Episode 163: Dawn Apuan – Copywriting Can Make or Break Your Business
Dawn Apuan, an expert copywriter and funnel strategist, joins the Social Sales Link team to discuss the science and art of copywriting and how to use it in a sales funnel for customers to know, like, and trust you. Dawn has helped entrepreneurs make more money by crafting compelling copies that can sell even their most expensive offers with ease.
In today’s time, copywriting is what guides people to make decisions on how to interact with your brand—not just buying, but subscribing to your newsletters, downloading your latest eBook, following you on social media, connecting with you to start a conversation, and so forth. In this episode, Dawn talks about the psychology behind it and how copywriting can help you serve your customers better and ultimately help you close more deals.
Dawn Apuan 00:00
I believe that business is relationships and we are living in a time with social media that allows us to be social with people across the globe. One of my favorite parts of business is that the world has become so much smaller because of this gift of social media and social sales. So I see it as a tremendous gift and a tool that helps us really widen our impact.
Welcome to the Making Sales Social podcast, featuring the top voices in sales, marketing, and business. Join Brynne Tillman and me, Bob Woods, as we each bring you the best tips and strategies our guests are teaching their clients, so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Enjoy the show.
Bob Woods 00:51
My guest for this episode of Making Sales Social is Dawn Apuan, an expert copywriter and funnel strategist who helps entrepreneurs make more money by crafting compelling copy that helps her clients sell even their most expensive offers with ease. Wow, I like the sound of that already. And she also has done for you funnels that automate leads and sales, increasing income and impact. So if you feel like your messaging just isn’t connecting with your ideal clients, you know, the type of thing that you want to describe the type of pain that keeps your potential clients up at 3am and a sweat wondering what am I going to do Oh, my God, and you want to convey that feeling better than they can, that’s where Dawn comes into your business and she’s coming into the podcast right now. Welcome, Dawn, thanks for joining us.
Dawn Apuan 01:42
Hey, Bob, thanks so much for having me.
Bob Woods 01:46
Sure. Absolutely! So our first traditional question always is, what does making sales social mean to you?
Dawn Apuan 01:53
I love it. You know, I believe that business is relationships and we are living in a time with social media that allows us to be social, with people across the globe. One of my favorite parts of business is that the world has become so much smaller because of this gift of social media and social sales. So I see it as a tremendous gift and a tool that helps us really widen our impact. You know, just a few decades ago, businesses really were localized geographically but now we have this incredible opportunity to touch lives, like I said, all over the world using different social platforms and I just think that it’s incredible and I love it.
Bob Woods 02:36
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, our work here we were, I mean, we say we work globally and we truly work globally is your business taking you now to places you know places in quotes because you’re probably working out of your place there in the in the Seattle area, no matter what, but are you finding yourself going off, you know, to all kinds of places around the world from your zoom or whatever you use?
Dawn Apuan 03:05
Yes, absolutely! And I’ve had clients literally all over the globe from India, Australia, the UK, South Africa, I mean, it’s everywhere except you know, as a copywriter, I don’t speak other languages. So all of my copies are in English however, I have had clients on several continents and you know, it’s just a really beautiful thing to get to impact lives and other places and just feel that connectedness, that oneness, and the ability to use technology like zoom to make those connections is amazing. And yes, I do work from the comfort of home but I get to connect with people all over the world.
Bob Woods 03:47
Good for you. Good for you. So speaking of social how was copywriting different for social than it is for you know, some of the more traditional marketing channels that we think of and you know, nowadays traditional anymore is like websites and landing pages once upon a time nobody even heard of those but nowadays, you know, websites, landing pages even you know, really old school OG stuff like brochures and and print materials, actually.
Dawn Apuan 04:16
Yes, the OG would be a direct response.
Bob Woods 04:20
Oh, yeah, that’s, yeah, that’s a good one. I like that.
Dawn Apuan 04:23
This is like agora and those letters you get in the mail, the tabloids, the direct response marketing, which still Yes is the OG but all of our online marketing is still based on the principles of copywriting from the greats, you know, in the early 1900s, who were literally writing for magazines and newspapers and snail mail letters. We still use all the same principles in copywriting and you’ll find that the best copywriters have learned from the greats even in the online space. So even though where our copy ends up today is a little bit different. Again, how much easier is it to publish things online, you know, in an instant, versus the process of needing to write the letter go through printing press paying, usually at least six figures to do a mailing versus, you know, spending a couple bucks on Facebook ads or LinkedIn ads or something like that. Like, it’s just phenomenal and mind-blowing, how much easier it is today to really do this advertising and to test, right because copywriting, we’re always split testing different things. So I think the ease is just so much higher now but the principles of copywriting stay the same as part of social selling and being in on social media platforms.
I think the real difference I see is just being number one, writing in a sense that follows that platform, right? Like TikTok is different from LinkedIn, because of who your audiences are, and like what you’re going to present, right? So there’s a variety just in the different platforms that we’re using but the key is like, you’re still entering the conversation that’s happening in people’s heads, you’re still having a conversation, you’ll hear the phrase or the word tossed around edutainment. So education combined with entertainment. That’s really important for video platforms so that’s where I think in copy, that’s different than a direct response mailer, they’re not like, entertaining you so much but that’s where I see the difference with social platforms is really just that edutainment factor jumping into the conversation that’s already happening inside their head and just being relatable, being conversational, not trying to sound all polished and professional, but like just connecting. That’s a big word connection with your ideal clients.
Bob Woods 06:57
Yeah, and especially across all of those different platforms, where some of the platforms I mean, you know, you’re talking about just demographics and things like that. TikTok with, you know, Gen Z, and I don’t know how you copyright dance moves, but I’m sure that somebody has probably done that, versus, you know, some of the slightly more traditional things like Facebook and LinkedIn. I mean, it’s just got to be mind-blowing, don’t try to, to try to do the same type of job, but with different words and different copywriting styles, probably, I guess you’d say?
Dawn Apuan 07:33
Yep. Like I said, each platform, the types of content are native to each platform and your audience in each place. So you do want to be aware of that, for sure.
Bob Woods 07:45
Yeah. Yeah, sure. So that actually gets in perfectly to my next question, which is your specific philosophy behind copywriting. So I hear a phrase like helping clients sell their most expensive offers with ease and like I did at the beginning, I was like, oh, yeah, that’s something I can definitely get into but it sounds pretty daunting at the same time. How do you do it? Oh, my God, how do you do it?
Dawn Apuan 08:12
Great question. Well, I have my own secret process. For me, I don’t know if you’ve noticed about me, I used to be a pastor and so spirituality is huge, also in the entrepreneur space, bringing in, whether you call it spirituality, whoo, personal development and personal growth. That all of that, for me, is encompassed and embodied within our copy and our messaging, so they’re not separate for me. And for me, selling is serving. I’m really passionate about the fact that as business owners, we solve problems. And, you know, we help people, we serve other people with the problem that we solve. And so I feel it’s our duty to share this solution so that we can help other people and help more people and have a bigger impact in the world to ultimately make the world a better place.
So that’s my slant sort of on selling so it becomes easy, when we’re not forcing it when we’re not trying to be I hear the word salesy all the time. I think it’s actually been added to the dictionary now but when I first started out, it sounded like a dinosaur in the online space five years ago, it wasn’t a word. You know, people were using it but it wasn’t an official word and nobody wants that like the used car salesman icky sleazy feeling when you sell.
Bob Woods 09:44
“Hey, how are you doing? I got a a new model right and back here that’s just perfect for you. Come on back.” Yeah, no, no, nobody wants and yet people still do it. It’s infuriating. It’s like where were these people’s mindset? but anyhow, that gets me into a rant that I go on all the time when it comes to stuff like that, because we are over like mine when it comes to sales being service, because that’s what it’s ultimately all about, I think and obviously you agree with that.
Dawn Apuan 10:10
Yep! And when you have that intention behind it, then you won’t be icky and salesy and sleazy. You just want to help people. But at the same time, there is a science, formula and art to how we write copy to understand the psychology of what helps people make buying decisions. And that’s where, you know, the fun really begins with copywriting and getting into the psychology behind those kinds of things so that we can help our people make a decision to say yes to themselves, to say yes to a solution that’s going to solve their problem or their pain. So that’s really the lens that I look at it and I help clients with the copywriting specifically so that it is easy to sell that they feel really confident sharing the messaging the copywriting because they know that it’s from their heart and it’s from a place of wanting to, you know, make the world a better place.
Bob Woods 11:11
That’s nice. That’s a very nice cool way to think about it that really does get the “ick” factor out of the reason why the word salesy is now in dictionaries. So yeah, absolutely. So on your website, you have a quote from author Ray Edwards, who you may recognize from the book, “How to Write Words That Sell” where he says you Dawn are not only gifted at copywriting, at copywriting, rather, not reading but copywriting, but you dedicated yourself to the skill of copywriting now, just wondering how you dedicate yourself to the skill side of it? Is it just doing it all the time? Is there education involved? But what more is there?
Dawn Apuan 12:03
Yeah, there’s certainly something to be said for just doing it, you know, posting content, emailing your list, writing blogs, whatever, just writing daily but beyond that, yes, I’ve taken many, many, many courses. Probably more than I should have. I’ve also gotten certified in copywriting through Ray Edwards. And the one thing that I usually recommend a lot of people ask, you know, how do I improve my copywriting skills if I can’t afford to outsource right now or if I just want to get better, and honestly, you can do it for free. The best way to do it is to handwrite, copy. It’s tedious, and it takes dedication. You know, there’s a famous copywriting course that a lot of copywriters have taken, that’s called Copy Hour and it’s literally dedicating an hour a day to handwriting copy for 90 days straight. And that’s a bit much probably for most business owners but yeah, the concept behind it because there’s something that happens in our brains when we’re physically handwriting not typing on our computer, but handwriting good copy.
All of the greats like we were talking about the OG direct response marketers earlier, all of their stuff is published, it’s public domain, you can look it up on websites, like swiped.co, and get their old advertisements and you can just hand write them and what it’s actually doing to your brain is teaching your brain how to think like a copywriter and when I say that, there’s, there’s a couple of things that you’re looking for and obviously if you haven’t taken any courses on copywriting as your hand writing a sales letter, say, you’re not necessarily gonna say “Oh, that’s the headline, that’s the lead. That’s the…” you’re not going to know the 16 different sections of a formal sales letter, like I know but your brain is going to start thinking like that, because you’re gonna get used to writing with emotion, you’re gonna get used to the fact that what your handwriting is conjuring up images in your mind. So you’re gonna start speaking in imagery and analogy. You’re going to start seeing that copywriters, there’s two words that I say all the time, it’s curiosity and specificity.
So using specific numbers, specific timelines, making people curious, you’ll start to see those types of things and then you’ll start to use it in your everyday life. I say copywriting is the best skill because you can use it in your marriage. You can use it with your kids, to get them to do the things you want them to do. Like it’s, it’s a great skill to have, because it’s just relationships. It’s just a way to communicate to help people and so that’s what you’ll glean from handwriting and if you can do it for 10 minutes a day or you know anything again, like I said, There’s free resources, you don’t have to pay to do it, you don’t have to get the 90 day course. That’s a way that anybody can improve their skill of copywriting if that’s what they want to do.
Bob Woods 15:12
Wow, handwriting. That is… when was the last time besides, besides a grocery list that I’ve actually handwritten something it’s, and honestly, ever since we’ve discovered notes in our iPhones, I don’t even handwrite grocery lists anymore. It’s just, it’s a lost art.
Dawn Apuan 15:31
It truly is. It truly is these days, you know, we don’t even many people don’t even write thank you notes anymore, or it’s funny that you say “ grocery list.” Mine is completely typed. I haven’t typed in the order of the grocery store, so that I didn’t ever have to write a grocery list again
Bob Woods 15:49
That’s funny. So let’s shift gears a little bit here but not really because copywriting does come into play a lot with funnels. So I mentioned in the intro that you construct funnels, sales and marketing, I believe both right? So for those who don’t know, describe a funnel and why they’re important.
Dawn Apuan 16:12
Yeah, so a funnel is the term that we use, because if you picture, you know, kitchen funnel, at the top, is where we would say cold traffic. So people who don’t know you, they’re not aware of your business. And it really refers to the customer journey. So how people go from cold or not knowing who you are, to knowing who you are, to trusting you, to liking you and then to buying from you. So it’s that “know, like and trust” process that we go through, we call it a funnel. And then ultimately, that narrow part at the bottom are your buyers that come through the funnel. So that’s what it refers to.
As far as sales and marketing, lots of people will use them interchangeably. And I think in some ways, it’s sort of like the squares of a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square type of a thing, like marketing funnels encompass sales funnels, but in your business, you’re going to have lots of people who maybe only ever consume your free content. You know, that’s what social sales is all about, like you have a large audience that you can reach but you’ll reach 1000s more than those that will become actual buyers.
And so I think using marketing and compasses, if that rectangle encompasses way more than just sales, because sales, like I said, is that like tip of the funnel, those who, you know, are ready. And you know, that process is different for different people, some say, you know, it’s a 30 day cycle, a 90 day cycle. You know, they say, statistically, people need to see you 35 times before they make a buying decision. It’s not always true, but it’s just that funnel is just that idea of going from cold, to warm, to hot, to buyer.
Bob Woods 18:01
Yeah, that’s a really great way to do it. And to think of it and then the copywriting comes in, because you have to take people through all of those stages and the only way to really do that, especially with most funnels nowadays, I imagine you would agree with when I say that they’re mostly online when people subscribe to a newsletter or show interest by downloading a PDF on something and that’s especially big in the business world.
Dawn Apuan 18:35
For sure, yep, a lot of it is online now. But like I said, copywriting is the way that you build know, like and trust. That’s how they get to know you in order to buy from you. So you need to be communicating. I mean, imagine if you just walked up to a woman at the bar and you said, “Hey, will you marry me?” Like nobody would do that? Right? You would sit down and go like how effective would that be? If there is if you imagine that with your customers, or your buyers, you want to you know, pull up a chair next to them, you want to maybe buy them drink, you want to ask them what they’re doing what they like, that’s know like and trust, you get to know you have conversations, which is what copywriting is, is having conversations with people connecting it’s a human connection.
Bob Woods 19:29
That’s such a cool way to think of that. I like that a lot. So tell me real quick about any company that you’ve worked with that started out with like literally nothing when it came to a funnel button but now they’re you know, they went from zero to 100 miles per hour or kilometers per hour depending on where you’re at in the world. Give me an example of how that works and how that can work.
Dawn Apuan 19:52
Yeah, I get super nerdy about funnels and they’re super fun like I know in Ray’s video he talks about how I look at it as a video game. And speaking of Ray, I actually did one for him and I, so there’s different kinds of funnels, there would be like lead gen funnels, which is lead generation. So you have like a freebie, like you mentioned earlier, like a PDF where you get on your email list. So there’s that, there’s sales funnels, and the two main types of sales funnels are like a Tiny Offer Funnel. So you start with a small offer, we’ve probably… Many of us have seen them online, right? They’re like $37, and then you opt in for that and then there’s a bump, like a little $9 thing on it and then from there, there’s an upsell, and then usually a third upsell, so that’s kind of a smaller Offer Funnel. And then other funnels would be like high ticket funnels, like for coaching. So I’ve done all three kinds of funnels.
The one example for Ray, for example, we did a Tiny Offer Funnel, and he had had one that wasn’t just, it was set up funky. And I say that because there’s also a strategy and a customer journey that I referred to like people, psychologically, we need to go in a certain order to make buying decisions. And so we changed the order of things and then revamped, you know, what was the front offer? What was the bump, the upsells and we were getting like, awesome, awesome conversion rates. And I won’t like nerd out on all the figures, but literally like 70% conversion for sales is crazy. Like normally 1 to 3% is standard from fucking tiny offers, you can get into the 10 to 15% range on a funnel like that but yeah, I get super excited about things like that, you know, as far as so that’s like the tiny offer funnels.
High Ticket Funnels, I’ve had clients who have gotten sales for high tickets without a sales call, just from the funnel itself that they’ve never been able to do before using just a sales page and sales, like faster as soon as they open cart, which has never happened before. So super fun stuff like that. I love getting those messages from clients, when they’re so excited to finally have a funnel converting also, like, a lot of times people launch funnels, there’s this idea, you know, like we’re one funnel away from millions and on the one hand, that’s true, yes, you could be well away but it’s more than just that. It’s not just magical.
Copywriting really, really is important and I’ve seen it time and time again with people who have come to me and said, “Okay, I have this funnel, it’s been going nine months, I haven’t made any sales, I’ve spent all this money on ads, like what’s wrong” and we changed the copy and we literally start getting sales pouring in within 24 hours. So trust me when I say if things aren’t converting, look at the copy or hire someone to help you with a copy because copy matters that much. I mean, there’s even just to give another example of another funnel, changing one design feature and we changed the one word and she went from a $45,000 launch relaunch 30 days later, for 450,000.
Bob Woods 23:15
That’s just amazing how one word and sometimes I’ve read that it’s like even sometimes it’s like one graphic or one emoji or something like that. I mean, something that small, could make the difference between you know, X and you know, X times 10x.
Dawn Apuan 23:32
You want to know what the word was?
Bob Woods 23:15
Dawn Apuan 23:36
Learn. Don’t ever use ”learn” in your copy. The primal brain says, “That’s hard. I need to run away. I need to protect you because learning is hard.” I know that sounds crazy, especially in you know, elearning, $140 billion business now, right? Like people are buying, like crazy but that’s literally the one word that was switched out on the sales page was not saying learn.
Bob Woods 24:05
What did you change it to? I’m just curious?
Dawn Apuan 24:07
Discover. And you can do different things you could say reveal, discover, uncover, show, demonstrate. There are a couple words that you could use instead. Discover is probably the most common one they were using copy to switch out because a lot of people coaches and people who have courses or their teachers, they’re using a skill that people learn so it seems very obvious to our brains to say it that way like “Hey, you’re going to learn x, y and z in this masterclass you’re going to learn and then three bullet points.” Please just take out “learn.” Do not use the word learn so there’s your gold nugget for those listening. Look at your landing pages, your emails and yeah, never ever say the word learn.
Bob Woods 24:56
Yeah, okay, So promise me you won’t look at our marketing In a copy but anyhow Oh god this is embarrassing. So as any good host would say at this point let’s move right on so I normally ask at the end about one thing you can do right now types of things I think that we’ve already discovered what the one thing you can do right now about Funnels is and that’s get better copywriting to actually improve funnels especially if they’re not performing well. So what’s the one thing we all can do today when it comes to copywriting itself to convey the types of messages we need to in a way that magnetizes clients to us?
Dawn Apuan 25:47
I love quick actionable steps and I’ve already shared one which is handcuffing but
Bob Woods 25:53
Yeah, that was great. That was fantastic.
Dawn Apuan 25:55
Yeah, that’s a great tip for those who are up for the challenge. Another thing that you can do today, I’m going to share my favorite definition of copywriting, which is the art of getting other people to do what you want them to do but for their reasons. Okay, so let me give you an example with my daughter when she was three and four years old. Those who are parents might relate to little girls that don’t want their hairbrush, don’t want their toothbrush, don’t want to eat their broccoli, you know, whatever. And when she was that age, what I started doing, in order to not have a hair brushing battle every day was would you like to have an Elsa braid or a Cinderella bond? And 99.9% of the time she’s like, “Oh, Mommy, can I have honor braids today?” “Can I have a Jasmine braid?” or whatever, like we would use princesses because she wanted to look and feel like a princess. I wanted her to brush her hair and not look like she was raised in a barn. So using that definition, she got what she wanted for her reasons, I still got what I wanted.
So as business owners think about what do your clients, customers really, really want? And how can you present your copy in a way that speaks to them there? I don’t know who said this first but they said all your clients and customers are tuned into “WIIFM” W-I-I-F-M. What’s in it for me? So think about the fact that we’re so often so consumed by the features, the benefits, like all the things that we offer, rather than really looking at why they want it? And what do they really want? How can we use this analogy like looking and feeling like a princess? What do our clients really, really want to look and feel using our solution and then presenting it that way?
Another just really tangible thing you can do to start with improving your copy is reading it out loud, read everything, before you publish, that alone will help increase it like if you get bored or you start tripping up over certain sentences and make them shorter, short and sweet people who are ADD you have like three seconds to get people’s attention. So short sentences, short paragraphs, one sentence per paragraph that keeps the energy flowing, and people breathing and reading and engaged. So those are a couple little pointers of what you can do to improve your copy today.
Bob Woods 28:29
That’s amazing. That’s really really great stuff. And just on the reading out loud part. I was actually in broadcast journalism and broadcast news once upon a time. So you talked about having I mean, like having to read everything out loud and that’s something that I’ve done ever since. And usually, every once in a while, I still won’t catch something but most of the time if it doesn’t sound right to the ear, how is it going to look when you’re reading it? So if people want to learn more about you and your offerings Dawn, where can they go?
Dawn Apuan 29:00
They can find me on Instagram, @dawn.copyqueen. That’s where I play the most. Send me a DM say you listen to our interview, I’d love to hear from you and just say “hi.”
Bob Woods 29:13
Yeah, that’s great. So on IG as the kids say, @dawn.copyqueen. is all one word. Find her there you’re going to be getting another subscriber here as soon as I’m done with speaking with you today. So Dawn off one expert copywriter and funnel strategist. Thank you so much for joining us today. Really, really appreciate your time. I know that I’m going to be listening to this and really getting into the transcript as well because there are just so many nuggets that were shared today. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Dawn Apuan 29:49
Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.
Bob Woods 29:51
Sure! And thank you for streaming this episode of Making Sales Social. So remember when you’re out and about this week, be sure to make your sales social.
Thanks for listening, and join us again for more special guest instructors bringing you marketing, sales training, and social selling strategies that will set you apart. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes from the Making Sales Social podcast. Leave a review down below, tell us what you think, what you learned and what you want to hear from us next.