Meredith is a dream client because she not only has an amazing product with happy customers, she’s an expert in her field, knows her target audience inside and out, and is an all around wonderful person to work with.
On top of that, her product – a strength-centered fitness app – is a perfect fit for me, as I’m a bit of a workout junkie / health nut.
When Meredith came to me, she had a website, but it was more of a simple landing page (vs a strategic sales experience for leads at every stage of the sales funnel).
It was also missing important information – like her many amazing selling points and differentiators – which were huge selling opportunities she was missing out on.
Meredith’s business had also shifted slightly – and she wanted to refocus on a new target audience and update her product to match (this is one of the key “signs” that it’s time to update your website).
In a similar vein, she also felt like she didn’t have a clear or concise way to describe the product, which was affecting her confidence and ability to sell effectively.
After discussing her challenges in more detail, Meredith engaged me to help her not only revamp the structure and content of her site, but to get clear on exactly what she was selling and who it was for.
Step 1: Internal clarity
In Brian Tracy’s book, Time Management, the author says, “the most important word related to success of any kind is ‘clarity’” – and I couldn’t agree more.
The problem is, clarity requires time and reflection – two “luxuries” many small business owners struggle to attain on their own (myself included!).
This is why I begin every project with a series of questions that encourage clients to slow down and examine what makes their businesses successful.
The first step involves filling out my Discovery Questionnaire, which is filled with 30+ questions that are designed to help me and the client get clear on things like:
- What they’re selling
- Who their target audience(s) is
- What makes their product unique or different
- Their brand personality & tone of voice
- What inspired them to start the business
- Who they’re competing with
- & more
The more effort clients put into this process, the better the outcome – and that’s exactly what Meredith did.
She took the time to answer every question in detail, which helped her get clearer and gave me the information I needed to prep for the next step.
After the questionnaire was complete, we moved on to the Strategy Workshop, which is essentially a Stakeholder Interview where we dove deeper into the product, customers, and more.
During a typical Strategy Workshop, we discuss things like:
- Website goals
- Visitor goals, pain points & more
- Visitor levels of awareness & intent
- Typical sales journeys
- How customers arrive on the website
- How the business will drive traffic to the website
- & more
Discussing these things in detail helps the client get clearer on their goals – and helps me understand how the website needs to be structured in order to support their goals AND the goals of their visitors.
(Because copywriting isn’t just writing; it’s 75% research, strategy, and creative problem solving)
In the case of The Playground, the Strategy Workshop helped us clearly identify and prioritize a new target audience, the founder’s 3 main business goals, zero in on the product USP’s, and so much more.
Step 2: External research
While getting internal clarity was incredibly helpful, we needed to take the learnings a step further by using external research to validate our assumptions about the target audience – and to gather additional insights that would help shape the website structure, copy, and more.
To do that, I started by reviewing testimonials from existing customers.
This was helpful in getting to know the target audience and what they love about the product – but it was a limited data set.
To expand our reach, I suggested we conduct a survey that helped us learn things like:
- The target audience’s goals
- Their challenges & pain points
- How they found out about the product
- Why they decided to try it
- Their prior experience with similar products
- And so much more!
Not only did the survey responses help us uncover important information that helped shape the website structure and content choices, it also gave us plenty of ideas for copy (many of which were used as inspiration for headlines, subheadlines, etc).
Outside the survey, I also conducted a competitive analysis to better understand the landscape and to identify potential gaps and opportunities that could be filled – either through the website copy, user experience, or the product itself.
After completing the external research, everything was compiled into the “Insights Report” — a clear, easy-to-scan document that recaps everything we learned about the target audience.
If you’re interested, my Insights Report template is available in my Customer Research Course
The Insights Report is often invaluable for clients, as it compiles all the info they need about their target audience(s), website goals, and more in ONE place.
In fact, many former clients tell me that they continue to use their Insights Reports for years in order to make product and marketing decisions, to create copy for other marketing channels & more.
I also use the Insights Report during the next stage of the process: Creating the structure (or “Information Architecture” of the website).
Step 3: Information Architecture (“IA”)
As mentioned in this article about building websites from scratch, building a website is like building a house.
To build a house, you need a blueprint, and the same is true for building websites; this is where Information Architecture (or “IA”) comes in.
Information Architecture shows you what your website will look like when it’s designed around specific goals – the goals of the client AND the goals of the target audience, among other things.
It also shows you what kind of pages and content will be needed to achieve the desired goals – making it much easier for the whole team to understand the bigger picture.
It also allows for collaboration, as the client and designer can help guide choices around the user experience and design.
In the case of The Playground, the internal and external research indicated that we needed 4 main pages to achieve the goals of the business and the goals of the target audience. Those pages included:
Along with the core pages, we also needed prominent CTA’s for new and existing customers, which was very important when designing the primary navigation.
The research also indicated that certain content would be needed on certain pages.
For example, we needed to more clearly explain the offering, which is why we have a detailed “What’s included” section on the “Membership” page, as well as an option to get a sneak peek with a “See inside the studio” section.
That’s just one example – many other things were taken into consideration in order to create an IA that’s not only clear and intuitive, but supports the goals of the business AND the target audience.
Once the IA was finished on my end, I shared it with the client and designer who was able to review and provide feedback to help us make the website the best it could possibly be.
Getting both the client and the designer on board at this stage is crucial, as the IA will be used to create the copy, design, and code, which are the final phases of the website revamp process.
Step 4: Copy
After the IA is approved, it’s finally time to start writing the website copy.
To do that, I always go back to my Insights Report, which is full of quotes from the client and customers (all from the research phase).
If applicable, I sometimes have a separate VOC (or “Voice of Customer”) doc that has additional quotes from customer reviews, survey responses, interview transcripts, and more.
All of those quotes are potential jumping off points for headlines, subheadlines, lists, calls-to-action, etc.
I also refer back to the Discovery Questionnaire to make sure I’m using the right tone and language.
In this case, the tone of voice was very much informed by my client who is the face of the brand – it’s positive, upbeat, bubbly, and friendly – so it was important to keep that top of mind when writing the copy.
In terms of writing the copy, I use an “inside out” approach where I start with the more detailed pages before working on something like the Homepage (which is where most copywriters start).
I use this approach because it forces you to work out the details first (like the product points, reasons to buy, differentiators, etc) before tackling higher level copy.
In the case of The Playground, I started with the Membership page first so I could fully understand how we were going to communicate the product on a more granular level before trying to sell it from a high-level perspective (like what you might see on the Homepage).