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TOC #103: How To Reel 'Em In
(Dec 13, 2022) How To Make Sure You Don't Give Your Readers The Ick
There are two things my loyal subscribers know about me:
#1: My best web copy tip is to treat your website like a first date.
#2: I don't fuck with fish boys.
But, today, I *might* be changing my mind about one of those things.
And it's not the web copy tip. 👀
Now, I feel like I have to defend myself, so let's back up a little bit here.
I didn't know he was a fish boy at first.
If you've been subscribed for a while, you're aware that I simply cannot with the fish boys on Hinge.You know the ones. And if you don't, read TOC #90—it gives you a vivid picture of exactly who they are (and what they can teach us about marketing).
So, of course, I typically avoid any man with a fish in his profile at all costs.
But what I never even considered is that some boys are actually undercover fish boys, that reel you in, say cute things, and then share the fact that they're fish boys.
(I didn't even mean to put that pun in there. Is this fish boy rubbing off on me already?! Ugh.)
A couple days ago, I was on the app, ya know, scrollin', checkin' out my (unfortunately mostly underwhelming) options, and I matched with this dude who seemed pretty good on the surface.
Not a short king.
Seemingly normal job.
Lives in a good area.
And, most importantly, no fish pictures.
So, we get to talking, and the topic of work comes up, and I begin to explain what I do over here at BTL.
Naturally, the TOC gets brought into the conversation, so I send him everyone's favorite newsletter: the one that details all the reasons why I hate fish boys on Hinge.
He read the whole thing.
He said he thought it was funny.
…a few days later, though, I find out the truth.
HE IS AN UNDERCOVER FISH BOY.
THE MAN HAS A FISHSTAGRAM.
(That's not an actual term, I don't think. But I'm sure you can imagine what it is: an Instagram dedicated to fish.)
Obviously, as soon as I noticed this, I called him out on it.
“You read an entire newsletter about how much I hated fish boys,” I said. “AND YOU ARE A FISH BOY?!??!!!”
He tried to defend himself, telling me that his particular brand of fish boy was somehow superior, and that because it's fly fishing he's somehow different. He continued on to talk about conservation efforts, and how he's never killed a fish, yadda yadda yadda…
And, well… the boy was convincing. I started to believe him.
Maybe he's not a regular fish boy. Maybe he IS a different brand of fish boy.
Then he proceeded to tell me he has not one, not two, but THREE fish tattoos.
Fish. Boy. Central.
Now, you're probably thinking “okay Sara, but there's no way you're actually going out with this dude… right? I mean, I know how you feel about fish boys…”
And, um, that's where this story takes a turn.
Because I am going out with this dude.
I've reluctantly decided that it might be time for me to look past a man's fish boy exterior and see who he is on the inside.
(Plus, I do like tattoos…)
There's only one problem, though: what if he gives me the ick?
Whenever I go out with someone new, I am always SO scared of the ick, because it happens to me so intensely.
It's not just some “eh” feeling in the back of my mind.
It is a visceral, full-body reaction that sends my whole being into fight or flight.
I can't do the ick.
(I've already endured it once this year, when a man showed up to a date in what dangerously resembled Sketchers Shape Ups and then forced me to sit through three and a half hours of dinner while nervous energy radiated through his body and into my soul.)
I'm so afraid of the ick that I've even warned fish boy about the potential of it happening, and we've discussed it at length.
(He knows we may not make it to tomorrow.)
(And he promised he wouldn't wear Shape Ups, but I'm still not convinced.)
How To Make Sure You Don't Give Your Readers The Ick
If fish boy wants to go out with me again, he's gonna have to ensure he doesn't do anything ick-inducing, while, of course, still remaining true to himself—just like YOU need to do when you're writing your website copy, if you want your readers to be interested in you.
You see, when a new person lands on your site, it's a whole lot like a first date.
You want them to like you. (And they're hoping they like you, too.)
No one wants to hear about the boring details of your resume, or it would kill the vibe. (Plus, we have LinkedIn for that.)
The impression you make really matters, because it dictates what happens next. (Is there a second date, or do you get ghosted? As in: do they inquire, or do they X out before taking action?)
& that last point is especially important, because the connection is happening online, through a screen, where they can't hear the emotion in your voice, see the authenticity in your eyes, or the eagerness in your smile.
Your words have to do all the work for you.
So… what the frick do you say?!
#1 - Make them feel welcome.
Make them feel comfortable on your site by welcoming them in with a statement that lets them know they're in the right place.
#2 - Speak their language.
Use the words and phrases they're used to hearing (and saying!) so you can show them just how meant to be you are. You want them to feel like they're having a conversation with a friend who gets them.
#3 - Find the common ground.
When you introduce yourself to them, share details that they'll appreciate learning about you, and be able to relate to.
You'll also want to do your best to convince them that you are the right choice for them, by illustrating your understanding of what they're going through, why they need you, and how you can help. (Learn how to do that right here.)
#4 - Show off, just a little bit.
I mean, after all… this is you making a first impression, so, put your best foot forward by showing off: share your best testimonials, showcase your bomb portfolio work—pull out all the stops to prove that you are the shit, so they fall in love. (More on that right here.)
So… what do you think? Is fish boy gonna give me the ick today, or will I have to address the possibility of actually liking someone whose obsession with fish is a serious part of their personality…?
(Oh, by the way—I feel like I should tell you. He's subscribed, and he definitely just read this whole thing.)
Want your website to help you make the best first impression?
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My website copy template, aptly named the Wicked Easy Website Copy Guide, has quite literally everything you need to write your site on your own, without overwhelm (or ick).
In addition to all the resources you need to write your site—and, of course, the surefire website copy template itself—this guide even has 70+ minutes of training videos explaining all of the ins & outs of writing your own website, inspired by my copywriting course, where students have shared with me how much they love the teach-by-example method I use to showcase the formulas I teach—aka the same formulas my template is outlining for you.
Long story short? It makes writing your website copy wicked easy. And if you're a DIYer, you're gonna want it.
Love u mean it,
Hi, I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. Thanks for reading this edition of the Tuesday Table of Contents! If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
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