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Recently, John Bonini talked with Tyler Pigott of Lone Fir Creative for an episode of the Metrics & Chill podcast.
A 15-person remote team launched in 2015, Lone Fir is a digital and inbound marketing agency focused on driving conversions through copy. As founder, Tyler let John in on how the words-first agency turns brand messaging into higher conversions.
Read on for more details, or listen to the full episode here:
The metric that Tyler and Lone Fir Creative focus on is conversions and conversion rate — not unusual for a digital marketing agency. The difference is the lens through which they look at conversions. A self-declared words-first agency, Tyler and team are specifically interested in how they can manipulate and improve conversions using copy.
In their view, copy is what gets people to buy. Not graphics, not traffic for traffic’s sake—copy. And clarity of message that derives from a deep understanding of a company’s core audience is what turns that copy into a mechanism for conversion.
How does Tyler identify opportunities to improve potential clients’ conversion through copy? “If I look at the copy and think ‘I don’t really know what I do.’”
The agency is built on the concept that copy is what captures attention, what educates prospects, and what drives people to buy. So if someone who’s spent a lot of time reading websites doesn’t get it immediately, there’s an opportunity there to drive more business by solidifying the message.
When potential clients raise objections to that litmus test, Tyler asks a simple question: Do you want more business?
“Oftentimes, the follow-up is ‘Do you want more business?’ What if someone walks in off the street or they stumble upon an article you wrote or you did a paid ad, are they gonna get it?”
For Tyler, much communicating the opportunity of conversion-focused copy is about convincing clients to step out of their bubble a bit. “Let’s put ourselves in your prospect’s shoes for a second,” Tyler said, “versus you who’s been drinking your own Kool-Aid for the last years running your business and knowing everything that you do like the back of your hand.”
“Oftentimes, these Aha! moments come up because people in production never talk to sales. Now they’re all going, ‘Well, that question comes up all the time,’ You’re right! Maybe if we did this, this, or this… There’s a lot more value that comes out of that workshop than just us figuring out how to create that filter for them to communicate.”
Every project with Lone Fir Creative starts with a multi-hour workshop that includes a handful of key players from the client’s team, including founders, executive team members, sales people, and marketing, among others. The goal is to get a well-rounded look at what the company offers, who its customers are, and how they can better speak to both.
“Anytime we’re writing copy for clients, we take them through a message filtering process,” Tyler explained. “We’re building out their brand script, trying to identify what makes them unique. What’s the single problem they solve? Then we really try to understand why people should buy from them.”
Here are the workshop questions Tyler asks his clients via email:
Tyler hammered home the importance of this process as the key first step to building a messaging strategy and writing copy that will actually make a difference for conversions.
“It’s really a step-by-step process to understand how people buy from you,” Tyler said. “We try to really understand how people are purchasing—so that we can manage the expectations from the get-go and so people understand what’s the next step if they actually want to move forward.”
From there, the team can zero in on the benefits that need to be communicated, the internal and external justifications customers need to hear, and the objections that need to be addressed in the copy.
The last piece of the puzzle is the CTA. “There’s lots of websites out there where I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do once I get there,” Tyler highlighted, giving an example of a cash register and a brick-and-mortar store. You shouldn’t find yourself in a grocery store with a basket full of items you want to buy and no clear next step. You go to the cash register and the store gets your money.
But that isn’t how many companies approach their websites. “That’s super confusing—why do we all do that with landing pages or home pages or marketing campaigns?” Tyler wondered. “You need to solidify that main thing you want people to do once they come in the door of your website.”
By the end of the workshop, Tyler and team are armed with all the details they need to build out a messaging filter. Then all the copy going forward goes through that filter to ensure it’s saying and doing what it needs to do.
“As far as results go, we’ll measure that on conversions. Some clients, it’ll take 3 months to get a conversion because they don’t have a ton of website traffic. There’s other clients we’ll launch a Black Friday deal for and they’ll have 50 paying customers, on a $5,000 package, 3 days later,” Tyler explained.
So, like any agency that works with myriad clients, the Lone Fir team has seen a lot of variation in results and timelines. According to Tyler, much of the results hinge on where the company’s copy starts out and how much traffic a page gets.
“A lot of it is just that creativity around how you position what you do in a tangible form that’s gonna fix people’s problems,” Tyler said. “Because that’s what they’re gonna actually buy. If a client is really far from that, then making that simple change has a drastic impact.”
Tyler also shared a recent example of one client’s results that the team was particularly proud of. It was a client they were already working with and Lone Fir took over a Black Friday/Cyber Monday email campaign. “They met their financial goals this year, and they’re in an industry that was struggling. That was really cool and satisfying for us.”
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