Four ways to become more relevant to your market

be more relevant to you market

Niching is just the start. This is how to make it far more valuable.

[reading time: 5 minutes]

We know we should say NO to certain clients. Red flag leads who set off our Spidey senses.

But there are a lot of other clients we could accommodate whom we might also be better off saying NO to. That’s decided by our niching decisions, and there’s no shortage of excellent arguments that have been made for niching.

But it’s easy to think niching is all about the NO. It’s not. It’s about how you leverage it.

That’s what we’re looking at today.

First, a quick dip into basics so we are on the same page…

You only want to work with clients who are a good fit for you and for whom you are a good fit. You want your work together to be mutually beneficial. Happy client + happy you = more work, great testimonials and referrals.

Setting up those filters is relatively straightforward and your marketing can take care of that.

Make sure you have an Information Pack that helps with your leads self-select. Let people know what you don’t do, your fee ranges, your timelines and anything else that might be a deal-breaker for them.

You don’t want to waste their or your time on dead-end calls.

That’s the basics but how do we maximize the benefit of that decision?

That begins by finding our Goldilocks market size.

How many potential clients do you need in your market?

If you are for everyone, then you don’t need to know. There are enough everyones.

But if you decide to say NO to everyone except, say, futures traders, then you need to know if there are enough of them to sustain your business. LinkedIn Sales Navigator lists 90k+ futures traders.

Is that enough? Too many?

As a rule of thumb, I use a range I got from David C. Baker, a business-growth consultant.

He suggests between 2,000 and 10,000 people or companies in your market pool if you are a consultant. I’d be comfortable using those numbers for coaches whose work is B2B. But for B2C, I’d look for a 5-10x depending on the economic profile of those clients. 

And these numbers scale with the lifetime value per client, so, keep that in mind.

How does that change how we look at our 90,000 futures traders?

For a start, I can niche down. If I target only North America and only people with at least 10 years experience, I’m down to 28k. If I narrow that to people in senior positions, I hit 13k. That might be the sweet spot.

But why not just go after the 90k?

Because it’s much easier to position myself as being for experienced futures traders holding senior positions in North America than if I were just for futures traders. 

Especially if my competition is broadly targeting futures traders.

Takeaway 1: Find your Goldilocks market size to further leverage your position 

Before I positioned my business to serve coaches and consultants, I was a generalist. But the work I got was often tied to the knowledge I had outside copywriting.

Once, I got on a call with the president of a precious metals firm. He wanted to know if I knew anything about his world.

“It’s been a while, but yeah, I know a little. I did some work for a technical trader a few years back. I used to evaluate his software signals. Mostly currency puts but he’d look for arbitrage opportunities in metals when there was volatility.”

We worked together for about a year.

Every profession has its own language and it helps them tell outsiders from insiders.

You need to speak the language because it tells your clients that you’re committed.

You can deepen that connection by taking time to understand the conversations within that niche. Who is leading those conversations? What trade publications matter? What are people struggling with?

Takeaway 2: By using the language and references particular to a niche, it’s a clear signal to outsiders that you are not for them. It’s a subtle NO but effective. You want to be so obviously for your target market that no one else will have you.

Saying NO means you can commit to deep work on behalf of your market by creating Intellectual Property (IP) assets…

“Two ways 2023 changed the way Futures Traders can attract and sign new accounts.”

And having quality IP assets for clients can be a deal maker.

Before I had my copywriting business, I was in the IP creation game for over a decade, and I saw how it could leapfrog smaller businesses to the top of tender lists and land very large contracts.

Intellectual Property assets can take many forms…

  • courses
  • reports
  • guides
  • tools (spreadsheets, checklists, etc.)
  • a podcast
  • a newsletter

The key is to tie them to a specific problem and deliver a solution. Example…

“2024 Guide for Futures Traders using LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a Prospecting Tool.”

Takeaway 3: Once you know who your Goldilocks audience is, create highly-tailored IP assets to establish unique relevance. 

Everything you do is a signal. Even when you do nothing.

It tells potential clients the level of your investment in their world and how seriously you take your own business.

I had a client ask for advice on their cold outreach campaign. They were new to business and were using their Gmail address to cold email. My advice was, this is a bad signal to send potential clients. And signals matter.

On the other hand, if you are putting out a regular podcast that talks about my business needs and problems, I’m immediately impressed and I’ll take you very seriously. 

That level of professionalism earns respect. (Just make sure you always have Calls to Action (CTAs) at the end of each episode that tell interested leads what to do next.)

Takeaway 4: Set up as many positive signals as you can to reinforce your chosen position.

Niching is about more than saying NO. 

It’s taking on its identity and speaking its language. You will become part of that community and you will be seen as one of their own. And that’s who gets hired.

That’s it for this article. If you found it useful, subscribe below for a new article delivered fresh every Saturday morning…

All the best, Paul

Two ways to create coach and consulting clients

2 ways to create great clients

Tired of waiting for great clients to show up? Create them instead. Here’s how…

[reading time: 4 minutes]

In this newsletter, I’m going to lay out two approaches to converting interested leads into clients.

But first, we’ll look at an idea that will hopefully change how you see marketing for the better.

Let’s dive in…

Think about the millions who make visiting Disney World a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Or the people who used to line up outside Apple for a new iPhone. The hikers who wear Patagonia. The coffee drinkers who buy locally roasted, single-origin beans.

These buyers seem born for those companies.

For coaches and consultants, it’s no different. Some companies and individuals seem to magnetically attract clients.

But no one is born a Tony Robbins or BCG fan. No one was born loving Rolex or Patagonia.

These buyers were created.

From giants like AirBnB to one-or-two-person operations, successful businesses around the world understand that customers and clients are created, not born. And that’s what effective marketing does – it create clients.

​But how do you, as a service provider, do that?

You have two options. 

​The first is an old-school, linear approach perfected by direct marketers. The second is a newer, non-linear way of marketing.

​I’m going to explain both and then make a recommendation with practical steps.

I hired my first business coach, Amy Posner, 4 years ago.

​I was stuck, needed help and I finally decided to buy my way out. I’d never hired a coach before and saw this as a calculated risk. I was a cautious buyer.

​Within 20 minutes of that first call, I was a client. I was 100% on board with hiring Amy again, which I did.

​That first call made me a client. The sale came first and the conversion came second.

Strategy: Make a sale for the opportunity to create a client. In direct marketing, this is usually done with a low-cost entry offer that wows the buyer so they believe you can deliver on your more expensive services.

​Now, let’s look at a quite different approach.

This is an idea I first came across from André Chaperon.

​His argument goes something like this…

​Treat people like clients before they pay you. Provide amazing and highly-relevant value on your site and in your free resources. Build a world they can explore where they can discover if you are a good fit for them and where your expertise and value is apparent. 

​Do that properly and those people will be on board with who you are, what you do and what you charge before they even reach out to you. You are pre-sold.

​That’s what McKinsey does (just look at how much high-quality free content they publish). It’s what Seth Godin and Brené Brown do as well. This is the world of great content marketing.

Strategy: Create your clients before the sale by delivering content that establishes your expertise, relevance and value.

Many businesses pick one approach or the other, and that often depends on how comfortable they are with the S word (selling). 

​But most small businesses do neither. They pick option c; you hope there are enough potential clients in enough paid to be motivated to go looking for you. Please don’t do that.

​Instead just pick one strategy you can fully commit to.

​If your existing lead flow is underdelivering, then focus on putting a system in place that gets leads quickly = a sales-first strategy. 

​If you have a reasonable lead flow and you want to up the quality as well as quantity of leads, then focus on the pre-sale conversion.

​Here are two quick outlines of how that might work for you…

Create an offer around a specific service you can deliver in person in a short amount of time. That might be a problem analysis/audit, a procedural review, creating a personal plan of action, etc.

​Put as low a price on that as you can that doesn’t make you look bargain basement. Don’t offer that for free either unless to a particular client who is worth that kind of investment. Offering free time to unqualified leads will yield poor results.

​Lastly, make sure what you offer naturally leads to your main offer.

​The next step is to market your offer. This approach is a good candidate for paid traffic (ads), to promote on your social media and to your list.

This is the long-term play to create a client before the sale.

​Identify a problem your ideal leads have that they could solve on their own if they had your knowledge and expertise. For example, a checklist or framework that speeds up or improves part of their process.

​Make sure the problem you are helping them solve is directly related to the main service you provide.

​Create a high-quality resource that solves that problem. This is your lead-magnet and you’ll give it away for free in exchange for an email address. Make sure it is only relevant to your ideal clients as you only want to attract qualified leads.

​Build a relationship with your list. Deliver quality content that focuses on helping them and not promoting you.

If you’re thinking, that sounds like a lot of work, you’re right.

I only have three days a week for my client work. The rest is admin and marketing. But my marketing means I get to work with clients I like, on projects I’m excited about and for fees that justify my marketing efforts.

The business of business is getting clients and marketing is how that happens. 

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Transform your first call into a service

Transform your first call into a service worth your leads' time and trust

Make Booking That First Call With You As Valuable As A Paid Offer

The moment when you are most likely to lose a good lead is when you need them to book that first call.

I call it ‘the last threshold’ and crossing it is a much bigger ask than signing up for your newsletter or reading a case study.

In this newsletter, I’m going to show you how to set up your marketing so you make that crossing easy and, for the right person, as compelling as possible.

Let’s dive in…

There are three reasons why leads don’t book calls.

  1. You haven’t established fit
  2. You haven’t established trust
  3. The Unknown

Establishing fit and trust are topics that we’ve covered elsewhere (case studies, proof elements, process frameworks, and so on).

That leaves The Unknown.

If you ask someone to book a call with you and they don’t know what that means for them, and I mean in graphic detail, they have an evolutionary reason to do nothing. Because the unknown is dangerous.

So, the first step is to remove the Unknown.

Replace it with…

  • an Information Pack that answers those close-to-signing doubts and questions
  • a description of what will happen on the call, including the duration
  • where the call will end in terms of what might happen next

Here’s some sample copy you can use…

“Our call will be about 20 minutes. It’ll be an informal chat to give you a chance to see if there is a possible fit between what you want to achieve and the services I offer. And you’ll also have a chance to ask all your questions. By the end of the call, you’ll have a good idea about whether you’d like to talk more/hire me. To wrap up, I’ll explain your options and you can choose what to do next.”

All we’ve done is shine a light on what will happen. That alone is a huge boost to the chances of your lead booking that call.

But here’s how to really stack the odds in your favor…

Make the call an offer.

As long as you are in front of the right market, your offer will do more than anything to determine your ability to sign new clients.

The right offer makes your life a joy. The wrong offer brings misery.

We’re going to apply that idea by making booking a call with you an offer.

Think of that first call as a service. That means it needs to be valuable, something your lead wants and will be willing to give 20 minutes of their time for.

Here are some suggestions…

  • I’ll help you pinpoint your exact problem, its likely cause and suggest ways forward
  • By the end of our call, you’ll have a clear idea if we can work together, so you can move forward with me or move on to find a better fit for you
  • If we’re not an obvious fit, I’ll give you three recommendations from service providers I trust to help you
  • You’ll get my full expert attention and at least one recommendation for what you can do right away
  • By the end of our call, you’ll have a good understanding of what’s possible in your unique situation and realistic timelines and costs
  • After our call, I’ll follow up with a summary email that will contain my notes and recommendations

To people with pressing problems, these can be quite valuable. We are offering clarity and guidance as well as access to an expert ear.

By thinking of that first call as an offer, as something your clients would value, you’ve made it much easier to say yes.

Helping your clients to book that first call comes down to two things.

  • replacing the unknown with a reassuring known
  • imbuing the call with value

In other words, remove reasons not to book the call and add reasons to book the call.

What happens next is up to you.

That’s it for this week, enjoy the rest of your weekend and I’ll see you next Saturday or during the week on Linkedin,


This article originally appeared in The Value Proposition Newsletter. 

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You Don’t Have To Like Your Copy

You Don't Have To Like Your Copy

You don’t have to like your copy. But you should be able to judge it.

[reading time: 3 minutes]

​You should be proud of your marketing. It should reflect your values. And it should be as professional and competent as your coaching or consulting service.

But you don’t have to like it.

​That’s because your marketing is not for you. You’re not the client and you should ignore your personal preferences around what you read.

​But that poses a problem: How do you judge your copy, especially before it goes live for testing?

​That’s what we’re going to answer in this newsletter.

Whether you write it yourself or hire a professional, you’ll need to pass judgment on your copy. And that’s difficult when it’s not written for you.

​Think of it this way…

​Say you have to pick party food for a bunch of kids. What you like should not come into the equation because you are not the audience. (My son needs to constantly remind me of this.)

​Your copy is the same.

​But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your judgment when vetting the options. You should vet.

​Here are six ways you can pass useful judgment…

You or your copywriter should be able to justify each element of the strategy and copy with research and/or first principles. For example, the headline on your homepage should be backed by data that supports the strategic aim of that headline.

If you don’t know the best practices for a website site, your emails or your social media, you need to learn them or hire someone who does. Search for ‘best practices for X’ if hiring someone is not in your budget.

Market unto others as you would have them market unto you.

You will always have preferences around your copy. That’s ok. Sometimes you’ll be right. If you are aware of them, then you can make decisions about whether those preferences should result in changes.

​This exercise might help you make those decisions…

​Work your way through your marketing and mark up anything you don’t like. Then ask: is there data or best practices that would back up my preference for a change? If so, make the change. 

​If not, ask, is there data or best practices that would argue to keep what’s there? If yes, then keep it. 

​If you have the traffic volume to do so, test. 

Do not write to impress. Do not write as if you were in college. And do not ask a lit. major to write for you. 

​Academic or literary writing has no place in your marketing. It will cost you money. 

Your copy needs to be clear enough so a 6-8th grader can understand it. Here’s how to check…

​Pop your copy in the free version of Grammarly (or preferred app) and it will give you a readability score. Here’s the score for this article to this point…

The reading level is 6th grade but I still have above-average sentence length. You don’t have to dumb down your writing or be Hemingway to be clear and conprehensible.

Once your copy is live, let the results by your judge. As David Ogilvy said, the only person who should decide if you need to change up your ad campaign is your accountant. 

Your copy isn’t for you but that doesn’t mean you can’t pass meaningful judgment on it. You just need to be careful that your likes and dislikes don’t sabotage what your audience needs and wants to hear.

​This is why hiring an outside expert is always worth the investment. 

​If you are writing your own copy, consider hiring a copywriter for an hour or two to review your copy. That’s what I do. I always run my own copy by a copywriter I trust and respect. And it always makes what I’ve written better.

​If you’ve hired a copywriter to write for you, they should be able to justify what they’ve written – or else they are just writing what they like.

This article originally appeared in The Value Proposition Newsletter.

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Voice of Client Research

how to read your clients' minds

[reading time: 4 minutes]

​How to read you ideal leads minds… so you can greet them with the perfect message

A big unknown for many coaches and consultants is whether their messaging is doing its job of attracting and engaging your leads.

Because no matter how well you think you know your clients, unless you were once one of them, there are always gaps in what you know about them.

But that unknown can be fixed using Voice of Client research.

Voice of Client (VoC) data are the words your clients use to talk about their problems and desired outcomes. And without doubt or argument from any copywriter worth their salt, VoC research is the golden key to attracting, nurturing and ultimately signing your best-fit leads.

In this newsletter, I’m going to show you how it can work for you.

The power of client language

Say you’re a fitness coach and you’re promoting a program that helps people lose weight they put on over the holiday season. You might have a headline like, ‘Undo the Holiday-Season spread in time for summer.’

Then one day you start talking to some of your clients about their ideal outcomes and the conversation turns to clothes they keep that no longer fit. Someone says, ‘Yeah, I still have my college jeans. I’d love to be able to fit back into those.’ Everyone laughs and agrees.

That’s your headline.

“Fit back into your college jeans. In time for summer.”

It’s a promise + deadline. And it comes directly from your clients.

Voice of Client research

Voice of Client (VoC) is the gold standard of market research.

It tells you what really matters to your future clients, what keeps them awake at night with worry, what motivates them to act and what stops them, and it gives you the language they use to talk about all of that.

Do your Voice of Client research properly and your marketing will be deeply empathetic and highly relevant.

Here are two ways to carry out your own VoC research…


Interviewing your clients or prospective clients is where you’ll learn the most. Here are your guidelines…

  • Interview one-to-one. Group interviews have their place but suffer from groupthink bias
  • Keep interviews short. I usually run interviews between 20-30 minutes
  • Start broad and narrow in for each question. For example, ‘Tell me why you are looking for a coach to help with giving corporate speeches?’ Then use the 5 Whysframework to dig deeper
  • Pay attention to causes and desired outcomes. Again, dig deep with each answer with the 5 Whys
  • Don’t fill silences immediately. Give the person you are talking to time to think about their answers and tease ideas out
  • Record the interview (with permission). You need the actual phrasing they use

On a project I did for a client a couple of years back, I was repeatedly told by their B2B buyers that what blew them away was the speed of service my client delivered.

It was a major reason they kept coming back for more.

But my client had no idea this was a major value point and had never used this in their marketing to promote themselves. Now they do.

Review Mining

Don’t want to or can’t talk to your clients? Review mining is a technique you can use without talking to a living soul. Here’s how it works…

Say you are a business leadership coach and you have a program for people taking up a new leadership role.

You head over to Amazon and start reading reviews of books on your topic. You come across these snippets…

“Leaders who seek help about imposter syndrome, don’t have imposter syndrome at all. They are really lacking the skill of starting a new role.”

”The author outlines the obstacles faced by professionals in new positions suggesting solutions that are practical and implementable.”

“Transitioning to a new role can cause anxiety and stress for weeks, but this book […] helps diagnose your situations, define the core challenges, and design plans to create momentum which results in a more successful and comfortable transition.’

Here’s how you can use these in your copy…

“Starting a new leadership role can leave you filled with imposter syndrome. But the real problem is very different and much easier to fix. It’s having a practical and actionable plan you have 100% faith in to get you through your first 60 days.

“My program will equip you with that plan plus the core skills you need. So you can diagnose your situation, define the core challenges, and design a plan that creates momentum and delivers results.”

See how this copy is a reworking of review snippets I pulled from the Amazon reviews. And that was from just 10 minutes of reading. So, you can imagine what an hours’ work might reveal.


Knowing what’s important to your clients, how they see and talk about you, what they really value and the language they use is marketing gold.

And it can help you improve your services and innovate, too.

So, if you ever decide to hire a copywriter and they say they’d like to interview your clients, jump at the chance.

(It’s a near-universal truth that copywriters struggle with getting our clients to see the value of these interviews. Please, please do not be afraid of talking to your clients. It shows you care.)

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Microcopy for booking client calls

Get more leads to book more calls

Book more calls from your leads with Microcopy principles

[reading time: 4 minutes]

In this edition of The Value Proposition, I’m going to show you how to use microcopy principles to get more of your leads to book calls.

But first…

What is microcopy?

The best explanation I’ve come across is this…

It’s the copy we use directly related to specific actions we want readers to take. Or, in the words of the person who literally wrote the book on microcopy…

“The motivation before the action, instructions that accompany the action and the feedback after the user has taken the action.” 

Kinneret Yifrah

Here’s an example…

How one sentence increased revenue by 5-10%

In 2009, Joshua Porter created a checkout page for a client. He also wrote code that let him know when there were errors.

And there were indeed errors.

Between 5-10% of users were entering the wrong address for their credit cards.

He added this line of copy:

“Be sure to enter the billing address associated with your credit card.”

The errors went away.

Joshua wrote about it in his blog and that post is considered the start of modern Microcopy.

Microcopy has come a long way since 2009. Today it’s as much about reassuring and motivating people to take action as it is about clarity and helping them avoid errors.

Here are some ways it does that…

  • explaining what happens after you click a button (”you will be taken to…”)
  • explaining what won’t happen after you submit your email (”we don’t spam”)
  • making choices easy
  • making tasks clear and easy
  • offering help when something goes wrong

To sum that up, it’s about removing task and motivational friction. In other words, making it easier and more desirable (for the right person) to take action.

We’re going to take these ideas and apply them to the copy around your invitation to book that first call with you…

Less friction = More calls

Ever seen or used something like this?

Seems pretty straightforward and friendly. But it’s a pretty good way of turning otherwise interested leads away. Here’s why…

Most people are happy to read your site or watch your videos because they are 100% in control. But getting on a call with a stranger? That’s a much bigger ask and requires far more trust.

You need to remove that friction by explaining what will happen and not happen…

That means…

  • explaining what will happen on the call
  • what is expected of them
  • will there be a sales offer
  • what they’ll get out of the call
  • what happens after the call

Have a look at this rewrite and see if it checks all those boxes…

First, let’s look at what I added…

  • I told our lead how much time was expected. Because while we know it’s 20 minutes, they don’t. That might be enough to put a good lead off.
  • I used the word ‘chat’ to emphasize that this is informal and relaxed.
  • I told them exactly what we’ll talk about.
  • I reassured them that there would be no sales pitch or offer.
  • I clearly put the next step after the call in their hands.
  • I added a snippet saying ‘obligation free’ under the button.

But what did I miss?

“What’s in it for me?”

The decision your lead will make comes down to how well you answer the question, ”what’s in it for me?” You might think it’s obvious, and it might be, but you need to say it.

Here’s how…

See how this new copy focuses on the value of making the call?

  • the fastest way
  • the best way
  • you’ll know if this is something you want

Plus, I added an explanation of what happens when they click the button. And yes, that matters. Clicking into the unknown adds friction.

In summary, I created a value proposition and mini-offer around booking a call.

Go review your own site and see if you can copy some of these ideas.

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List, Offer, Copy

Newsletter featured image 10 14 23

If you can’t point to the cause of a problem, you’re wafting away smoke while the fire burns

[read time: 3 minutes]

If you go to your doctor with pain in your left shoulder, there’s a chance you’re on your way to the ER.

Because doctors can tell the difference between a symptom (your pain) and the real cause (your heart).

Quite often, a client will come to me with a problem which, after a conversation, will turn out to be a symptom (I’m sure you have similar experiences).

And they may already have poured time, money and effort into fixing the wrong thing, such as rewriting their website or new case studies.

In this article, I’m going to help you avoid that trap.

I’m going to introduce you to one of the most important frameworks copywriters and direct-response marketers use to find the source of their clients’ biggest copywriting/marketing problems.

It’s called List, Offer, Copy.

Once you can use this framework, you’ll be able to move past problems that are symptoms and focus on the real causes of your marketing bottlenecks.

To see how it works, we’ll use a mini case study…

The Problem

A potential client reached out to me a couple of years back.

He was running ads to a sales page for a course he was selling. It was a proven market and his offer had a track record of delivering great results.

His problem was this…

He was constantly working on his ads and with each iteration he was getting better and better click-through rates. But zero sales.

He thought I might help him with the sales page to convert that traffic into sales.

What do you think I did next?

I started with the List, Offer, Copy framework. Here’s how it works…

The Framework

The framework is based on something called Upstream Thinking: if you look at a river and see it’s polluted but you can’t see the cause, it’s probably because of something upstream.

If you have a system (and your marketing is a system), and there’s a problem at point C that isn’t immediately apparent, you need to consider that the problem is being caused by something at point B.

In marketing, that river has three distinct sections…

  • Your List (people you can engage with – an not necessarily on an actual list)
  • Your Offer (your service + how it is delivered + terms + fees)
  • Your Copy (messaging and the strategy behind it)

This is how List, Offer, Copy helps solve problems…

The Solution

If you have a sales page (Copy) that doesn’t sell, look upstream and ask, is the problem with my Offer? Because if you don’t have a great offer, there’s no reason for people to buy, right?

But if you have a good Offer and there are still no sales, then look at your List (who you are marketing to).

Because outdoor swimming pools are a tough sell in Iceland.

The potential client who had reached out to me was too focused on the Copy part of their system.

They thought better sales-page copy would sell their course. But when I looked at their page, I knew it should have been getting at least some results.

And when I looked at the Offer, I saw only good things. It was a solution to a well-defined and well-understood problem in a proven market at a good price point. Plus, the course had great social proof (testimonials).

So, we moved to List.

And there it was.

The ads were attracting the wrong audience. They were not calling out ideal buyers. Instead, they were calling out people who wanted free stuff.

The Takeaway

Your marketing begins with your List. That’s the people you can market to.

If you call out to the wrong people or fail to filter them out as you also attract the right people, you will flood your client pipeline with non-buyers. That will have significant costs and negative downstream consequences.

Next, your List must be matched with the right Offer.

Offers are a big topic and we’re not going there today, but think of your Offer as your service + all the additional value that comes with how it’s delivered.

And here’s the big takeaway…

If you have the right audience and a great offer, your copy has much less work to do.

No selling, no persuasion, no gimmicks, no fake scarcity.

So, next time you are wondering why your page or ad isn’t performing the way you think it should, ask yourself, is my Offer strong enough? And am I putting it in front of the right people?

Because in a nutshell, that’s what good marketing is all about.

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Value Prism

You probably are underselling yourself. Simply because you are not articulating the value inside your offer. Here’s how to change that…

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If there is one constant in all the marketing I see with my clients (and in my own), it’s that we undersell ourselves.

That’s because we fail to explain the full value we deliver. It’s incredibly easy to do and it’s down to taking too much of what we do for granted.

The solution is a copywriting technique called the Value Prism.

Value Prisms have three levels, Dimensionalized Benefits, Value from Parts and Value from Creation.

Here’s how they work…

Level 1: Dimensionalized Benefits

Imagine you are buying a coat.

Ostensibly, you’re buying protection from the weather (function), but you are also buying how it makes you feel (emotions) and how you think others will perceive you (status).

So, the coat has three values.

Your services have those same three values and it’s your marketing’s job to highlight all three as best you can.

That means you are demonstrating the practical outcome you can deliver, how that will make the client feel and how that will impact their status.

Here’s an example for a coach who works with sales teams whose numbers have been falling…

“Improve your team’s standing (status) with month-on-month sales increases (practical) with systemic changes you can have 100% confidence in (emotions).”

That’s a bit clunky, but you see how that works.

Now think about a more subtle example – car ads: The practicality of a fuel-efficient car that feels great to drive and has that badge.

Or men’s razor blades: A close shave that will make you feel great and more attractive.

Everything, including your services, is a practical, emotional and status sale.

Look at your marketing, especially on your services page. Do you directly talk about or suggest the emotional and status benefits as well as the practical benefits?

(For B2B clients, the status sale will always include not making the client look foolish for hiring you. It’s also true in B2C, but can cost someone their job in B2B. That’s why proof elements are so important.)

Level 2: Component Parts

One of the marketing challenges of being a copywriter is the word ‘writer’.

Most people think being a copywriter means ‘having a way with words’.

But ask any good copywriter and they tell you the same thing. Client after client sees what we do and says, ‘You do so much more just write, don’t you!’

In fact, we do waaay more…

  • client research
  • competition audits
  • discovery processes
  • brand messaging
  • positioning
  • value propositions
  • offer design
  • and on and on and on

And I bet you could say exactly the same about your process, right?

That’s why your marketing needs to explain the component parts of your process. It plays a huge part in increasing how your value is understood.

Do you have a process page or case studies to highlight the depth of your process?

Level 3: Value from Creation

We are more willing to pay for something we believe took a lot of effort or expense to provide. It’s part of our internal fairness meter.

That means you need to be explicit about the cost behind what you are delivering.

Here’s how that might work in your copy…

“I use a proprietary framework to pinpoint bottlenecks in your business.”


“Over the last five years, and having worked with multiple seven and eight-figure businesses, I have developed a proprietary framework to pinpoint bottlenecks in your business.”

See the difference when you talk about the effort that went into the framework?

If you are charging high fees for your services, you need to give your clients reasons to see them as fair.

Look at your marketing.

Are there opportunities to talk about the cost of creating your process?


By using Value Prisms in your marketing, you give your clients multiple reasons to sign with you. It’s all about making sure everything you deliver is fully valued.

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Don’t Charge What You’re Worth

Charging what you are worth can really hurt your business. Widening The Value Gap is the win-win play.

In this article, I’m going to share with you some of the most effective ways to increase your chances of signing a client through value leverage.

Charge your value?

Have you ever been told, charge for the value you deliver?

The intentions are good. Too many coaches and consultants undervalue what they create for their clients.

Clients usually do as well, so this is not a blame game.

And people who pass along this advice just want you to get paid fairly.

The problem is, charging what you’re worth is bad for business.

Because if you charge what you are worth, no one in their right mind will hire you.

Think of it this way.

Would you hire me for $10,000 if the value I created for your business were $10,000?

Hopefully not. There’s no margin in that deal.

Now, I know that’s not what people mean when they say charge your value. They mean charge according to the value you deliver. But even that can cost you money.

Here’s why…

Sell The Gap

Smart clients look for a high price-to-value gap. In other words…

Clients want to pay far less than the value you deliver. That’s good business. Buy a dollar and sell it for two.

The wider the gap, the more attractive the deal.

But if you focus on setting fees that reflect your value, you’ll close the gap by bringing your fees closer to the value you create.

That makes you less attractive.

But if you focus on increasing the gap between your fee and the value you create, you make your offer far more compelling.

And no, you don’t have to lower your fees to do that.

Here is the most effective way to leverage existing value to increase the price-to-value gap

Increase your Perceived Value

Most clients don’t realize how much value you deliver.

And if they don’t know, how can they value it?

Smart marketing always illuminates the full value you bring to the table across every aspect of your service, delivery and terms.

By increasing the perceived value of your service, you increase the gap between price and value and make your offer more attractive. Increase the value by 20% and you can increase your fee by 10% and still widen that gap. All you’ve done is reveal the value that was already there.

Here are three ways to increase the perceived value of your offer.

Three ways to increase Perceived Value

  • Market your process

Clients buy proven processes. They are evidence of methodical expertise and rigor. They are reassuring and reasonably transparent. But it’s not enough to say you have a process. Explain it. Explain how each step delivers the outcomes your client wants. Explain why your process delivers consistent results.

  • Market your support

When I hire a service provider, especially for the first time, I want to know I have a certain level of access and support. I also want my service provider to know that’s important to me. How do I know they know? Because they highlight it in their marketing. They tell me they know this matters and that they will, hopefully, exceed my expectations. Do that for your future clients.

  • Include an Off-Boarding Clause

This last one is piece-of-mind value. Every time you are hired, your client is taking on a risk. One of those risks is that they might need to part ways with you. And that’s a perfectly reasonable thought to have. Let your client know that, if within the terms of your contract, they wish to break the engagement, you will provide an off-boarding service to help them transition smoothly to their new consultant or coach.

The TL;DR is this…

Widen the price-to-value gap with marketing that…

a) fully reveals the value of your process

b) emphasizes the level and quality of the support you offer

c) lowers risk

If you do this right, you can still charge a premium while delivering exceptional levels of value.

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The Supa Value Proposition

The Supa Value Propositions

The Supa Value Proposition: Your Swiss Army Knife for Value Prop Creation

Nothing matters more than your value proposition.

It’s why leads stop and pay attention when they first come across you. It’s why they want to know more about you. It’s why they hire you.

Get it right and everything becomes easier. Getting it wrong = tumbleweed

That’s not going to be you.

By the end of this newsletter, you’ll have a better value proposition than 90% of your competitors. Let’s dive in…

Go large

I’m going to show you a method I use to extract as much from a value proposition as possible. And we’ll do that by crafting a proposition you’d never use in your right mind.

That will give you everything you need to put you ahead of 90% (at least) of your competitors.

Here’s how…

We are going to write the most densely packed, unreasonable, over-the-top value proposition possible.

Supa-Size Formula

There are a looot of value proposition formulas out there. But instead of picking one or two from the best, we’re going to use all of them. At the same time.

This is your Supa-Size Value Proposition:

Using our [process], we/I offer [service] for [ideal client] to help them overcome [their biggest problem] in [timeframe] so they can enjoy [desired outcome] without [something they think is an extra burden of hiring you] so they can ultimately achieve [great big longterm goal for a functional, an emotional and a status outcome] in [timeframe].

How to use the formula

This formula is based on an old writing technique of writing long. In other words, put everything on paper and then edit back. Let’s do it with this formula…

Using our proven enrollment drives, we offer education consulting for private schools to help them turn around falling student numbers with concrete results in one academic year so they can attract more students without increasing their marketing spend so they can ultimately grow a school that is fully enrolled, inspires the confidence of knowing your finances are in great shape, and is seen as a class leader in the next five years.

Slice and dice

You may actually use your full supa proposition, but the beauty of this formula is that you now have all the elements to create as many shorter value propositions as you need.

Here are three examples.

Example 1: Headline section for your homepage

(In this example, you believe the biggest resistance to hiring you is fear of the costs.)

Example 2: The reader knows you are an educational consultant and you know they are a vocational school.

(This might be a brochure or PDF you send to warm leads)

Example 3: The copy you use to get people to download a case study


You’re going to need more than one value proposition. For different readers with different levels of awareness, different concerns and different ambitions.

But you also need them all to be coherent. That’s where the Supa Formula comes in.

Once you’ve crafted that, you can take out the bits that make sense for each use.

Having that master proposition and the ability to spin off as many custom value propositions as you need and still stay 100% on message is what will give you that 90% advantage.

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Client’s Remorse

The first 48 hours are crucial to your relationship with your new client. It takes less than fifteen minutes to get it right.

Client’s Remorse

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another – that sinking feeling of doubt after making a purchase. It’s called buyer’s remorse.

But when it comes to hiring you as a consultant or coach, these emotions can take on heightened significance.


Your clients are making an investment not just in a product, but in expertise, guidance, and ultimately, transformation.

And if it’s a B2B decision, they might be risking their professional reputation, too.

Also, unlike tangible products where we can see their immediate value, the outcomes your client might get from working with you may be progressive and not always immediately visible.

That leaves a gap.

The Gap

That gap can breed doubt. “Did I make the right choice?” “Will this consultant/coach understand and solve my problem?”

Now, all this doesn’t mean they want to row back on the agreement. They just have some inside voices expressing concern. But it adds unnecessary tension to the start of the work where the client needs evidence to confirm their decision.

And that’s where the opportunity lies.

Once you understand the psychology behind buyer’s remorse you can turn it into an advantage for both you and your client. Here’s what you need to know…

The Opportunity

There’s a critical period, somewhere between 24-48 hours where you have an opportunity to directly intervene and directly support your new client.

This means taking actions that not only reaffirm their decision but establish a goodwill bank that makes your work together that much easier.

Here’s what you can do in that 48-hour window to reverse Buyer’s remorse…

Three-Touch Onboarding Emails

Once your client signs, let them know they will receive three short emails over the next two days to explain what happens next and how you will work together.

(You can expand that number for a more complex project.)

You can decide what’s in these emails but here’s an sequence I’ve used with my clients. Each is written to reassure on one of the following…

  • your empathy and commitment to their goals
  • your professionalism and reliability
  • your ability to deliver results

Here’s your breakdown on each email…

Email 1: Welcome Message

This is the email where you reassure on empathy.

Seems obvious, but you’d be shocked at how many service providers don’t send a thank-you and welcome email. Here’s what you can include…

  • appreciation for hiring you
  • your excitement and optimism for achieving their goals (and restate the goals you have identified)
  • clear and easy step for reaching out to you – make it as easy to communicate as possible within your preferred boundaries
  • if you have a client portal, then include a guide to that with an invitation to a 15-minute online walkthrough.

Overall, you want the client to feel they have a clear and easy process to reaching out and they know what to expect when they do.

Email 2: Expectation and Ground Rules

This is the email where you reassure on professionalism.

By now, your client is settling into their decision, and it’s the perfect time to establish clear expectations.

  • have the most commonly asked new-client questions compiled into an FAQ document
  • explain your process
  • layout the timeline and immediate milestones

This is not just about telling them what’s next. It’s about letting them know you’ve got everything under control.

Email 3: Quick Wins and/or Case Studies

What really makes these emails so powerful is that, once written, they are easy to repurpose for each new client.

Do this to create your system…

  • create an onboarding email checklist for yourself – this should include when each email is sent
  • have your email templates available in a dedicated folder or in your email tool
  • create supporting assets to go with the emails such as a checklist and FAQ PDF
  • implement this in your CRM (if you have one)

Once all that’s set up, the whole process should take about 15 minutes per client.

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