For 13 years my website was missing one critical ingredient. Is yours missing it too?

June 26, 2015 •
Stupid copywriter feature image

The other day, a prospect called after visiting my website, and asked me if I do IT copywriting.

WTF?!

Didn’t they notice I used to be a technical writer in the software industry? For 9 years?! Didn’t they notice all my IT clients? Didn’t they notice all the IT copywriting samples in my portfolio?

Surely it’s obvious I do IT copywriting?

But then I had a look at my site from their point of view, and my jaw dropped. It wasn’t at all obvious. Despite having come from a technology background (the software industry), there was nothing on my site that explicitly discussed my AMAZING skills in IT and technology copywriting.

And I’ve been running this business for 13 years! How many IT clients have I missed out on that time because of this oversight?!

What my site was actually missing

I feel like a complete nong, now, but until today, my website wasn’t explicitly targeting any particular market.

Sure, it talked about the individual copywriting services I provide. But that’s generic feature copy.

And yeah, I’ve had a copywriting portfolio and copywriting case studies for a long while. But they’re really specific. They focus on a small selection of really challenging jobs and jobs I did really well.

None of these pages talked about what industries I usually work for (my areas of expertise).

Just as it wasn’t clear I had decades of experience in IT copywriting, it also wasn’t clear I had heaps of experience in real estate and construction. In automotive. In sales and marketing. In finance and insurance. In education and government. In startups.

These industries are where I get most of my work! Look, here’s a graph that proves it:

Number of copywriting jobs by industry

But you wouldn’t have known these were my areas of expertise by looking at my site.

Trouble is, everyone’s a potential client

Failing to target your market sounds like a marketing 101 mistake. But in my industry, it’s not that simple…

You see in copywriting, everyone’s a potential client. If I’d positioned myself as a specialist IT copywriter, I probably wouldn’t have gotten that job a couple of weeks back, writing a visa application for a would-be German tourist. Or the web and script copy job for that laser hair removal clinic in Melbourne.

Unfortunately, in my experience, there’s just not enough IT copywriting work in Australia to live off, if that’s all you do.

Plus I do a lot of other stuff too

If I position myself as a specialist IT copywriter, then I’ll probably lose a lot of the finance work I get. (I can’t really say on my home page that I’m a specialist IT copywriter AND a specialist finance copywriter. These are two completely different fields, so readers would find that a bit strange.)

And don’t forget, I also offer design services (Ian does the design, not me), and technical writing. This is why I didn’t want to add ‘IT Copywriting’, ‘Finance Copywriting’ and so on to my top level services menu. It would have muddied the waters.

How I fixed it

Of course, the above challenges, however real, are not valid reasons for completely failing to explicitly target any and all of my markets. There’s no excuse for that. But I’ve rectumfied it now…

I’ve now added a collection of subject matter expertise pages, and linked to them from my top-level copywriting services page.

So now my copywriter services page shows not just what I do, but also who I typically do it for. And it links off to individual detail pages on each area of expertise.

I also added the same links to my About page.

This means I’m not excluding anyone at my home page or confusing anyone with my Services menu. But readers can still see my areas of expertise with just one click, by going to my Copywriting Services page or About page.

And now that I have individual pages for each area of expertise, people who Google “IT copywriter” or “real estate copywriting”, etc., will be more likely to find me.

Are you missing the same ingredient?

Does your site explicitly target your market?

If you’re a software vendor, do you talk only about benefits and features, and not about who typically uses your software, and the sorts of things they do with it?

If you’re a financial adviser, do you talk only about the advice you provide? Or do you also make it clear that you can help middle-income earners generate wealth? (If you don’t, middle-income earners may think you serve only high-income earners. “I never have any spare cash, how could he help me?”)

As is obvious in my case, targeting your market isn’t always simple, but it is always necessary. Now go away and check your site, and tell me if you’re a nong like me.

Feel free to comment...
comment avatar
James wrote on July 3rd, 2015

I find it about 1000 times easier to write copy for others than for myself

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comment avatar
Glenn Murray wrote on July 3rd, 2015

I generally don't, because I don't have to think about style and what's appropriate and try to figure out the subject matter. That said, obviously I sometimes make mistakes when writing copy for myself... :-\

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