If you run a service-based business and your goal is to get more clients, this case study is for you!
Welcome to our series called Growing Through It where we makeover a member of our community’s business (and you get to follow along and learn tips and strategies for your own business).
We’re going to offer suggestions of how you can take advantage of this collective slow down that we’re all going through and come back even more strategic and even better when this is all over. If you’re a business owner trying to figure out what the heck to work on right now, we want to help you strengthen the foundation of your business with this series.
In this first installment of Growing Through It, you’ll meet Eman. Eman runs a copywriting business called InkHouse and is currently trying to transition her business to focus on helping online course creators with their sales copy and sales emails.
Here’s, specifically, what we’ll go through in this case study:
- Step 1: Brand Foundation
- Step 2: Product or Service Offering
- Step 3: Marketing Bridges & Customer Acquisition
- Step 4: Content Strategy & Audience Building
- Step 5: Website Evaluation (with Homepage & Services Page Redesigns!)
🎬 Watch us reimagine Eman’s business using our 5-step checklist
If you’re a video fan, watch the entire case study unfold in the embedded video below. Otherwise, you can keep scrolling and we’ve written everything out for you. 👍👍
Introduction: We’re Going To Help A Copywriter Get More Clients
Eman is the owner of InkHouse, a copywriting client business.
Eman has a number of existing services right now, but she plans to pivot her business and streamline her services to exclusively offer sales page and sales email copywriting. That’s where we step in!
Eman’s biggest struggle is that she’s feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do as she’s making a transition with her business focus.
Can you relate to Eman? Are your current client-service offerings no longer working? Or do you want to make a jump in a different direction with your business?
We hope the recommendations we make for Eman throughout this case study are steps that can help YOU rethink and re-evaluate your own situation with a bit less overwhelm.
Step 1: Establishing The Brand Foundation (Who Why What How)
When it comes to your brand foundation, your brand isn’t just your logo and your colors. It’s about having clarity on who you help, why you want to help those people, what you do to help them, and how you help them.
Note: We WILL get to some simple branding and design tweaks in Step #5.
One of the first things we did with Eman’s business was to try to answer these questions and then share the tweaks we’d make to build a more compelling brand foundation.
Answering the 4 Brand Foundation questions: Who? Why? What? How?
Who do you help?
After looking at Eman’s website home page, there was a headline that read, “helping you grow your brand.” It wasn’t immediately clear who the who (hah!) was on the first page of her site. We moved on to the about page, and found a section mentioning a startup owner, an owner of an established business, a nonprofit or a marketing professional.
Eman was falling into the “who” trap that we see so many business owners fall into, trying to serve too many different customers.
When you cast your net too wide it becomes hard for people to see you as the expert they need to hire to solve their problems. People want to know definitively that YOU are the answer they’ve been looking for.
To stop casting that wide net and to attract more of her ideal customers (and knowing that she plans to streamline her services to sales page and email campaign copy), we recommend Eman narrow her focus to online course creators moving forward. This gives her a specific type of business owner to attract—one that she knows has a need for her specific copywriting services.
Why do you help those people?
We like to think about the “why” question in two ways:
- Why does your business exist? (This is your mission)
- Why would someone choose your business over another? (This is your differentiator)
As we looked at Eman’s website, there wasn’t a crystal clear why being shared. We found a section that said, “You’re doing something amazing and your audience deserves to know about it.” This is OKAY but we know Eman could go deeper and really hook her potential customer in.
For Eman’s mission, we believe a strong why would be something like: My mission is to help you get your course into the hands of more people to amplify your impact and improve the lives of as many people as possible.
By thinking about her target audience and what their mission would be, Eman can make her mission about being a facilitator for what her target wants. If she knows they crave impacting more students, aligning with that makes her a compelling collaborator.
What benefit does your help provide?
Most people get this question wrong by listing out all the features of the service they offer (it’s a common mistake we’ve made in the past too!) The better version of the what question at this point is: What specific outcome does your business provide your customer?
For Eman, the closest “what” answer we could find was the, “helps you grow your brand through my copy” line. But what exactly does that mean if you think about it from the customer’s perspective? How can you put that in terms way more tangible and specific?
To really grab her customer’s attention, we would say Eman’s what is: With clearer, more compelling copy, my clients are able to grab the limited attention of their audience to forge a stronger connection and increase their sales.
How do you help people?
Remember those features we just mentioned in the what question? Now is the time to bring those puppies in! Your how refers to how you deliver on the benefit you’re promising. It’s your offering.
On Eman’s website, we found a few different ways she delivers the benefit. There was web copy, email writing, blog post creation, and writing workshops, to name a few. Having this variety on your website might seem appealing but to your potential client it’s just too many options and Eman already told us that with this pivot, what she really wanted was to narrow down to writing conversion-boosting sales and landing pages as well as click-worthy email campaigns.
And while that was one step closer, we thought she could still get more specific with her offerings.
Our shift for Eman is going to focus on writing sales pages and sales emails. Every course creator needs these copywriting tasks (and most loathe doing them!)
To recap the Brand Foundation…
👥WHO: Eman’s audience is going to be online course creators.
🧭WHY: Her mission is to amplify the impact of passionate course creators.
⚡️WHAT: Her benefit is to increase audience engagement and boost course sales.
📝HOW: Her offering is copywriting services in the form of sales page copy and sales email campaign copy.
These four questions now clearly define Eman’s business foundation, and they give her some clear messaging points to move forward with. We can use this information to go through the next four steps on our 5-step checklist!
⚡️ ACTION STEP FOR YOU ⚡️ Answer the Who, Why, What, and How questions for your own business. Keep these answers in a Google Doc, Note, or PDF you can reference often. You’ll want to have them handy as we move forward in our 5-step process.
Step 2: Product or Service Offering
The product or service you sell is your castle. And this castle of yours sits on an island in the middle of the ocean. As much as you may want to tell people your castle exists, your product or service offering must be in tip-top shape before you start leading people to it.
Your castle is your “how” from Step 1. It’s the thing you do that people can pay you for. This will most likely be a Services page for all you client-based biz owners reading this.
Does your castle have too many options?
On Eman’s website, we ventured to her Services page and were quickly met with a dropdown full of options (six of them, in fact). Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having multiple service offerings and Eman may be able to offer all these services, but when you have too many options your potential customer will have analysis paralysis.
With the shift Eman is making in her offering to help online course creators write better sales pages and email sales campaigns to sell their courses, there is no reason she needs all these options. Additionally, we recommend having ONE singular overview page of your services so a potential client can quickly understand what you offer at a glance.
Create one Services page and streamline your offerings to lead into one another if possible
Our recommendation for Eman is to create three simple copywriting packages for online course creators. These packages are closely related and could be a natural upsell between them (which is awesome!)
The three new offering packages we came up with are as follows:
- Sales Page Copy That Converts (sales page copywriting)
- Click-Worthy Email Campaigns (sales email copywriting)
- Website + Email Campaign (combo of the two!)
Need to weed out the tire-kickers? Put a starting price next to your offerings.
One additional tip after streamlining the offerings is to use a phrase like “Starting Investment…” listed next to the packages. This starting price will help weed out the customers who can’t afford to work with you (or Eman in this case!).
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and go through your purchasing process
Eman’s previous way of landing clients included a “Discovery Call.” We are all for this strategy and we’ll talk more about this marketing bridge in a moment. But, if she were to put herself in her customer’s shoes she might find that a discovery call is a big commitment that someone may not be ready to make, even if they are interested in working with her.
We see this often on people’s websites where the buying process has a point of friction that is slowing down the flow of new inquiries.
When it comes to increasing client/customer conversions, you want to reduce friction as much as humanly possible.
Our recommendation is to add a simple contact form to the bottom of the Services page. If people aren’t ready to hop on a discovery call but might have a question they need answered before becoming a customer, this makes that process easy for THEM.
To recap Your Product or Service Offering…
Streamline your offering(s) as much as you possibly can. Consider creating one Services page and put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Is their ability to start working with you frictionless? Could you give them an option to contact you if they’re not quite ready to buy (or just have questions)?
Make sure your offering is clear, focuses on the specific needs of your ideal customer, and doesn’t require too much effort on their part to make a decision.
⚡️ ACTION STEP FOR YOU ⚡️ Take a look at your current Services (or Products) page/pages. Do you currently have too many options that might be causing analysis paralysis? Simplify your offerings into ONE page and make them extremely specific for your ideal customer’s problems.
Step 3: Marketing Strategy and Customer Journey
There’s a crucial mistake we’ve made many times in business, and it’s one we see people making all the time: We spend 95% of our time creating our offering (or doing our work) and then 5% of the time promoting our offering.
Unfortunately, this is why so many client-based business owners have trouble getting consistent clients. All their time is spent doing the work, and not enough time is spent creating what we call “marketing bridges.”
To get more clients, you need “marketing bridges”
Marketing bridges are what allow people from the Mainland (aka where everyone is hanging out online: social media, searching Google, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, etc) to discover your business and usher them over to your castle (to pay you!)
We can best sum this up in this fun little GIF:
A marketing bridge’s job is to lead people on a journey from stranger to customer.
We want to give Eman a LOT of credit here! Most people don’t have a solid marketing bridge in place. After a quick peruse of her website, we discovered Eman’s method of converting strangers to customers was already in place 👏👏👏 (yay Eman!)
- Someone lands on her website →
- They download a helpful e-book →
- They get added to her automated welcome email series →
- They receive her weekly email newsletter →
- They book a discovery call →
- She lands a client! 🎉
WHAT’S GREAT: We call this the “lead magnet marketing bridge” and when done right (you GIVE a ton of value in the lead magnet itself) you can build trust and authority with your potential customer.
IMPROVEMENT: Ensure your lead magnet is speaking to your ideal customer and can help them immediately. Also, if you can create custom-tailored lead magnets on different parts of your site, that’s a bonus! (Example: creating a specific lead magnet related to a specific article.)
Additional note about lead magnets and email signup forms: Please please please don’t only use pop-ups on your site. If a website visitor uses a pop-up blocker or closes the pop-up quickly and you don’t have a lead magnet (or email signup form) embedded on your website somewhere else, they may never find your marketing bridge!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple marketing bridges on your site!
Having one good marketing bridge, especially for your more cold/passive potential customers is important. But there’s no reason not to try multiple marketing bridges and see which one converts the highest.
We put our heads together and whipped up a second marketing bridge idea for Eman. The idea behind the second marketing bridge is to target online course creators who know they lack clarity in communicating about their course but aren’t quite ready to take that step to book a discovery call. They want to see the value of good copywriting demonstrated. They want to “try before they buy!”
Instead of making the main call to action on her home page to book a discovery call, we developed a compelling low-investment (on Eman’s time) but high-value offer. A potential client would fill out a short survey to submit and Eman would email them with their free “Elevator Course Pitch” and try to then get them booked on a discovery call. This marketing bridge will put Eman in the driver’s seat to directly show her skillset by replying to each person that submits this short survey.
To recap Marketing Strategy and Customer Journey…
First of all, you MUST have a marketing bridge of some type in place. We have 13 marketing bridge examples we wrote out for you if you don’t know where to start.
To make the most of your marketing bridges and have a high-converting customer journey from the Mainland to your castle:
- Create a specific, compelling lead magnet and make it easy for someone to sign up
- Add an intermediary step before a discovery call to deliver value to warm leads
- Make sure any email signup forms you use are not just in pop-ups
⚡️ ACTION STEP FOR YOU ⚡️ If you don’t have a marketing bridge in place at all right now, you need one. If you currently have a marketing bridge but it isn’t helping get you more clients/customers, consider trying a new marketing bridge (maybe even a high-touch one!)
Step 4: Content Strategy and Audience Building
When it comes to getting more paying clients, they aren’t going to appear out of nowhere AND not every person that visits your website is going to pay you money right away. This probably isn’t breaking news to you.
We believe in a 3-pronged approach to building an audience, and it comes in the form of a salad metaphor. (Yep, salads. We keep it weird around here!)
Build the right audience through foundation articles, a consistent email newsletter, and social media content
The great thing about Eman, she was already using our 3-pronged salad metaphor!
As her Brand Foundation focus changes to helping online course creators with sales copywriting, she’s going to need to adjust the first part of her salad.
Foundation articles need to solve problems for your ideal customer.
It was great to find that Eman had written some solid articles. Her speaking voice comes through in her writing and she definitely knows her stuff. But, as she makes the pivot to focus on helping online course creators, we know she has some work ahead of her to optimize existing articles.
We took a look at a couple of article headlines on her blog and rewrote them to be A) more search-friendly and B) more laser-focused to online course creators.
One of the MOST IMPORTANT things you can do for your business is to send out a consistent helpful email newsletter.
For copywriters like Eman, this is a no-brainer and a must-do. Good thing for us, Eman was already on top of this task too! She forwarded us a bunch of her automated emails and some of her newsletter examples.
However, if you’re not a copywriter, we still believe having a consistent email newsletter is a must-have to grow an audience.
WHAT’S GREAT: Eman already had an automated series of emails that get sent out after someone downloads her lead magnet. She also writes consistently every week to her subscribers. A+++ Eman!
IMPROVEMENT: Shifting the audience to be THE go-to newsletter for online course creators who want tips to communicate their offers better will greatly help her convert subscribers to customers. The more specific the email content, the better!
When it comes to social media, give value where people are and create a cohesive branded experience.
Social media is a giant topic and the advice we’d give varies on the channel, but we primarily focus our efforts on Instagram. Since Eman was on Instagram, we took a look at her feed and found some immediate things she could improve.
WHAT’S GREAT: She’s sharing micro-content to point back to her other articles, e-book, etc and she’s posting consistently.
IMPROVEMENT: Making sure each post delivers value in the app, not just promoting something else. Creating brand consistency would help her posts stand out in people’s feeds and build recognizability.
To recap Audience Building…
Think of building an audience like building a (delicious… if that’s possible) salad. The key to constructing a salad you actually want to eat and an audience that actually grows is assembling things in the right order.
- You start with the lettuce (Foundation Articles)
- You add your fixins (Email Newsletter)
- Then you pour on your dressing (Social Media)
⚡️ ACTION STEP FOR YOU ⚡️ Your audience is not going to build itself. Focus less on perfection and more on consistency. Make sure you have 8-10 foundational articles. Then start sending out a helpful weekly email newsletter. THEN, create a consistent promotion schedule on the social media platform that makes the most sense for you and your ideal customer.
Step 5: Website Evaluation (with Before and After Designs!)
When Eman submitted our initial Growing Through It survey she wrote something we hear often from online biz owners. We’re paraphrasing, but it goes something like this:
“I know I need to redo my website but I feel completely overwhelmed by the process and don’t know where to start.”
Raise your hand if you’ve been there? 🙋🏻♀️🙋🏻♂️
Eman’s website had a great foundation before she reached out to us. But after going through the previous four steps, there are now some immediate improvements we could help her make.
Two exercises we use to evaluate a website’s home page and ensure it’s doing its job
Home Page Exercise #1: The 4Q’s Clarity Test
Right off the bat, within 30 seconds or less, your website’s home page needs to answer four simple questions your ideal customer is thinking. Yes, we’re going to help you (and Eman) read minds. 👉🔮🧠
The four questions your home page needs to answer right away:
- What do you do?
- Are you for me?
- How can you help me?
- What’s my next step?
Now, how you go about answering those questions leads us into the second website evaluation exercise!
Home Page Exercise #2: APSOSA Framework
If you can’t tell, we love metaphors and acronyms around here. APSOSA stands for:
- Audience (who are they?)
- Problem (what is the problem they have?)
- Solution (how does your offering solve the problem?)
- Outcome (what is the outcome they’ll have?)
- Sauce (what is your differentiator?)
- Action (what should they do next?)
Eman’s current website was doing a good job of answering most of the 4Q’s, but we can lend a hand to make sure the messaging aligns with her new specific audience and really sells her copywriting services as the solution to their problem. Here’s the APSOSA Framework filled out for the new InkHouse home page:
Writing out the “answers” to APSOSA helps with the four mind-reading questions. The next step is to take the APSOSA and 4Q’s answers and fit them into a journey a customer can take on a website’s home page. Things like bold headlines, section headers, callouts, etc, become the perfect places to use APSOSA answers!
Without further ado, let’s take a look at Eman’s redesigned home page!
As you can see, the new InkHouse homepage feels a lot more inviting. It feels more friendly and moves a visitors eye down the page rather than needing to read long bits of copy. It aligns more with Eman’s super-fun copywriting style and her personality.
We also took some of the work in the 4Q’s and APSOSA to add a big bold headline, section headers, and organize the elements that matter on her home page in an order that leads the potential customer through a journey to hire Eman.
If you haven’t noticed, we’re over-achievers around here so we also whipped together a new Services page for Eman as well. 🤗🤗🤗
We took her new offerings, put them all in one place, added the simple contact form we mentioned earlier, and grabbed a few helpful social proof items (since those are great on Services/Sales pages).
To recap Website Evaluation…
While design and branding are an important part of the website evaluation process, if you aren’t answering questions your ideal audience is thinking, you’re going to have a beautiful website that does nothing for you.
Our goal for Eman (and for you!) is to feel like her website is now working on her behalf! That the copy, images, calls to action, etc, are setting her up for success in the future.
⚡️ ACTION STEP FOR YOU ⚡️ Go through our 4Q’s Clarity Test and APSOSA Framework for your home page right now! Do you pass the 4Q’s test? Does your home page hit on all aspects of APSOSA?
Conclusion: Let’s Wrap This Sucker Up!
We made it to the finish line, friends! And while we know this case study touched on a ton of elements of Eman’s business (and hopefully yours), it’s just one piece of the bigger online business puzzle.
👉 Eman still has to deliver on her offering.
👉 She still has to show up for her clients and help them reach the outcomes she’s promising them.
👉 She still has to continue to tweak and test various parts of her marketing and content strategy along the way.
🎉 But she GETS to do all of these things!
Running your own business gives you a ton of freedom but it can also be incredibly overwhelming.
Our hope with this “Growing Through It” series is we’ve removed a big chunk of that overwhelm and given you a ton of actionable things you can do in your business RIGHT NOW.
Ready to make a few changes in your business? Go get after it, friend!