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June 2, 2022

E04 - Why We All Need To Get Better at Selling with Margo Aaron (E)

E04 - Why We All Need To Get Better at Selling with Margo Aaron (E)

Buyers are skeptical when searching for products, services, and information online. You need to build trust through solid brand messaging and content to stand out and make a lasting impact. However, sometimes it becomes harder and harder to stand out in the crowd--so why not get better at copy by following the advice from Margo Aaron in this episode?

Margo Aaron is a proud graduate of Emory University (BA), Columbia University (MA), and altMBA, where she won the prestigious Walker Award. She was a psychological researcher, and then she accidentally landed as a Marketer. Now she is a writer who created “The Copy Workshop” and a Co-host: Hillary and Margo Yell at Websites. She was also named one of the "Top 100 Websites for Writers" by The Write Life and "One of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs" by One Woman Shop. She helps people to build trust and stand out online.

During this episode, you will learn about;
Episode intro and a quick bio of the guest; Margo Aaron
[01:55] Who Margo Aaron is and what she does in her space
[04:53] The different personalities in social interactions
[08:57] A lot of people do not know how to dissect the correct information
[10:30] What can you do for your information to stand out in the crowded world
[13:03] What it means to “write a copy.”
[18:40] How you can build trust online
[22:08] The irony with your colleagues when starting a business as a medical doctor
[25:38] A bit about Margo’s copywriting workshop with Seth Godin
[30:00] How she effectively converted the workshop to one that generates value
[35:39] What it takes to be good at copy
[37:28] Commit to the creative process
[42:55] How to find your natural voice without imitating others
[49:26] Things she wishes to have spent a lot of resources in the earlier stages of her journey
[51:39] How you can reach out and connect with Margo

Notable Quotes 

  • Treat your people with the utmost respect to stand out in the crowded and busy internet world. Don’t lie to them or sensationalize them. Tell them the simplified truth of what’s happening or what you sell them. [10:33]
  • The first step of building trust is keenly focusing on your audience and what you tell them. [19:00]
  • When starting a business, one of the greatest fears for doctors is what their colleagues say. This fear keeps them from going out and making an impact. [21:38]
  • Part of what it takes to be good at copy is failing a lot.  Failures teach invaluable lessons about what it takes to stay in the game. [35:39]
  • Perfectionism is not bad when applied to the right things, such as from places that demand quality. [40:35]

Resources Mentioned

  1. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0087GJ8KM/.
  2. Seth Godin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sethgodin/
  3. The Copy Workshop: https://www.akimbo.com/thecopyworkshop
  4. Akimbo: https://www.akimbo.com/

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[0:00] Margo: When you are sincere in how you show up when you're not posturing when you are not trying to prove something to people. When you just are able to say hey I have this product I think it can help you here's why this is why I left that organization. Here's why I started this company here are the reasons why I think this coaching service is for you and just speak from the heart in that way the trust happens like it happens over time and it is built-in drifts like you're you're right to point that out like it takes it takes time but it's also you showing up and being who you said you would I think that readers are not stupid they know so when you're posturing or when you are competing or you are trying to be something you're not like that that shines through more than people realize


[0:] Pranay: Hi and welcome to the Frommd to Entrepreneur podcast a podcast that teaches you how to find financial security outside of medicine I’m Dr. Pranay Parikh and I started out as a fresh attendee with zero business knowledge despite loving my job and medicine I didn't feel like I had the financial security or control over my life today. I am a serial entrepreneur and practice medicine on my own terms listen on to learn how i've helped hundreds to do the same

This week it's my pleasure to speak to Margo Aaron, ex-psychological researcher and now

famed copywriter. She realized that despite her best efforts it's hard to get anyone to care

even for stuff that's in their best interest, this episode Margo teaches us how to market without feeling sleazy and why you owe it to yourself your patients, and future customers to be able to write better copy. Hey Margo, how are you doing well?


[01:] Margo: Thanks for having me 


[01:46] Pranay: Super excited to talk. I've wanted to talk to you for a while so thank you for joining us 

[01:50[ Margo: It's my pleasure

[01:51] Pranay: So Margo for the few people that don't know about you do you mind telling us a little bit about you

[01:57] Sure, so I am a writer I teach copywriting and I call myself an accidental marketer because I'm a recovering academic I started my career as a psychological researcher, I thought I was going to be a research professor in life and it was inside of a research lab a couple of years in that I discovered that one of the problems we had is actually called marketing and I'd never really heard of marketing or copywriting I mean I knew it vaguely as something that business people do who are not as smart as academics and it was something that this sounds really terrible to say out loud but like we considered it below us you know like marketers and sales and things like that were not something that you wanted to associate yourself with. So when I found myself in the lab as a research assistant, one of my jobs was outreach and getting participants to enroll in our studies and I didn't realize it now. I would call that lead generation and qualifying leads I mean you name the acronym. I had to be certified in it in order to qualify people for the study but the same skills applied and I was really frustrated with how terrible we were at getting people in the door for what ostensibly was free treatment. So I worked specifically in a psychiatric mood and anxiety disorder clinic and um we were offering free mental health treatment. And I was shocked at how hard it was to get people in the door and this idea drove me nuts and I took it with me to graduate school and every time I was in class. I'd be like well hold on can we talk about how the masses understand the information we're talking about and how they can't understand the language we use and they're not resonating with the things that we're saying. and you're assuming they know things that they don't know so I was specifically in psychology. 


[03:50] Margo: I went to graduate school for psychology and stopped at my master's because I realized that I could make a much bigger impact. In the way that I wanted to in uh marketing which I call applied psychology, so I accidentally fumbled my way over here and discovered the art and science of copywriting which is using words to inspire action. It is really founded on a foundation of psychological principles of empathy and being able to perspective take and meet people where they are so a lot of the same tools that I learned clinically were really relevant to doing marketing effectively and ethically but it's not how I was taught to think about marketing or start to think about sales so my background's in Academia. And I landed myself here in this Entrepreneurial world so iI understand y'all


[04:38] Pranay: Yeah Margo isn't it crazy that we have people who are forward-facing talking to

the patients talking to press talking and all this stuff and they're usually the lowest in the totem pole right because everyone else couldn't be helped to do that yeah


[04:54] Margo: This specifically drives me nuts because I don't know what your experience was like when you were in school but I know we disparaged self-help. I mean we saw it as something that you don't want to touch with a 10-foot pole and I remember when I was in graduate school, and I found myself at I think it was some graduate school panel and people were having these discussions and they were spreading misinformation about psychology and about mental health and about support and about therapy. And I was like where are you getting this from and it was all that stuff about

manifesting and a lot of woo-woo stuff and not all of it is bad truly not all of it is bad but the fact that there was no um vetting of information. And I remember feeling so caught in graduate school between what I was learning and what I knew to be true and what was evidence-based and what was data-based and what we know. Which by the way is so much we know some really amazing stuff but no one would step out of the academy, and go to the mainstream, and talk to people in a way that they could hear you. And that inability to translate the data to information that someone not only wants like recognize they need but then can implement and take action on that kept me up at night like that's really how I ended up in copywriting because I was like we have a problem here. I'm sure

this happens to medical doctors but I know when you're in graduate school for psychology a lot of people come up to you and share their secrets you know they say like,  you know i'm on this medication I'm wondering about this they thought I was a licensed clinical psychologist which I was not right. I was getting a research degree but people feel like you're a safe person to

confide in and I was really blown away at how much psychological ignorance there was in the mainstream, even especially in my friends but also in professional circles where there were things that the academy assumes you know that you do not know. And I know that the second I started to put myself in a more what would call it more public or did more things that were more mainstream out of the academy not necessarily a journal article like I published an editorial my professors were like that's not something that we do and there was there's a lot of stigmas. And I encountered that and I decided that I just didn't care anymore because it was too important and I find that you

know. If you're listening to this and you do have a graduate degree and you are smart and you're someone who cares about information and data and the people that you seek to serve, like there is no more important conversation than how you talk to them and how you take like you need to be in this space. We need you because there are so many charlatans out there who are really good at marketing really clear in their communication very persuasive very charming. And they are spreading dangerous information and this is why I wish more people who had licensure or had the pedigree or have the credentials or simply have the integrity can show up in these places and win and be on top and be the ones that are commanding the attention , that are educating audiences and helping people because that's what we really set out to do in the first place


[07:55] Pranay: Yeah you know these days you can't just win with data and facts you know you can't just say I'm gonna make this hour-long talk It's gonna be super boring but because It has the right information and because you have an MD or do or any other type of degree 2 masters that people are going to listen to you. They're not they're going to listen to you know mom 47 on Tiktok right? because she has a million followers and potentially.  Actually so I have an 11-month old

Yeah thank you it is so hard to know what the right information is can you feed them cows

milk can you not feed them cow's milk? Like this is just like one of the 20 things I have to figure out daily you know like this day-to-day stuff they don't teach you in medical school. So I'm like looking stuff up and google is your enemy when it comes to that because it'll be like uh mom 48's blog tells you to do this.  You know i have six children this is my experience 


[08:56] Margo: Yes and a lot of people don't know how to sift through that and I think in many ways the academic community overcorrects in the other direction like they're so afraid to assert an opinion or a point of view. And I think like a magical thing happens when you don't assume that your reader is stupid but also is able are able to meet them where they are because the people we speak to didn't go to medical school like my readers didn't they don't have degrees in psychology they don't know how to read. They don't know what a p-value is and so I'm not gonna sit here and tell them this is part of why I don't explain studies when I write I read them but i don't explain them and I also don't minimize them, because i think that there's a huge problem where people will take like a conclusion and they'll generalize it. And you see that a lot in media but I think a really amazing thing happens when you've earned someone's trust and you can say this is my personal opinion this is what we do here in my company in my business. This is our perspective here's the data if you want to go deeper

but this is what we do here and treating people like people and trusting them to be able to make a decision but then doing them the favor of sifting through that data means. My daughter's three and a half now and so I remember the stage that you're in um and it's real I mean like the fear-mongering is next level and everyone is pretending to be at you know n equals one. Here was my experience here is why you know this thing will kill your child no matter what here you know here's what you need to do. And then there's so much moralizing if you don't do this you're a bad person um and that seems to generate a lot of attention and clicks and that doesn't mean it's valuable information. And so part of what you can do to stand out treats your reader with respect you know don't actually lie to them don't actually sensationalize. Don't make it about them being a better person or a worse person but tell them the truth of what's going on but simplify it. Make it so they understand and don't make them feel stupid because that's what the majority of people in with our backgrounds do is that they make their readers feel stupid or they go way too deep on details that no one's paying attention to. So like what I try and remember is I think of I think we talked about this in the coffee workshop i can't remember but my friend came up with this concept called toilet email so you just assume

whoever is reading your stuff is sitting on the toilet and um and it's not that they're not thorough

readers and it's not that they're not smart it's that they are busy and distracted and so part of what you want to think about when you are approaching copy whether that's through your blog or your website copy or what you write in an email or what you put inside of a caption on Facebook or what you write in the letter to someone all of those things should assume that the person is skimming it and if they are going to skim what one or two things do you want them to take away if you have that in mind if you can get that level of clarity you will have no trouble communicating with

them in a strong way that inspires them to take action and trust you 


[11:51] Pranay: Yeah you know Margo, I've realized that I write copy every day and so does every doctor right and it's on that prescription box or it's on a piece of paper that you tell your patients and it's so important because you know, unlike other people probably 90, 95m 100 percent  of people read that right they read those sentence or two you know. And it's so important so for example us

a lot of times we don't even put what the medications for right and if it's you know hey this is super important you know you need to take this like take it or you're going to like have a heart attack in 10 years or something you know. It's so important we're writing this every day and it's we're doing them a disservice by not taking a second to think because I know I’m guilty of this where the very last thing you do is write prescriptions for someone and you're just quit you're busy. You have 10 other patients to see you know but it's so important so just taking an extra second and being like, Hey how do I make sure that this person takes this medication because I actually believe that this is gonna save their life or improve their health in the future you know so yeah you're right it's so important we all write copy


[13:04] Margo:   Absolutely so for people who are unfamiliar with the concept of copy because I really was the copy is the strategic use of words to inspire an action it is different than

writing an essay. It is different than journalism it is different than creative writing all of those skills are useful but it's not elucidation right it is. And it's not elocution right it is using persuasion levers and influence and things that you know about human psychology, to meet someone where they are so you can take them where they want to go not where you want to go right. It’s where they want to go and use that outcome should align so in the example of the lab I used to work for. We wanted

what I wanted, the outcome I wanted to inspire was getting people to call the lab to say, Hey I think

I might qualify for the study right that was the action. I wanted them to take eventually. I wanted them to enroll and become a patient um but I Ideally I needed that first phone call that is something that Ii wanted but I didn't need to be manipulative about it. I didn't need to be coercive and I didn't need to push. I needed to figure out how that aligned with what they needed and who we were trying to reach were people who had been never previously diagnosed with major depressive disorder and never treated. And so in order to do that, I had to answer the question, what's in it for them?  why would they care? why would someone who suspects they have major depressive disorder? And is in an episode that would meet criteria with the very rigid standards we had to meet the qualification. Why would they pick up the phone? and that was the discussion I never had with myself. I started to but that's not how you're taught to think about it in the academy.  The way I was taught to think about it was my boss who was the principal investigator of the study said to print out this flyer it had very jargony language on it it had mostly dsm-5 or csm4 at the time. Jargon like no common person knows what anhedonia is right like. Let alone like do you have middle insomnia or early insomnia like they don't know are you hypersonic. They don't know um so and and sometimes we overcorrect in the other direction where we'd ask like, Have you been feeling sad or down? and that's you know that's just patronizing. The language was patronizing was condescending it always for some reason you guys this is my anecdote, but I swear to god prove me wrong every psychological flyer has a butterfly on it and there was always a freaking butterfly.


I’d be like who's responding to this like really here's here's what copywriting taught me and why i think it's so important using extending this. Example, is i. was so young and really didn't understand it was just trying to not get in trouble for my boss. I took these flyers i printed them out. I put them inpatient waiting rooms.I put them on people's cars. I put them in coffee shops now if you pause and do what they teach you in copywriting which is to take a copy posture, which means take a beat and take the perspective of the patient that you are trying to reach. Now i put myself in the shoes of someone who was going through a depressive episode number. One no way I'm going to a coffee shop right if I'm in the middle of a depressive episode like we chose the wrong channel.  I'm not doing anything

in public, if I do happen to step into a coffee shop, that is the bravest thing I have done all day and there is no way I am going to reach up to the corkboard where I posted this in front of everyone

else. Especially if I've had never diagnosed with depression, because that tells me I either don't have the awareness level or there's a huge amount of stigma for why I haven't come out earlier so none of it made sense. And then why would I resonate with the language I feel blue never in my life in all of my years as a researcher and a writer have I heard someone describe themselves as I feel blue. Do you know what people say when they have depression you probably know listeners? Because statistically either it's you or someone you know right you feel nothing that's the symptom right you feel nothing. You don't feel like yourself and you feel shame so had we started there with the conversation and then said what is a message that will resonate with this person that helps them feel seen and not judged. Then we could have opened the door to conversation and we could have helped a lot more people and that is the skill that copy opens up for you. 


[17:23] Pranay: Exactly you know even at the hospital, just trying to approach these people and you know I found out  that once you improve your ability to write down stuff on paper kind of helps you think in that way right because, what you said is exactly, How you would kind of approach a patient like that right you see someone who just you know just they just sit there and maybe. They're not really participating and you know they don't really have an ipad. They're not using it they're not watching tv and you know maybe they are or they're not taking any of their medications so maybe they are depressed. You know and being able to approach them and you know it's funny in the hospital yeah we ask those same questions you know. Do you have no desire for sex?

[18:05] Margo: Who's gonna answer that honestly to a stranger I mean really


[18:13] Pranay: Yeah uh you know uh one thing that you talked about um that's super important.

I wanted to highlight um and get your opinion on um you talk about building trust you know

and I think a lot of this is important if you were building trus. And  I know you've built trust over time with your podcast. How would you I mean your um your blog, How would you recommend someone that's kind of new starting to build trust online?


[18:40] Margo: That's a great question so the first place I would start is, I was going to say tell the truth but let's let's assume you know that um don't lie. I really think there's a lesson inside of the copy workshop called customers, not colleagues, and this idea of focusing on who you're actually talking to. I  think one of the best ways to engender trust is to be really really clear on who this is for and one of the mistakes we mad,  I am so guilty of this and if you google me and look at my old stuff

you'll see it. So please don't do that, but there is a thing that happens when you have a background in the academy or in higher learning or education or these really strong backgrounds that we have that. We start speaking to the voices in our heads of old professors past or wanting to impress our colleagues or wanting you to know the journal that ignored us and rejected our research. Like our grants to see that we're really doing a good job and that posturing takes over. It really dilutes how you show up on the page.  I think one of the hardest things to do with people with our background is to be able to set that aside recognize it acknowledge it but put it in a different category. And I know that once I stopped competing with the academy and stopped trying to get recognition but from them and by the way. You don't realize you're doing this half the time it takes a while to recognize that this is happening but once i was able to let go that like no former professors no researchers that I admire like none of them were going to suddenly discover my blog and be like, Wow she's a genius like it was not going to happen because I'm not doing research. And I'm not publishing and I'm not in

journals like I'm not playing that game anymore. But I still wanted to win you know and so i think when you talk about engendering trust I think we have to let go of the old success metrics that we used to measure ourselves by and focus on the new ones or the people that we seek to serve in this domain and talk to them directly. People like to attract flakes so when you are sincere in how you show up when you're not posturing when you are not trying to prove something to people when you just are able to say. Hey i have this product I think can help you. Here's why this is why I left that organization. Here's why I started this company. Here are the reasons why I think this coaching

service is for you and just speak from the heart in that way the trust happens. Like it happens

over time and it is built-in drifts like you're right to point that out like it takes time but it's

also, you showing up and being who you said you would.  i think that readers are not stupid they know so when you're posturing or when you are competing or you are trying to be something you're not like that that shines through more than people realize so that that would be the first place I would start 

[21:21]Pranay: We'll definitely talk about the copy workshop because I took that and it's life-changing and another one you talk about is these voices and kind of having these voices in your head. You know kind of just like you were saying that you know or your colleague and a lot of times. One of the biggest fears for doctors, when they want to start a business, is what are my colleagues going to think.You know what are they going to say you know and that it keeps them from going out and making that impact but it's you know who are you trying to help. Are you trying to help your

patients? Are you trying to help your customers or you're trying to look good in front of your colleagues and I can tell you having helped hundreds of doctors launch businesses that usually the next time your colleagues talking to you. How did you do that could you teach me?


[22:09] Margo: That's the irony is that on the other side they actually admire you but it you do have to go through that middle part of being super self-conscious like I  do understand that. Like I think that in the beginning, we all are terrified that our colleagues are gonna go. What the hell are they doing oh Sorry I don't know if I'm launching like they had such a promising career and they were on the up and up and now they're you know selling pens on the internet like i think here's here's a helpful starting point. We i have my students go through and actually name the voices and say what they would say but i think it's also helpful to just assume that the worst fear you have is happening like just go ahead somebody is going to say that someone is going to judge you. Someone's going to think that what you're doing is ridiculous. Someone's going to talk about you behind your back colleagues that you used to work with are going to be embarrassed that they knew you you're going to be embarrassed.Like start there with just owning that it's going to be weird because that's the only way. You can get to the next stage which is being free because the truth is that kind of criticism doesn't come from a place of empowerment it comes from fear.It comes from pettiness, it comes from people who are also stuck and unhappy like there is no self-respecting successful doctor successful and I mean internally not just financially not just a pedigree not just like published. I

mean if someone is actually in the arena doing the work they are going to respect your hustle.Like no matter what domain you're in and you will see that in the mentors who choose to keep up with you and and be a champion for the work that you're doing. But for everyone else they're going to be jerks that and that is what it is when when they're petty and frankly jealous and so if you can just know that that's going to exist and then speak still directly to the people. You seek to serve it will clarify your messaging and speak to your customers in a way that will actually lead you to success. You won't stay stuck because if you speak to the voices and try to pretend to compete with the people who are never going to be impressed with you because you're not going to win that game they will be impressed with you when you're in the new England journal of medicine then they'll still hate you because they'll criticize you know your research methods. They will find something those voices will never be happy and so yeah they probably are saying all the things you're afraid about name them acknowledge them and then say so what now go do your work 

[24:30] Pranay :I know Tim Ferriss, talks about um fear setting um kind of the same thing like what's the worst that can happen you know sometimes we're really good at coming up with bad things so alongside that I would recommend. Think about your life right now and if you didn't change anything right how is your life gonna be like in five years. You know three years five years and you know most of us are probably not going to be happy right in medicine. You know we'll have more paperwork we'll have to do more night shifts you know and our life isn't gonna change for the better so you know alongside that amazing um technique that margo just said um think about how is your life gonna change if you don't do anything you know. And I promise most of us are gonna think that things are worse 100 and margo one of the ways that I actually found you were i got i was listening to Seth Godin's podcast um whom I adore. And that is such a it's a great connection and of course, I was stricken by the copy that I got uh in the emails from the copy workshop so could you tell me a little bit about how you guys met and how you got associated with the copy workshop in him?


[25:38] Margo: yeah so Seth and I are good friends but we so here's a perfect example of what happens when you start talking to the market and you aren't catering to the voices in your head. When I really broke free of the academy and my voice came out a lot stronger I got a lot of people on my email list following me um and inbound opportunities started to happen and Seth was on. Seth started reading my stuff and reached out and so we became friends we had done some work

together. I did some copywork for alts,mba and then we just developed a friendship and truthfully i uh was riffing about copy. One day and he was like why don't you make this a workshop and I was like yeah I don't really feel like it. I don't want to be in this and so I was working on a book and in procrastination of the book. I wrote a book on copywriting instead and I sent it to seth and he's like this is a workshop. So we teamed up and partnered up and truly what had transpired for my um

teaching nerds out there. If any of you had uh had a stint in teaching while you're in graduate school I was really frustrated. I was teaching workshops online doing a lot of writing workshops and people were telling me, I was super smart and they loved my work and my ego was very fulfilled and i was like this is great i have these wonderful testimonials. All my students are happy everything's great and then I looked at their work and I said send me your stuff and people weren't getting better and their copy wasn't improving and I thought oh my god I failed. Like what is happening and so um that's when I called Seth back and I was like okay so you said that this was a workshop and you said that this would help people but I'm not helping people and he goes well are you ready to talk about why lecture doesn't work and you need to get people to actually write and actually do the work that is embarrassing of putting things out there that might not be perfect. And I said oh shoot yeah I guess so and that's when I partnered with Akimbo because they have a cohort-based learning model which means that it's not about my content or lessons about copy it's about implementation and being able to actually take what you learned and use it in a very real or hypothetical context where you are putting it out in front of people and using the skill. And half of the skill and this is why it's relevant to um if you are starting a business or if you are doing coffee in your website or on your emails or in ads is that you are coming from a place where you're at the top of your game or at least felt like you were at the top of your game. And now you are starting a new skill that you feel like you should probably know because it's writing and you've been writing since you could talk but all of a sudden it's not working and it's not aligned with what you had in your head and getting that connection between what you meant and what you said to come together. It's really hard to go back to that beginner's mindset and learn this new skill when you are like. I should be further along by now I am an impressive accomplished person and now everyone's going to see that the emperor has no clothes and so I really wanted to help people who are smart who are successful and who it's it's a really horrible feeling to have to start something when you are accomplished and copyrighting has this way of making and marketing too of making smart people feel stupid and i didn't want that i really didn't that i think that you are smart and i do believe everyone who's listening to this is already good at copy because it is a skill that you have as a human being because it is the art and science of connection that's what it really is and so if you understand how to connect to your spouse or to your child or to a friend that you have the same skill and it's just a matter of transferring it to paper


[29:15] Pranay: Margo how did you take your kind of lecture-based education and convert it into something that is more practical because you know a lot of us have you know all in academia we went through medical school you know we're we're used to okay here's a 50-minute lecture and by the end you're going to be a rational human being and put it to work right so how did you convert that because the reason that i actually took the copy workshop was because i wanted feedback you know all these courses that are you know thousands of dollars and known to be pretty well in the in kind of the copy industry there's no feedback right you do it and you do the homework but that's it there's zero feedback so how did you kind of convert it from traditional to amazing kind of workshop


[30:02] Margo:  It was really hard let me tell you because i don't have a background in

teaching and i also am one of those people who loves lectures like i am i am the weird eight percent of people who finish courses and i do the homework but i have the same frustration where i was like i can't see my blind spots what's happening here so i will tell you this is where seth worked really closely with me and pushed me to focus not on what i taught but what i left out and he had me focus also on the prompts he was like

the information is not the important part what's important is what you ask them to do and how you frame the question and so we went back and forth on that for a lot like the better part of a year and here's here's kind of the way he would frame it to me so there's a concept in marketing called market sophistication and awareness levels and most coffee workshops will teach you market sophistication and awareness levels on a scale from like one to five and so what i saw was students would get really good at the scale they would be like okay this is a five in sophistication a

foreign awareness and um uh and like they could label and they could identify but then if i ask them okay what message do you need to approach someone at that level of market sophistication they couldn't answer it and so seth goes okay margo how do you teach market sophistication levels without using the word market sophistication and of course my ego is like well i will

never do that because then no one will know i'm a smart genius and so i had to put my ego aside but really that's where the prompt that you probably did of the apartment came to play is trying to teach trying to use case studies so i made up hypotheticals and um i would play around and i changed them every time a little bit but i see i was able to watch in real time how people thought through a case study and what the students don't realize is students come in with the same thing same bias i come in with which is there's a right or wrong answer and we probably lose 40 30 of students in the beginning because of this they're like i wanted a right answer and they just drop off they disappear they're like you're not giving me the answers and they're angry um and what they don't realize is what you learn is contending with the prompt and realizing that real life there is no right answer and i'm trying to show you how to think about these problems and how to solve them for yourself and i will give you the frameworks and i will give you um some rails and some guards but within it you're gonna have to learn to trust yourself and you're gonna have to learn to make mistakes and so that's sort of how we thought about you know something like market sophistication level so to give listeners an example we would create a scenario where it's like you run a parking lot and there are some cars that are not parking correctly you have to write a flyer that you put in their windshield that has them uh park well what do you need to know to write this letter and just answering you don't even need to write the letter to get the lesson because the lesson is well i need to know is this 16 year old um have they driven before are they doing this because they're late and they're pissed is my signage bad like all the types of questions you would want someone to ask before they wrote that letter and that is how you get someone in the mindset of truly internalizing the lesson which is what we sought to do and it worked all of a sudden we saw students get it and they were applying it to their own work they were applying it to their own companies they were seeing it in action but they still didn't know the phrase market sophistication so i did feel a little ashamed about that but um but they got the more important these


[33:32] Pranay: Yeah you just mentioned it i was like did i miss that lecture yeah yeah and it's funny it's you know uh a lot of times as teachers we want

people to know what those terms mean and when it feels successful like oh hey now they know what this means you know but you're right if they can apply it like it doesn't mean anything


[33:53] Margo: Oh my ego really took a hit with this because i this i'll tell you because it was hard for me as like the overachieving a type personality that i was like i will get an a on all the tests i will know all the words and my students will know them too and it just the truth is they what

what i saw happen before i partnered with the kimbo and created the copy workshop the the other version of this was called headline school and students got really good at naming things and they would know the lessons and they could recite them back to me but they didn't write and that's how i knew i had to put my ego out the window and not think about traditional education or even traditional success metrics and simply look at outcomes and what my students were doing and it's the same thing we were talking about earlier of like being afraid of what your colleagues thought right because i was afraid of marketing bros going through and being like this isn't copy um and i'm like it's not for you it's not for you i wanted i wanted people like you to come through and feel like you could actually write something well when you got done[


[34:55] Pranay:

and a lot of times that's what we would think about right other people who have online courses that teach copy you know and they're gonna feel so smug because all of their students know what market sophistication is and can rate it from five you know and and does it really matter i mean what's it what's the end goal that you want you want people who can write better copy right and not necessarily teach them becausei mean it's the same problem with higher ed right now right a lot of times um it takes so much more effort to grade an essay or you know short answer you just put in rate this copy from one to five you know and that's an easy question you could do multiple choice it doesn't take any time 


[35:38] Margo: totally and and like also part of what it takes to be good at copy and i think this is true for sales this is true for marketing this is true for business is failing a lot and getting it wrong a lot and that was the secret lesson that i actually wanted to teach it wasn't the specifics of copy but it was what it takes to stay in the game and that and i wanted people to have a safe container for it so i wanted our students to be able to put something out that they're maybe not super proud of or they wouldn't want their colleagues to see but be able to do it in a place where no one would see it except each other so you still have that tension of real people seeing it and you failing in public but not it being so public that it is on the internet for everyone to see and and because that is the skill right you it when you're writing an offer when you are positioning your business or your company when you are writing an ad like it really is just a test and no one no one does this better than seth i mean i don't even think people realize how often he fails in public and no one even knows like everyone puts him on such a pedestal and he is just willing to do more and more at bats he's like oh try it let's see oh that didn't work okay let's try it again uh and then sort of what you develop the intuitions you develop the skills you start to recognize patterns in yourself


and in the market and where the two intersect and that's where the magic happens yeah

[36:52] Pranay:  I mean i i've been reading his blog for years every day um and most of them are hits but everyone so i'm like that that didn't really make sense but ah not a big deal he'll have another one tomorrow it's probably going to be viral you know and it just it just makes you feel better that you know this person who's amazing that copy you know but that's the other thing you talk about just publishing just sending it out you know he knows every day he has to have a blog post out you know if it sucks it sucks like you know and he's built it built it over time that most of the time is pretty good you know but every once in a while it's like kind of confusing you know and that's fine 


[37:28] Margo: yeah i mean yes and let me put an important distinction in this because this is not a license to be sloppy because i think a lot of people misunderstand what that means when we say put out the work what we mean is have a commitment to the creative process to doing an at-bat to putting out an offer to making a sale top pitching to whatever it is that marketing and sales activity that you're going to do commit to the process of doing it not to the outcome because if you are trying to commit to the outcome especially if that outcome that you're trying to engender is approval from others you are you are not going to win the reason seth can do that and it doesn't wound his ego is because he doesn't care if you liked or didn't like it he is going to just write his ideas and he's

committed to improving the ideas and whether they land or not is is it's not just luck i mean obviously you know what you're doing at a certain point but that's not the goal right the goal is to improve the idea and so the same is true if you're going out there and you're selling and you're using copywriting the goal is of course you want to sell right of course we want to make sales but the the thing you want to commit yourself to because you cannot you cannot manipulate a market without getting arrested but i guess you can but let's leave that aside that's not our goal our goal is you put out an offer you see if it works like your commitment is to the offer it's you did i position it right okay i didn't this didn't work let's try again let's try a different position let's try a different pricing model let's play with what perspectives we use let's play with um the different variables within behavioral economics that can shift your perspective or change the frame or maybe we'll use a different word maybe a different headline like play within but your commitment is to the process into the work once you throw it out and it is out then it's up to the market to decide whether or not they want to buy from you or engage with you or be with you like that you cannot actually make people do something they don't want to do that is it 


[39:21] Pranay: i've realized that most of us doctors were perfectionists you know to get into medical school um we had to really just get all ace right so you drop a class if you know you're gonna get a b or lower you don't do an extracurricular if you're not  gonna get this amazing recommendation you try to get all the awards and if you're gonna be second place don't do it right um and so a lot of us carry on that in our psyche and fearwhen we're trying to do something outside of medicine right so don't start that coaching c areer don't put out that podcast don't do it unless you know you're going to be a star and unless you're famous you're a famous doctor for most of us it's going to be a lot of failures until we become successful

[40:02] Margo:  understand as a recovering perfectionistmyself i remember being totally deflated the first time i i submitted my thesis and i was really upset about it for um you know insert reasons um and my father was like you know you just gotta be okay with good enough sometimes and i thought i was gonna punch him in the face like i didn't actually feel inspired i was like what is wrong with you i just worked my ass off for the better part of years and like that's your answer absolutely unacceptable like it was just not inspiring to me whatsoever i i thought that was just quitting right i'll tell you a reframe that helped me though because i i actually don't think perfectionism is bad when it's applied to the right things and comes from a place of caring about quality so for me i am a perfectionist about my voice that that is the thing that i will not cut corners on i will stop the presses

if it is not right um and i'm very proud of that but that means that there are other things that can't get my 100 attention and mistakes are going to be made and in those domains i've had to

learn that my perfectionism is holding back holding me back from the things that i

actually want to achieve and that the engine still works and it's being fueled in those scenarios

by a desire by the wrong things so like for example i was micromanaging a lot my staff that

that's not actually perfectionism that's good or helpful like your staff's gonna make mistakes it's

on you that is something that you should work out with your therapist and and i did um

you know what i mean like that's the kind of thing where if you actually care about what you're trying to build you do need to develop the muscle to go this is not the correct application of my high achievement skills and and truly if you want to call yourself a perfectionist high achiever get good at letting other people do things you know like that that was how i reapplied it i think another place another reframe that was really helpful to me is to notice the difference in myself between perfectionism that was fueling higher quality work versus perfectionism that was keeping me small and keeping me hiding and really me making excuses and i think that as professionals and high high achieving people a types we're not good at that distinction we really aren't and it's really important

that we know for ourselves a gut check of where we are committed to quality and that is admirable and where we are holding ourselves back and calling ourselves perfectionists when really we're hiding and making excuses


[42:37] Pranay: you know a lot of fear that people have when they start doing copy or really marketing themselves is they don't want to come off as scummy car salesman you know i know you've talked about this extensively but could you just give us some advice on how to find your voice without sounding like a used


[42:55] Margo: 

Car don't sound like a used car salesman let's start there um you don't have to

you don't need to if you would like to do some really light lovely reading dan pink has an awesome book called to sell as human highly recommend it it was revelatory for me at the time because he

is pretty academic and he makes the case for why sales skills aren't what you think they are um and he uses fun latin and science so it's good for us nerdy people i don't know that i would recommend it in the coffee workshop but it is a phenomenal book and um so but for more practical like on the ground what to do you know i think people mistaken feeling like they're being pushy or a used car salesman with the discomfort of putting yourself out there in general it is going to feel weird the first few times you do this no matter what even if you are the most respectful humble person full of integrity and goodness in the world like you are going to feel very odd the first time you put you you

put a shingle out and you're like hey i'm selling something i made this do you want it like it is

gonna feel so odd um and so i i i would think of it as um you know we seem to understand this physically so if you are someone who has never run before and you want to learn to run a mile you don't sit there and be like judge yourself for not being good at that first mile and getting it right and all of that you understand that like maybe first you should buy a sports bra and have the right pair of shoes and some socks and and then like maybe walk around the block one or two times uh and then like learn slope maybe you jog a block maybe you jog two blocks maybe you run only 10 minutes and as slow as possible like i i think we understand that physically you build this muscle to be able to have these skills and it's awkward in the beginning like if you were a person who's never been to the gym and you go to the gym you feel weird you feel like everyone's looking at you and they know that you don't deserve to be here right and that you like have no idea what you're doing and you're the only person that's on a machine that they like have to read the instructions that you're not totally sure you're doing it right like that is what it feels like in copy that is what it's going to feel like when you're selling that is what it's going to feel like when you haven't done this skill before and so i think give yourself some compassion and cut yourself some slack that like this is going to be an awkward new an awkward phase as you build this skill and get more comfortable so that's one and i think two the next most important thing is to stop thinking about you and put your perspective on the person you seek to serve so you're too when we feel like oh i'm being pushy oh i'm being boastful that's because you're thinking what are people thinking about me i

don't want you asking that question when you do copy what i want you to do is go the person who has the problem i solve the person who needs these socks the person who wants to eat this chocolate this person who is stressed out and they need my coaching services what do they need how can i help them and the answer like your approach your posture changes because it's no longer about how do i sound it's more about what do they need to hear that is the question i want you to ask yourself what do they need to hear they need to hear i'm selling socks they're for sale you won't get blisters anymore they're the most comfortable socks you've ever had in your life 25 patents on them 400 000 people have already bought them this super famous person tweeted about it like it no longer sounds like bragging it no longer sounds like you're pushing it just sounds helpful that's what you want to be you're copywriting you're selling it's actually helpful because what i am is a person or your um your market right the people who are on the other side of this exchange the people reading the copy presumably they want the thing you have they have a problem that it solves so help them help them solve it say here is why this is going to solve your problem here is why these socks are awesome here's why you're gonna want this these flowers for your wife like here is you know whatever it is but like we need help making decisions right all day long like i'm not going through my life wondering why i should sign up as a client for your coaching service that's not how i go through life but i am going through my life thinking about the problems i have and thinking about how stressed i am and so if you write an ad or a blog post or put a sales offer in front of me that's like hey are you so tired of being told blah blah and i'm like yeah i am thank you and then and then you add some tension something like well you know on friday uh you know we're gonna have a webinar and you'll get 50 off of this thing and now you've added an incentive for me to actually follow through you're doing me a favor you're helping me make a decision and i don't have to think because ultimately you don't want people to have to think you don't want to make them do more work because we're already maxed out we're tired we're cognitively overloaded um and lazy and you're competing with inertia at all times so the reframe i want you to think about is what does the person on the other end of your copy need to hear not are they going to like me what do i sound like i'm so afraid of being annoying that's me centric thinking i want you to turn to other centric thinking and ask yourself how you can help the person on the other end of this exchange

[48:07] Pranay: That's amazing you know I think a lot of times it's just us being in our heads right and we're our own worst enemy you know. What are other people gonna think what what if they think I'm scummy I mean.

[48:17] Margo: hey might like that's the thing they might and those people aren't your people. I think no matter what happens when you put yourself out there people are going to think those things and and frankly like i i know i sound like i'm screaming at charles this is pot cuddling and kettle black i mean this is i started in this space because in in all of our defenses this is not how

we're taught about writing we are i mean think about every cover letter you've had to write every admissions essay you've had to write every residency application every grant you've applied for like it's always what makes you qualified why are you the right person for this like you're constantly on the defensive and posturing and trying to assert yourself as to why you deserve to be here so like it is really really revolutionary to shift your mindset in this way which is why i beg of you be patient um and have compassion like this you'll get there but it is a huge paradigm shift for us we aren't taught this yeah 

[49:11] Pranay: And talking about compassion, you know when you first made that change to uh being a copywriter starting copy is there anything that you think you spent too much time on and kind of just wish that you had done differently


[49:26] Margo: Yes I think I spent a little too much time learning copy and not enough time writing it in public where something was on the line like. I spent a little too much time practicing in private and I think there that the lessons I learned from doing it iin public. What I mean by in public is not just in front of an audience, but where I had interaction with the market where I was running an ad and I could see what happened. Where i had a client I was writing emails and I could see what were the open rates what were the click-through rates. What were the forwards or the unsubscribes like what a landing page like what was happening on it in real time, thay taught me so much more than sitting in my room in my office trying to like perfect a hypothetical page that wasn't going to go anywhere. I really think that interaction with the market teaches you almost everything you need to know and and and you will also be shocke. Like I remember watching and and people now who are 10 times more successful than me who didn't spend the time doing what I was doing and they just wrote garbage copy on the internet.That was like good enough like what my dad said like it was good enough but it wasn't perfect and this is where my perfectionism was getting in the wake. I'm like that's the wrong word that's the wrong tactic they use the wrong angle here but you know what they understood that I didn'. They tapped into demand they knew that

if you are clear with your offer even the wrong positioning can actually get you somewhere far enough where you can play and you can tweak and it's the internet. It's not forever so you could change the price you can change the name, you can change the headline, you can change the angle and now those people are running multi-million dollar businesses and you should see their first sales pages they were garbage. And I'm so proud of them and i and i think about that all the time when i teach my students and like that's what i wish i had known is that i didn't spend so much time doing it perfectly. You know pontificating over every word because i mean I was a literature major who ended up in in graduate school for science so like i am such a perfectionist when it comes to language and you don't need it it doesn't serve you.


[51:29] Pranay: Well that was amazing and what a great place to end. Margo for people that want to take the copy workshop and I highly recommend it and reach out to you could you give us

what's the best way to do that?

[51:40] Margo: absolutely well you can get on my email list at www.thatseemsimportant.com

I will announce it there if you want to read details about the copy workshop you can head over to Akimbo and click on the copy workshop listin.  I believe the sales page is open and sign up uh to learn more but i will announce it if you follow me on my newsletter or on instagram. I'm at Margo Aaronboth those places i'm pretty active 


[52:06] Pranay: Awesome, Thank you so much Margo I appreciate it


[52:09 Margo: Thank you for having me

[52:12] Closing Statement

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