Be YOU + Be POPULAR? (with Margo Aaron)

Do you follow anyone online who seems to be 100% unashamedly THEMSELF and everyone seems to love them?

It kinda makes you wonder (or at least, it makes me wonder): is this person just unusually charismatic — and they know it — or can anyone be that attractive if they’re that confident?

Margo Aaron falls into this category for me. I stumbled upon her work about a year ago and felt like everything she wrote hit a chord with my soul.

Needless to say, I subscribed immediately. And have read nearly everything she’s sent me since.

If that’s possible, then today we’re going to find out, because I convinced Margo to come on the podcast and let me interrogate interview her.

Margo Aaron, is a writer and also teaches sales and marketing strategies. I've been reading her newsletter and watching her show Hillary and Margo yell at websites for the last year or so.

MargoI found herself in a psychological research lab where she had to reach people to help them by offering free treatment for depression and anxiety. At the time she didn’t know that she waswas copywriting.

There was a disconnect between what people want and how they respond to information. Often it’s the skills of copywriting and sales and marketing that allow you to persuade people to act in their own best interest. She was fascinated with this question of how do you get people to care?

Margo shared “You don’t realize that we were trying to reach people, for example, have depression and if you have depression, never in your life, are you going to respond to someone going, do you feel sad? It never occurred to us that maybe our approach was offensive and maybe there was a better way in. The heart of marketing and sales, good marketing and sales, effective marketing and sales is empathy.”

“It’s connection and so if you understand that piece, then persuasion just not happens naturally from just being able to care enough about someone to help them understand. We weren’t considering like the stigma of mental health.”

You need in that person’s shoes. If you were feeling lethargic, if you were feeling apathy, if you’re feeling like you don’t know what’s wrong, if you’re feeling like if one more person asks you what’s wrong, you’re going to punch them in the face. It’s important to getting their attention.

A good opener could be “Do you feel like you might punch someone in the face if they ask you what’s wrong one more time?” That would have been a more effective headline.

Margo’s Process for Authenticity

Margo shares that she likes trial by fire. She shared that she has put out so many things that she thought would be awesome and everyone would love it but what she got back was crickets!

You need to redefine what we mean by being yourself and what it means to be authentic. A lot of us are confused about what it means to be authentic and to use our voice. We have in this culture defined authenticity as feeling whatever you’re feeling in the moment and inappropriately disclosing information about yourself, to people when you feel like it.

That gets in the way of all of those of us, at least who are introverts. You might be thinking, “I don’t want to be authentic if that means just like airing my dirty laundry essentially, or like telling random facts about myself.”

You don’t need to share every tiny detail about my life to show your authenticity. When you’re clear on what your boundaries are and how you want to show up, it’s a lot easier to do that and find that balance between what your audience expects and how to show up like a human while still being true to yourself.

It’s not more authentic to show up on this show and be like, you know what, Lillian, I’m really not in the mood. And I didn’t sleep well last night. And I just don’t feel like talking right now. That’s not professional. Right? There’s an element of performance that isn’t inauthentic.

What’s inauthentic is when you’re lying or purporting to be someone you’re not. Margo shared that she tries really hard to still be herself. You can still be honest about how you’re showing up. You can be introverted, you can be artistic. You can be really into comic books.

Whatever it is that are quirks about yourself, you can show that you can have that showup and not deny that part of yourself. 

You have to step into a new skin when you sell that you have to become something different than you are and that you then have to convince people to want something that they don’t necessarily want. I fundamentally disagree with that.

Margo shared, “There’s no difference between what you’re hearing right now and when I’m trying to sell you something because I am trying to sell you something right now. Right. I am selling you on an idea. I’m selling you on a point of view.”

I believe marketing and selling is the art and science of getting people to care. It’s not about pushing people. So many people are like, how do I make someone buy something? The truth is if you’re making someone buy something, you’re not doing this right.

Margo sgared that she doesn’t have a formal market research process and that she is in constant conversation with her people. 

It’s important to know what keeps them up at night and what kind of media they interact with. 

What they need is different and what they think they need is different. You might create something they need, but the way I market it to them is in what they want. So it’s understanding that disconnection or that connection that, um, makes it more congruent.

Why People Don’t Buy

In my own business I send out an email during or after a launch and ask “Hey, I noticed you didn’t buy. Why not?”

That email gets more responses than any other email I send. Recently, I got 400 email responses and normally I get like 3! I was in my inbox for 40 hours that week trying to answer all these people who had told me why they didn’t buy it.

They all told me that they didn’t have the money for my $29 product. Of course, it wasn’t about the money. It was about, do they think that the thing is going to give them the result that they want? Is it worth the money to them?

I obviously realized I needed to work on the way I was explaining what I was selling. If I had been offering them a Ferrari for $29, they would have had the money,

I learned that my product was too broad. It didn’t have as like focused enough of a this is what you will learn and this is how it will impact you.

Being Naturally Interesting

Something I get all the time is that business owners don’t know how to show up or they compare themselves to who they are seeing.

I want to say I’m not naturally interesting or I’m not attractive. I asked Margo, do you think that everyone has the luxury of being naturally interesting? How could they tap into that better?

Margo shared that “we need to start with what you want because a lot of people think they want to be in the online thought leadership space and they don’t actually want it. Yon’t have to be a thought leader if you don’t want to.”

You might discover that you like to be a behind the scenes person! It is not resistance. It’s just not where you like to be. 

I want to say that myth to rest that there are so many ways to be online. Here’s why when you go out into the world and you look at your audiences, they are made up of lots of people. There is not one version of a woman. There is not one version of a man. There’s not one version of white or black or Asian, or like all these different types of ways in which we show up in the world.

We need representation. If the way you show up is full of tattoos, cursing like a sailor. That voice is more than enough. It is more than enough. I think that’s an uncomfortable piece that we all have to kind of learn, but it doesn’t have to mean like super energetic the way maybe I come off.

You do need to learn the performance piece at least to some extent, if you want to perform and to have people’s attention, but you don’t have to include a stereotype in your performance.

You don’t have to fit a stereotype.

I think everyone is interesting. I think everyone has the potential to be interesting to others.

I am not interested in cars or comic books, and I know so many people who are, and if they talk to me about it, I’m going to be like, that’s not interesting. That doesn’t mean there’s not a market for it. 

You don’t have to be a thought leader if you don’t want to be, you don’t have to have, you don’t have to be a public speaker. You don’t have to be the face of your brand, but can you for all the people who are like, but how, you know, like I want to have a successful online business and the way they see other people doing it is by being like me, you know, and like putting my face on everything.

If you want to hear more from Margo, you can find her at thatseemsimportant.com You can also find her on YouTube at Hillary and Margo Yell at Websites, where every other week Hillary and Margo yell about internet marketing.


  • Why the best copy doesn’t come from your imagination, it comes from talking to people businesses
  • How Margo uses boundaries to show up authentically as herself in EVERYTHING she does
  • Why marketing and selling is simply the art and science of getting people to care
  • How Margo uses data to draw conclusions about what she should create
  • Margo’s best advice if you don’t have an audience to listen to
  • www.margocarroll.com
  • Follow Margo on Instagram


the ONE email you'll open every week

the ONE email you'll open every week

Every Wednesday morning, I send out an exclusive email sharing my best tips on how to work smarter + profit more, as well as extra bonuses, such as giveaways, opportunities to interact with me, book recommendations, free courses, and more.

Sign up so you don't miss the next one!

Sean McMullin