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TOC #108: Who The Hell Is Tony?!
(Jan 17, 2023) My Best-Ever Copywriting Tip
I don't usually like to work at Starbucks—too crowded, too loud, not enough outlets, small tables, impossible to resist the $8 cup of sugar—but Monday morning, I had no choice.
I had an awkward amount of time between getting my car inspected (ew) and getting my teeth inspected (even more ew), and I was on a deadline, so I was left with only 2 options: work in my car, or work in Starbucks.
I plopped myself down at an empty squeaky chair along what can only be described as an obnoxious, out-of-place dining table, facing the door.
I surveyed my surroundings before getting started, in typical neurodivergent business owner fashion, attempting to get all distractions out of the way, and focused in on a group of middle-aged men chatting at the table in front of me.
They seemed like the only potential distraction, but they weren't being too rowdy, so I opened up my Google Doc and got started on my website copy edits.
I should have known that sitting right in front of the door would be a bad idea, because I looked up every. single. freaking. time. it jingled as someone left.
“Bye Tony,” a woman said. Jingle.
Back to work, Sara.
“Have a good one, Tony,” a man said. Jingle.
Back to work, Sara.
“Hey, Tony, how ah yah! See yah latah,” a grandpa said. Jingle.
Okay… back to work, Sara. But, question: why does everyone know Tony?
“Heeeey, Tony! Good to see yah, man," another grandpa said. Jingle.
“Ayyy! TONAY! Nice to see yah, buddy,” a kid in his 20s said. Jingle.
Tony! Tony! Tony!
Why the fuck does EVERYONE KNOW TONY?!
Is he the Mayor? The Town Manager? A local cop? Someone famous's dad? A luxury drug dealer? The inventor of Toaster Strudel? A former Pats player? The new owner of the Celtics? Did I miss a news story?
Who IS this man?!
All of these questions were obviously all over my face, because Tony's friend—no clue what his name was, apparently no one knew him—kept looking up at me every time someone called out to Tony and jingling the damn door.
I could read his mind: she's wondering why everyone knows Tony.
And he could read mine: she knows I know that she's wondering how everyone knows Tony.
Half of me wanted to get up and leave, just so I could yell “heyyy have a good one, Tony—good to see yah!” and fuck with him.
But I didn't.
Instead, I'm going to spend the rest of my life wondering who Tony is.
Yeah… that story actually doesn't have an end. I still don't know who the hell Tony is. But you were interested, right?
That's because I didn't start at the beginning of the story.
& that's my best copywriting tip.
My Best-Ever Copywriting Tip
Skip straight to the good stuff.
This is a two-part tip, made up of one half storytelling, and one half clarity.
When it comes to story-based copy—aka words that tell a story, to inspire readers to take action—starting in the middle is key.
(Or the end. Honestly, anywhere other than the beginning works.)
This will pull your readers in, and make them want to keep reading sentence after sentence. I know you've seen it before.
Think about the last time you read a fiction novel. Did you notice that it started off with a sentence that made you want to find out what happened next?
The book I'm reading right now literally started off with “I just punched a girl in the face.”
Who did they punch?
Why did they punch her?
Did she deserve it?
Is she gonna get beat up?
Is she gonna get in trouble?
I didn't know. I had to keep reading to find out.
(She punched her best friend, because she was messing around with her boyfriend, so, yeah, she deserved it. She didn't get beat up, and she didn't get in trouble.)
This tactic works with more than just fictional stories, though.
You've probably noticed it on a lot of websites, sales pages, and sales emails you've read, too.
& the reason why this tip is one half clarity, too, is because ain't nobody got time to waste.
And, like I've told you a million times, readers are selfish.
Your readers want to know what's in it for them—what's the point of reading it? Why should they care about it? Why should they spend their precious time on your website, sales page, email, IG post…?
If you want to give them a reason to stick around, you have to skip straight to the good stuff.
THEN you can tell them WHY that good stuff is so good, or why you're so good at the good stuff, or why they need the good stuff so much… you feel me?
Take this Services page, for example.
Monocle Productions is an NYC-based event production company that custom produces once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and their clients want to be hosts that deserve standing ovations.
So, instead of starting off with the WHAT—custom-produced events—I chose to start off with the end result of what the What would bring the reader.
What we know about the ideal client: they want a standing-ovation-level reaction from their party guests.
What we know about Monocle: they can help the client plan an event so sick that they will get that standing-ovation-level reaction.
The ideal client doesn't have time to read through a biography about Monocle's expertise right away—they don't know Monocle yet. They're not even sure if they're interested.
But once they read that Monocle specializes in providing them exactly what they're looking for?
Well, now they suddenly have the time. They start to care. They want to know more about how they can get that result. They start to get curious about who is behind this company that's promising to meet their desires.
And that's when a lead converts to a buyer.
…all because we didn't start at the beginning. 😉
The BTL Updates
I might just be a nosy ass bitch, buuuut… I love reading about what's going on in other peoples' lives. Maybe it's why I'm so addicted to watching vlogs.
Nosy or not, I figured it would be fun to share with you what I've got going on BTS at BTL!
(Please note: it may look like I'm doing the most, and like I have my shit together, but I don't. There is no sleep in my house, and I think my lung is infected. It's cool. Health will find me again one of these days.)
My lovely biz manager, Elizabeth, and I are working hard to upgrade the BTL client experience with brand new Dubsado forms, revamped questionnaires, and an even more streamlined process.
I'm also pumped to say that the BTL Book Club is officially back in action! This month, we're reading Obsessed: Building A Brand People Love From Day One by Emily Hayward, and, no, it's not too late to join us!
This book club is legit the most chill commitment ever - all we do is have one virtual meeting each month to chat about the book. I'd love to see you there. 🥳
Site Series® Students
I'm SO FRICKIN excited about the launch of my students' new sites—I'll be sharing case studies about them all on my blog soon!—but I wanted to shout out a few students here because I'm so proud of their hard work:
Check out their sites to see what Site Series® can help you accomplish. 🥳 And join the waitlist if you're interested in learning more about how to write your own website copy and how to get the right people to your website!
I'm wrapping up another VIP week for Tonic Site Shop, refreshing their welcome sequences & giving their email marketing a lil facelift. Working with them is always so fun because a) I love the team, and b) I love writing in their brand voice.
[Speaking of: are you registered for Launch Camp yet?! If you're planning on launching a website sometime soon, you won't want to miss it—and there may or may not be a special guest post-camp that you know quite well… 👀]
This week, I'm working on finalizing website copy for my lovely client, Rachel, and kicking a new website copy project off for a med spa local to me in Boston (that I can't wait to visit—their services sound like a literal dream).
As for the rest of Jan, when I'm not writing website copy, I'll be spending my time filming videos for my new YouTube channel (!!!), taking care of boring beginning-of-year admin tasks, supporting my 1:1 mentees (my mentee, Jess, and I are collaborating on a website copy project for my cool ass friend Kayla Madden of Madden Made Events—2 for 1 copywriter deal!), and preparing content for something exciting… 👀
Feb's going to be spent almost exactly the same—website copy, 1:1 mentorship email marketing—with the addition of a mid-month trip to NYC to visit my bestie Kleist!
& that brings us to March… 😏 where I've finallyyyy got some TIME FOR YOU - if you've been thinking about working with me, Spring is the time!
I'm now booking for March, April, and May projects, and I can't wait to see how we can collaborate on the next phase of your success story.
LET'S WORK TOGETHER
AND NOW… for the last (but definitely not least) update: my newest LIVE course, The Email Marketing Chapter, launches so soon!
[By soon, I literally mean this month.]
I'm spending 6 weeks in February and March teaching eager email marketers how to become total inbox pros—and I'm so excited I could pass out. Teaching this course LIVE is going to be so much freaking fun.
& because I can never keep a secret when it comes to the things I'm working on behind the scenes, I have to tell you… waitlisters are getting massively rewarded this time around.
And, since, as you know, I'm obsessed with giving gifts, I may have gone a little overboard with this one. You'll have to join the waitlist & read all the way to the bottom of the email to find out what you could get if you join. 👀
Love u mean it,
P.S. Spoiler alert: every single student of The Email Marketing Chapter gets a free 1:1 call with me to give real-time feedback on their lead magnet / welcome sequence / opt-in copy / newsletter / copy. YEAH. Join the waitlist to secure your spot—because spaces are limited! 👀
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:
Check out my services. I write website copy, sales pages, email sequences, blog posts, and brand messaging guides for entrepreneurs of all kinds! Maybe you’re my next favorite client. ;)
Read my blog. It’s home to everything from copywriting tips, to marketing education, to freelance advice, to portfolio-worthy projects… if you like this newsletter, you’ll love the blog. Here’s a quick roundup of my most popular posts.
Sign up for my web copy course. Actually, it’s not *only* about website copywriting—I also teach modules on copywriting basics, developing your target audience, search engine optimization, blogging, and email marketing.
Enlist me as your mentor. I have an entire in-depth blog post about my one-on-one consulting process for new and aspiring copywriters, if you’re interested in having a big-sis-style mentor to help you grow your freelance copywriting business & get results.
To get in touch with me directly, send me a DM or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day!