How Does Copy Factor Into Your Business Processes?
September 28, 2022
Your business relies on words. Yes, words.
There are words in every facet of your business, though it’s understandable that when you think of business words, you likely only consider the copy you have to create for your marketing and sales materials.
But what about the rest of the stuff? Do you have the words on your business processes figured out?
Do you know what to say on your forms, questionnaires, onboarding and offboarding materials? How about non-client facing documents, such as team SOPs? You’ve found your way to the right place if the words for your business processes are swirling in your head, but you can’t seem to commit them to the page.
In this episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast, Melissa Morris and I chat about all the copy that comes with your business processes and how to be as strategic as possible for a business built on ease and great relationships.
Here’s what Melissa and Erin have to say about copy and your business processes
Exactly where the hidden copy exists in non-client-facing business processes
What parts of your client-facing processes need help to improve customer experience
The importance of an onboarding guide, such as a welcome packet or email, to set expectations and boundaries
What pieces of copy is often missing in the onboarding phase all the way through to the offboarding phase
How to write canned emails to include personality and make them reusable
The importance of naming conventions when building automations
How strategy determines what goes into the forms we create for our business that help with our business processes
Quotes about the importance of the words you use in your business processes from Melissa and Erin
“A well crafted email, in my mind, is actually your “expectations email”, because you’re laying the groundword of what’s included in the project.” – Melissa Morris
“People do seem to think that processes and automation now mean like ‘robotic and starchy’, and hands off and what not. And that’s not true.” – Melissa Morris
Learn more about your guest expert:
Melissa Morris is a Business Operations Consultant who helps business owners save 5 hours per week by streamlining and automating their business using tools like Dubsado. She uses her DISCO framework to free business owners from overwhelm so they can actually work ON their business and not just IN their business.
Melissa’s been seen in publications such as INC Magazine, Keap Business Success Blog and CEO Blog Nation. She can also be heard on podcasts such as She’s Making an Impact, Productivity Straight Talk and BizChix.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.
When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.
Learn more about Erin’s done-for-you website copy services if you want to skip the work and hire a professional copywriter to do it for you https://erinollila.com/website-copy
Want to know more about copy and business processes? Here’s the transcript for episode 031 with Melissa Morris
NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors. SPEAKERS
Melissa Morris, Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila 00:04
Hey friends. Welcome to the top coffee Timmy podcast. Here we empower small business owners to step into the spotlight with their marketing and messaging. I’m your host, Erin Ollila. Let’s get started and talk coffee. Hello friends today we are here with Melissa Morris who is like the business organizer. But what you might not know about her is that she actually loves karaoke. And I do too. So let’s just stay here for a second. What are your like top three Karaoke Songs?
Melissa Morris 00:43
That is so good. So Ice Ice Baby, like went down to Georgia. And then Bobby McGee is another one,
Erin Ollila 00:52
my apologies for putting you on the spot and asking you which three songs would be your favorite? Because once you started talking, I was like, Oh, my gosh, I hope she doesn’t ask me this question back. Because what was my favorite size me I don’t know, my mind is still a little blank. So we’re here today to shift topics lately. But we’re here today to talk about the type of copy that we need to run our business. We think of copy as those exterior things that we do that like our only client facing specifically in marketing, but we never considered how many words go into actually running our business, whether they are systems, we set up for ourself ways that we work with our teammates, or even actually, like client facing things still, but they are not marketing types of words that we’re writing. And I really wanted you to come on here today. So we could talk about things like the systems and how we can automate our businesses and how we can best set ourselves up for success as business owners.
Melissa Morris 01:47
A one that I’ve found is particularly copy heavy is Client Onboarding. And it’s one that gets people stuck. And so when I mentioned, the tool, dubsado, that’s one of the things I’m often automating for people is Client Onboarding, but what that conversation typically looks like, is going to spending a lot of time. You know, I have proposals that I need to get out, I’m reinventing the wheel every time I have this information I’m not getting from my clients. I just want it all automated. And I’m like, Okay, that’s great. Well, let’s map out the workflow. So first, now we have to write out the workflow because I don’t know what I’m automating, right? Like, we can’t get it in the tech until we know what it is we’re trying to create. So now we have it all mapped out. And I’m like, Okay, well, now I need a contract Delivery Email, I need an email to deliver your questionnaire, I need the email to follow up about the questionnaire. I need the email for the invoice, I need the questions for the questionnaire. And there’s this whole list of things we need before I can even automate. And it can be a long, it can be a long list. And some of those things require some thought and attention. But when you do them once, and you get them stored, then I can go in automated and get all of those tasks off of your plate. So we’re not reinventing the wheel every time. Yeah, 100%
Erin Ollila 03:10
here, and I think maybe, you know, like I’m hearing you speak. And like, this is probably why I became so passionate about this, like, the hidden copy thing that like I had never even thought about before. Because, well, that was years ago, two years ago, I can’t remember. But when I set up my own dubsado and I was looking through the workflows, I identified 54 emails that I would need to create canned emails. And that’s not even the forms or anything, those could use some adjustment. But the 54 emails, I wanted to get them written. So I didn’t have to do them again. And I’d say probably only about 20% or less, were written as, like a previous email I might have sent to a client or I did have saved in my Google canned templates. So I had a lot of writing to do. And I finished it all in one weekend. And I will tell you, that was probably like the biggest gold star I could have ever give to myself. Because in some ways, it sounds so corny, but like, in some ways, I proved to myself, I could do it, right. Like I push this off for so long. Because I felt like I was manually running my business just fine. I knew what to say in these emails. I knew how to respond to my clients. I’ve literally been in business for years now. So like, it wasn’t a question of knowing how to do the thing or what to say. It’s just the fact that I was so secure In the manual running of my business that I didn’t see the the urgency to make the automations happen. And then when I knew I had to when I knew I should automate to grow. I was fearful to put the work in to do it. So like to sit down to get all of those emails out, even if they weren’t perfect at first, but you know, done was such a thrilling moment for me because I realized like, I don’t have to do this work anymore. And it seems so easy, but now that I have not done any of those manually, it is insanely awesome. Like I knew like we actually joked right before this and maybe this is a conference question that we should introduce is, I was explaining to Melissa, how at the end of our conversation, I was going to ask her a few questions. And what two of the three questions would be just to kind of give her a chance to mentally think it through. And then I was like, You know what I do this every single time that I have a podcast interview, I spend the first couple of minutes just telling people like what to expect, I realized, why am I telling everyone this, if I am saying the same thing, to every single podcast guest, I could film a video and just throw that in one of the of the emails that I have that says like, here’s what to expect. Here’s how we’ll start. Here’s how we’ll finish. Like, this is exactly why creating the processes, building workflows, trying to automate things in your business are so helpful. Because it saves you time, it saves you breath in this case, you know, and it really makes all of the experiences better. This was great. And I think onboarding is a great example of how many things how many times are contacting people. Some of the things I didn’t think of when I was building out my own onboarding processes. were things like a welcome packet, you know, and like all of the type of information you need to share there. Is there anything that you find that your clients often neglect, or don’t think about when they’re trying to do this process with you? Yeah, there
Melissa Morris 06:17
definitely are some things and I would say the welcome email is a common one, you’re definitely not alone there. And that is such a wildly important email to send to, because a well crafted welcome email, in my mind is actually your expectations email, because you are laying the groundwork of what’s included in the project, what calls are going to look like what turnaround time is going to look like, you’re really laying the groundwork for your boundaries, as well as the scope of the project, which ultimately saves you more time and money. Because you’re not doing work that wasn’t included, you’re not having calls or emails come in after hours, you’ve already laid that groundwork. So it’s a really, really important email that everyone should have in their process. Another one that I find that people often don’t think about is I’m a huge fan of a check in moment, especially if you have a retainer offer. Or if you’re doing a project that’s going to span an extended period of time. And by extended period of time, I mean, like maybe two or three months. And that check in moments. So for example, I have a six month retainer where I work with business owners at month three, I want to check in with them and make sure Are we still on track? Are we still feeling good about goals? How are we feeling about our progress? Do we need to course correct anything at this point. And that moment is super valuable, because what you never want to happen is now we come up on renewal time. And somebody is like, Oh, this actually wasn’t what I expected. Or I thought we were going to work on this or that? Well, now it’s kind of too late to get back on track, because the program has concluded like your time together has concluded. But if you could have found this out at month three or even month four, Well, now’s a really great time to to course correct. Another one that people know, this is when they know they should do but somehow it never gets included is the Testimonial Request. Oh, yeah, off boarding.
Erin Ollila 08:13
Um, so I have a whole product on testimonials. And I would say I let you finish I think he promised sorry, add here. I will say that another thing to consider too is not just off boarding, but doing it throughout the process, like building that into your processes. So you don’t have to stress out about the last moment. But now I will give the microphone back to you. Because there is a very valuable reason why you check in with them at the end of a project and not just throughout the project. So take it, Melissa,
Melissa Morris 08:42
back to you. Yeah, so the Testimonial Request, I always send an exit email that has an exit survey in it. And a testimonial request. And you know, your client check in could be another good opportunity to to capture that testimonial. You know, obviously there could be times where we’ve drifted off course a little bit, but we could also be getting great feedback during that check in that’s like, wow, you’ve really exceeded expectations. I can’t believe we got this done already. I can’t believe we’re saving this much time, this was easier than I thought it was going to be. And when you get that feedback, you want to get it documented, more more copy, right? Like get it written down, follow back up with them. And just ask them, hey, I really appreciate that feedback. Would it be okay if I use this as a testimonial so you’re you’re right, you can get it really at any point in there. But I think that check in is important. And then a nice off boarding moment is something to that. I think some people tend to leave a little gray, which can be tough to especially if you’re doing project work, where you know you kind of keep answering questions even though the projects really kind of done and well they just had one more they just had one enter like okay with the project three weeks ago and you’re still like one more question. And it’s also a really great opportunity to I say an onboarding, set them up for success, like let them know what your next program is. Is there another way you could help or support them? Do you have a course or some, you know, materials, you can pass to them a way to stay connected with them. So I would say the, the copy that people tend to forget in their client processes is that welcome email, the check in moment, and then getting that getting that testimonial.
Erin Ollila 10:20
I love that. And I love how you mentioned, this is something I think so few people think about is how people can work with you, after they’re done working with you, you know, whether that’s something that comes to conclude and like, you know, like you said, Give like more of that like clear indicator that the project is over. Or if that’s just like a touch point that you do for past clients, I think that we have to remember as business owners, it part of our marketing efforts should really be following up with the people that we’ve already worked with, and giving them more opportunities to work with us. Not in a way that feels, you know, and genuine, where we’re like sharing something with them, they don’t we know they don’t need maybe it was part of their package. But if there’s anything that like, you know, for me, for example, if I have someone I write a website for, I know, eventually they’re going to need copy. Again, it could be the smaller things like creating welcome emails or a welcome packet off boarding packages, or could be just you know, a course that they’re launching. So maybe three, six months down the line, I just send an email, you know, love to working with, you just want to touch base, let you know that if you ever want to work again, we can do this in a VIP day, or in sharing that as an example. Because there’s a very wide range of how you can touch in with clients. And that depends a lot on the strategy that you have the ways that you work with clients, that type of packages offers all of those things. But I think that is a absolute something that people miss out on when they finish their projects or conclude their services with clients is how to continue that relationship. And I think in some ways, that’s the easiest thing to do. We all worry about, like email marketing lists, growth, and social media, which are all you know, very important things, and I understand why they seem so relevant. But if it’s as simple as touching back with the clients who’ve already paid us that we’ve already given them a great experience with that, for the most part we like, I mean, I’m gonna keep our fingers crossed on that. But like, for the most part we like, like, those are the people I want to work with the people that I feel like I’ve loved supporting and, and then they want to work with us too, because they know us, they trust us, and we’ve given them a good service during our time with them. Definitely. Okay, so those are a great examples. And I love the idea of like shifting for a second to talk about canned emails, because in some ways, you know, what we just shared about is the client experience, like all of the additional copy that we create, that we send to our potentially leads and mostly clients. But what about I think canned emails can serve for everyone, right? They’re how we talk to our leads and our clients, but they may also be how we talk to people who pitch us for opportunities and other groups of people. So I don’t know if you have advice for like trying to think of some of the more popular canned emails people would need. Or if you can share some advice on if there’s not that like how to plan for what canned emails you create for your own customized business?
Melissa Morris 13:08
That’s a really great question. And one of the things I always look to is what’s going on in your email? Because when we’re thinking about those emails that we need to send, what type of emails are you Fielding, and I know for a lot of businesses, one of their first hires and support in their business is a VA, and they want that VA to help with their email. Well, it’s really hard for a VA to help with the email when the VA doesn’t have any frame of reference, they don’t have any templates or canned emails to go off of. And that can be really difficult. So I actually want people to think about two things here. One is the client communication SOP, which is very important document. So this is not an email template. This is literally the standard operating procedure for how you want emails handled. So this should include things like the tone of your email. Depending on who you work with who your clients are, you may need a very professional tone. Depending on the type of work you do, you may need to be concerned about things like HIPAA, or people’s privacy, or what’s going on there. Where you may just have like a really super friendly, right, like, are emojis allowed in your emails are not allowed, right? So tone is a big one. Also, you know, when it comes to, if you’re following up about scheduling, do you offer additional times? Do you want them to just send a link? Do you need to get more information do right? There’s a lot of different ways that people can handle the variety of emails that are gonna get brought in. Do you want all of your emails filed? Do you just want them all deleted? When responding? How are they supposed to sign off? Are they supposed to ask you know for more help? Do you treat clients differently than you treat referrals in terms of where you send them or what links so a claim A communication SOP is really, really valuable. And that’s pretty much all the things that you have in your mind that you want to see transpire into an email. And that can feel like a heavy left. But I think the best way to do it, and this is how I recommend people start automating, in general, just if you want to start automating your business, the first thing you need to start doing is getting canned emails and templates and such in place, because you can’t automate it until that stuff is ready because it has to be ready to fire. What I recommend people do is, when you go to sit down and write the email, someone’s requesting to schedule reschedule a phone call with you write the email and write it as if it could be used over and over and over again. And then save it, name it where you can find it, and then save it away. When you write that email that goes out to send a proposal or a contract. Try and write it in a way that it can be used over and over and over again, right? Don’t say I look forward to hearing you. Like I really enjoyed our call this afternoon. I can’t wait to hear back from you. I really love connecting with you today. Right? If we know it’s gonna go out today, like really look for those moments where you can take out the bespoke component and leave it really, really streamlined. And then as you go to write it, ask yourself that question, go back and read it again and say, What can I tweak in here? And what can I change? And how can I save this, and then move it over and save it. So then now if you have your plan, communication SOP, so that someone knows the tone of your emails, your preferences, how quickly you want emails returned, where to direct people, if they need help, all of these things should be in your client communication, SOP, if you couple that with some templates of standard inquiries you get and you start to see a trend in the type of emails you get, it’s going to be really, really easy for you to bring on that VA that you’ve been wanting to get some help, or even just make it easier for yourself.
Erin Ollila 16:51
Yeah, super helpful. And you know, it made me think of something I always say to my clients is, you know, a lot of people will not frequently ask questions on their website. So this is something we’ll do, but it’s like, I’ll be like, okay, so what are your frequently asked questions, and then they’ll like, blank stare me and be like, I thought you helped me figure that out. And I’m like, I can help you write it right. But like, let’s let’s I mean, we can we can make this so much easier. Let’s have a generative conversation, tell me the types of things our clients are asking of you. And this, I think can really help your candy Mills like what type of, even if it’s you get on the phone with a work colleague, or it’s a teammate, if you already have a team in place? And talk about it, like, what are the questions we get asked, you know, like, if you have a team and you have gold there, because they’re getting asked things that you don’t get asked, it’s part of their job. So it’s so ingrained in them of like, if they’re doing it how to respond or like what they’re being asked that they don’t know the answers to. So in some ways, I’d say it’s easier to do with a team. But if you haven’t done this before, just sort through your past emails, look at the like research, look at the things people say in your, if they’re booking discovery calls, if you have a form attached to it, what are they saying there? What are they saying if they email you directly, and I think that you’ll be pretty thrilled with knowing that a lot of your job is done for you. Because they’re they are asking the same things and you can respond to them in a blanket way. But one thing I would say that made me really fearful when I was doing this is that I would depersonalized I guess I have a lot of personality, I’d be one of those emoji like emails. So I was really worried that like if I automated things that I would depersonalized my you know, tone and that that now that I’ve done it, it is so far from the truth. If you want to take the most I and honestly I’m sure that you probably have much, much smarter recommendations for this. But my approach to it was, let’s write this email where it is kind of blanket where it is like, it doesn’t say, oh, nice talking to you today. And like you know, I hope your cat gets better or whatever. Keep it keep it playful, keep it boring. And then when you’re about to send it if you have like an approve option on your workflow, or if you are just keeping the stored in like your Gmail account under that little canned template section, you can always personalize it right then and there on the spot you can add to it. And then you add the personality and then you pull in that like little key thing that you talked about that like maybe built some, like, you know, rapport between the two of you, and that is what saved me. Would you say that there’s any other way to go around that if people want to build in personality without doing any manual touches.
Melissa Morris 19:27
I’m so glad you brought this up because that is such a common fear for the business owners I work with. I work with a lot of super service providers, and a good customer spirit experience and client experience is really important to them as as it should be right like we want to do great work. We want to get referrals a lot of the clients I work with a referral, you know, they get a lot of referrals, heavy referral based businesses, and that’s a concern of theirs. But they’re also getting to a point where they’re so busy that they’re not sending emails as quickly as they should. You’re like, Oh, I was supposed to send that report. I was supposed to send that proposal last Monday and I haven’t gotten to it yet. And I owe them an invoice for that. And I didn’t get them their questionnaire yet. And they’re so worried about creating this like beautiful email to deliver the questionnaire or to deliver their proposal that it ends up getting delayed. And so I tell them, what a really great client experiences is, when they are immediately getting their proposal and their agreement, they’re getting that welcome, email, maybe that welcome. Email includes a link to schedule a kickoff call with you, just like instantly, they are getting attention, and they’re getting immediate feedback. That is what you want. And then as you were speaking to when there’s time, and you’ve got that extra moment, send them an extra email, right, like even if you don’t have like it approved, where you could tweak it in that moment, and it’s already fired off. But you’re thinking about them later that day, or the next day, and you’ve got a few minutes and you’re like man, I just want to tell them that I’m really pumped to work them, they’re not going to be mad if you send them another email telling them how excited you are, go connect with them on LinkedIn there and send them a really nice personal met, hey, I hope you’re feeling better. I was just thinking about you can’t wait for a call next week. So use those moments as extras, but at least know that they’re getting taken care of in a timely fashion through automation. And then you can just go above and beyond that expectation by by bringing more emails or connections when time permits and on your own schedule.
Erin Ollila 21:27
Yeah, I love that. And I think you know, as you were talking, I realize, you know, it doesn’t I mean, I guess I’m doing some of these things manually just because like I’ve set them and I it’s my process now so I know what to expect it but there are ways to automate them automate personality from the beginning, like and I think knowing your brand voice or your brand style here and then also like you said, the I don’t remember the title of the SOP it’s like I’ve made that the when we are communicating with clients when occasion Yeah, we’re we’re we’re actually bringing in style guide like things like which emojis are okay, in our business like those? Like, do we use gifts? You know, like, and how what type would we use is there maybe like a collection like a stored folder somewhere that people can pull from if they’re communicating for you. Those are how you bring personality and like, you know, you don’t have to use gifts. But for example, if you like love shits Creek, and you you know, you want to have like, oh, Moira, right? Like, as like one of yours like, chat chat chat, this is what you can expect here, am I working hours, you know, like, I will make sure I respond to all emails within 24 hours. And then you can be like an if you don’t, you could and then like yell at me. And that’s like a GIF or whatever, right? You love, you know, throw a little dinosaur emoji in there, the dancing lady like I always advocate that when we have personality in our copy, or any of the written stuff like this, that we have in our business, we don’t have to have the same personality of an extroverted person, we can just have our own little bits and bobs and pieces, you know, like, if you’re gonna very introverted and you’re, you know, soft spoken and you but you love Harry Potter, and you always talk about Harry Potter, like through a little wizard. I mean, I know nothing about her paradise for bring Harry Potter up all the time. But like, throw one other little leg wizard he sticks in there, like I don’t know. But like, you know, those little things you can do to show yourself in your business and without having to do any manual work in your automations. And without having to be this like, sorority girl like level of excitement in marketing, right? Like it’s the level that you’re comfortable with and that you’ve already set for your own brand. Yes,
Melissa Morris 23:32
I’m loving this conversation because so many people do seem to think that, you know, processes and automation now mean like robotic and starchy, and, you know, hands off and not. And that’s not true. Like if I write my email like, welcome. I am so glad you are here. If I write it that way, of course, it sounds robotic, and automated and weird rate. But if I’m like, Hi, I’m super pumped. Like, I can’t wait. Fist bump emoji. And then you move on. Like, no, that feels really on brand that feels really welcoming. And I got it on time. So like Yang, right?
Erin Ollila 24:09
Yeah, I had, I have two emails that like all of my clients comment on and I just think they’re so funny, because I didn’t think them through Right. Like I wasn’t trying to inject personality. And I think this is how we can count. Like, I know that sounds silly, but I think we can count some real wins and our business when we recognize these things. So one of them is when I deliver a full website of my like done for you package. I think it starts off by saying something like, Hey, it’s copy draft delivery day, like grab your favorite pint of ice cream, put on your coziest socks, cuddle up on your couch and like enjoy, right like, I don’t know, something similar to that and all of my clients are like, grab a pint of ice cream. Oh, that’s so funny. Like that’s the best like, I mean, cool. Like, I wouldn’t be grabbing some ice cream to celebrate like I didn’t mean it to be, I don’t know too much or anything but it was it seems to be just the right amount of Aaron in the right amount of professionals. Have them and it’s 100% automated. And I’m always honest with my clients and tell them like I love automating my business. Like you’re, you’re not talking to a robot, you are getting stuff for me. And actually, example number two does exactly that. I when I have my workflow set up to send the second payment, reminder for my clients so that they’re aware that the next payment is coming up a week before it to do and it flat out says like, this is your robot, Aaron, this is automated. I’m checking in because I forget everything. And I sure as heck want to remind you so you don’t feel uncomfortable. A payments do I mean, this is not word for word at this point. But it’s like, it’s I’m not hounding you. Just a reminder, in your inbox, and everyone’s always like, oh, one, thank goodness that you did that, because I totally forgotten about it. And two, I just thought it was so funny that you’re like this little robot area and like little picture of you like, because I didn’t feel like you were hounding me, I felt like I’m so glad that I have this reminder. So it just goes to show that like you can, you can be honest, like automating things is hat does not have to be a dishonest thing. And you can have personality, and people will pick up on it. And, you know, most will like it if they have already gotten to know you. And if they don’t like you know, like robot Aaron, who eats ice cream to celebrate, then they’re probably not the best client for me. And maybe they do well for someone else. And that’s, that’s great. Like we’ve we figured these things out, as we create the copy for our business and step into our own, like personality issues when it comes to what we write for our business. So we’ve actually kind of talked about SOPs, and canned emails, and I love that you shared some of the, you know, type of canned emails that like you could share and how to make them reusable. Are there besides client communication? Are there any important SOPs that you think all business owners should have?
Melissa Morris 26:47
Yeah, definitely the ones surrounding your client processes, especially if you’re a done for you service provider. So that would be your client onboarding, your client management, your client communication and your client onboarding? I think those are super valuable processes that service providers in particular should really pay attention to and start documenting. I have a framework I work move businesses through called disco. And we d define. And that’s you have to figure out what the workflow is. And this is valuable, not only even if you don’t want to automate this is really valuable, because you’re going to find things when you’re like, Oh, I always forget to get forget their login, and I need their hosting login before I can make their site live. Oh, how did I forget that again? Right. So you’ve got to define it, identify the gaps, the drop offs, the redundancies? Again, like, where should I ask for that login? Like, how do I make sure I get that anti SS streamline? Like, if I’m asking them for their hosting? Let me also ask for their domain if I need it. Or let me also ask for their email in flight. What else do I need, like let’s get that all done at one time. See, create phases and milestones, this is going to help you track your work and help you manage capacity. And also figure out like how long it takes you right to really get a project across the finish line. And then oh, outsource and automate. Like, that’s where we get everybody to. So if you can get these workflows written down, they’re gonna start immediately saving you time. And then ultimately, you can even get to the point where they’re really easy to outsource or automate if you’ve documented them.
Erin Ollila 28:20
Yeah. And I know one thing you had actually mentioned to me that I vital to say here, I would say is once you get them documented, then you also find out like where your gaps are, or like what you need to adjust, because I’m sure you can, you might be able to identify them better than even a business owner in some ways when you’re working with them. But if someone were to do this on their own, let’s say that they’ve already kind of figured this out in their business. So they don’t necessarily want to hire someone, and they just want to review like, What would some things that you’d suggest for them to be that they do, like review with their workflows.
Melissa Morris 28:53
So definitely first just brain dump, like write it all down. And I would recommend you, if possible to write it down, like as you’re doing it with a client, right? Like, really try and catch it live. Because you’re right, it can be hard to miss weird gaps, or redundancies when we’re doing it ourselves. And then you can even have somebody review it, they don’t have to know anything about their business. In fact, it’s almost preferred if they don’t know anything about your business. They don’t have to be an ideal client. Because you have to think like my ideal client is hiring me to set up dubsado Because they don’t know how dubsado works. So for me to make assumptions that they know they need candy mails, and they know they need their forms, like that’s setting us both up for failure. But because I know it’s so well, it can be hard for me sometimes to miss the things because I’m now so far removed, right? They that’s what they tell you in writing copy is not your audience where they’re at. And that can get difficult, the deeper you get into a tool and having that fresh set of eyes, which I think is you know, something that I can really help business owners with too when I’m talking them through that workflow. That fresh set of eyes. I’m like, why wouldn’t have known that? Yeah, right. I didn’t, I didn’t know that. I’m like, I wonder if all your clients know that? Oh, yeah, actually probably like half of them don’t know that right? Well, then we need to tell them, we need to tell them. I
Erin Ollila 30:13
think this is why it’s so important to recognize that you can hire service providers, not all the time. But in most industries, most type of people that work with b2b clients, you can usually hire them for a portion of what they do. So I can’t speak for you. But for me, this is why I do copy coaching. Because you know, not all clients need me to sit down and write their website for them or do their SEO stuff for them, whether it be budgets, or just because of like pure interest in wanting to write their own copy, like I couldn’t stand firmly behind that. But what they might need help with is that fresh set of eyes, or for me, it’s like my marketing perspective, like they can write really well. But they might need me to help them organize it or wireframe it for the page. And like I that’s kind of really what I heard you say, and I know that you do like the full, the full package for your clients start to finish. But I think that you can have someone come in and look at the workflows you’ve created. Look at the automations that you’ve built to be able to help you figure out are there gaps? If you can’t recognize them yourself? Definitely. Don’t assume you couldn’t bring someone in for this.
Melissa Morris 31:18
Well, that’s actually one of the things I do is through an intensive with a business owner. That’s exactly what we do. If they’re feeling stuck, or they don’t know what tool they need, or they know they want to get some automation implemented, they know they need a project management tool set up or they’re not sure it’s been very valuable for a lot of business owners is we can just talk it through. And I can map it out for you. I know the questions to ask because I’m not in your business.
Erin Ollila 31:42
Yeah, well, I mean, even look at the conversation, like I mentioned before, about like having to update my podcast workflow now. Because you know, where I think you’ll be Episode 3031, something like that. And
Melissa Morris 31:51
I’d say at one times, you said yeah, like, at least
Erin Ollila 31:54
20 times now I some of these questions are a little newer, they didn’t have in the early days. But you know, so here, I am proud of the work I’ve done to automate this and make this as streamlined as possible for me and for my guests. Without with complete blinders on not recognizing this would be an easy thing to just add into the because I do have an email that says like, what to expect, like show up, let’s like, you know, let’s talk like Come as you are like, you don’t need to look perfect. And that would be a perfect place to be able to say, these are the questions that I also asked just if you want to take a chance to, you know, prepare for them. So while this is not directly related to what we’re trying to get across today, there’s one thing I really want to reiterate that I am a firm believer in and it’s that we all have blinders in our own business. This is why it is so hard to do your own marketing as a business owner, because we one could potentially be running on that whole perfectionism scale, like, you know so well that you want to do it so good. And it holds you back. Because you’re not doing it as good as you think you could or whatever, right? But to its teeny tiny things, you wouldn’t notice things that you’re doing extra of you don’t need to things that you aren’t doing that could be helpful, right. And I think that when we have someone to step in, like a strategist or an advisor who can work through it with us, it is so much easier to just get it done. Well, like when I was recently working on the copy that I’m doing for my website right now I pulled in someone that I use for both proofreading, and for like a junior writer in my business, and I said, like, what am I missing? And we identified some things like I was like, oh, gosh, like rookie mistake or Lilla. Like you’re, you call yourself a website writer. And you’re you’re making this mistake on your own site, right, just because it’s we need outside help sometimes. And I think it is absolutely the case here. And I would just say like don’t beat yourself up over that though, like, super normal, super to be expected. And again, you know, I’m in business, I’m working toward 07. Like, I have already automated things. You think that like, I should know these? Well, no, I shouldn’t. You know, these are things we just keep learning and adjusting over time. So, you know, there’s a little motivational speech built into this podcast episode, and that was there, right there. So I feel like we’ve covered so much, is there anything that you would say that’s like really missing besides like SOPs, or canned emails when it comes to the copy that we’re not paying attention to?
Melissa Morris 34:19
The only other thing I would comment on is, as you’re creating these items, really think about like your naming conventions, and how you’re naming things because I have seen business owners where they’ve done they’ve done a really great job creating a series of emails and questionnaires, but it’s really, they it’s really difficult. They have found their assistants can’t keep track of things, their clients get confused. Because it’s it’s questionnaire than the other questionnaire. You know, I’m like, Hey, wait, what what comes out? Well, the other questionnaire like what, what’s the other question? What do you mean that other questionnaire what was the first questionnaire? So I’m a big fan of really creating names for our calls, right? It’s not our First call, it’s our kickoff call. It’s you know that the remaining calls are three strategy calls. It’s the intake form, it’s the new client questionnaire, it’s the design questionnaire, it’s the SEO questionnaire, it’s not just the other questionnaire. And then when you’re writing your canned emails, match them up with the service offering, really speak to what that email is, because I’ve seen that sometimes to where it’s kind of like email one email to, you know, it should be like intensive contract delivery, email intensive, you know, invoice emails intensive, right, so that you really know what those are. And then when you need to update them note that like, I have updated this is version two, or put the date because those naming conventions will save you down the road when you’re looking for them or, you know, getting to the stage of having somebody try and send them for you or automating them.
Erin Ollila 35:51
What about things like forms questionnaires, lead capture forms, no one thinks about what to ask on those. And if anything, I see a lot of, oh, my competitor said this. So I’m asking this, like when I talk to my clients, like what’s the Contact page, I love to talk about contact pages. By the way, I didn’t do an episode on this when I did all of my other pages. But you know, they’re the most neglected little things. And there’s so much opportunity that people could do with a contact page. But I get a lot of wide eyes. When I ask people, well, what does the form on your contact page, say? And they’re like, first name, email, and like, write your question. But right, so that’s one and then the other option that I get is like a list of 25 questions. And then like, of those 25 questions are a lot of questions you should not be asking, right? Because they’re questions that help you as the business owner and put off potentially, it’s like, an I don’t want to give examples, because this is where I’m gonna pull in the it depends, like I say, every single episode, it depends on the businesses, but you know, are there standard things people should be considering when it comes time to write anything like a questionnaire or a lead capture form, or anything that they’re sending out regularly like that in their business?
Melissa Morris 36:59
Yeah, that’s, that’s such a good point, too. So I think with the intake form, people can start to get carried away with questions. And for me, it can almost seem unfair to have someone fill out, you know, and spend 20 minutes filling out an intake form, when you would know after three questions that they’re just not a good fit. Yeah, yeah. You know, and I know you want to properly vet and that’s really important. Just be really mindful, though about your questions like try to hone in on those questions that are really going to tell you this is a yes. Or this is a no for me. And I bet if you look closely, at your clients look at I would say don’t look at your current clients, look at the clients you didn’t like, the people that you got on a call with that weren’t a good fit. Or the clients you brought on and you were like, I will never work with them again, what were the things about them? Was it the size of their, their team? The tools, they use the communication style? Like, what was it and I think sometimes people forget to intake forms can also have statements. For example, if you have found that people who, for some reason you get a lot of people coming who want to send you tons of emails and call you after hours, okay, you can be really transparent then on your intake form and say, here’s what this would look like, right? And this is what we do we respond to emails within 24 hours, this is how that would look. And if that’s not good with you, then we’re not going to be a good fit. So sometimes it’s even okay to include some text boxes that say, this is a good fit. This is not a good fit. Yeah, okay, proceed. Yeah, I’ve
Erin Ollila 38:37
worked with a lot of clients recently whose they’ve seen the trend of people listing their values in their within their business. And a lot of clients have said, like, well, where’s this good for me? Again, this depends on the business, it doesn’t mean it’s good idea to put them on the contact form. But for some clients whose values might drive how they work with clients, let’s say coaches as an example, it would be a good place to say like, here are my values, and they could be larger values such as like a socio political type of value, or they could be how you like to work with clients. So maybe the value is is like i i value like, honesty, transparency, and the type of coach I am is one who pushes and encourages more than more than my clients might like, or whatever, like, I’m going off the rails here. But like when we are when we are putting our values like they won’t fill out your form. If they’re not like if they’re not aligned with your values. Like for me, I blonde my values are on every page on my website, because then my footer, because it’s just important to me, like, I don’t need to hit people over the head with them. I don’t need to have them on every form. But if you’re clicking around through my site as a potential lead, you’ll just know what’s important to me. And if you don’t like that, then that’s great for both of us, right? Like it’s totally fine to repel in our business. So it doesn’t have to be just values. It could be anything like maybe you want to give them instructions on how they’ll hear back from you. Like if you’re not currently automating. Maybe it’s like, you know, I read all your responses and I will little, you know, respond within this timeframe.
Melissa Morris 40:02
Yep. And a big one that I think is really useful. And when people don’t often include is, is your timeline like we’re typically booking two months in advance, or it typically takes six to eight weeks to get website copy. So let them know up front, because if they think they’re getting website copy tomorrow, and that’s not going to happen, well, that right there tells them why shouldn’t even bother filling out this form or scheduling a discovery call?
Erin Ollila 40:27
Yeah, this is, I think, a key way to indicate how important strategy is like, you know, and I don’t know if we’ve actually mentioned this so far. But like, in other conversations, I try to remind people that like, it’s not the copy that’s important. It’s the strategy. And that sounds so counterintuitive to what I’m doing with this show. But think of it this way, if you know, sometimes there are uncomfortable things we need to share, such as like our time, like our timeline, or how many clients we can take on. So imagine if on a services page using that as an example, it’s listing all of the like uncomfortable things like it takes six to eight weeks to get this done. No, I cannot complete this in a day, or like I booked out seven months in advance because I’m so cool. Like the it’s it’s really strange to say that on a page where you’re trying to provide information and convert people. However, if like this was, again, how I’m trying to bring the strategy part in, we wouldn’t want to say it there. But it is absolutely fine and normal on a contact page to say that, you know, we book out two months in advance and projects take six to eight weeks, it doesn’t feel threatened and where it doesn’t take felt like it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the message that you’re sharing when you are being informational and using conversion tactics. So that’s where strategy comes into play that helps you decide where in the client journey do people need to hear the information that I need to share with
Melissa Morris 41:50
them. And I’m glad you talked about that, too, like delivering it at the right time, because the other way I see people get get tripped up with forms is even with the client. So what I’ve worked with, you know, I think an example is maybe like a website designer. So they’ll say, oh, you know, we’re mapping out their process during intensive and I’m like, Okay, well, what do you need? Well, then I send them four forms. And I’m like, oh, okay, and I’m like in, and then what normally happens? Well, then they don’t fill them out. And then I have to keep nagging them. And then there and then finally I get them to fill out the one that I actually need now. And I’m like, Okay, wait, the one you need. Now? Which one do you actually need, you’re overwhelming them to give them like two hours worth of forms to fill out. Let’s just send them to SEO and copy one, let them get that done. And then a couple weeks later, send them the design one because you don’t need it yet. Anyway. And then that makes the process so much smoother. And it gives your client the space to properly fill out the forms and get you what you need. And you’re not stuck waiting for them to get all of the things done before you can even take step one.
Erin Ollila 43:00
Yeah, I think that’s like the perfect way to sum up this conversation is just simply getting these processes documented, getting the emails out of our head, getting the form set up correctly, like yes, it is work it but all of that work, what it’s going to do is one it’ll make your life your team’s life, your clients life so much easier. And to I think the most important part is it’s going to improve all of your experiences, your team experiences, the communications that you have, it’s going to give them an ease of their job to feel prepared and confident. Your clients will be more trustworthy, you’ll feel like you’re not doing 18 things at once. So put in the work upfront, I’d say to like, reap the rewards later. All right, Melissa. Now here’s where I get to put you on the spot. You ready for this? I’m sweating. All right. If you could give a homework assignment to our listeners right now, what type of small project would you give them to get their you know, behind the scenes copy for all of these different elements on a roll or for some of these elements doesn’t have to cover all? Yep.
Melissa Morris 44:03
I always start with the onboarding emails for your for your clients, the next time you onboard a client just come at it with the eyes of how can I write this email so I can use it for the next client and the next client and the next client?
Erin Ollila 44:15
I love that. And then if you could be connected to anyone in the online business world, who would it be and why?
Melissa Morris 44:21
I would love to be connected to marketing agencies because it speaks to my advertising roots when I worked in my ad agencies. And I really enjoy working with ad agencies
Erin Ollila 44:33
in your own business like what was one of the like biggest aha was that you automate it for yourself or like you updated when it came to like your SOPs and stuff like what was one of the best blessings that you had after doing it or like exciting moments.
Melissa Morris 44:47
So actually, one of the things that I did was actually, I did it to help myself, but it turned out it really has helped my clients. So all these emails that I’ve been talking about the contractor delivery and the questionnaires and all the things. What I found is when I was doing dubsado setups for people, they were getting really stuck trying to write this copy. And it was leaving me waiting in waiting because I literally can’t automate anything until I have all of that information. So I actually put together a entire series of canned emails from the contract delivery to the questionnaire, off boarding emails, and they have those swipe files now, and I can give those to them. And it’s just now like a part of the process. It’s just what’s included, they get that, and then it makes my life a whole lot easier. And it makes their life a whole lot easier.
Erin Ollila 45:38
Yeah, because they can work from them to lead, personalize them if they like. And if they don’t need personalization, then it’s written and they can just, you can jump in and do your work because there’s less like friction there to actually get things done. All right, let’s say you have been such a joy. So helpful. I think that like there’s so many takeaways from this episode where people can actually go and implement some of the things or at least audit what they’re doing to see how they like it.
Melissa Morris 46:03
So thank you so much. And I have one last surprise if you send me a DM on LinkedIn, I will send you those swipe files that I’ve been talking about.
Erin Ollila 46:11
Oh Snap mic drop and the conversation DM on the LinkedIn for the swipe files. All right, everyone, you have a great day. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Top copy to me. If you enjoyed spending your time with me today. I would be so honored if you could subscribe to the show and leave a review. Want to continue the conversation. Head on over to Instagram and follow me at Erin Ollila. Until next time friends
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