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How to get out of the box

Welcome to today’s issue of Conversion Alchemy Journal. If you received this from a friend and enjoy it, subscribe here.

We’re one week away from the lunch of my new “The Message-Market Fit” podcast. I’ve been raking up interviews for the past 2 weeks and loving it. Hopefully, you’ll love it too. What’s it about? At its core, it’s about understanding people. Here’s how you can start doing it better, today…

Being a great copywriter and empathizing with customers means doing your research. It means, immersing yourself in the market, studying their motivations, their decision making, their goals, and their pain points.

Being a great copywriter is more about understanding people than it is about writing.

Because when you understand people, the words flow naturally and they ring true, striking chord after chord. That’s when your prospects nod in agreement at every line. But it’s not surface level agreement. It’s a deep seated feeling they experience as they move through the page.

How do you create that feeling?

You stop deceiving yourself.

“Wait, what? I thought it was about them.”

Yep, we’re all deceiving ourselves, stick with me here.

(random fact, I was in a post-hardcore band named “Call Me Deceiver”. You can check it out here.)

When you’re walking down the street, out and about, onto the business of the day – What’s going through your head?

If you’re like most of us, you’re worrying about your next meeting, or about that project deadline, or about your next meal… and so on. You’re thinking about YOU. And when other people walk by, or when you’re talking to the cashier at the grocery store, you’re probably still in your own head, juggling your thoughts.

The point is: most of us, most of the time, are deceiving ourselves into thinking we are the center of the universe. In a world where other people are mere NPCs (”Non Playing Characters” for the non-gamers).

The (recommended) book “Leadership and self-deception” offers a useful description of this in action:

“Whatever I might be ‘doing’ on the surface—whether it be, for example, sitting, observing others, reading the paper, whatever—I’m being one of two fundamental ways when I’m doing it. Either I’m seeing others straightforwardly as they are—as people like me who have needs and desires as legitimate as my own—or I’m not. ….One way, I experience myself as a person among people. The other way, I experience myself as the person among objects. One way, I’m out of the box; the other way, I’m in the box.” – The Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception

When you’re so focused on YOU that other people feel like “objects” in the immediate, you are in the box. And it’s true when writing copy, too.

You’re in the box when you focus on features and forget about the pains and desires…

You’re in the box when you use logic but forget about emotion…

You’re in the box when you make click-baity claims, use fear or pressure…

You’re in the box when you care about what you want to say, but not about what the audience wants or needs to hear…

You’re in the box when you use jargon, rather than your audience’s language…

Being trapped in the box sucks. And it’s hindering your ability to write copy that converts.

According to psychology and economics, “self-deception fortifies and protects the self from threatening information.”

If you want to overcome it you have to get uncomfortable.

Acknowledge your own biases and motivations, use critical thinking and actively question yours and others’ beliefs. Actively look for different perspectives and seek feedback or listen to a coach, even when it hurts. The golden rule doesn’t get its name for nothing. Treat others as you’d like to be treated. It’s the secret to becoming a more empathetic person and understanding others. It’s not rocket science, but it’s also easy to forget as we go about our business.

Keep it in mind whenever you’re writing copy. Keep it in mind, always.

And if you need a quick check-in…

When meeting someone new, do you remember their name? If not, it’s likely a sign that you’re in the box.

Time to get out.

📚 3 things to get better at copywriting

1. The future of the human mind

Dan Shipper wrote an interesting take on the future of the economy and how AI can help us think (and write).

2. RINse & Repeat

How’s your SaaS marketing “Playbook” working for you? With competition increasing and markets getting more and more crowded, we need a new way to think about it. We need an anti-playbook as Marc Thomas (whom I interviewed for the podcast yesterday) calls it.

His RINse & Repeat framework is an excellent, “out of the box” way to think about it.

3. How to generate $12.7 million in 48 hours

Speaking of standing out, the new Calvin Klein’s underwear campaign generated $12.7 million in media exposure in the first hours of going live. A great example of good timing and cultural resonance.


Work with me on your copy

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✅ Don’t miss it

  • A few spoilers here and here from the very first podcast interviews…

Are we connected on Linkedin yet? Find me there.

🤔 Thought of the week

“Now my challenges force me to stretch, and be more confident. I have no choice but to figure out the best way to steer my ship forward. The questions, problems, doubts, and fears don’t necessarily vanish—they grow along with me.” – Ryan Serhant, Sell it like Serhant

When you grow, be prepared for your challenges to grow with you. They don’t disappear, you just get better at facing them.

Have a great weekend!

Chris Silvestri

Founder, Conversion Alchemy

🙌🏻 Let’s be friends (unless you’re a stalker)

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