3 ways to hook a reader 🎣

A "hook" is something you put at the start of your writing that generates interest.

This applies to email subject lines, sales pages, advertisements, and many social media posts.

Here are my three favorite kinds:

  1. Asking a question

  2. Making a bold claim

  3. Citing a shocking statistic

And here's an example of each in an email marketing context:

  • A subject line that reads, "Are you ready?" to hype up a product launch

  • A freelancing/agency offers that guarantees to 10x a key metric, or the client gets their money back

  • A financial planner that targets athletes starting their sales page with the famous stat that 80% of players go broke after retirement

You can also combine these. For example, you might write, "Did you know that {fill in shocking statistic}?" 

The better your hook, the more people will read your entire offer.

The more people who read your entire offer, the more sales you'll get.

As always, the content in this newsletter is summarized or repurposed content from my community. Click here to read those essays in full, get a free eBook, and much more.

Are you still doing cold outreach?

Most freelancers and agency owners start with cold outreach.

This is where you can hustle your way into getting clients without having any reputation or authority.

It's essential for 99% of beginners, but once you get farther in the game, it's best to branch out.

Some examples:

  • Referrals - Satisfied current clients leads to more clients because entrepreneurs know each other and often recommend their favorite service providers. You can even incentivize this by offering a cash bonus or a week of free service.

  • Content - Creating your own content or appearing in other people's content is another good one. Examples of this include writing a blog that comes up on search engines, building a social media page, and going on podcasts.

  • Network - When you're well-connected, people drop clients in your lap. Two of the last four clients I've booked have been recommendations from people in my network. I did zero work finding these prospects, and all I did was pay a small bonus out to the recommender.

There are two actionable tips here. The first is delivering really good work to your clients and perhaps incentivizing referrals from them. The second is getting involved in some sort of entrepreneurial community, which will eventually lead you to recommendations, creating your own content, and appearing on other people's content.

In my opinion, if you're still doing a ton of cold outreach after years in the game, you're playing the game wrong. Do outreach to build your foundation, then put time into channels that build slower but eventually pay massive dividends.

How to make your writing POP

I had a tweet perform extremely well last week:

There are a variety of reasons why it did well, but one of them is something most marketers and advertisers don't talk about.

That is, using pop culture terminology, or what I like to call "mental anchors", to attract extra attention and emotion.

If I were to write that tweet without brand names, it would be boring:

"Watch companies sell status, not watches.

Etc.

Etc."


Instead, I used the most recognizable brand in the wristwatch space, a very recognizable clothing brand, a very recognizable motorcycle brand, and a very recognizable tech brand.

The first thing this does is attract attention.

Like referencing a celebrity, people see a recognizable name and are instantly drawn in to read more.

The second thing it does is increase the emotion of the reader.

Nobody reacts to "watch company", but "Rolex" is such a household name that most readers already have some sort of emotion associated with the brand.

This isn't a persuasive tool that you should use in every piece of writing you put out.

That said, you should consider it when writing something similar to the tweet above.

More examples off the top of my head:

  • "Netflix" over "TV"

  • "Starbucks" over "coffee"

  • "Ferrari" over "sports cars"

Use anchors, and you’ll persuade better.

As always, the content in this newsletter is summarized or repurposed content from my community. Click here to read everything I publish, get a free book, and much more.

The "platitude trap"

It’s funny…

One of the most common platitudes you see online is that you attract what you are. So, if you’re kind, you’ll attract kind people, and if you’re unpleasant, you’ll attract unpleasant people, etc.

The funny part is that content creators will post this platitude, but they won’t realize that their content is attracting the type of followers that you basically can’t monetize. 

Think about it. If you post extremely basic content, you’re not attracting smart people with money who will want to buy a relatively expensive product or service from you. Instead, you’re attracting dopamine addicts who want to read pretty words on social media but never want to take action.

I noticed this with viral tweets I was having late last year. They’d get thousands of engagements, I’d pick up hundreds of followers, but when I clicked on the analytics for my newsletter plug in the tweet below, it would only have 20 clicks. I was confused at the time, but now it’s abundantly clear.

My brand is about writing and marketing. If I write a fluffy tweet like:

“I don’t chase.

I attract.”

I’m attracting engagement from people who like useless content like that. So, when I plug my newsletter, which teaches marketing, almost nobody who’s engaging with the tweet wants to join because that’s not what they’re looking for.

When selling products or high-ticket services, it’s even worse. If you’re struggling to get platitude junkies on an email list, you’re going to struggle 10x more trying to get them to pay you. That’s why you have to be careful about the content you create and the followers that come from it.

Low-quality, generic content attracts low-quality, non-buying followers.

High-quality, unique content attracts high-quality, buying followers.

That’s why it’s so important to decide exactly what you want out of your brand.

If it’s long-term success, you need a long-term content strategy.

As always, the content in this newsletter is summarized or repurposed content from my community. Click here to read those essays in full, get a free eBook, and much more.

Why people buy (it's not what you think)

I saw a great tweet on sales earlier this week.

Here it is:

It reminded me of a foundational sales concept that I want to share with you.

That is, your job as a person who sells things actually isn't selling things.

Instead, it's guiding people on the path to selling that thing to themselves.

This is why pushy sales tactics tend to be ineffective or only moderately effective, while understated campaigns tend to get better results.

People who work at Rolex boutiques don't need to hard sell you because their brand reputation has basically already made the sale.

People who sell high-ROI professional services don't need to hard sell you because their case studies have already proven that the offer works.

Two conclusions come from this:

  • When having sales interactions, think of yourself as more a guide and educator than a salesperson

  • Optimize all the things about your offer that aren't sales (for example, getting a few really good case studies) instead of trying to sell harder

This advice is perhaps counter-intuitive, but some of the best marketers in the world swear by it.

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