TOC #148: That Went South SO Quickly
(October 24, 2023) The #1 Thing That Keeps Readers Engaged
“Well, that went SO south SO quickly…” he said, moments after I caught him in the lie I'd never expected him to be telling.
We were standing next to each other, awkwardly waiting for our respective airport pickups in the blistering Phoenix heat — but the 104 degree outside temp wasn't why he was sweating.
No, he was sweating because I'd just uncovered a picture of his GIRLFRIEND in his wallet. And he had no escape.
No escape from me, no escape from all of the proclamations of interest he'd just spent the last 50 minutes spewing, and no escape from the massive mistake he knew he'd just made.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me catch you up:
This past Thursday, I flew to Arizona to visit my best friend, and I met a man at the airport.
Things were going really well… so, me being me, I wrote an email about it, to keep you (and the several thousand of my other email besties) updated.
I know how much y'all love my love life. (I wish I felt the same.)
I've never gotten so many responses to an email so fast in all my 148 weeks straight of newsletter-ing. Like, sub 10 minutes of hitting “send” I was fielding THREATS to publish an update immediately.
(This sitch rivaled the OG Arizona love story; the matching tattoos.)
So, *sigh* — here it is. The update absolutely none of us saw coming.
Especially since the last thing I told you about was him LITERALLYYYYY saying he was ready to fall in love with me. (Read the “P.S.” of this email to refresh your memory.)
Let's pick back up where we left off last Thursday.
& I promise, I'm giving you all the tea you need to quench your thirst.
(My friend Holly just had the audacity to text me and ask for the “unedited version” of this story. I'm offended. She's known me since 2011 and she still thinks I'm the type of person to withhold details?! Please.)
SO. I wrote that email on the plane, sent it to you, then closed my laptop. I had about an hour left in the air before it was time to see this man again — an hour that absolutely DRAGGED.
Like, come on. The LOML was waiting for me as soon as I deplaned.
Okay, I'm being dramatic. The hour was fine. I was too obsessed with my book to even notice it, actually.
…but he really was waiting for me as soon as I got off the plane, which caught me by surprise.
He had made a comment about making sure I waited for him at baggage claim, so I assumed that's where I'd see him next, but nope — all 6'9 of him was crowding the walkway the second I got off.
& the first thing he does? High-fives me, and compliments the fuck out of my website and my brand photos. Ideal scenario, honestly.
But I won't lie, I'm used to the website compliments.
It IS my whole entire business, after all — and besides that part of it, most people I meet in real life aren't used to a) meeting a 28-year-old with a business like mine, or b) seeing sexy ass Kleist creations.
What I'm NOT used to, though? Having a man TAKE NOTES on my website to talk to me about it.
I'm not playing. He literally had an entire list of things to discuss written down in his Notes app.
Here, see for yourself. 👇
The man said he spent “at least 45 minutes” scrolling through “as many pages” as he could, and that he was “completely captivated” by it, and by me.
(This, obviously, is the way to my heart.)
We walked through the terminal to baggage claim, discussing all the things he liked on my website — and liked about me — as he shamelessly flirted the entire time, the biggest smile on his face, like I was his sole source of happiness in that moment.
(This, obviously, was reciprocated by me. I take it back now.)
By the time we reached Carousel 1, we were practically planning our life together.
We took a moment apart to use the restroom, where I changed from my matching sweat set into a big t-shirt that said “but daddy I love him” in huge red letters, and when I emerged at his side having changed, he looked me dead in the eyes and asked “oh, is that what you're gonna wear when you introduce me to your dad?” without missing a beat.
I was patting myself on the back for my meet-cute abilities, my airport rizz, and the fact that my website absolutely fucks.
…while apparently HE was patting himself on the pack for pulling off a big, fat, juicy lie.
Fast forward about 15 minutes: we both have our luggage, and we've made it out into the hot Arizona sun to wait for our respective rides.
My best friend is on her way to get me, but he needs to call an Uber to his hotel. He was there for a work conference.
He pulls out his wallet, grabs his credit card, and starts to enter the number into his phone.
“What, you've never heard of Apple Pay?” I ask, realizing I haven't ever seen anyone manually enter their CC info into their Uber app.
He laughs in response, and keeps entering the necessary details to order his ride.
Now, this is where I want to remind you about this man's height because I think it's the only reason I was able to catch him in this lie.
At 6'9, he's a full foot and a half taller than me, making the bottom of his stomach eye level. Right where his arms were bent, holding his wallet and his phone.
His wallet was exactly at my eye level.
All it took was one look straight ahead, and there it was.
…evidence of something I wasn't even looking for — I was simply looking straight ahead, waiting for him to be done calling his Uber.
& clear as day, I saw a picture of a girl my age printed in his wallet.
PRINTED. IN. HIS. WALLET.
PICTURE. OF. A. GIRL.
As soon as he was done with his Uber saga, he tucked his wallet into his pocket, looked down at me and—verbatim!—said:
“So, is this it? Am I going to see you again?”
…brother. You have a picture of your woman in your wallet. If I could reach your face, I would slap you.
“Who's that picture of? The one in your wallet?" I asked.
The light drained from his eyes, the color drained from his skin, and the possibility of a successful meet-cute drained from my soul.
I won't even bother dignifying his response with a newsletter mention — the man tried to LIE his way out of it, stammering, staggering, gaslighting, the whole nine.
“She's a good friend,” he finally said.
YEAH???? I'M SURE SHE IS!!
Eventually, I said, “is that what she would say? If someone asked her who you were to her, all she'd say is ‘a good friend’?”
He paused for a beat, then responded with “I think I'm a pretty good friend to her, yeah.”
I started laughing, because what else was there to do? The situation was comical at this point.
Backing up a few feet so I could look him in the eye without straining my neck, and said:
“Listen. You just spent 45 minutes stalking my entire website. You saw how many degrees I have. You saw how smart I am. Why are you pretending like I'm stupid? Just tell me the truth; I don't know you, and I'll never see you again in my life. Don't bother lying.”
And thennnn the truth comes out.
It's his girlfriend.
Of 1.5 years.
…who ever-so-conveniently may or may not have just recently mildly cheated on him.
Guess homie was in the mood for some retribution?
Welp, not with me.
Once he'd made his admission, we stood there for another few minutes until he shoved his very large body into a hilariously tiny Prius that whisked him away to his hotel, never to be seen again.
…but, because earlier in the terminal, he'd sent me the screenshot from his Notes app, he had my phone number.
Not even 9 minutes after leaving the airport, this mofo texted me saying that it was great to meet me, and that he enjoyed our conversations, and that he was sorry for “ruining it.”
The only thing this man ruined was his own damn peace.
And that, my friend, is the update you demanded — not exactly the one I wanted to give, but it's the truth.
Something homeboy should probably try telling next time he meets a hot girl with a hot website on his way out of town.
The #1 Thing That Keeps Readers Engaged
We talked about this wayyy back in TOC #108 (which I memorialized into this blog post for your reference, you're welcome) when I had all of my subscribers up in arms about a random man named Tony, but…
I felt like it was time to address my #1 best copywriting tip for capturing attention yet again.
Similar to my story about Tony, tonssss of people responded dying to know more. I even had another boy (who I probably should have removed from receiving Thursday's email… oops) text me and say my emails always convince him to keep reading, and before he knows it, the story is over and he's learning about marketing.
And that magic is called storytelling.
Specifically, what I like to call sales-focused storytelling.
(I actually almost named my signature course, Site Series®, “Sales-Focused Storytelling” — but I couldn't get the trademark.)
When I originally shared this tip with you, I referred to it as “skipping straight to the good stuff" - which I still stand by as one of the best storytelling tactics to capture a reader's attention.
…but storytelling isn't ONLY about getting the reader engaged; it's about KEEPING them engaged.
& that's what a good story does.
To do write one of those, though, you need to understand a few things about your reader:
What's their stage of awareness? How much do they know about the subject or solution you're talking about?
What is your reader's goal? What do they want to accomplish, change, improve, solve?
How ready are they to buy? Are they 99% sure they want the thing, or do they have a lot of reservations and questions?
How are they feeling right now? What's the common denominator between their current feelings, and the transformation your offer is providing? Is there a specific message that's going to resonate with them? Something that will help them understand your point better?
Once you know those things, you'll have a better chance of being able to write copy that initially captures and keeps their attention — because they won't feel like they're reading copy at all. Instead, they'll feel like they're reading a story.
And stories effortlessly resonate with people; they're statistically proven to STICK so much better than regular old facts (or regular old marketing content), which is what makes them so effective.
Prioritizing the story just as much as the strategy is a surefire way to convince people to take action.
& that's exactly what I'm teaching you how to accomplish in my Sales Page Masterclass next week.
For all the details about what you'll learn, click here or the button below, but the Sparknotes outline is…
→ It's happening Tuesday, October 31 at 1pm
→ The class is 90 minutes long (but, knowing me, we may go a little over, because, well… I'll be busy over-delivering, as usual)
→ We're covering sales page copy, sales page strategy, target audience, stages of awareness, buyer journey, and more (more, as in, helping you figure out all of those bullet points about your reader from above, too)
→ It's $99 until 10/25 ONLY - after tomorrow, it'll be $199
Q: “Will this content be included in the new version of Site Series?”
→ Nope, this masterclass is the ONLY place I'll be educating about how to write the best long-form sales pages!
Site Series Part One has everything you need to know about how to write your website copy (and how to launch your website), but sales pages are a whole separate beast — and they deserve their own moment.
Site Series Part One does teach you how to write a Services page, though, which is different. I can explain the difference in detail later, if ya want, but for now: here's a Services page, and here's a sales page.
You'll see how they differ if you click on them.
Q: "If I'm a Site Series student (or considering buying it in the future), is it still worth it for me to sign up for this masterclass?
→ If you want to learn how to write kickass sales page, YES! As I mentioned above, this masterclass is the only place I'm teaching my full lesson on how to write a sales page.
Q: “Okay… I think I'm down. But how much is it?”
→ Early bird queens get $100 off until 10/25 — making the class only $99. On the 26th, the VIP offer expires & the course will be available for the full price of $199.
Q: “Will there be a recording if I can't make it live? If yes, does the recording expire?”
→ Yes, there will be a recording emailed to you after the event, and no, it does not expire!
Q: "Wait, is this Site Series Part Two? Didn't she say something about the second part of that course coming soon?"
→ No, this has nothing to do with Site Series — but you're not wrong, I did mention that the second half of Site Series (all about how to get people to your website, using blog, email, SEO, and Pinterest marketing) is coming soon. Click here to be the first one to be notified about the launch of that!
I chose to launch the Sales Page Masterclass now because a) everyone kept asking me to make a sales page resource, and b) I wanted to make sure I did it before the launch surge happened — aka when everyone gets all excited and motivated with the cold weather and extra time inside and prep for the new year and launches something new — so I could support you!
Site Series Part Two is about 4 easy, free organic marketing strategies.
The Sales Page Masterclass is about sales pages.
& if you have any more questions about it, they're probably answered right here. 👇
…but if they're not, feel free to hit “reply” to this email & let me know; I'll be happy to answer any Qs you have. 😇
You've got until the 25th — aka tomorrow — to sign up for just $99, before the price increases. What are you waiting for?
Chat so soon,
P.S. I responded to the Airport Cheater's text and asked if he ever planned on telling me he had a girlfriend — if I'd never seen the wallet picture — and he said that he honestly was not planning on telling me ever. WHY ARE MEN SUCH TRASH CANS. Bye.
If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. 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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