This how-to was inspired by an email Heather received, in which the woman said she had her domain purchased and business registered with the state, and was really excited to hire a copywriter, then asked “What else do I need to do before I hire the SEO copywriter?”
Heather’s lengthy reply spoke to all the other things that need to happen before the writing begins, which she has summarized in three steps. Tune in to learn how to ensure your website content will crush your competition!
Plan on a lot of legwork before the writing takes place
As a business owner, there is legwork you will want to do – ideally on your own – because it will help you with your marketing, and it will also help you with your overall business strategy. Plus, taking these steps will ensure that everything your copywriter does create is highly targeted to your market.
- You’ll want to spend a lot of time researching and planning before you launch.
- These steps are very important. Skipping them literally puts your new business at risk.
- A good copywriter can do some of this legwork for you. Ideally, though, you should know this information before you start.
The thing here is that it’s really easy to skip these steps because you’re amped to get your new business site out there, and want to hire an SEO copywriter right away. But skipping these steps can literally prove fatal to your business.
Heather has talked to a lot of small business owners that have skipped these steps, and they’re not making that much money, and their marketing is scattered all over the place.
There may come a point where, in taking these steps, that you find yourself stuck, or you may want somebody else to look at what you’re finding and perhaps offer suggestions for other types of research. So while certainly a good copywriter might be able to do some of the legwork for you, you’ll want to be sure to work in tandem with him/her, because what you learn during this 3-step process will help you with your business plan, as well.
Step #1: Who is your target audience?
The first step to take is to define your target audience.
- Hint: the answer is not “everyone” or “all business owners should have this product”
Heather has heard these answers from folks, and they are not necessarily true.
- What niches will your serve? Why that niche?
Where you want to really dial it in is what niches you’ll serve: are there particular types of verticals where you know your product or service is going to have the most impact?
And you’ll want to ask yourself: why that niche? For example, if you worked in the construction industry for a long time and want to start providing marketing services, then it follows that marketing services for construction companies might be a really good niche for you, because you understand the market, the pain points, and it might be all that much easier for you to market your services to that audience.
- Get specific. Not “home business owners” but “home business owners with X characteristics who have been in business for Y years.”
The key here is that you want to get really precise and focused in defining your target audience.
- You should know your target audience like you know your best friend.
This is one of Heather’s favorite sayings. Ideally you should be able to walk into a Starbuck’s, look around at folks, select a handful, and say “okay, you guys are the ones that I serve in my business”: that is how intimately you want to know your target audience.
This is the purpose of creating a customer persona: to precisely define the people that you serve and their characteristics, so when you are sitting down to write – or have hired an SEO copywriter to do so – you have this highly specific information and are then able to tightly focus everything you write around that persona/target audience.
And you might have multiple target audiences – so if you find that you’re going to be serving three or four markets, that’s okay! A lot of site owners do that; it’s just a matter of different target audiences.
Step #2: Check out your competition
The second step is to check out your competition and find out what they’re doing.
- What other companies are doing what you do?
- Carefully check out their sites. What do they do well? What could you do better? How can you differentiate yourself?
Learn how they’re structuring their site, how they’re structuring the writing, and find out what they do really well: consider ways you can do it even better!
Part of this exercise is to figure out how to differentiate yourself from your competition, so when a prospect says, “I’ve looked at this company and I’ve looked at your stuff – why should I hire you over this other company?” then you have an answer, because you know exactly what your relative strengths are.
- You don’t want to copy your competition – but you do want to learn from them!
The point here is that while it may be tempting to copy a worthy competitor that’s clearly making money with their site, your business is going to be different from theirs, so you want to create a brand and site that are unique.
So certainly, do learn from them, but don’t copy your competitors.
Step #3: What unique benefits do you bring to the table?
Finally, the third step is to have a clear handle on the unique benefits you offer.
- What makes your company unique?
- How does your product or service solve a problem?
- Why should someone work with you instead of your competition?
Folks who are familiar with Heather’s YouTube webinars know that the guy pictured is her “What’s In It For Me” guy, shown here because that is what prospects want to know.
What is in it for your target audience?
And this is really important, because people think in terms of benefit statements.
When potential customers land on your site, they’ll immediately want to know how you can help them, and how you can do it better-faster-cheaper, than your competitors. Know what your unique benefits are! That will help you hone your copy, help you sell more products/services, and you’ll be able to do more with your online business faster.
Thanks for tuning in! If you have a question for Heather, email her [at] email@example.com, or tweet her @heatherlloyd. See you next Monday!
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photo thanks to andjohan (Andreas Johannsen)