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SPI 423: A Copywriting Masterclass and Sales Page Components that Convert, with Prerna Malik

What do you think is the most important skill when it comes to selling something online? Is it product creation? Is it building an audience? Is it email marketing? All those things are important. But one of—if not the most—important things that you can learn how to do is copywriting—your ability to use words to convince another person to do what you want them to do. Time for a copywriting masterclass.

Prerna is a copywriting master and owner of a great company called Content Bistro. She’s also a student of mine, part of my Accelerator program, and has done work for Team SPI, helping out with some sales pages. She’s got an amazing process, does proper research, and is here on this episode of the Smart Passive Income Podcast sharing some tools of her trade.

Today’s Guest

Prerna Malik is a certified conversion copywriter and creator of the Connection-Conversion™ framework for writing copy that balances persuasion and personality with the precision of conversion science, ensuring you get the ROI your business deserves. Co-founder of Content Bistro, she and her husband, Mayank, have worked with over 450 clients worldwide, including some of the biggest and best names in the industry, such as Pat Flynn, Dr. Eric Zielinski, Kerwin Rae, Amy Porterfield, Carrie Wilkerson, Alli Worthington, Bushra Azhar, Tsh Oxenreider, and others!

When she isn’t helping her clients rake in wild sales, you can find her teaching service businesses how to scale minus the stress using the art (and science!) of profitable packages in the Profits on Tap™ Incubator. If you need her after work hours, you can find her introverting with her nose in a book, baking up a storm in the kitchen, or traveling the world.

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SPI 423 A Copywriting Masterclass and Sales Page Components That Convert, with Prerna Malik

PatFlynn:
I have a quick question for you. What do you think is the most important skill when it comes to selling something online? Is it product creation? Is it building an audience? Is it email marketing? Could be a number of different things. All those things are definitely important. But one of the, if not the most important thing that you can learn how to do, is copywriting. And no, I’m not talking about copyrighting, like getting your trademarks copyrighted or your intellectual property copyrighted. I meant copywriting, like you’re writing something, copy writing. Copywriting is the ability for you to use words to convince another person to do what you want them to do. Whether that is buy something, or share something, or pay attention to something, or open something, like an email, or click something, like a buy now button. And today you’re about to listen to a copywriting masterclass, talking about some of the more uncommon parts of sales pages with a good friend of mine and student of mine Prerna Malik from contentbistro.com.

Pat:
She’s actually helped me and my team with some of our sales pages as well. And trust me, it works. And her process is amazing. So we’re going to talk about her process, some of the things she does to do proper research, because you can’t determine what to write unless you know about who you’re writing for. However, we do get into a lot of components that are very underutilized, underserved, underappreciated, on sales pages that, likely, you haven’t heard elsewhere, so make sure you stick around. But first, welcome.

Announcer:
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, if he was living in the 1800s, he’d want to be a furniture designer, Pat Flynn.

Pat:
What’s up everybody, Pat Flynn here, and welcome to session 423 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. My name is Pat Flynn, here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people too. And a skill that you can learn to do all those things is learning how to become a great copywriter. Now, thankfully you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to go to a copywriting academy, you can listen in on this conversation with Prerna Malik from contentbistro.com. So let’s not wait any further, you know what’s coming, some good stuff, so stick around and enjoy. Here she is. Hey Prerna, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, thanks so much for being here today.

Prerna Malik
Thank you so much for inviting me, Pat. Very excited to be here.

Pat:
I’m excited to chat to you. And you and I have gotten to know each other really well over the past year. You’ve helped me and my team out a bit with copywriting as well, and we definitely want to dive into copywriting too. But I want to know how did you get into copywriting. Tell me the story about how you got involved with it.

Prerna:
Oh my gosh, it is a long story, but I’ll try and keep it short.

Pat:
Try to keep it short for us.

Prerna:
Yeah. So I started working online way back, almost twelve years ago. So my daughter was nine months old and I was a stay-at-home mom, and I really wanted to do something. So I started a blog, which is pretty much also how I found [inaudible]. It was a mom blog and it led to some of my readers reaching out and saying, “We like how you write, would you write for us?” So like, “Okay.” And what happened then was, about two years into that, my husband, Mayank, got really sick and he was chronically unwell. He was in a lot of pain and doctors couldn’t really diagnose what was going on. And he had to quit his full-time job at American Express, because he was in so much pain, he was on bedrest for almost a year. And at that point, again, the blog came to the rescue because a reader reached out and she was like, “Why don’t you get his pH levels tested?”

Prerna:
And it turned out that he was highly acidic, chronic inflammation, and we started working on his diet. While we were doing that, because he’d left work and we pretty much had our backs against the wall when it came to finances and things like that, we were wondering as he gets better, what do we do. Do take this part-time blogging thing and try and go full-time with it or does he go back to work? And we decided to give it a shot for a year and see if we could make this work. So as he got better, we turned the part-time blog into a full-time business, reaching out to clients that we were working with, letting them know that we’re doing this, we got our website designed pro bono by a former employer. And ten years later, here we are, doing this pretty much full-time, and doing it really well. So yeah, I kind of fell into the whole writing, copywriting thing because of our life situation and because of where we were. So that’s our story in a very small nutshell.

Pat:
Well, there’s a lot of different kinds of writing. You could write blog posts for people, you could write articles, and I’m curious about what has attracted you specifically to copywriting. And maybe you can start off by telling people who are listening to this who aren’t necessarily sure what copywriting is and how it differs from perhaps just regular blog articles for example… Can you define for us what copywriting means to you and why is that part of writing attractive to you?

Prerna:
Sure. So I did start with blog writing, which falls under the content creation/content writing umbrella, so to speak. Copywriting is what I evolved into as I started working with more clients who then started saying, “So I’m launching this program, would you write my sales pitch for me? Would you do this?” So copywriting is essentially words that you put on a page that help you to turn a browser into a buyer. So these could be sales pages, these could be emails, these could be Facebook posts that become ad copy, this could be also be any ads that you actually read in print media that help you make a buying decision. So that’s copywriting. And the reason why I love it so much is because you can literally take a piece of copy and tie it to a return on investment that a client makes in you. You can test out different things. It’s such an exciting world. You can see how your customers respond to it, it’s measurable, it’s tangible. It’s obviously super exciting to write and to be a part of the whole process. So yeah, that’s what really attracts me about copywriting.

Pat:
Thank you for that. And I love how you phrase that, the words that you use to turn a browser into a buyer. And I think that for those of us who have been online even for a little bit, you understand how important those words are, especially if you are selling something. Or even, I’m imagining a landing page where you’re trying to collect an email address, that’s in a way copy as well. For those of us who are literally just getting started or who have been doing this for a while but we haven’t really paid attention to the exact words that we use, where might one start with just learning how to do it better? Do you have any mandatory things that we can think about before we start putting words to the screen?

Prerna:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Absolutely. So I think the easiest way… I’ll walk you through my proprietary process, it’s called the Connection-Conversion Framework. I use that with literally every single piece of copy I have to write, whether it’s for a landing page or an email. So it starts with building a connection, so that is right where you want to start. By really understanding your customer, that is your starting point. You want to lean in and have those conversations with your prospects, with your current clients, with your past clients. Find out what is it that was going on in their life when they decided to hire you if you were offering services or when they decided to sign up for your program. Find out what is it that inspires them, what is it that excites them, what is it that repels them about this industry that you’re in. You want to have those conversations that probably no one else in the industry is having with them. So yes, it starts with connection.

Prerna:
You also want to validate their past experiences, so the next part of my process is validating whatever they’ve gone through so far. They may have made buying decisions that they’re probably ashamed about or they feel guilty about. They may have lost money on something that they thought would help resolve the struggle they’re having but they ended up getting burned. So you want to validate those experiences. Or they may have tried something and it moved forward, it’s not always all negative. They may have moved forward but now they’re still stuck and they don’t know how to break past that barrier. So you want to validate all those experiences that they’ve had. And then you’d move to education. So it’s connection, validation, education. Education is where you come and you share your process, you share your framework, you share your know-how and expertise. And you show how you can help them break through and experience a better future or make an informed decision, you give them the education they need.

Prerna:
And then finally, you move them towards conversion, which is where they either sign up for your program, they sign up to your email list, whatever conversion that you’re going for, they end up hiring you. So this framework works really well because once you’re done with the conversion, you don’t just leave there, you loop back to strengthening the connection that you formed right at the beginning. I developed this framework after working on loads and loads of sales pages, and email sequences, and launches because I realized that what happens is that very often, once the conversion’s over, we just end up forgetting about our customers. Whereas the fact is, the easiest people to continue converting are those who already bought from you, those who already trusted you once. It is so much easier for you to keep strengthening that connection and keep building that relationship you’ve got with them. So, ideally your first step would be to form that connection with your audience.

Pat:
Yeah. When you and I have worked together and I’ve had you write sales page copy for us, one thing that was really surprising to me was how much research you did in the beginning to understand that connection. And you had even gone so far as asking me for previous customers that you could reach out to and literally have conversations with. Which I thought was really important because out of that came the right language, the right things to say. It just made so much sense, but that only came through those conversations. When you have those conversations, whether you hire somebody to do it for you or you do it yourself, what questions are you asking?

Prerna:
So yeah. That’s a huge part of my process, is really understanding who we’re speaking with and what is the conversation we really want to have with them through the copy that we’re writing, whether it’s for sales pages or email sequences. So our interviews are fairly detailed. And in my case, I usually do those interviews myself, and then my team transcribes those interviews so then I can go through them again. And that’s the process I would recommend anyone who’s wanting to write copy for themselves do as well. Do those interviews and then get them transcribed so you can review it and actually highlight the words that your customers say. So the kind of questions you want to ask them is of course what was it that was going on in their life when they decided to hire you, or sign up for your program, or buy from you, whatever it is that you’re doing.

Pat:
So these are questions that we’re asking already existing customers, right? To help new customers come in. Okay.

Prerna:
Yeah. If you do have those. If you don’t have, if it’s a really new-to-market product and you don’t have any customers, you would still want to have conversations with prospects who fit your ideal customer profile, but your questions would differ slightly. So this is for, say you’ve got a program and you want to write copy that would convert better. For your audience, you want to ask, of course, what was going on their life. You want to ask what was some of the other programs they were considering when they were looking to solve the problem that they were struggling with. And what compelled them to sign up for this particular program? What was it that titled the scales in your favor? So the first question obviously gives you pain, what is the pain that they’re experiencing. The second question tells you who are some of your competitors. Because generally what happens when I ask clients, “Who are your competitors?” I always get the answer, “Oh well, this one is really new. I literally have no one else doing the same thing.”

Prerna:
Which is good, but the fact is that your prospects probably are looking at very different solutions. And knowing what they were considering, broadens your perspective. And then we can see A) how are we filling the gap that probably our competition isn’t. And B) what is it exactly that our customers are looking for when they sign up with us. So that’s one of the second questions you could ask. The next question you definitely want to ask is, what is it about the client—In my case because I do it for clients—what is it about the client’s value system that resonates with you. So that tells you what’s our prospect’s world view, what is it that they really value. And again, because we’re building connection, why do they resonate so much with our client. The fourth question that you definitely want to include is what does a day in their life look like. What is it that they do right at the beginning of the day? How do they end their day? What goes on in between?

Prerna:
The reason you want to do this is because it helps you read in a lot of personality, a lot of specificity into your copy in different ways. So if you know that a large percentage of your clients or prospects are waking up in the morning and getting into their car, and driving to work, and listening to podcasts, then when you write your emails, you can literally create that picture for them. And that is again, another way you would strengthen the connection, they would see that you understand them, that you can actually see what their life looks like. So that helps you do that. Another question that you definitely want to ask is—and this is super important because this would give you tangible tactical results that they’ve experienced—So you want to ask them what is the one thing that they can do now that they couldn’t prior to signing up for this program or hire you for this service. So there are a bunch of other questions because it’s a fairly detailed interview, but these are five questions that would really help you to understand your prospect and to see what is it that they’re going through. What is it that they can do now? Who is it that they were considering before this? And what really helps them to connect with you as either a eCourse provider or a service provider.

Pat:
Yeah. I really like that question about what do you value in so and so. So when you were doing interviews with some of my students, you were asking what do you value in Pat. Is that what you were asking?

Prerna:
Yep. What was it about Pat’s value system that resonated with you? Or what is it about how Pat does business that connects with you? And the answers were so surprising because people were like, “We really value the fact that he focuses on his family.” There were students who actually went to the point of saying that, “I cannot sign up for a course from someone who does not have kids and I love the fact that Pat has a family and he puts them first, because that shows me that he has balance, he can balance both. And he’ll understand me and his course would not push me to perform in a way that I wouldn’t because I have young kids too.”

Pat:
Wow, yeah. That’s really interesting. So when we’ve learned that, we’ve then put that up on our messaging. Oh, you probably have a busy life, whether that’s managing your kids, or working your job, this course is built in a way that allows you to insert it into your life without taking away from the things that are important. So that’s the kind of stuff that you can get from those kinds of questions. So thank you for sharing. I do have a question that I would imagine is on people’s minds right now and that is, “How do you even get people to say yes and how do you get them on the phone, or Skype, or Zoom? What’s your system for getting people to come on so that you can ask these questions?”

Prerna:
So here’s the thing. People want to be valued, they want to be heard. And if you let them know that you’re working to improve the messaging of your program so that you can help more people, and that you’d really value say, 30 to 45 minutes of their time to understand what really helped guide their buying decisions and if they’d be willing to contribute to that. You’d be surprised how easily people showed up. For your programs, I reached out directly, because I was part of the student community, I could reach out directly to students and everybody said yes. And again, this is not in just [inaudible 00:18:05]. So many clients, we’ve reached out or I give clients an email to send out to students, and everybody shows up for the calls. Because they just want to be heard, they want to know exactly why do they need to get on the call.

Prerna:
And this is, again, part of persuasion. If you give people a good reason, they would know that they’re not just going to waste their time. Or they’re not going to be sold anything, it’s just that you really care and you really want to know what guided their decision so you could continue to help more people make the right decision.

Pat:
What if you don’t have any students yet, this is a brand new course. I’m imagining the pitch is very similar, just I want to hear how I can help you. Is there any difference in positioning for how one might be able to get somebody on a call if they don’t have students yet? Because I think it makes sense where, if a student of mine has been helped, they’re going to want to help back. That’s the law of reciprocity. But if you were a person who’s just getting started, I can see it very easily getting in the way of you having the courage to go out and reach out to people. You might say to yourself, “Why would anybody even give me time, I haven’t even created anything yet?” How do you respond to that?

Prerna:
Great question. So there are actually two things that you could do [inaudible 00:19:24]. You could obviously outline and that’s where you would be starting in any case, you need to know who you’re targeting, who you’re speaking to, from this connection so you could serve them. So you would want to reach out to people, whether you’re in Facebook groups, if you’re in LinkedIn communities, or on your email list if you’re building an email list, which I surely hope you are. You would reach out to people and say, this is what I’m working on, and I’m looking to talk to five, ten, or fifteen people, however many you can fit in. So who would be able to help me understand exactly how to make this super helpful for everybody else? So we would meet on a Zoom call. These are a few of the questions that I would be asking you. I would not be selling you anything on the call. I just need to know more so I can help more people. In this case, sometimes you may want to give people say, an Amazon gift card are something for their time, but I don’t recall us having done that.

Prerna:
The other thing that I was going to suggest if you’re launching a new course is to do a survey, which is, again, something that we did when you and I were working together for the new email marketing course.

Pat:
Right. Email Marketing Magic. Yeah.

Prerna:
Exactly. So if you’re launching is brand new and you don’t have anything, then you do want to have a really good survey. And then maybe pick a few winners, you could give them one of your own other courses or you could give them Amazon gift cards and then use the survey data if you can’t get on calls.

Pat:
Got it. Thank you. So much great stuff here. I definitely want to go somewhere that I think… I love, on these shows, to go to places that a lot of other people don’t go, and I definitely want to talk about sales pages specifically. Because I know a lot of us are starting to come up with our own products, or create them, or you might in the future. And I don’t want to talk about the things that you could probably find everywhere, in terms of you need an eye-catching headline, you need something that connects, these are all basic copywriting things. I want to talk about really important parts of a sales page that are often overlooked, that have huge opportunities. And I know, because we worked together, that you have some very good advice related to really important parts of sales pages that are often overlooked. And I’m talking about things like social proof, I’m talking about things like your guarantee, and how the testimonies are displayed, and things like that. Do you mind if we dig into that a little bit?

Prerna:
Absolutely. So yes, you’re right. Everybody knows a great sales page of course needs headlines, you need good body copy, you need to talk about the pain, and give them the solution and benefits, and all of that great stuff. But a few sections on the sales page can do really heavy lifting for you if you use them the right way. And Pat, you hinted because we’ve talked about this earlier as well, is your guarantee is definitely one of those sections.

Pat:
Okay. Let’s start there then, the guarantee. So a guarantee is, and we’ve seen this everywhere, like “30-day money-back guarantee, if you’re not completely satisfied within 30 days, send us an email we’ll give you your entire payment back no questions asked.” That’s pretty standard. Can you tell us why a guarantee is important, and then how you approach it?

Prerna:
So the job of your guarantee is essentially to make your prospect and your future customer feel confident in their buying decision, and show them that there’s no risk attached to the investment they’re making. Because every investment comes with certain strings attached, and a guarantee helps to reduce the risk and gives your customer that feeling of confidence in their buying decision. So the problem that I see with most sales pages is that everyone just slaps on the templated guarantee including templated image that goes with [inaudible 00:23:31] their money-back guarantee.

Pat:
Yeah. With the blue ribbon around it.

Prerna:
Exactly. So what happens is that people just tend to glaze past that, and then that leaves customer support issues for you later on. Or buyer’s remorse kicking in and then they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what I’ve done.” But if you were to turn your guarantee into a persuasion powerhouse, what you could do is actually show your customers that you’re invested in this. You could show your customers that you really mean it when it comes to helping them feel confident in the choice that they’re making. And you could really, really reduce all the refund requests and I don’t know what I’ve signed up for questions that your team may be getting. So one of the ways you want to do that is by branding your guarantee. Again, this ties into the conversation you’ve been having with your prospect and what is it that they want to know from you and the connection that you’ve built so far. So you’re almost educating your prospect with your guarantee as well.

Prerna:
Like for one of our clients what we did was… In their family they have, they call it the badge of excellence and they have their name attached to it, and they say this product has our badge of excellence. So it was a family thing and we branded their guarantee like that. And we said that in the Zielinski family, every product that comes in needs to have this badge of excellence and we don’t want it any different for you. So we want you to know that this product has the badge of excellence and we’re going to stand by it for 60 days from now. And then you have whatever guarantee you’re offering, whether it’s a do the work thing or if it’s a no-questions-asked guarantee, so you put down the terms and conditions of that.

Pat:
So essentially, just naming it in a way that relates to the product or you as the creator. We were jamming on this before earlier, so we had come up with things like the Win with Flynn Guarantee. Every product that you purchase from me, I want you to win with it. I want you to feel like you’ve just progressed so far in your journey as a business owner, and so if you get in today, you get the Win with Flynn Guarantee, which means this is going to work for you. And if it doesn’t, then you get your money back within 30 days, that kind of thing. It might sound gimmicky, it did to me at first actually. But when you had mentioned, people see these guarantees everywhere, and they just overlook them and they don’t think about them. This naming convention gets people to stop and read a really important component that puts away their fears about making this transaction with you, right?

Prerna:
Exactly. Not just that, you’re also sharing the reason why this is so important to you. You’re also reinforcing the same value system that they connected with you in the first place. So this is your chance to do all of that. Most guarantees are placed way down on the sales page, so the fact that they’ve reached that part of the sales page means that they are considering this, and now is your time to reinforce all of those things that you talked about. For instance, for another client, her guarantee, we didn’t even have the 30-day money-back thing in the headline. We had, “You’re protected at all times by my just-look-around-and-see-who-you-can-help guarantee.” And then we talked about her story, she’s a former secondary ed teacher who’s also a stay-at-home mom. We said that she always tells her kids, “Just look around and see who you can help,” and this course was born out of that need.

Prerna:
And now if you feel that I’ve not been able to help you, then at any time during 30 days [inaudible 00:27:28] just email me back and let me know that this wasn’t helpful, because that wasn’t my goal. So again, you’re tying into your vision behind the program or the service that you’re offering, you’re reinforcing the value system by which you run your business. So all of these things just helps strengthen that connection that they’ve already formed with you.

Pat:
I like it. And you said there was perhaps a second way to approach the guarantee before I cut you off there earlier.

Prerna:
Oh yes, absolutely. The other way is that you use your guarantee to address the objection in your prospect’s head. So for instance you could say, “I know you’re thinking, what if this doesn’t work for you?” And this kind of guarantee where you’re addressing the objection works really well if you’ve got a do the work guarantee that a lot of courses these days have. That you need to put in the work so that I can see. You could say that, “So this course would work if you would work. And since you’re reading this, you’ve come this way down the page, I know that you’re serious about solving X-Y-Z problem. And here’s what I know: If you show up for my calls, if you’re to fill in these worksheets, if you’re to go through these modules, and you still don’t see any results, email my team. Let them know that you were there and it still didn’t work, and we’ll give you back the money. So you want to use your guarantees to actually demolish objections.

Prerna:
Because by the time they reached that on the sales page, they kind of bought in to whatever it is that you’re selling but they’ve still got a doubt. And it could be a doubt about their own abilities. It could be a doubt about their past experience. It could be that they still feel like they want to know you better. So when you use your guarantee to reinforce your values, when you use your guarantee to remove objections, you’re actually using your guarantee as a conversion mechanism. And that’s it job, every element on the sales page has a job. So using a templated, cookie cutter version, you’re actually defeating the entire purpose.

Pat:
Got you. And it’s best practice to write after the guarantee… From what I’ve heard, that’s a good call to action spot because that’s a big moment.

Prerna:
Yes. Absolutely.

Pat:
Cool. So we’re going to have a lot people listening to this right now probably going to their sales pages to see number one, if you even have a guarantee. Number two, perhaps personalizing it a little bit. And then number three, making sure you have a call to action button immediately after that. One of probably many that should be on that page. Another thing that we had talked about earlier that I want to touch on is the social proof part. What is social proof? Why do we absolutely need it? What is your approach?

Prerna:
The job of social proof is to show people that there are others like them who placed their trust in you. That is obviously one. The second is to show prospective clients and buyers that your process works. So it’s something that’s not just been trusted but it’s also been tested. That is the job of social proof. And while the most obvious form of social proof is of course testimonials, the fact is that not all testimonials are created equal. So it’s not a matter of just taking every single testimony you’ve ever gotten and putting it on your page. But you need to be strategic about it. And you need to choose testimonials that actually speak to your audience and address, again, their objections, address key outcomes, and help people see themselves in it. So if you know that a large percentage of your audience is moms with toddlers, it would make sense to have key testimonials from moms with toddlers.

Pat:
Right. And I definitely want to dive into testimonials a little bit more. But let’s say for example, somebody’s coming out with a new thing and they don’t have testimonials yet. Are you out of luck and there’s no way to prove yourself, prove your work, prove your concept to people? Or what can we do to help people realize that they can instill their trust in us?

Prerna:
Oh, yeah. Absolutely. So not having testimonials should never hold you back from not using social proof. You can use social proof by using studies that highlight the authenticity of the process you’re using. Or you could use social proof by highlighting places, and sites, or podcasts, wherever you’ve been featured on. Media mentions make for great social proof. And again, it’s not enough to put on a logo, but maybe talk about what did you share there, why were you featured, what was is it that people said about your feature. So really leverage media mentions if you’ve got relevant ones related to your program. Stats are another great way to use social proof. So if you’ve got a program that addresses say, health issues or even anything to do with online marketing, anything that’s got stats attached to it, you’ve got a way of using social proof. So the idea is that people get to see that A) they’re not alone. B) that whatever you’re talking about has built authenticity and has some amount of credibility attached to it, you’re not just pulling it out of thin air.

Prerna:
So once you do that, you could do it, like I said, with studies, with stats, with media mentions, with endorsements from mentors who you’ve probably worked with, who’ve coached you, who’ve seen you grow and evolve, and who can vouch for your expertise. Again, helps reduce doubt in their mind that you probably don’t know what you’re talking about. So these are all different ways for you to get social proof if you’re brand new in the industry.

Pat:
So let’s say for example, and I’m using my own course as an example to showcase some of these things that you mention and what they mean so you can give some examples. So Power-Up Podcasting, my most popular course to help people start a podcast. If I didn’t yet have testimonials, here’s what I might do. I could share stats, like you said. So I could share, there’s less than one million podcasts currently available but it’s grown by 300 percent over the last year, and now is the time to get in. So that almost proves the idea, not my course, but just validating that hey, podcasting is something you should be paying attention to. Is that a good example of something like a stat?

Prerna:
Exactly.

Pat:
Okay. Another one would be like a study. Hey, a study was done recently sharing how much people consumed podcasts versus blogs or videos. And here’s a chart that shows that people who read a blog post might read for five to ten minutes, a YouTube video, even less. But a podcast, people listen, on average, thirty to forty-five minutes at a time. So wouldn’t you like to get in front of your audience for much longer than you would with video and blogs?

Prerna:
Brilliant. Yeah. Absolutely.

Pat:
Cool. I don’t even know if I have that on the sales page, I should probably put that on there. I do mention that in a webinar however, because a webinar is like a chopped-up sales page in a way. But on the actual sales page, I don’t have that. Anyway, go ahead.

Prerna:
A couple of others things that you could do if you’re opening up a new course, and you have no testimonials and you want to collect social proof, and you always want to collect social proof, is ask new customers. You could launch a program and then when people are signing up you could reach out to them and say, “Would you mind sharing what compelled you to sign up?” Or, “What was the one thing that you’re hoping to resolve or get out of this program?” And then use that in your emails, your social media updates when you’re promoting your program.

Pat:
Brilliant. Okay. So to reiterate. You’re launching a brand new course, you don’t have testimonials from people who have taken the course yet. But as you get people to sign up, you could reach back out to them and say, “Hey, can you give me the number one goal that you might want to get out of this course?” Or, “What compelled you to sign up?” And you can use that in real time during that launch and, essentially, share it with everybody else.

Prerna:
Absolutely. Yes.

Pat:
That’s great. So now, as a prospect I’m like, “Other people are buying this too right now, they’re just like me.” A little bit more proof is great there, that’s great. I think I heard another one, where if you are also worried about not having testimonials on your sales page, you can still get testimonials, not of the course, or the product, or the service that you’re selling that’s brand new, but you can get testimonials from people who have worked with you before.

Prerna:
Absolutely. Yes.

Pat:
Can you unpack that a little bit and share why that works?

Prerna:
Sure. So let’s say you’re a service provider, you do graphic design for clients. And now you’re launching your course in which you want to teach others how to do design. So what you could do is, you could reach out to clients if you haven’t already gotten testimonials from them, you could reach out to clients and you could let them know that, “Hey, I’m launching this course to help other entrepreneurs or non-designers learn graphic design. So would you mind giving me a short testimonial on how my design skills helped you?” Or, “What is it about my design skills that helped your business?” So that you establish credibility. Again, the idea is for people who read your sales page or people who read your offer to know that you know your stuff. To know that you can be trusted and you’re not just putting something that you’re not qualified to teach. So asking your clients for a testimonial and using that.

Prerna:
But again, please always mention that this testimonial is from someone who you offered a service to and they’re not students of the program. Your testimonials should never mislead, they should always inform and educate, and not just create an image that isn’t really true.

Pat:
Right. Testimonials should always be honest. And on that front, I also know there are testimonials that are real, that are not good. Like you said, not all testimonials and social proof is created equal. A not so great testimonial would be something like, “I really enjoyed this course, it gave me everything I needed. Thanks, Pat.” That is a testimonial I get all the time and I’m very thankful for that. But that’s not going to be as useful as… If you could explain what a good testimonial actually includes and how we can get there? Help us out.

Prerna:
Sure. So a good testimonial should have situation. So that means, what was it that they were struggling with when they decided to sign up for your program? So example, “Before I signed up for Power-Up Podcasting, I used to think that starting a podcast is the most overwhelming thing ever. There were so many moving parts and pieces, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. And that meant I just kept pushing it off my to-do list for ever and ever.” So that’s situation. A good testimonial should be specific. So it should talk about what was it that they really wanted to get out of the program. So continuing with the same example, “When I signed up for Power-Up Podcasting, one thing that really stood out for me was how easily digestible the lessons were. Pat broke everything down step by step. So I never had to stop and wonder what do I do next. I always had my next step mapped out for me.” So that’s-

Pat:
These are good, I like what you’re saying.

Prerna:
Thank you. So situation is what was going on in their life when they decided to sign up. Specific, so what was a tangible thing that they got out of the program. And then you obviously want to know where do they sit right now. So what is it that was the key outcome of this? “So now that I have my podcast, I’ve been able to reach more clients. I’m getting qualified leads land in my inbox pretty much every day. It’s like waking up to new business. And the best part is, I’m having fun with it all because people love the content. I get so much engagement and I finally feel like I’m not spinning my wheels any longer.” As long as it’s specific, it talks about their situation earlier, it talks about their situation right now, where do they sit right now in their business or in their life, that’s a good testimonial.

Pat:
Very Donald Miller StoryBrand in terms of how you’ve painted this Hero’s Journey in a very short period of time. The before picture, the challenges, the triumph, and what’s life like now on the other end.

Prerna:
Yeah. Absolutely. And the other thing you do want to keep in mind is that your testimonials should come from people who fit your audience profile as closely as possible. It’s good to have a good mix of them, because while we do write our sales copy for one person, you will always have a mix of people in your audience. And your testimonials need to speak to that mix of people as closely as possible.

Pat:
What is better in your eyes? A testimonial from a A-lister in this space that everybody knows. And they see that testimonial and like, “Whoa, that celebrity actually took this course.” Or is a testimonial from a person that nobody’s ever heard of but is more relatable, that they can see themselves in that person better?

Prerna:
Both would be best, but if you had to choose between one, I would choose the one that’s more relatable. For the reason that people are generally skeptical of celebrity endorsements to an extent, they don’t really know whether that person really took the course or is maybe endorsing it because of whatever arrangement [crosstalk 00:41:33].

Pat:
Payment, friend.

Prerna:
Exactly. Yeah. So-

Pat:
Good answer.

Prerna:
Choosing someone who’s more relatable, who’s someone they would go and say, “Yeah, this is me.”

Pat:
That’s really great, thank you. I want to finish off this conversation by talking about what I know another one of your specialties is, which is creating evergreen campaigns. And I know you have programs and courses about that, I wanted to at least at a high-level here, talk about that a little bit. In terms of when you are turning a not-evergreen situation, so you’re releasing a course a few times a year for example, and you are converting it to evergreen, which means it’ll always be on sale now, there’s a lot that goes along with that. What are the biggest mistakes that people are making when they are transitioning from live launch situation to evergreen? We’ll start with that: What are the mistakes people are making?

Prerna:
Quite a few. So the first one is they sell too early. So, essentially, that means people opt in and then you probably have a tripwire kick in, and these are people who probably don’t even know you. And the truth is that you might think that it’s a seven-dollar product that you’re offering as a tripwire, so it doesn’t really matter. But for someone who doesn’t know you at all, why would they want to give you those seven dollars? I feel tripwires have a place, but evergreen sequence probably isn’t the best place for them. So selling too early is definitely one of the mistakes, not just with tripwires but also like in a second email you’re probably pitching them your program. Again, going back to the fact that you do want to build a connection with them but you don’t want to spend forever, especially with an evergreeen sequence. Which brings me to the second mistake that I see, is where people wait forever to sell. So selling too late is the other-

Pat:
So what’s the number Prerna, how long should we have then?

Prerna:
Yeah, I know. That’s like how long is a piece of string, probably. But the truth is that it would depend on your offer. It would depend on your audience, who are you serving. Are you serving online marketers who know exactly what the problem is, who know exactly what they want? Or are you serving someone who’s trying to just find a new hobby and is a stay-at-home mom? So the decision-making process would differ depending on what you’re offering, who you’re serving, and also how are they finding you. Do you make a lot of connection building and giving value through say, maybe your blog posts or YouTube videos? So by the time they sign up for your opt in, they already know you and they have a connection with you. Now they just want to take it to the next level. So honestly, I wouldn’t be able to give you a definite number, but it would depend on your offering, it would depend on your audience, it would depend on how they’re finding you, and a bunch of factors.

Pat:
Would there be any case of, “Oh, I need to have this person after they opt in, a year in my email list before I sell them?” Or is that too long? I’m just trying to get a sense of-

Prerna:
Yeah. That’s way too long. Essentially, for evergreen programs, and because I’ve done launches for products ranging from $97 to $2,000, it varies. But it’s never been more than… Say for instance now, quite a few of our clients have programs in the ranges of about $1,000 to $2,000. So for them… And their conversion mechanism is a webinar. So what happens is, people sign up, we invite them to the webinar, we have a webinar show up sequence kick in, which encourages them to come to the webinar live. So we have about three emails, generally, go out for the webinar show up sequence. And then the pitch is made on the webinar. So because the webinar does the job of educating them, and forming that connection with them, validating their past experiences, it does a lot in that sixty minutes. Ideally your webinars need to create value, and then you make the pitch. And then we have a post-webinar sales sequence. So it’s never too long, it’s always-

Pat:
And a webinar can be evergreen too? Part of that evergreen situation?

Prerna:
Absolutely. Yes.

Pat:
The reason why I brought that up is because I’ve seen programs out there that make it seem like it’s a real webinar with fake attendance counts, even fake conversations happening. So I’m always a little bit, “I don’t know about evergreen webinars.” And I think they’re getting a bad rap because of that, but I know there’s a great way to do it. In an ideal situation if you were to use a webinar, which I agree, I use webinars all the time for live launches, I love them, it’s a great quick way to establish a connection, to teach, to build a relationship, which speeds up the process for sure. But in an evergreen situation, what is the ideal webinar structure? And besides how long until they see that webinar? Just how do you position it?

Prerna:
Yeah. So personally, we have a program that was done in evergreen mode for a really long while. And now we’re reworking it right now. So I would right upfront tell people, “This is a recorded masterclass.”

Pat:
Okay. So you actually tell them.

Prerna:
Yes. And that’s where your value system comes in. If you’re saying that you’re leading by example, if you’re growing a business of integrity and transparency, then just saying, “Oh, this is live,” makes no sense at all. So you want to be straight upfront, you want to tell people, “This is a recorded masterclass to make it really easy for everybody to watch at their convenience.” Simple as that. Okay. The third mistake I want to talk about with evergreen funnels is most people stop selling after pitching prospects once. So you have people go through your evergreen sequence and they don’t buy. And then you move them into your generic weekly email newsletter sequence, and that I feel is a huge mistake. You do need to again, continue the cycle and put your offer in front of them. Because people may not buy for any number of reasons. It could be that they missed your email, so they were away, they were away, they were on vacation. Or maybe this was not the best time, there were sick kids at home who needed more attention than your offer. So that doesn’t mean that they weren’t interested.

Prerna:
So move them back and you need to have a sequence in place where you bring your offer in front of them again. So that’s the other thing. And that’s one of the reasons why evergreen sequences… Sometimes when people say they don’t work really well, did you only sell once? That’s the thing. And another one that we’re seeing right now is, once you enter evergreen sequence, if you don’t have a post-sales survey in place to identify why people didn’t buy and you’re not segmenting them. And this ties into the stop selling after you pitch once thing. You need to know why they didn’t buy, and then you need to address those objections in a specific sequence just for that segment. So for example, after your sequence ends and you ask people, “Why didn’t you buy? Was it because of money, time?” Which are the key objections that most people have. So ideally, what you want to do is have people click a link, or take a survey, and then segment them into those buckets and have a sequence kick in that helps address those objections.

Prerna:
So now they already know you, they’re still on your list, they obviously trust you, they like you, so the reason they’re not buying is very specific. And it’s your job to remove those objections, and you can easily, easily do that with a well-written segment-specific email sequence.

Pat:
Yeah. And Prerna, this is so great. I want to keep digging in, but I think we’re at the end of our time here, crossing the 50-minute mark already. And this conversation’s gone by so quickly, thank you so much for coming on. There’s so much more that we could talk about and I know a lot of people are going to want to dig a lot deeper into this with you. Give us a URL and where can people go from here to learn more and get some more great stuff from you. Because this has been absolutely fantastic, I’ve learned a lot in this conversation too.

Prerna:
Thanks so much, Pat. So we’ve created a special page with a lot of resources for all SPI listeners, so contentbistro.com/spi will be the best place for everyone to go to.

Pat:
Okay. So Content Bistro, which is your brand, and we haven’t even unpacked what I love about that and how everything is food-based for you. Your propriety stuff is all… Like you have a thing called bake, it just makes it so easy. And we didn’t even dive into how important it is for you, the listener, to have your own proprietary framework. We’re all qualified to do that, yet nobody does that. So anyway, just a little comment on that. contentbistro.com/spi, more stuff about evergreen, more stuff about copy there, some really great resources, check it out. Prerna, thank you so much for being here today. We appreciate you so much, so grateful to have you for help here at #TeamSPI as well a student in the Accelerator program. You’re just doing amazing work, keep up the great work.

Prerna:
Thank you so much, Pat. This was so much fun. Thank you.

Pat:
All right, I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Prerna from contentbistro.com/spi, that’s where I’d recommend you go, contentbistro.com/spi for some goodies. Plus, of course, you can check out the show notes at smartpassiveincome.com/session423. What an epic podcast session that was, with some really detailed and very specific things that we can do to, legitimately, make more money and help more people too. So that’s really exciting Prerna, thank you so much for coming on, I appreciate you. I hope that you check out all that she has going on because she is just a master at what she does, so thank you Prerna. And thank you for listening in all the way through, I appreciate you for that.

Pat:
Make sure you hit subscribe because we have a special guest next week, who I got to meet for the first time at Social Media Marketing World earlier this year before all the crazy happened here, early 2020. But her name is Anne Handley, and she is one of the most beloved marketers in the world. And I’m excited to introduce her to you, and share a little bit more about her story to help you gain super fans and raving fans for your business too. No matter if you are a solo-preneur or you are a large corporation, either way, she’s there to help you. So make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss that. We have some other amazing guests coming up, I’m looking at the line-up right now. Man, I want to give them away so bad, but I’m going to make you subscribe because I promise you it’d be worth it. So hit subscribe if you haven’t already.

Pat:
Thank you so much for all the reviews that are coming in on Apple, I see them, I read them, no matter what country they come in. I use a tool called Podkite, big shout-out to Podkite, to see all those in one spot. Not sponsored by the way, just I love the tool, and check them out if you have a podcast of your own. Anyway, thank you so much. I appreciate you, and I look forward to serving you next week. Until then, all the best. And as always, #TeamFlynnforthewin. Peace.

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with Pat Flynn

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