“Clear trumps clever. We want people to know exactly what it is that you do, what you have to offer, how they’re going to benefit from what you have to offer from your product or service, and then how they can go about doing business with you.”

Show Notes

2:32-4:35 Holly’s career stages in journalism, copywriting and marketing

4:35-9:09 The benefits of hiring an outside copywriter

9:09-12:36 What Holly sees in a good website- starting with the copy

12:36-17:44 Being clear is better than being clever

17:44-21:21 Calling people to action

21:21-23:09 Show the success people are going to get when they work with you

23:09-24:35 Holly’s free PDF: 3 Things Missing From Your Website

26:45-27:55 Keeping up with Holly


Rob Hughes (00:03):

Transform your website from a digital billboard to a 24 seven lead generating machine. It’s four tips to a website that converts with guest Holly Fisher today on the Thrive Collective business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Welcome to the Thrive Collective. You know, this is your show to help you make more money, avoid costly mistakes, or fully integrate your faith into your life and leadership. I am Rob Hughes, your host. It is a joy to serve you. Hey, Proverbs 18 says this. It says the wise words satisfy like a good meal, the right words, bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life. What I get from that Thrive Collective is that words matter. Words are powerful and they have the ability to help or hurt to bring life or death to speak encouragement or discouragement. The choice is yours leader. How will you use your words today?

Rob Hughes (01:10):

We’re here with a special guest. Holly Fisher is joining us. Holly’s a StoryBrand certified guide appear in the industry. She’s working with companies around North America and beyond helping them create clarity in their marketing copy and message. And she’s a ninja when it comes to bringing that copy online, those words that help or hurt a business. Holly knows how to find the helpful words and bring them into the digital marketing space. So I am so excited. I’ve worked alongside and kind of in parallel track with Holly for the last three, four years. I’m honored to have her as a friend and also now as a guest and a family member of the Thrive Collective family. So Holly, welcome.

Holly Fisher (01:54):

Thanks Rob. I’m really happy to be here. Excited to talk with you today.

Rob Hughes (01:59):

Well, I’ll tell ya. Every small business owner, entrepreneur who’s tuning into our show have a website somewhere, and they need that website to be effective. It’s not just about having a digital billboard and Holly, I know that you are the Yoda master of how to get that done. So you’re also an entrepreneur yourself to your business owner yourself. You’ve had businesses in the past. So help us kind of get to know you a little bit with some of your background, and maybe you can introduce and kind of share some of those business experiences you’ve had with our Thrive Collective family here.

Holly Fisher (02:32):

Absolutely. Yes. Happy to. So I actually will be celebrating, later this year, my 10th year as a business owner. So that’s exciting and a little crazy at the same time. Like my goodness, the last decade, what happened? So I actually have been interested in words and stories and storytelling, really my whole life. I was even as a child, I loved writing. I was an avid reader and I was probably about 13 or so when I decided that I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. And so that was really my first passion. And what I did for a number of years, went on to journalism school, went on to work for newspapers, and then landed here in the Charleston, South Carolina area. And in 2008 is actually when I sort of started transitioning more into a marketing space. If any of our business owners remember that was a challenging year, 2008, 2009, and that was a hard time for newspapers.

Holly Fisher (03:39):

So I sort of transitioned out of full-time newspaper work and started moving more into the marketing public relations copywriting space. And then in 2011 started Fisher creative and have worked in marketing now for the last many years, doing public relations, doing copywriting, doing social media marketing, and then found StoryBrand and really just fell in love with the whole concept of helping businesses and organizations get this really clear message, how they could use the power of story to talk about their business and how they’re able to help customers. So back in February of 2018, I went to Nashville, same time as you, Rob. And we got certified as StoryBrand guides, and that’s really what I’ve been focusing on now for the last couple of years is helping businesses get that, that clear message

Rob Hughes (04:35):

It’s so refreshing Holly, because beyond just the theory of how to help a business, you’ve really walked through some of those transitions. You talk about the 2008, 2009 revamp, or like Holly, 2.0, moving from news into digital marketing space. I think quite frankly, a lot of businesses have felt that same tension, even in the last year, as we’ve all navigated through this pandemic, traditionally brick and mortar mentality is is pretty much at a pause here in the state of Michigan. Some businesses are still shut down as a result of the pandemic. And so no matter where you come from, there’s going to be seasons in your business career, where you have that reset button. Either you push it yourself or somebody or circumstance pushes it for you. So there’s going to be a time that’s coming, whether you’re in it now or anticipate in the future where you’re going to need to reframe and reset your toolkit a little bit and businesses are indeed moving from brick and mortar to click in order in terms of mentality.

Rob Hughes (05:32):

And you you’ve really navigated that space while Holly I’ll tell you being a peer of yours where, you know, we’re a peer together in the StoryBrand guide community. One of the things that impresses me so deeply about Holly Fisher is how many other guides I talked to that compliment your work? Like that’s a reputation, one brick at a time you’re building your legacy for effective communication of website wireframes and online communication. So I just, I deeply respect that. Holly, truly give us a sense of why is it that businesses? Why do they even hire an outside copywriter? What benefit is that for like a business to partner with an outside firm to help them write words?

Holly Fisher (06:15):

Yeah, absolutely. There’s a couple of reasons that I think that’s so helpful. One is that, you know, a lot of people aren’t, they aren’t copywriters, right? That’s not the business that they went into. That’s not their job. That’s not maybe even what they love doing. I always tell people, you know, things that I’m quick to outsource our bookkeeping and accounting. Those are not my areas of expertise. I can get into QuickBooks. I can send invoices to the clients, but my goodness, if I have to reconcile the bank account I just kind of want to cry. So it is just not my, it is not my sweet spot. I don’t enjoy it and I don’t really want to do it. Can I do it? Sure. I can get in there and muddle around and figure it out. But I’m wasting a lot of time.

Holly Fisher (07:05):

I’m wasting a lot of energy. I could be spending on client work. I could be spending on growing my business. And so I think it’s the same thing for other business owners. You know, they’re maybe they’re not that great at copywriting. They don’t enjoy it. What takes, you know, it takes them three hours to craft an email. They could be spending their time on other things that are going to move their business forward. And so by bringing in an outside expert, whether that’s a copywriter or, you know, a bookkeeper, you’re freeing up your time to work on better things for your business. And you also get that really good outside perspective from someone who is not in your business every single day. I always put on my potential customer hat when I’m working with clients and I’m able to look at their current website or look at things that they’ve worked on and go, ah, if I’m your potential customer, I don’t get this or this isn’t making sense to me. And so just bringing in that outside perspective can be really beneficial.

Rob Hughes (08:08):

Oh my goodness. I totally resonate with that. Even owning my own business. Sometimes I’m just too close to it. For those of you who are listening in, if you ever feel like you’re so close to your product or to your service, that you have a hard time talking about it clearly with others or vice versa. Have you ever been trapped to one of those conversations at a networking event or a cup cocktail party? We asked somebody what they do and they give you 10,000 words to describe it. And an hour and a half later, you’re still there trapped to the conversation. So I think I want to hear you saying Holly is you need an outside perspective. Somebody who cares about what you do, but is outside enough to be objective, to keep it clear so that others can understand it too. Is that what I hear you saying? Yeah.

Holly Fisher (08:51):

Yes, absolutely. I mean, I definitely work with clients who I think we all do it. They’re so passionate about their business and that’s wonderful. You should be, but we have to make sure that we’re talking about it so that other people understand what you do, who haven’t been working in it every single day for the last five, six, seven years.

Rob Hughes (09:09):

Yeah. Yeah. Let’s talk about bringing the clarity of this message to the web. Probably now thinking back, it’s probably 13, 14 years ago. I was overseeing the marketing and sales for a manufacturing company in the state of Michigan. And it was time for us to revamp a website and we engaged with a local web firm to build the site for us. I think the engagement was 60 or 70,000 bucks. It was a pretty significant spend to rebuild our website. We sat down for hours and hours and hours and they looked at us and said, okay, what would you like this page to say, what would you like this page to say? And I’m like, I don’t know, this is what we do. And you know, what we ended up with was a beautiful looking website with a ton of confusing words on it. And if you were to ask me, did I ever get a new client as a result of our website? The answer would be goose egg. No, never. So for those of you listening in, maybe you can relate to that a little bit. Have you gone through a big marketing budget, spend building a website five years ago, six years ago. And it feels like an expensive digital billboard. Well, how a year here to teach us four tips that can prevent that from ever being the case, help us. Let’s get practical. Give us some advice here. What do you see in good website? Copy.

Holly Fisher (10:28):

Absolutely. Yes. So the number one thing, and this, this to me is probably the most important I’m going to shout this from the rooftops here is to start with the copy. Sounds very like basic, but so many businesses don’t do this. They get really excited about the prospect of redoing their website. So maybe they go out and even hire someone to do the website design. And there are some really amazing website designers out there, but not all of them are copywriters so they can make the website look really nice, but they aren’t copywriters. So the businesses get really excited about the design. They’re all excited about how it’s going to look and the template, and then suddenly they’re there, you know, three quarters of the way into the project and the website designer is going well. What w what, what words do you want on here?

Holly Fisher (11:27):

And they’ve gone completely backward with the whole process. I actually just had an example of this in the last few weeks where a client that I’ve done a little bit of copywriting work, little projects off and on for them for several years, she reached out and said, Hey, we’re trying to finish up a brand new website that we’re launching at the beginning of the year. And we need to fine tune some of the copy. Well, unfortunately they had done exactly this. So we were trying to now kind of like stuff some copy into this website. They couldn’t make the kinds of changes to the design. We were too far into the process and she actually told me in an email, we should’ve come to you first. And it’s exactly this start with the copy. Don’t get so excited by the design and all the fancy colors and all of that. Then suddenly you’re having to backtrack and that’s an expensive and a time consuming place to be too, is that you’ve sort of wasted some time and energy. When if you had just started with a message you’d started with the copy, then you can build out the design

Rob Hughes (12:36):

Hearing you talk about copy first, then design, you know, I’m such an analogy person. If you were to talk to anybody on our team at our agency, they’d say, Rob just speaks in analogies all the time. I just, I think on my feeling, it’s like, if you design first and then try to force feed copy into that, it’s almost like the tail wagging the dog. You know, don’t let the tail wag the dog, write your copy first, get your strategy down, put the words to that strategy and then let the design allow that strategy to come to life. I love it. I love it.

Holly Fisher (13:08):

A hundred percent. Yeah. That is my number. One thing that I always stress to people. I’ve definitely had clients that have come to me and they’re, they’re just too far into the process. And then we’re either having to waste time or they have to spend more money because we have to start over again or they just don’t get the website that they want. And so they’re kind of stuck with just trying to kind of stuff this, this copy into the existing design. So the second thing that I would share is really just kind of what we’ve sort of talked on a little bit. It’s just keeping that really simple and clear message. And I think sometimes clients in businesses can get a little concerned because they feel like we’re almost being too simplistic. Right? I think sometimes they want to feel a little more clever.

Holly Fisher (13:52):

They want to feel like we’re being a little more creative and, you know, we always say in our StoryBrand circles, right. That clear trumps clever. And so we want people to know exactly what it is that you do, what you have to offer, how they’re going to benefit from what you have to offer from your product or service, and then how they can go about doing business with you too often, we have a lot of businesses that they’ve just, they have a ton of copy on their website. They’ve got a lot of information, but it’s still just not clear. And we know that people aren’t going to spend 10 minutes rooting around your website, trying to figure out exactly what it is that you have to offer. So for sure, clarity is so important.

Rob Hughes (14:37):

It’s gotta be so tough for like highly technical fields or like I think of dentistry or chiropractic medicine or some others where if you listen to this, you all, one of those practices, you’ve gone to school for six, seven, 12 years, you know, for advanced certifications and naturopathic medicine. And so on there, I mean, you could have a ton invested in school and training and education and a natural tendency is to want to impress the world with all of the terms in the words and the syndromes that you’re aware of. But at the end of the day, you know, unless somebody is hyper-focused on that, they just want to know, am I going to be healthy? Am I going to be, well, am I going to have a brilliant smile? So clarity trumps, what did you say was clear? Trump’s clever. I love that.

Holly Fisher (15:19):

Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And even as somebody who likes to write and work in words, I mean, sometimes our tendency is to be like, oh, let’s find a really clever and catchy way to say this, but we always have to come back to well, is it going to make sense? Yeah. It might seem like a really fun slogan or a really fun headline, but does it actually make sense? Are people going to understand what it is? And so we just have to keep coming back to that clarity piece time and time again.

Rob Hughes (15:46):

So how do we put that through the filter Holly, from your perspective, let’s say an entrepreneur is reading this and they’re in the process of building a flyer that they want to send out. How do they put it through the clear test? What are some, you know, some things that they could do to make sure that it is indeed clear versus clever.

Holly Fisher (16:02):

Yeah. Yeah. I actually was just talking kind of about this with someone the other day and just suggesting that they, you know, maybe show it to somebody that doesn’t know their business that well and say, Hey, does this make sense to you? You know, read this flyer, read this website copy, and you don’t know much about my business. What do you get from it? Because sometimes you might be surprised that people have a totally different answer and you’re like, okay, that’s actually not what we do. So it’s, it’s kind of neat to run that through again, that outsider’s perspective. I even do that with clients or prospects when they’ll contact me about doing some work for them, I’ll take a quick look at their website. And then as we’re talking, I can say, you know, you’re telling me some really great stuff about your business. I did not get that at all from your website. So just again, having that sort of outside person, whether it’s someone you’re hiring or just a friend taking a look at the words that you have and making sure they’re clear,

Rob Hughes (17:00):

Again, just, just a head nod back to having somebody as a guide or some outsider that can give you that perspective. Because I do think business owners, you started your business or you’re leading your business because you’re passionate about it. And that’s good. There’s a huge heart that you have to lead in the marketplace. The shadow side of that when it comes to writing, the words is big, heart comes with a big bias. You’re going to see the words they make sense to you because you’re so close to it. So having somebody, even as a neighbor, a friend, a colleague, maybe peer group that you can bounce this off of can be tremendously powerful. So, okay. So our second tip here is to have the clear and simple message versus confusing complex totally makes sense.

Holly Fisher (17:44):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So number three is going to be calling people to action. And we talk about this a lot in our StoryBrand circles, but making sure that you are calling people to action, that you’re telling them what you want them to do. I actually just had someone reach out to me yesterday, in fact about maybe redoing her website and working on some copy with her. And I went to take a peek at her website before our call. And I told her, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. There was like an email address and there were some learn more and some read more buttons, but I really wasn’t sure as a consumer, what I was supposed to do is I supposed to make an appointment with her. Somehow was I supposed to email her call her? I had no idea what I was supposed to do as a potential customer.

Holly Fisher (18:36):

And I think lots of times businesses want to seem really casual, right? They don’t want to seem pushy. They don’t want to seem salesy. So they don’t want to feel like, Oh gosh, I’m, I’m in the customer’s face with a buy now button, but we have to ask people to take some action. You know, we say talking in StoryBrand all the time about not hiding the cash register. And I use that example with folks all the time. When you go to target, you’re not wandering around with a cart full of stuff that you want to buy, trying to figure out how to pay for it. We know exactly where, where to go to pay for our stuff. And you have to do the same thing with your marketing, especially your website. You have to let people know what you want them to do. Whether that’s make an appointment, schedule a consultation, watch a demo, download a free trial of software, whatever that thing is that you want people to do, it needs to be on your website multiple times so that they know exactly what they’re supposed to do.

Rob Hughes (19:36):

Absolutely. I mean the call to action, crystal clear clarity. And I do think you’re right. We don’t want to sound pushy. We don’t want on sun salesy. So oftentimes entrepreneurs might shy away from a clear buy now button quote, unquote, but it doesn’t have to be like a shopping cart feature. If you’re a service business, it could be a couple of other things too, right? Like what are some examples from your perspective, Holly, of what that call to action could be on a website.

Holly Fisher (20:04):

It might just be, you know, schedule a free consultation, you know, just let’s let’s have a conversation. That’s, that’s it. I think for a lot of service businesses, if they just need to get someone on the phone, sometimes I work with clients and they want someone to do a demo. If they have more of like a software type of business. And they want people to just schedule a demo or download some sort of free trial. So it’s not necessarily that I have to buy that instant, but you do have to tell me what I’m supposed to do. If I’m, if I’m interested and I want to get in touch with you, make it really easy for me. Don’t make me work.

Rob Hughes (20:43):

Yeah, totally. And I know where you’re talking websites, but this could be true of anything that requires marketing. If it’s a flyer, if it’s a brochure, that’s going out, what’s the call to action. If it’s a radio ad, what’s the call to action? If it’s a billboard, is there a call to action? If it’s an email sequence or, you know, follow up campaign, anything, be clear. Clarity is actually kinder than confusing them.

Holly Fisher (21:07):

Yeah. Yeah. If folks are motivated and they’re like ready to buy from you, or they want to learn more about your service, make it really easy for them. Okay. Catch them when they’re excited, give them a button to click.

Rob Hughes (21:21):

Spot on. So we’d get three gems of tips so far. I know you have a fourth, but just for the Thrive Collective family here. Remember the first tip. When you’re writing website copy to help your websites actually become effective into convert. The first tip that you gave us Holly was to start with the copy. Then the design, not the other way around step one second tip is to keep it clear and simple. Don’t use confusing words. Don’t overload it. Third. You just gave us the clear action. You want to call to a clear action. What’s that next step?

Holly Fisher (21:52):

So the last one would be to show the success that people are going to get when they work with you. I think it can be really easy for us as business owners and leaders to want to talk about all of the insider language of what we offer, right? So let’s say you have a piece of software and you want to talk about all of the, like behind the scenes features of that software, right? I mean, we can just go really get into the weeds on how this works. We forget to talk about how it’s going to make someone’s life better, how it’s going to solve their problem. I think for the most part, consumers just want to know that the product or service that you have is going to get the job done. We don’t necessarily care to kind of borrow an old, old phrase how the sausage is made. We just want to know the end result. I think that’s a really important thing for folks to keep in mind is don’t forget to talk about the benefits and the success that people are going to experience after they use your product or service. How is it going to make their life better? Don’t forget to talk about that. Cause you get so caught up in the weeds of how it works.

Rob Hughes (23:09):

Yeah. Yeah. So the images speaking to you and what success looks like, all of that plays into this it’s the reason people reaching out to you in the first place. Isn’t it? So displaying success and highlighting that, being overtly clear about what success could look like. Excellent. Excellent tip. I, and I’ll tell you Holly, these four things, I’m confident, any listener who just takes these applies these four tips, I think you know, exponentially, they could grow their effectiveness of their website and web presence. And then beyond these four tips, how he’s actually got another gift for you as the Thrive Collective family she’s provided to us, her free, e-book three things missing from your website and they’re costing you money. You want to just kind of describe that a little bit to us we’ll of course put a link into the show notes, but how they want to just kind of give us an overview of what’s in that PDF. Sure.

Holly Fisher (24:03):

Yeah. I developed this a few months ago and have it on my website, a free for folks to download. And it is, it’s just three things that maybe missing from your website. And they’re also three, just really simple things that you could change just as the things that we were talking about today. If you’ll just kind of take a step back from your website and look, can I just make a couple of these changes? Do I actually have a call to action on my website? And maybe that’s something you can literally add to your website today and see what kind of a difference it makes

Rob Hughes (24:35):

Outstanding. So Thrive Collective family. This is Holly’s gift to you. Look for a link to Holly’s website in this resource, in the show notes, we’ll be sure to include them in the description to wherever you’re tuning into the Thrive Collective from. I’ll tell you, Holly, this has been an outstanding interview. We’re so blessed to have you join us for the Thrive Collective entrepreneurs and business owners are, are tuning in leaders of organizations as we kind of back away from the website and just kind of consider broadly, is there, is there any closing, encouragement or words of wisdom that you would share to our business owner community?

Holly Fisher (25:10):

Yeah, absolutely. I think one thing that I feel like is so important for business owners and entrepreneurs to keep in mind is to reach out for help, ask for advice when you need it. I think as business owners, we really get into this mindset that we should be able to do all the things and we should know all the things and suddenly we’re a business owner. And so we should understand everything there is to know about business. And that’s probably not the case. Certainly wasn’t the case for me when I started a business. So I think reaching out for help, not being afraid to ask whether that’s hiring someone to help you or even just having a community of fellow business owners that you can go to and ask for advice, resources, tips, and just kind of not being afraid to sort of, you know, hold up your hand and say, Hey, I don’t know everything there is to know about business.

Holly Fisher (26:11):

Can somebody help me with whatever topic? I think Rob, you can probably attest to this. We have such a good community of StoryBrand guides and people are doing this all the time, right? Asking for advice on something, asking for tips and help. And I love that people are not afraid to just kind of step up and say, Hey, I don’t really know how to handle this situation. Can somebody give me some advice? And I just think so many business owners could really benefit from that. They didn’t feel embarrassed to show that maybe there was an area that they weren’t super skilled in. Yeah.

Rob Hughes (26:45):

And I think scripture firms that too, I mean, plans fail when there’s no, you know, support and those who succeed have many advisors there’s strength in many advisors says the Proverbs. So I just think that it is such an affirming encouragement to be interdependent, to connect with others. What’s the reason that somebody might not pride ego arrogance. Well, obviously those are things that the Lord would want to uproot out of us, you know? So get over it, get authentic and get real with a community of others. I love the idea of reaching out and asking for help. So, so true, Holly, you are a blessing. You are a treasure to the Thrive Collective community. If somebody listening in would like to reach out to you, how would they best do that?

Holly Fisher (27:31):

Yeah, probably the easiest thing is just to go to my website, which is Fisher F I S H E R-creative.com. There’s where you can find email, phone number, social media links. That’s kind of the, my home on the internet. So you can find me@fisher-creative.com and we’d love to chat with anyone or answer any, any follow-up questions that folks might have.

Rob Hughes (27:55):

Well, Holly Fisher copywriter, extraordinary air and websites that convert. If you want a website that converts reach out to Holly, she is the wordsmith that can make that happen. Thrive Collective, you know this show is for you. We’re bringing on topics and guests and subject matter experts to speak to you. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders in our hearts desires to help you grow your revenue. Because when you’re prosperous, you can serve as a blessing, generously to others. We’re gonna help you grow your revenue. We’re going to help you avoid costly mistakes and you know, my heart to help you fully integrate your faith into your life and leadership. Hey, thanks for tuning in. Be sure to subscribe to the Thrive Collective, go ahead and click the subscribe button. We’ll see you at the next episode.

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