Jennifer Spivak is our guest for the 312th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Jennifer is the CEO and founder of The AdGirls Agency, and she’s helped hundreds of businesses generate millions of dollars on Facebook and Instagram with the use of simple funnels. In this episode, she breaks down her funnel process and how copywriters can implement a low ad-spend approach to lead generation.
Here’s how the conversation went:
- How Jennifer got into the entrepreneurial space and her mission behind her business.
- Getting out of an abusive relationship and how $1500 saved her life.
- How she grew her business through organic relationships and virtual door knocking.
- Why she set up one simple ad to book a call with her and how it turned out.
- Is it a good idea to turn your business into an agency?
- When this happens… It’s time to make a business pivot.
- Her team of 16 and how each position allows for her to step into her visionary role.
- What she would do differently if she was starting her business over.
- Her system and process for hiring and how to find out who would be a good fit for your team.
- Do you need a business partner?
- Split of equity – what’s that conversation like?
- Integrator role vs visionary role – what’s the difference and what are each responsible for?
- What NOT to do in your funnel and how to get chosen as the no-brainer choice.
- Her 4 messaging buckets to build relationships quickly and effectively.
- What if you don’t have a large budget for ads?
- The better follow-up method when someone books a call with you.
- The benefits of having a simple funnel in place… Call it the easy, lazy marketing approach.
- Switches and changes you might need to make to step into the visionary role in your business.
- Struggles of a 7-figure business owner and navigating new businesses.
- Why you should throw your timeline out the window and do this instead.
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Jennifer’s Forbes article
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Rob Marsh: If you’ve been in the marketing world for more than a few days, you’ve probably heard the idea that you need a funnel. After all, a single funnel that reliably brings the right clients to your business is the difference between feast and famine and working with clients that you love versus working with those who tax your patience and drive you crazy.
Our guest for this episode of The Copywriter Club podcast is Jenn Spivak, the founder of The Ad Girls agency. Jenn’s take on creating a great funnel that attracts ideal clients is different from the approach of almost every other expert that we know and, in the second half of this interview, she broke it all down so that you can borrow her approach for your business. Before we share that, Jenn also talked about building her agency, how she hires the various roles on her team and a lot more. We covered a lot of ground in this interview, so stick around because this one has dozens of insights that are going to help you in your own business.
Kira Hug: Before we jump into our interview with Jenn, this podcast is sponsored by the P7 Client Attraction Pipeline. If you haven’t heard about it and you have no idea what’s going on with P7, there’s still one day to jump inside before we officially start this intensive on Thursday, and if you’re like, “I don’t know what this is. What’s P7? What does this mean?” we’ll give you an idea of what it’s all about. After talking to hundreds of copywriters over the last five years, Rob and I recognized one of the biggest problems for copywriters is finding clients consistently with a dependable flow of clients.
Rob, you and I created this pipeline to help solve this big problem for copywriters. The problem is booking clients consistently, prospecting, creating the space to even do that, and what we noticed is that, even though copywriters like us know that it’s important to prospect and to send cold emails so you constantly have a flow of leads that you can turn into clients, even though we all are smart, we know this, there’s still a gap there because it’s not happening. It’s not happening for the majority of copywriters we speak to, and so you and I sat down and tried to figure out why is this not happening for copywriters, and what’s getting in the way.
Kira Hug: What we discovered is that, as copywriters, we’re not building this into our daily routine. We’re thinking that we’re going to book time to batch cold emails, and then it doesn’t happen because we prioritize our client work over our own business and also, we’re all pretty overwhelmed dealing with business responsibilities, personal responsibilities, families. If we don’t prioritize it and have a system with every single step along the way broken down so we can just jump into it easily, it’s not going to happen, so we’ve put this together in this 30-day intensive so that you can have a system you can depend on to book clients consistently, to even have fun doing it so it feels like it’s part of your routine and it’s not something that you have to necessarily batch or wake up early to do, it could just be part of your day.
Rob Marsh: It includes everything that you need to find your ideal clients and, not just your ideal clients, your dream clients, the clients that you really want to work with, identify the problem that you can solve for them, create a pitch and a product or service that they can say yes to very easily. It includes templates, more than 20 different templates that you can use to reach out to clients. Whether it’s to pitch or create a relationship on LinkedIn, via email, on Instagram, direct messaging on Facebook, however it is, lots and lots of templates, and then we talk through the difference between an MVP pitch and a GOAT pitch and when you want to use each one.
What we heard back from copywriters who went through this workshop series a couple of months ago is that they finally realized how to make pitching doable, how to fit it into their schedule, but also how much time they needed to spend on a particular pitch and when they should put in a ton of effort versus just a little bit of effort. Both of them work to connect with clients. If you are looking for better clients, if you’re struggling with feast-and-famine cycles, if pitching has always been a struggle, but you need clients and want to connect with people who can give you good work, the P7 Client Attraction Pipeline workshops will help you solve that problem, so definitely check out the link at bitly/tcc, that’s capital T, capital C, capital C, pitch, and you’ll find some details there that can tell you more.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and one last thing that I will say is that we’re currently offering it for the last time at the lowest price. It’s actually at the beta price. Even though this technically isn’t beta because we’ve already launched it, we already ran it with the first cohort, we’ve proved that it worked, but we’re still offering it at the beta price, and so you can jump in for the final time at that price before it jumps up next time we launch it as we continue to improve the program.
Rob Marsh: Okay, let’s get into the interview with Jenn.
Jennifer Spivak: It’s maybe a bit of an unexpected story, but I actually ended up starting my business towards the end of 2014 because of something that I realized I was really passionate about, which was putting more money into the hands of more women. This actually comes from being in a physically abusive relationship in my early 20s. I was really, really fortunate, all things considered, to be able to get out and move on with my life in the way that I was able to and in getting involved with domestic violence advocacy work.
After that relationship, I learned that my experience was really uncommon and that the reason it was so easy for me was because I had access to money. I just happened to have $1,500 saved in an account that my abuser didn’t know about, and that was literally potentially life or death, and so, I learned that financial abuse is actually present in 99% of domestic-violence relationships.
I had gone to school for marketing and I was really good at it, and I felt really, really, again, passionate about we’ve got to put more money in the hands of more women because, at minimum, it means never needing to be beholden to anybody, but, on a macro level, it can sometimes be a matter of life or death, and so I brought those two things together, the marketing and that mission, and I built The Ad Girls agency which, yes, is an advertising agency, but we use Facebook and Instagram ads as a tool to grow people’s businesses. Really, our purpose is financially empowering as many women business owners as possible.
Rob Marsh: We’re going to link in our show notes one of the articles that you shared about that experience you had, but can we stop for just a second? As you mentioned, not everybody has access to these kinds of resources who may be in an abusive relationship, and while it’s primarily women, there are some men, not as many clearly, but are there resources, Jenn, that you could maybe share with us or share with our audience if they’re not in a situation to get away, you’re in an abusive situation, what can people do with that first step to get help, clearly, an important topic and one we don’t want to just gloss over and say, “Oh, this happened, and everybody’s going to be fine”?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I love that, Robin. Thank you for that. I think one of the most important things is the time when a person, usually a woman, is thinking about leaving a relationship like that is actually the most dangerous, so my number one recommendation is to not ever try to do that on your own. There are national organizations; there are local organizations, one of the national organizations that I just happen to know of that’s called Safe Horizons; there’s also a specific organization in New York where I live that I worked with called Met Council. Then there’s a really, really fantastic organization and my agency actually has a partnership with them because they specifically deal with this financial abuse element. They’re called FreeFrom, so freefrom.org. There’s so many people out there doing amazing work. I think the number one piece of advice is don’t do it alone. Really make sure that you are working with somebody who understands the intricacies of this type of situation. Create a safety plan and do it slowly. That’s the best way for you to stay safe.
Kira Hug: Maybe there’s similar advice if we are a friend, if we’re aware of someone in our life who we think maybe something’s happening, but they’re not sharing it with us, what do you advise us to do if we’re a friend or a family member or acquaintance?
Jennifer Spivak: It’s a tricky one. I mean, I know your example is if they’re not sharing, but I think the number one thing is to believe them and to just support them as much as possible. Trying to push somebody in that situation, they’re getting pushed around at home, so actually, even though your intention is help and support, that can feel really overwhelming and unsafe, so support, love, believe in them is really all that you can do in that situation.
Rob Marsh: Okay. Yeah, thanks for sharing that. We definitely don’t want to gloss over that kind of experience. I know there are people out there having that, so hopefully, that helps. Okay. As you were then getting out of this abusive relationship, what sorts of things did you do in order to get started in your business? It’s easy, Jennifer, to say, well, I started a business, but how did you find those first clients? What were the services that you were offering? How did you connect with them? How did you make it all happen?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. For the first couple of years, everything was really organic and word of mouth. Obviously, I’m on an advertising agency, but I do feel really strongly that, at least up to your first 100K, there’s a lot of good reason to really just focus on doing it with grit and door knocking or whatever the online version of that would be. It was really just showing up in different places, using my network. I was 100% focused on providing Facebook advertising as a service for female online businesses and, again, I mean, it was just very organic, word of mouth, referrals, talking to people, and so that was how I grew for the first couple of years.
Once I got to, I want to say maybe I was three years in, probably doing somewhere around three, 400K a year, give or take. I was still technically more of a freelancer than an agency. Sure, I had a project manager and I had an admin person, but it was really still me doing all of the things, and I hit a point where I could not possibly take on any more clients on my own. I was making good money but never sleeping, never vacationing, never anything. It was crazy, and that was really when I said, okay, I see what it looks like for a business because we do it for our clients when they’re able to use Facebook and Instagram ads as a system to really be in control of their own growth. I see what that looks like. I see how businesses benefit from that, and I’m ready to step into that so that I can predictably build a team and figure out all of that stuff, but I wasn’t finding anything out there that seemed to translate to my type of business.
I started thinking about, well, the way that we do ads is you provide some sort of value, have a lead magnet, you have a webinar, free workshop, whatever it is, and then, from there, there was a call to action. That’s the right way. That’s the way that we do things, but as I would sit down and start to brainstorm on the lead magnet that I wanted to use and thinking about, okay, my perfect ideal client, what sort of lead magnet do they want to consume, the answer was they don’t want to actually because they’re a done-for-you buyer. That was when I had this epiphany that done-for-you buyers behave really differently from people who are ultimately going to be purchasing a course or a group coaching program or some sort of coaching.
The done-for-you buyer just wants the right person to come in and show up and do the thing for them, and so I, on a whim, said, “Okay, this is breaking all the rules, but let’s see what happens. What if I just drove ads directly to a page?” which is atypical of me. You’re not supposed to be able to do that. There’s a million reasons why that doesn’t make sense and doesn’t work, but I tried it, and, in all honesty, I forgot about it and came back a month later, and it worked.
Kira Hug: Okay. I want to hear more about, just to take a step back, your vision as a business owner when you decided to go from solo, so like you said, you’re A freelancer, you’re tapping out around 300K, to thinking bigger about the agency and then starting to experiment with different strategies for gaining clients. How did you know that agency was the right route? I’m asking because a lot of copywriters deal with this, too, and they don’t know when they should shift to an agency model and what they need to do to start thinking differently, so I’d love to capture that moment for you.
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I mean, think the honest truth is I didn’t know that it was the right model. I just knew that I was working constantly and there was no space. I would go on vacation but work the whole time that I was there. There was just no space for me to actually have a life. It seemed like the options were either I take on fewer clients and I make less money, but I didn’t want to sacrifice my lifestyle or I somehow find a way to keep the amount of money that I’m making but work less.
Again, it just seemed like the natural next step. I did it almost in phases, not intentionally, but, looking back, there were phases to it where, again, it was just, I’m going to hire one person to do media buying, but I’m still client-facing, and then it was, okay, now I’m really having clients who really know their media buyers. I’m building out more of a true team. Then there was a phase of, okay, we’re like a real company now, not just a group of women trying to make this work. We need a COO. There were many levels and phases to it, but I think the short-long answer is I didn’t know. I just knew that the place that I was in was really sticky and just didn’t have a lot of space and it wasn’t the lifestyle that I wanted for myself.
Rob Marsh: While we’re talking about team, I’m curious who’s on your, not necessarily people, but roles that you have on your team today? What does that look like, and what are the different things that they’re handling for you?
Jennifer Spivak: Yes. I’m honestly 99% out of service delivery. At this point, I don’t really do anything. I just oversee as a bit of a visionary. One thing that was really amazing for the growth of my business is, at the beginning of 2021, I brought on a minority business partner. She had also previously owned her own agency, and we did things really similarly, so it was a super easy merge. She is the COO, so she is really the person who oversees operations and service delivery. My role at this point and as CEO is, again, visionary of the overall business. I also do all marketing and sales because that’s what I’m good at; that’s what I really love and, again, I get to run this ad system and then handle all the sales. I know we’re going to be talking a little bit about it today, but then, underneath, in terms of the delivery part of the business, we have two senior strategists, and then underneath each senior strategist is a set of account managers.
We’re always growing, so I don’t always know the exact number, but I believe we are a team of 15 or 16 at this point, so, again, senior strategists, underneath them are the account managers, and those are the people who are actually the media buyers. They’re very client-facing. We also then have a set of copywriters, and we actually work with an outside creative team called No Limits Creative. A lot of ad agencies work with them. They’re really great for just pumping out various images and videos that we might need to use for the ads, and then separate from the service delivery part. We also have a head of personnel who handles all hiring and then we have an ops manager.
Kira Hug: All right, so this is like a legit agency.
Jennifer Spivak: Oh, no, it’s legit.
Rob Marsh: This is big.
Kira Hug: This is legit. You’re not messing around here.
Jennifer Spivak: No. No. It’s legit.
Kira Hug: To go back in time, you said you started it in 2014. Is that right?
Jennifer Spivak: The end of 2014 was when I officially took on a client on my own for the first time, so we’re getting close to eight years, which is, honestly, just crazy, but yeah.
Kira Hug: It’s also really amazing how it shows how much you can accomplish and build in a short period of time, under a decade. Building out this 15 to 16-person agency is really impressive and also just, again, it’s a reminder of what you can do during that time.
Jennifer Spivak: I mean, to be honest with you, now looking back, I see how I could have done it in half the time, maybe even less, all of the mindset of how the pace it’s supposed to be, if you will. I see how much of that just wasn’t true, and I think if I were to build another agency and start from scratch tomorrow, I could probably do the same thing that I did in eight years in two, maybe less.
Kira Hug: Okay, so I was going to ask a bunch of other questions, but now I need to ask about that. Can you please share, because there’s so much overlap with what we do as copywriters, what would you do differently if you did it over again so that you can grow in two years versus eight years?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I think the thing that I’m most present to today in terms of what it takes to grow an agency is the closest synergy possible between hiring and sales. We’re always chasing one or the other. We have too many sales and we can’t bring on the team fast enough. We don’t have a system for that or they’re not getting trained fast enough or they’re not the right people or, the opposite, we’ve over-hired, and then sales slows down. Making them sync up, I mean, to me that is the whole thing. We’ve spent the last two years, it was hard, man, figuring out hiring, whoa, one of the hardest things I’ve ever probably done in my entire life, but we have really figured out a system and a process that seems to work.
I think bringing on an in-house HR person was one of the best decisions that we ever made. We had worked with an outside agency. They were good, but they also worked with other marketing agencies, and so, when they got a good candidate, they were deciding where it made sense, and we weren’t getting all of the options, and so an in-house HR person was completely business changing, and then the marketing funnel that I now use, which pretty much guarantees, once it’s set up and running, it really can get off to the races within I’d say 30 to 45 days, and that can just start bringing in sales calls. I think that, with those two things, I could grow much faster.
Rob Marsh: I definitely want to know more about the system for hiring and getting the right people on your team. You’re called The Ad Girls. You do have a couple of men on your team, I believe.
Jennifer Spivak: We do. We do. We do.
Rob Marsh: False advertising. I’m just kidding, but how do you know when somebody is a fit for your team? What is that system, that process that you put somebody through so that, yeah, maybe they don’t fit the title of Ad Girls, but we know they’re going to serve our clients the right way or they’re bringing the right skillset to the table?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. Just on that note, we always say we’re female-focused, and most of our clients are women. All of our copywriters are women, which is really important to our clients who are usually marketing to women, but we love men and think that they’re absolutely wonderful and, as long as they are part of that mission of putting more money in the hands from our women and they can get results for our clients, we welcome them.
I will say that my business partner is way more involved in the hiring process than I am, but we have our HR person essentially going to all the places you would expect, LinkedIn, Indeed, and really just sources as many candidates as possible. From there, the first thing that we do, and this was totally a game changer, is we have them… Well, first, they have a quick 15-minute intro call with the HR person just to make sure that there’s some synergy there, but this next step is we’ve actually come up with a list of questions that we want them to answer on video. What that does is it saves quite a bit of time with the interview process. For example, having myself or my business partner interview just like anybody who seems to have the right qualifications, I believe that not only do we get to learn a lot about them from the answers to their questions and the way that they answer, but, even just energetically, I can pick up so easily on who they are as a human being and are they a good fit.
That’s actually the only part of the hiring process that I’m really involved in, so I watch the video and I just feel out, and I don’t even necessarily listen to all of their answers. I feel out in one to two minutes, yeah, this person is the right vibe or they’re not and then, once they pass the vibe check and they have all of the right answers, then they move into an official interview with Courtney, who is my business partner. In that interview, they actually will do a surprise live audit of an account so that we can really get a sense for how they think on their toes and then from there, if we like them, reference check, hire, and then they go into training.
Rob Marsh: Just real quick, how does it all break down full-time versus part-time? Is everybody contracting part-time or-
Jennifer Spivak: Everybody is full-time except for one copywriter who is part-time, but everybody, otherwise, is full-time.
Rob Marsh: Okay. Awesome.
Kira Hug: All right. We are going to talk about marketing funnels because that’s relevant for cover. We are going to get to that. We’re going to keep teasing it, but, before that, more questions about all of these different phases you’ve moved through and especially the merger with your business partner. I would love to hear more about that. That’s really interesting. Again, that applies to so many copywriters who could merge with designers to form really incredible agencies or other Facebook media buyers, too. Can you talk about the catalyst for that and then how you actually structured it?
Jennifer Spivak: Yes. It was not planned. If you would’ve asked me two years ago if I were ever to have a business partner, I would say absolutely not. There’s no chance. What happened is Courtney and I actually met on Facebook, on the Internet, because we were both constantly getting tagged in comments when people in the online business world said, “Who knows somebody who does Facebook apps?” We knew of each other and, in 2020, we decided competition isn’t real. Let’s start masterminding together and see if we can support each other and, from there, a couple of things came to fruition. One, we realized that we had these complete opposite zones of genius. It was really weird. You couldn’t have planned it better.
I had this agency that was probably four times larger than hers. 2020 was our first seven-figure year. I was really good at marketing and really good at sales and, I’ll just be honest, operations were a little messy. It just wasn’t my strength. I don’t think in SOPs. I just do. I had this larger agency we were growing, but internally we definitely needed some support and some structure.
Courtney is the opposite. Courtney’s dream life was what if I could just never get on a sales call ever again, but she hit 50-something percent profit margins as an agency. That’s unheard of. She is a profit margins machine. She is a beast at SOPs, and so we were like, “Maybe we should help each other with these things that we’re really good at,” and so she first hired me to come in and build out for her my sales and marketing system that we’re going to talk about, there’s another teaser, and so that helped her get really good at sales and start to be able to bring on more clients, although again it just wasn’t something that she really enjoyed, and then, later that year, I hired her to come in and do some consulting with my team.
It actually was my accountant at the time who was like, “Your profit margin is really good this month. What changed?” and I was like, “Well, I have this person I’ve been consulting,” and she said, “Maybe you should buy her out,” and I was like, “What? That’s not a thing,” and I messaged Courtney as a joke. I was like, “FYI, according to my accountant, I will be buying you out soon,” and she goes, “I might be open to that,” and I was like, “Are you serious?” We just started talking about it, and it just made sense. It was not a plan. I wasn’t going to look for anybody, but we just kept thinking about what if there were two owners and I got to focus 100% on bringing in new clients and she got to focus 100% on making sure that we could deliver the service that I was promising to clients, and it just happened, and here we are.
Rob Marsh: I’m curious about that partnership discussion. You mentioned that you brought her in as a minority owner and your business was four times larger, but she was 50% more profitable. I mean she had a better profit margin. How did you negotiate the split of equity? Kira and I get asked about partnerships all the time. In fact, we probably talk about partnerships on the podcast more than we talk about anything else. I mean, if people wanted this, if I’m going to partner with somebody else, how do I figure this out so that it’s going to work for the long term?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I mean, everything we did was really unofficial. Again, we have a really good relationship, and so our call went something like this. Courtney said, “I really wouldn’t want to leave my business for anything less than X,” and I said, “I really wasn’t imagining giving away anything more than X,” and we said, “Meet in the middle? Meet in the middle,” and that was essentially the negotiation process. I mean, I remember even being advised we have to get lawyers for each one of us and the lawyers will go toe to toe, and we were like, “No. No, we’re not interested in that. That’s not the energy that we’re bringing here. This isn’t a fight to see. We’re good,” and so it was just very unofficial negotiations. Obviously, we went through lawyers to get all the paperwork and stuff like that, but it was very easy and pain-free in that way.
Kira Hug: Okay, and your role as a visionary is always interesting to me because this is something that Rob and I talk a lot about because we both lean into the visionary vibe frequently. How would you define a visionary in your business, and what are you doing on a weekly basis to really make sure that you’re leaning into that role?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah, and I do think it’s interesting. To your point, it has come up more and more lately that, while I never occupy the integrator role, if we’re talking about us, Courtney does sometimes occupy the visionary role at times, but, to me, I feel like I am the vibe holder of the agency, of the business. I’m holding the energy of the entire company. I am the one keeping an eye out for new trends, new ideas, coming up with random things like how can we have every other Friday off for some members of the team, and then, of course, Courtney is the one that’s like, “Here’s the exact structure for how we’ll do it.”
It’s really amazing, but more than the visionary role, I think probably my number one role is almost more like a CMO, honestly. We don’t have one of those currently. I spend the majority of my time on marketing and sales tasks. I take sales calls Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. I have certain blocks, but like, just this week alone, on each of those days, I have four to five sales calls, and so I’m on Zoom a lot talking to people. I am creating content. I’m sending out emails. I am running our ads. I’m on podcasts. I’m just looking for opportunities to really be as visible as possible, bringing in, getting in front of as many new people and then actually having the sales calls. I would say that that is my number one role above all else.
Rob Marsh: All right. You sold me. I want to work for Ad Girls. Sorry, Kira. I’m done here.
Kira Hug: All right, Rob, what are your initial thoughts on this conversation?
Rob Marsh: All right. I made a couple of notes of things that are worth touching on. Before we move any further, I just want to note that, if the abusive relationship discussion that we had, if that sounds familiar, if that’s something somebody is struggling with, we’re going link to a couple of resources in the show notes, so be sure to check that out because we want to make sure that those resources are out there for somebody who might be struggling with that kind of a thing.
Having said that, one thing that Jenn mentioned that we jumped over just a little bit was this idea that there’s a difference between a regular buyer or a buyer of, say, a product or a do-it-yourself, that kind of person who wants to work on their thing and a done-for-you buyer. I think this is really significant because, with Jenn’s agency where they’re creating or they have a service that creates funnels and campaigns for clients to bring in clients to their business or whatever, that is a done-for-you buyer who needs a different level of service and a different kind of care than maybe a buyer that a lot of us are writing for, and so being aware of the problem that you’re solving, where that client is in their business, the time that they have or they don’t have to commit to a product like this.
When you’re talking to a done-for-you buyer, you’re trying to make things easy. You can’t put a lot of obstacles in place. Like Jenn mentioned, you don’t want them to have to download a lead magnet and then jump through a bunch of hoops in order to sell themselves on your website and buy something there. You’re trying to get them to a call where you can basically help them self-diagnose or help them realize that you’re the solution for the problem. You’re trying to take work off their plate. You’re not trying to make them jump through hoops, and so being very aware of those kinds of differences, depending on who you’re selling to, I think is a really insightful idea that we should pay more attention to, and I’m glad she brought that up.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and she talked about her mission of putting more money in the hands of women, and I feel deeply connected to that mission as well. I love how she’s built a business around a mission. I think that’s something that we don’t always hear about when we’re interviewing people on the show. Even later in the conversation, we will talk about how that makes its way into her marketing, but we also talked about how much she accomplished, and I think you could probably hear in the conversation when I was like, “Whoa, you’re running a legit agency,” and I probably didn’t… It didn’t come out the right way, but I think so often we talk about agencies, and we’re talking more about agencies like the one I ran with copywriting, more of a micro agency, which is also a great model; you can keep it lean, you can keep it agile, but then hearing Jenn talk about her agency, she’s talking about a team of 16 full-time employees, different layers and departments.
I was just so impressed with how quickly she grew that type of company. In less than 10 years, she was able to build out this company that’s doing really well revenue-wise and also, again, is serving this big mission and is employing 15 to 16 people, probably more by now, and so I think my biggest takeaway from this part of the conversation was it’s incredible how much we can do, how quickly we can build, how much we can build in less than 10 years if we are focused and motivated and just doing the work day in and day out. I think that’s really motivating to me to know what is possible in a relatively short period of time.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. While we’re talking about team, we can talk about how she hires, how she looks for somebody who’s a good fit for the team and the mission that they have. You and I have been thinking about this quite a bit. We’ve had conversations with people that we respect about building teams. I think there’s this myth out there. It’s kind of a myth. Sometimes it’s true, but this idea that, when you meet a great person, it doesn’t really matter what they do, you should hire them and find the right role for them.
As a business owner and as we meet with and talk with other business owners, yeah, it’s good to have really smart people who know how to figure things out on your team, but also they have to fit into specific roles. Jenn is so committed to making sure that, because they serve mostly female-owned businesses, having copywriters who are all women is a really good move for them because they can relate to those clients better than most male copywriters would be able to do, and so knowing that, yeah, it’s again good to have smart people who fit the culture, but they also have to fit the skillset. You can’t hire somebody who doesn’t do sales into a sales job, or you can’t hire somebody into a copywriting job who doesn’t know how to write or, if you’re looking for somebody to manage a team, it helps if they’re a people person and they’ve got systems background. You want this really good combination of capable, smart, able to figure things out, but also the ability to fit into the slots that you need for your business to grow.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and that’s why hiring is so tricky, because it is a delicate balance of the right personality to match the company culture, the right attitude, the right work ethic, also the skillset. There’s just so many factors involved, which is why it’s so tricky, and it came up so frequently in this conversation. It did stand out to me that Jenn talked about the importance of hiring sales people, and it sounds like a lot of her growth has stemmed from hiring sales people and getting the right sales people in place and doing it on their own versus relying on a hiring agency.
It made me think of a recent interview with Kristin Lajeunesse about how she brought in a sales partner and a salesperson to support her and her growth. It just is such a great reminder to me that we don’t think of ourselves necessarily when we’re freelancing as building this business where we need sales people on the team, but maybe we should start thinking more that way. What could my business look like if I had a really strong salesperson on my team even if they’re contract based and even if they’re part-time or, as I scale, maybe when you get to the point like our size, for TCC, could we benefit from having a sales team? I hadn’t really thought about it until recently, but how much could that benefit our team to have some dedicated sales people? I think that works at every stage as Kristin proved in episode 308, I believe, when she talked about how that dramatically changed her business. As copywriters, I feel like we should think more about partnering or hiring sales people to support us as we’re growing.
Rob Marsh: Clearly, that works for Jenn. I mean, her business partner had a much more profitable business because she was so good at systems and process and serving her clients, whereas Jenn had built a much bigger agency, but less profitable because she was so good at outreach and sales and bringing clients in, and the partnership together being able to focus on the things that they do best, that visionary-plus-integrator idea that so many people talk about, and we talk about it, it’s just critical for creating businesses that really work at their maximum potential. Again, I really admire what Jenn has built with The Ad Girls because she and her partner have done that so well.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and speaking of partnerships, we touched on that a little bit. You and I have talked about our partnership a good amount. I think what I took away from this is just how her partnership sounds similar to our partnership in some ways. It sounds like it started pretty easily, and it sounds like it’s pain-free and just happened naturally. Yes, they brought in lawyers and set up contracts, but that came after. There was the initial trust there from the beginning, and then everything else came after that. I feel like that’s how it felt, at least for me, with our partnership, and then when I even think about, like, romantic partnerships, too, I feel like that’s easy. It’s pain-free. It just happens naturally.
We do talk to copywriters who are interested in partnering here and there, and so I think that’s something to pay attention to. It doesn’t even have to be a business partnership. It could just be promotional partners or partnering on visibility and so many different types of partnerships that we can do in our business and just paying attention to which relationships feel relatively easy and pain-free and just there’s like that connection that you don’t feel like you have to work that hard at it because I think there’s so much room for different types of partnerships as we grow in our business.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, and then just keeping in mind, when you have a partner, what you bring to the table and what they bring to the table. Visionaries are good at strategy and obviously vision, figuring out where you need to go, some of the things that you might need to do, even connecting with potential clients or opportunities, but may not be as good at getting things done, systems, processes. Like Jenn and her partner, being able to make up for the weaknesses of the other partner, bringing your strengths to that partnership so that both of you can excel at the things you do best is really the secret to making a business like that work.
Kira Hug: You’re talking about me, aren’t you?
Rob Marsh: I’m not talking about you. Well, I’m talking about you in that you’re a visionary and you know where we need to go and how we should move forward.
Kira Hug: I just had a hard time getting there, but that’s where, yes, you come in and you help us get there.
Rob Marsh: Let’s go back to the interview with Jenn and listen to how she actually structures the marketing funnel in her business.
Kira Hug: Enough teasing. Let’s talk about this amazing funnel and how you use it to generate clients, bring that steady leads flowing because this is one thing that so many copywriters struggle with. How do you do it? What are you doing?
Jennifer Spivak: Okay, so we talked a little bit before. I think that there are two important premises here before I give you the structure of the funnel because the funnel itself is so simple that I call it stupid simple. It’s dumb sometimes that it works so well, but it’s not actually the pieces of the funnel that make it work. It’s, again, these premises. Number one, done-for-you buyers behave differently. People who just want somebody to run their ads want somebody to just write their copy. They don’t want to sit through an hour-long webinar on how to write copy because they’re not interested in learning. That traditional funnel actually just doesn’t apply, and then the other part of it is, when we are as service providers marketing ourselves, I think we are taught to do two things. Number one, talk about the user’s pain points. That’s almost like marketing copyrighting 101, and the other thing is to lean into case studies and, in the advertising industry, the amazing ROI that you’ve gotten.
Here’s the thing. When your ads solely focus on those two things, your ads end up looking like every other copywriter. Your ads end up looking like every other advertising agency. What I started to develop over time is that we’ve got to find other ways to actually stand out. I mean, this is maybe a little bit corny, but what else could be the thing that is so unique about me other than me? It’s literally like who I am as a human being and so incorporating more of that into the storytelling, incorporating more of that into the copy so that we’re able to, again, break all of these rules.
Instead of going through the funnel and the long nurture and we have to do all of this relationship building, we can actually do relationship building on steroids really, really quickly and really, really effectively, actively deter all of the wrong people who are just not your people, bring in those who are only the right people and have them fall in love with you before they even get on the phone with you so that, by the time they show up on that sales call, they’re no longer deciding advertising Agency A or advertising agency B. They have picked Jennifer. They have picked you as the copywriter already because of the way that we’ve been able to do messaging. I think those are the two biggest premises of why all of this works.
Now, to get into just the details of the structure, all I’m doing is running ads that… and, actually, let me take a step back. The specific way that I do… because there’s so many pieces here. The specific way that I do approach messaging in this funnel actually comes down to four different, what I call, messaging buckets. Number one is credibility, and that is the case studies, the ROI, the results. I’m not saying let’s get rid of that entirely. We do want people to know that we know what we’re doing, but that alone isn’t enough and, inside of the four messaging buckets, it’s actually just 25%. There’s the credibility bucket, and what that bucket is supposed to do is basically create the experience for your audience of “I can trust you”.
Now, we’ve got another bucket which is vulnerability, and that’s supposed to create the experience of “I can relate to you and I see you as a person”. For example, with me, I talk about my experience of being in an abusive relationship, and so that builds this intimacy almost very quickly. That’s that vulnerability bucket. Then the third one is personality, and personality is supposed to create the experience of “I like you or I don’t”, which is the point, and that’s perfectly fine.
For me, I might talk about how I’m like in a pool all the time. I’m just a straight-up pool girl. I’m a cat lady. I really like first-class travel. All these things are not really about my business, but they’re just who I am so that people really feel like that they want to be my bestie essentially, and then the last bucket is “feel good”, and that is supposed to create the experience that, on top of all the other things, I can actually feel good about spending my money with you because it furthers something in the world that I care about. Again, for us, we have this partnership with that organization called FreeFrom that I mentioned earlier, and we donated a percentage of all of our revenue there.
When you can hit on all four of those points, there’s like a trifecta, I call it the quadfecta because it’s four. When you can hit on all four of those, you’re able to do relationship building on autopilot, relationship building on steroids. When you can do that in your ads and your landing page, by the time people get to that call with you, they’re totally taken, they’re totally in love, and it’s part of why we can break the rules without having a really long nurture process or a lot of value-add and education on the front end.
Jennifer Spivak: Does that all make sense?
Kira Hug: Yeah. I would want to work with you because I’m also a pool person. Rob would not want to work with you because he’s not.
Jennifer Spivak: Yay.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. I’m not really a pool person. That’s true.
Jennifer Spivak: I saw an Instagram reel the other day that said, “Pools are just oceans that aren’t trying to kill you.”
Rob Marsh: See, I am an ocean person, so maybe I have a thing for that near-death experience. I don’t know.
Kira Hug: Okay, so I’m a copywriter listening. I’m like, “These concepts all ring true to me.” I understand messaging. I understand how this connection works and love how you broke it down to these four buckets. I don’t have a huge ad budget. I don’t have a big team. How can I use this to book clients? How can I actually apply this in my business?
Jennifer Spivak: When I first started running this funnel, oh, I want to say maybe I was spending a thousand dollars a month. Even today, I rarely spend more than, I think, maybe five to seven K a month because, at the end of the day, I’m one person. I’m not looking to drive 500 calls a month. That’s just not the business model that I have. I think this is a really important point. The actual media buying, the running ads part of this funnel, is so different from anything else about running ads. It’s, again, stupid simple. I almost never update it. I don’t follow any of the normal best practices. I basically just let it run. I mean, the fact of the matter is I’ve been using this funnel, let’s see, maybe about a little over two years at this point, so really strong historical data. We’ve gone through the iOS 14 updates, all of the changes, and it still performs with very little management.
I think, the total, I probably spent maybe 150K, maybe somewhere between 150 and 200K total, and it’s easily brought in over $2 million. It’s not something that you have to spend a crazy amount on. It can be super, super simple in terms of just having one or two ads. Again, really leaning into those messaging buckets, the second part of this whole system that needs to be in place is a really thorough landing page that, again, continues to reiterate all of those messaging buckets. Then there’s the booking page where you’d have something like Calendly or Acuity or ScheduleOnce or whatever where people can go ahead and directly book.
Then, after people book, this is actually something that’s really important as well, I think everybody forgets about the space between when the booking occurs and when the call actually happens, we just have the automatic reminders that are super boring, but I actually have a nurture sequence that runs between that space which continues to reiterate those messaging buckets so that people show up to the sales call and they say things like, “I feel like I already know you,” or they’re ready to go. They were so pre-qualified. They understand the details. They know who I am. They want to hang out and chit-chat. Sometimes, people are like, “Well, what’s your process for actually closing sales?” and I’m like, “There isn’t really one, right?” There’s so much relationship-building that happens before they get on that it’s rare for people to actually show up and not essentially be ready to close. It can really be something that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on; you don’t need to spend a lot of time on.
I mean, even if you were to, let’s just say on average, maybe you’re spending $250 per qualified booked call, and I would say I know right now, I was looking at my app right before this call, my average for this month is 180, so 250 would be conservative and reasonable, and let’s just say you have a 33% close rate, so, every time you spend 750, you get three calls, you close one of them. If your business has the right packages and offers that you’re able to be profitable on top of that, you could just spend 750 a month and get one new client a month and have that be something that’s profitable until you then get into a flow, and this is the really cool part, right?
Yes, there’s the profitability. That part is awesome, but what’s even cooler to me is having the cheat codes to knowing how to grow on your own terms because if you, as a copywriter, get to a place in which you have statistical significance to every time I spend 750, I will close a client, you get to map out the rest of your year. You get to plan when you need to hire. You get to turn things off when you’re too full. It really is the difference between a spray and pray strategy and just hoping, if I show up on social and go to the right places, it’ll turn into something versus, when I do this, this happens. Again, it takes a little bit of time to get into that level of certainty, but I have over two years of data, and my number happens to be around $800 and we’re selling $20,000 contracts, so it definitely is something that works all day long.
Rob Marsh: Okay. I’m going to try to sneak in a couple of short questions here. First, do you run the same funnel for your clients, or is it a different setup for every client?
Jennifer Spivak: For every client, that is not a done-for-you business, totally different. For our clients who are done-for-you, whether that’s copywriters, PR agencies, podcast booking companies, other advertising agencies, this is the structure, again, anything that’s done-for-you, that we run for all of them.
Rob Marsh: Okay, second, quick question, at least in looking at Facebook, I notice you’re not running the ads from the agency. You’re running them from your personal pages. Is that intentional?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah, it is intentional. Yeah.
Rob Marsh: This is actually probably a longer question, so, yeah, talk about that thinking because this strikes me as something that might be worth testing for a lot of other people, too, a corporate ad account versus a personal one.
Jennifer Spivak: I mean, look, at the end of the day, I’m building the relationship with me as the person I think plain and simple, and then also, if I’m just being honest, I just started running there, and it just didn’t make sense to switch and I got lazy. I like to look for the easy, lazy way to do things when it comes to marketing. If it’s not broke, I’m not going to try and fix it, kind of.
Rob Marsh: Okay, that makes sense. Then, I guess, the last part of that is you talked generally about the buckets that you’re using, but could you give us an example or two of specific headline copy that you’re using to attract somebody within one of those particular ads?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I don’t know if I can think of specific copy off the top of my head. I think that the way that I incorporate it is I write the thing that I want to write, whatever the ad is talking about, what it is that we do, and then I go back and I see where can I incorporate these in, so how can I mention that I’ve been featured in Forbes and that we’ve generated $50 million for clients and our most recent case study, and then how can I go in and mention we also donate to this cause and our mission is putting more money in the hands of more women?
It’s not so much that this ad is the credibility ad and this ad is the vulnerability ad. I do like regular ad copy, but I know, and this is for more than just the ads, this is for our website, this is for our emails. I know that, when I hit on those four things, people feel a connection to me and they feel a connection to The Ad Girls, and so it’s just always going back at whatever I’ve written and then looking at how I can incorporate these key points.
Kira Hug: Okay, so, again, I’m a copywriter listening, and it all sounds good. Do I need to hire a Facebook ad manager? Are you suggesting that I just do this on my own and pull the copy in? What do you recommend to that copywriter who’s listening who doesn’t have an expertise in this area and maybe doesn’t even want to have that expertise or maybe doesn’t have the capacity?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I mean, look, I think that there are ultimately two options. You can, of course, hire an agency, The Ad Girls or any other agency, although I will say that this approach in this system is not a thing that many others are using. I would say that most other advertisers have not figured out how to advertise done-for-you services in this way, but I also have a program, a DIY program that basically teaches this entire system.
As I mentioned, even though it is a Facebook ads funnel, I would say the Facebook ads piece is the smallest piece. If you can follow my video on the screen and click the buttons in the way that I tell you to, congratulations, you’ve done Facebook ads in terms of the way that you need to for this funnel. That program that I have, it’s called the Million Dollar agency, is another option if you want to get it set up on your own but don’t want to be completely trying to figure out all the things, especially with the Facebook ads piece.
Rob Marsh: Totally. Yeah, it totally makes sense. Okay. I had a question, and I’m totally blanking out. This is-
Kira Hug: Okay. I have a bunch of questions.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, Kira, I asked three questions in a row. Let me find my question again, and, Kira, you jump in.
Kira Hug: I’m just going to take over, Rob. I’ve got lots of questions.
You said easy, lazy marketing, and so you had me at easy and lazy. I’m all for it. What else? I mean, this method, you could say this is… I wouldn’t say it’s lazy, but it’s easier. What else are you doing right now as a marketing lead in your company that feels easy and lazy that I could swipe and we could pull into our company?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I mean, honestly, anybody who’s listening, go look at my social media feed and chuckle with me because I never update it. It’s actually bad. I would like to be a little bit better than I am at it if I’m being honest, but I love… I just got back from two straight weeks of travel. I was in the British Virgin Islands, and then I was in Austin and Houston. I mean, I didn’t have time to do anything. I came home to two full-packed weeks of sales calls, not because of anything else that I’m doing. It’s because of this funnel. I hate to be a broken record, but it’s like this is where 80-plus percent of our sales calls come from. The rest is still word of mouth and referrals, which is obviously always a great thing to happen, to have.
I do some email content here and there. I’m not consistent with it at all. It really is this funnel, and it’s one ad that has been running. I’ve done a little bit of testing over the years. Every once in a while, I feel like it gets fatigued and I’ll try something different, but it’s actually the same ad that I first launched two and a half years ago that has still, this month alone, generated 20 sales calls at $180 per call without me really needing to do much of anything.
Rob Marsh: Okay. As I’m thinking about the buckets that you use and the target market that you have, if you were targeting men, or maybe a combination of men and women, how would those buckets change, or would they change?
Jennifer Spivak: Are you talking about, for me, specifically?
Rob Marsh: Yeah, for you specifically. I mean, for instance, vulnerability or maybe some of the things that you talk about personally might not appeal to a male-dominated audience, right?
Jennifer Spivak: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, again, I think that the specific buckets that I listed are not only my truth and my story, but they do obviously work given the business that I have and the target market that we go after. I think, for each individual person, that’s going to look totally different depending on their business and who they market to.
Kira Hug: When I hear you speaking, I know this term is overused and tired, but you’re such a boss and like CEO, and I think so many small business owners, so many freelancers really do want to hit that level where they feel like, “I am a CMO. I’m a CEO. I am running this, and I’m the visionary,” and so I guess the question in here is what are a couple of switches or changes you made over the years to really fully embody this new role in your business if you can identify a couple of different ones?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I mean, obviously, just hiring and delegating, which is maybe an overused answer, but there was a period of time where I played a game with basically everything that came up in my day, in my to-do list of could this be somebody else’s job because it was hard. I felt like I’m saying, “I’m good at a lot of stuff,” like I should just keep doing it and how could this not be my role? Now, it’s so funny because there’s so few things that I do today. It was, again, just a process of really clearly identifying anything even if felt like it was a one-second task, anything that I was responsible for that could be somebody else’s job, not that I wanted to be or that should be, but could it be, and just making the list and beginning to hire out in that way.
Then, another part of it, there was almost like an existential crisis type thing that occurred I want to say in maybe 2019 and 2020 where, for a while, when you’re a freelancer, you are the business. There is no separation. You and the business are one, and then all of a sudden the business is this entity outside of you, and that was just a weird thing to wrap my mind around for a little bit and just figure out how to be with that, and then what is my value and what is my responsibility, and do I make decisions on behalf of the business or on behalf of me? I don’t know that I have so much of advice there, other than that was just a part of the process to go through. Now, obviously, it very clearly feels like the business is this entity, this thing that exists outside of me, but a couple years ago it didn’t.
Rob Marsh: As you made that shift, entrepreneur to CEO, were there books, or resources that you leaned on to help you make that mindset shift, or did you just feel through the whole thing?
Jennifer Spivak: I mean, I think I just felt through a lot of it. I am completely and totally addicted to personal and spiritual development work. I’ve been doing it for the last decade-plus, and I’ve spent God knows how much money on it, and so I can’t think of anything specific. Obviously, as a CEO, as a visionary, as I think anybody in business, or really anybody on the planet, honestly, it’s really good to have that type of support in your life so you can have deeper intimacy and understanding with your own self which then, of course, allows you to be able to show up in the ways that you just show up for yourself, for your family, your team, your business.
Kira Hug: Again, it sounds like you’ve done, you’ve grown so much. You’re doing well and so well in your business. What is a struggle for you today? What is still maybe a new struggle, or obstacle today?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. I mean, I think that having the right team is not a struggle, but it’s an ongoing process. Really, just figuring out how to make sure that the team can truly deliver on what it is that I’m selling is a process that I think will just always be inside of to continue to level up, and then it’s interesting, obviously, given everything that we’ve spoken about today, but my next goal is actually to get out of sales calls. That’s going to obviously have to be an interesting process, but I’m interested to see what my life looks like even though it’s that same question, I am good at it. I am good at marketing. I am good at sales, but could this be somebody else’s job, and what does my life look like and what does the business look like if I can actually really just have a ton of spaciousness and just sit in the visionary role? Fingers crossed, maybe in the next six months, it might be something that we start to explore.
Rob Marsh: In addition to that potential change as you envision the future as a visionary, what does that look like for you personally and for The Ad Girls?
Jennifer Spivak: Yeah. Actually, what I’ve become really interested in lately is just working on new projects. I mean, here’s the truth. At the end of the day, even agencies with amazing profit margins, for an agency, it’s still an agency. The 50% profit margins that Courtney was able to achieve at that size, no, that is not a thing that is occurring in our current team. I think it’s really hard. Again, you’re balancing how do we deliver the best service possible? We also obviously want to be really profitable, and so I’ve just gotten to a point in my journey where I want to get the agency to a place where it is really stable and almost semi-passive.
I’m obviously going to still work on it. I’m still going to be the CEO, but it isn’t something that I have, like we were just saying, a full week of sales calls, and it’s actually going to create some spaciousness for me to build another business, work on another project and be able to get it to the place that the agency is in in one year or two years like we spoke about before instead of eight and just begin to build my empire that way, but I would choose different business models, different offerings that I think have more room for higher profit and higher cash flow and, yeah, really just build an empire from there. That’s my plan.
Kira Hug: Yeah. I mean, I know this is putting you on the spot, but what specifically are you going to do?
Jennifer Spivak: Okay. There’s a few options.
Kira Hug: What’s the model?
Jennifer Spivak: An E-commerce company has always been something I’ve wanted to do because I think the number one skill you need to grow it is pay traffic and, hello, I have that. I’m definitely always interested in courses or growing the program that I have, the Million Dollar agency program. Something that Courtney and I have discussed is creating almost like a bit of an incubator for female agency owners because, between the two of us, we’ve really mastered the sales and marketing part as well as the operations part. I mean, what would it look like if we had an incubator and we owned 10% of 10 different female owned agencies and can help them grow? There’s so many things, not one clear plan yet, but those are just some of the places I’ve been daydreaming.
Rob Marsh: You mentioned a couple of times that, if you were going to do it again, you could short-circuit the process, remove some years. What would you do differently, starting over from today, build the same thing? What is the stuff that you would cut out?
Jennifer Spivak: I think, look, the number one thing is understanding that the timeline that you think it’s supposed to be is made up. It’s all BS. It can be whatever pace you want. Again, I think we spoke about this earlier, I would immediately bring on an HR person so that we could become good at hiring and getting the right team in place right off the bat, and I would get a really good Facebook funnel or some sort of pay traffic and funnel in place as quickly as possible and just go all in.
Kira Hug: Yeah, that’s great advice. To circle back to your mission, I guess I’m looking for more of an update, like a report from you on where you see the biggest opportunity for women. If we’re talking about giving more women financial freedom to get them out of really difficult situations, life-threatening situations, what do you see that’s been uplifting, hopefully uplifting, or maybe not as uplifting today, it’s more of a state of the union and what’s happening there, and then where do you see the biggest opportunity for women today?
Jennifer Spivak: I think the biggest opportunity is business. I mean, maybe it seems like a duh, but I went from living in this experience that I describe as hell where I had no control over my own life, no autonomy. My life now looks like whatever I want it to. Business isn’t just a vehicle for making money. It’s a vehicle for being in control and in charge and having autonomy over your entire life. Different people have access to different things that maybe make that easier said than done, and I really do understand that, but, at the end of the day, I do think that finding some way to monetize something that you do is the absolute biggest opportunity.
Going back to FreeFrom, which is that organization that we partner with, I’m not sure that this program is still active, but they used to have a program in which they would work with survivors, so people who are already out, but struggling to actually become financially independent, and they would help them start their own business.
I used to get these letters, these updates. Because we’ve donated now probably around 50 grand over the last couple of years to this organization, so we get the monthly updates, and I would just bawl like a baby over every single one because it would say something like, “So and so was able to start a business sewing,” and the quote from her is like, I’m going to start crying, “Nobody ever told me that I was good at anything. Nobody ever told me that anything that I knew how to do was something that somebody would pay for.” That’s what gets created for women when they’re given the opportunities and they see their own ability to create their own life.
Rob Marsh: That’s amazing. Okay, Jennifer, let’s say people who’ve been listening to you talk about what you’ve done, this amazing mission that you have, the business that you’ve built, and they want to connect with you, find out more about you, maybe check out Million Dollar agency if that’s the right fit for them or some of the other things that you’re doing. What should they do? Where should they go?
Jennifer Spivak: Yes. Definitely connect with me on Facebook or Instagram. I’m Jennifer Spivak on both of those platforms, Jenn, with two Ns. If you want to learn about The Ad Girls, that’s over at theadgirls.com and then, lastly, the Million Dollar agency program is at jennifersSpivak.com/million-dollar-agency, so dash in between each word. I always realize when I’m on podcast that that was a terrible URL to pick and that I should get rid of the dashes, but here we are once again, jenniferspivak.com/million-dollar-agency. I’ve actually created a 25%-off coupon code for Copywriter Club listeners. That code is, I believe, CopywriterClub, so, yeah, you guys can head over there and get 25% off if you do want to join me inside of that program.
Rob Marsh: That’s a pretty significant discount. It’s almost $500 off, so, yeah, thank you. That’s a generous offer. Yeah, if somebody is at that stage where they’re ready to really start growing in an agency, it’s very worthwhile checking out.
Jennifer Spivak: Absolutely.
Kira Hug: All right. Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing your story with us and letting us go in many different directions, talking about how you’ve built this incredible agency. It’s something. I’ve taken a lot away from this conversation that we can do to our business, so thank you so much. We appreciate it.
Rob Marsh: Lots of funnel ideas to check out and try, so thanks, Jennifer.
Kira Hug: That’s the end of our interview with Jenn Spivak, but, before we go, we want to touch on a couple of different ideas. One is her method of approaching messaging in her ads, which is great because we can pull in this approach to all of our messaging, in email sequences, of course, Facebook ads, sales pages, all the places.
We can touch on a couple of the buckets. Rob, I’lltouched on the first two, one, being credibility. This is something we know as copywriters. We do this for our clients, but how important it is to do it in our own marketing even when it feels awkward because it feels like we’re bragging, but it’s sending the message that our customers can really trust us. That’s an important bucket, and that one, again, is obvious to us as copywriters.
The ones that get a little bit more interesting to me, the second one around vulnerability, I like this bucket because it does work, but it also can go horribly wrong. There is an art to adding vulnerability in your own messaging, and clearly, Jenn has done it, and it’s worked really well for her. I can think of many examples where it has not worked well for people. I think as copywriters, because we understand messaging, we can really nail this and use it as an opportunity to create that connection and create that intimacy with our readers so they know us and like us and trust us.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, if your vulnerability is you showing up as a hot mess, that often undercuts the credibility that you’re trying to bring to the table, and so we do have to be careful. It is good to share some mistakes or share some of the things that go wrong, but, again, we need to build trust, too. There is a line, and we’ve seen people cross it in the copywriting world, in the marketing world. It’s worth thinking very seriously about how vulnerable you want to be.
I checked out Jenn’s… I went to her Facebook page to look at the ads that she was running as we were talking with her because just running these from a personal account versus a corporate ad account I think is really unique in that it helps Jenn connect on a one to one basis. We talked a little bit about that in the interview, but when we talk about the buckets, personality and having the people that you’re reaching out to connect with you on that personal level, if that’s coming from a corporate account instead of a personal account, that changes the math there, and you don’t feel the same personality or some of the feel-good posts and ads that she creates so that she’s creating not just the credibility, but just the idea that, oh, I know I can trust that you’re going to bring to the table what you say, I feel good about spending money with you. That creates those relationships.
Again, coming from a personal account on Facebook versus a corporate account makes a huge difference. As I saw that she was doing that, it just clicked for me, maybe we should be running some of our ads from our personal accounts and not necessarily from The Copywriter Club account, and that may be true of places outside of the Facebook, Instagram world as well.
Kira Hug: Yeah, we probably should be. Just to go back to the vulnerability, I think there’s so many opportunities to show up and to be vulnerable, and I think we often think of like, “Oh, it means I have to talk about my weaknesses or talk about the hardest thing that’s happening to me right now.” It can be that, but I think, Rob, you’ve tackled copy that feels vulnerable. I don’t think you do it as frequently, but you’ve definitely shared some really personal stories about losses in your family and really opened up. If Rob can do it and get vulnerable, we all have an opportunity to be vulnerable here.
I tend to share a lot more about my kids, and even though you wouldn’t think of that as being vulnerable sharing this really hard story necessarily, anytime you share something that is really close to your heart, it is being vulnerable. I think there’s an opportunity if you don’t feel like that’s something that you’ve accessed in your copy and messaging, that you can make it your own and do it in a way that feels natural to you.
Of course, the personality piece, I feel like, as copywriters, we do that frequently and share bits and pieces of our personality. I liked her example of talking about being a pool person. It seems like such a minor detail about her life, but it’s amazing how people will connect with that. I connected with that immediately. Even though you’re not a pool person, you still found the connection to her around joking about not being a pool person. The feel-good piece around the mission in that bucket, I feel like that’s so important, and that’s a big opportunity for us as copywriters to help our clients figure out, even if they aren’t necessarily donating to a particular mission, what do they really care about and support what mission is important to them. That might be an opportunity even for us with The Copywriter Club to lean more into that bucket. I think that’s one that we haven’t focused on as much.
Rob Marsh: When I was listening back to the conversation about being a pool person, it sounded like you said, “Rob is not a cool person,” and I’m like, “Well, that’s true, too.”
Kira Hug: I did say that. I did say that. I’m glad that you caught that. Never.
Rob Marsh: The other thing about her ads, too, that caught my attention is that, again, like we said earlier on in the interview, she’s not getting people to a lead magnet. She is not sending them to her website to get to know her. She’s not directing them to podcasts to listen. She’s basically trying to book a call. She’s trying to get to them as quickly as possible, and she understands exactly who she’s talking to. She knows that they’re busy. She knows that she can solve their problem and, because she’s creating that personal relationship with the four buckets that Jenn talked about, she’s able to speed up the sales process quite a bit. Again, I just think that she’s doing a lot of things that a lot of copywriters could also be doing with their clients.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and even if you’re not quite ready to set up a funnel on your own, and if you’re not ready to hire Jenn’s team, which you know that’s okay, you might not be there yet, this might be next level, next step for you, but just taking away the idea around sending a couple of emails prior to a sales call to your prospect doesn’t even have to be automatic. She has automatic reminders and emails leading up to the sales call, and those emails touch again on those buckets, vulnerability, credibility, personality, feel good.
We all can do that. There’s no reason that we can’t do that, whether it’s automated or not, leading up to a sales call so that, when our prospect shows up to our sales call, they are ready to go, and that’s something that I wished I would’ve heard and done a long time ago because it’s so smart and it’s so easy for us to do that, as copywriters, we can bust out those emails really fast.
Rob Marsh: You asked Jenn about being a boss, which was funny, but, as I was listening to her talk or answer that question, it occurred to me there are a lot of copywriters who might be listening and thinking, “Well, I’m not a seven-figure business owner. I don’t have a team. I’m not doing this kind of stuff, and so that part of the conversation maybe doesn’t apply to me.” As I was thinking that through, really what Jenn is talking about is just being more strategic about your business, taking a step back from serving clients, from doing the copy and starting to think as a business owner, what is the next step for the business, what clients should I be working with next year or what kinds of products, services should I be offering in the future that bring in more money, help me have more time, better serve my clients, help create more value for them?
She’s thinking strategically on a level that’s maybe three or four steps ahead, but all of us can be thinking about the next step, and that’s some of the stuff that we talk about in the accelerator and in the think tank, but something that all copywriters should be doing more of.
Kira Hug: Yeah, and I don’t use the word boss ever, but-
Rob Marsh: Except in this interview.
Kira Hug: … I could not say it. I was just like, “That’s what she is. She’s just a boss.” I don’t know what else to call her, and I mean that in the best way possible. I just love the way she thinks strategically about growth. I love how she operates. When she did talk about what’s made her a boss, a big part of it is that idea around playing a game. Could I delegate this, or could I hire someone else to do this? Playing that game, to me, it was almost… I don’t know. It hit me the wrong way because I need to do that. Hearing her talk about it, I was like, “I definitely need to do that,” but I have not done that recently. I mean I’ve done bits and pieces of it, but, that, I think a lot of copywriters listening could do that and run through that exercise of what could I delegate, what could I get off my plate? I don’t need to do everything even though that’s how we naturally operate.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. The last thing that I want to just touch on that Jenn talked about was this idea that the timeline is made up, that you can go as fast or as slow as you want. We’ve seen members of the groups that we coach talk about how sometimes they feel behind everybody else or they are showing up late because they weren’t the first to do something, that they’re behind. Obviously, that’s head trash. There’s a lot of mindset stuff that goes into that, but we’re all on a different timeline, and we can do things on the timeline that works best for us.
One thing that I noticed where a lot, when we ask these kinds of questions, the people we interview, what would differently or what advice would give yourself if you could back 10 years or so, almost all of them say to do it faster, to step in, to believe in themselves, to make the moves faster. I think there’s a really good lesson in that as well. Even though sometimes it feels like we’re going as fast as we can, sometimes we also take a step back and let that imposter complex hold us back or get ourselves all of the reasons why something is not going to work or why we need to wait to do it later. It’s just not worth listening to that voice. Let’s get it done on the timeline that works best for us.
Kira Hug: Yeah, I definitely have caught myself saying I, that person, like, “Oh, you’re so far ahead of me,” like half joking sometimes. I think it was Annie. I think it was Annie Bacher, one of our think tank alumni members, who called me out on it one time because I was like, “Oh, you’re so far ahead of me, Annie,” and she was just like, “What are you talking about? We’re not in a race. There’s no timeline here,” and she playfully, respectfully called me out, and it was just a really good moment of just like, “Yeah, what am I talking about?” We are not ahead of each other. It doesn’t matter even if someone’s financially ahead. You have no idea what else is happening in their life, in their business, and that is not how we measure progress. Yeah, I mean, that’s something that I still struggle with, but I love the message of growth can be at whatever pace you want.
I have a question for you, Rob. She talked, Jenn talked basically about recently feeling a separation, this is not her words, but separating her identity from the business, and for a long time she felt like she was the business. Again, I’m kind of paraphrasing here, and then, more recently, she has felt like it’s a separate entity, and it sounded like that separation has been freeing for her to feel that separation, so I was just curious to hear from you, Rob, if you feel like your identity is tied to the business, this business or maybe previous businesses, or how you create that separation.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, that’s a really good question because, as I think about it, I’m not sure. I mean, in some ways, I definitely feel connected to the businesses that I’ve built or the business that we’re building now, and there are other times when I can look at it as a separate entity. Maybe I’m not as far along the path as Jenn is. Maybe I’m-
Kira Hug: You need to catch up.
Rob Marsh: … somewhere in the middle and, yeah, I just need to make that jump. I think that it’s actually a really wise observation that she has. So many of us feel like our business is connected to our identity. Our businesses are what we do, but they’re not who we’re, and I think there’s maybe a whole podcast in that whole idea.
Kira Hug: Yeah, what would I be without my business? Who am I without my business? I think it’s a good conversation to be had at some point.
Rob Marsh: We want to thank Jenn Spivak for joining us on the podcast today. If you want to connect with her, you can find her at theadgirls.com, which we’ll link to in the show notes. We’ll also link to the Million Dollar agency sales page that Jenn mentioned. She offered the code to anybody who is interested in that program. If you are building an agency and you want that kind of information, it’s not an inexpensive program, but she’s offered 25% off if you use the code CopywriterClub, all one word. You just need to go to jenniferspivak.com/million-dollar-agency and you can find out more information there.
If you want to listen to more episodes about funnels and attracting clients to your business, head over to episode 54 with Chanti Zak where she talked about building quiz funnels. Episode 64 with Paige Poutiainen, and episode 204 with Jenn Robbins are all about the funnels that you need in your business as a copywriter. Those are all great episodes. You should check them all out.
Kira Hug: That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Butner. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard today, please give us a review. We really appreciate it if you do and we will share it in a future episode. If you have any interest in booking clients consistently with the P7 Client Attraction Pipeline, then definitely head to the show notes, click on the link, find out more information. We’re going to start that very soon, so jump in with us, and we’ll see you next week.