Speaker 1 (00:02)
Business owners? Do you want an unfair advantage over your competitors? Do you want to dominate in your area of expertise? You are listening to Business Life Hacks. Learn to influence consumer psychology and shortcut your way to business success with tips, tricks, ricks and hacks from award winning digital agency J Marketing.
Speaker 2 (00:27)
Has anyone ever heard the term the bolder the action, the more polarised the reaction? This is Mark Manson, who is one of my favourite writers. I know Dan's read it and it is 100% sure everything we talk about today I want you to get out of the mindset of writing pleasantly. Anyone who is going to read something you write and get all upset, fuck them. They were not our audience in the first place. When people are reading our stuff, we want to be in one of two counts love us, we'll buy whatever we're selling or hate us and not waste our time. If we're in the middle, we are like 99% of the audience. And again, if you believe what Tim Ferriss says, which I do, I live my whole life by is if you find yourself doing things like everybody else, you are almost certainly doing them wrong. It is very very true and that's what we want to do. So when someone send you some advertisement about the latest dresses, skirts, sports gear, whatever you're into, do you read the entire article wordforword that they send you? Of course not. Out of, let's say it's 10 word letter that they send you 1000 word advertisement, how many letters do you think you actually read?
Speaker 2 (01:39)
Words you actually read? Anyone want to have it a guess? So I spent some time, a lot of time up in Boston with some of the world's leading eye tracking specialists to understand how humans actually absorb content. Because us as writers, as content producers, we've got this idea that every word we write is critical and to a point it is. Although do you know that there are almost no studies that show typos errors, grammatical problems have any impact on conversion rate? Close to zero. Why is that? Because no one's reading it, they're scanning it. So what the eye tracking showed was that just like when someone tries to hit a baseball there, I physically can't watch the ball the whole way they sample and then we take a swing at where we think it is. And so when we're reading, our eyes are going down the page picking out keywords and our brains are hardwired to avoid pain. So anything we think is waffle, anything we think we know and is pointless, our body and mind immediately cuts out. To write something which is short and punchy. That people will actually read takes ten times the amount of time that writing something long and boring does.
Speaker 2 (02:50)
I love this quote problem analysis is new product development. Do the vast majority of websites you go to or can you imagine a website you think to recently where you go onto the home page, you look at the first bit of text, the biggest text that in your eyes drawn to and it says we are X. Show of hands. Who's seen something like that? We are the best accountants in Australia. We are something if you see that that company doesn't know shit about marketing. To be fair, that makes up about 98% of global websites and most of what copywriters do because no one has ever taught them the psychology stuff. So the conversion formula, this is the starting point when we're writing, when we're putting together product stuff. The question is what is the customers underlying problem? Now, one of the interesting methodologies that I use personally, I do not want to know what our customers solution is. So I don't want to know that they have more sophisticated software than the competition. I don't want to know that they've got pricing algorithms. I don't want to know all of the facts and features. Why?
Speaker 2 (03:54)
Because once I know that everything in my mind is going to selling the features, not putting it harder to put myself in the shoes of their client. So who's their major customer? Can you tell me, have you been across this?
Speaker 3 (04:08)
What's the major investment and outsourced vacation rental management company?
Speaker 2 (04:13)
Speaker 3 (04:14)
Right now it's real estate agents.
Speaker 2 (04:16)
Beautiful. Okay. And what is the problem of a real estate agent who's got real estate on their books?
Speaker 3 (04:23)
So it's this feast or famine cycle where they're spending part of their time making a bunch of sales and then they go months and months without it. It's very insecure income.
Speaker 2 (04:32)
Okay, now here's the question. So let's jump to kind of merge these two together to be a sceptic. Does the real estate agent realise that they are feast or famine? Does it keep them up at night?
Speaker 3 (04:44)
It's very well might. They're afraid that they're not going to have money to pay for their homes, for their families, for food, living expenses.
Speaker 2 (04:51)
Okay, that's interesting because we're talking about two different things here, aren't we? Already? One of them is, is a real estate agent able to make sufficient sales consistently? And the other one is, is the real estate agent able to put food on the table for their family? Now, as writers, as speakers, we are conflating the two things, but they're not necessarily combined in our reader's head. And if we try to shove it down their throat, which is what we normally do, we're trying to crowbar the solution we know is good for them in their final flight kicks in and they go, no, screw this. This would require too much effort. I'm not reading this shit. And they leave. What's the actually quick audience question we'll ask everyone for their guess. How many seconds when someone lands on a website are they willing to give it? To assess if this is a good solution for them, start with you, Robert. Just have a guess. I'll give you a hot tip. It's under 30 seconds. Five. Five. Dennis? One and a half. Your guesses are very strong. You are equally sceptical with me about humankind. Camilla.
Speaker 4 (06:01)
I think it's like zero point 29 seconds, because that's how long Google takes to give you an answer. So I think it's something like that.
Speaker 2 (06:09)
You've been talking to my girlfriend, Harvey.
Speaker 4 (06:12)
I would say two to 3 seconds, max.
Speaker 2 (06:14)
And the answer is, or at least the answer was 3 seconds. And just to put that in context, because we all have an idea of what 3 seconds is. One, two, three. That was a very long 3 seconds. And if you believe the statistics, in the last 15 years, our attention spans have decreased by 85% on average. So this ain't getting longer. Our consumers are pretty much goldfish with thumbs, to quote one of my old bosses. So if we're not talking directly to their underlying problem, then they are not paying any attention. So then let's come back and riff on this a little bit longer. I'll say another three or four minutes so we can keep this going. Do you really think have we spoken to any real estate agents who got on Google and said, I am looking for a way to turn the real estate I have into a vacation booking, or something like that? You might need to change the question to make it relevant.
Speaker 3 (07:07)
Yeah, I have talked to a real estate agent and she said that every real estate agent has thought about getting into short term rentals and leveraging their existing client relationships for that. But all of them feel that it's too hard, too much of a learning curve, and they don't want to be a property manager, so they're stuck. They don't know how to do it.
Speaker 2 (07:25)
And then they don't oh, my God. Yeah, we didn't pre plan this. That was the single best answer you could have given me. Well done. So that without going into deeper research, let's just pretend that we've done that and 100 people said yes. That's our problem. That is the problem we're actually solving. It is not, how do we do a better vacation rental software for real estate agents? The problem is or how real estate agents make more money. The problem we're solving is, how can you get in as a real estate agent? How can you get into short term rentals without knowing anything? How can it be easy? And in short, what are they scared of, then? So if we go into this sort of thing, if we talk about the emotion and so on, you just said they decide that it's too hard. Why? What are they scared of?
Speaker 3 (08:11)
It's going to take up all their time. It's going to take time away from doing the things that they love to do or that they won't be able to fully commit to their job. And they'll make their brokerage upset.
Speaker 2 (08:21)
Beautiful. And the main reason, and one of the reasons why people are all muted and aren't jumping in here and giving their opinion and telling me my shirt sucks and all of this stuff because they're scared of being judged, or huge human emotion, you can apply this to just about every client you work with. The fear of being judged. So what happens? And I actually do run a short term rental business. This is one of my side hobby, so I know a lot about this. When we put ourselves out there, there's a chance we're going to fail. And human beings fucking hate failing. We hate people thinking we're idiots. We hate not knowing. We hate the anxiety of what if? I don't know what corrupted us so badly from our heyday 50 years ago, but for some reason, the concept of taking a chance of leaving for another job is anxiety provoking, let alone stepping outside the norm and setting up a short term rental business. So what we know here is the problem that we're trying to overcome is how to make this easy and how to remove all of those frictions associated with short term rentals.
Speaker 2 (09:25)
This is why it's important that you be a sceptic. So when you get that brief from whoever writes it for you, don't just write to it. That would be craziness. Because you're not being judged on how pretty your words are. You're being judged on how effective this piece of work is. So the first thing I ask when someone says I can't populate this page is, how are people getting to this page? What are they searching for? Is this an SEO term? Is it a paid search? If they're searching for the brand and they know that they're after jet stream, because if you can imagine the buyer decision cycle, they're at the bottom bit and they know the options. They just trying to choose the right one. That is a very different mindset to someone that's just casually seen an ad that said, hey, do you know if you're a real estate agent, you can make all this money from short term rental and we make it easy. So be the sceptic on where they are in the buyer decision cycle and then really put yourself in their shoes and say, what are they angry or scared about?
Speaker 2 (10:20)
So with Jetstream dan again ripping off you, do you think these real estate agents have actually tried dip their toe in the water and tried a short term rental?
Speaker 3 (10:29)
Most of them, I believe, have not.
Speaker 2 (10:30)
Beautiful. So then we can jump in and say, what are they scared? That actually happened? Do they have experience? Have they seen heard other horror stories? And we can start to map those out because these are going to be our frictions, our anxieties. And the most important thing when you're being a sceptic, if you read about this, would you hand over your personal details, someone who's not down, what are you scared about? And just yell out, don't be handed for anything so I can't see everyone. What are you scared about? When you hand over your phone number to a company, particularly a gym, they're just going to spam you all the time. Oh, shit, yes. Have you done that with a gym before, or a personal trainer?
Speaker 4 (11:08)
100%. I have a gym doing this to me right now.
Speaker 2 (11:12)
Fuck those guys, I hate them so badly. So there was this point in time where the prevailing philosophy was that you need to harangue a customer and the research shows that you need to make seven calls, follow up calls before you're going to get a sale. And this has just been accepted in the modern world, that okay, we need to harass people. How many spam emails do you get? Holy shit. Even unsubscribing, from every single one, I get at least half a dozen a day. And if, God forbid, you give someone your email address just for a general inquiry, now you're on a two year automated email cycle with shit that no human wants to read. So what would that do to human behaviour regarding giving our contact details over? It makes us extraordinarily sceptical. And the barrier for handing them over when I first started in this industry was, here's a form, fill it in. Nowadays, people need to be incredibly comfortable before they're willing to the research actually shows, and this isn't my research as Gartners, that 57% of the buyer journey happens before we are willing to talk to someone from that company.
Speaker 2 (12:14)
Just let that sink in for a second. 57%. In other words, what's the process we're going through? What we're trying to do is make ourselves feel super comfortable before we're willing to go, OK, it's worth the chance I'll give them my phone number and if they call me, it's worth it because I'm reasonably certain these guys are in are at least pretty likely to solve my problems. Now we're going to get back to as writers how we can do this, but I think if you take away one thing today, this would be the thing that you're writing to that 57% who will not talk to a salesperson. And your job is to catch their interest enough to read to why this solution solves all their problems and debates all their fears. And if we're good enough at that, then hopefully they'll be comfortable enough to speak to someone, which in the B to B space is generally the next step. SAS is a lovely concept, but not very reliable. So nine frictions 57% of the buyer decision cycle happens before they're willing to talk to someone. What are the nine things that we need to soothe in order for someone to feel comfortable?
Speaker 2 (13:26)
Has anyone read how to pitch anything by Orange Claw? Like, if you're going to read one book on how to get better at presenting stuff. It is actually a great audio book as well. He talks about how our brain is millions of years old and it is hardwired to be like a crocodile. He calls it the croc brain. So we've got this first processing unit that is trying to save us from pain. That makes a hell of a lot of sense in the modern age because we're hit by something like 2 million advertisements or messages per day. If we tried to absorb and process and rationally go through each of those, it would be impossible. And so this croc brain, it's taking these millions of messages and it's trying to work out what's nutritious, what's important for us and what is charf, what's rubbish. And so our job is to try to get past the croc brain, to try to give it easy to absorb information which grabs its interest and soothes all of these fears. So we're going to go through them. Now, why this is important, the other performer, when we're writing product pages and direct response pages, the tendency is to write about the features of the product.
Speaker 2 (14:31)
Quick hands up, who's written a product page and written the vast majority of their stuff around what features the product has, why the product is so good. Almost everyone should have their hand up right now because that is what we all do. We can't help it. But the truth is no one gives a damn. They don't give a damn unless that solves one of their fears. And so what we're actually writing to is how it solves fears. And this is the subconscious process, scientifically tested, that our brain goes through to evaluate in a B to B situation. Is this a safe purchase? Product performance, wholeness of solution? Does this fully solve my problem? So let's think about jet stream again. Dan, what did we agree just then in our example was the problem that.
Speaker 3 (15:18)
Real estate agents had problems that real estate agents have. If you feel like it's too hard to run short term rentals yeah, it's.
Speaker 2 (15:24)
Too hard, it's too scary, it's too risky. Why risk what I have? We are far more motivated not to lose than we are to gain. It's stunning. If you ever put a bet down on a horse or a casino or a casino and just sense yourself for 1 second, what's the emotion you're feeling? It's not the giddiness of excitement. And this is again proven scientifically. Oh. What if I win? I can buy myself a nice dinner. No, it's the fear of losing $20 and then the relief we feel when we don't lose $20. If we don't lose. So wholeness of solution is will we solve every part of my problem? So, Dan, the reason I asked that was if we really want to map out what does that mean, what is that problem statement of I'm scared to do this because I don't know how mean, what are all the avenues. Does this product solve all of them? If it doesn't, how can we identify those and at least be aware of them when we're writing expertise? Is this provider an expert in the space? So, again, if you're happy to do you know the client well done.
Speaker 3 (16:25)
I know the client quite well.
Speaker 2 (16:26)
Cool. So is the provider an expert in the space? In the space of making it easy for real estate agents to get into doing this? Are they really an expert? Could they guide them or are they just assess platform?
Speaker 3 (16:37)
They are, they are.
Speaker 2 (16:38)
Great. And so if we're going to write for that, we obviously can't just write, hey, we're experts, we need to prove it. So how could you prove that they're an expert? That they take real estate agents who have never done this shit and give them a reliable, easy revenue stream?
Speaker 3 (16:54)
Well, in terms of just authority, something I have been wanting to weave into their brand story is that they were one of the first companies that Airbnb turns to for developing some backend solutions or one of the first things to integrate into Airbnb like Airbnb approach them directly so there's at least a piece of authority they have. Case studies I think probably prove expertise, although that also fits under similar clients.
Speaker 2 (17:17)
Oh, I would expect it to fit under several of these. The same things we come up with right here are going to apply to every client you have. It's a lot like advertising. The channels never change. It's just about how we adapt them into the situation. So, yeah, let's go with case study. If we put a case study in with a real estate agent who they had taken from shitty situation of selling five houses a year and just being able to put food on the table to within three months, earning a guaranteed income of what's? A lot of money, $2,000, $5,000, something like that, and step through each of the phases that that person went through and told the story of us, would that be pretty reaffirming to other real estate agents that read it? Would they be like, holy shit, this guy's experts, and they make it easy? Yes. Showing that we are experts helps us to guide people through that process. And being an expert doesn't mean, hey, we won this award. That helps, but I want to see myself in those shoes. And so we want to be sceptical about what an expert actually is to a human being product.
Speaker 2 (18:18)
Durability so in this instance, we're talking about a service. Is this going to provide me long term value or is it a flash in the pan? A lot of people didn't invest in cryptocurrency because they thought it was a flash in the pan. But you could easily argue that there were lots of websites out there that showed great expertise and all these other things, but there was scepticism around long term value. To the customer. So how can we show that this solution that they're offering isn't just going to last for a few months before everyone catches up or the industry changes regulations? This is for the long term and you can bank on it for the next ten years of your future pricing. Okay, chat time. What percentage of BDB website put their pricing onto the page the landing page are on? Very, very few do it. Why don't they do it? They don't do it because they're scared that people are going to see the price and they won't. Inquire coming straight back to the very first thing I said that defies the first rule of don't polarise. If we want to be loved or hated they're arguing.
Speaker 2 (19:19)
No, no, we want to be in the middle. And back to my first point. Fuck that. We want to be loved or hated. And price is so important to human beings. If I'm going to give you my phone number, I do not want you to be ringing up 15 times trying to sell me something for $100,000. I'm not buying it. But if I know that it's $100, I don't mind so much that you might call me 15 times because that's okay for me. So putting the price, or at least putting something that refers to price or implies a price is really, really important. If the client won't go for it, that is their problem. But if you want effectiveness, it's important product capacity. So what that really means, and this is going through the pockets of timely delivery when we're talking about A to B, if they say, we can take you from normal real estate agent to being a vacation hotel mogul, how fast can they start the training? How fast can you get on board? Can they actually deliver on everything that they have promised with this set up? Or is there going to be giant holes?
Speaker 2 (20:16)
Will they give you the software and then all of a sudden you're on your own? Or will they give you the software, but then you've got to go work out website hosting and can this be done today? How long is it going to take me before I'm actually generating income? Often overlooked, really, really important. Similar clients. Oh, my God, this one is done so badly. Human beings, I don't know what it is that we love about big brands, but we will go. Dan said before I almost jumped all over him until I realised he was right when he said jet stream used Airbnb came to them and I was like, It's called into the Trap, because most people will choose a big brand and say, oh, they also work with this big brand. Well, guess who I'm not? I'm not Airbnb and I'm not a competitor at Airbnb, so personally, I can't relate to that. Luckily, Dan made the right point in the right way, so he was actually correct. But when I see other agencies say other agency software providers pitch to me and they'll say, oh, McDonald's uses our software, and it's improved in this for McDonald's, I couldn't care less.
Speaker 2 (21:14)
I'm not McDonald's. But you know who I'm really interested in is the software provider provided their stuff to Flying Cat, and I consider us very similar. And this is the story of how it helped Flying Catch. Well, that's really interesting to me because I want what they have. Customer service. Again, massively overlooked. And in fact, we combine 89 together. So we do at the same time. Anyone why, when we're doing research on a website, is knowing that there's someone that can talk to us or if we use this product is awful? Why is that important to us? Why does that make us feel safe?
Speaker 4 (21:49)
I think it's because we trust other humans more than we trust brands. Like, brands are always going to say, like, hey, my product is bad. Please buy me. But when you actually talk to people that have tried the product, you're going to trust them even more. You don't know them.
Speaker 2 (22:01)
Camila, great answer. Kate, I think, put her hand up, jump in.
Speaker 4 (22:05)
Yeah. It's because everybody hates chat bots.
Speaker 2 (22:07)
Oh, shit. Yeah. Or worse yet, no chatbot. Try getting through to airbnb. If you don't know the phone number, it's painful. Or sitting on hold to a bank or a telecommunications provider. And those guys are legally mandated to speak to us. There are so many b to BS that aren't so you just can't get onto them. So you put your money up and then you don't know how to use it, and it's causing you problems and all that stuff. So what we want to know is and what we want to write for customers is if this is shit, if you've got a problem, is there someone you can get through to today and get an answer? And what will they do for you? And this is guaranteed, or is there a return policy? Is there some certainty? I have quickly, what are we scared of? Are we more scared or are we more excited about what we get? We're more scared. So this removes the scared. Maybe they don't have a return policy. Maybe they don't have a guarantee. There is something you can write which tells people that I'm not just putting my money down unseen.
Speaker 2 (23:00)
I'm not going all in on a hand of poker, that I've not actually looked at the cards on. Dan and I actually recorded this podcast here. This was about the paper which Google funded, about the messy middle of the funnel. I usually have no time for the stuff that they published. It's really glossy rubbish. But this was an incredible paper, and what it showed was how the human decision cycle works when we are considering alternatives. Dan and I picked the teeth out of it. And if you, like me, just ranting at the microphone and you'll love the spotcard. But the gist of it was that we like to think that humans will compare two or three different alternatives and we'll be like, well, this one's pretty good, this one is better and this one's the best. So I choose the best. Absolutely not. How it works at all. How it works is these are all of my frictions, all my anxieties, and if all of them aren't satisfied, then I'm not going to make the purchase. Not only do I not go back and to the second best alternative, I drop out of the buyer decision cycle altogether.
Speaker 2 (24:02)
Case in point, it took me, like, four years to buy a Smartwatch because I just couldn't work out if they could hold spotify offline for when I go running. Truth be told, I've used that feature twice in the last two years, so clearly it wasn't a rational thing, but every time, I dropped out of the buyer decision cycle entirely. So, landing page effectiveness checklist. Here are a few quick things. Green is good. Whatever colour that is, is bad. First question. When we are writing a headline, is it clearly solving a problem that the customer has be a super sceptic? Can we show evidence how we have shown it and that we've shown it for people like us? Like you? Facts, staff testimonials, not hyperbole. Again, we have tested inside and out. Things like number one platform for X doesn't work. Humans see through that shit immediately. In fact, it totally undermines what you're saying. It's the fluff that they skip over. So unless it's the fact stat or a client testimonial, it's hyperbole. Get it out of there. Don't have a scan ability. We haven't got to talk about this at all. But can headlines beyond one ideally maximum two lines, can they have sort of five to ten words in them?
Speaker 2 (25:14)
And can each paragraph just be three lines or something like that? Humans will not read, so we have to make it as easy as we can. If I get invited back here, I'll do something on how to make stuff scannable headlines and subheaders two lines less. I talked about that. One of my favourite writing tricks. We can do a whole workshop on this. Write this one down. Set yourself a challenge today. Try writing every headline and starting every paragraph with a verb. I don't know if anyone's heard that one before I actually made it up, but it works. If you write a headline like receive the best education you can, find your organic stuff. It's impossible to start with a verb and then write about us. About me. It's impossible to write in the first person. You have to, by grammatical nature, right in the second or third person, and that's what makes it so effective. Hard to explain in just a couple of lines, but I'll do something on it later. And we didn't talk about this at all. The easy. Next steps. Are we just going for the jugular and asking people to inquire right away?
Speaker 2 (26:19)
Or do we have some soft conversion points? Could we have a conversion point? Like, find out how much you could earn, what people like you regularly earn in the first six months. Fill in this form. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Now. Here's the shit that we all fall into that totally kills our writing. If the site starts with, we are X, we do this, you know, it's a terrible sight. They've failed. Sell the outcomes, not the features. Try to avoid short. Talk about the features. Site has to have proof points. This could be five star rated, it could be anything, but we need proof points. If you don't have case studies of people like that, you've killed yourself. If you don't mention the price, you've killed yourself. We talked about hyperbole moving images, scrollers carousels. Clients love them. They've made you write to them. I know they've made you write to them. Yet every single academic study into sliders, including my favourite from Monash University, has shown that the human eye hates them. And so instead of reading every slide, we deliberately read zero. Conversion rates go down, SEO goes down. Don't write to it, tell them to remove it from the design.
Speaker 2 (27:30)
Sliders are one of the worst things a website can have. And of course, the imagery and the design, you can write as well as you want, but if it's a shit design, you won't go. It doesn't matter what you write. You wanted to ask?
Speaker 3 (27:42)
Yeah, I was just going to say that we won't have time for that, but that would be interesting. Maybe in the form of a loom video or something like that.
Speaker 2 (27:50)
Cool. How do we go, guys? Absolutely delighted. I love doing this sort of stuff and I love meeting cool people, so please pass along. You're very welcome to add me on your favourite social media. And when you're working on this stuff, if you've got questions and you just want to bounce stuff off someone, do it. Send it across to me. I love forming relationships. The only reason we're on this planet is to get to know each other and help one another out. So don't hesitate. I'd love to meet each and every one of you.