that get the highest response rates, I think have a word limit of something between 75 to 120 words.
[SAM]: Oh, yes. Wow, that’s very short.
[ADRIENNE]: So that’s very short, and I mean I’m guilty of writing longer mails than that. It’s really hard to actually keep it that short. I think obviously with when it comes to mental health and therapists there, you can’t really expect it to be that short because you’re dealing with topics that aren’t, you’re not just trying to sell something simple. So don’t worry if your emails are a bit longer than that but as I say, they just need to serve a purpose and kill the pleasantries. Seriously, just get to the point. Everyone likes, just use their name, “Hi Sam, whatever the name and then just jump straight into it and have a Call to Action as well. And perhaps this is when your design eye comes into Sam, but if you have Call to Actions and when you use subheadings and headings, which you should, I don’t know why I’m saying when. You must. Always pay with the fonts or the sort of the font size that people know, and that there’s sort of a hierarchy going on in your mails. That all the important details are highlighted and the less important bits aren’t.
New Speaker: And yeah, I think also another really important thing is subject lines. When you’re dealing with boring subjects, you can get quite interesting and exciting with your subject lines to get people to open your mail. So I know with MailChimp and HubSpot, you have the ability to change the subject line and the preview text. I think a lot of people are lazy and just leave the preview text to be the opening of their email, but you need to get creative. Then make the preview text speak to the subject line, entice people to open the mail. But I think if you’re using SendinBlue, you only get to change the subject lines. So, Oh, sorry. Those three mail software, MailChimp, HubSpot, and SendinBlue, you should really check them out if you’re interested in sort of starting to send out emails for your practice.
New Speaker: SendinBlue is free, so that’s something to look at, but subject lines are really, you can get a lot of fun out of them, if I can say that way. And I mean, what I do, even if I have a mail, I get loads of emails every day and all the mails that have amazing subject lines, I actually save them and I type up those subject lines that maybe in a few months time, if I have a client needing something, I can refer back to that and be inspired by it.
[SAM]: That’s a good idea.
[ADRIENNE]: So draw inspiration from the mails that you really enjoy opening and see what they do well and then you can try to do that too with your emails series.
[SAM]: And I noticed a lot of these email software platforms as well, they give you the ability to do AB testing and specifically with things like subject lines. So that’s always handy as well. If you really trying to master your emailing to kind of whatever you want to test at the time. So they’d say if it’s your subject line to keep everything else the same. So keep the email copy the same, but then tweak the subject line slightly. And then you send one version to 50% of your list and one version to the other and then you literally can look at open rates and see which one was more successful. And that also works well if you’re specifically, if you’re kind of having a set amount of emails for like an e-course, for example. If you have a set amount of launch emails that you really want to tweak to perform at their best, then that’s a really good idea as well.
[ADRIENNE]: Yeah, that’s sound as a great idea. And I think a lot of people don’t realize the power of AB testing. As you say, just change one variable and then you can see. I do it a lot and it’s really helped me learn when it comes to writing for clients, what works, what doesn’t work. So definitely try it out.
[SAM]: Awesome. Well, thanks so much. I feel like you’ve given us so much value when it comes to creating good copy across the boards. We really, really appreciate it and I know the audience is going to get a lot of value from this. So as we mentioned, Adrienne is new to the Practice of the Practice team. She’s come on board as our official copywriter. So if you do not have time to create good copy yourself, or if you want to just make use of her expertise, you can head over to practiceoftheractice.com/copywriting. We’ll have that link in the show notes as well. And she actually has three packages available for you guys. So the first is to do with emails. So if you’re looking to create a series of four emails with email lists, each consisting of around 300 words, you can get that for $400.
New Speaker: If you’re looking for some blog posts she’s offering three blog posts, each consisting of 500 words for $200 per post. And finally, if you’d like to have your website copy reviewed for example, for if you want Adrienne to kind of just look over your website, copy and possibly rewrite your home page and maybe one other page, she can spend five hours of your time reviewing your copy for $250. So if you’re interested in any of those packages, be sure to head on over to practiceofthethepractice.com/copywriting. Or if you have some custom copy request that you would like Adrienne to look at, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. So be sure to make use of her expertise. As you guys have heard, she is a copy wizard.
New Speaker: Adrienne, if every private practice owned in the world who are listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[ADRIENNE]: Ooh, this is a tricky question. So my advice for all the therapists listening right now is to really find value in marketing. I think even if you’ve had your practice for 30 years, you have a full practice, you should always still keep up-to-date with your marketing because it says a lot about you as a business owner. So I think keeping your website up to date, writing blogs, it reflects well on you. And I think a lot of therapists could do with some amazing marketing and it’s sort of a new thing. So definitely focus a bit on marketing this year. Make 2021 the year for that.
[SAM]: Awesome. And it’s a perfect time to delve more into online marketing with everything that’s happening in the world as well.
[SAM]: Awesome. Thanks so much, Adrienne. Really appreciate having you.
[ADRIENNE]: Thanks and thanks to the listeners for listening.
[SAM]: Once again, thank you so much to Therapy Notes for sponsoring this show. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. And if you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will input your client’s demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away. Use the promo code, [JOE], that’s [J O E] to get two free months to try out Therapy Notes for free.
New Speaker: Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want some print flyer designed head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design. Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.
New Speaker: Marketing a Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Beta Male Revolution, Empowered and Unapologetic, Imperfect Thriving, or Faith in Practice, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
New Speaker: This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a to professional, you should find one.