With Sara Berry

We all know as working copywriters that while we put our love, our heart, our soul, our everything into our clients’ marketing, we sometimes neglect our own.

So today we’re focusing in on exactly what you need to do as a copywriter to build your business. To boost it, to make people more aware of who you are, to build your authority, to build trust.

Tune in to learn:

  • How to better understand your customer
  • Why you should find services for your clients rather than clients for your services
  • How to differentiate
  • The importance of marketing goals
  • Why you need a vision
  • How to retain existing clients
  • Why your marketing should be integrated
  • How to use proof

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About Sarah:

Sara Berry started her business Marketing Sense in 2012 with the sole purpose of helping small businesses to grow, by developing their marketing capability. Sara started her career in marketing in 1992, and since that time has worked with close to a hundred businesses to help them achieve their goals.



Sara’s links:


Hello, and welcome to the Hot Copy Podcast, a podcast for copywriters all about copywriting. Now, we know as working copywriters that while we put our love, our heart, our soul, our everything into our clients’ marketing, we tend to sometimes neglect our own. So today we’ve got a special episode focusing in on exactly what you need to do as a copywriter to build your business. To boost it, to make people more aware of who you are, to build your authority, to build trust.

These tips are going to work both for your own business, but you can also apply them to your clients too. So, I’m alone again. It’s just me this week. No Belinda, but I have a wonderful guest who I’ll introduce straight after this lovely piece of music.

Hello. My name’s Kate Toon. I’m a copywriter and the founder of the Clever Copywriting School and the Recipe for SEO Success Learning Hub. With me today is the lovely Sarah Berry. Hello Sarah.

Sarah:                                        01:34                       Hi.

Kate Toon:                              01:35                       How are you?

Sarah:                                        01:35                       I’m very well. How are you?

Kate Toon:                              01:37                       I’m good. I’m good. I’m excited to dig into this episode. We’ve got 10 tips to share. We struggled for number 10. We were thinking we might have nine tips, but it just didn’t sound as good. So we’ve found 10 and we’re going to dig into some of them today. Let me first start by introducing you. So you originally hail from London and you landed your first job in marketing and advertising in the late 80’s.

Sarah’s career began in the London advertising playground where she was a little bit wet behind the ears when she joined fellow alumni and entered the big world of JWT, [inaudible 00:02:10], Ogilvy, Colette Dickinson-Pierce. Who the heck are they? It’s interesting because I’ve worked at a few of those agencies too.

Advertising and Sarah kind of matured together.

Advertising was growing up and art was meeting science as customer behavior was scrutinized, segmented, and psychoanalyzed. Copy and design were tested and brands were given personality and positioned as the customer’s friend and Sarah was immersed in it all. It’s an incredible way to cut her teeth in the industry. Those early days provided a solid foundation from which she’s built her career spanning some 20 years and has included marketing for banks, health insurance, manufacturers, engineers, travel, non-government department, and … soup or soap?

Sarah:                                        02:54                       Soup.

Kate Toon:                              02:56                       I’ve done soup and I’ve done soap. There you go. So lovely to have you here. So you’ve worked in the lovely land of agency long long ago.

Sarah:                                        03:06                       Long long ago, yes. When the streets of London were paved with gold and it was everyone else’s budget that paid for it.

Kate Toon:                              03:12                       I know. I worked in Golden Square at M&C Saatchi. You remember the Saatchi? You remember them?

Sarah:                                        03:19                       Yes.

Kate Toon:                              03:20                       I worked for this horrendous creative director and the client that we had was the conservative party.

Sarah:                                        03:29                       Excellent. Lucky you.

Kate Toon:                              03:29                       It was the days when I was just a bint apparently. I didn’t actually get to do any work other than go to Liberty and pick up his ties and buy him soup at lunch. He used to put his cigarettes out. He had a big bowl. He’d have a bowl of cereal in the morning and then he’d put his cigarettes out into the bowl of cereal. That was my job to empty it out. It was good times, wasn’t it?

Sarah:                                        03:50                       Good times, yes. Yeah, I wasn’t overly fond of the advertising agencies I have to say. Yeah.

Kate Toon:                              03:56                       Yeah, it’s funny. I went back into one recently and I was doing a presentation on something. That familiar smell of kind of wood floors, alcohol, and terror. That was what I could smell emanating from the agency. Must admit it gave me a bit of a wobbly tummy.

Anyway, the good thing about having that experience in agencies an working with big brands is you do learn the tricks of the trade. You learn lots of different ways to market yourself even when you don’t have that big budget. So the tips that you’ve got for us today, they can be applied to small business, to your own business, and to your sexy clients as well. That’s right, isn’t it?

Sarah:                                        04:33                       Yeah, absolutely.

Kate Toon:                              04:34                       Cool. Let’s get started with number one. Our number one win or our number one tip, which is: Understand your customer. Now, this is a fundamental, but take it away, Sarah. Why?

Sarah:                                        04:45                       It is a fundamental, but is commonly ignored. In my last six or so years and working for myself, I have really found that a lot of customers don’t spend any time on this question. Then when they do they actually do see the real value in it. So nowadays we talk about these as buyer personas and advertising and all sorts of things. I mean, you and I would know it started off as target audience.

It’s all the same thing. Emperor’s new clothes. Basically it’s really about understanding the detail behind your customer and really what it is that they’re looking to do. This is really important because, as small business owners, we don’t have a lot of cash to flash about, right? So getting this bit right is fundamental.

Kate Toon:                              05:29                       So you were going to mention … I just want to interject here. Today my designer asked me who my ideal customer was and I was like, “Don’t you know?” Do you know what I mean? I was like, “Yeah, it’s like small businesses. Like humans.” She was like, “You’re going to have to narrow it down a bit more than that.” I kind of hated her for making me answer that because I don’t know. It’s really hard. This is my job, but when you actually ask me as a copywriter who my ideal customers are, I find it really difficult to say. So what are some roots into this? How do we get that razor-sharp focus on who our customers are?

Sarah:                                        06:06                       So I think a lot of it is really around … I like to use the word ethnography. Which is kind of like the study of culture. So it’s really understanding your clients’ behavior. What makes them tick, some of the questions they ask themselves, some of the barriers around just running their general day-to-day life. Most of us as small business owners run households, other businesses, families. Actually life is really complex and really getting behind what makes people tick is the really valuable part of this.

I actually do have … I don’t know if it’s relevant to say, but I do have an exercise that I do go through with clients that’s sitting on my blog. So you’re more than welcome to go and have a look at that and really go through the details of what you actually need to do specifically. I would say … Interesting that you say that Kate. That people roll their eyes and they do. I get that a lot and I am quite persistent in this one.

I actually sort of take the eye-rolling and tell people categorically that they need to do it. I actually had a client just last week that said to me, “I know I was really painful about doing this, but I’m really glad that I did because you’re not going to believe it. My buyer persona just walked into my clinic.” She was ectatic. So it meant that the marketing that we had developed through understanding who her customer was brought them into her practice.

Kate Toon:                              07:40                       Yeah. I mean, I think there’s a few different ways. It’s something that I teach in the first week of the Recipe course. How to identify your audience. I like what you said about, you know, thinking behind the personality. I think often people think, “Oh, it’s demographic stuff. They’re females, and they’re 38, and they live here.” It’s going beyond that and I like to use the BDF principle. Beliefs, desires, and fears.

So really drilling down into like pre-conceived beliefs people might have about working with you, what they’re scared of, and what end result they’re looking for. That really can help you identify how these people tick and therefore who they are. Those insights are everything. I think this is exactly what you said. It means that you start attracting the customers that you want. Just as important, it means you start repelling the customers you don’t want.

Sarah:                                        08:18                       Exactly.

Kate Toon:                              08:22                       The really important one for copywriters here, and this is a great segue into your next win, you know, one of the personality traits or values that you might value from your customer or your customer advertiser is have they got money to spend?

Sarah:                                        08:39                       Yes. That’s always good.

Kate Toon:                              08:42                       It’s a good one. You know, that changes the type of customer you’re looking at. It might not be the startup. It might not be the mom business. It might mean that you actually do start looking towards more professional services customers. Anyway, something to think about. We can talk about that all day, but let’s get into win number two. I like this. Don’t find clients for your services, find services for your clients. Okay, take it away.

Sarah:                                        09:08                       So, you know, again you and I have been talking about how we’ve been in this for a long while. It always used to be back in the olden days that we would kind of develop a product or service and then slap something on at the end. Now we have the opportunity with all of the digital devices at our hands to be able to actually test products and services before we put them out to the market.

So I do like to do a bit of Seth Godin quoting here, which is, “Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing.” Brightens your product or service and not slapping on marketing as a last-minute add-on. I tell you, Kate, it really breaks my heart when I get clients that come to me that have spent a lot of money on trying to market a product that there isn’t actually a market for. So that’s why this kind of really is number one in many ways because this is going to save you a lot of money.

So, ultimately it’s about actually developing your value proposition. So, you might start with something and you would then sort of ask maybe if you’ve got some people you’re in connection with on LinkedIn. You know, you may have a Facebook group. You may have an email list. You may need to actually start with something as a concept and put it out to the marketplace. Networking. You know, we all roll our eyes when we talk about networking, but I always say to clients that networking is a great way to test your value proposition and what it is you want to take to market.

It also means that networking is actually not quite so painful. There’s lots of blogs out there. We talk about, slightly sidetracking, about networking and how much we hate it, but if you go to networking with the view to having sort of like a partially developed product or a service actually asking for people’s interests, it’s a great conversation starter too. So, this is really just a process of, you know, as I said, testing. Test, test, test.

Kate Toon:                              11:14                       Yup, I agree. I think, you know, if we apply this to our clients, it’s fairly straightforward, but if we apply it to ourselves as copywriters … because obviously this is tips for copywriters, it’s about really thinking about what products and services do you have that are more popular and how can you package those up into something? What things? You know, you’re in Facebook groups an you see the struggles of potential customers. Their frustrations at what products and services could you develop to meet those rather than going out there and going, “I am a blog post writer?”

Maybe that’s not what people want. Maybe what people want is for someone to come up with a structure for their blog or to review their blog post once it’s written. Maybe they don’t what the whole kit and caboodle. So totally understanding your customers’ goals and then developing products to fit rather than kind of trying to shoehorn the customer into the product, right?

Sarah:                                        12:05                       Yeah.

Kate Toon:                              12:06                       Okay. Well, the next tip that we’ve got, the next win that we can have for marketing our copywriting business, is to try to differentiate ourselves from our competition. Now we know that this is a struggle. You know, I’ve got something like 155 copywriters in my membership group and we’re all so different. We are all individuals as they shout. How do we go about different- … I can’t even say it, let alone do it. How do we go about differentiating ourselves from our competition?

Sarah:                                        12:37                       Yeah. That is actually a really hard one nowadays. Which is why I kind of referred to the previous one and looking at that whole value proposition design. Really this is fundamentally about knowing your clients and what it is they need and then communicating that across everything you do. So that really is that communications consistency and usually having one key message that then is kind of repeated across all of your assets. Whether it be your website, or if you’re developing fliers, or if you’re doing social media.

One of the things that I find really interesting these days in this respect and, speaking to copywriters, I think I’m probably preaching to the converted here and all that, but it actually is the magic of tone of voice. Really we’re able to develop one-to-one relationships with our customers and clients now through our tone of voice.

I think we were looking at yesterday there was a post that went up in one of the Facebook groups that had I think it was some kettle or something. On the bottom of it they’d put on there, “Stop looking at my bottom.” I actually think this came from one of the juicers over in the UK originally. That ability to actually create creative cut-through through a language and a tone of voice and words I think is a really good way these days to differentiate yourself from your competition. As I said, I mean, we’re all copywriters here, right? So maybe we should be already aware of that.

Kate Toon:                              14:14                       Yeah. I mean, I think there’s different ways to differentiate. You can niche now in a particular industry, or you can niche now into a particular type of copywriting, or you can be a generalist but have a rich strong voice. It’s funny. I’m almost [inaudible 00:14:28] to too much of an extreme these days. I think that everyone’s so desperate to be different that they’re like [inaudible 00:14:34] and they’re like, “Hey girl. Do you write copy?” To me it become slightly narcissistic and slightly eager. It’s ultimately, “Yeah, we want to have a tone of voice.” It has to be our tone of voice because ultimately we’re going to get on the phone.

Sarah:                                        14:14                       That’s authentic.

Kate Toon:                              14:52                       Yeah. Get on the phone with a client and when we’re not all like, “Hey girl, how you doing?” they’re going to be like, “Ooh, it’s a different person.” I’ve seen that happen a few times recently to people who really went to the extremes to be different, but then they couldn’t follow it through when it happened. I think don’t push being different just for the sake of being different. You have to be authentic as you said. Authentic is such a word of mine.

Sarah:                                        15:15                       Yeah.

Kate Toon:                              15:16                       Okay. Win number four. Have a goal in mind and be specific. Okay, what do you mean by this?

Sarah:                                        15:24                       Generally I like to work with marketing as a business process. So, “What’s the return on investment?” or, “What is it that you’re actually looking to change in your business?” So you really need to have a goal in mind with anything that you’re doing. So I kind of worked [inaudible 00:15:41] because I think a lot of small business owners don’t necessarily have the time to do this whole strategy thing. So I like to tie a tactic and build a strategy through that whole process.

So your goal may be to increase the number of clients that work with you, but you sort of need to be specific around what that exactly looks like. So, you know, it could be that initially if you’ve just opened your copywriting business that really what you need to be doing is about building your awareness.

So, in some instances, it could be, you know, you start off a Facebook page with only half a dozen people and you know that by communicating your product and service across a variety of social medias that your Facebook page starts to grow. Then that could be seen as a goal that you would have set and there’s a measurement around that. Whether or not that’s a good example for this instance, but usually they tend to be fairly monetary-focused.

Kate Toon:                              16:48                       I love that because it’s something we talk about a lot in the copywriting community in that there can be this pressure to be constantly marketing, and producing stuff, and being out there. You’re just kind of doing stuff for the sake of doing it. I’m the same. So it’s really important to think about those stages. Awareness, you know, demand, repeat/return customers. In every piece of marketing you do, which of those boxes is it ticking?

If it’s not really ticking anything, like if you’ve got really solid flow of clients and they’re coming back to you again, and again, and again, do you need to be putting 50 quotes on Instagram or would you be better off re-marketing to your existing customers? You know, if you’ve got nobody, you know, you want to speak at events, and you’re trying to build up your profile as a speaker. What kind of marketing do you need to be doing? I think there’s this tendency to just do random stuff and not tie it back to the goal. That’s so so important.

Sarah:                                        17:41                       The spray and pray.

Kate Toon:                              17:43                       Spray and pray. We all do it, but I think it’s a really good point. I’m writing a blog post. What do I want this blog post to achieve? Could it actually achieve a better result if I actually put it on someone else’s website rather than my own? Just confronting yourself and asking yourself those difficult questions. That brings us nicely to the next question of, “What landscape are we operating in? Where are we doing this marketing? What information do we need?” So this is tip number five. Take us through your thoughts on this.

Sarah:                                        18:15                       Yeah. I think one of the reasons, one of the main reasons, that one in three small businesses fail in their first year is because they don’t actually understand the marketplace that they’re operating in. So it’s actually sort of thinking about the macro environment. Looking at the competition, the trends, and probably the most important one right now is that whole technological disruption that we’re currently going through.

So you need to be really looking when you go through this process, and understanding what the gaps in the marketplace are, and whether or not there’s actually an unserved niche. So that’s really as a small business owner why you go through that process of understanding the environment.

Look, it’s much much easier these days to do that because of the internet. Then really being clear about what the gap in the market is. Then using your strengths to leverage into that marketplace. Then that ties back to how you communicate who your customer persona is. It’s all related in a big circle.

Kate Toon:                              19:22                       Okay. So that all sounds very good in principle, but I’m going to pause you now to give you an example of that. I’m the copywriter. I’ve just starting out. How do I do a SWOT analysis? How do I begin to find out what the gap in the market is? How would you do that?

Sarah:                                        19:37                       So I think initially it would be by understanding your strengths and your core capabilities. So in the example of a copywriter, if you’re really really good at writing annual reports for example, you know, if you were actually to then zero in … Rather than … Then what happens … How that changes things is you’re then actually looking at copywriters that write annual reports rather than looking at just copywriters.

So then straightaway you can see within your local environment for example … You know, I guess these days with technology geography isn’t that important, but from a launching your business perspective sometimes, you know, having your local networks is quite valuable.

So if you’re looking locally, you know, at copywriters for annual reports, how many are there? You know, is the market currently flooded? Actually, are there people that are doing annual reports for corporate in certain sectors and there may be an opportunity in other sectors that are underserviced that need annual reports. Those sorts of things. It’s really about I guess making the most of the opportunities that exist out there.

Equally, you know, in many cases maybe there actually isn’t a marketplace. So we’re talking about not having a lot of dollars. You know, me seeing this a lot where people sort of come to you and say, “You know, I’ve done all the things. I’ve spent all the money and it’s not working.” It’s because they didn’t undertake this first step and the market’s flooded or there’s someone who’s actually incredibly amazing at the particular thing they’ve decided to do and there’s no easy way of getting in there.

Kate Toon:                              21:23                       Yeah.

Sarah:                                        21:25                       Sometimes it is that kind of reality check.

Kate Toon:                              21:27                       I like that. I like focusing in on personality traits. I think sometimes we do these things subconsciously. I’m thinking back to when I started. When I first started I, you know, I thought, “Oh, you know, you’ve got to do proofreading, and editing, and [inaudible 00:21:40] and stuff.” The truth is I’m a terrible proofreader, and I can’t spell, and I have very little grasp of grammar. I good at kind of writing very conversational chatty copy. While I must admit I didn’t do a SWOT analysis, that kind of became my raison d’etre. I said rasion d’etre because I wanted to say something in French.

You know, the truth is as well, even if there a lot of people playing in that space, I think there’s always room for one more. The truth is most working copywriters they can only have so many clients. Do you know what I mean? In Australia I was pretty much at the top of the rankings of copywriter and all these other phrases for ages, but it still didn’t mean I could do all the work.

Do you know what I mean? It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do all the work [inaudible 00:22:27]. You know, it’s that … This is a really bad analogy, but I think it works. You know how they say that like if you want to have a successful restaurant, build your restaurant next to the most successful restaurant in town?

Sarah:                                        22:36                       Yes.

Kate Toon:                              22:37                       It’ll get booked up. It’ll be full and the people have to go somewhere, so they’ll go to you. So don’t be put off by the fact that there are 17 annual report copywriters. You can niche down further or you can actually just be another good annual report copywriter. It’s actually enough.

Sarah:                                        22:52                       Yeah. I think definitely the niche-ing as you say it is really really critical so that people actually understand that that’s a particular area that you work in. Straightway it’s immediately obvious that’s what you do.

Kate Toon:                              23:03                       I think as you said that earlier, like being known for one thing. This is something that we discuss a lot, again in the group. You know, being known for one thing does not preclude you from doing many things.

Sarah:                                        23:14                       Definitely.

Kate Toon:                              23:15                       It’s that elevator pitch. That’s being able to walk into a room and go, “I’m Bob and I do this.” Where people are … That horrible line about, “Your brand is who you are. What people say about you when you’re not in the room.” So, you know, you want people to be able to very quickly describe what you do.

Yes, you may do millions of things. I for one have about 17 different hats, but if I were to ask people what I do, most people would know me from SEO Copywriting and that’s fine. It’s not all I am. I’m so much more, but it’s a starting point and it’s a good lucrative starting point.

My dog is going crazy. He does not agree. Anyway, let’s move on to the next thing, which is understanding your vision. Having a vision for your marketing. This sounds a bit woo-woo, Sarah.

Sarah:                                        23:57                       Yes. Yes it is. I know. This is another eye-rolling moment.

Kate Toon:                              23:57                       Eyerolling.

Sarah:                                        24:02                       Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look, you know, I probably would have been eye-rolling with you as well, but I have actually kind of seen this work. This is often in that phase that we all go through as business owners when you just hit rock bottom. You know, you lose your mojo. We all lose our mojo at some point or another.

Kate Toon:                              24:22                       Don’t look at my bottom. You’ve said bottom twice in this episode. I’ve got a bottom counter going now. I don’t know Brian if you can count the number of times we’ve said bottom. [inaudible 00:24:32] in the comments at Hot Copy Podcast.com. Keep going, Sarah. Sorry.

Sarah:                                        24:38                       Yes. So your vision is going to, in those cases, really help you to maintain the vigor and fervor for your business. Again, you know, working with clients on a regular basis, often it will be they’ll be angry, upset. Things aren’t working out as they planned. You know, we all know that this freelance working for yourself gig is hard sometimes.

So having something to drive you ahead is really really important. Also what it enables you to do is sort of check off those little min-wins along the way. If something doesn’t work in the here and now and it’s not contributing, then, you know, having an idea of how it contributes to the longer-term goal really helps us to keep going.

Kate Toon:                              25:33                       The dark days. Yeah, it’s like, you know, they talk about Simon Sinek… I don’t know why everyone gives him credit for coming up with that, but I’m sure somebody mentioned it before Simon. You need to have that big picture version. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose, you know? You don’t have to be sort of saving starving children in Africa.

Sarah:                                        25:33                       I know.

Kate Toon:                              25:51                       It could be a financial goal. It could be a lifestyle goal. It could be whatever you want. I think is that big picture … The days are dark and also it takes a while. You know, we are eating this elephant one nibble at a time. So you may not think that that little post that you did, that little marketing that you did on Wednesday, achieved anything that day, but years later it comes back. Sorry. We’ve been interacting online for a long time.

I started, you know, banging on about SEO about three ears ago. No one was listening. No one cared. Maybe four years ago, maybe five, and it’s taken until now for it to snowball. Now people say things like, “You’re the queen of SEO,” which I find very awkward. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a big long go at it. I took little nibbles. I had my vision and my vision was to demystify the world of SEO. It’s taken [inaudible 00:26:45]. You need you why. That’s so important. It was woo-woo. We’re allowed a bit woo-woo. I was going to say bottom.

Sarah:                                        26:51                       Bottom.

Kate Toon:                              26:51                       Bottom!

Sarah:                                        26:51                       Bottom!

Kate Toon:                              26:56                       Bottom! Let’s talk about win number seven. Sales processes. I can feel all our listeners going, “Ugh,” as they [inaudible 00:27:04] sales. We don’t want to sell. Yuck.”

Sarah:                                        27:06                       Yeah.

Kate Toon:                              27:06                       You’re not going to mention the f word, are you? Are you going to mention funnels?

Sarah:                                        27:10                       No.

Kate Toon:                              27:11                       Oh, okay.

Sarah:                                        27:12                       I’ll try not to. I think, you know, we ought to talk about funnels. Now I said the f word. It’s just another one of those words, you know, like [inaudible 00:27:21]. It’s all just jargon. I call it a process. I think marketing is a business process and sales is a huge big part of that. If you’re not doing the sales alongside the marketing, then you’re pretty much on a [inaudible 00:27:36] to nothing in most cases.

You’d remember Kate in the olden days the sales and marketing department used to be together. You know, now I think it’s … Because of technology it’s a really integrated process. Look, I am guilty. When I started my business, I’m guilty. I hate the sales. I really really loathe it. I thought, “I’ll win people over with my wonderful personality.” It took me a long hard road to realize that that was never going to happen.

You know, so having a process in place, again is almost part and parcel of what we were talking about before. In kind of having a vision. The process of sales is very similar in that respect. So, okay, we’ll talk about opt-in. So how are you first going to get someone to become part of your …

Kate Toon:                              28:30                       Universe?

Sarah:                                        28:31                       Yeah, universe if you like. I think opt-in is one of those things that everyone talks about these days. That is one way. There are many other ways, but the idea is to start with something and end with something. Obviously that something is a sale. Now how big or small that is will effect the whole process. Having something mapped out and understanding …

For me, what was happening was, speaking personally, is I was finding that my customers were getting stuck in the middle. Sometimes it was six months, eight months, to a year where I was making first contact and then just not being able to get them through to the next phase. That was because I wasn’t sales-focused and I didn’t have a process. So I learned very quickly to change that up. Making sure that I was kind of going in and asking for the money.

Kate Toon:                              29:30                       Yes. I think it’s so important. Again, it’s that whole kind of goal element as well that’s tied in. You know, what do you do when you get the first phone call? What do you say to that person? You know, let’s make it practical rather than strategic. What’s the first email that you send them? What’s included in that? When do you provide them proof that you’re good at what you’re doing? When do you have the pricing conversation? What’s the step after that? How do you send your proposal through? What does that look like? How often do you follow up? How often do you go back to your clients three months later and reconnect with them?

We’re going to come onto this in a minute. You know, even if right now all copywriters could just take a pen and paper and say, “Well, if someone comes in via this route, you know, what are my steps? What are my steps to get them to the point where they’ve paid my deposit?” You might not have that perfectly mapped out. You should start thinking about it. Then you can look and go, “Oh, you know, maybe I need another step between here and here. I send the proposal and then I end up here. Maybe I could do with a followup email that I can template, send out two weeks later. Maybe that’s the point where I make a phone call. Maybe that’s the point where I do this.”

One of the little resources. We’ll share the resources. We’re share the name of Sarah’s blog about customer personas. Also in the shop we have some really nice email templates that take you through every step of the client process from [inaudible 00:30:45] get through to get your testimonial at the end. I’ll share that as well. So important.

You can’t be afraid of selling because otherwise you’ll be a very wonderful writer with no clients whatsoever. I think people focus a lot on upping their skills as, “How to write the perfect USP,” and, “How to, you know, do taglines and press releases.” They maybe need to focus a bit more on how to grow some lady balls, or balls, or labia. Whatever. Whatever your choice of genitals is.

Sarah:                                        31:15                       Awesome.

Kate Toon:                              31:16                       How to therefore go back out to clients and just, you know, sell your services. So let’s talk about one of the most commonly cliched statements in marketing. It’s easier to keep a client than it is to win a client. So how do we reconnect, reclaim, and get more money out of existing clients?

Sarah:                                        31:35                       Yeah. I mean, really this is customer service, isn’t it? I think probably I may be preaching to the converted a little bit in this little … In the copywriter area. The whole process of customer retention is really focused on strategies to make your clients stay with you. I think probably for copywriters there is an enormous amount of repeat work. Especially, you know, when someone has found a good copywriter that works specifically for them. So, you know, going the extra mile, but also making sure …

It’s important in being customer-focused we also make sure that we protect ourselves and have boundaries around this as well. As freelancers we often talk about, you know, not being taken advantage of. Which also speaks to the previous point a little bit in terms of the sales process. We were talking earlier about, you know, eliminating working with people who we don’t want to work with. The sales process enables us to determine who the tire-kickers are, but also, you know, having boundaries around what you do is important.

I know one of the reasons my clients stick with me is because of my honesty. So I never make I promise I don’t deliver. I’m really really transparent in my processes and I like to transfer my knowledge of [inaudible 00:33:07] marketing capability with my clients. So it’s really about having like a bullet point for yourself about what you’re going to do every day in your business that will help make your customers more sticky.

Kate Toon:                              33:20                       I love that. Sticky customers. You know, a really simple thing that I used to do when I was writing a lot was just, you know, you don’t need to have a fancy CRM system. You can have cards or you can have a spreadsheet. Just try and remember some detail about your client. You know, like when you’re connecting with them, you’re like, “How’s the cat?” It doesn’t have to be cheesy, but, “How’s the cat? Is it any better?” “Oh, look. You sell beach balls. I’ve just read this really interesting article about beach balls yesterday. Just sending that along.”

So that you’re keeping that conversation and the friendliness up. Do you know what I mean? I think that’s really important. Not being afraid to upsell, cross-sale. “Hey, I did your website. I was noticing that you still don’t have your opt-in set up. I’ve got a great little offer on [inaudible 00:34:01] write an opt-in and five followup emails. Just thought you might be interested. No worries if not.” You know?

Even a simple email that says … This is my classic line. I’m giving away all my secrets here. I used to just send emails to clients going, “Hey, I’m planning out work for September and October. Should I keep a Bob-shaped hole in my schedule?” Not all of my clients are called Bob. I wish they had been.

It was more around saying hello. You know, “Do you need me? Do you want me?” Sometimes that was enough to just spark them to go, “Hey, yeah. You know what? I would like that. Thank you very much.”

So keeping the communication up. I like the honesty. Okay. We’re going to finish off the two fairly swift points. Number nine and number ten. Number nine is understanding that your marketing is integrated. It’s in your DNA. What’s it mean?

Sarah:                                        34:49                       Yeah. So I think hopefully we’ll have kind of expressed this in the last little wee while. So it’s not a department. It’s not something that you add on at the end. It’s integrated in everything that you do on a daily basis. So, you know, the whole point of this is to make your customer feel connected to you. Exactly as you just said.

I love the idea of, like you said, about sending people emails on a regular basis. Insights that you found into their business. Those sorts of things. So marketing, I like to say, is a core business function. It’s a process and we need to start treating it like that. So it’s centered on sales, and growth, and creating customer value. Simple.

Kate Toon:                              35:29                       I love that. Yeah. That process thing is everything. Well, let’s finish up with our final point. Which is around proof points. So, you know, why should people care? Why should people believe what we’re saying? So number 10. Why is that important and how should we do it?

Sarah:                                        35:46                       So this is really about creating those compelling messages. As copywriters, you know, I guess you’re all doing it all day every day for your clients, but you forget to do it for yourself. So spend some time on actually doing the messages that resonate with your clients. So, you know, the whole things that we’ve been talking about earlier. Understanding their needs and grabbing their attention.

I don’t know about in the UK, but I love it when I get something. You know, whether it be a flier in the mail these days or I see something on the television or in a newspaper and instantly it resonates with me. It’s like, “Oh, these guys do get me.” I want to work with them. I’m compelled to work with them because they look like they give a damn, you know? So really making people care.

The other way that you can demonstrate that is obviously through things like testimonials, case studies, awards, and lists of customers. That will all be on your website. So those are your what we refer to as your proof points.

Kate Toon:                              36:43                       Yeah. Although you said that should all be on your website, I see far too many websites that have no client logos, no testimonials. None of this stuff. So it’s so important to … You know, if you’re worried about what to share this week it’s very quick and easy to put a testimonial graphic together and re-share it, re-share it, re-share it.

[inaudible 00:37:01]. We’re going to do a nice wrap up. It’s always nice to have a nice good wrap up. Tip number one: Understand your customer. Two: Don’t find clients for your services. Find services for your clients. Three: Differentiate. This is now four: Have a goal in mind. That’s my favorite. Five: Understand the landscape you’re operating in. That’s SWOT analysis.

Have a vision. It’s a bit woo, but it will save you on the dark days. Have a sales process. Reconnect and retain your existing clients. Understand that marketing is in every single thing that you do. Finally, create proof points and make people understand that you really really care. Sarah, that was fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on Hot Copy Podcast.

Sarah:                                        37:47                       Thank you for having me. Bottom.

Kate Toon:                              37:48                       Great. Great. She said bottom again. Some great tips there. I’m going to include links to all Sarah’s bits and bobs, including her bottom, on the show notes for Hot Copy Podcast. So Sarah, thanks very much.

Sarah:                                        38:03                       Thank you.

Kate Toon:                              38:04                       Okay. As you know, at the end of the episode, our regular listeners will know we like to give a review. Oh no, I’m babbling. I’m getting it wrong. See, Belinda usually does this bit. I’m going to read from the script, people. Regular listeners will know that at this time of the show, we read out a review, but we don’t have any because none of you are writing reviews.

So, if you’ve enjoyed the show, please head to iTunes or wherever you hear this podcast and leave us a glowing review and we will give you a shoutout on the show. Also, you can head to Hot Copy Podcast.com and leave your comments on the blog post for this episode and connect with Sarah. So, that’s it for this week. Until next time, bottom. Happy writing.



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