When I first started on the Internet, I was concerned about spending money. You’re probably expecting a follow up like, “But then I realized it was important to spend money to make money.” Can your online presence be created with bargains?
What I’ve learned is that the way to spend wisely is not to focus on how much something costs. It’s creating a business where you gain the most value from what you spend.
“There’s a reason it’s so cheap…”
Recently I was browsing through Craigslist when I came across an ad that promised copywriting for … $49. That’s what they charge for a few pages on a website or a letter. I gathered that a whole sales letter comes at a higher price … a whopping $69.
Of course I looked at the fine print. I didn’t find any info about who would be writing this copy, how they were trained, and why they were qualified.
They’re hoping you’ll say, “No big deal. Who cares who they are? They’re cheap and they seem to be getting results. Just look at those testimonials!”
I googled the names on the testimonials and came up empty. Sure, they were real people, but they seem to have an online presence limited to Twitter. I didn’t find their websites anywhere.
For maximum value, set up a hiring sequence.
“I just paid $2000 for someone to design my WordPress website. Now I need to put the copy into the website.” That’s a common concern when someone hires me (or any other copywriter).
In one case, the designer created a home page with three “what next” boxes. When we talked, the business owner realized he needed two boxes – not four. His clients tended to move in one of two directions – period.
A small change but a big impact on the design…and a significant change in message.
A professional copywriter will help you clarify your message. Instead of asking, “How many boxes?” you’d get answers to, “How many options do I want to offer for my clients?”
Writing the copy also helps you get clear on your first offer (or the offer you want to focus on now). Will you have a package of coaching or consulting sessions? Will you offer a series of packages at different price points? Will you offer a program – anything from a course to a balanced financial portfolio?
You’ll also get clearer on who will buy your offer. You probably know “everybody” is not the answer. Demographics probably won’t be helpful.
And identifying the problem is a good start – but to write copy, you’ll need to focus on the way your client is experiencing the problem. Copywriting starts with symptoms, not big-picture problems.
For example, I once worked with a business owner with a unique niche: helping foster and adoptive parents deal with difficult children. The children may be hard to handle because they got caught up in their parents’ messy divorce, because they’d never experienced wise discipline, or because they were adopted from a challenging environment.
When writing the copy, we knew we were writing to the parents, not the children. We needed to focus on symptoms from the parents’ perspective. What do they experience on a typical day? For instance, does the first tantrum start at 6 AM? Does a child start crying because she has to go to school? Does another child hide because he doesn’t want to eat breakfast?
We came up with a narrative that captured the feelings of this business owner’s clients. We told stories…some on the home page, some on the about page, and others in blog posts.
This business owner didn’t need wordsmithing. He needed selling tools. Once he had the tools, he could write some of his own copy or prepare a good draft for a professional copywriter.
How To Start Small
Some business owners start with courses and books. When you’ve studied copywriting and gained some experience, you may be able to create an online presence from Craigslist writers. You might get lucky with a brand new copywriter who’s got special deals. You’ll know what to ask for and how to evaluate what you’re given.
You can enhance your online presence with an affordable design and logo when you know what to ask for and how to develop specifications. A lot of people get their first (and sometimes their only) logo from Fiverr because they know exactly what to ask for and how to evaluate an artist’s work after the first draft.
And if you’d like to become an expert, and maybe become a copywriter yourself, check out my new course on copywriting here.