Rethinking The CTA As We Know It

You’ve got a landing page.

You’ve done all the hard work of bringing relevant people to your page.

They’ve filled all their details.

And right when they’re about to HIT the button- doubts start to creep in

“Am I signing up for the free plan?”

“Will I be asked for my card details in the next screen?”

“Did I choose the right plan?”

And KA-BOOM, they go two screens back or scroll up. There’s a good chance that they will drop-off!

While we put A LOT OF EFFORT to be specific, instil fear, show social proof, and navigate the user, why can’t we reiterate what they’re signing up for?

We simple say “Sign-up”, or something vague along the lines. The CTA can be used to reiterate what the user is signing-up for.

I suggest we go- Call to value.

Here’s an example from Spotify. It cleared my doubts on the plan I chose. Through their CTA.

Did you enjoy reading this? Would you do me a favour by sharing it? Please?

Your CTA should reiterate the the value (plan, benefits, et al). You can do that with a call to value or microcopy.


This Branding Tactic will Keep Compounding (And Doesn’t Cost A Dime)

I am a BIG advocate of small things compounding over time. Be it habits, column wide advertising, or reiterating the messaging. It’s repetition that aids recall.

This got me thinking

What can brands do to increase their digital footprint?

I wanted to explore ways that are not checkbox stuff AND ensure it’s cost-effective.

And I discovered and executed a tactic- placements testimonials section. Or rather the “Brands that use <product> section” on websites.

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Here’s how I would approach it

  • Make a list of ALL the tools that my company uses.
  • Reach out, and tell them I want to give a testimonial
  • I’m okay with doing it any format but I want to be featured on the homepage with other brands

Say you use 20+ tools (conservative estimate), imagine the digital footprint with a 30% conversion.

And that with very minimal effort. Wouldn’t you take that?

Bonus if you can do it with integration partners, and other complimentary tools that have the same audience as you.


Rethinking Your Cold-Email Sequence

“Get the door, Walter” she said.

Walter closed the door, and settled down with his piping hot coffee. Across him was his manager who hired him as Jr.SDR.

“I read your email draft” she said. “Good stuff”


“You didn’t let me finish”.

“It’s a good email sequence for someone who’s trying to get a job. You aren’t here for that. Right?”

“No” he said.

“Do you think people are going to buy our software from this email template?” she asked holding up a print-out of Walter’s email sequence.

“How do I approach this, then?” asked Walter. He prepared himself for taking notes.

Look, the goal of a first email in any sequence is not to make users buy. It is to get a response. It’s to get a conversation started” she said.

“Don’t tell them this is wrong and tell them to talk to you for doing things right”. she continued.

“Genuine conversations leave a memorable experience. Even if they don’t buy, they will remember you for the good conversations” she concluded as Walter nodded in agreement.


Overcome Your Reader’s Attention Span Deficit With This Technique

Consumers don’t read your content.

They’re distracted by the random ‘ding’ on smartphones, the additional tab that hasn’t been read, the endless social notifications.

And with such short attention spans, it becomes impossible to captivate the reader’s attention.

But the solution to this problem was invented long back. Like 13B.C. or so.

This technique was used by my favourite show- Breaking Bad.

I was hooked on it for 6+ hours and finished 7 cans of cola in the process.

“would watch it again without a break” read one review.

And you would. It seizes your attention.

Why? Because it doesn’t waste any time to get to the plot.

A deserted and a barren countryside. A half-naked middle aged man preparing Methamphetamine, and out of no where hears the siren sound. It approaches towards him every second,

and KA-BOOM- You have the title. You’re already hooked.

And it’s intentional.

This type of narrative is called “in media res” translating to “into the middle of things”. It’s a proven way to seize attention and using flashbacks to fill the backstory.

The next time you write something long, think “in media res”. Attention first. Context later.


Taking the Vulnerability Out of Your Claims

Chiat/Day was a just another ‘new’ agency in a crowded space. The didn’t have the clientele to say

“Look, these brands trust us, so you should too”.

You’re unlikely to land marquee accounts with such reputation. Chiat/Day set out to change it.

And how?

By tailoring ads for specific clients/industries they wanted to work with.

Like this.

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What makes these ads special? Zoom in and you’ll see the

  • have a powerful headline
  • explain why they’re good
  • appeal to the client’s ego.

But importantly- they have a guarantee. And it instantly takes the vulnerability out of prospect’s mind.

Their guarantee (incase you didn’t zoom in earlier)

I hope you come back to read more :).

Roughly 30% of the ad is giving the client an assurance

  • that their sales will increase.
  • how long it will take to do so (6 months in Ad-1).

If you’re running an ad or making a claim, add a guarantee. If you can’t then go back and do what it takes to add one.


The Byproduct of a Great Campaign

In the early parts of 19th century saw dust, chips and shredded wood were seen as ‘waste’. Until someone thought of selling these ‘waste’ byproducts for a pretty profit.

The takeaway? When you create something, you ALWAYS make something else.

And as a marketer you are myopic if you don’t see that oppurutnity.We only think ‘Content repurposing’. Right? Well, move on, already!

It was the Autumn of 2018, when Wistia wanted to produce a brand video. They challenged their agency to create three videos in with different budgets. They were

  • $1000
  • $10,000
  • $100,000

You can see the ads here.

While they created this ad, guess what else they did? They showcased this whole process on Amazon prime.

Brings me to the first argument- Agencies don’t sell useful templates. Software companies don’t write books. Sports clubs don’t show what happens in backdoor.

You never create one thing! So the next time you are planning something BIG, think- what is my saw dust?


Where is Your Brand’s Underpriced Attention? Find Out With a Simple Worksheet

As a early stage marketer one of the biggest question you will answer is

Which channels should I invest my $$?

I hate to break the bad news- there’s no silver bullet.

But here’s the thing- you can always find where your competitors aren’t doing well.

The places where you know your audiences are hanging out, but don’t get enough ‘meat’. The channel where your audience’s attention is underpriced.

Would you be able to double-down there? Oh yes, you can!

Make a matrix like this. And rate your competitor(s) against each channel. I rate them on a scale of 5 (afterHOURS on research)

underpriced attention matrix to asses competitors.

I know that my audience have an underpriced attention in

  • Communities
  • Linkedin

That’s where I would double down (apart from doing check-box stuff in other channels).

But answer this before you take-off- Do you have the skills to double down (or do you have the budget)?

The best channels are the ones that haven’t been explored by your competitors.

Here’s proof (b’cos I ain’t Gary Vee)


Why Didn’t I Know of This Headline Secret Before?

“It could be better”,

“It’s not punchy enough”,

“Could be a bit more bold”

These are typical reactions we hear while writing headlines.

Why does this happen?

And why is it that we haven’t cracked ‘the perfect formula’?

Because the problem lies in identifying the appropriate “lens” to take copywriting. I wrote about taking a easy-peasy lens.

Another fascinating formula I discovered- The “Problem solver” lens as Neville from KopywritingKourse calls it.

Example-1 – Leon

The HR tech-space is notoriously boring, enormously crowded, and stereotypical in it’s language. To evoke a reaction and stand out- You have to call out a problem in a BOLD way, back up your claims and offer your solution.

Like what Leon did.

Leon exaples for copywriting. The problem solver lens to writing copies.
These captions are also called micro-copies. Why don’t you read about it here?

Example-2- Hey

Enough’s been said, written and spoken about Hey. They called out an existing problem that was ‘BIG enough’. And they told you why you should trust them!

Hey's copywriting lens.
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So that’s the problem solver lens

Call out or pick a problem that will drive your market crazzzzzy. Agitate it. Escalate it further. And then offer your solution.


Will You Trade This Secret for A Million Bucks?

“Have a seat” told my manager as I rushed into our meeting (albeit 5 mins late).

I opened my laptop and had a quick glance at the agenda. It read “Learnings from the 100k blog”.

I took the red marker from the far end and stood up to explain the framework.

She interrupted “Before you start, why don’t we just write a blog about how we cracked and replicated this framework”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. I wouldn’t do it for a million bucks” I rebutted in a whisker.

“Look, Jammy. she started

“Telling people about what you know makes you look authentic. People are always curious about how things are made” she continued.

“I am not convinced. Can you give me some examples” I said.

“Look at this- Ogilvy ran a newspaper advertorial with ALL their trade secrets (Please download. It’s a must read for all marketers)

Behind the scenes.png

“And Groove’s blog, written by their founder. They talk about their secrets, to 250,000+ subscribers”

Behind the scenes (1).png
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People love finding out little secrets about all kinds of businesses. That’s why factory tours, behind-the-scenes are exciting.

“Makes sense” I said as I started writing a blog on “The framework that helped us scale to 134,000 blog visits a month”.


A Novel Way to Think About Ad Copies

We advertise to sell.

Sounds simple, right?

So why should communication around advertising be complex? Some of the best ads I’ve seen (and persuaded) us to buy have been straightforward.

  • They communicate benefits.
  • They’re devoid of any fluff and vague words like ‘supercharge’, ‘transform’

I recently discovered the Kopywriting blog, and Neiville calls this the “Easy peasy lens”.

Three examples on website, social ads and billboards where this is used.


You see the website homepage, you know what they sell. Straightforward, isn’t i

Sell benefits_gd (1).png


Shopify uses these ads in India. They describe their benefits in a simple way. Delivery, drop shipping. One ad, One Benefit.

Sell-benefits (2).png


Apple has many products that were the ‘firsts’ in the market. Here’s a look at how they explain the benefit. They never say “World’s first portable iPod”, because it means nothing to the consumer.

Sell-benefits (3).png

Don’t tell what you have to offer. Explain how it makes a difference to me.