3 Reasons Your Email Copy, Paid Ads, Content Marketing Sucks

3 Reasons Your Email Copy, Paid Ads, Content Marketing Sucks

Despite using all the right templates, overcoming objections, and implementing every sales funnel conversion tactic around.

3 Reasons Your Email Copy, Paid Ads, Content Marketing Sucks
Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

It was 2 am and I was tired, but my fingernails hastily struck the keyboard’s plastic. I clicked “send” then repeated the process once more. All I could envision was the teenager, trapped in her car, hopelessly pounding her palms and elbows against the impenetrable glass to no avail. The car veering off into the river, and those 20 to 60 seconds between life and death never seemed more real or gripping. I know you came here for marketing advice, and we’ll get there, but follow me here for just a second:

Did you know that you only have 20 to 60 seconds to get out of your car before it sinks underwater, that variance depending on if the windows are up, down, or broken? Did you know most people in sinking cars die unable to escape? Furthermore, did you ever even think, worry, or care about that situation happening to you or a loved one?

Perhaps it’s not a concern, because you never drive near bodies of water; though maybe it should be, since countless deaths in non-water-related minor car accidents are credited to toxic fume inhalation from trapped passengers unable to escape. No, your keys probably won’t be sharp enough to cut your seatbelt off, and no, you won’t be able to access that spear you hid in your glove box for emergencies like this. Most likely, you’ll be strapped, trapped, and reeling from just how helpless you really are, as each passing second severely diminishes your chance of survival.

But maybe you don’t drive, so none of the above is your concern. That’s great, but what about your mom, fiancé, or little brother? Can you envision that struggle leading up to their last few breaths? If so, could you live with yourself knowing you had, for just $6.95 plus shipping, the product that could save their lives, if you’d chosen to click “purchase”? I couldn’t; that’s guilt that would haunt me forever, hence why I purchased five of those $6.95 life-saving devices for my closest friends and family.

You didn’t have to follow the latest Kiely Rodni case or watch the Adventures With Purpose recovery group find her body in the back of her SUV in that reservoir to agree that $6.95 for a life-saving device is a bargain. However, if you had seen it and soaked in the emotions of that grisly discovery and the pain on the diver’s face, you’d probably race over to that website and buy your friends and family the $6.95 life-saver, too.

Make no mistake: This article is not an ad for that product, nor does it really have anything to do with driving safety or escaping from a sinking car. The point here is that I didn’t see one ad for that $6.95 device. I wasn’t targeted or marketed to with a drip email campaign or ten million testimonials. I witnessed and became engrossed in one jarringly real, devastating situation that impressed just how vital — in my opinion — that $6.95 device is. That’s how every successful piece of marketing should be, yet how so few are. Here are three reasons your marketing sucks, despite following all the “rules”, tips, and tactics.

I don’t mean the product isn’t tangible; I’m referring to the feeling your prospects are — or, in most cases aren’t, getting. No matter what you’re selling, if you can connect to or influence a prospective customer’s emotions, you have a much greater chance of making a sale. By the way, this doesn’t only pertain to life-saving products that come with a fear-mongering marketing angle; this works for a wide array of products and services. For example:

Doggy electric toothbrush:

The idea of spending a hundred bucks or more on an electric toothbrush for your dog sounds funny, right? Almost bougie. However, what if your vet told you that poor canine dental hygiene is a leading cause of heart disease and death in pet pooches? What if she told you that brushing thoroughly even once per week could significantly decrease that likelihood? Further, what if this toothbrush company claimed their electric brush made one brushing equivalent to five days of consecutive brushing, exponentially diminishing your dog’s risk of dental-related heart disease?

If all that were true, paying $100 to save your dog’s life — or even to prevent thousands of dollars more in heart disease-mitigating medications or professional teeth cleanings — seems a no-brainer. Well, for a dog-lover and owner it would; for everyone else, not so much.

But tankinis can’t save your or your dog’s life:

Tankinis seem like a frivolous discretionary purchase, right? I mean, it’s waterproof spandex with a pattern; not exactly revolutionary if you ask most people. However, what if these are tankinis specifically marketed to women who’ve had traumatic pregnancies that are still coping with their post-pregnancy bodies?

What if these tankinis are designed to deflect away from those women’s post-delivery insecurities, and instead draw more attention to their other enhanced assets? What if these tankinis were the one product helping women with post-partem depression and debilitating body dysmorphia get out of bed and begin to regain their confidence? If you’ve never given birth, experienced post-partem depression, or wrestled with body dysmorphia, you may not understand the potential mental health impact of a product like this, but the target market — women who have — might.

Sometimes a tankini is just swimwear, and other times it’s a confidence-boosting mental health-improving device. People don’t eagerly pay for what you sell; people eagerly pay for how you, your marketing, or your products or services make them feel — assuming it’s a positive feeling.

While many of us entrepreneurs are trained to showcase former customer examples ad nauseum and hammer home effusive client testimonials, that doesn’t always come across as genuine, relatable, or lead-specific. Instead, it may be far more effective to focus on quality, relatability, and specificity over quantity across diverse use cases. How? By asking the customer questions and determining exactly what makes them tick.

Yes, that might mean an actual conversation with a prospect. It might mean talking them through a scenario, so that they can truly envision themselves using and benefiting from your product or service. That might sound tedious or unscalable, but if you aren’t making sales, it’s probably worth a try. Sometimes we get so slick or automated with our marketing that we fail to realize when it loses its impact; conversions — or a lack thereof — will tell you, and that’s when it’s time to reharness sincerity and reconnect.

Takeaway #1: You aren’t making them feel enough, so the problem you’re solving or the solution or improvement you’re providing isn’t real or personal enough.

Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on how you look at it — prospective customers these days are a lot smarter than many entrepreneurs and new marketers think or realize. The explosion of entrepreneurship- and marketing-related social media content has only exacerbated this, as many customers are increasingly privy to the fact that they’re being sold to.

  • They might not know how to build a sales funnel, but they know when your thinly veiled “masterclass” is actually a lead magnet with an expensive call-to-action at the end.
  • They don’t believe the countdown timer on your allegedly “expiring” offer, since they’ve seen countless identical deals send 10 “cart closing soon” final notice emails over a 24-hour-period, only to extend the deadline at a greater discount.
  • They hear the salesmanship dripping from every word that escapes your mouth, invalidating all trust from day one.

Point being, they know the game, and if you’re playing it anything like everyone else — and like prospects expect you to, they’re probably going to see right through it. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, break through all the noise, and get prospects to listen to, like, and pay you, you’re going to have to reach them, speak to them, and impact them radically differently. There are far too many ads, reels, webinars, and email sales funnels to simply follow the formula and expect outstanding results — especially long-term.

Takeaway #2: Formulaic marketing funnels and manipulation predicated on false urgency have been played out; while they might work for a while, if you want mega results, it’s going to require shaking up the status quo and delivering the unexpected (or in an unexpected way).

There’s a popular school of thought when it comes to marketing called “always be selling”. I know people who’ve built entire marketing agencies and consultancies around the idea that if you aren’t asking for the sale every single day, in every single interaction with prospects, you’re leaving money on the table. While I can appreciate the FOMO of a missed sale opportunity, I don’t quite agree with this perspective.

Here’s the problem with “always be selling”: It can easily translate to “always be taking” or “always be annoying”. Of course, neither of those perceived translations is your desired intent as the entrepreneur, marketer, and seller, but perception is reality, not intent (in your prospect’s eyes).

That said, this isn’t just a sales pitch frequency issue; the issue comes down to properly positioning and pricing your product and its benefit such that what you’re giving customers far outweighs what they’re paying.

For example, you might think it’s crazy to pay $1000 an hour to a copywriting specialist. However, if after that hour, that copywriting specialist has equipped you with the custom feedback, skills, and tools to revamp all of your company’s marketing content and achieve a 5x greater return than you’re currently seeing, $1000 seems cheap. They’re giving you years or decades of wisdom and hard-learned lessons distilled into one hour to catapult your returns, thus giving you a shortcut to that success.

If prospects are balking at your prices, here are three potential reasons and solutions:

  1. Wrong positioning: You either aren’t positioning your product to give enough value to many times outweigh the price, or you’re spending way too much time selling and not enough sharing, educating, connecting, and “giving” to your audience.
  2. Wrong price: If you really can’t position the product to justify the higher price point, it’s possible you need to lower it to better match the value your product or service actually offers and delivers.
  3. Wrong crowd: Even a great product at a bargain price will never win over the wrong audience; they simply won’t care. If your current audience isn’t receptive to your high-value positioning, generous giving, and comparatively fair pricing, perhaps you’re just preaching to the wrong choir.

Takeaway #3: Nobody likes a taker, especially one bombarding them with annoying and repetitive sales pitches. Restructure your marketing, your customer experience, and your value proposition to give more; the right customer will be happy to reciprocate with a purchase.

If I could only give one piece of advice with respect to your product and marketing, it would be this: Make it undeniably irresistible. As short, sweet, and direct as that is, we all know it’s harder than it sounds. However, if you can get your customers frothing at the mouth for the solution you provide before you’ve even announced or presented your product or service, you’re going to have a much easier time leading them towards a conversion. In fact, you might be able to largely banish “convincing” altogether, since purchasing an irresistible offer for which they’ve been foaming at the mouth is common logic without any arm twisting.

Before I saw the $6.95 life-saving device, my mind was already racing through what I’d do if I were in that sinking car scenario. I was already grasping for straws, grappling with the reality that I — and my loved ones — are severely underprepared. I didn’t even let enough time to pass for them to add me to their email list or loop me into their retargeting audience; I went looking for the product and I bought it (five fold).

Why? Because the idea of saving my and my loved ones lives for $6.95 is a pretty irresistible no-brainer, and common logic led me to hit “purchase”, even at 2 in the morning. You do the math: Is your price point and positioning a 2 am no-brainer? If not, you know what to do.

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Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

Author: Rachel Greenberg