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Geoff Kullman is the Owner and Expert Copywriter of GeoffKullman.com.
When you spend time creating content like blogs, emails, and sales funnels, you’re being an employee, not a CEO. Geoff believes that is the moment you need to outsource your content creation.
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Welcome to the thoughtful entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of up my influence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show. We're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. And with us right now, we've got Jeff Coleman. Jeff, you are a an expert copywriter. You do a lot of great marketing and consulting you work with people that you know are kind of taking a look at their funnels and helping them perform a lot better and you are the owner of Jeff coleman.com and that's GE o FF Coleman calm is it pronounced any differently than the other Jeff's Jeff g komen with a K. Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. Well, good deal. So you know what we want to chat about Jeff. And it sounds like you have some experience with, uh, you know what to do when you are in business for yourself. And all of a sudden, there's something that happens that, quite frankly, is just outside of your control. However, we, as founders of companies have the opportunity to either respond and just weren't completely responsive, or we can be much more proactive. And so I think that's kind of what we want to talk about today. Right?
Yeah, there's a lot a lot of fight or flight, right, you can either retreat back into your cave or you can or you can forge ahead, out into the fog of uncertainty or whatever and, and make an impact.
Okay, so what does that mean for you?
For mostly for my clients right now. I mean, this is a Somewhat timely conversation to write and most of my clients, they have that same decision of I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of other freelancers as well hire me to write their their marketing materials. And all of us are faced with this decision at some point whether it's right now or or in the future of do we forge ahead or do we retreat back? What's the better decision? Do we make a pivot do we do we make an offer what what do we do in times of uncertainty and so a lot of people in my sphere of influence they're losing clients left right and center right now. Or, or putting projects on pause or whatever and so it's it from my perspective, clients are coming to me asking what to do. And in my case, it's you can either pivot quick pivot fast have something out there real thing you know, you're building the parachute as you're falling down from the from the plane or your or your positioning. Your brand you're using the time right now to position yourself build your foundation. So that when the fog clears, you're ready to, to absolutely dominate. So, those are the decisions that clients of mine are making of, do we do we act fast and take advantage of an opportunity so to speak, or do we lay back build the foundation so that we're ready to to move forward in in a month or two?
What opportunities do you think exist today because of the kind of the the economic response to coronavirus?
So whether whether it's a five figure startup entrepreneur, I work with, with all the way from five figure startup entrepreneurs solopreneurs to to eight figure companies right now. The opportunity is is essentially like I just said, you can act fast you can take advantages the wrong time. But that's not what I mean. But you can, you can pounce on an opportunity where people are feeling scared, the feeling uncertain and your role can be to provide clarity to provide certainty to, to alleviate fear, to let them get back to as much as possible. any sense of normalcy? So, for some brands, that means a pivot for some, that means better marketing. For some that means. One on One reaching out to people, it's different for every brand, of course, and your audiences is broad. So the specific answer there is difficult, but, but the opportunity is people are, for lack of a better term, they're scared, and they want people they want companies even to take a leadership position. So whether you're that eight figure brand, or that five figure startup, you have the opportunity to position yourself as a leader to help people through this situation in any way that you can. And then when the fog clears When the uncertainties gone when the economy's back, you're the one that they that they come to your top of mind. I heard an example the other day of a pizza place, the owner of the pizza place, went to the grocery store, all the frozen pizzas were sold out. So he went back to his pizza shop, he bought a vacuum sealer instead of instead of a pizza at the grocery store, went back to a shop, made a bunch of pizzas, froze them up and said these are available for anybody who needs them in the community. And so he's providing leadership in a way that a pizza shop owner can but now he's top of mind when the economy comes back and people are ordering pizza for delivery again, right. So positioning yourself that way is what you can do is what the opportunity is.
Yeah, I see some really, that that's good advice. Because people will remember. You know, when you know if I think about the times in business when we have been in need and times were tough and I had a friend or partner or client or whoever it was that that stepped outside of what was normal for them. And assisted. Man, I tell you what, I return that favor, as many times over as I can. So now I know sometimes in situations like this can be easy for us to be very self protective. Mm hmm. But I think what we're talking about here is, you know, what is your contribution? And how you How can you provide that quiet leadership? And Jeff, you know, in some ways, I gotta be honest, I mean, I feel like you're talking directly to me. And we were talking about the fact that, you know, 2008, which I think was kind of the last major economic event. You know, we that's it was because of the economic downturn, that we created a $6 million business, we help people. You'll cut their grocery bill in half and at the time, that was badly needed service and so you'll people paid us $5 a week we helped them save three to $400 a month. And that was something that people badly needed and so I think if we you know, just like the pizza person, it's like, what can my contribution be right now? And how can I give that and I think that that's a great introspective exercise How have you implemented that yourself?
Yeah, it's from for me and brought in a partner in this as well but essentially, we've set up a program and this is this is not a pitch or anything but you know, we've set up a two month program a 60 day program of let's go through as entrepreneurs together build a community let's work on our mindset let's work on our marketing let's work on our copy building our brand, those types of things and so each week going through different different sets of those but it's it's me, bringing marketing expertise, copywriting expertise, providing small businesses and entrepreneurs with with templates that they can use for copy and then I won't mention his name but a mindset guru type of guy who has an audience of millions yeah him as well helping us along because so much of this is mindset work so much of this is is if we let the scarcity the fear get into us then we're our business is going to suffer so he's positioning us as Let's stay positive let's look for the opportunity. Let's remain calm, let's be smart and my job is okay now that we're calm let's go create a really clear message and and market ourselves appropriately right now. You know when that program is basically how how how I'm providing trying to provide some that leadership and you know alleviate fear you know, uh,
you know as the as the pandemic was kind of, you know, as it's been getting gaining some traction momentum. I was obsessing over kind of reading about the science says Looking at trends and that sort of thing, you know, and after a while now I've realized, you know what, there are people that are going to play roles, and we all fulfill roles. Um, you know, every day and with different situations in this situation, I think it's helpful that we're informed. But I think that, you know, for me, I came to the decision that I need to let the scientists do the sciencing. It's cool for me to understand, you know, kind of a one on one level of what's going on, you know, a five minute news brief, probably good enough for me. But if I get too distracted on that, and it can get really easy, it can be very easy to kind of get sucked into kind of a very negative spiral. Listen, that is just going to that's going to take my eye off of the sacred position that I have right now. as kind of a shepherd of my community. And our clients and my team, I need to make sure that I know my family, and I need to be doing everything I can as a leader within those communities. And so I think, you know, paying attention to where we're spending our focus and time is also a big part of this as well.
Yeah, even even before everything kind of hit the fan, so to speak, I was saying to people, you know, panic is not helpful. It's better than I think it's better than denial. But panic isn't what we need. What we need is planning, right? You need to you need to figure out what's going to be your plan of action. Moving forward so that you don't go out of business so that you can be in a place of leadership or even if you need to press pause, so that you're ready to absolutely launch as soon as you're ready. Ready again, so, yeah, panic isn't helpful, but stay informed me. Being a planner is gonna is gonna set you up for success.
Right, right. So Jeff, did you Having having shared all that I'd really love to since I haven't had you on the show before, just kind of by way of intro, how did you get into copywriting?
I've the really simple answer is I've always loved writing since I was a kid, even a week or two ago found a story that I'd written when I was like eight or nine years old. You know, full, full little book. So I've always just enjoyed writing. So when, when I needed to pivot my career, a few years ago, copywriting was just the writing was just a natural way to go. I was actually a pastor before this. And so a lot of my job was creating content, Bible studies and sermons and things like that. But but more than writing content, a lot of my job was observing and studying human nature human behavior, which is the same thing that makes a really effective copywriter is when you know You know what builds connection? What builds community? What, when people are in scarcity, what do they need to get into abundance? You know, those types of things are essentially what you study when you're in when you're in ministry. And it's what you're writing about when you're when you're writing copy for for other brands. So the transition was just kind of a kind of a natural one out of ministry and into into marketing, which might sound weird to some but was a pretty natural transition for me. Yeah, so that was that was a few years ago. And and building my own brand since then, over the past few years, like a lot of us starting, starting working with other people that were just starting out, needed a bit of bit of help with their brand or their marketing. And then building my own network and now being able to work with 678 figure entrepreneurs has been it's been quite the ride over the last couple years.
Where did you get your first clients from?
So initially, I was certified with company called story brand, which I'm no longer certified with them. I dropped that earlier this year. But that was initially where my original client base started was was that certification in their directory. And certification programs like that are super helpful when you're just starting out gives you a bit of authority, you borrow authority, essentially when you don't have your own. And so that's what I did. I borrowed that authority for a little while till I didn't, didn't need that authority anymore. I had it on my own instead, so first clients came from there. And then my, my, my goal was always let's turn this one client into a referral client as well, or into a repeat client. And so for about two years, I built my business essentially on repeat customers repeat clients and referral referrals from them. So do good job and they're going to come back or they're going to bring their friends to you as well. That's essentially how I got started and now I replaced my pastor said Worry, which isn't that hard to replace?
Yeah. I was gonna say I did that in 60 days.
Yeah, that wasn't that hard. Actually, that was the original goal of let's just replace my salary in it. It didn't take nearly as long as I expected.
Yeah. Okay, so in terms of like copy and how we're using copy, is there. What do you see most business owners like on their website? They're kind of, I mean, there's just a very there any simple principles that someone could kind of look at their own copy and go, Oh, my gosh, it absolutely fails this test. Is there some kind of test that you see a lot of people failing?
Yes, the simple test is you're talking way too much about yourself. And people don't put so when you put yourself in the position of your customer, or just think think to times when near the customer on a competitor Competitors website or you're just being a customer and buying something. If I'm buying a pair of Nike shoes, I don't care about the Nike story, I care if the shoes fit if they're comfortable, if they make me somehow run faster, they make me look better. Feel comfortable, right? I don't I don't care about Nike in that moment. I care about my own comfort, my own experience my own story. So way too much marketing talks way too much about the founder or the the business itself. And customers just don't care. Now, you want to get it out because you value it as your own story, but they don't value it. There might be a time later when they do when they're a loyal customer and they want to know more about you but the time isn't. The time isn't now time isn't yet. They're still researching and, and pre customer essentially. They don't want to know about you yet.
Yeah, you know, so here's our first bit of homework for everybody listening. Go through your website, go through your main pages and ask yourself, are we talking about us? Or are we writing about, you know, again, everyone's favorite radio station wi I FM. You know, it's like what's in it for me. And so, you know, and I know, you know, even LinkedIn profiles. This is simple. You know, your LinkedIn profile should be written to the person who's reading it and say, This is why we should be connected here is how I can make your life better, just simply from us engaging at some level. Again, that would be one. That's one thing that we try to do very, very quickly with people as we're kind of building out their kind of b2b sales systems. And we really love LinkedIn for that, by the way, but great exercise already. And then what are some other principles that you love? In terms of what makes good copy? Is it conversational? Is that something that that you like to see in most coffee
Short answer is, is Yes, definitely. But it all really comes back to your brand and knowing knowing what your brand is. If your brand isn't conversational for whatever reason, then then that's going to be, it's going to cause you know, we talked about uncertainty in the economy that's going to cause uncertainty in your message, and the way that you present yourself. So, if your brand is not conversational, if you're not trying to be personal, or personable, then then don't be conversational. But for most brands, yeah, you want to you want to write in a way that that that people don't have to strain to read it. Right. And that is not you're not using jargon, you're not filling everything with. Yeah, with boring material, you essentially want to be conversational. You want to invite them into a story. You want to also reflect back to them use your copy as a mirror so that they see themselves and what you're talking about. Don't have good copywriting. Yeah. You're writing about yourself or your own business. But you're really writing about them and their story and reflecting a mirror back to them. Because when they see your story as intertwining with their story, or whatever narrative they have in their head, then they're way more likely to connect with you as a brand. And then they're way more likely to buy as a customer.
How do you how vital is it, that you help uncover someone's pain points in your copy?
Again, a lot of us have that narrative or all of us have a narrative going in our hand, that story that we're always telling ourselves, and that includes our difficulties, our pain points, the obstacles that are getting in our way of the success or the after story that we're looking for. So when you can really clearly identify those for someone it shows that you know them, it shows that you that this is the product that you're the company for them because you're not talking broadly, you're talking specifically about the issue that they're facing. But you also don't want to just get stuck on talking about their pain. You want to show them relief, right on the other side. Yeah, yeah, right. I heard, I was reminded of a saying last night, even if people don't buy the drill, they buy the three quarter inch hole in their wall, right? But you want to so if you're, so this, obviously is about more than drills, but you don't want to be selling the drill. You don't want to be selling your product, you want to be selling the relief, which is the hole in the wall. But actually, if you can take your coffee, beyond that you're not selling the drill. You're not selling the hole in the wall, you're selling the picture hanging on the wall that your wife told you to put up there three weeks ago, right? That's the further down you can get into that the deeper you're going to connect with with naspers.
So the image so possibly the emotional outcome from having that problem solved.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And paint the picture for them of what that life will look like. On the other side of buying your product or engaging you in, in service, so that you're not just saying, hey, life, you know, you'll be happier, you'll be saying, your wife is gonna just come up and give you the biggest wettest kiss on the cheek because she's so happy right now picture for them. Because otherwise your copies just doesn't stand out. It's the same as everyone else's. It's kind of bland, it's kind of boring might be conversational, but it's still it doesn't intrigue people, it doesn't draw them in. Because the moment that I said, you know, your wife's gonna give you a big wet kiss on the cheek, everyone kind of you could kind of visualize it for a split second right in your mind's eye. You saw it, or or inverse, you know, your husband's coming up and giving you the kiss Whatever the case, but yeah, so so we paint the picture of the other side, they visualize it, it engages into their, into their, into their mind, this is my story, it connects with them. And again, then they're more likely to buy and it positions your brand as someone that they trust and want to want to come back to over and over again.
You know what a great workshop Jeff that we just kind of been talking about here about these these simple tests that you can apply to your own copy and website. When do people bring in the big guns? When do people bring you in? Or maybe you have some other ways of engagement other than just hiring you? I suspect that you've probably just based on the volume of work you do, it's more than just you.
Occasionally, yeah, certainly with with so my expertise is on the writing, I bring in other partners sometimes bring in people not to write copy for my clients, they write my first draft that kicked me into gear. And then I take over from that and if people hire me, I want them to know that that they're working with me, but it might not be the first draft that I wrote. So So basically, the the test for me is usually if entrepreneurs are 20 k enough per month, so about that quarter million mark overall, and if they're they they they already have Have an established brand, then then I can come in and just knock everything out of the park for them essentially, we usually start actually, with the start of our conversation. We usually start with a time like right now is perfect to solidify your brand. That's always where I start people is let's figure out your messaging your voice, your values as a brand. Let's Let's write them down, put them in a document so that you know what they are. everyone on your team knows what they are. And then I can always go from that and write stronger copy because we know what's the message what do we value? How do I write this stuff? Is it conversational? Is it professional? Is it full of emojis or not? Right? So if you're a brand that's that's Yeah, that 20 Cara Mark established and essentially you won't you know that you're communicating well, but not as well as you could. You're growing fast but not as fast as he could then this is this could be It's time to have a conversation.
Yeah Are there any favorite books that you have that they kind of give like a foundational like just kind of a one on one to improving our copywriting?
Yeah the first book I always recommend because it's powerful but also short is how to write copy that sells by Ray Edwards Yeah. Great book gonna teach you so many principles on just how to write effective copy that it's written for copywriters but anyone can get in there and, and use it to write a lot better and a lot more effectively. There's another book that I recommend, but I it's well, this isn't the full title, you'll have to fill it out yourself. But writing without bs is a great book that teaches you how to write short How to say what you mean, which is really powerful. Whether you're writing copy for marketing, are you writing an email to your team? See what you mean? It mean what you say. And essentially, that's what this book is about. So I forget the gentleman's name who wrote it, but it's writing without Bs, right? It's the but it's the full word, right? It's a, it's a great read, again, not just marketing, but how to communicate effectively, and briefly and powerfully.
So I'm on your website right now and again at Jeff coleman.com. And again, that's Jeff with a G. And I clicked on resources. And would you mind sharing maybe some of these things that folks can download for free?
Yeah, so some of them are still back from from when I was sorry, bread certified. So there's, if you're into storage and stuff, you can see some resources there. The one that I recommend the most for folks is called essentially connecting with with your audience. So how do you connect powerfully and effectively with the audience I think it's going by mistakes, high impact entrepreneurs when when make when connecting with their audience. So that's a really great one. We talked about a few of the principles in there actually, of talking too much about yourself. Getting through your customer, well, things like that. So if you're looking at a time like this, especially to connect with your audience, that's when I recommend the most. There's also one called the funnel filter on there, that if you don't know what type of marketing funnel, you should set up for your business that gives you the basically the five top options for you five most effective options and then identifies for you Okay, what type of business what type of product like this word for how difficult or easy is it? What tools do you need? Those types of things are including a funnel map as well of each of those types of funnels. So it's a really, really helpful resource. For anyone who's even if you have a funnel working, you can check that one out. See, maybe you can switch it up or tweak it a little bit.
Alright, Jeff Coleman, you're on the web at Jeff Coleman calm I record Then you click on the Resources tab. Jeff, you got a webinar there, we've got downloads, PDFs, worksheets, great resources. Thank you so much for giving away so much value. I know just based on our conversation, I'm actually really excited to kind of review some of our most important pages and kind of look at them through that filter and say, wait a minute, we just are we just talking about ourselves? Or do we truly have our, you know, speaking about the person who's reading this and what's important to them. So, Jeff, I want to thank you so much for joining us. And, again, Jeff coleman.com. Jeff, you're the obviously you're the founder of your own namesake. So that's good.
Yeah, my parents have a bit of credit in that probably.
Yeah. Right. They Yeah. Well, we'll, we'll give our gratitude to them for coming up with a great brand. So Jeff, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for thanks for listening to the thoughtful entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional, who would like To be on this daily program, please visit up my influence.com slash guest. If you got something out of this interview, would you share this episode on social media? Just do a quick screenshot with your phone and text it to a friend or post it on the socials. If you do that, tag us with the hashtag up my influence. Each month, we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform, and you get crowned king or queen of that social media. Now what are you when we're going to promote you and your business to over 120,000 social media fans? Totally free. Now, can you also hook us up now in your podcast player right now? Please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. And while you're at it, hit that subscribe button. You know why tomorrow? That's right, seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge. Let's connect on the socials, you'll find all this stuff we're doing at up my influence.com now, thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the thoughtful entrepreneur movement.