In 2016, I worked with Valerie Queyrel, a counsellor and hypnotherapist, to refine her messaging, create a tagline and a new brand identity. She was delighted and got to work marketing her business.
However, two years later her business had changed. She no longer worked with as many men, felt further removed from the corporate world she had left behind, and she wanted to drop some of her services. The previous two years had shown her what services people wanted and what she most enjoyed doing. Her business was growing and she wanted to be more choosy about who to work with.
It was time for a website and brand refresh.
She asked me to help her refine her messages to reflect these changes. The back end of her website wasn't working well for her either. For example, people booking onto her 6-week weight loss programmes couldn't access the materials online and Valerie had to manually email every person. She wanted her site to look and feel more professional, while really appealing to her ideal clients.
I took Valerie through the Campfire Clarity process to get super clear on who her ideal clients were and what journey they will go on when they work with her. Using this as the base for her new web copy, I set about refining her website structure so that it was easier for people to navigate to what they needed.
Next I wrote the web copy for the multiple website pages, refining the structure so that it was obvious what action the visitor should take next. I also wrote the client emails that would become automated going forward instead of Valerie having to manually cut and paste information and helped her source a website developer who could build the site, creating the back end functionality and online members area.
However, when the new copy was put into the website (see the image above), it wasn't enough of a change to reflect what Valerie was all about. The old look had a more masculine, corporate feel. Valerie in contrast is French, supportive and nurturing. Her logo and colours needed to change to something softer and more ....well, Valerie.
I created mock ups of what each page of the site should look like to ensure the words and images all came together. Every page was mocked up with suggested colours and flow for the website developer to follow.
You can see screen shots of it below or click here to see the real thing.
This is what Valerie had to say (loosely transcribed from a lovely 6 minute video message she sent me - you can watch the video below if you prefer):
"Melissa’s mind has the ability to map out in a very short time, the essence of your business. What I couldn’t see clearly, she was able to summarise in the space of a one hour session.
She also has a talent for words. She is able to articulate what I was offering to perfectly match my audience. The cherry on the cake is that she also has an artistic flair. The combination of these three – the map out, the wording and the artistic flair - gives you the perfect combination to bring your vision to life. Sometimes we don’t even know ourselves what that vision is. But somehow her mind can see it, explore it and exploit it. For me, my website is my shop window so I had to make it as perfect as possible.
If you look at my first website that I worked with Melissa on – it was created when I was just leaving the corporate world. I still had a very structured way of working and I had initially been told when I trained, that there was no money in counselling. So in my first website, I was targeting male and female audience, trying to get as many clients as I could.
As the years went by I became more confident and the business became more and more successful. This allowed me to be choosy with my clientele. I have a very nurturing side but my first website didn’t show it. I didn’t even realise that I wanted my nurturing side to show. After just a few minutes of consultation with Melissa, this is what was needed to happen. Melissa suggested more pastel colours like duck egg blue. Just look at the website – it’s warm, friendly, approachable, clear and very concise. It’s a pleasure to look at.
This has been the perfect approach for me. Melissa has definitely been an important factor in the way my practice is doing. She has been a turning point in my daughter and my life. As a single mum, I had to make it work. I invested and surrounded myself with people who could help me do so. It allowed me to focus on my clients and business and what I’m good at.
I did not just use Melissa for the website. As a business owner, it can be a little bit lonely. I used Melissa for one hour here and there. It could have been fixing my Christmas post, it could be my newsletters, she has helped me with so many things I can’t even recall now. Whenever I needed to bounce back ideas or feel unsure, I turn to her.
I love my new website. It feels professional and it looks cracking good."
If you could do with my help - whether it's a full CampfireClarity package or just bits and pieces of support to take things off your plate, get in touch.
Is there anything lovelier than a hand written note? Whether it's a love letter or a note of friendship or even a personal journal, there is something utterly beguiling about the written word. Even more so when that note is secreted away, waiting to be found.
Which is exactly what you get with a brand new product called My Billet Doux. Literally translated as 'sweet note', My Billet Doux is a beautiful handmade silk cushion that has a discreet pocket on the back for a hidden notebook and pen. The cushions are decorated with a vintage ribbon, each with a story of its own and some dating back to the 1800s.
Natalia Willmott, the creator of the cushions, asked for my help in crafting the words for her new website. She explains: 'I needed help getting word clarity for my website and to explain a new concept. My product is unique but can be difficult to describe. I wanted to really capture the romance and history behind the idea.'
As a Publicity for Solopreneurs student, I already knew Natalia but this is a brand new business venture for her and she wanted to nail the words to explain the concept. I spent a bit of time with her, looking at the cushions, and seeing the details and finishing touches that make the products so unique. I learnt about her back story and her motivation behind the cushion idea. Then I set to work.
It was a lovely, but tough, challenge. It's a tricky concept to explain and as the cushions can be used for so many reasons - from romantic wedding gifts, a gift between friends, or a keepsake item to be handed down - it took a careful use of words to get the tone just right. There were also many elements that needed explaining, like the concept of love letters, the quality of the silk cushions, the vintage stories of the ribbons and the ways in which the cushions could be used. Not forgetting that we needed the words to be SEO friendly and had to sound beautiful too!
The scope of the copywriting work included her about page - including the idea behind the products and her back story - and product category descriptions. But I also helped Natalia flesh out some new ways the cushions could be used to broaden their appeal even further and I came up with ideas on how to turn her blog into a series of love letters.
This is what Natalia had to say: 'Melissa got the message I wanted to convey and tone of the website spot on. She has the ability to 'tidy' your words and sentences into proper language that is clear and engaging. She works really well under time pressure and delivers everything (and more) she offers. Thanks for helping me out!'
You're welcome Natalia - it was a fabulous project to work on. And best of luck with your new venture.
If you know anyone who would love a gorgeous gift like this, please do check out her website (and while you're there, read the copy!)
If you would like help with your website copy, take a look at my Copy packages and then get in touch.
Remember when you first got that idea for your business? It felt so exciting. The possibilities were endless. You had butterflies. It's all you could think about. It even kept you awake at night. In fact it felt very similar to the start of a new romantic relationship where you are almost giddy with the excitement of it all.
But over time, that initial passion can ease off as the reality of running your business starts to hit home, much the same way the realities of a relationship start to crop up. In a relationship, it's the way your partner chews their food, leaves their dirty coffee mugs lying around and always forgets to put the toilet seat down that takes the shine off that first flush of love. Running a business is no different. The dull admin, the clients who are no longer inspiring you, the relentless marketing that never seems to generate results.....slowly that passion you had for it can get ground down.
Much like relationships, as business owners we change. We outgrow what we were originally offering or there is a shift in who we want to work with. But often we don't recognise it. We just don't feel right. Things aren't aligned. You can soldier on feeling unfulfilled, break up with your business or you can work on it to fix it.
That's where I want to help. I offer a clarity service where we talk through where your business is now and where you want to take it. It could be the type of clients you want to work with or the services you're offering. Perhaps your web copy and images just don't reflect who you are any more. You could be casting around for a purpose or vision, something to make you feel that passion again that you used to have. Whatever your issue is, we get super clear in a one off clarity session. And if you need fresh words and images for your site, I do that for you too.
As a special Valentine's Day gift to you, I am offering 20% off my Clarity, Copy and Copy & Canvas packages if you book them before 16 February 2017. All you need to do to book is email me and tell me which package you want. We will schedule a session (to take place during March) and I will ask you to complete my Campfire Clarity Workbook to get your creative juices flowing. Payment will only be taken in March. If you go on to book a second package within March, you will get the 20% discount for that too.
So stop feeling as though your business is a relationship you want to get out of. Reignite the passion and those first flickers of excitement you felt. Let me help you create a business that makes you leap out of bed in the morning. You will be so glad you did. Here's what some previous clients I've helped have said:
I contacted Melissa about creating the copy for my website, little did I know that my experience with her would not only completely change my mindset about what my website “should” be like but she was able to also clearly articulate my unique service offering. With one conversation, she created copy and set the tone for my brand in a way that represented me a way that I never could have gotten to by myself. When she delivered her first draft, I literally sat in my car with tears of joy – she was able to articulate my value in a way that I’ve never been able to do in as succinct a manner." Carolyn Delayney
O M G!!! I've just had an initial read through while I'm sitting at the hairdresser and it is looking and sounding AMAZING! You are so talented - taken my garbled messages and woven your magic to make them sound wonderful. I almost cried when I was reading through it - it is really reflecting what my business and I are about. Thank you. " Catherine Bowyer
Had a great 1st coaching session with Melissa. It was a real eye opener! In fact just after changing a little bit of my wording around I got a new email subscriber that very afternoon! Super excited to continue working with Melissa and I definitely would recommend her to any small business owner." Brittany Hagler
Cutting through the ambiguity and finding the clarity" This is who you are. You were sitting in that lounge speaking to the women there and one after the other you were cutting through the gunk and showing them what they were doing, what they stood for, what their business is. It was like you were unveiling their confusion and offering them the gift of clarity." Misbah Khan
You are just so good at what you do, I really don't think I have come across anyone so dynamic. The way that you can translate every different type of business that you come across, and you just "get them" is really inspiring. It puts a fire in my belly.'" Ruth Harris
I feel inspired and encouraged. I also feel as if the whole business idea has expanded in one phone call."
Melissa has been incredible. She got me and what my business was about right from the start and understood what I was trying to achieve, which was empowering and refreshing! She helped my vision come alive.'' Kirsten Davis
Many years ago, I worked in tech PR. My job was to get the press to write about subjects like routers, ERP systems and storage area networks. It was gripping stuff. I understood none of it. But I had to be able to translate the tech complexity and put it into words that a journalist or reader would understand. I used to sit with the tech client and ask them to explain it to me in a way that a four year old could understand. I didn't tell them that, actually, I didn't understand and I was the four year old in question...
But I didn't just used to ask how the technology worked, I'd ask why anyone should care. What problem was it solving? Who would use the tech? How would it make their life easier? What business impact did this tech have? I would ask questions until I was sure that I had at least a semi decent understanding as to what it was about. And then I would write. I would use the simplest language I could find so that I understood it. I would ask myself, 'Does the reader really need to know that widget x plugs into widget y?' If it didn't add to the reader's comprehension, I'd leave it out.
Turns out that my tech ignorance gave me the best grounding in writing for an audience anyone could hope for. I learned the acronym KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.
I regularly have clients come to me asking for help with their web copy. Regardless of the client or what sector they are in, their copy almost always has the same problem: it's too darn long. There are a number of reasons for this:
What they end up with is reams of repetitive text that still manages to say nothing to convince a client to buy. Their mistake? They aren't keeping it simple.
Here's how I fix the problem - and how you can fix your own web copy by following the same approach. I should warn you that although the end result is simple to understand copy, the process itself takes a bit of work. But if you put the effort in, you will end up with simple, easy to read and effective copy. As someone once said, 'If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.'
Step 1 - Get clarity of vision and general business purpose
I have a clarity session with my clients first in which I get a really clear understanding of what this business of theirs is all about. Often, this clarity session helps them get clear on this too! What they thought they wanted the business to be can end up being something entirely different by the end of the session.
Step 2 - Get into the head of your ideal clients
I ask questions. Lots of them. The same way I used to ask my tech clients about their complex products, I ask my clients all about their clients. You need to ask yourself the same questions.
Step 3 - Get clear about your offerings
It may seem obvious that you know what you do. But many of my clients get stuck when it comes to putting that down in words or structured into packages. Clients want it to be simple and clear how you can help them, so make it easy for them to understand in a logical step by step way.
Step 4 - Get your own story clear
An About page is where people turn to learn more about you the person or the back story to the company. This is where you can really inject your personality if you're a solopreneur, but be sure to back up the passion with your professional credentials and information.
Step 5 - Write
Once you've done all this thinking and clarity work with some rough writing thrown in, you need to get it into a first draft. By going through the clarity process though, it should be a lot easier. You've done the thinking bit, now it's simply a case of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Some tips to write effectively:
Need an example? I worked with a lovely client who offers Free Motor Legal Insurance. I know. Legal and Insurance all in the same breath. It's hardly an excitement-fest. But it's a very valid problem that people face, so it was all about writing about a complex thing in an easy to understand way that will make people want to sign up to his free service. I took the long, detailed legal explanations of how it all worked and just kept it super simple. You can see the results here. It is now clear what people have to do and the benefits they'll get.
I did the same for a solopreneur who creates Global Mobility Policies for HR teams. Again, not an easy to understand, super sexy offering, but for the people who need this help, it's a lifesaver. I stripped back all the complexity and kept it simple. You can see the results here.
If you would like similar help, take a look at my Clarity package and my Copy & Canvas offering. I know everyone thinks writing is simple, but there are many steps to it. Sometimes having an outsider see you for who you are and translate that into words, is the best investment you can make for your business. As one recent Clarity, Copy & Canvas client said:
'O M G!!! I've just had an initial read through while I'm sitting at the hairdresser and it is looking and sounding AMAZING! You are so talented - taken my garbled messages and woven your magic to make them sound wonderful. I almost cried when I was reading through it - it is really reflecting what my business and I are about. Thank you'
And then she followed up saying:
'You are truly amazing and I'm so happy with how much you've helped me in such a short time - Clarity workbook prep prior to meeting; chat to understand my business last Tuesday; summary of discussion and ideas for moving forward on Wednesday; (major) draft copy produced by Friday. I would definitely recommend Melissa to help you gain clarity for your business - she is extremely talented. Thank you.' Catherine Bowyer.