Have you ever had a client say something like this?
I wasn’t sure if I was going to hire you, until my friend/retreat roommate/colleague inside this private forum told me I would LOVE working with you. I’m so glad I listened to her! I wasn’t sure from your website if you would work with someone like me.
If that little speech sounds familiar, it might mean that word-of-mouth referral is doing a great job of helping you grow your business.
Word of mouth is, indeed, a great way to grow a coaching business . . . except when it’s not. Except when the clients who seem to refer you the most are the ones you enjoyed working with the least. Except when too many potential clients in a row come to you asking for something you don’t quite do. Except when your favorite, hardest-working clients see you as their best-kept secret, or when the area of coaching you do feels too vulnerable for them to share with their friends.
Is any of the above true for you right now? Have you heard one too many times that your website alone wasn’t enough to convince someone to reach out to you?
If so, it might be time for you to hire a copywriter.
A copywriter is a communications professional whose job it is to translate your message, voice, and vibe into copy (text, words) that live on your website or your offline marketing collateral (i.e. brochures, business cards, flyers, signage).
Some copywriters write only digital copy (copy that will live online) and some write the full gamut. Some copywriters work independently (freelance) and some work within an agency structure where projects are assigned to them based on fit by a Creative Director or Project Manager, and some copywriters work in both ways. Some copywriters work collaboratively with their clients, co-writing drafts, and others work their magic behind the scenes, then present you with a draft to critique, which they’ll later revise. Some copywriters are specialists (i.e. working only with a certain niche, like coaches or non-profits or tech startups), and others are generalists, serving as broad a market as B2B. Copywriting rates — for gifted, experienced, dedicated pros — can range anywhere from $500 for an About page (which is pretty darn reasonable) on up to a few thousand (or more) for a long form sales page.
NOTE: The term ‘copywriting’ is not to be confused with ‘copyrighting.’ If you don’t know the difference, viva la Google!
Hiring a copywriter is an investment, but just like investing in web design or a marketing program, copywriting becomes a business asset that should pay you back over time. And the client connections it can solidify are, ultimately, priceless.
So how do you know it’s time to hire a copywriter to rewrite your coaching website (or certain pages of it)?
Here’s my take. But first, full disclosure: as Creative Director of a brand voice and copywriting agency serving solo and small business owners, I have some skin in the game. I think any business owner who wants to and has the budget should hire a copywriter so they can stay in their sweet spot and focus on creating what only they can.
When you just don’t have time to rewrite your site.
Let’s face it: you’re busy. And as your coaching business grows, that’s not likely to change. You can rock every workflow optimization method you want all week long, but time, alas, doesn’t multiply. When you’re too time-strapped serving clients and taking care of the rest of your life to rewrite your website, it’s a great time to call in a copywriter.
When you just don’t want to.
Sometimes resistance is whispering to us to push through, and sometimes, it’s a sign we should stop pushing. When you’ve tried rewriting key pages of your website but aren’t getting anywhere, or end up in an anxiety spiral every time you sit down to try it, you know your energy would be better directed elsewhere. Let the copywriter do what she loves to do so you can get back to doing what you love to do.
When the written word, honestly, isn’t your forte.
Every coach has a natural facility with language, or else you wouldn’t be in the talking-with-people business. But the ability to coach well via voice doesn’t always translate to putting polished words on the page. If you feel stymied by the writing process — stop fighting it. Start a fund to hire the best copywriter you can afford.
When you’re ready for an objective-yet-still-intimate take on your work in the world.
The cool thing about working with a copywriter is that she can shine a light on your business that may reveal to you more than you thought possible. Many of my own agency’s clients say they learned a lot about themselves and who they serve through the process of working with us and found the entire process unexpectedly inspiring.
When you have a hunch that your web copy isn’t connecting with your Right People.
I bet you occasionally ask your clients if they know what’s holding them back from making a certain change in their life, and when they say, I don’t know, you reply, If you DID know, what would it be? And then: voilà. Clarity. If you just know (without knowing how you know) that your web copy is standing in the way of true connection between you and the people you want to serve, there’s someone who can help you with that!
She calls herself a copywriter and she’s waiting for you to send her an email today. What she can deliver is a whole lot of impact in a limited number of words that speaks just so the people you want to serve.
So go on. Call a copywriter.
Abby Kerr is Creative Director of The Voice Bureau, a boutique brand voice development and copywriting agency serving solo-owned and small businesses. She is creator of The Voice Values paradigm for branding. Subscribe to her e-letter, Insider Stuff, for your complimentary brand voice self-assessment. Then tweet her to share your Top 3 Voice Values.
Abby lives in the PNW and is a home cook, a dog mom, and a fiction writer.