Host 0:04
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show.

For today’s show, I have a really cool guy on the podcast. His name is Cole Schafer. He’s a marketer, he’s a copywriter, but this is really what drew me to him. On his website, it says “Live fast. Write often. Pet dogs.” I love this guy.

We’re going to talk about person-to-person connection, how to sell, how to get people interested in what you are doing, how to rise above the noise. So without further ado, here is my interview with Cole Schafer. Cole, welcome to the show. I am so glad you’re here.

Cole Schafer 1:18
Absolutely. I’m excited to be here.

Jillian Leslie 1:20
Okay, you are a copywriter. And you’re funny and you’re irreverent, and I really liked that when I was reading through your site. So could you share, like, your brief entrepreneurial journey, how you got into this and where you are today.

Cole Schafer 1:37
Yeah, absolutely. So I graduated from the University of Southern Indiana a few years back with a degree in Marketing. And I kind of did what most kids right out of college do; I went to work for someone else.

And I was about a month into that job when I realized I’m just an absolutely terrible employee, and I don’t mean that like in a positive way. I just wasn’t a good employee.

I think I was making maybe $11 an hour to work at this really small advertising agency in my hometown, and I just hated it. I mean, literally, like, each day, when I’d get up and go to work, I hated it.

And it was kind of scary just because, you know, I had just gone four years to school to learn marketing, and even though advertising and marketing aren’t the exact same thing, they’re about as similar as any two things can get. So I was a little scared.

But what I realized, I started doing the math and I was like, Okay, my employer’s billing out customers at, you know, $125 an hour. I’m sort of making this really low, low salary. If I leave this place and start doing this stuff on my own, I can charge a whole lot more.

And so kind of the next day after that thought, I ended up quitting. And I went to work for a construction company in my hometown that was paying me cash. And it was a super flexible agreement where they would let me work from 8:00 AM in the morning to like 2:00.

And during that time, I would go into these really, really nasty apartment buildings, and my job is like tear out carpet and lay down new carpet. And so during that time, I was allowed to work alone, so I’d listened to a ton of podcasts just on, you know, Tim Ferriss’ podcasts, and side hustle, side hustle school, and just all of these really amazing podcasts.

And it felt — I always joke — but it kind of felt like I was getting my MBA because I literally listened to about 100 hours of podcasts like that summer as I was working that job. But as soon as I get off work from that job, I would go to a coffee shop and the next 6 to 8 hours was spent building what today is Honey Copy.

And so yeah, I kind of had a weird journey. Because I went to college and then I did sort of what everyone does, but fortunately, I was able to quickly recognize that, you know, this path of like working for someone else just isn’t… it just wasn’t for me. And for some people, I think it’s just fine, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Jillian Leslie 4:29
And so then how did you get interested in copywriting? I mean, it looks like you are very passionate about this.

How to Kill it at Copywriting! |

Cole Schafer 4:36
Yeah. So, one thing I noticed while I was working at that agency is, the things that kind of, I would say, set my soul on fire was when I was writing. Writing. And in college, I ran like a really small little blog that wasn’t very successful, but I had always had a knack for writing. I loved reading.

And I remember the night like I quit, I called my best friend up and was like, “you know, this is probably crazy, but I’m really thinking about trying to become a professional writer.” And at the time, I had no idea what copywriting was.

And he was just like, “Oh, you know, go do it.” You know, he just said, I think like he really can tell you go at it.

And so starting out, I had no idea what copywriting was. I was literally cold emailing startups, and just saying, “Hey, if you’re ever in need of, you know, some emails or blog posts, let me know because I would love to write them for you.”

And it wasn’t until probably about three or four months in that I realized, “oh,” what I’m doing is copywriting and that’s when I started training myself and what copywriting is, but I think that actually kind of offered me an edge sort of on the traditional copywriters because I didn’t really get into it from a copywriting standpoint. I just did it because I loved writing.

Jillian Leslie 6:00
Now what would you say copywriting is versus, say, writing?

Cole Schafer 6:06
So I would say copywriting is selling things with words, you know, at its most simplest form, is it’s just selling things with words.

Regular writing is communicating ideas or telling stories with the written word. And so really, the major difference between copywriting and regular writing is, when I’m writing something like let’s say I decide to write a story, or, you know, Stephen King writes a novel.

By the end of that novel, there’s not really any set goal that Stephen King has for his readers, right? Obviously, he wants to entertain them. But there’s no set goal.

Whereas with copywriting, copywriting has very, very clear goals with everything you write. When you have a reader read what you’re writing, you are trying to get them to do something, buy something, give you their email address, you know, subscribe, whatever, share.

So the main differences between the two is like, with copywriting, you are trying to get someone to take an action whereas with regular writing, you’re not normally doing that.

Jillian Leslie 7:19
Right. Now, is copywriting more about the word or about the psychology?

Cole Schafer 7:27
That’s a great question. So I think that there’s a little bit of a mix between the two. I think psychology plays a huge role, though., especially when we’re talking sales copy.

And we could talk all day about psychology and like psychological triggers that essentially get people to buy, right? I mean, there’s dozens and dozens of them. But at their most basic core, I think anyone can become a competent copywriter or write good copy as an entrepreneur, freelancer and marketer, if they understand that the primary reason why people buy is to either move closer to pleasure, or further away from pain. All purchases can be broken down into those two things.

And now there’s much deeper things like people might buy too for status and exclusivity, and all that. Yeah, all of that. But at its most basic form, people buy to either move closer to pleasure and further away from pain.

And one example I always give is like the worker. So she just got a huge promotion, like a $20,000 promotion, calls her husband, is super, super excited. They both excited, they want to celebrate on her way home from work. She buys $100 bottle of wine, which is really like sort of an irrational purchase because she doesn’t know a ton about wine, but she’s buying it.

That purcahse is a move closer to pleasure purchase. But in the morning when they’re really badly hung over and they had a really bad headache and there’s no Advil in the house, and they have to wake up and go find Advil, they would probably pay 20 bucks for a bottle of Advil to move further away from pain.

Jillian Leslie 9:27
And I’ve heard that that people will spend more money to move away from pain than they will to move toward pleasure.

Cole Schafer 9:37
Yes. I would say that’s fairly accurate. I mean, anytime, it’s kind of like, let’s say you’re on a road trip to Florida, and your car breaks down and someone quotes you just an insane amount of money to fix the radiator, there’s a good chance you’re gonna probably pay whatever they quote you because you’re in dire need of getting that thing fixed.

Now, not all brands are… I think the really, really good products are the ones that are moving people both closer to pleasure and further away from pain. But most products are doing one or the other. They’re using all the same.

Jillian Leslie 10:16
Now if I am, let’s say, selling something like a course, do I want to focus on moving my customer toward the benefit or to say you don’t have to deal with this pain point anymore? Because we’re always taught to look for the pain points, solve the pain points.

Cole Schafer 10:39
Yeah, absolutely. So I think that when we look at like the most exciting products, I don’t think that they usually market towards people’s pain points. I think they really market towards moving people closer to pleasure.

Jillian Leslie 10:57
Like Tesla.

Cole Schafer 10:58
Yeah. Like Tesla, Apple. You know, these companies aren’t marketing to say, like, you know, we’re trying to move you further away from pain. I think people get really, really excited about moving closer to pleasure. I think pain is more of that thing where, yeah, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore but you don’t see people wearing Advil shirts. You know what I mean?

You do see people getting Harley Davidson tattoos though. So I do think pleasure, I, as an entrepreneur and marketer, I get a lot more excited about marketing towards pleasure than pain personally.

Jillian Leslie 11:35
Okay. So then let’s say, I sell a product, how should I be thinking about moving somebody to pleasure but not just… the thing that I always struggle with is how to get somebody to take action. You know, there’s the power in the status quo, which is like an object at rest stays in rest at rest. How do you get somebody to not only go “Yeah, that’s a good idea,” but to actually either take out their credit card or put in their email address to actually do something in the world?

Cole Schafer 12:07
Absolutely. That’s a great question. So I think one thing, one approach to marketing that I have always taken with Honey Copy is, one, not ever trying to rush the purchase but understanding that like the customer’s decision and make the purchase, really, you plant that seed months and months and months before they actually make the purchase.

So a lot of times with Honey Copy, and I have an email list that I sent out in newsletters, it’s called Sticky Notes, but I will randomly have someone reach out to me about doing a big project. And I’ll look them up and they might have been in my… I might have been sending them an email for the past year, you know, and they’re just now reaching out about it.

And for so long with marketing, I would always sort of try to, I would always think like, I have to get that sale today. Right? And what that kind of caused and, I don’t know, I’m sure you’ve heard of this terminology, but it’s sales breath or commission breath. And that’s the idea that like customers know when you’re trying to shove the purchase down their throats. They can almost smell it on you.

And so by taking more of the approach of, hey, we’re just having this ongoing conversation, and I’m going to be in your inbox once a week, every Monday with a really, really thoughtful email or something really powerful to say.

Or even with your podcasts like you have 80 episodes right now, it’s oftentimes, I think, what you’ll find is the people who are buying, who are moving and actually buying your product, they might have listened to a dozen, two dozen, three dozen different conversations that you’ve had before they actually decide to purchase.

So to answer your question, I do think that psychology definitely plays a part in the copy that we’re writing to ultimately sell the customer. But I think that job becomes tremendously easier when we are planting that seed early on in sort of giving the customer these really valuable nuggets for free, building that trust, building that rapport, building that brand with them.

And then when it comes time to make the sale, you can say, Hey, I built this really, really cool thing. I worked really hard on it. And because of that, I am charging for it, and I’d love for you to buy it. And if you can’t, no worries, I’m still going to send you this free email.

Jillian Leslie 14:46
Got it. So you think that on building a relationship, I’m showing up, I’m honest. Like, you can get a sense of who I am but then are there things that I should be doing to trigger people like, for example, “Hey I’m running a special, I’m running a sale, it’s only going to be up for 48 hours. Go.” Because otherwise, it’s so easy to go “Well, next week, they’ll be another email. I could buy it next week,” you know, or whatever.

Cole Schafer 15:13

Jillian Leslie 15:14
So what’s your thought about that?

Cole Schafer 15:15
Yeah. And so I think to add to that, planting the seed is a huge aspect. But like with Honey Copy, one thing I’ll do with my newsletter is like probably once a quarter, twice a year, I’ll run what is a flash sale, right, where I’ll add a discount to my copywriting course, like maybe a 25% discount and it’ll only be available for 48 hours or 72 hours.

And a sense of urgency is a huge, huge thing. And some people view it as manipulative, but it’s just the truth. I’m telling people, Hey, I’m only going to let this be 25% off for the next 48 hours. If you buy it now like you’ll get 25% off. But if you don’t, you’ll just have to buy it at full price. So I do think that some of those psychological triggers can definitely come into play in those situations.

One thing that is huge that… and I noticed I was creeping on MiloTree’s copy because I’m obviously a copywriter, and one thing I really liked was —

Jillian Leslie 16:25
Wait. When were you there? Because we just updated the copy.

Cole Schafer 16:28
Oh, today.

Jillian Leslie 16:29
Oh, good. Okay.

Cole Schafer 16:29
But one thing you guys do beautifully that’s super, super smart, is you have the copy “Join 7,743 happy customers who have added over 23 million social media followers and email subscribers using the MiloTree smart pop-ups.”

So there’s sort of a psychological trigger in human minds, and that’s actually called herding, right? And how that works is like we will sort of follow the crowd.

Jillian Leslie 16:59

Cole Schafer 17:00
And it’s not manipulative, but it’s just true. It’s how we work. Like in ancient warfare, for example, one of the biggest things that generals would have to struggle in war was keeping their soldiers from running. That’s kind of like the idea of like they’ll shoot him in the back, which I don’t want to get into that because that’s morbid.

But the idea is, like, if one soldier runs, then two and three, and when you get to like a dozen soldiers making a run for it, that will cause this sort of primal trigger in our minds of, well, we all have to run. Right?

But I think that that same thing can be channeled positively for, like, really good products that might have a massive impact on someone’s life. Where when we see, okay, 7,743 people have bought MiloTree and are using it, and they’ve collectively gained 23 million social media followers, that is the same effect in my mind.

It’s like herding, we’re herding towards that product. And of course, it establishes trust and all that too. But that’s where I think like psychology can really come into play with just like the words we’re using, you know.

Jillian Leslie 18:09
Oh, good. I’m glad you noticed that. We just changed that. So I’m glad you noticed it. And I know, for example, for me, I go to Amazon and I read reviews, and I kind of go, “Okay, well, this person is probably like me, and if they like the product, chances are, I like the product.”

And I know that some of those reviews on Amazon can be fake, but in general, you kind of get a gist of what it’s like. And if other people are doing it, you know what, I’ll do it too, because I don’t have the time or the energy to, like, buy this product and try it out. And who knows? And so I’m willing to do what the herd is doing or the tribe.

Cole Schafer 18:43
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I mean, I was just looking at credit cards for travel because I fly quite a bit and was just looking for the ones that have the best perks for miles and whatnot. And that was what I looked at, was just what people are using, what are the reviews on them. And yeah, I think if we as marketers are doing it, there’s a very, very good chance that our customers are doing, it too.

Jillian Leslie 19:17
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Okay, so you have this concept that you don’t want to market as a brand, you want to market as a human. Can you explain that?

Cole Schafer 21:37
Yeah, absolutely. So, one thing we have lost, in my opinion, in the sort of the internet, the age of internet, is the human-to-human connection that was once upon a time, sales and marketing. Right?

My great, great grandfather and my great grandfather were both blacksmiths. And they had like a little shop in Francisco, Indiana, and when they would do a deal with someone, that the person would show up in front of them, and they talk it out, and they’d talk about the product they were wanting to do, and it would be this handshake. And it was this very sort of intimate, human interaction, right?

And I think what, as we sort of entered into the age of the internet, and even before then where you had sort of mass advertising, like, where commercials and people, where brands were making a ton of money selling literally like sugar cereal in a box, right, by just advertising via television, we sort of lost track of marketing to the individual.

Because back then, like, if you’re paying a blacksmith $400 or $500, to create some type of machinery for your farm, that’s not a small purchase. That’s a huge purchase. Once upon a time before internet, you know, all of our sales, all buying and selling was done like this; it was done face to face.

I mean, one of the biggest things you hear in marketing is target market women between the ages of 25 and 35. Well, that’s such a ridiculous idea because a man or a woman who’s 25 years old has nothing in common with someone who is 30 or 35 or 40.

So one thing I recommend to brands is: don’t mark it as a brand, market as a human towards another human. And the way you do that is, I would literally recommend whoever is one of your best customers, pay to fly them in, jump on a call.

Jillian Leslie 23:54
I say that. Do the stuff that doesn’t scale, just to learn.

Cole Schafer 23:57
Exactly, exactly. And just have a conversation with them. If you have to write 1000 word article on them that you read before you shell out any of your marketing material.

And so one thing that really famous writers will do like Stephen King, he writes all of his novels to his wife. He’s also a really great novelist. But the reason he does that is he recommends all writers to have there what he calls an ideal reader, right? The one person they’re writing to.

And naturally, as humans, we have a lot in common. And when we are marketing with just one person in mind, other people can relate to that because we get more specific, we get warmer. And so that’s why I just say market as a human, don’t market as a brand because when you sort of are casting this wide marketing that it doesn’t resonate with anyone, no can feel it.

Jillian Leslie 24:52
Somebody I interviewed said that when she writes her newsletters for her list, she writes them to her mom.

Cole Schafer 24:59
I love that.

Jillian Leslie 25:01
And then if her mom then calls her up and says “I really liked your newsletter,” A, it’s not salesy even if she’s selling something; and B, like her mom would be like, “I didn’t know this week that you…” blah, blah, blah, you know, it’s like, easy and breezy. And so that’s who she thinks about for her audience because it’s kind of like your girlfriend down the street or whomever that you’re just chatting with.

Cole Schafer 25:25
Oh, no, yeah, you’re exactly right. And I think that that’s awesome that she does that because it adds such a warmer tone to your marketing, you know?

Jillian Leslie 25:35
Absolutely. Yeah, I totally agree. Okay, you talk about this thing called a hook sentence, and I can tell that you love to read. Because you collect them, it looks like.

Cole Schafer 25:45
Yes, yeah, I collect them.

Jillian Leslie 25:47
Can you explain what that means and also how marketers can use them?

Cole Schafer 25:53
Yeah, absolutely. So, a hook sentence in the world of literature is the first sentence that you read when you open a novel. And depending on what industry you’re in, it has sort of different definitions.

Like in traditional academia, the hook sentence in an essay tells the reader what they’re about to read. But in the world of literature, I think the hook sentence is the most powerful because as an author, when you’re asking a reader to spend days reading your, 180,000-word book, you’re asking them to commit an immense amount of time and energy to read what you’ve written. That’s a really big ask.

So authors, in my opinion, have one of the hardest jobs in the world, and that’s just to get people to keep on reading.

So a lot of times the best writing takes place in literature, and that’s why I don’t recommend a ton of business reading to people who are wanting to write better because most business writing isn’t very good.

Jillian Leslie 27:10
It’s really boring, yeah.

Cole Schafer 27:11
It’s really boring. It’s not good. So anyways, I collect a lot of the first sentences in some of my favorite books or just like books that are known for having just iconic first sentences. And the reason I do that is, it helps me just think about how can I write an amazing first sentence that gets my reader to read the second sentence and third sentence and the fourth sentence.

Because that’s really the biggest challenge is, a lot of times we have like this seven-second window to grab the reader’s attention. And what happens is you’ll notice a lot of articles, they might have like 30- or 40-word sentences as their opening sentence.

And people just aren’t reading all the way through that. So you need to come out with something that’s short, punchy, 5 to 10 words at max, that just pulls the reader in. And there’s, there’s so many great examples of these.

Jillian Leslie 28:15
Do you have one that you could share?

Cole Schafer 28:18
Oh, absolutely. Let me pull some of my favorites up.

Jillian Leslie 28:22
Okay. Are these first lines from novels or are these first lines from sales pages, or what?

Cole Schafer 28:30
So the ones I’m about to share with you are the ones from… just a few from novels, right? And I’ll kind of elaborate more on this. But “I lost my arm on my last trip home.” That was the first sentence of Kindred by Octavia Butler. “A screaming comes across the sky” That’s the first sentence of Gravity’s Rainbow. “It was love at first sight.” That was the first sentence of Catch 22.

“I’m pretty much fucked.” That was the first sentence of Martian, which you should look into that, that’s like an amazing story behind the writer who actually wrote that. It’s pretty awesome.

“It was a pleasure burn.” First sentence of Fahrenheit 451. “All this happened more or less.” That was the first sentence of Slaughterhouse Five.

And I have 61 of these, so I’m not going through all of them. But what’s beautiful about those is that each sentence I read is under 10 words, right?

Jillian Leslie 29:33
Ooh, interesting.

Cole Schafer 29:34
But they’re extremely powerful, right? And what I love about the hook sentence is everything from the headline, you write on your sales pages, to the title you give your blog posts, to the subject lines that you put in your emails — all of these are hook sentences, right? So it’s kind of all encompassing.

And I would even argue that at the most basic form of copywriting, if you can learn to write one really, really, really strong sentence, you can become a very capable copywriter.

Jillian Leslie 30:07
Okay. So I was going to say, so let’s talk about it in terms of some of your favorite ways to do this, your creative hook sentence that’s short and to the point that gets people intrigued for businesses.

Cole Schafer 30:19
Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so let me pull something up really quickly. Okay, so here, so first and foremost, one of my biggest pieces of advice on hook sentences, and again, headline, subject line, all that, is a lot of times when we’re writing a piece, we might spend five hours on writing an article.

And then once we’re done writing that article, we might spend 30 seconds putting together some boring headline and then we’ll hit Publish. Right? And that’s sort of like this narcissism that anyone who writes shares and that’s the idea that since I put time and effort into this piece…

Jillian Leslie 31:03
You should do.

Cole Schafer 31:04
People are going to want to read it. And that’s ridiculous.

And so one piece of advice I give everyone that will immediately make their hook sentences better, is sort of this 20-80 rule; where if you’re going to spend five hours writing an article or an email, one of those hours needs to be spent writing your hook sentence, you know.

And how I do that is, I would just literally recommend writing down 25 of the best headlines if you can. And then if you have colleagues, show it to them or you can show it to your spouse. You can show it to your friends, whomever. And just ask them, say, read through these and just circle the three that stood out to you, right?

And we step back to the page and in an hour look at it, and you’ll even be able to see, okay, these three are the really, really, really strong ones. And what’s fascinating is, this was like BuzzFeed, for example, they make every single one of their writers write 25 headlines before they publish an article.

And they’ve seen like an increase in click-through rates by 50%, 100% and, in some cases, like 500%. So a lot of times, it really comes down to just putting forth more effort. But with that said, there are some very clear strategies you can use to improve your hook sentences.

One of the first ones I give is this idea of kind of like, sort of like flirting, right? And this type of headline is sort of like the the attractive girl or guy at the bar that is a great flirt, right? So she or he walks into a bar. They smile, they pass around compliments, everyone gets a taste but never a feel. They’re sort of like this flirt, right?

And it makes folks want them more. So a headline that flirts with your audience can be a good headline just because it’s sort of like… and how we do this is we highlight a problem to the reader and then we kind of hint having a solution.

So this might be “Can’t seem to make money in the stock market to save your life? Read this.”

Another another great way to write a headline or subject line that gets attention is also kind of like the short sentences I wrote or I shared at the beginning, just cutting right to the chase.

One article I wrote that went viral was something called The Psychology of Selling. That was the title I used. And it might not sound exciting, but it ended up getting, you know, I’m going to say like 30,000 applause like on Medium. And it was just because I kind of told the people who are reading it exactly what they were going to read.

And so an example of this might just be, you know, “Easy, foolproof strategies to increase your chances of making money in the stock market.” Just telling people like straight up this is what you’re about to read.

And then of course, there’s ones that sort of play on that sense of urgency like the quick, fast and in a hurry.

So let’s say you work in a field where, like, maybe you’re selling a product to people who are on a time crunch. One headline you could use is, you know, “In 5 minutes we’ll teach you…” blah, blah, blah, right?

But yeah, I think that a lot of times with hook sentences and really headlines and subject lines, it really just comes down to putting more thought into it, being a little more clever and writing out 25 of them, and then choosing the best one. Because if people don’t like the headline, they’re not going to open the article, you know.

Jillian Leslie 34:39
Right. And I think that I liked your point about the fact that there is a kind of self-centeredness or kind of belief that, like, Well, I wrote all this and I spent all this time, you must know that. And therefore you’re going to really like what I’m offering you.

And that you have to go “Oh, no, no,” they could just scroll right by this like you scroll right by a million things. And they’re probably things in your inbox that you’ve never opened that could have added a lot of value to your life. But for whatever reason, it didn’t catch your attention and you never got into it.

Cole Schafer 35:13
You’re exactly right. And we just forget that it’s easy as a writer to not realize the reader wasn’t in the room watching you write that entire piece. Like they don’t know how good it is. So you better come up with a really amazing headline that will get them to want to read it.

Jillian Leslie 35:31
I like that. I definitely feel like I could use more time focusing on that. It’s just that, you know, I finish the piece and I’m like, “Oh, thank God that’s over with.” And then I go, “All right, let’s come up with something.”

Cole Schafer 35:44
Yeah, let’s move on to the next thing.

Jillian Leslie 35:46
Yeah, I want to cross this off my list.

Cole Schafer 35:49
Right, exactly.

Jillian Leslie 35:50
Instead of really stopping and putting that kind of energy into it. I think that that’s really valuable. Okay. Let’s say just quickly is like one of my last questions for you. I want to sell something, I don’t know what I should be selling. What would you say to me?

Cole Schafer 36:09
Gotcha, great question. On this one, I’m going to speak more from, like, my own perspective, because I started sort of offering a service — and that was writing, right?

So if you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer offering some type of service-based business, one thing I always recommend to these type of people is to create what I call like is a hybrid — and that’s half service, half product where you are… One thing I ran into early on as a freelancer was I realized, Okay, I really want to scale Honey Copy.

But to scale a service business, you either have to, one, hire more writers, right? Or B, raise your rates.

Jillian Leslie 36:58
Or C, never sleep.

Cole Schafer 37:00
Yeah. Or C, never sleep. And I think I use one. So A, B, or C.

So A, what I what I said was, I don’t want to hire new writers because I really like writing. I don’t like managing other writers. So I like next to A, that’s not an option. C, like, I need to sleep, but then B, I realized, Okay, I can, I can raise my rates and make more money.

But eventually, you sort of hit the ceiling, right, where you can’t charge people $5,000 for an article. So what I realized was, I have to come up with some type of product I can sell that feels natural with the service I offer but that I don’t have to trade minutes for dollars on it.

And so, for me, a ton of what I do for companies is just helping them sell whatever they’re selling with words, whether that’s catchy emails, or really in-depth articles that teach people something specific like to our industry, right?

And so what I decided was, well, as I’m raising my rates, not all these startups are going to be able to afford a $5,000 project with me, but I still really, really want to help these startups. And so why can’t I teach them on obviously, like, not the same level, but why can’t I teach them how to write copy themselves.

And so I created my copywriting guide for just $97. So it’s literally a fraction of the cost that I would charge them to work with me directly. And while no, I’m not promising that they’ll get the same exact results as they would get by working with me, this is still a really, really great option.

And so what I would recommend to people who are trying to come up with a product to sell, I think it’s tremendously valuable to start out selling some type of service and then coupling a product with that service. So when it came time to write my copywriting guide, I didn’t even ask my audience, I knew it was going to work because it’s like, I’ve been making a living doing this stuff for the past two years. I know people are going to buy this guide.

Jillian Leslie 39:16
Especially who are on your email list.

Cole Schafer 39:18
Yeah. Especially who are on my email list. Exactly.

Jillian Leslie 39:20
Who want to know about copywriting.

Cole Schafer 39:22
Yeah. And so I think a lot of times where maybe people mess up with, like, creating a product is they might try to create a product that is entirely different from the product they’re already selling or the service they’re already selling.

And I think instead, people need to sort of look at it as like a tiered pricing model where, All right, you can buy my $97 guide or you can buy my $500 copy audit, or you can work with me for $2500 to build out an email sequence. So sort of doing tiered pricing and making that lowest tier your product.

Jillian Leslie 39:56
Right. I think that’s really smart. It’s kind of like, you know, a brand extension. And yeah, recognizing that, you know, if you are a brand, if you’re Coke, you could come out with Diet Coke, and people go Oh, that makes sense. But if Coke all of a sudden starts selling sneakers, you’re like, “Man, that doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t really think of Coke as a sneaker company.”

Cole Schafer 40:19
Yeah. Oh, no, you’re exactly right. That would make no sense. It would feel weird.

Jillian Leslie 40:25
Weird. Right. So I like that idea of trying to figure out who you are, and then moving incrementally in a direction where you can find a new revenue stream.

Cole Schafer 40:37
Yes, exactly. Yeah. And I think that what and how I would recommend going about building out.

Jillian Leslie 40:43
I love that. So Cole, how can people reach out to you, learn about your course, connect with you? Like, where are you available?

Cole Schafer 40:53
Yeah, absolutely. So I am, I mean, I’m always open to people like just sending me an email, and that’s just I try to respond to every email I get. And as far as like, I, you know, if they want to buy my copywriting guide, they’re obviously more than welcome to. They can just go to And in the right hand corner there, it just says “Copywriting Guide”. They can click on that and it’ll take them.

But, you know, I’m not necessarily trying to sell anyone on that. Like, if you want to just get my weekly newsletter, which I think is sort of the most exciting thing I have going on right now, and it’s completely free and it’s super, super valuable.

Jillian Leslie 41:43
And by the way, that’s how I found you. I landed up on your website, I joined your list. I started getting your emails, and I reached out to you and said, “Hey, would you be on my show?”

Cole Schafer 41:52
Yeah, I know. I love that. And that newsletter has just been wonderful. But it’s called Sticky Notes. And it’s just a And that’s all one word. So that’s how they can join the email list.

Jillian Leslie 42:07
So Cole, I have to say, I’ve learned a lot. I’m going to spend more time on my headlines. You know, I have to write something after I get off with you, and I’m going to put a little more effort in there. So thank you for that tip just even for today. And really, it has been such a pleasure to have you on the show.

Cole Schafer 42:24
Oh, it’s been wonderful. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jillian Leslie 42:28
I hope you learn from this episode. I hope there were real takeaways for you. And if you have suggestions for me, whether it’d be topics, guests, that kind of thing, please reach out to me at I love hearing from you. And I will be here again next week.