What you learn

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Highwayman

Learn copywriting backwards

What you’ll learn—and the outcomes you’ll achieve

Your trunkline copy sequence

I’ve structured and timed this program so that in 4 months you’ll have learned about, written, and completed what I call your “trunkline copy.”

What is “trunkline copy?”

Simply put, it is the fundamental funnel that produces first-time customers for nearly any small online business. It looks like this:

opt-in page → email sequence → sales page

It is focused on converting visitors into email subscribers, and then converting those email subscribers into first-time buyers. It is also easily re-purposed to convert first-time buyers into repeat buyers (aka customers)—if that’s what you want.

A lot of solopreneurs are somewhat familiar with this concept, but they’ve either been putting off implementing it, or they’ve tried but aren’t getting the results they hoped for. And that’s not surprising considering how much conflicting advice—much of it terrible—can be found online…along with how the enormity of the project scares the heck out of your lizard brain.

So the key is to break it into small, actionable, and most importantly achievable tasks. That way, Mr. Lizard stays dormant, dozing through each small step without getting alarmed that they are quickly adding up to a big “scary” system. This is exactly what I do.

In Learn Copywriting Backwards, creating your trunkline is broken into specific, small short-term goals, rather than the vague, huge long-term goal of “building your trunkline”. And each small step builds inexorably into a system that has been road-tested and proven by hundreds of other solopreneurs.

Because Learn Copywriting Backwards is entirely built around your trunkline, the lesson structure reflects this basic sequence.

I teach you all the major principles and techniques, starting with the call to action on your sales page, working back to the headline, then through your email sequence, and finally to your opt-in page. (By the time you get there, writing a page like that only takes a couple of hours.)

How content is delivered

All lessons are accessible through this site. You’ll get a login to access them. When it’s time for the next one, you’ll get a reminder email, and you can then choose how to work through it:

  • Read it on the site: the format is much like this very page, and fully responsive so you can read on your tablet or your computer.
  • Listen to an audio version: all lessons are recorded and can be played on the site, or downloaded to listen to in the car or while exercising.
  • Print it out to read in a comfy armchair: the lesson template is designed to be printable with the same easy-to-read typography, if you prefer to study old-school.

Because the trunkline forms the backbone of the Learn Copywriting Backwards lesson structure, you’ll work through the strategic-level implementation at the same time as you’re learning the details of actually writing the copy. And because you’re learning by working backwards from your money-making business objective, you’ll find you have a lot more clarity than you previously did.

I divide things roughly into week-long modules, arranged in 4-week blocks which correspond to each of the 4 months of the program. Yes, I realize a month is slightly more than 4 weeks, but it works out well enough. Here’s how I time things:

Month 1

Landing page, basic planning, fundamental principles

The first month we work on the sales/landing page that will directly lead to a sale, or a sales call. We don’t spend a lot of time planning at this point because the focus is on rapid implementation (see my comments about learning psychology earlier). But don’t you fret—we don’t go in blind; and there is plenty of more detailed planning in month 2.

  1. The first week we start with framing your offer and writing the CTA (call to action). This includes not just the button, but the immediately preceding copy. I’ve found that learning to write this copy is relatively easy and stress-free, but sets you up to write headlines with only a few small tweaks to your mindset and knowledge. Writing CTA copy is also ideal for learning the first of the 4 C principles that tie everything together. And by starting with the offer, we ensure you have the right mindset about what your objective should be from the very start.
  2. The second week we develop a guarantee, which is not only useful for boosting sales, but is especially helpful for teaching a couple of key psychological techniques in copywriting—as well as the second of the 4 Cs.
  3. The third week we start working with curiosity—which means fascinations. (You’ll see several dozen examples of what I mean in the bullets a bit lower down the page.) Writing bullets teaches you the third of the 4 Cs (no, it’s not curiosity—but don’t worry, I explain exactly what it is and how it works with fascinations).
  4. The fourth week we focus on articulating exactly what your prospect gets, and how. Benefits and features, in other words. This actually reiterates the first of the 4 Cs which you learned in week 1. Remember that repetition is key to internalizing new skills and knowledge.

Month 2

Headlines, planning & reviewing, basic marketing psychology

The second month we complete your landing page and start developing the plan for your email sequence. We also take this time to review what you’ve learned so far, particularly as a tool for learning the final of the 4 Cs, while delving into the “3 A” system for understanding your prospect’s psychological needs.

  1. The fifth week we work on the headline and deck copy for your sales/landing page, bringing it to a complete draft. This teaches you the final of the 4 Cs. All four are critical to writing headlines, but the final one is particularly well-fitted to be learned at this point.
  2. The sixth week we work through the sales page to polish it, and you learn my top techniques for quickly spotting and sanding down rough edges. We use this as an opportunity to not only revise and improve, but also examine the definition of copywriting itself, so we can assess how well the page performs against it.
  3. The seventh week we introduce some fundamental principles of email marketing and campaign writing, and plan out your lead-generation offer at the strategic level. This section often surprises people as there are a lot of “best practices” out there which I overturn, and a lot of recommendations I make which take getting used to (they are all tried and true!)
  4. The eighth week we start developing some concrete ideas for emails to fill your sequence, now that the strategic-level plan is complete. You’ll learn what you should be writing, what you should avoid—and you’ll get templates and swipes to review to get your creative juices churning.

Month 3

Email campaign writing, 3 types of copy, ingredients of storytelling

The third month we really get stuck into email writing. There is probably no better thing to write for practicing all the fundamental skills and principles of copywriting. Especially those 4 Cs…

  1. The ninth week we learn about the 3 fundamental types of online copy, and start writing our first emails. The aim is to get you quicker and quicker at writing emails as the month progresses, so we have at least 14 written by the end.
  2. The tenth week we develop our story-telling skills, discovering what is (and is not) critical to keeping your reader’s eyes glued to the screen. There are some surprising lessons in here around what constitutes the “essence” of story—lessons your English and drama teachers would squirm at.
  3. The eleventh week we continue to write emails, focusing on diversity of content while maintaining unity with the 4C principles. We also use this time to re-assess the definition of copywriting, along with the objectives you’re aiming for (because it is very natural to slip back into trying to achieve the wrong objective in your copy—which will quickly lead to frustration and lost sales).
  4. The twelfth week is an email marathon, interspersed with learning an advanced set of psychological principles that are very powerful for finding angles to use in both headlines and offers—something that will be important in week 13.

Month 4

Opt-in page creation, aesthetic principles & go-live

The fourth and final month we work on creating your opt-in page, and getting the whole system up and running so you can make sales.

  1. The thirteenth week is really a test of how well everything you’ve learned so far is cemented in your mind. We try to write the opt-in page copy sequentially from the CTA, getting it all done in the week. This helps us spot where there are still weaknesses, while also giving you an encouraging view of your strengths.
  2. The fourteenth week we tackle the practical issues of how you’re going to get your landing page, opt-in page, and email sequence up and running. I give you some advice on hosting platforms and recommend the two email providers which, in my testing, come out on top without breaking the bank. Of course, if you’re already comfortable with a particular setup, that’s no problem—you’re welcome to use whatever works for you.
  3. The fifteenth week we implement. This includes giving you some direction on design, which is a troublesome aspect of online marketing that most copywriters aren’t equipped to address. Since I am a web designer and conversion optimization expert, I can help you here with simple guidelines for color, proportion, and layout—plus a straightforward framework for understanding your prospect’s thought sequence when he arrives on your page.
  4. The sixteenth week we take stock. Usually by this point any issues have become clear, and we can spend this time dealing with them. We start testing what you’ve implemented, and looking for ways to improve it.

Need more convincing? See a popup of a few dozen key things you’ll learn in this program

If you can commit to 4 hours per week, in 4 months I can teach you to write copy better than most copywriters. I’ve done it for other solopreneurs. I’ll do it again. Will you be one of them?

See plans & prices Try module #1 free