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Talk Overview:

Amy Harrison is here to help you find out if you copy is cheating on you. Not sure why your copy is hanging out with other companies or how to make sure you stand out? Amy lays out the best techniques for writing copy that clearly articulates your value while also appealing to your specific target market.

Talk Notes:

Cheating Copy

The biggest question to ask: Why should some specific that we want to reach find value, joy and delight in what we have to offer. If you don’t answer this question, you can end up with cheating copy.

  • What is cheating copy? Content that is not exclusive to you.
  • How do you know if your copy is cheating on you? You see it hanging out with other sites.

All the companies that are trying to woo your prospects are using the same copy (i.e. highly-experienced, trusted, experienced, etc.) Nothing wrong with these qualities listed in the copy but when everyone is saying the same things you can become a commodity.

  • Is your copy cheating on you with other industries? Work Out DVD, College Lecture, Sign up for Business Course: all promising to “Unlock Your Potential”

The problem with cheating copy? Your brain learns to skip over phrases it’s seen before. So, in order to avoid being ignored, you need to learn to say something different.

Umbrella Terms

We want to sound different, so why does copy cheat?

  • Umbrella Terms: when we start using general terms because we want people to “get it” using just a few words.

While it’s okay to make a big promise, make sure you have the proof!

Fix umbrella terms by being specific and qualifying your copy. Not only will you see an increase in of customers but an increase in engagement!

Action Points:

  • Check your competitors’ sites. (is your copy cheating?)
  • Are you using Umbrella Terms? Fix it.


  • Are you making a big claim and not backing it up OR burying your value.?
  • If you don’t back up a claim, customers may have doubts because they may think you are hiding something.  

Instead you should say: What You Do, How You Do It, and Proof to Back it Up.

  • What you say about yourself carries a lot less weight than what someone else things about you. (i.e. changing a quote to a testimonial).

Burying Your Value

  • Don’t hide the “juicy stuff”. Too often people make the mistake of putting the important pieces (testimonials, quotations, etc.) too far down.
  • Don’t miss the chance to tell the story.

If you are telling the story, information is taken in but a customer also feels attached to it.

  1. Don’t cut off the stories too soon.

Is there a Call to Action on every page? You don’t want people getting so far into your page and then not knowing what to do.

In the past, people may have picked up the phone if there were bits missing from the story. Now a day, you need to provide the information up front.

If you don’t tell the full story of the services you offer, you risk “frosting the glass” of your company.

What does that mean?

Amy never goes in to pubs that she can’t see into. One day she ventured into a bar where the glass was frosted and it was the best pub ever! If people could see in, everyone would be willing to try it out.

So, what stories you can tell?

#1 – Find out what people love!

Get on the phone, really dig deep and push your customers as to what adds value to what you do. They will come up with answers you haven’t even anticipated.

Flip Side: it’s also quite interesting and useful to find out what people hate about your industry. Often times companies only talk about the solution and you might be too far ahead. The customers are still at their problems.

Talking about the problem is a great way to get a customer receptive to your offer.

This leads to:

#2 Symptoms:

A lot of marketing copy focuses on the prescription (i.e. how they can solve it). Instead, you should focus on the symptoms. More likely to resonate and encourage customers to explore further. When you position yourself this way, you are not just a straight sell but acting as a diagnostic.

How can you find symptoms?

Ask yourself: what’s your customer’s morning thought?

This offers you the opportunity to acknowledge the problem, start building a story around it and then position yourself as the company to solve the problem.

The narrative Amy encourages is to map out:

  1. Symptom
  2. Problem
  3. Cure
  4. Contrast


  • Symptom: prospect is hesitant because they can’t get through to the property manager
  • Problem: this can be an issue because there is high turn-over in our industry. A lot of people start and then go somewhere else.
  • Cure: we do things a bit differently. Our team is small and stays with us for an average  of ten years.
  • Contrast: what this means is, you have direct access  to a lead contact. If you can’t reach them, someone on our team will be in touch shortly who has intimate knowledge of your situation.

This narration works to your advantage because it positions you as an expert in your industry. You are acknowledging there are things wrong with the industry and we’ve gone to the trouble to make sure it doesn’t happen with us so your client is getting better results.

Using an Impact Table

People want a transformation not a transaction. Using an impact table encourages you to tell a greater narrative around the services you offer. Not just stopping at what you do but explaining how and what it will result in.

“This is what we do. That means you can do/get this. That means that you experience this.”


We advertise in __ number of listings. That means your property is going to get so many inquiries per day/per week. What that means is we can fill your property faster and you can start getting a return on your investment.  

Using Anchors and Visual Copy

Anchor: aligning the power of the product with something the customer is more familiar with. T

Pairing this with visual copy helps with reinforcing the promise and helping the customer visualize how the product/service will fit into their life.  

Think about what one thing is your key strength and sets you apart and how you can anchor it to something the prospect is familiar with.

  • Example:  You’re really good at being responsive, proactive, etc. –> Like your very own stalker.

This is a great creative exercise to get outside of your head and come up with fresh ideas that have a bit more creativity to them.


  • Is your copy cheating?
  • Are you using umbrella terms?
  • Is there a disconnect? Is it a clear transformation?
  • Don’t bury your value and don’t be a best kept secret.
  • Symptoms: Get attention without talking about the solution first

If you reach out to your customers and pull it all together:  you will have a rich resource of notes so that you are writing copy that truly accentuates your value and is specific to your target market.

About Amy Harrison:

When it comes to clear, compelling and persuasive sales copywriting, Amy Harrison has no equals.

As a sought-after copywriter, content-trainer and speaker, Amy Harrison teaches businesses around the world how to avoid drab marketing and truly stand out from the crowd.

She is the host of AmyTV, where she provides humorous lessons about writing content that converts. She writes about how to avoid “drab marketing,” teaches at SXSW and is a regular guest and contributor to BBC radio.

Amy will be disecting property management website and landing page copy to uncover key conversion elements that can have a huge impact on your websites ability to convert prospective owners into customers.

We’ve heard Amy speak on several occasions and are honored that she’s making the trip from the UK to join us in West Palm Beach this January.

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