4 Questions to Design High-Converting Landing Pages

You might find it hard to explain what your product actually does. This leads to a weak messaging on your landing pages, which leads to people not signing up, and ultimately lower revenue. 

My guest today is Pedro Cortés, a SaaS marketing and design consultant. We talked about why companies struggle with positioning, Pedro’s framework to discover his clients’ most valuable selling points, and how he translates it to a well-crafted landing page.

Listen to this episode: 

We covered:

  • How Pedro positions his consulting business
  • How if a SaaS company is solving “big problems”
  • Why companies struggle to explain what their product actually does
  • Questions Pedro asks his clients to build a position-accurate landing page
  • How to translates insights into a well-crafted landing page
  • Why testimonials are valuable and how you can make it more “human”
  • How Pedro goes about finding the buyer’s most important pain points

Resources:

Full Transcript:

Louis: Bonjour, bonjour, and welcome to another episode of everyonehatesmarketers.com, the no-fluff, actionable marketing podcast for marketers, marketing consultants, founders, and tech people who are just sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I’m your host, Louis Grenier. In today’s episode, you will learn how to get a lot of conversions from your landing pages with minimum changes, minimum interactions.Louis: My guest today is a consultant, he helps SAAS companies to turn more visitors into customers, and he does that with better messaging, better positioning. He has plenty of clients in the SAAS and startup world, a quite impressive client list. He’s been doing that for a few years. He’s been showing a lot of free frameworks online. You might have seen it before.Louis: As you know, messaging, positioning and all of that is quite close to my heart, because this is one of the core marketing foundations out there. That’s why I am so happy to have you, Pedro Cortez, onboard. Welcome.

Pedro: Awesome. Super glad to be on the show after hearing a bunch of episodes and really enjoying it. I think the no-fluff kind of thing is really what I’m all about. That’s really what my blog is about I’m super looking forward to dropping some value bombs in this episode.

Louis: Some value bomb, huh. Let’s see, first of all you focus on SAAS companies in particular, because you know hoe to position your business. But, I think what we are going to talk about together is not only relevant to SAAS companies, which stands for software as a service companies, but it’s probably going to be quite relevant to any businesses trying to sell stuff online, yeah?

Pedro: Yeah, 100%. It’s exactly like you said. I just did that to position buying business. Mainly for personal interest, and just creating something that works for SAAS in specific.

Louis: That’s already a good listen there. You positioned your own consulting business on a specific industry, and it seems like you did that because you knew there was some demand there. And also, because you had personal interest in it. I think that’s already a good lesson for people to listen to. We talked about positioning multiple times, but you are an actual example of someone who knows how to position his business.

Louis: Actually, I would encourage anyone listening right now to Google Pedro Cortes or Cortes.design, which is the name of your website, and see how you position yourself. See how you say no to a lot of people who don’t fit your profile. Make it clear that it’s not for everyone.

Pedro: Yeah, I think that’s my secret weapon. Knowing exactly who I’m targeting, and being bold about not really allowing the rest to become clients. One thing that I’m pretty aggressive about is, when I feel like a company doesn’t have an awesome product, or it’s not fixing a big problem, or it charges like, $10 a month, I don’t work with those companies. Because, they don’t fix big problems, and I can’t sell small problems, regardless how good my copy is. I make that statement pretty bold. It’s been working so far.

Louis: How did you discover that companies that don’t have big problems are not worth pursuing?

Pedro: I’m not saying… I’m just saying if a SAAS company is charging a lot of money for their software, maybe 200 bucks a month to 1000 bucks a month, or even 10 thousand bucks a month, whatever it is. It’s be they’re solving a big problem. They’re solving something that is urgent and that’s something I can really package up and make obvious. Otherwise, if you’re selling a productivity tool where there is 10 billion others, and every software developer creates a copy on the side just for fun, then you have way too much competition, and you’re not solving a big problem. I don’t believe that’s a business.

Louis: All right. Let’s talk together on how to actually get conversions from a landing page. A page that people land on. Without having to change it too much. But, before that, based on your experience, it seems like, and from hat I’ve seen as well, the biggest thing that SAAS companies, and companies in general already struggle to do is actually explaining what the fuck their product or service actually does, right? And why people should care about it.

Louis: I found it extremely difficult to do when you are in the middle of something. When you are part of a business, you tend to forget the basics, and you tend to try to over complicate everything and make it sounds so smart. That you are so smart, and the people buying from you are so smart. Actually, its much simpler than that. Why do you think, and I have already answered my part of it, but, why do you think from your perspective those companies struggle to explain what their product actually does in simple terms?

Pedro: Yeah. I think it has a couple of problems there. One, obviously, is you lack the outside perspective. That’s a huge part of it. The way you can get a round it is basically, if you have a framework, of you have a step-by-step process to doing this. Basically, what I do with my clients is, I actually ask them for these kinds of things that help us both create the new pages. Essentially, I’m asking them the things. But, because I’m forcing very hard questions, and I’m steering them into the right direction, the same people that couldn’t really answer it, and was lacking the outside perspective, gave me all of the insights that I needed.

Pedro: It’s really about having the right questions, and thinking about it frequently. In my own business, I don’t have the outside perspective, but what I do is every three months I look up a set of questions, I ask myself those questions again based on the new insights that I got. I just tweak my positioning and make it even better every three months or so. You can definitely do it without outside perspective, you just need to turn it into an actual process, and not something that is way too creative.

Pedro: The other thing is, they just lack the… It’s also related to the framework. It’s the lack of structure way of turning what might be a complex set of problems into focusing into one big problem, and having a formula for doing all of the pages. One of my most popular resources is I just have a SAAS landing pages cheat sheet, which is a formula for a SAAS landing page. I follow that all the time with minimal tweaks. It just works every time, because it’s proven, and it’s adapted to SAAS companies.

Louis: Your answer to that is basically to use a process, and not make it too creative. Not trying to reinvent the wheel, right? Thousands, or tens of thousands, or 100 thousand of companies are in the same space, in the tech space and whatnot. If you try to reinvent the wheel every time, you’re going to lose focus.

Louis: Going back to the problem, before we talk about your frameworks and the methodology you have. Why is it so difficult for companies to do that? Why is it so difficult to just explain what the fuck your product does? Why do you think is that the case?

Pedro: I think they just lack a little bit of awareness of… Throughout time, like you said, when they get you working with the product and adding features. Because, let’s be honest, every day they probably get bombarded with feature requests, or random things that people say that is just noise. Then, they forget about the big problem that they’re fixing, and about their ideal customer. When they start getting customers from all over the place, it gets hard for them to understand where they should double down.

Pedro: It’s because their mind is a little bit overwhelmed. Then, the messaging that it reflect their minds can never be specific, because their mind is also overwhelmed and the messaging results in being vague as well.

Louis: Yeah, you think it’s because people tend to open their mind to out, input. Too many things. Social media, feedback from customer, feedback from their boss, competitors, trends. They just get bombarded every day. They just simply can’t. It’s basic input output, they just simply can’t output something simple because they have so many complex shit coming in every day.

Pedro: Yeah. I mean, that’s pretty much it. To add to that is basically, if you are trying to create a page or come up with a page, making it anything creative I think is just making stuff up. What you have to do is, you just have to listen to the customers, then use a small formula that helps you take their feedback and taking their questions and their objections, and just answering them with a detailed formula.

Pedro: Basically, what you are doing is, you’re organizing that info, and you are turning it into some copy. Instead of just trying to come up with things from scratch and making assumptions, and then making tons of iterations without any improvements.

Louis: Before we go through this framework and distill that together, because you already hinted at it a few times. Let me challenge you with a question. Let’s play Devil’s advocate for a second. If every company is using the same formula that works for everyone, then every single company will look the same, no?

Pedro:

I mean, I wouldn’t agree with that, because the formula is about explaining the actual product. It’s like how you frame your offer. The page would only look similar if the product is similar, and before we even think about the messaging, we need to think about the positioning part.

Pedro:

The positioning part is just basically saying, “Why are we better than anything else on the market?” Ninety percent of the cases is usually comes down to better integrations, better onboarding, easier setup time, better UX, and better support. Ninety percent of the time, that’s what it come up to. What the formula is about is really explaining that product and highlighting its best things. But, the results of using the formula is always different, because the products you are trying to explain is different as well.

Pedro:

So, if I had very similar clients, the outcome would be similar. But, because we are targeting different… Let’s say of you are using CRM, maybe you’re targeting a CRM for different niches. Maybe you’re targeting for different stages. Maybe they are targeting people that use a different process. For instance, for a productivity tool, some people like to use Trello, because they have that Japanese kind of process where you move things around. Maybe other people like to do To Do lists because they like to focus on the getting things done methodology.

Pedro:

To each their own, and there’s plenty of space. All the formula does is really highlighting the benefits of the product, and the use cases. Aren’t really making it all look the same. I mean, I get surprised every time on how different things come out.

Louis:

Yeah. There are thousands of parameters, right? As you say, the audience is different, the product is different, the features that you want to highlight are different. The benefits are different. The customer base are different. Basically, the team is different. So many things that are different that even if you are in the same space, roughly selling to the same people, their end result would be quite different.

Louis:

I suppose, in the next few minutes we’re going to go through this process together. We might give example related to tech companies, but I want to reassure, if you’re listening to this episode right now and feeling like, “Ah, it’s for tech people, I’m going to leave,” it’s not only for tech people. Right? What you’re going to distill in the next few minutes is really relevant to anyone selling stuff online. Even offline, even in the real world. I think they way you have this information laid out is pretty clear for everyone to use.

Louis:

I just wanted to mention that again, because I don’t want this podcast to be just for techies. It’s relevant to anyone selling stuff online, even services.

Louis:

Let’s say we have a tech company, we reach out to you, or someone else. Basically we know we want to have a better homepage or landing page that converts better using your formula. Using the process you put together. It’s not magic, right? You’ve clearly done a very good job at summarizing it, but it’s not a secret weapon that nobody had heard about. It’s super simple, that’s what makes it super powerful. Maybe you can go through what this process, or this framework looks like, and then we can go through step by step.

Pedro:

Okay, got it. I’ll try to make an eye-level preview. Really, what this is all about is, (1) This is nothing new. I must admit that basically how I learned this was I was interested in getting into SAAS marketing, and learning from stuff around. And, because I’m also super interested in psychology, when I was studying the articles and the other content around, I was thinking to myself, “Okay, this makes no sense. There is no way people would buy based on these bullshit principles.”

Pedro:

What I’ve done is, I spent a few years studying the best copywriters of all time, how they sold these completely random products with different motivations and so on. They were able to sell them every time, and just sell them super predicatively. They knew exactly what to do. I just studies them, and their work is actually pretty old, so it could be from the 1970s, it could be from the ’80s or whatever. I just adapted it to SAAS and created this framework. That’s all it is about.

Pedro:

Basically, if you want to get maximum conversions with minimum iterations, because let’s say in the startup world, or any kind of business, the more iterations you make, it’s just costing you a lot of money. The way we skip that is, we need to think about the goal of the website. This is the core of this process. The goal of the website is being a salesman that answers all of the objections that a visitor might have.

Pedro:

If you think of your website, it needs to answer these four questions. Even if it does answer these questions, you can still improve on how well you’re answering them. Most likely, when companies redesign their website, they never even think about these questions, and if you don’t answer them, it’s not going to convert. If you miss one, it’s not going to convert well.

Pedro:

The four questions are: What problem are you fixing? How are you fixing that problem? Then, why is it better than what I’m currently using? Because, that’s who you’re fighting with, for example. For SAAS you might be fighting with a simpler, off-the-shelf software. Fighting with spreadsheets that they are just sick of using, and they want something better. Then, the fourth question is: Why are you better than anything else on the market? Like I said before, that usually comes down to support and better UX, and onboarding, and setup times, and so on.

Louis:

All right. Let’s repeat those four questions, yeah? What’s the problem you are fixing? How do you solve it? And then, what are the last two?

Pedro:

The last two are: Why is your product or solution better than what they are currently using? This is positioning your product as a new opportunity, and not just something incrementally better than what they are using. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any urgency to try it out.

 

Pedro:

If you’re using spreadsheets, you just have to really highlight the problems of the spreadsheets. Saying how many things they can’t do with a spreadsheet and how much it is costing them.

 

Louis:

Yeah, go ahead.

 

Pedro:

Yeah, let me just finish the last question. The last question is basically just saying: Why are you better than anything else on the market? Because, you have to remember that a visitor that is at the point where they may be problem-aware, or solution-aware and they’re really looking, they’re almost about to convert, they will look into your competitors. People like to try to find the best value for their money. If they don’t think that’s you, they might not make the decision to convert with you, and they might convert with someone else that explains that better.

 

Louis:

Yeah. Thanks for sharing those four questions. The first two are, I would say, standard, and I’m pretty sure if you’re listening to this episode right now, you’ve heard that before. What is the problem, how do you fix it? Now, the third one is what I keep repeating on this podcast. A few years ago I mentioned or something, and I’m glad you mentioned that, Pedro. It’s what [April Dunford 00:17:58] would call a competitive alternative. Or whatever else you want to call it.

 

Louis:

It’s, what are they doing right now to solve their problem. It does not mean what other tool that is the exact same space as you are they using, right? If you sell a service, the same thing. What are they currently doing right now to try to solve that problem? Sometimes, you mentioned spreadsheets, actually in the tech world spreadsheets are the main alternatives for most products, right?

 

Pedro:

Yep.

 

Louis:

You can have a spreadsheet instead of Trello, you can have a spreadsheet instead of a [inaudible 00:18:28], you can have a spreadsheet instead of product management. It’s endless. The other alternative that I see happening a lot that marketers forget about, is doing nothing. Right? An alternative could be simply not trying to solve the problem. Having it, but bot trying to do anything about it. That’s what you’re competing against.

 

Louis:

Then, finally, the last question is much more geared towards what people currently do. What is unique about you compared to competitors? The obvious question I have for you is, (1) How do you find those four questions out. Then, (2) How do we put that together in a nice page?

 

Pedro:

Awesome. I’ll try to answer them one at a time. Basically, all of these insights can come from frequent questions, they can come from reviews on websites like Capterra, or G2 Crowd, or anything similar. Depending on how low-touch or high-touch your approach is. I usually work with companies that do demos, so that’s always better.

 

Pedro:

The way you find those insights is, you just record the demos, and sometimes you implement them during the sales process. The insights are super obvious, when you actually want to learn from them. Let’s say, if you’re… You don’t have to listen to the entire demo because most times they’re showing the tool and everything. You just want to look at the beginning of the call, and the last part of the call. The reason why is, at the beginning they will tell you how they found you, and why they decided to book a call right now. Tells you the urgency, and how they got sick of their current way of doing things, the current way they are using to solve their problem.

 

Pedro:

And, at the end of the call, is when the salesperson is trying to say, “Do you want to sign up right now? I can create an account for you. I can move your data,” or whatever it is. Because, when the salesperson asks them to commit is when they’ll ask the biggest objections. That’s where 90% of the insights come from. At the beginning, and at the end of the calls.

 

Pedro:

Then, if you look at the reviews, we can look for patterns. Let’s say on Capterra, or G2 Crowd or something. We can look for patterns, and usually the best reviews are the ones that are the longest. Because, those are the people who can describe their problems better. They are the ones that are the most aware about their problems, and the solution they wanted.

 

Louis:

Thanks for going through that. What I like about this method of capturing data is that you don’t have to get out of your way and interview people, surveying them and whatnot. It turns out that most of the data that you need is mostly available to you. Just have to grab it somewhere, right?

 

Louis:

If you are selling, if you are a [googleter 00:21:23], or if you are selling electronic stuff. In Amazon, you probably have reviews about your product and competitor products. In the tech world, let’s say you have Capterra, G2 Crowd, that kind of services. In your industry, whatever it is, there must be a place where you can look at reviews from actual customers who are actually writing about your stuff. I like what you said about the length of it. The more committed people are, the more lengthy the answer, the more likely they are… People are quite thorough, and those are the most difficult people to convince, if they are not super convinced yet. Right?

 

Louis:

Once you’ve collected… Let’s say you go through those reviews, you go through a few demos, how do you put it together into a coherent answer to each of those questions?

 

Pedro:

Yeah, that’s a great question. Actually, I think this is the easy part, because most of the results come from how well you’ve identified those objections in step one. Now, step two, which would be to actually put them on a page. That’s why I created a formula, because I believe the most meaningful work is in the step one.

 

Pedro:

To try to give you a high-level version of the formula, and something that is easier to consume on a podcast and the picture, and that would be the most universal for other people that are listening, and they don’t have a SAAS product or anything similar. Keep in mind, I use this for my own business, so this is as universal as it can get.

 

Pedro:

The first section would be about the header. Really, the header is just the top of the page. The goal there is just to give a hint of the result you can get. Usually, you can ask a question and say, “What if you could have X result without this main problem?” That’s a universal formula. It’s super easy to use, and it works every time. The goal of that section is to create curiosity in saying, “How the hell are they solving this problem?” Or, “How the hell are they getting such good results?”

 

Pedro:

You can’t explain your entire offer on that part of the page. So, what that section needs to do is help you read the other ones until people understand the product, and the feel like converting at any stage of the page.

 

Louis:

Right.

 

Pedro:

Then, the other part would be introducing the problem. Actually, most SAAS companies don’t do this, but other types of companies do. You want to introduce the big problem you are fixing. In the headline you might say… One good headline that I’ve seen recently is, “40% of failed turn is due to failed payments.” That’s the big problem this turn. Then, they explain… This is from [turnbuster.io 00:24:26] by the way. Then they explain the smaller problems that lead to failed payments. That’s the perfect way to do it.

 

Pedro:

On the headline you said you talk about the main problem, and then the smaller problems that lead to the big problem. Only after that you want to enter the solution. Because, what section number two does is, it quantifies how painful, and how much money it’s costing them to not fix the problem, and triggers an investment mindset that you are going to need of you want people to take action.

 

Pedro:

Then, you just explain the solution. You’re basically going to say how your product fixes that big problem. It’s fairly simple, you just make it like, step one we do this. An exercise I usually do is, imagine a customer comes to you with a set number of problems, how would you go about fixing them in order. That’s how you explain that section I think, as the simplest one.

 

Pedro:

Then, social proof is just showing actual results. We saved X amount of hours a week, or we got this amount of money. Just focus in on your results as much as possible, and making it relatable. If I’m a CEO, and I’m looking at a product for CEOs or something, I want to see testimonials from CEOs, so I can picture myself getting the same results they are getting. Social proof has to be relatable, and it has to show results. Normal testimonials don’t really work anymore. People are just becoming numb to that because everyone is using it. You just have to get them right.

 

Louis:

Yes.

 

Pedro:

Then, just to finish up the formula is, just having the call to actions. People went through your entire page, and they now understand your product better. They believe it can fix their problems, and you want to make it easy for the to convert. A good call to action is not about the copy of the button, and is not about the color of the button, which is nonsense. It’s really about reversing the risk and creating urgency.

 

Pedro:

Reversing the risk could be, “Hey, you have a 14-day trial.” Or, “You’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee.” Or, “We have monthly contracts.” Or, “It doesn’t require a credit card.” Whatever it is. Creating urgency is showing, the formula I usually use is, “Other companies are already using our product to get X results. When will you?” Also, show the logos of the companies. It could be “Other companies are already using this CRM to close more leads, when will you?” That just creates the fomo that gets people to take action.

 

Louis:

To summarize header, to create curiosity, explanation of what the problem is, and the sub problems that it has. Really diving into the pain. Talking about your product or service fixes this problem. Social proofing it with actual customer and testimonials. I have a few things to say on testimonials. Then finally, a call to action with something that answers an objection and leads to urgency with a guarantee. Maybe doubling you money back if you’re not happy. That kind of really… Removing all the risk.

 

Louis:

I want to say two things on that. I mean, three actually. First, thank you so much for sharing all of this. We’ll go through it in more detail. The second part is, what I like about this system is it’s relating to one of the rules of copywriting. The rule is to make you read the second sentence, the third sentence. That’s the aim of the first sentence, is to make you read the second sentence, the third one, the fourth one. It’s not about trying to put everything into one sentence that means everything, it’s really making them real, right? That’s what copywriting is all about.

 

Pedro:

Yeah, exactly.

 

Louis:

Your framework follows that. The third point are testimonials. I’m glad you mentioned the fact that everyone does it so definitely its losing its value. I think Sean D’Sousa, who is the author of the Brain Audit, which is about landing pages, and there is a few things that are similar to your approach. He has a very, very nice way to talk about testimonials. For him, it’s almost treats testimonial as its own article with its own headline, and they are long as fuck. Right?

 

Louis:

They are really long. They might be three, four paragraphs long. They use the actual words of people, and it actually is there to debunk objections. Each testimonial is really a weapon to debunk the objection of people that they have in their head. I would really encourage people to try this approach instead of the basic three-line that is just bland. You can feel it’s been written by a marketer and not by a customer.

 

Pedro:

Yeah, 100%. I mean, I think when it’s getting so noisy, and all of these people are using it, and just making testimonials up. I think, probably video testimonials would be way better. Not just those professional ones that seem scripted and so on. Just amateur kind of things that pop up, like a selfie video is how they call it. I think that’s super cool.

 

Pedro:

I haven’t been able to try that with one of my clients, because it’s B2B, and they’re kind of… They are fearful of being that informal. But I think it works super well. One good point that you mentioned, when I explain the solution, sometimes I use testimonials to back it up. One example from Convert Kit, a random example from the internet, because they do that on every part of how they explain the solution.

 

Pedro:

If they’re talking about we have tons of integrations, they had a testimonial from a guy saying, “The Shopify integration [may 00:30:28] seamless. They really help you make sure the integrations work really well.” Now, the person thinks “Not only do I have 80 plus integrations, they are also well done, and they are seamless, and they don’t have any bugs,” or something.

 

Louis:

Yep. Exactly. This is why testimonials… That’s why I use the work weapons even though I’m not necessarily a big fan of the word itself, we are not in a fucking war. But anyway, it’s a good way to really… You need to use them for the right reasons. You don’t just plunk a testimonial somewhere. You want to plunk a testimonial somewhere, because it answers an objection, or because as you said, it goes further and explains the benefits better. Or, because it is using words that you have been repeating elsewhere, and it just re-emphasizes your point.

 

Louis:

Everything there is there for a reason. Everything in the process, in the template of the framework you shared is there for a reason. There is no superfluous information.

 

Pedro:

Yeah, exactly. It’s just so you don’t have to think about it and everything falls into place. You just ask yourself these questions, you find the information, you use the formula. And the content falls into place exactly. You have everything you need, and you don’t have to think about it. It removes the creativity and the unpredictability out of doing the landing pages and the conversion optimization.

 

Louis:

Let’s go through how to do it in a bit more detail. I want to go back to the research part, and how you actually translate this research into the first header section for example, and the second section, which is about the problem. Which, I think are probably the top two most important parts, because that’s the first thing people see.

 

Louis:

How do you make sure that you nail the problem, because you can have multiple problems. From experience, a tool can solve many different problems with different wording, different alternatives to describe them. How do you pick the main one, and how do you know that this is it?

 

Pedro:

Yeah, got it. The problem is the most difficult thing to uncover, because that is the thing you need to do a lot of digging. The thing about the problem is not really… There is always an underlying problem, and the one that you are selling is the underlying one, and not the service-level one. If you explain a service-level problem, they’re not really going to covert.

 

Pedro:

Do you have any example of… Let’s just make up a company and try to uncover that problem.

 

Louis:

Maybe you can, instead of making up one, maybe you can talk about a past client without mentioning their name. Maybe mentioning the space they are in and see how you uncovered their problem.

 

Pedro:

Okay, got it. To try to give you an idea, I can give you two recent examples that come to mind where the problem they thought they were solving was completely different than what they actually were solving.

 

Pedro:

One example from a CRM, which is the most competitive thing in SAAS, is they thought they had some sort of simple CRM that’s fairly similar. It’s just targeted to B2C sectors, like the call centers. The high-vale B2C sectors, like insurance companies, and financial companies, and so on. The ones that call you and know you all the time. That everyone hates.

 

Pedro:

Basically, that’s what they thought there were doing, they were just a CRM and so on. What we found is they were a CRM, they were the only CRM that can manage 100s of thousands of leads, but they were also easy to use. The way we found that out is the question that gives us the biggest insights. Whenever a customer converts from a competitor, which is way harder to convert someone from a competitor, is when you get the most insights. You want to ask what was missing from the other tools.

 

Pedro:

They would get random people saying, “We have tried Salesforce, we have tried this and that, and it was super harder to use. We had to change our sales process,” and so on. Basically, what they wanted is, they wanted something easy to use, it can handle 100s of thousands of leads, and they didn’t have to change their process. That was the core problem, just not having something that is easy to use, and predictable, and doesn’t have to change the entire company when they have like, 100 sales people.

 

Louis:

Let’s deconstruct what you just said, because it’s super important, and you just say it as if it’s nothing. But, it’s really, really critical here what you mentioned. You mentioned in the last few minutes, you mentioned looking at reviews. You mentioned sitting on demos. But, you hadn’t mentioned that I think is even more powerful. Making sure that whatever you sell, ask do people come to you be they left a competitor of yours. We are talking about direct competition here, right?

 

Louis:

Ask them why, right? Is that what you’re saying? With this client you basically… How did you capture this info, was it just one demo codes, was it on survey? How did you capture this information for them?

 

Pedro:

They had two really good sources. One, they had a public Trustpilot page where they actually had a ton of good insights. All I usually do is, whenever they have those reviews, I just throw them into a Google doc by copy and pasting them, and I just go through them with my clients and start highlighting things. Then remove the other ones. Those actually become the testimonials on the websites as well.

 

Pedro:

The other way is, there is actually two smaller ways of doing this. You either implement this into the sales process. You can ask, “How have you tried to fix this problem? Have you tried this tool, have you tried that tool, what was missing?” They want to implement this in the sales process. In their case, the company was 11-years-old, and their head of sales that still does the demos, she has been with the company for the 11 years, so she had all of the insights in her mind, in her head. I just had to ask the right questions, and everything fell into place.

 

Louis:

That’s usually what happens, right? People who are internal, who have been here for a long time, they start to take things for granted, and find things obvious. But then, customers or prospects landing on their website or checking it out, they don’t know those stuff, so you need to make it super explicit.

 

Louis:

Again, one way to really discover what is the core problem you are solving, is to ask people who converted over another competitor, and ask them why. From this example, you managed to understand that were not yet another CRM, they were actually that only CRM that was easy to use that was handling such a high volume. Which is complex, I suppose, in a CRM. It’s usually difficult to have both a high number of contacts, and the easiness of use.

 

Pedro:

I must say, after that, when someone looks at that website, it’s like they don’t have any competition. Because, no one else is offering that.

 

Louis:

Yep. They were offering that for a long time, but they didn’t package it the right way, so people didn’t necessarily get it. I love this example, and I’m hoping that you have another one to share, because it’s really good.

 

Pedro:

Yeah. I have one that is basically a software for… That one is a really good way of reframing product problems. They were selling a software for car dealerships, and they were helping them improve their performance. That’s basically what they were saying, “We help you make faster reports.”

 

Pedro:

They were doing reports manually, and they didn’t exactly know where the revenue opportunities were. With car dealerships, we’re talking about 100s of thousands of pounds, because it was in the UK. Really, they were saying, “Hey, here’s how you can make faster reports, faster performance reports” and obviously it wasn’t really working, because no one really cares about the reports. Everyone thinks the reports are a pain in the ass, because they take two to eight weeks.

 

Pedro:

We have to talk about a different problem. The way I mentioned that is basically help them reverse engineer that the problem wasn’t really the performance reports, it was that they couldn’t highlight the revenue opportunities. Exactly what I mentioned is, “Here is how you can identify missed revenue opportunities by measuring your performance.” So, they both know how they can get their results, and they sell the result they want. All they want is getting more sales, because with car dealerships, if you don’t hit your targets, you might lose your license.

 

Pedro:

That’s a big pain, and that’s exactly what they wanted. I mean, it’s just like a night and day difference, because instead of selling reports, now I’m saying, “Here’s how you can make more sales every day. I’ll tell you how to make more sales every day.” Then, it just made a huge difference.

 

Louis:

That difference was where we get to the main problem, which is just briefly mentioned in a sense that as you said, they might lose their fucking license. That’s what is in their head every day. We need to make sales, or else we’re going to lose our license. That’s the powerful pain that you want to solve. When you are able to trigger this pain in your copy, I suppose the results speak for themselves.

 

Louis:

How did you find that out from this perspective? How did you find out that that was the problem you needed to solve?

 

Pedro:

I just asked the right questions, because the founders actually work with car dealerships, and in the car industry for 30 years. All I had to do was pull in the right answers, and really try to understand, I kept asking. Maybe I would ask, “What kinds of targets do they set? Do they set for quarterly targets, monthly targets?” Then the founder mentioned they set a bunch of targets all the time, and then I mentioned, “What’s the problem of not hitting them?”

 

Pedro:

He mentioned this industry works based on bonuses. So, not only they might lose their license, they lose a 200 thousand pound bonus from the dealership. Not the dealership, the car brand. Let’s say they’re a BMW dealership, BMW would give them a 200 thousand pound bonus. To uncover the problem even deeper is, they didn’t care about revenue, they didn’t care about selling cars, because they made money selling insurance, and selling car services.

 

Pedro:

When we mentioned what kind of revenue opportunities we highlighted, we didn’t highlight, even though the product did highlight those things… We didn’t say. “Here’s how you can sell more cars.” We were selling, “Here’s how you can sell more services and tell your customers you need to change your tires.” Or, try to upsell your new car sales into using a lease, or a better insurance package, or whatever.

 

Louis:

What you mentioned just there is yet another source to get to the problem, right? You actually talked to the founders of the solution you worked with, and you got lucky, because those people were really, really close to the industry, as you said, for 30 years. Now, it’s not always the case that the founders, or the CEO, or the managers, or whoever in the company actually understand the industry so well. But, in this case they knew it, they knew it very well.

 

Louis:

All you had to do is to dig into the pain points. That’s outside of what we mentioned before. You mentioned review websites. You mentioned sitting on demos. You mentioned asking customers who came from a direct competitor and switched over to you, why did they change the company, why did they go after you. That’s all brilliant. If you had to pick one question that can be translated anywhere, that could be asked to customers, or to the CEO of the company, what would it be? What is the most important question to ask yourself, or to ask your customer to really get to this problem?

 

Pedro:

I think the number one question is really asking: Why is your product better than anything else on the market? Why do you think people are choosing you over anything else? Because, if you have customers and you have competitors, they are choosing you. You’re just not making that decision conscious. That’s where you need to dig through, if I had to choose one question.

 

Louis:

All right, nice. I think you gave two really good examples. I’m almost tempted to ask if you have a third one in mind.

 

Pedro:

Yes I do.

 

Louis:

Let’s go for it then.

 

Pedro:

I didn’t have it initially, but then it came to mind. Another example would be this company selling a software to recover abandoned carts. Whenever you go to an e-commerce store, and you add something into you cart, but then you don’t buy it, basically the e-commerce companies send e-mails saying “Hey, why didn’t you buy, please buy it now.” That’s basically what their e-mails say. Their e-mails suck.

 

Pedro:

What the company did was, the founders were also super knowledgeable about this because they had their own e-commerce stores. What they did is, they would send custom text messages. They would ask why, and then they would get all of these insights, and then they would with a small discount convert way more people. Basically, on their website there were saying, use text messages to recover abandoned carts.

 

Pedro:

What that did is, the visitors were looking at their website, and they were thinking “I don’t need this, I’m already using e-mail. Why the hell would I add another channel if I’m already using e-mail?” But then, when I digged through with one of the founders, I found they were getting a 20% recovery rate on the abandoned carts. E-mails only get five to seven percent. What I did is, just screw everything else, and we’re just going to sell our results. The headline actually says, who else wants 21% of abandoned carts? Then I say, 21% that’s the average our customers get.

 

Pedro:

Then, I mentioned we don’t use e-mails, and we don’t require any time on your end. That creates the curiosity of saying, how then hell are they getting 3X more results than everyone else. Basically, that’s what we did, we didn’t sell the solution, we didn’t sell the process, we sold the results of using the process. Of using text messages, because previously they were just selling the text messages themselves, and no one really cared.

 

Louis:

That’s the prime example of what we talked about with competitive alternative. In this example, the alternative is not another text software, text marketing software, it’s actually an e-mail marketing software, right? That actually sends records on an e-mail. It’s obvious when you talk about it now. Everyone listening to this now are like, “Duh, it’s obvious.” That’s the obvious stuff, but it’s actually not super obvious when you don’t have this one thing.

 

Louis:

You said something important that was mentioned many, many times over. Screw everything else. This is the beauty of good marketing, good commerce, good messaging, good compositioning you pick one thing and fucking go at it, right? That’s what you’ve done in nearly every example you mentioned. You just pick one thing, and you nail it. Instead of trying to mention this is why should choose us, and this is also why, and this is that. You just dilute everything, right?

 

Pedro:

Yeah. To add to your point is, (1) I’m pretty sure that they didn’t even mention that result throughout the entire website, which was kind of ridiculous. When I found that out, I was… I pretty much didn’t even ask any more questions, I just sold our result and didn’t really care. The results for that were amazing. I’m not going to share it, because it’s a client care thing, but, the results were probably one of the best ones I’ve got.

 

Pedro:

The other thing that you mentioned about just trying to answer these things and focusing on one thing is, when we focus on one things everything makes way more sense. It just make everything more simple, because whenever you’re selling, if you’re trying to explain a lot of features, or explain a lot of benefits, or explain a lot of use cases, and you don’t explain the main ones, people are just going to get overwhelmed, and they are going to raise unnecessary objections.

 

Pedro:

Does it work with this kind of tool? Or, how the hell can I get started with this? Then they’re just raising objections, and whenever you are raising an objection, you’re just killing the urgency. It’s not only talking about the right benefits, and the right use cases, it’s only talking about the ones they care about the most. Otherwise, you’re going to overwhelm them, and they’re not going to take action.

 

Louis:

Yeah. Even though the most important thing, as we mentioned, the fact that you dilute it with other messages is exactly as you said, going to drive more objections. People are going to have more concerns, they are not going to take action. This is the reason. This is about decision paralysis, this is why the conundrum of in supermarkets the more product you show, the less likely people are willing to take action and buy. That’s actually been proven time, and time again in behavioral economics. Where the more products you show, the less people are going to buy, which is quite contrarian, but it’s the truth.

 

Louis:

Another one, I’m going to forget the name of this principle, of this psychological bias. People are much more likely to remember the first thing you mention to them in a list of anything. So, if you really want to just have them to remember five things, forget about it, they are going to remember the first thing way better. That’s going to actually prime them for the rest, so you better just pick one thing and just repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it. People don’t give a shit about your brand, they don’t care about your product, they only care about what it can do for them. You need to just give them one thing to remember, or else you’ve already lost them.

 

Pedro:

Yeah, I think that’s a perfect point. I think that just tells about how focus is what really generates most of the results. One idea that came to mind when you mentioned that is, one of the questions that I actually ask, and usually gets a ton of insights is: How do people recommend your product? Because, like you said, people only remember one thing, so they just explain it really simply, and then yo can really see the number one feature, or the number one problem it’s solving for them.

 

Pedro:

Maybe, you ask a customer, and you recommend it to a friend. “This is like the stripe of the CRMs,” I mean however they describe it. Or, maybe they say, “This is how I told you I was getting this result in half the time.” Then, you find out what they really care about, because, when they recommend this to a friend they usually recommend it with one sentence, so it has tremendous focus.

 

Louis:

When they use their own words, they don’t use marketing lingo, and marketing bullshit. The question I like to ask is: In your own words, how do you recommend this product to your friends or colleague? This question is always so good, because the same thing comes up over and over again, it’s the 80/20 rule. It’s just so fascinating to see 20%… Eighty percent of the time you’ll have the same fucking thing appearing. It just never fails. It’s a really good question, so thanks for mentioning it.

 

Louis:

Just let me summarize briefly what you mentioned. Four questions, what’s the problem, how do you solve it, what it the alternatives in the market, and then how are you different from the direct competitors. Then, you mentioned the framework itself, which is about the header for curiosity, the problem, making sure that people understand what the problem is, how does your product solve it. The social proof, the customer and actual testimonials of people going through it, and then call to action urgency. Making sure that people take action today and not tomorrow, and don’t find any excuse to do so.

 

Louis:

Have I forgotten anything?

 

Pedro:

I think that’s really about it. Then, it’s just about… It sounds way too simple, but that’s because it’s focused on the right things, and what you need to do is focus in on answering those questions. That’s pretty much all you need. If that sounds way too simple to you, try to answer them, because you’re not going to be able to answer them at first try.

 

Louis:

Try to avoid decision by committee, this is what kills marketing and marketing ideas. Chances are, if you share this to your colleagues, and your boss, and everyone else affecting opinion, it’s going to turn into a Frankenstein, right?

 

Louis:

Instead, really focus on one thing, and you need to have an owner to take decision and day, “You know what, let’s take a risk here. Let’s go for that. Let’s AB test and see it to works better.”

 

Pedro:

Yeah. I agree 100%.

 

Louis:

Pedro, thanks so much for taking the time to do that. I’ve quizzed you quite a lot. You shared three actual examples with practical tips and an actual framework. I know from experience that listeners love this, so thank you. What do you think marketers should learn today that will help them in the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years?

 

Pedro:

Honestly, I think I’m a little bit biased, but I think copywriting is the foundation of marketing. Not only because it helps you solve stuff, it’s because it helps you package your offers. Whenever you try to come up with a new product, you’re just going to be able to sell it way better, because when you think of a product idea, you’re already thinking automatically how you are going to sell it, and the requirements of what you need to do to sell it perfectly. You’ll know exactly who to sell it to, at what stage, exactly what problem you’re focused on. It just makes things as fail proof as possible.

 

Pedro:

Like I said, I’m a little bit biased, but old-school copywriting ability is where it’s at. I would ignore everything else on the marketing scene, and just study that. That’s actually what I do, and it’s working pretty well.

 

Louis:

Same here. You mentioned at the very start actually this framework. What you shared is really on the back of all copywriting books. That’s the next question I have for you: What are the tip three resources you recommend listeners? Maybe you have some books to share.

 

Pedro:

Sure thing. I think anything from Dan Kennedy is great, because Dan Kennedy is an all-around… Is not only well-known for copywriting, he also has a bunch of other books about pricing strategy and so on. The guy just knows a ton of stuff, and he knows how to use copywriting with all those other principles. I think he is the perfect example, he has, like, 13 books and I’m sure everything is pretty good. I have a bunch of them as well.

 

Pedro:

Anything from Dan Kennedy is awesome. The perfect book for beginners is Breakthrough Copywriting. I don’t like to recommend things from David Ogilvy and so on, because I think it’s too complex, and I think it misses the point of making it super actionable and implementing into your mindset of selling stuff. Breakthrough Copywriting is the best book for beginners. It’s super short, and it’s probably one of the most actionable nooks I’ve tried. Like I said, just removing all of those other distractions.

 

Pedro:

I also really like the books from Russel Brunson. Like the DotCom Secrets and the Expert Secrets. It seems weird coming from a guy that seems like the face of noise in the modern day. But, the guy is super smart, and I know for a fact, because I studied the guys he learned from. Instead of learning from him, I tried to learn from the guys that taught him. I find all of those patterns. His books are amazing, not going to lie.

 

Louis:

Nice. I’ve never heard of the second book that you mentioned, Breakthrough Copywriting. I agree with you, Ogilvy and all of those classics are a handful, they are difficult to digest. Especially for beginners. I’m going to check that out, because it’s always better, and always good to keep learning about copywriting.

 

Louis:

Pedro, once again, really appreciate your rime. Really appreciate the practical, actionable tops you shared with us today. Where can listeners connect with you, learn more from you?

 

Pedro:

Awesome. Listeners can go to my website, cortes.design. They can find a bunch of resources, because I have my blog, I have free resources. I actually have templates of the actual questions you can ask. I have them for free, you don’t even have to put your e-mail in. I have a bunch of videos as well. If you follow me on LinkedIn, I also post a lot of videos there, and provide as much value as possible.

 

Pedro:

You can e-mail me at pedro@cortez.design and ask me any questions. I mean, I’m just happy to help and learn from other people’s problems.

 

Louis:

Fabulous. Thanks so much, man.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.