Time travel with me for a sec, would you?
Let’s rewind half a decade, and pretend like we’re sitting down on Cold Storage Beach, setting up our chairs in the sand, ready to sit and chat for a few hours while the waves roll out.
(You’re my best friend in this scenario, by the way.)
“I know, you’re right,” I laugh, agreeing that it’s funny I’ve chosen to become a freelance copywriter, even though I have degrees in 3.5 other subjects that have nothing to do with marketing.
We start talking about how college degrees are sort of irrelevant anyway, and I laugh again, thinking about how I literally have a formal education in Philosophy for no reason (other than I thought it would make for a good foundation in my nonexistent law career).
“I literally spent tens of thousands of dollars to learn how to read between the lines,” I say.
& then it hits me:
Between The Lines. That’s good.
And, so, Between The Lines Copywriting is born.
…and now I have to figure out how the fuck to market myself on the Internet and actually get clients.
Thankfully, I don’t actually have to — I’ve been quite successful in the last regard over the last few years, praise the Lord.
For the sake of this blog post, though, let’s pretend like I *don’t* have consistent inquiries coming my way thanks to my SEO-optimized website and organic digital marketing efforts.
Let’s pretend like I’m about to market my business completely from scratch.
Here’s where we’re beginning in this scenario:
& that’s all I’ve got.
So… I guess I should get started?
The first thing I’m going to do is develop my target audience (and the offers that I’m crafting for them) so I can make sure that my marketing efforts are actually going to attract them.
The best way to ensure that you’ll get RESULTS from your marketing is to be super specific, speak directly to them, and communicate exactly which solution you’re providing (and demonstrate why they’d want it, what the transformation can look like for them, and how great their life will be once they have this solution).
…but you can’t do any of that if you don’t know what your target audience WANTS.
Or who they are.
Or why they need you.
Or what their current situation is like.
Or why they’re frustrated with that current situation.
So, I’ll need to put in some work developing my target audience and figuring out the specifics.
Important things I want to make sure I’m clear on are: who they are, what they do, what they want, why they need me, how I can serve them, how I can relate to them, and how I can differentiate myself from my competition to appeal to them & help them understand that I’m the right choice.
This sounds kinda hard, but it’s actually pretty simple — all it takes is some strategic brainstorming, and enough effort to think a bit deeper.
A Google Doc will do.
>> HELPFUL RESOURCE: Use this Target Audience Development Workbook to help you figure out all the necessary details about your ideal clients and customers!
Once I’ve got my target audience development nailed down (or, at least, the brainstorm about my target audience somewhat underway), I’ll need to buy the domain for my website, and select my website builder.
As a service-based business owner, I know that most people would recommend either Squarespace, or Showit.
Now, because I have the luxury of my current knowledge informing this whole “what I’d do to market my business from scratch” experiment, I know that Squarespace is best for a first website, and Showit is best for a second website (and every iteration of it thereafter).
Side note: here’s a deep dive about the Showit vs Squarespace debate, if you’re curious!
However, since this is a redo moment — I know that I like Showit better, so I’d choose Showit from the beginning if I were to do it all again.
So, for step #2, I’d buy “betweenthelinescopy.com” from Google Domains, then sign up for Showit.
I did this the first time around, and I’d DEFINITELY do it again.
When you first start your business, I strongly advise beginning with a WEBSITE instead of beginning with SOCIAL MEDIA.
& the reason is simple:
You want to focus on growing your business, not growing your following.
Sure, social media can offer some awesome growth, and really help you to attract some ideal clients.
But, in the beginning, fostering those relationships, staying consistent, and creating content takes a LOT of time. Too much time.
And it’s very easy to get discouraged when all of those efforts don’t immediately pay off.
This is why I recommend beginning with a website.
Unlike social media, your website doesn’t show how new you are to every single person who looks at it.
Unlike social media, your website is OWNED by YOU – and isn’t subject to change or diminished reach based on arbitrary algorithmic changes.
Unlike social media, your website gives you the space to explain who you are, what you do, and who you do it for in an engaging, in-depth way.
Website first, social second.
I understand the impact that SEO has on visibility, so I for sure would want to do some keyword research prior to writing my website copy, to see which keywords I have a good chance of ranking for.
I’d use a combination of Ubersuggest, Google, Pinterest, and the free trial of SEMRush to do this.
Once I chose my keywords, I’d get started writing my website copy.
The pages I’ll need to launch with are: Home, About, Services, Blog, and Contact.
I’d also launch with 7-10 blog posts live, so my website doesn’t look brand new. A sad, lonely, empty blog page is the easiest way to tell if someone has just launched their site.
(And, of course, blog posts are among the best ways to attract an aligned audience, because you’re literally calling them in on purpose by strategically answering the questions they’re asking & talking about things you know they’re interested in / searching for.)
>> HELPFUL RESOURCE: Make writing your website copy wicked easy with this in-depth website copywriting template & mini course!
After finalizing my website copy, I’d choose my website design option.
If I were to do it all again, and I didn’t want to invest in custom website design, I’d choose a template from TONIC Site Shop (because there are discount codes floating all over the Internet, and because they’re the most beautiful, robust, versatile templates).
I’d implement the template — I’ve got my eye on Lillet Blanc — and customize it to add my fonts, colors, other branding elements, and images, and then I’d plug all the copy in.
Next, I’d do a final proofread, check all the links, add my SEO metadata to each page, and get ready to show off my sexy new site to the world.
Now that I have a beautiful website up, I’ll want to make sure that I have a way for my readers to continue their relationship with me even after they read my website — especially if they’re not quite ready to take action yet.
Launching my website with a freebie (and a newsletter plan!) in place will be juuuust the thing.
So, I’d consider which questions my target audience has / what they’re dealing with / what they may be searching for help with, and I’d create a freebie about that, ensuring it’s relevant to my offerings.
Then, I’d create an opt-in form for it inside Flodesk.
Then, I’d add a pop-up of that form to my website.
Then, I’d create a simple welcome sequence to ensure my reader a) gets the freebie, b) gets to know me, and c) is interested enough in me, what I offer, and what I’m going to email them regularly, so they’ll stay on my list.
Then, I’d brainstorm topics for a weekly newsletter, and get to work on creating that.
I know I already launched with some blog posts, but because I’m brand new and have no clients, I have a lot of time to build up my blog archive.
Soon, I’ll be inundated with inquiries for dream projects, and I won’t have as much time to work on my content marketing, so I’d be smart to do as much of it as I can right now.
I’d start my Googling topics relevant to my services and offerings, then scrolling through the “people also ask” section of all of those queries, to see what people want to know.
Then, I’d think about what my future clients need to know / have / do / be before working with me.
Then, I’d make a big list of all the potential blog post ideas I could write about.
Then, I’d do some keyword research (on Ubersuggest or SEMRush) to see there’s anything I have a chance of ranking for, by looking at the search volume and keyword difficulty metrics.
Then, I’d blog up a storm.
Unfortunately, I can’t quite justifying hiring a Pinterest manager yet, since I’m starting from scratch, but I know I definitely want to start Pinterest marketing to amplify the reach of my blog posts.
So, I’d go to Sarah Burk’s website and consume all of her free content, downloading her freebies, and reading her newsletters, to try and DIY it myself as best I could.
Then, I’d teach myself how to use Tailwind, and start using that to schedule pins for my blog posts and my freebie.
Target audience development. Website. SEO. Email. Blogs. Pinterest. That’s plenty to get my business off the ground, when it comes to marketing myself online.
& speaking from experience: It works.
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