We had a fun interview with Francis Nayan of Stories & Copy, about copywriting and email marketing! Some great tips in here for coaches and others looking to improve their writing to get new customers.
1. What was your path to starting your business, Storiesandcopy.com What “sets your heart on fire” about writing copy?
Stories & Copy has been pretty much 25 years in the making. It embodies a lot of things that I’ve always loved: stories, writing, and getting to know people.
Around late 2017, I was still teaching English at a kindergarten here in Budapest. After working as an ESL teacher for a 2 years, I decided to try something new—I just didn’t know what! But what I DID know was that I didn’t want to work in an office and I wanted to travel. I’ve been traveling and teaching for 3 years at this point and I didn’t want to stop the adventures. I did what most people do and just search how to make money online.
At that point, I started trying almost everything. I tried to be an SEO consultant, a coach, attempted Bitcoin, and even social media management. It wasn’t until I met a random German guy at a meetup here in Budapest who told me he was a copywriter. I thought he was a lawyer or something! But he cleared it all up and I was instantly interested.
As a writer, writing mostly stories for myself, some journalistic stuff in the past, and random reviews here and there at the local newspaper or city magazine…I thought it made sense for me to actually be writer.
I asked the German guy for some resources and I was hooked!
What I loved and still love about copywriting is that it’s not just writing, it’s all about persuasion.
But it’s necessarily centered around these templates or weird scammy sales tactics.
It’s about understanding a customer and truly knowing what stimulates them, what makes them tick, what they desire and stimulates them.
I studied Anthropology in university so learning about people, cultures, habits, and lifestyles has always been an interest of mine.
With copy, I’m able to combine my interest of people with the kind of cool sexy part of persuasion.
For me, it’s a rush to see people purchase a product, especially since I only work with companies in which I actually like the product.
And yeah, I just really love doing it.
I never really thought I’d be able to make money as a writer and I’m just so grateful I can and doing pretty well!
2. What do you guys do and who’s your audience?
Stories & Copy is 80% only me. I have a software assistant for the ESPs and a graphic designer when necessary, but we only work together when we bring in the marketing service, not just copy.
But overall, Stories & Copy is an email copywriting and email marketing service coaches, consultants, mentors, and e-commerce businesses.
We focus on writing story-based copy and creating behavior-triggered email sequences.
In my opinion, writing AND reading copy should be fun and we make sure it is. We want the customer to actually enjoy reading our client’s emails and look forward to them when they come.
And we do that by creating a journey for the customer.
We don’t want them just getting the same journey as every single person.
They have different interests and we make our marketing plan based around how they interact with our client’s business and emails.
3. What are some misconceptions about email copy for businesses?
The first off, a lot of people say that email marketing, in general, is dead. It’s far from it. Everyone’s online identity starts with an email and it’s always going to be like this. You need it for work. You need it for your other accounts. Having an email is never going to die.
And people who say email marketing is dead are just doing it wrong.
With copy, people tend to hide behind a lot of business jargon or trying to sound “too professional.”
They think thats the ONLY way to write their emails. And that’s totally wrong.
We’re in the people-to-people business. People want to work or buy from actual people. And a lot of businesses take that humanity out in their email copy The result is having email that sound like everyone else!
As a business owner, you deserve to standout and work with people who like you and your message…So why should you sell yourself short by hiding behind typical business words that everyone uses?
That’s what I say to anybody who prefers to play it safe.
If you’re a business owner and you want to standout, write like yourself and write like you talk.
4. What types of clients do you work with?
We work with mostly coaches, consultants, and mentors who have programs, memberships, and different products to sell. Since I started my email marketing career in e-commerce, we also work with a lot of e-commerce brands, too.
We don’t work with everybody who just messages me, so I make sure to get on a call with the business reaching out and take a look at their products.
If everything feels right, then we can start collaborating.
5. How do you work with agencies who have multiple clients and need a variety of topics covered?
Over the last few years, two skills I’ve really mastered are in-depth research and writing fast.
So when I work with an agency and they for some reason want me to handle or write for multiple clients, it’s something I’m prepared for.
There have been times I was writing email copy for 8-12 different stores and they were all in 3-4 different niches.
For me, that’s a lot of fun.
Of course, if I have to, I’ll outsource the work.
That’s happened when the client’s topics are super out of my element or I just don’t have that much time.
6. What advice would you give to a small/startup business that wants to build up traffic, but doesn’t have a huge budget? Especially given that there are so many areas of marketing one can focus on.
I’d say be consistent on the free platforms and what you can afford. I’m not a social media guy—I barely use my own accounts, but I know their value.
Just by being consistent with your posting and regularly sharing content is a great way to get in front of prospects. Then, of course, build your email list so you can nurture people who are interested enough to see your stuff, visit your website, and opt-in to your email list to learn more.
That’s what I know a lot of people have done and what I do myself.
7. What trends are you seeing in email marketing, and what’s next for you and Stories and Copy?
Well, right now, it seems to me that email marketing is in between 1. People thinking it’s dead and 2. Being used by people who don’t know good email marketing.
A lot of businesses may send an email but do it sparingly. If they actually send regularly, then they’re sending it to their entire list and not segmenting their sends. This leads to poor deliverability, open rates, clicks, and a lack of sales. Often THIS leads to people thinking email marketing is actually dead.
By learning basic segmentation and consistent email sends, you’re actually winning half the battle already.
As for Stories & Copy, we’re looking to take our email marketing skills to the next level.
I’m focusing more on email deliverability—which is the ability for an email to land in the primary inbox, rather than the promo folder or spam.
And it’s been my recent obsession because I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter how amazing my copy can be, how irresistible the offer or product is…
Because if it doesn’t land in the primary inbox, then its chances of being read consistently declines sharply.
So, for my clients, that’s been our recent focus and plan on having that be part of our expertise in the future.
Francis’ business can be found at https://storiesandcopy.com