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Vulnerability and honesty: can they sell?

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Have you ever broken something expensive?

Maybe it was a family heirloom.

Your gran-gran-gran-gran mothers decorated family vase.

But you were only an excited and active 6 year old – and well, it happened.

You might even have tried to stitch it together DIY style, only to realize the final result looked more like a rushed, incomplete puzzle.

The Japanese made an art of this (although their stuff actually looks good).

“Kintsugi: is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum… it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”

When I stumbled on the term it got me thinking…

When we tell our story, shouldn’t we strive to present it the way it actually happened, warts and all?

What made us who we are, what led us to reaching our goals, might as well have been challenges, issues and obstacles. But we overcame them or used them as fuel.

Why not share them?

A lot of businesses are scared.

Scared that their prospects will think less of them, or that they will use their “flaws” as an excuse to bounce off the page right away.

While sometimes we want to definitely focus on the positives and emphasize those, I think we need to balance them with the negatives and be honest about them.

It can be super powerful when you do it right in your copy.

Because it puts you in control of the narrative.

An example?

For one of my clients I decided to challenge a big assumption in their industry.

The market (Instagram services) is full of “scammy” providers, promoting downright false claims about how legit they are. In reality, most of their prospects know about the “shortcuts” they use (mainly bots and algorithms over organic methods).

So, to counter this ingrained belief for their audience (we found out about it through research), I decided we should be upfront.

One headline went:

Infusing the copy with this kind of messaging, helped us crush the skepticism and the barriers prospects inevitably had when they landed on the website.

We fixed our cracks with gold dust.

Last time I heard from them conversion rates went from 1.92% to 4.86% (a 2.5x increase).

It’s not hard.

You don’t even need gold to do fix your cracks.

But it needs to show them, not hide them.

You just need to observe your market and understand how you can be honest about your flaws.

Use this next time your writing your About us page, your competitor comparison pages and some of your headlines.

And let me know how it goes.

And if you need any help, get in touch.


I’m writing this from Gatwick airport in London. Leaving for 2 weeks in Italy with the fam. I’ll be back at the laptop and to these emails on January 2. Sorry, I know you’ll miss me, but we should enjoy some space and time for ourselves and our loved ones in these times. Enjoy your holidays and happy 2023! 🎉

When we’re back I’ll walk you through my yearly review and goals/plan.


Here are the results from our ebook survey:

I thought we should focus on one single topic, but looks like most of you would rather learn about a few conversion rate optimization topics. That’s awesome, reason why I love research and hate guessing. 😊

I’ll keep you posted.

Quote and reflection of the day:

“Freedom, as Eisenhower famously said, is actually only the “opportunity for self-discipline.” – Ryan Holiday, Discipline is Destiny

Reverse how you frame discipline. You don’t have to be disciplined. You get to be disciplined. When you change your approach, you change your level of commitment.

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brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.