If there’s one thing that drives me bananas about the online business world…it’s how people think there are “rules” they must follow in order to be successful.
Okay, so maybe you wouldn’t call them rules, but if you’re unsure of what I’m talking about here, I’ll explain. It drives me bananas when experts proclaim that there is one true way to accomplish something. You know what I mean, stuff like:
“If you want to grow an audience, you must do XYZ” “You need XYZ if you want your reel to go viral” “This is exactly what you need for a 7-figure launch” I mean, please.
We all know that my favorite phrase is “it depends” and I think there are so many marketing approaches and asset that will look different for every business.
Take your website, for example.
There are no rules you need to follow. Sure, there are best practices for both copy and design, but your business and your growth is what dictates the strategy for what best practices you should follow (and dare I say, which you shouldn’t?!).
I’m joined today with website designer, Teresa Schlup, to finish up this website series by discussing how business owners can set their own rules for their websites and ways to be strategic while doing so.
Here’s exactly what Teresa and Erin have to say about making your own website rules
Why different types of businesses will have different approaches to copy and design
Whether or not templates are the right approach if you’re trying to DIY your first website
How to determine what pages you need for a website and what goes on them
Why blending in is never the right approach, and how competitor research could help you understand how to better showcase your own USP
Whether or not blogging is the right addition to your SEO marketing and website strategy
How to determine if your leads will find value in your lead magnet and what to do if it’s not helpful or right for your audience
Erin’s suggestion for one rule she suggests you don’t break (but you do you!): Your about page isn’t a memoir!
The pros and cons of both short and long sales pages and why knowing your customer will help you determine the best approach for your site
You heard it here. Quotes about website rules (or why there are none!) from Teresa and Erin
“When you hire a web designer…it’s about the experience. And it’s a very vulnerable moment for my clients, because they’re really trying to stand out. But yet, as a society, we want to blend in. We don’t want to stand out. But our business is going to benefit when we do. So it’s that balance of helping my clients learn to stand out.” – Teresa Schlup
“I have to sometimes remind my clients that we’re not trying to blend in. Just because we’re doing competitor research does not mean we want to be like your competitors. We want to find out how you can stand out for your USP, for the your type of services you offer or your process. It is all about you as the business owner, whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business, it’s about you. It’s not about blending in.” – Erin Ollila
“There’s no rules here. I can give you an idea of how like an average homepage is structured. But if you own a used car lot, and your friend is a solopreneur landscaper, and his sister is a copywriter, the three of you have very different needs. And your home pages should rightfully look very different.” – Erin Ollila
“Just because you’re adding new pages to the website doesn’t mean it’s gonna boost your SEO visibility. It’s just adding more pages to the website.” – Teresa Schlup
“This long monologue I’m doing right now is basically to say, it’s knowing who your clients are and what they need from you. And that’s how you can make the decision on whether you need a short sales page or a long one. It is not because you operate in this online marketing world. And all of the like ClickFunnels or the other gurus tell you, like…”you need 47 rows to a sales page, and you must have them!”…absolutely break that rule. Do what’s right for you.” – Erin Ollila
“As a society, we’re tired of being sold to. We want to build relationships. We want to build something that matters that is going to be worth something.” – Teresa Schlup
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Learn more about your guest expert: Teresa Schlup is a WordPress and Squarespace web designer who helps her clients break the “rules of web design” by creating websites that are strategically designed to work as hard as they do.
She lives in South Dakota with her husband Todd, three pups – Marley, Toony & Presley, 2 cats – Frankie & Percy, and a flock of Ninja chickens.
Who would Teresa would want to be connected to?
“The first thing that pops into my head…is Richard Branson, weirdly enough. He built his business off of breaking the rules and looking at “What’s another way to do things?” I love asking that question. “What’s another way to do things?” We don’t need to follow the status quo. We can break the rules. And sometimes breaking the rules blows up in our face. And that’s okay. We can build and grow from there.”
Learn more about your host:
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 by writing strategic and SEO website copy, you can find her doing other marketing work, such as website audits and SEO research to improve websites in this digital world to improve user experience and boost results for business owners.
Stay in touch with Erin Ollila, SEO website copywriter:
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 setting your own website rules? Here’s the transcript for episode 028 with Teresa Schlup
NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.
Teresa Schlup, 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 Teresa fish loop. And we’re going to be talking about your website and how even though the past few episodes, we’ve given you a bunch of rules and things to consider when you are auditing your website, creating our website from scratch or rebranding, the really true answer to what goes on your website is there are no rules here. It is your website, and you are able to do anything that you’d like with it. Yes, there are best practices and we will talk about those two. But we’re really here today to give you the permission to break the rules. Before I ask Theresa my first question, though, there is one thing you may not know about her. And that is when she’s working out she watches cheesy vampire shows as her workout jam. So Teresa, tell me about these cheesy vampire shows? Where did you pick the niche of cheesy vampire? And how does it inspire you to keep going?
Teresa Schlup 01:24
I honestly I don’t know why. And my husband started watching a cheesy vampire show one night in the evenings. And it always made me like almost motivated. I mean, I don’t know maybe it’s because the blood sucking thing gets your blood pumping. I don’t really know what it is. But they always motivate me. And so when I’m ready to really dive into working out and make sure that I’m there for a good 3045 minutes. I play on a cheesy vampire show. And it just makes it go easier.
Erin Ollila 01:51
Well, I It’s also helpful. timewise, right? Like it gives you like a set amount of time that you’re able to know, alright, I’m stuck here and I’m doing this and then you can move forward when it’s over and done. Yeah, exactly. Tell me about your profession, how you got into working on websites? And maybe what is important to you, when you sit down with a client who’s looking to either create a website or to rebrand the website that they currently have.
Teresa Schlup 02:18
Okay, yeah, great. So I often call myself an accidental web designer. Love it. I know. So I have a background in technology in the corporate world, I built a support desk, technology support desk from the ground up. And if anybody’s worked in a Support Center, nobody calls you happy. So it’s an evening job after a while. So after that was built, and I had somebody that I really trusted to kind of take over because it was my baby. In a sense, I decided to go into life coaching and do a complete 180. And while I love life coaching, I realized that wasn’t where I really wanted to be. And I found myself constantly building websites for my life coaching brands, behind the scenes. And I thought, you know, maybe this is what I should do. So I decided for a summer, I’m just going to do this for extra money, before I figure out my next pivot point where I’m gonna go. And by the end of the summer, I was booked solid. So it just took off from there.
Erin Ollila 03:16
Oh, I love that so much. I really feel like accidental journeys can sometimes be a blessing journey. And I’m sure you’re able to take what you learned within your customer support your tech job, your life coaching job, and really bring that to your design job now and how you help your clients and show up for them.
Teresa Schlup 03:35
Absolutely. And honestly, I sometimes joke too, that I’m more of a life coach as a web designer than when I was a life coach. Because so much of what we’re doing on the website, it’s not about the technical aspect of things. That’s what you hire a web designer to do. It’s about the experience. And it’s a very vulnerable moment for my clients, because they’re really trying to stand out. But yet, as a society, we want to blend in. We don’t want to stand out, but our business is going to benefit when we do. So it’s that balance of helping my clients learn to stand out. And to really think about the experience, not only for them in utilizing the website, but for their clients and how their clients are going to utilize that website. And what’s going to be a pleasurable experience for both sides.
Erin Ollila 04:23
Yeah, I love that you brought that up, because that’s a conversation. I feel like I have in two different ways with my current clients as well, when it comes to writing website copy. There’s two things that happen. I think my clients come to me already knowing that they want to stand out and whether it’s mindset or whether it is conditioning from this online business world. What happens at least through the beginning part of the process is that they’re trying to force themselves to blend in. So we’ll talk about like, what goes on your page or like how many pages would you like, I get this long list sometimes like one of them might be like a page they want a speaking page. Okay, are you Doing any public speaking, are you on podcasts? And the answer, just as an example is, no, I’m not doing any speaking, I’m not doing any podcasts, you know, my dream is to have a TED talk one day, great, what type of topic you want, because if that is an actual goal that they have, and it is something that they could accomplish soon, of course, we’ll do a speaking page. But it’s not that it’s that they’re taught that they should have these things, or their website should look this way. And they want to do it. Likely, because it’s the most strategic and focused time, which is a great, great decision. When you hire a website designer or copywriter, of course, you want to get the most bang for your buck and be strategic. But it’s not that it’s that they really just feel like they must show up in this way. And it’s not aligned to their business goals and their business needs. So I have to sometimes remind my clients, we’re not trying to blend in just because we’re doing competitive research is not mean we want to be like your competitors. We want to find out how you can stand out for your USP for the your type of services or your process. It is all about you as the business owner, whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business, it’s about you. It’s not about blending in. So you bring that up to start this conversation. It’s kind of mind blowing, because you’re seeing it from a whole different side as well.
Teresa Schlup 06:20
Yeah, absolutely. Like you said, it’s about standing out. And it’s about being unique. And it’s hard to do that that’s very vulnerable. I mean, I’ve had clients who will prolong their launch by two to three weeks because they’re terrified to hit the button. Yeah, but that’s where the success lies is past that scary mole.
Erin Ollila 06:36
I know you said prolong the launch. But I bet you have clients who prolong the star of their project, because they haven’t yet worked with a copywriter. And what they’re doing is either trying to write the copy on their own, which let me tell you, I’ve written my own copy. And I’ve worked with so many people as a copy coach who are DIY and boy is the mindset wild when it comes to writing your own copy. There’s the level of perfectionism that you want to say it right, you’re investing so much mental energy, and technically financial energy, if you’re thinking about the time you’re taking away from your own clients, but writing your own copy is so hard. I think that what happens, or at least what I see is my website design friends will call me and be like, Oh, I have a client who was supposed to start this week. And they just told me they don’t have any copy. Like, what’s your schedule? Like? Can you work with them as a copy coach? Or do you have any time because they just want to get their copy done, it’s what’s holding them back is that finding a way to stand out that feels good to them that feels authentic, and to do it in a way that they’re not struggling to step into those shoes, yet they are showing themselves as an expert. So I can see how your projects would either be delayed or like in the beginning and the end, I should say,
Teresa Schlup 07:46
Absolutely. And I think it’s the about page that opt in and the Services page that stalls them the most. So I try to get information, I have questionnaires that I send out to get the copy for the website, I start with contact page, because that’s easy. So I tried to build into it. But when I hit that service or about page, it becomes crickets.
Erin Ollila 08:05
I think that’s okay. Uh, one thing that I love doing at the beginning of this whole podcast for me was that I focused on each individual page. And it really ties into what we’re here to say like, there’s no rules here, I can give you an idea of how like an average homepage is structured. But if you own a used car lot, and your friend is a solopreneur landscaper, and his sister is a copywriter, the three of you have very different needs. And your home pages should rightfully look very different. For me, while templates outlines like idea generating outlines, let’s say, are a great starting place. I am firmly on the it’s so hard to say this because I want to say I like outlines. I like idea generators. But I hate templates. Because every business is so different. And it’s not fair to say that what would work for one is going to carry over and work for another.
Teresa Schlup 09:00
And you know what the templates, I think is probably one of the first rules that I encourage my DIY errs to break is you do not have to follow that template perfectly. Yeah, there’s a section in that template and you don’t have anything to put there. delete that section.
Erin Ollila 09:15
I just have a client right now, I think homepages are mostly standard, I should say. It’s hard to say that as someone who doesn’t believe everything could be standard, but for generally, you’re introducing either yourself or your business like the main offering is that you have you may be having a copy section where you’re either talking about pain points or aspirations or just the need of the client. You may have the about section where you introduce yourself as the business owner ways to show your services or content you’ve created. Let’s just say for a standard page. Well, I was just talking to a business owner this week who is the face of their business, but has now on boarded team members. And the key point here is the business is not her name it It has its own name. So when we were structuring her homepage, she was like, Oh, I just don’t know what to say in my About section. And we were kind of going in circles. And I was like, timeout, no, we’re not putting it up God tiny little about section on your homepage, of course, you’ll stand out on your about page, it will be mostly about you as you founded the business. But what happens in that individuals case is, let’s say one of her employees who can rightfully work on their own without needing to bring her in in any way with the client. If they show up and do work, like the service with the client, all of a sudden, they seem lower on the totem pole, they seem like if the owners face is everywhere, they seem so less important. So either if you want to bring a team picture, or maybe talk about like something important about your business on that homepage, instead of doing that little mini About Me section, you could, or you could just scrap it, because no one is going to say I can’t work with them, because they don’t have a picture of their face on the homepage. Like there’s no rules there. In that instance, I think it worked so much better when I would usually say let’s put a picture of your face on your homepage. Absolutely not in this instance, because I didn’t want it to detract from her employees that were doing such good work and her clients loved. I wanted to kind of celebrate the fact that their business is growing. Yeah, like, again, I can help you, as a coach or a writer, figure out what needs to be said. But that does not mean that you have to follow the same rules as every business owner, because everyone’s rules are different. What is one of the things we’ve talked before we started about some of the things that you actively encourage your clients to break these rules? What are one of the rules that you see business owners being told they must do that you think, really, we should just roll back a little and decide is this the best investment for me, at this moment in time,
Teresa Schlup 11:48
probably the number one I talk about the most is blogging. And so many people come to me and say, Well, I have to have a blog. And they say, Great, blogging is a great tool. It’s awesome. It’s fabulous. It helps establish you as the expert, it helps share your voice so people get to know you better. It helps drive traffic to your website, when it’s really strategically done with good keywords. So tell me, what do you want to blog about? And they say, Well, I don’t really want to blog. Yeah, I hate writing. I don’t know what to do. And I’m like, okay, hold on. Let’s talk about this differently. Another thing too, is that I have clients that I have interior designers who their clients aren’t reading blogs.
Erin Ollila 12:27
Yes, that’s a second major point, right? It’s not even if you want to write them or not, will your clients read them? Or will people come find you like, so it’s not necessarily the reading part. It’s more like is the content you’re creating searchable? And number one? And secondly, are they going to spend their time reading it? Because it could be valuable?
Teresa Schlup 12:46
Exactly. And that’s just it? It’s like, is this content really going to be valuable? Or are you just trying to put words on a page because you think it’s going to build your website’s visibility, and then do an air quotes here? Yeah, but that’s true. Just because you’re adding new pages to the website doesn’t mean it’s gonna boost your SEO visibility. It’s just adding more pages to the website, you really want to think about, first of all, is a blog going to be a value to my clients or future clients? Is it something that’s going to benefit them? Do I have something that I can share easily, without having this miserable time spent trying to make it happen? And can I really make it work for me? Can I reuse it to build the visibility? Yeah, if you can’t, there’s other areas that you could really focus your time and intention and energy into, and not blog, but still boost your website’s visibility?
Erin Ollila 13:40
Yeah, so from an SEO perspective, I love blogs. But I 100% agree with you here. Because if it is not strategic, you’re wasting your time, like your time could be spent doing lead generation, your time could be spent on Discovery calls, sales calls, all these different ways to actually generate income for your business, versus forcing yourself into a box that just not going to work for you. But one thing I want to point out quickly, that might help people who are still holding on to that chord where they’re like, but I need to, is to consider that like your content does not have to be educational blog content, like there are a few ways to get around this. And like one of those ways is create case studies. So if you are working with clients regularly, and you have testimonials, and you have the story of the project, do that. Another way is if you have a podcast like this show, I always put my show notes as blog post on my blog, things that are easier for you to post that you can be consistent, strategic. And number three, make sure you’re following them up with the actual seo keywords. Because if you are creating content, even if it’s not that like educational blog content, it needs to be done well. So that way people on Google can find you and Google can index you.
Teresa Schlup 14:54
I would add to that to some other resources that are areas I focus my clients on is a poor portfolio, don’t just do pictures on a page. Tell me about the project, where was it located? What are some key things that you did that could be those keywords to drive people to it? What are things that you did to make it really powerful, or a resource section, adding resources to your website each month could be in a blog kind of format. But what are some resources that you could share with your clients that give value that make them remember you as a resource themselves, to where eventually they’re going to want to work with you. So those are some other ways to put content into that website and energy into the website without the blog aspect of things.
Erin Ollila 15:36
And I love how you mentioned that about previously said interior designers because their clients want to know that they are going to provide the service that gives them a beautiful, comfortable functional home. They don’t necessarily want to read how to design a living room, right. But they want to see images of the work that they’ve done with their clients. As you mentioned, instead of just scrolling quickly, through a list of pictures on a page that don’t really tell anything like it doesn’t say, especially for the clients who are hiring you that might not have the right voice, the right word tone choice, they might not know what a Cape Cod house looks like. But when they see the images, and you’re describing, this is like a cape style home. And here’s why we made the choices for these whites and blues. And here’s why we brought this texture in, they are going to then take that and become better clients because they can say, hey, in the Cape house project you have on your website, I loved the wicker dresser, right? Or whatever it is. And they don’t have to be ginormous blog post, but they really add so much to a project that you are going to put on your site anyway. And your clients, you can educate them in a way to know how to speak to you and know what to ask for if they might not be sure about it. Yeah, absolutely. So what’s another type besides just blogging for people who are looking to either update their website, or maybe they’re just sitting down to do it this first time is there another rule that you often hear people saying that they must have on their site,
Teresa Schlup 17:01
lead magnet is the next one. And the lead magnet, what so many people don’t realize is that I don’t want to give up my email address, it is valuable to me to just anything. So if I’m not getting instant value from something that you share, it’s not going to be a good thing. And even if it’s promised instant value, and what I get is garbage, you’ve lost me forever. And so that’s one of the things with a lead magnet, it can be such an amazing, powerful tool. And when it’s really well crafted, it’s going to help people start to get to know you better, it’s going to bring visitors to your website, it’s going to have these visitors thinking about coming from being this free to a paying client. And it’s going to really support your business today and down the road. But if you just toss something together, that doesn’t offer instant value, that isn’t speaking to your dream clients, that doesn’t help them imagine what it’s like to work with you. Or if it’s focused 100% on selling over giving. You’ve lost those people and you’re really going to hurt your business that much
Erin Ollila 18:07
more think about how much time goes into creating a lead magnet, there’s the ideating. There’s the outlining, there’s the actual copy, there’s the design, creation, and then there’s like the refinements of that whole process before the tech part of having to like upload everything correctly. In addition to that, what I’m hearing you say is like, you also need that email sequence as well, thank you for downloading, like, here’s what to expect for me the introduction to your business, what they can expect on a cycle of emailing, I think people think lead magnet, they think I create this like one form this one video, whatever the approach is that they’ve heard is most successful. But they’re not considering that they only work when the entire structure is built out. Those automations are set up. And they can provide the instant and the short term value. I mean, of course, we all would love to think we’re providing long term value email wise, but what I mean by short term value is reminding people why they signed up what they can expect from you who you are, how you can work together, that original welcome sequence, at least, let’s say has to be done very strategically. Because then when they see your content, whether it’s a monthly email, a weekly email, or promo emails, maybe you’re an affiliate, or you’re selling something yourself, especially in those sales emails, they want to already have that trust in you so that when they see a promo, they’re not like, oh, here goes Aaron, again, you know, sharing this affiliate link, or here goes Erin and her sales, they want to say like, oh, what’s Aaron involved in now? Because they’ve built that trust with you. And when you’re not involving all of those moving pieces, it’s immediately lost.
Teresa Schlup 19:46
It’s immediately lost. And I see so many people gathering those emails and only tapping into them when it’s time to sell something. And as a society I really believe that we’re tired of being sold to we want relationship We want to build something that matters that is going to be long lasting. And we don’t want to just be sold to or sold to all the time. And so there’s that relationship building aspect after the lead magnet. And even starting with the copy of this lead magnet page, starting to build that relationship delivering really quickly with the lead magnet so that they get access, making sure that it’s instant value, all of those things are really powerful. And if you’re not ready to bring all of those things to the table, which if you’re a newbie entrepreneur, you probably aren’t sure what’s going to be a really good lead magnet, I had some terrible ones early on,
Erin Ollila 20:37
I have been in business for six years, and I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t believe in like my lead magnet right now, as maybe this is helpful to rule breaking. I’m a copywriter, I have all the skills and the strategy behind how to do this. And still, I feel like I cycle through different ones. Still, I feel like some of them are just not what I want them to be. And that’s okay, too. Part of the best way to make change and improve is testing, trying new things. But it brings it back to exactly what you said, Why have something if you as a business owner, are excited to share it. If you can’t stand behind it. And you say to yourself, I am so excited to give this to a new lead because they’re gonna see this and be like, let me work with you right now. So if it’s not something that’s exciting, you It’s not exciting them either.
Teresa Schlup 21:27
Yeah, I had some pretty rough lead magnets myself. And it’s just in the last year that I have a lead magnet that I am super excited, that is powerful, and that I enjoy share. It takes time and practice
Erin Ollila 21:38
totally, no, you’re right. It does. It takes time. It takes practice, it takes adjustment. And you know, some people that I know who I actually really liked their lead magnets, maybe it’s business friends, or clients that I’ve worked with their outside facing lead magnet may always stay the same. And what I mean is that like the topic that they’re offering, but I constantly see them revise what’s actually being shared. So maybe it originated with a checklist, as much as checklist drives me crazy. There are reasons that some checklists are awesome. So maybe it started with a checklist. But then what’s happened over the years is the checklist has also turned into, for each thing you’re checking off, there’s also a tiny video to watch about why it’s important how to prepare, let’s say, um, one of my website designer friends, has a lead magnet about pretty much just how to prep to start working with her. So it helps the client and it helps her. But it has grown to be like these are things you don’t think about as the client. And if you do these things, when we do work together, you’re going to really benefit, you’re going to really enjoy this. So it evolves and the outside part might not change. But what you’re offering to your clients will change over time, because you’re just gonna grow as a business owner and better your own offerings for your clients. But I think there’s something that’s really key here to talk about. And it’s a tough thing to explain, it goes back to the rules, we’re all taught, we need to build an email list, because with an email list, we will be able to nurture these leads, and some of them will turn into clients. But not all businesses actually need to communicate with clients like and I say specific service providers. Funny, you mentioned interior design before one of my first website was an interior designer, I loved working with her, we got her site up and ready and really well structured with it a great lead magnet, I was excited for her to have it. But her clients didn’t want the lead magnet, her clients didn’t find the value in it. So what they were doing was bypassing it, they were going straight to the contact form and saying like, when can we start working together. So it’s great that she’s built up all this trust and excitement with our clients that they’re ready to just give her their money. But in that industry, specifically, the service is what’s important to them. And for my client or the professionals, they don’t need to nurture clients digitally, which is usually a global type of people that you could work with. Because so many of them are working on a local perspective. They’re working with their neighbors, they’re working the towns and cities around them, what is it going to do for them if they’re not going to design someone’s house halfway across the world? This I think is definitely a conversation that should be done like you know, whether it’s with a coach, a website designer, or copywriter of whether or not it’s even valuable to build an email list. And it’s a tricky thing, I think as a marketer to say, oh, yeah, you don’t need that because there’s so many other reasons why an email list is helpful. If you ever decide to have like a shop one day, there’s your people who could buy it from that if you just want to build a community of like minded people maybe you refer clients to and things like that community building. Great have one. But I think before you even decide, does this website need it? Think how is this going to impact my business? Am I going to be spending time even Have your clients would love the value you’re providing? Is it helping them get wherever it is they need to be in their life, whatever type of transformation you can offer them? And is it helping your business, get those type of clients you want to work with in the door.
Teresa Schlup 25:15
You know, that’s interesting, you brought that up too, because I have a client now who is so immersed in her community and her service that she provides. And she was trying to build a newsletter that email lists to do the nurturing, because that’s what people say to do. And her it was annoying her clients, well, she doesn’t need to build an email list. She has a client list, that she could be focused on nurturing, and building connections and creating community and all of those things. The generic email list that may bring somebody in a couple years from now, really was annoying and insulting the clients that she has now. Yeah, so we took that down, that was the first thing we did was take that off of her website. So I just started working with her. And I said, let’s refocus our energy into fostering the relationships that you have now in your referral network in your community, and build that create touch points that are geared towards who is feeding the pipeline right now, versus who may come in the next couple of years.
Erin Ollila 26:14
And that’s absolutely true. And I think that’s the case for service providers who are offering higher ticket services, in addition to selling lower priced courses, or just different things that someone could purchase, maybe templates, let’s say. So if you’re selling a $47 template, but you mostly work with clients who purchase $6,000 services from you, and you’re just constantly trying to sell them this $50 thing that they’re not going to buy, it’s frustrating for them to have to stay on your list and see you keep nurturing people that aren’t them, right that it’s not their need. So it is where you might have had a really good client experience. Previously, now that you’re nurturing them as a past client, it’s falling apart because they feel like who is this person like this is not the same service provider that provided such a high touch one on one experience to me, because now I just feel like a number. And you don’t really want anyone to feel like a number on your list for sure. A great girl list with lots of numbers of people. But even if your list is humongous, and you’re serving them the right content, they don’t want to feel like a number exactly one thing that I see a lot of the times where people tell me that they have well, they might not phrase it like this, but rules my clients want to follow is things like service pages and sales pages. Do you see the same type of things? Like let’s start with service pages, when you’re designing people’s websites? Are they asking for you to do designs on pages that they don’t need? And if so how’s that conversation go for you of like how you’d advise them to determine what pages they need on their own site?
Teresa Schlup 27:52
Often I am. And while there’s definite benefit to having individual service pages, sometimes it’s just not the right fit to me, I would really have one really good service page that brings people in and gets them interested and gets them clicking that discovery call button than to have individual pages that are just painful drudgery. That’s a big area that will opt to do a lot of discussion on and with my clients like I they get me for a full year. So in six months, they may be ready to have that individual service page where it’s lined out, well. They understand their service better, they know what they want to share. And then it’s a benefit. But until then I try and get them to what’s going to be a good experience for your customer. It all comes back to that. And really now what is a really good experience for your website visitor so that they feel comfortable clicking that discovery call button and taking the next step.
Erin Ollila 28:44
Yeah, and I think the key is, it’s knowing the entryway into your business to, which is a different point to what you just made. And I wholeheartedly believe like I agree with everything you just said it’s if you’re not sure exactly what you’re offering, let’s stick to one page, if you’re very clear on what you’re offering have multiple pages. But it comes to clarity. Again, we’re talking about client experience here, right? So I work with clients in I would say many ways. However, the most often entry point to my business is done for you website copy, or SEO work. They’re coming to me with that project that is very much related to the actual website pages that they have. That’s how I try to I guess have my website be set up so that it’s clear, I’m going to help you on your website. But after my clients are off board for the project that they’re doing, we might work on blogging, we might create the lead magnets together. We might do pre work before the website for brand messaging, Voice of client interviews, all of these things that are vital to any business but it’s still there. I know the entry point because if I had those I don’t know how many services I just mentioned eight services if I had them all on my website, it’s very confusing to the brand new person who finds me it’s fun ain’t for me to share services guide within a client. I’ve already worked with that, trust me and knows me. So I can say, yeah, that project was great. Now let’s focus on this because this is the new and important marketing project. But if I had a client come to my website, and it’s like, I’ll create content, I’ll create lead magnets, I’ll create all of those things. Oh, it’s confusing because they think to themselves, where do I start? What’s important for me now? I think from that perspective, too, when we consider like what pages go on our site, we want to be as clear for the initial way we want to work with our clients to bring them into our I hate this word, quote, unquote, funnel of working with us, right? Like, how do we want that entryway to come into our business? And how can we not overwhelm people with choices, even if you have those secondary services pages, something I have to remind my clients to consider is, let’s pretend One of them’s photography for a different type of industry example. And it’s a family and wedding photographer. So for the most part, they take pictures of you at your wedding. And they might do follow up like anniversaries or when your babies are born, there are still a lot of things they could have, they could have a engagement photo session page, a wedding photo page, an anniversary page, a baby born page, a first communion page, a senior high school portrait page, that’s a lot of main pages on their site. One way to get around that is to have maybe two and a weddings page and a family page. And on those pages, just touch briefly on the type of work that you do. But if you have, let’s say the wedding page, for example, and you’re talking about engagement photos, as well as wedding photos, and your clients are going to have to scroll row after row on the page to learn about what the engagement processes like, yikes, that’s overwhelming their loss before they even get to the wedding day information. So I think that that’s when the key decisions have to come in. And that’s why it’s really so valuable to work with a designer and a copywriter. Because we can look at that and say, Okay, in this instance, we recommend you put engagements on one page and weddings on another. In this instance, we suggest you combine them, because this is probably the 20th 25th episode in the row where I say it depends on your own business like I really should have named this podcast. It depends that should be like the slogan for it. Because all businesses are so different.
Teresa Schlup 32:28
They’re so very different. And you’re right, it absolutely depends. Constantly, I want to go back to the point we don’t have to list everything that we do. There are things like I say I work with Squarespace and WordPress websites are my website. But I also work with Shopify, I just don’t advertise that. Because it’s rare. And I only take those on occasionally, I have clients that do full service interior design, but they may also do virtual planning space planning for you. They don’t advertise that, because sometimes it’s a good fit. And that’s when they offer it. They don’t have to put everything on their website. Yeah, I
Erin Ollila 33:09
think there’s a fear that people feel like because the leads are unknown. They’re an audience that they have no connection with. It’s like you feel like you have to give everything to them. So that way, they can check their own boxes, they can self identify as unnecessary. Too much information is overwhelming. And it’s not going to allow them to even see how they could work with you. I always tell my clients when we think of pages compared to post, I want to encourage them to think how much can I simplify the page. This is not necessarily the case with sales pages, but all of the other pages about pages is the perfect example because this is where everyone goes wrong. Stop putting your memoir on your about page. It’s not related to your business at all. I’m all for fun facts. I’m all for like the bits of information that might not seem relevant, but you can really make them relevant on the page, if that makes any sense. I don’t need to hear about being in third grade and you didn’t get picked for the class way. And because of that, like it really made you question like how you dealt with people and whether or not you should go into the coaching space later in your life. What you can do and I’ll bring this back to my actual point is if you keep your pages relevant, you keep them clear you keep them concise, so they are shortened. You can go to town on those blog post and write your whole memoir there like using that as an example. I tell my clients if you feel like your story is important. There is a reason you feel that way. So don’t let me discourage you, on your about page have one tiny little line that says to read the entire story, click here or have a nested section that might drop down however the approach works for the Fact Finder like type of client who want to spend their time doing the research getting to know someone before they even consider war. Boom, together, they’ll go off and read that blog post. And they might feel excited that they have all this information. And they really like, connect with the business owner. But for the other people who are primed to buy, they’re aware of what you’re selling, they know that they want to make a higher soon, and they have to sit there and scroll forever to read of irrelevant information they’re put off at that point. So if we consider at least the main pages of your website being condensed, and then the blogs being your chance to expand upon things, then it gives you the freedom to do both right to have the best of both worlds on your website.
Teresa Schlup 35:39
Absolutely. And I would say to what the about page, what they really want to know is what can you do for them?
Erin Ollila 35:45
Teresa Schlup 35:46
you. What positions you to be the person they need to solve whatever they have going on? That’s what they want to know.
Erin Ollila 35:55
So we talked about services, we’ve talked about some of the things that might happen on home and about pages. I think the last thing that I think we should touch on is those sales pages. I am quite opinionated about sales pages. But the funny thing is, while I have many opinions, the answer here still is it depends on the offer, I would say and the business in the industry. So I did an episode a few episodes back on short versus long sales pages. So if you are listening, and you are in the predicament where you’re like, but I don’t know, I don’t know what to do with my sales page, that could be a helpful lesson for you, I try to tell my clients, I personally hate long pages. Oddly enough, I would be a fact finder type of client, I really like to do research, like I’m not someone you can have a sales call with. And I’m giving you my credit card, because that’s just not how I make buying decisions, I want to go asleep that night, I want to think about it. I want to ruminate a little bit the next day, and then I’ll call you back that next evening and be like Ray ready to go. Because that’s my comfort level. Even though I’m that type of a buyer, you would think I’d like long sales pages. I do not. But as a copywriter and someone who has done a lot of practice in the sales psychology realm, there is a reason for them. They’re not bad things, there are different buyers when it comes to the level of readiness to purchase. So you might have someone who is excited to purchase and someone who is not excited, meaning like they’re not financially sure all of those types of things. And that’s a sliding scale. There’s also level of awareness about whether or not they need what you’re offering, again, very aware, unaware. And that’s a scale your audience your leads, whether you’re paying for them to get on your site from paid ads, or you’re investing in SEO to get there, you don’t know who they are, there’s someone on that scale, which is why long sales pages have value. That being said, there’s so many businesses that could have the shortest sales page and make tons of money, because their clients, the people showing up are aware they need it, and they are ready to make the purchase. This long monologue I’m doing right now is basically to say, it’s knowing who those clients are and what they need from you. And that’s how you can make the decision whether you need a short sales page or a long one. It is not because you operate in this online marketing world. And all of the like Click Funnels in the Guru’s tell you you need 47 rows to a sales page, and you must have them absolutely break that rule. Do what’s right for you
Teresa Schlup 38:28
hands down, I could not have said it any better. You have got to think about the person you’re selling to who was the dream customer that you’re putting into that role. And what is it that they need? Do they need those different layers, then absolutely go with the long sales page. But if they’re ready to buy, they know they need you don’t make them go through all of that to do it. Or at least give them a jump link so that they can get quickly to the buying part because I don’t want to have to scroll when I’m ready to buy. I’m a researcher behind the scenes long before I buy. And when I get to the sales page, usually I have figured out already. So give me a jumbling to get me down to the bottom quickly. Because I don’t want to be scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.
Erin Ollila 39:11
Yeah, I love that I think you’ve provided so much value today. Thank you so much. I would say the one thing that really stood out to me are talking about breaking all the rules and really just showing up authentically on your own websites. But I think if we’re going to suggest a rule, what you said that stood out to me is that the client journey which is this case, I guess we should say believe journey, your audience’s journey through your website is the one key factor to your site’s success. If we’re looking at success as a way to attract people and like potentially convert them, right. Do you have any advice? Maybe we could combine this with that dreaded question that I’m going to ask you for your homework assignment. Do you have any advice for someone who says yeah, I really do care about how my clients or how my audience reviews my site. I care about what they think when they work through the pages. But I have no clue what a customer journey is, or I have no clue how to even think about experience. Do you have any suggestions for them?
Teresa Schlup 40:07
I do. And this is something that I recommend for all of my clients in the review period, whether it’s right after launch or six months later, is to remove yourself from your office, take an iPad, take a different device, go to a coffee shop, and really put your mind in the place of your customer, your ideal customer, but you’ve got to get out of the office, you’ve got to be someplace new, and sit with your website, scroll through it on your phone, on your iPad, on a laptop on a different device. And really ask yourself, is this easy to feel comfortable? Does it feel like me, because so many times we will copy what somebody else is doing, and it’s just not who we are. And when you have any hesitation whatsoever in those reviewed moments, write it down and have a conversation with your copywriter with your web designer and say, This doesn’t feel right, let’s talk about this, and start making those tweaks and adjustments from there.
Erin Ollila 41:01
Yeah, that’s such a valuable point is really just trying to see it from a new lens. I mean, while I would caution people on this, you can call in people that are in your general network, not just your professional network. But you know, maybe it’s like you call in a cousin and you say, Hey, I know you know nothing about my business. But if you landed here, what would you think I did? What would you think I offered? Because that will give you a clue. I’m like, Are you even making sense to someone who doesn’t speak that same words that you speak about your business? Or maybe you call in like, for example, I’m a copywriter, and you’re a designer, if you called in the opposite end people who you work with, but like complimentary business owners, and said, Listen, can you peek at this because my eyes are shaded at this point. I’ve written all this copy, and I have no clue if it even makes sense. So that way, you can get the perspective of someone who does understand it, but isn’t doing the same thing as you. And I have
Teresa Schlup 41:51
one other idea you made me think of an eye opening experience I did in my mastermind a few years ago was we had fifth graders read our
Erin Ollila 42:00
sales pitch. Oh my goodness, I love that.
Teresa Schlup 42:03
And those fifth graders were like, Why? Transforming, you know, I’m gonna transform you. And they’re like, she like a transformer. Oh, my gosh. And it really helped us all step back and rewrite. But that’s very
Erin Ollila 42:18
important, though. Because what happens is we just get so used to the same jargon over and over again, like, I understand I used it in this conversation, like, what’s the transformation you can offer? For people who are getting married, the transformation is that they want to see beautiful pictures of themselves, they growing from engaged couple to married couple, and they want those images, right? That’s not a life changing transformation. So instead of saying that could be like, that’s why I like to say instead of pain point, what’s the need of the client? Because everyone doesn’t have a pain point here, like, let us stop. And for the people who do let’s stop banging them over the head with their pain points.
Teresa Schlup 42:54
Let’s stop making them think of their pain all the time,
Erin Ollila 42:56
baby images as an example, we could do a pain point. And we could say, imagine if you never captured those images of your baby’s earliest days. How awful Would you feel not remembering the size of their tiny toes or their wrinkled skin? Right? Like, that’s sad. Or you could just say, this is a such a wonderful time in your life. And I’m honored to celebrate it with you by taking these pictures from industries, I recommend pain points, other industries I recommend, like I said before, it’s just knowing what’s right for you. Again, it’s really where your comfort level is, what your audience is receptive to. And then just taking that and being the best business owner that is authentic to you and your clients. Let’s finish this up with a connection question. If you could meet anyone, whether it’s a specific person, a type of person in this online business world, who would it be and why the name
Teresa Schlup 43:51
that pops into my head right off the top is Richard Branson, weirdly enough, built his business off of breaking the rules and looking at what’s another way to do things. I love asking that question. What’s another way to do things, we don’t need to follow the status quo, we can break the rules. And sometimes breaking the rules blows up in our face. And that’s okay. We can build and grow from there.
Erin Ollila 44:13
I love that. And my final question, this is always the one I think of last minute, what is one rule that you have broken in your own marketing. It doesn’t have to be your website, but something you’ve broken a rule and you’re really proud of the results that you had after the rules broken.
Teresa Schlup 44:27
A couple years ago, I broke the rule that you upsell later. So my clients when they sign with me, they automatically get a full year with me they get that maintenance package built into that year. So once we launch whenever that is they have me up until the end of the year. And that has been probably one of the best things ever because my business coach my mastermind people, they’re like, Oh no, you’ve got to upsell them. And instead what happened was before I would be about 30% upsell, I had a net 99% renewal rates on my maintenance package after
Erin Ollila 45:04
Wow. Well thank you so much Teresa for being here. Today, I am going to put all of your information in the show notes so people know how to connect with you. And one thing that’s really I think exciting that you’ve shared is that you have a free course library that you are sharing with our audience. So I’ll make sure that is in the show notes so everyone can access that and just kind of get to know you better and learn from you. Thank you. I appreciate it. And we’re so glad you are here today.
Teresa Schlup 45:31
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Erin Ollila 45:37
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 Erin Ollila. Until next time friends