From the desk of:
Hello! My name is Tammi Metzler, and I’m the owner and Chief Author/Editor of The Write Associate. Below is an interview that covers some FAQs about our business and how it came to be.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
First and foremost, I consider myself a “word geek” in that I totally geek out on putting the right words together to create a positive impact on readers. For a long time, that was in writing sales copy to inspire folks to buy, but now it’s more about writing and editing books that inspire people to improve their lives. I’m also a bit of a self-help junkie, so I’m always reading books about how to improve my own life.
I was a voracious reader as a child, a trait passed down by my book-loving mother, and I started writing short stories when I was around 10 or 11 years old. (As a side note, I’m super excited that my 10-year-old daughter is following my footsteps by writing her own stories, which are awesome, all bias aside. *grin*) By the time I got to college, I had so many interests that I kept changing my major, bouncing around from studies in Business, Marketing, Journalism, and Library Science before finally earning my degree in English Lit with a minor in Creative Writing. After college I worked for a local newspaper then an ad agency before starting my own copywriting business.
What inspired you to start the Write Associate and why?
Ultimately it was my daughter and the desire to be home with her. I’d long been unhappy in my full-time jobs (I know now that I’m what some call “unemployable” in that I just don’t have the patience to be held down by others’ rules and job expectations), but I had no idea why or what to do about it. I spent over a decade hopping from job to job, both during college and after, trying to find satisfaction. It didn’t come. Then I got married and shortly after, we found out our first child was on the way, and that pretty much sealed my fate.
I hated the idea of leaving my baby girl with a stranger while I worked a job I despised, just counting down the minutes until I could be home with her, so I started looking into ideas to work from home. I talked my sister and a close friend into starting a publishing company with me. We had no idea what we were doing, though, and since they had young kids already and we all worked full-time, we just didn’t have time to put into it and that business sadly fizzled out. But I decided to go it alone and stumbled onto the idea of working as a virtual assistant. I threw myself into starting that business, working nights and weekends outside of my day job and trying to prep for a new baby (I was about five months pregnant at the time). By the time my daughter was born, I’d had a few clients, but everyone who came to me wanted help with writing and editing and weren’t interested in virtual assistance so I guess you could say I just fell into becoming a writer/editor for hire. That was ten years ago and the business has since evolved back into the publishing realm.
What are you doing to attract new leaders and customers to your blog and website?
People come to my website primarily through organic traffic to the blog articles that have been published over the years and more recently through the books I’ve self-published on Amazon; each of my books leads readers back to my website to join my mailing list, buy my information products and inquire about my services. I also use social media, but primarily the traffic comes from the regular sale of my books, which is also why I’m so passionate about helping other entrepreneurs write and publish their own books; they’re a tremendous source of exposure and offer great opportunity for growth.
What advice would you give to aspiring biz owners and current small business owners who are running websites but are not seeing any results a.k.a. sales clients and new leads?
Experiment with new offers and sales copy. If no one is downloading your current lead-generation free offer, for example, then try either giving it a hot new title or create a new free offer. If this seems overwhelming, keep in mind that simple is usually better. You can create a helpful checklist or cheat sheet in an hour or two, or if you want to go the webinar/teleseminar route, then create a simple opt-in page showcasing the title and main points you plan to cover, then start driving traffic to it. Don’t actually write the script or record the training until people start signing up, though, because if no one signs up, then you can save yourself the trouble and try something else.
You mentioned that you made the switch from focusing on copy writing to writing books as a business and marketing strategy. When did you know that it was time to pivot in your biz?
Honestly, when I lost that lovin’ feeling toward copywriting. I used to really enjoy it, but then I started noticing it was getting harder and harder to make myself do it every day. I hated taking on copywriting jobs or even writing my own sales copy. I had to step back and re-evaluate, because life’s too short to spend doing work that makes you miserable just to earn a buck. I eventually came back to my lifelong love: books. I’ve always loved to read, can pretty much constantly be found with my nose in a book. I love the idea of being an author and helping other authors put amazing books out there, so now I spend my time writing and publishing my own books and working with other authors to edit and publish their non-fiction books. I love it!
In your experience, what are the three main things that make the difference between a book that sells versus one that doesn’t?
One: too broad of a topic. People are often looking for a quick fix, so a book that’s too broad might subconsciously overwhelm readers. On the other hand, a book that focuses on one primary pain point gives off the sense that readers will be able to get fast results. An example could be a book that teaches people how to build a 100-page website in 6 months (WAY too broad/overwhelming) versus a book teaching people how to create a simple e-commerce website that’s up and selling in a weekend.
Two: a mediocre (or bad!) title. Unless you’re already famous with a huge following who will buy anything you write, titles matter. They’re what grab attention in otherwise insanely busy browsers. Vague, witty and/or cute will most likely get lost in the clutter and end up overlooked by potential readers. Your book title is a good time to cut the vague and tell readers exactly what to expect (or at least enough to pique their interest). Examples of good, tell-it-like-it-is titles include:
Your Irresistible Book by yours truly 🙂
Get Clients Now! by CJ Hayden
Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port
The Ultimate Marketing Plan by Dan Kennedy
Start Your Own Information Marketing Business by Entrepreneur Press
Three: a ho-hum description (or synopsis). Your description will be the next thing readers look at, after the cover/title. They’ll either flip the book over to look at the description on the back (for a hard copy book, of course) or they’ll scroll to the description section on Amazon or other online retailers. You’ve got to make it really good, with the following components:
- An intriguing hook/intro
- An overview that piques their interest (a series of bullet points is great for the skimmers, a.k.a. most of us)
- Optional: include advance book reviews (bonus points if they’re from well-known industry thought leaders), client testimonials, and/or a short bio to help readers see that you know your stuff and can be trusted to deliver the goods
If you don’t mind sharing, can you tell us a few strategies you are using to land clients and generate sales in your business with your books?
Sure! I make sure every book I write has at least one, and often several, lead-generation offers inside that are designed specifically for that book. For instance, my book on How to Write Persuasive Emails has an offer to visit my website and download a 101 Subject Lines cheat sheet at no charge (in exchange for joining my mailing list). There is also an immediate offer for the reader, what’s called a tripwire offer: it’s a low-cost product that dives deeper into that topic. In the Persuasive Emails example, they would be able to buy a series of promotional email templates and deeper instructions for writing promotional emails at a sale rate of $29. Or they can just download their 101 Subject Lines sheet and go on their merry way. Either way, they’re then on my mailing list so I can stay in touch with them.
What advice would you give to someone who is writing a book for the first time?
Get help if you need it! My first book took me over a year to even START writing because I was overwhelmed with the process and had no idea where to begin. There’s lots of advice out there from people who have been there, done that; be willing to learn from them and their mistakes. If you’re looking for some tips on getting started, click here to watch a free webinar about how you can turn your knowledge and expertise into a book in as little as 30 days.
If you were to start all over again what would you have done differently in your business? I would have invested in myself MUCH sooner. I would have hired people who had been where I wanted to go and could help me find the way. I would have put money into buying the right software and resources to grow my business instead of what I did: hoarded my money for personal expenses (rather than putting it to work helping me learn how to make money) until it dwindled down to nothing and I had no way to make more money, while trying to figure everything out on my own.